Category Archives: Theology

Funny Kids Excuses

Found this cute post titled The Devil Made Him Do It. Seriously.

A few minutes later, he sidled up to his dad. “I boughted you a flashlight,” he crowed, holding it out gleefully. “See?”

“You’re not supposed to tell me about that!” Dennis sputtered.

“I gotted it for you and I’m going to tell you about it,” Bruiser said stoutly.

The kid’s impossible. Impossible, I tell you!

Worst of all, of course, is the fact that he keeps trying to peep at his own presents. This led to a taped confession, where he informed me that he was not responsible for his actions. Check this out:

Are We Generous?

Today at the church where I work we brought in some folks from the National Christian Foundation to discuss the topic of Generosity. Not just talking about giving here, but about our hearts condition toward being benevolent, poured out, and surrendering our rights. Was really cool to spend the day watching videos and processing what it meant to us individually with-in small groups. At the end, all the staff broke up into 8 groups and listed out what could be possible if our whole church caught an infection of generosity. My group alone came up with 19 world-changing outcomes of a large group of people becoming ridiculously generous.

How Generous are You? If you are like me, then not enough! Well here is the video that kicked off our morning together and really set the tone.

Lastly, you can find more videos on Generosity at Generositybook.com

I Wish I Was God

Just had a fun exchange with my daughter after wrestling one on one for strength. A great daddy-daughter moment.

Lily: Are you strong or what?

Me: Yep, I am strong.

Lily: But your not as strong as God! Daddy, how strong is God?

Me: He’s the strongest! He is so strong he made everything. You know how the earth spins…well, it is like he is spinning it on his finger… that is how strong and how big God is.

Lily: God’s playing basketball with the earth?

Me: No, not exactly, but um kinda.

Lily: (pondering)

Me: God is so strong he used his words to create everything. Remember your verse for the week?

Lily: “The universe was made at His command. -Hebrews 11:3″

Me: That’s great Lily. Can you imagine being so strong you pointed and said “Hippo” and it appeared right there?

Lily: Or FLAMINGO!

Me: Yep, that would be something! TURKEY!

Lily: I wish I was God.

Me: Um, well, being God also comes with a lot of responsibility sweetheart, so we don’t…

Lily: (interrupting) Well, I wish I never made wrong choices, that would be so good (thinking hard).

Me: Yes it would sweetie, yes it would. (smiling)

Fireproof Movie Details

A long while ago, I blogged about the Fireproof Movie. I got this today in a newsletter about Fireproof the Movie:

Churches Focusing on Fireproofing Marriages
As with every movie that is released theatrically this year, FIREPROOF aims to entertain audiences. Unlike any other movie this year, FIREPROOF will provide ministry opportunities for churches to help strengthen marriages in their community. You can find great church resources at FireproofmyMarriage.com.

In addition, churches will be able to host a “Fireproof My Marriage” seminar on November 1. This Church Communication Network simulcast features Sherwood Senior Pastor Michael Catt, FIREPROOF co-writers Stephen and Alex Kendrick, and marriage experts Gary Smalley and Dr. Les Parrott, among others.

http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/takeaction/ has some information about what you can do to promote the movie. We are 72 days out from the launch of the movie. I really believe it will do well!

Tidbits of Wisdom from a 50-Year-Old

I had the distinct privilege of hanging out with one of my Florida buddies for his birthday last night. He celebrated his birthday in the morning as he does every year with a no-hands front-flip.

Kevin Conklin is unique both in that he looks 40 instead of 50, and that he is in better shape than most people I know under 30. A former college wrestler in a light weight class, Kevin is still ferocious and determined. 

Kevin has been kind enough to work with me on discovering some of the warped views I have on who God is and how he relates to me. Our friendship is just beginning, but I trust the guy because he lived in his car at the beach for a few weeks to reconnect with God.

So last night at his birthday party, he had been asked to write down some of the wisdom he has gained in all those years. Here are a few tidbits that hit home for me I asked permission from him to share:

  • Pray, don’t talk about prayer or study about it – pray!
  • Be sure to learn a new hobby every couple years – it’s fun and stimulating and keeps you humble but good at a lot of things.
  • [Jesus] is truly faithful and loves you more deeply than anyone. There are no shortcuts to this relationship. Tend to it, nurture it and keep it creative.
  • Guard your heart! He is the source of your strength and peace.
  • Love deeply again and again no matter how much it hurts when it doesn’t work out, being lonely and regretful is no way to live.
  • Trials are your friends, for they truly forge your character. You have what it takes and you should embrace these trials as gifts, not hassles or as some form of punishment. They make you stronger, more real, teach you the best lessons…
  • Attitude and effort are two things you have control over, the rest you really don’t.
  • Make memories, you must be spontaneous and intentional … otherwise you will become a spectator, regretful and for sure boring.
  • Live today, don’t hold tightly to yesterday and don’t bank on tomorrow, we have this moment, right now. What will you do with it?
  • Create a life counsel for yourself. People who love you most, know you best, want the best for you and are willing to speak the truth in love to you.
  • Believe the best in people first and then let their life determine the rest.

John Piper on Prosperity Gospel

Was doing a little catching up on my friends blogs and ran across a two month old post from my old college roomie Dave, which who imbedded the following GodTube presentation with audio of John Piper. Be warned it is pretty moving.

I was introduced to Piper at the first Passion Conference back in the 90’s and have been hooked ever since. Sure he gets a little extreme in the death example in this snippet, but it challenges me to realize I have so much more room to grow in my faith. Thanks Dave for the heads up.
 

Praise God My Daughter is Fine

As you may remember from our hospital stay and the update, one of “my little-darlin’s” had an airway event week before last that threatened her life. This morning we went in for the procedure to scope her airway with the anticipation of finding something structurally wrong or possibly some other kind of odd obstruction. After a 10 minute procedure and a short 1 hour recovery, praise God my daughter is fine.

By fine, I don’t just mean gorgeous and altogether brilliant, or that she recovered well from the procedure. I mean her airway is perfectly normal. The ear, nose, and throat doc is left shaking his head and saying “it must have been one of the worst cases of croup ever”. Yet, there is no remnant of inflammation, an aspirated obstruction, or anything else that would have caused the problem. From the looks of things, there is absolutely nothing wrong and she has never had any issues. What is wild is that she never really had horrific coughing or the other symptoms of croup!

So, some will ask, was this a “healing” or a “miracle”? Did the prayers of literally hundreds of Christ-followers across multiple time zones, in at least 6 large churches, and from all our family and friends make the difference? Was it the determining factor that lead to her now “normal” condition? Most cessationists would probably say no. Bible.org does a fine job of laying out the issue, but here is a snippet:

The [non-charismatics/cessationists] generally make a distinction between sign gifts and edification gifts. Sign gifts, they say, served their purpose in the first century by attesting to the authority of the apostles and their divinely-inspired message. Once the New Testament canon was complete, miraculous gifts were no longer necessary, and they gradually disappeared from the church. Hebrews 2:3-4, for example, is used by non-charismatics to imply that signs and wonders had already ceased by the time of the second generation of Christians. Some also build a case for the cessation of sign gifts from 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.

I am sure some folks would even ride the fence and say that the gift of supernatural healing and the outcome of supernatural healing are two different things, thus the cessationist argument can hold true. It would indeed seem short-sighted to believe God accomplishes NOTHING supernatural through his people on earth these days. My own view is that if God’s character never changes, then He can not help but continue being Himself … which involves creation, healing, judgment, undeserved grace and mercy, miracles, et al.

Ok, ok, back to the question. Yes, I believe this was a healing. Having been with her when she nearly went to see Jesus, I know how serious it was. She was moments away from checking out. Then, within less than 24 hours she was nowhere near deaths inevitable door. Within 2.5 days one did not know anything had ever been wrong. And now, there is no evidence of anything that would have caused the situation. I believe the prayers of many made a difference!

Did we move God? Nope, I don’t think so. I think this was all within his plan and purpose for all of our lives. Not much stirs the heart more than a sick infant, does it? God allows this stuff to happen for our faith and growth. It is to accomplish His Glory! In a sense, Ashley and I were asked in this crises to give up our right to our youngest daughter in the same way we had to give up a mis-carried baby who we named Samuel. Christ was quietly asking, “do you love me enough to …?”. We answered “not our will, but yours.” We are guessing most of you prayed alongside us in a similar way.

God is faithful regardless of this outcome, but it sure feels great to be perplexed over exactly how she became whole again. Will there be similar issues down the road? I dunno. I do know my daughter is now well, those I love have supported me in ways unimaginable, my faith has grown, and that my Jesus remains Holy and Just. Thank you all for walking this bumpy road with us.

One Bold Take on the Virginia Tech Shootings

We don’t yet know the stories of heroism or bravery which happened today at Virginia Tech during the shootings. We may never know. In that classroom full of kids, there may not have been any brave souls who ventured to take on the lone shooter without a weapon of their own. There may *have* been. We simply don’t know.

In addition to today, two local events here and here have made me re-think personal safety and my ideas of preparedness for an attack. Please don’t get me wrong, this post is not some boast that looks down my nose at the victims of these tragedies. I can not say with any surety what I would do in these same situations. I would like to think I can put myself in a position to at-least cause harm to the other party, if not be able to come out unscathed. But again, who knows what we would do were we to face a violent attack by someone intent on ending our life, freedom, or dignity.

One thing I can say today is that I am glad I bought that gun I mentioned over this past weekend. I am glad because without an equivalent method of force to what an attacker will bring, I don’t seem to stand a chance… even at my 260 lb. weight and 6’4″ frame. I am just a bigger, slower target than the next guy. I am glad also that I got mine now, before another gun-prohibition is introduced by the democrat-controlled congress who themselves seem to be determined to reduce or remove my Constitutional, 2nd Amendment right “to keep and bear Arms“. I am glad I live in a country where most of the population are reasonable people that understand the vehicle or device utilized in a massacre like todays isn’t the object which kills people, but the depraved and desperate individuals using those things to do ungodly things are at fault.

What if just one of those 30 college students had a gun with them at the time of the shooting today? Would anything have been different? If any two students had carried a pistol concealed to class, and they knew how to use them, surely things would have been a lot different. Unless those two students are both in the first 8-14 persons killed (unlikely), at-least one of them should be able to get a shot off that wounds the coward enough to have other students jump on him and get the gun away from him. Or, maybe it gives the other students the bravery they need to hurl books at the satanist. Or maybe another student picks up the pistol another student falls dead to the ground holding in order to do their part to end the brutality. Again, we don’t know the circumstances of today, but more guns in the hands of the good-guys couldn’t have hurt on this sad Monday.

I am not afraid to say that if I knew I had a good chance of dieing by doing nothing, I would much rather have a gun that gives me a chance of living by doing something… even if it means a few of my best-attempted shots are errant and kill other individuals who in this kind of attack are likely to become victims anyway. That is a hard, gross problem to consider. But my perspective is the more sane, humane, trained, and willing people who have guns on their persons, the fewer lives that will be lost in all kinds of violent crimes. In all states that allow it, concealed handguns deter/lower violent crime. In the events of today, all we could have hoped for with students who concealed carry would have been a quicker end to something destined to be a tragedy regardless.

God help us all. We need it.

The Return of the Tent Maker – The Unconference Scheduled for May 4th

Rex Miller, who I am meeting for lunch tomorrow for a little chat, has announced the Return of the Tent Maker – The Unconference. Details are forthcoming, but what we do know is A) he is calling this an unconference, B) it is being hosted at Irving Bible Church, and C) it is scheduled for May 4th.

An “Unconference” is a loosely-coupled, attendee-led grouping of talks that are highly interactive. Typically, everyone arrives at the conference and posts up a talk topic on a white board (which has time slots for various discussions) that they are interested in giving or moderating. Others who are interested in the same discussion may ask to help lead the gathering, or may just show up ready to dialog on the topic. Others may lurk in the back of the room waiting to see if something develops which is interesting to them. One of the common rules of these discussions is that if you are bored, get out and find something that interests you. This leads to some roaming between talks which is kind of interesting.

The whole unconference (pdf) idea is not new, being birthed in the late 70’s/early 80’s, but it has only recently been applied to technology conferences. “Return of the Tent Maker” *may* be the first ministry focused unconference, though I can’t say for sure. Does anyone else know?

Perhaps the most blogged unconference was foocamp ’04. The barcamps are pretty popular too though.

It would be cool to do some SpeedGeeking at this Return of the Tentmaker unconference. I love hearing what others are working on and toward. A wiki would be a pretty sweet addition too (the others all have it)! In fact, Rex, if you can get movement for this idea and it really is an “unconference”, I will pitch-in by having my freelance company contribute the Team version of Stikipad. Let me know if you like the idea.

On Mercenary Killings and the Love of Hunting

If you know me, you know it is time for the beard. The beard is the annual signal to friends and family that it is now hunting season. This is that time of year when men, women, and children all over the US prepare to hunt the warm-blooded beauty of God’s creation, the white-tailed deer. For real hunters, which I would arbitrarily define as someone who thinks about hunting at-least weekly, hunting isn’t only a hobby, a pastime, or a sport, but a lifestyle choice.

Let’s face it, hunting isn’t popular. The vast majority of the American population look down their noses at this timeless tradition. Some of my own family (not blood related) are content to pay others to kill their meat for them. The defense is often that the animal is raised specifically for their consumption. As though this reasoning can wipe the blood from under the finger-nails of their hired mercenaries. Oh no, this reasoning will not stand. At the turn of the century there were not a hundredth of the number of white-tail deer that there are today. You see, hunting has made the white-tail deer population grow. Through improving habitat, self-selecting mature animals to kill, supporting state and federal agencies with their license fees, and through spending their money on the sport, hunters have enabled white-tail deer to flourish both directly and indirectly. In a very real sense, deer are raised specifically for the hunter’s pleasure and consumption.

I could make this post four or five times longer than this with all the reasons why hunting is good for our environment and our nation, but I will hold off. I won’t bring up things like the fact our best snipers learned to shoot and kill when hunting as youth. I won’t bring up the fact that overpopulation of deer can ruin our environment in the absence of a serious predator, or that deer herds contract massive epidemics when over-population occurs. I will leave out the fact that prior to 250 years ago, if you weren’t hunting or hiring those who did, you didn’t eat much meat in this country. I won’t focus now on the reality that a cleanly placed shot by a hunter on large game is a way of honoring these animals and that the alternative method of gathering meat for the family is much more cruel and unclean.

I am going to leave that out, and instead show you a picture of the crossbow I got a really sweet deal on a few weeks ago. crossbow.jpgThis crossbow will help me honor the following commandment by God about his economy and have a lot of fun in the process:

Genesis 1 (NASB)
V.27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.