Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Greatest of All Sins

I am about 3/4 through Frank Viola's book - From Eternity To Here. I loved this excerpt on pages 85-87

A careful survey of the Gospels will reveal this one penetrating truth: Jesus Christ was the friend and defender of sinners. It was the tax collectors, the thieves, the prostitutes, and the adulterers that He welcomed into His kingdom. And it was to the highly religious, the self-righteous, and the morally upright (and uptight) that He leveled His severest criticisms. For such had disqualified themselves from the kingdom of God.

Your Lord was a specialist at inducing the fury of the self-righteous, religious elite. Presumably, this is the reason why the stories in the Gospels (let alone the Old Testament) are not peopled with the morally upright. We're quite hard-pressed to find moral heroes in most of them.

Now let's put a modern Christian in that room with Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Pharisees. A self-righteous Christian, mind you.

"Um [cough] ... Lord Jesus, did she ask You to forgive her? I didn't hear her say she was sorry for living as a prostitute. How do we know if she has really repented, Lord? Do You mind if I interrogate her for a bit, please?"

Such is the spirit of a Pharisee. And we have not so learned Jesus Christ.

Repeat: The greatest sins above all else are self-righteousness and judgmentalism. These will bar one from entrance into the kingdom.

In this connection, there is only one person in the universe who has the right to be self-righteous. It is Jesus Christ. And there is no such spirit within Him. Thank God that our Lord is not self-righteous. For if He were, none of us would have any hope.

I am deeply impressed that the Lord demanded nothing of Mary. Instead, He received her shameless act as proof of her love for Him. Mary loved Jesus at great cost. She loved Him in the presence of judgmental Pharisees, in their home, uninvited.

She "pressed into the kingdom of God violently" and loved her Lord unabashedly and without shame (Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16). But what I find even more jolting is that Mary was completely confident that Jesus would receive her act of adoration. She had no fear of Him, only love. This observation alone is quite telling.

Luke closes the curtains on this scene with the Lord saying to Mary, "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Throughout the many years that I have been a Christian, I have made the following observation: You'll never know if self-righteousness is in your heart until something tragic happens to a fellow Christian that you know. When somebody you know (or know of) falls short, makes a mistake, or is the subject of an ugly rumor, it is at that moment that a self-righteous spirit - if it exists - will rear its head.

To be self-righteous and judgmental is to disqualify yourself from the kingdom of God. It is to deny the fact that you are a sinner who is hanging by a cobweb of grace, just like the rest of us. If you get in touch with your humanity, you will make an important discovery: You are just as fallen as everyone else and just as undeserving of God's mercy as everyone else. Such a revelation should remove any judgmental bone in your body.

I find this story so very encouraging on many levels. But the point that I am most impressed with is in who Mary Magdalene was. To my mind, she embodies the very depths of the fall. She was a harlot, sold into sin, possessed by seven devils. Yet despite all of that, she was chosen to be part of the spotless bride of Christ.

Even more startling, despite her tragic condition, she believed that she was worthy to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Somehow, Mary touched His grace. Somehow, she saw in His eyes the love He had for her. And with an unbridled audacity, she accepted His forgiveness and she loved Him with a blind passion.

Mary's love for her Lord was but a reflection of His unconditional love for her.

The story ends with the Lord telling her to "go in peace." And in peace she went. In fact, she followed the incarnation of peace for the rest of her life (Eph. 2:14). For she became one of the Lord's most faithful disciples (Luke 8:1-3).


Friday, April 24, 2009

“I go to Bible study on Wednesday mornings - I even teach sometimes - but I’ll still get up on stage and be much scarier than Marilyn Manson. It doesn’t mean that, as a Christian, you can’t be a rocker or an entertainer. It’s your lifestyle. I never use bad language. That’s not gentlemanly. Alice might slit your throat but he’d never use the F word.”
— Alice Cooper

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Upcoming shows and other things

Tonight I'm going to help at the Gilbert Drop-In. Tomorrow night is the teacher appreciation dinner held at my church and I'll be going to that and enjoying some good food and even better fellowship.

I work days straight through the weekend so won't be at church on Sunday. My weekend will be Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday night I'm going to see Sevendust and Black Label Society at The Marquee in Tempe. I'll be hitting that show with Jon and Shelly from Amadeo.

On Saturday is the Ufest show out at The Farm on 99th and McDowell on the westside. Starts at noon and goes to whenever. The mainstage has headliners Chevelle performing. One of my favorite bands. Others on the main stage will be Drowning Pool, Static X, All That Remains, Nonpoint, Skindred and Steel Panther.

I guess I won't be able to hear for a week or two after this but I'll tell you what, I'm REALLY looking forward to these shows.


The tongue can be sharper than a sword. Think twice before speaking, because sometimes it will come back to haunt you. Your words can hurt someone without you even knowing it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

As long as people use tactics to oppress or restrict other people from being free, there is work to be done.
- Rosa Parks

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Excerpt From Donald Miller's upcoming book

Donald Miller is my favorite author. I subscribe to his blog and today he posted an excerpt from his new book that I have already pre-ordered. It doesn't come out until September. Anyhow, I love what I read. It really was ironic too because I am at that EXACT same place right now that he shared from his book. How cool is that?

excerpt from a million miles in a thousand years


I guess He's training me

I am training you in steadiness. Too many things interrupt your awareness of Me. I know that you live in a world of sight and sound, but you must not be a slave to those stimuli. Awareness of Me can continue in all circumstances, no matter what happens. This is the steadiness I desire for you.

Don't let unexpected events throw you off course. Rather, respond calmly and confidently, remembering that I am with you. As soon as something graps your attention, talk with Me about it. Thus I share your joys and your problems; I help you to cope with whatever is before you. This is how I live in you and work through you. This is the way of Peace.

from Jesus Calling - Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)
Telling you, 'You're my servant, serving on my side.
I've picked you. I haven't dropped you.'
Don't panic. I'm with you.
There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength. I'll help you.
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Joe Satriani - Summer Song (Live 2006)

Does this guy SUCK at playing guitar or what? IMHO...Satriani is by far the best guitarist in the world and I have had the priviledge to see him 3 times. Once right in the second row at The Celebrity Theater in Phoenix a few years ago. There will be a 4th time I am sure.

A scientist speaks at Church

I was so moved by this article that I had to post it. This is what it is all about. We should be sharing with each other and not debating who's right and who's wrong.

I had a pastor send me something once that told me I was a fool. So this part I found interesting...

(As though this is the proper use of the Bible: finding a way to use it to call a person a fool. Jesus could use the Bible every moment of every day to call each one of us, “Fool!” but he doesn’t. Maybe we shouldn’t.)

So please read this article and let me know what you think.

Scientist speaks at Sunday morning church service

I not only am supportive of what Ken Wilson did by inviting Carl to speak, but am even more proud that it was a Vineyard Church, because I attend a Vineyard Church here in Arizona.


"Take courage, it is I"

My brothers mother-in-law is battling cancer once again. Please take time to say a prayer for her. Her name is Donnie. Below is a journal entry written by one of her daughters that I would like to share with you.........

Just read this morning about Jesus walking out on the lake in the middle of the night, scaring His disciples to death. They thought He was a ghost. His words to them were, "Take courage, it is I."

So many times we are scared by the unknown future....looks like a ghost to us. Yet when we remember that the Lord is the One who orders our steps...and we realize that He is the One who holds us in His righteous right hand, we realize that we have nothing to fear.
"Take courage, it is I."

Lord, please infuse courage into my family and me as we face this scary situation. Remind us that You are holding us in Your hands.

Friends, thank you so much for your prayers for us. Please pray that the antibiotics will do their job and get rid of the lung infection so that Mama can get on with the treatment to kick the cancer once again.

We appreciate you so very much....


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

QUOTE: "We've decided that being Christian is punk rock because it's so anti-establishment." -30-year-old Vancouver, Canada, resident Lindsay Sutton, offering one of the reasons she was drawn to get involved with a church. Despite friends questioning her involvement, Sutton says part of the attraction for her was the "countercultural" element of Christianity-something she believes is becoming more appealing to a younger audience as Canada's secularization increases. [Christians] take social action seriously. Unlike many in this secular culture, they're go out and doing something." [, 4/9/09]

Monday, April 13, 2009

jeff beck and jimmy page performing at rock and roll hall of fame

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Metallica, and Jeff Beck

So Sunday night when I was so damn tired after not sleeping hardly at all the night before, and then having to get up at 5 am for work, I found a rerun of the inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It was aired on Fuse, a music channel my cable TV provider carries that is much better than MTV. I had heard that Metallica and Jeff Beck were being inducted this year so I was happy that I fell upon the re-broadcast of this show. Jeff Beck was inducted earlier, but not as an individual. He was inducted as a member of The Yardbirds. So it was about time that he was inducted as an individual for his sweet guitar work as a guitarist.

Metallica was long overdue for their induction and it was cool that they included Jason Newstead, who no longer is a member of Metallica. Robert Trujillo replaced him a few years ago. The ceremony was awesome, and I'll touch briefly on the highlights.

Jeff Beck was inducted by the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. After the induction, both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page did an awesome live jam session playing Kashmir, an old Zeppelin tune. It was an extended jam that Jimmy kind of stood back and played rhythm guitar while letting inductee Jeff Beck take the lead guitar duties and the spotlight. Wow! That's all I can say. If you like guitar, you missed out if you did not see this.

The night ended with Metallica's induction. They were inducted by the bass player Flea, from The Red Hot Chili Peppers. After the induction of Metallica there was an all-star rendition of Train Kept a Rollin'. This all-star band included of course the members of Metallica, James Hetfield on vocals and guitar, Kirk Hammet on guitar, Robert Trujillo and Jason Newstead on bass, and Lars Ulrich on drums. Others in the jam session included Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass, Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin on guitar, Jeff Beck on guitar, and Joe Perry from Aerosmith on guitar.

A great night for Rock & Roll and I was very glad that I watched it.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why God? Why?

Why does God take people away in the prime of their life? I don't know the answer to that. But yesterday, a young lady in her 30's was taken away from her husband, her friends, and her family unexpectedly. I did not know these folks on a deep personal level but I had met them and am good friends with some of their close friends.

It brought me back to some questions that Dave asked about his friend Big Tony.

I am not really worth a crap today because of all of the stuff going on in my mind right now. So I will just ask God why? Why do people have to suffer and go through trials and/or tragedies?

I know that some will say that we go through trials for a variety of different reasons. I just can't understand those reasons sometimes, and that's okay. I do know this...

His mercies are new every morning, and that I will hold onto.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Back Home

So I had a pretty good roadtrip and drove about 1200 miles. It was all fairly uneventful, with the exception of one certain location that I will not name. I arrived at the front gate and there was a security guard there that I had never seen before. I told her my name, which company I was with, showed her my identification, etc etc. She then proceeded to tell me that I was not on the visitor list for the day. I explained to her that if she just called the plant, the guys would verify who I was. She did, they verified who I indeed was. Ya think she was going to let me go inside? Not a chance. She told the guys at the plant that someone would have to come out to "escort" me into the plant. This did not make the guys in the plant happy either. So I stood at the gate, chatting with the nice security guard lady, who was trying to be very diligent in her duties, for an ENTIRE HOUR before the "unhappy" guy at the plant came out to escort me. But not before he had a few choice words for the security guard.

So that is my story of this roadtrip. I did have a blast four wheeling in the Kofa Mountains and only managed to hit my head on the roof of the truck cab once.

I get to work through Easter weekend.

It turns out that I totally forgot about Carl Tuttle getting married this weekend. So, for obvious reasons, I was not able to get together with him midweek. But perhaps my next trip in the Fall.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

On the Road Again!

So tomorrow I'm hitting the road for my semi-annual trek across SW Arizona and SE California for work. It sometimes provides me with interesting sites sometimes even some ministry opportunities. I pray that this will be the case on this trip. Time will tell.

I'm leaving at 6:30 am tomorrow morning and will be back late afternoon on Friday. I shot a message over to Carl Tuttle a few days ago to see if he might be able to meet me for lunch or dinner in the middle of the week when I'm in that area. He's a pretty busy guy though so we'll see if we can make it happen or not. I haven't heard back from him yet.

So I guess I'll catch ya'll next weekend. Until then, as always, be very blessed.


Romans 12:18 (New International Version)
18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18 (The Message)
17-19Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

Romans 12:18 (New Living Translation)
18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18 (King James Version)
18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Let Me fill you with my Love, Joy, and Peace. These are Glory-gifts, flowing from my living Presence. Though you are an earthen vessel, I designed you to be filled with heavenly contents. Your weakness is not a deterrent to being filled with My Spirit; on the contrary, it provides an opportunity for My Power to shine forth more brightly.

As you go through this day, trust Me to provide the strength that you need moment by moment. Don't waste energy wondering whether you are adequate for today's journey. My Spirit within you is more than sufficient to handle whatever this day may bring. That is the basis for your confidence! In quietness (spending time alone with Me) and confident trust (relying on My sufficiency) is your strength.

Page 100
Jesus Calling - Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Email from my boss


In an all-out effort to AVOID reaching my FORTY-year anniversary with ESSA/NOAA, I’ve decided to retire as of June 3, 2009. My paperwork was sent to Workforce Management, and I notified the Regional Director today.

April Fools?



Even though he said "NOT" about it being an April Fools Day joke, a lot of us still thought it was. But it isn't. It will be a very sad day for me on June 3rd because Tony has been a great boss over the years. Back when I was struggling through my alcohol days, he had every right to fire me. But he believed in me and gave me that ONE LAST CHANCE that I didn't really deserve. So I guess I will just enjoy having him around these next couple of months and bid him a fond farewell as he enters retirement.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than any human authority."
- Acts 5:29