Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bush issues apology at Walter Reed visit

I received an email from several folks that had a letter from someone that actually worked at Walter Reed that stated something to the effect that there were no problems there. If that is the case, then why did Bush apologize? I saw him issue an apology on TV last night and then read this.

Who really knows? Is it the media hype? If so, then why didn't Bush just say so? I guess it depends on which news source you watch. CNN or Fox. You'll get two different stories every time. Go figure.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tough Love

Chapter 14 from Dan Gilliam's book "God Touches-Finding Faith in the Cracks and Spaces of My Life"

If you are helping someone that is struggling with alcoholism or addiction, please read this. I've been through what he is talking about. If you are praying for someone, don't stop. It works. Let go and Let God!

Tough Love-Letting Go and Letting God

At sixteen years old, I could have won hands down the "worst case scenario" teen pageant (had there been one). Reeling from my parents' divorce and my painful junior high separation from friends and school, I was awash in a sea of bitterness and defiance that surprised everyone in my life, including me. My first drink of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine opened a Pandora's box of genetic alcoholism that would not see full remission until 1989. I quit or was kicked out of three high schools my sophomore year, was arrested several times on truancy, drug, and larceny charges, and spent six months behinds bars in a maximum-security juvenile facility. Upon my release, I began a two-year disappearing hitchhiker act that took me from coast to coast several times and in and out of Canada and Mexico without any identification.

While most of this period is a blur, I can recall a few highlights (so to speak), such as the beating I took from a Georgia cop when, having been asked for ID, I showed him a dollar bill and told him I was George Washington. On another occasion, after I had passed out, a friend who was carrying me on his shoulder dropped me on my head but failed to tell me about it, leaving me with unexplained double vision for a week due to a serious concussion. Then there was the time a truck driver woke me up, kicking me in the ribs because I had rolled out onto the highway after passing out drunk beside the road. How I lived to tell these stories is a mystery to me. But I believe that a providential hand was upon my shoulder that was allowed to work in my life because all the people that cared about me let go and let God.

Since achieving long-term, one-day-at-a-time sobriety, it has been my priviledge and duty to share my recovery experience, strength, and hope with many who have wanted to help friends or family members with similar problems. (I tried to help struggling people before this but, oddly enough, my alcoholic outreach seems to be more effective since practicing it sober.) As a rule, people who struggle with alcoholism or addictions to any of its dirty little cousins (overeating, pornography, gambling, etc.), most often have the best intentions and believe it when they tell you that this time they really mean to change. The problem, however, lies in the addicts inability to convert these sparkling intentions into life-changing actions. This is not something anyone can do for the addict, and the process by which this is learned is painful for all involved. Much heartbreak occurs when, by their deeds, our loved ones prove that they don't really want to change, in spite of what they might tell themselves and us. Christ himself had many followers who made the decision to turn their backs on him and run from the truth (see John 6:66-strange numbers considering this is the same John who wrote Revelation); so it is important that we not blame ourselves for the rebellious and sick choices of others. It is equally important not to take credit for any progress we see in the lives of those who might be in the process of growing up around us. It is only by the grace of God that anything good happens.

In advising people who are facing the dilemma of how to help an alcoholic or drug addict, I have always reverted to two simple steps (though the alcoholic may require twelve) that seem to be at the heart of the solution. First, I have seen much value in the grace and discipline of prayer. In prayer, we are reminded of our own powerlessness over most of what occurs in life, especially in the lives of others. It allows us to turn the burden of responsibility for others over to the one who is equipped to handle it. In my estimation, that's what prayer is about: releasing results to God and trusting God for outcomes.

A second effective tool is the process of letting go with love. This is sometimes hard to define, but it primarily involves leaving out lost loved ones to their own devices so that they can experience the full weight of the consequences of their actions. We don't do anyone with a behavior problem a favor when we soften the blows or hinder them from hitting the bottom that could very well shake them to their senses. For me, this meant that my friends and family had to say "We love you, but we will no longer tolerate your behavior. When you are ready to do something different, come back and we will walk with you. But if you continue on your current path then you need to go away." Harsh words indeed, but ones that saved my life. I am one of the fortunate ones who has been given another opportunity at living life. Many do not receive this.

There are no guarantees that our wayward friends will return or survive themselves, but we can find assurance in knowing that we did all we could to help. Most often, however, this feels to be very little. When we release our self-suffering brothers and sisters to themselves, we do so with the hopes that they will experience the pain of their fall and return quickly for another taste of grace. (This was the apostle Peter's story.) I wonder if Christ was practicing tough love with Judas Iscariot when he said to him at the Last Supper, "What you are about to do, do quickly" (John 13:27). Unfortunately, the weight of Judas's remorse was too great for him to handle and he took his own life. This is not an unusual scenario, particularly for those who have once known the truth and then left it for other courses. There is no easysolution in helping the helpless and we have no real choice but to let go of them with love.

Tough love is just that. Tough to give, tough to take, but it is powerful and it represents our last line of defense. It is helpful to remember that we are not the only agents God will use in the lives of our loved ones. There will be others, and we will have to trust the same God who lovingly and persistently works in our lives to do the same work in the lives of others. We are individually but links in the chain of godly influence that transforms attitudes and changes minds in the face of intense resistance and horrendous odds. It is an arrogant error to overestimate the impact that any one person can have on someone else. We must also keep in mind that God's timetable is never easy to understand and impossible to estimate. As far as we know, God doesn't carry a watch or a sundial, so we might save ourselves the trouble of sitting around waiting for God to answer our prayers, particularly when we are praying for someone with a hardened heart. Sometimes devastation and trouble can be the very bad-tasting medicine that softens our calloused spirits so that we can desire and pursue the good stuff of God. This infinite grace and unending love is available for any and all who seek it, even if the search is only as wide as a keyhole and the interest as large as a mustard seed. I'm banking on the hope that if this formula for letting go with love could work on a teenage drunk with a concussion that used an alias like George Washington, it can work for anyone.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Red-Breathe Into Me

This is the song getting radio play on a lot of radio stations right now. They're a christian band from Nashville TN and will be opening up for Sevendust on April 6th at the Marquee Theater. We saw them at the Ragefest and they also opened up for Flyleaf a couple of months ago when we saw them at the Marquee. This WILL be a great show.


A week from tomorrow night. Friday night April 6th at the Marquee Theater in Tempe. Sevendust will blow the roof off the joint and I'm gonna be there to see it. Christian rockers Red will open the show. Come and join us.

Dobson says Thompson is not a christian

"Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for," Dobson said of Thompson. "[But] I don't think he's a Christian; at least that's my impression," Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party's conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination. entire article here

So Dobson now has the authority to say who is and who isn't a christian? Give me a break!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Happy 18th Birthday Shannon

So my daughter Shannon is now a legal adult. I guess that makes me an old man now huh? Anyhow, 18 years ago today my baby girl was born and she has grown up. Happy birthday Shannon.

With Love,

Concerned Christians Group

This past weekend I was pulling into my driveway and noticed a bunch of folks hanging things on peoples front doors. I only wish I would have known what it was they were delivering before they left because I would have liked to have talked with them. Nicely of course.

The group was called Concerned Christians. They may be christians, but I do not care for the material they were putting on my doorstep and as a fellow christian I would have offered them some advice. What they really are is an anti-mormon group who say they are christians. Like I said, they may be christians, that is not for me to decide. But their approach and delivery is certainly not what I think God would want us to do.

The material included a DVD, a pamphlet, and a website. I checked out the pamphlet and the website to see what they were all about. Then I threw the entire thing in the garbage. Although I do not believe in Mormon doctrine, I have some good friends that are Mormon. Do you think that they appreciate receiving this stuff on their doorsteps from people that call themselves Christians? I would think not.

Then on my way to work this morning I had my radio tuned to my favorite radio station 98KUPD. They were all over this group and their so called Christian message. It is groups like this that in my opinion give Christians a bad rap. Where's the love and the grace in this? That is what I would want an answer to.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

War Causing Split Among Evangelicals

Is Dobson becoming the next Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson? You decide.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family, quoted this in March 1 public letter blasting the National Association of Evangelicals and the NAE director Richard Cizik’s stance on global warming and other environmental issues. Dobson’s letter said, in part:

Cizik’s disturbing views seem to be contributing to growing confusion about the very term, "evangelical." As a recent USA Today article notes: "Evangelical was the label of choice of Christians with conservative views on politics, economics and biblical morality. Now the word may be losing its moorings, sliding toward the same linguistic demise that 'fundamentalist' met decades ago because it has been misunderstood, misappropriated and maligned." We believe some of that misunderstanding about evangelicalism and its "conservative views on politics, economics and biblical morality” can be laid at Richard Cizik’s door.

Bong Hits 4 Jesus--Explained

An interesting, and at some times humorous, article here.

Sometimes you can find God in the strangest of places and it's not always inside the walls of the church. I read a post over on Constantly Abiding's blog that was right on target. Check it out here .

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My next read will be this book

I read Rick's book Jesus in the Margins. It was an ecellent read. Rick is the Pastor of Imago Dei Church and where Donald Miller attends. Rick's new book is reviewed here .

A Gaelic Saturday Evening and Sunday morning with the kids

What a fun and blessed weekend I had. I spent Saturday shopping with my wife and we actually purchased clothes for me. Are you amazed? I sure was. Anyhow, besides getting some new threads, I so enjoyed being back home and spending the day with my beautiful wife.

Saturday night we met Ben & Mandy and Chad & Sharon at Molly Brannigans for an Irish dinner. Nobody had the Shepards Pie. Oh believe me, I wanted it because I had it the last time we were there and let me just say that it is to die for. I opted to try something different and had the Guiness Stew in a Sourdough Bread Bowl. It was awesome! After dinner we all headed over to the Chandler Center of Performing Arts and saw Gaelic Storm for an evening of Irish jigs and Celtic Music and irreverent humor. I was impressed to say the least and really enjoyed it. We also got to know Chad and Sharon better too. Great peeps.

Patty and I signed up to teach the 1st through 5th graders once a month or so during childrens church on Sunday mornings. Well this morning was our first time and I was so blessed to be a part of it. The subject was Christ in Me and we used an illustration using work gloves. The gloves don't do the work, but when you put your hands in them they do. Just like all we can do is because of Christ living in us. The kids were awesome, attentive, and very good at participating. I wasn't sure I would enjoy the age group but it turned out that I really really enjoyed them. And they blessed me too.

I get to head back to work tomorrow and we have drop-in Center and Youth tomorrow night. It will be great to see the Youth and hang with them again.

I'll be heading out for a couple of work trips. One in a week and a half or so and another at the end of the month. Then on May 7-10th we'll be heading to Anaheim for a Vineyard Leadership Conference. Pinay, if you're reading this, let me know if you will be in California on either side of those dates. Patty and I would love to be able to take a couple of extra days to drive up to see you since we'll be in California. I will email you too.

June 10th-15th will be our Youth Camp at UCYC up in Prescott. I will be going with the kids for a fun filled week up in the Pines and am excited about it.

Patty and I were talking this afternoon about taking time one on one with our youth. So maybe once a week or every other week I will take a guy and Patty will take a girl and we'll just take them out to eat, or for ice cream, or whatever and really get to know them one on one. I believe it is important. Not to be a parent figure to them, although some may have an absent parent. But just to mentor them and find out how they're really doing. We'll see how it goes.

I still have to blog about that one chapter in Dan Gilliams book that really touched me. I am struggling in a certain area with my daughter and have to just keep praying for her and also for myself in how I react to situations. You'll know exactly what I mean when I blog about it. It also will show you how I rebelled against my parents, God, and even my wife. But through their faithful prayers, I turned to the only one who could give me true healing.

Be blessed and be moved by God's love!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Colton Orr Todd Fedoruk 2007-03-21 Hockey Fight

You make your choice. Should fighting be banned in hockey? I definitely say NO! Most all will tell you that it keeps cheap shots and stick penalties down.

Colton Orr KOs Todd Fedoruk

Now just last week in 2007 he gets knocked out cold. Maybe he should just give it up ya think?

10/27/2006: Derek Boogaard versus Todd Fedoruk

This happened in October of 2006 and Fedoruk had is orbital bone shattered and had a metal plate put in surgically.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Fantastic Quote

This is a quote that Dan Gilliam put in his book God Touches.

If we want to hear God we have to listen, and yet the
one deficiency epidemic among adults is listening.
We don't listen. We won't listen. We are willing to do almost
anything to keep ourselves from listening.
Mike Yaconelli
Dangerous Wonder: The Adventure of Childlike Faith

Back from Salt Lake City

So I spent the entire week in Salt Lake City Utah. To tell you the truth, the conference was pretty much a snoozefest with the exception of a couple of speakers. I did learn a few things from them so at least I walked away with something from it. But most of it was just your typical government bureaucratic stuff that just bored me to death.

I did get to meet a lot of people though so that was cool. They were mostly my counterparts at all of the other Weather Offices throughout the Western Region. There were about 30 of us total. The days were long though starting at 8 am and going to 5 pm. Not really all that long, but when you're sitting there listening to speakers all day it seems longer than it actually is.

Salt Lake City was not what I expected. The Hotel was right downtown. The facilities we were in were very nice. The Red Lion Hotel. My room was on the 5th floor of a 13 story Hotel and every morning I woke up and walked out to my balcony which faced East and watched the sun rise over the Wasatch Mountains while sipping my coffee. The Mountains were beautiful and snow capped. The skiing must have been fantastic judging by the folks at the Hotel. The majority of folks staying there were skiiers and snowboarders.

Salt Lake City is in a Valley surrounded by Mountains. The elevation is higher than Phoenix though and it is much cooler than Phoenix. The air is also much cleaner and the visibility was crystal clear so you could see all of the snow capped mountain ranges. I was quite surprised by the number of homeless people walking around downtown though. There were much more than I would have thought.

Anyhow, I am almost done with Dan Gilliam's book and it was quite the read. I see a lot of similarities in his life that are very comparable to my own life. I'll blog about one particular chapter that, well, seemed like he was writing about the exact same thing I went through myself. You'll know what I mean when I blog about it. For now I'm going to spend some time with my wife and tomorrow we're going to see The Gaelic Storm at the Chandler Center of Performing Arts with Ben and Mandy and another couple from Amadeo.

Be Moved!

Monday, March 19, 2007

So Patty, Meredith B and myself just got back from the Chevelle show. Finger Eleven opened up and they were okay. I just didn't like they're type of music. I was a little pissed off at the drunks in the crowd screaming out in between songs, "YOU SUCK! GET THE (Insert expletive here) OFF THE STAGE!" Tough crowd man. But the band handled it well and did their set. There's an asshole in every crowd at a rock show it seems.

Promptly at 9:30 PM the house lights went down and Chevelle hit the stage. They opened with Family System and when they came on stage they had a different image going on. Their hairstyles basically, and it kind of freaked me out because I've been a fan of them for awhile. I guess I was a little shocked by their "new" look, but what the hell, they're music didn't change. Some of the new stuff they did from their upcoming CD which will be released April 3rd was heavy stuff man. Since they were the headliners they put in a full 90 minute set and then some. They played most of my faves.

Tonight I just wanted to stay in the back and watch them perform. Plus it sounds better back there anyhow. It was very very stuffy in the Marquee this evening and it was packed. Patty and Meredith went up closer for awhile. Meredith is fun to go to a concert with and her and Patty were moving around a lot. I was sweaty just jumping around from where I was at. Patty just went to bed. I can't go straight to bed after a heavy show like that. It takes me awhile to come down.

All in all I'll give the show an A+. You got a lot of the old stuff with their new stuff sprinkled here and there. Actually, I think they played 4 songs off the upcoming new CD, and I liked all of them.

Time to go hydrate and bring it down a notch so I can go to bed. Then off to Salt Lake City tomorrow for a week.

Be blessed and be Moved!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

All Hyped up for tonight

So Chevelle is in town tonight. I've been blasting their music continuously the past couple of days. I have a feeling my ears are gonna hurt tomorrow. And it won't help that I'm getting on a plane to Salt Lake City tomorrow either. I'm flying out for a weeklong conference that's work related. It's actually going to be a snoozefest to tell you the truth, but at least I'll be able to get away from all of the union crap at my office for a week. I am so sick of whiny negative people. I am the union steward and my job is to make sure the collective bargaining agreement is adhered to. Not to burn management. That's not what it's about. I'll quit ranting about that for now.

We had a great weekend celebrating Patty's birthday. We went to the hockey game last night and I swear I saw more drunks on the road than on New Years Eve. They say St. Patrick's Day has just as many, if not more, accidents and DUI incidents than New Years Eve. I'll tell you one thing though, the DUI task force was out in numbers. They were saturating the roadways last night which is good.

Shannon has a new job now and is getting more hours which is what she needed. She'll be 18 on the 28th. My baby girl is all grown up now.

I bought a great book the other day that I'm going to read while I'm in Salt Lake City. It was written by Dan Gilliam and is titled God Touches Finding Faith in the Cracks and Spaces of Life. It looks like it will be a great read and I look forward to it. I'll write about it later.

I may post about the concert tomorrow before I leave. If not, I'll update my blog when I get back from Salt Lake City. I've never been to Salt Lake City before and the hotel and conference are located in the Olympic Village where the Winter Olympics were held awhile back.

Be Moved!

Chevelle - Family System (Live In Chicago)

Chevelle - Get Some (Live In Chicago)

chevelle-the red

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Can anyone guess who this is?

Chevelle - The Clincher (Live In Chicago)

Sunday nite 8 pm at the Marquee Theater. I've seen them several times and I'm telling you, it's gonna get KRAZY in there. Be there.

Happy St. Patty's Day Folks. And a Happy birthday to my wonderful wife.

Friday, March 16, 2007

This is a very well written article and he makes his point very well. Was it Something I Said? Continuing to Think About Homosexuality


I was working evenings last night and got home around 10:30. I flipped on the TV and just happened to flip through the channels to land on HBO and a documentary called addiction. Then tonight I read an article about this documentary here Addiction .

It was very good I might add. Brutal and to the point. Also very informative. For those that don't know, I am an ex-addict and I could really relate to a lot of the information. I would highly recommend viewing it if you have the chance. I believe they will air the original again as well as several other new episodes as it is supposed to be a short series.

Jamie over at (e)mergent voyageurs posts Youth & Spiritual Formation - Part 2

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hotter Sex!

It's not what you're thinking if you linked here looking for porn. But read it anyhow.

Minister Joe Beam says good Christian marriages walk on the wild side

I've been reading the (e)mergent voyageurs blog lately and he is doing a post about Spiritual Formation, Education & Youth

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So far, I am definitely supporting this guy.

Obama: Ambassador of Hope?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Isles' Simon suspended for rest of season

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Simon Two-Hands Hollweg Mar 8, 2007

This is why the NHL has to get rid of the instigating rule so a team can send out an enforcer to take care of business. wait until the end of the video and watch it in slow motion. It was like he was swinging a baseball bat at the guys head. I hope this guy gets banned for life.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sicker than sick

So my week started out well, work went well and I spent an entire day in a meeting on Wednesday. I am the union steward and have to sit in on a lot of meetings. Anyhow, I came home feeling great and Patty had gone out to dinner with the co-workers. Shannon was at work so I prepared a meal for myself and sat down to watch American Idol. Yes, I admit I do watch it and I actually enjoy it. Only after they get through all of the auditioning crap. So I ate my dinner, then sat down on my comfy couch to enjoy a nice quiet evening at home. Right when American Idol was over I stood up and it felt like the floor came up on me immediately. After that was waves of nausea and other things that followed that I won't go into detail about.

I guess it was a flu of the stomach variety. How can something like that hit you so fast? Anyhow, I made it upstairs to my bed and soon wore a path on the carpet bewteen the bed and the bathroom. I probably should have just stayed right in the bathroom. I went from feeling like I was freezing to death to feeling hotter than hell and breaking out in those cold sweats. My body ached all over.

When Patty got home she asked me if I was going to make it to work the next day. I told her I would wait until the morning to see how I felt. Well about a half an hour later I told her to call my office and tell them I would not be coming in. I just started to feel human today and it is late Friday afternoon.

Three words...Stomach Flu Sucks!

My final exerpt from Spencer's book

Exclusive Theology

In Luke's account, we find the wonderful story of the woman who wiped Jesus' feet with her hair.

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of purfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is-that she is a sinner."

The story illustrates how easy it is to make determinations about people based on our understanding of whether they are "in" or "out" of our theological grid. Obviously, a Pharisee would look upon a woman of questionable background with some suspicion. His view of her even affects his opinion about Jesus. He is quite sure that Jesus cannot be the prophet some say he is because a true prophet would know her kind and never allow her to touch him.

The drama in the story is incredible. "'Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, 'Do you see this woman?'" How could Simon not see the woman? But the point is that he couldn't see past the label he had assigned her. He was practicing a theology of exclusivity and dehumanization disguised as righteousness and purity. Whenever we use dismissive labels to define people-"terrorists," "baby killers," "homos," and the like-they blind us, and we miss the person God loves.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Trouble in the family

Is James Dobson's legendary power starting to wane?

Monday, March 05, 2007

And this is how we treat our injured troops?

Pretty sad in my opinion!

Soldiers Share Troubling Stories Of Military Health Care Across U.S.

The unwritten code of hockey

I was perusing the BWC site this morning because they update it every Monday. Jonathan Adams wrote an excellent article about the enforcers code in hockey. Also included is a video of the fantastic brawl that happened in the Ottawa/Buffalo game a week or so ago. Enjoy!

Ottawa v Buffalo: Don’t Those City Names Sound Similar?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A fantastic weekend

So...I have to brag about my weekend. Started off by meeting at the VCCG parking lot at 8 am Saturday morning to head to Queen Valley for a day of paintballing with the VCCG and Amadeo youth. What a freaking blast man! Now I want to go out and buy my own paintball gun. Those things are cool and they shoot a lot farther than I thought. Now I know why you have to wear helmets when you play. When you get hit with the paintballs, it stings a little bit. I was not really hit from a very close range and it still stung a bit. Kind of like getting hit with a racquetball. A few of the guys were hit from close range and they had some pretty good welts on them. All in all though, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I'll enjoy myself even more the next time I play because now I know what to expect and how it's done.

This morning we went to church at Amadeo and the service was just awesome. Ben is still teaching from Galations and today was about giving. Not necessarily of your finances though. More about giving to the poor, the needy, your family, etc. Yes, we should give of our finances too, but that is really not all we should be giving.

After church Patty and I headed out to Westworld in Scottsdale to see the dog show. It was fun. Patty loves dogs and always watches the dog shows on TV. But seeing one in person was better than I thought it would be. The part I enjoyed the most was the agility course that the working dogs did. Entertaining stuff man!

Then for a late dinner we went out to eat with her sister Maureen and my nephew Nicholas. We went to my new favorite place, Flancer's in Old Town Gilbert where you just have to get the Philly Cheesesteak with the works and the green chiles. It is to die for man.

Be moved!

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

This is just absolutely incredible. If you've ever run on a treadmill you know what I mean. How they did this just amazes me.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rules and Regulations

Here is the excerpt from Spencer Burke's book I mentioned earlier. From pages 181-184 in the book a Heretic's Guide to Eternity...

Back in college, I was often invited to speak at various Christian youth camps where personal holiness wasn't just encouraged but was mandated. One of the biggest issues was-surprise, surprise-swimwear. At most camps, the rule was modest one-piece bathing suits for girls. "It's what God would have you do," the camps' administrators effectively explained. Then when one-piece styles started to get a little skimpy on the bottom, the rules changed to allow bikinis-but only if they weren't cut too high on the thigh. Did God's mind change?

At other camps, the rule was bikinis with T-shirts over them. But not white T-shirts or even cream-colored T-shirts. They had to be a dark color. Who knew God was so picky about color?

Still other camps prohibited coed swimming altogether. You know what the Bible says about avoiding temptation. It's like that old joke: "Why do Baptists forbid sex standing up? Because it might lead to dancing."

The rules didn't make sense then, and they seem just as flawed now. Ephesians says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." But staying in God's good graces seems to be a different matter.

Performance-driven faith is all about making sure one's life is up to standard, right down to wearing a T-shirt of the right color. It undoes the idea of grace, because it makes grace contingent on other forces.

A performance-based theology sends a terrible message to our insides. It tells us that if we screw up, we might endanger our souls, so life becomes about making sure we are meeting all the requirements. It's the very kind of outward focus Jesus railed against in Matthew's gospel:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces....
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are....
"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath....'
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices....But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness....
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence....
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones....
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous...."

If meeting rules and requirements were really all it took for our theology to mean something, Jesus might have been a little less intense with the religious leaders of his day. After all, they seem to have covered just about every single issue of faith they could create as a condition for right relationship with God. But for Jesus, it wasn't enough. Or perhaps I should say it was too much-of the wrong thing!

When a view of God becomes about paying attention to all kinds of requirements, there is little time left to focus on what all religions teach are the important things-justice, mercy, compassion, goodness, grace, love. It can also feel like you are always on trial. With all those rules, you inevitably feel like you've done something wrong.

When God is viewed as judge and lawgiver, sin becomes the focus. Salvation is salvation from sin. Freedom is freedom from sin. Everything related to life and faith gets forced through one particular lens: sin.

Your thoughts on this portion of the book are welcome.

More about Flyleaf

Flyleaf is really making some noise in the music world, both Christian and Mainstream. I am so glad they do not slam on the "secular" rock scene like a lot of folks do. This is their ministry and you'll be able to tell that after you hear what they have to say in this article. I love the fact that they tour with bands like Korn, Disturbed, Staind and other heavy rock bands that a lot of legalists think are evil. They are great witnesses to these bands and seeds are being planted. I am so glad we were able to see them in such a small venue recently. Now I can't wait for their next CD to come out.

Here is a brief excerpt from the article that I loved.

Though Flyleaf’s sales have been respectable in the Christian marketplace, and its influence is being felt throughout the scene, the band has spent much more time in the general market all along. In fact, while Flyleaf enjoys the worship environment and spiritual uplift of events such as “Acquire the Fire,” it can sometimes be disorienting to be around so many Christians.

“I so love when believers get together that way,” Mosley tells CCM via phone following a stadium-sized Acquire the Fire event in Texas, “And I love that they want to reach the youth because somebody has to! But the way they speak is not the way most of the people who come to our shows speak.”

Mosley explains that the change of gears from a mainstream rock tour to a Christian youth event takes a conscious effort, but they are glad to do it. “When the worship comes, all that is just kicked out the window and there’s no criticism at all; it’s just God. Everybody’s on the same page, and everybody wants to see His face. Everybody’s hungry. No matter how spiritually sound you are or how spiritually messed up you are, everybody wants to see Jesus because we’re all sinners, and, in that moment, we’re all the same and we are all being loved. That’s the most beautiful thing. It happens between our band members on the bus, too.” Mosley’s hard-won experience with the more extreme elements of modern youth culture has bred in her a real passion for relevance. “I want Christians to be aware of the kids we see who need to be spoken to at their level, not in religious words that they don’t [understand].”

check out the entire article here

Good times with great friends

We spent a wonderful evening over at Robert's place last night for some absolutely great food and fellowship. Ben and family were also over. We got to just hang out and fellowship. I had such a good time just being with our Amadeo family and we talked a bit about Youth stuff and are planning a Summer Camp for them. I like the California one the best so far. There is a Vineyard Youth Conference in Texas but the price and distance would probably be a problem. We could drive it, but then you'd probably have to add 2 days of travel there and 2 more back. I hope it works out for the San Diego one.

Going paintballing tomorrow morning. I hope the Amadeo kids show up. I know for sure that Mac is going. The Cornejo's more than likely too.

Life is good for now. It turns out that Patty will not be able to make the CDE trip with us in April as it is Shannon's Senior Prom that Saturday night that we will be gone. But I'm still going. We just felt that one of us should be home to take pictures of Shannon and her date and probably not a good idea with a parent not being home on a Prom night if ya get my drift. But I am excited for the CDE trip and serving the kids and finally getting to meet the boy I sponsor, Jesus Guadalupe.

Patty and I will also be helping out in Kid's church about one a month or so to help out. Since we are a small church there have been folks stuck in the kids church and they are not able to come out to be fed themselves, so Patty and I thought that we would help out in that area. We also had a few of the Youth sign up to be put on the schedule. Patty and I will have our first Kid's church assignment on March 25th. We had a choice of the 3 & 4 year olds or the K through 5th graders. We chose the K through 5th graders. I am pretty good with teens so we'll see how I do with the younger kids.

Life is good, God is good, and I am looking forward to serving Him and doing what I can to help Amadeo serve the community and people in it. I am also contemplating VBI or VLI, not sure exactly the correct acronym. But I have been seriously considering it since Robert emailed me some info about it recently. I think it would be good for me and will help me grow in Christ more and I know I will learn something. Sometimes I struggle with teaching things to people and maybe taking some courses will help me in that area.

My next post I would like to post another excerpt from Spencer Burke's book A Heretic's Guide to Eternity that I found good. I'll post it a little later.

Be Moved!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Landon rules

Check this kid out. My mom sent me this video and this kid rawks man! If I was as good as this kid, I'd play as a career. Enjoy!