Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Too Funny!

I was looking at my StatCounter today and noticed that I had a visitor from Cupertino, CA. So I clicked on it and was shocked to find that the user was using Windows XP. Why is that so funny? Because Cupertino, CA is the home of Apple, Inc.

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Microsoft Windows OSX.... err, Vista

I saw this on YouTube and thought it was appropriate to post today with the Microsoft Vista coming out. This is from the 2006 WWDC and it is a comparison between the Mac OSX and Windows Vista. It is amazing how much Microsoft has blatantly ripped off from the Mac OSX.

I guess they took Apple serious when they posted these signs at the 2004 WWDC....

Just to help some of you out... Longhorn was the code name for the newest version of Windows and Redmond is where they are based! Too funny!



Monday, January 29, 2007

Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance

A few years ago I was roaming the local Family Christian Store looking for a book about prayer to give to the person, who was on my volunteer staff at the church where I was a pastor to students, that was leading the prayer times for us and with the parent's when I stumbled upon a book with a peculiar title. It reminded me of a book that my Preaching Lab professor at my Bible college told us about called Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But this one was called Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance. So based on the title alone, I decided to buy this one for her and a copy for myself. I had no idea who the author, Donald Miller, was nor had I ever heard of him.

Then a few weeks ago I was talking with a friend of mine about one of his other books, Blue Like Jazz, and he made a comment about his first book called Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance and I remembered that I had bought that one and never got around to reading it. So when I got home I went into my garage and dug around in some of the boxes of my stuff from my old office and found the book. I started reading it and just finished it today. What a great book! He has re-released the book as Through Painted Deserts, but you can still buy the original through amazon.com and here is their description of the book....

Fueled by the belief that something deeper exists that the casual Christianity by which they've lived, Don and Paul are two free spirits who set off on an adventure-filled road trip in search of a deeper meaning for their lives. As they travel from Texas to Oregon in their cantankerous Volkswagen van, the two friends encounter fascinating people, witness unexpected beauty, attempt to solve life's most perplexing puzzles, and discover anew the amazing God who created them.

As I read this book, I found that yearning in my heart to just go and hit the open road and do the same as these two guys. But I must say that in many ways I have felt like I have been on a similar trip over the past year or two and I haven't really even left the state of Michigan. But much of what they have discovered about themselves, their faith and about God is what I have been discovering. I am definitely not the same guy who left Bible college almost 13 years ago. One of the things that really hit me in this book is in the following quote....

"What do you mean I haven't said anything? I'm saying that the only reason we exist here on this earth is to get to know God."


"And God had led us to get to know Him better. It's obvious by all that we've seen and done. He is always reaching out to us."

"I understand, Don. But isn't that obvious?"

"Not to me. I don't think I understood this before. I mean, I might have understood it as a theological principle, but I don't think I really understood it. Before we left, my paradigm was that I was supposed to serve God. Follow a list of rules. And if I did, God would make my life go better. But it was just a cultural thing. God was kind of like a genie in a lamp."

"Your faith was cultural? What do you mean?"

It was about going to church, because that's the way I was raised. I read my Bible because my friends did, because of my upbringing. But now I've taken a second look at God, and I believe that what I've been looking for in terms of the 'Christian journey,' is not the 'Christian journey' at all."

"Explain," Paul says.

"I think that I was expecting God to do something in my life that was supernatural. But I've begun to realize that all of life is supernatural. I mean, what is more miraculous? God healing somebody, or God giving us a sunrise every morning? I think I was differentiating the supernatural from the everyday. So, I was worldly. I mean, I still am. It's a process, I think. It takes time to begin to connect the mundane with the eternal. But ultimately, life has no meaning apart from an eternal perspective. Maybe that's what Solomon was getting at in Ecclesiastes. Maybe we just need to learn to open our eyes."

I know that over this past year, that God has shown me how to open my eyes. I still don't have a clue where I am going in all of this craziness, but I know that all I care about is my faith is in God and there is no better place that I would rather be. God is an awesome God and His desire for us is to discover Him as we go about our life in the little things, not just the big things. And as we go about that to also share His love with people in those little ways and not just the big ways. And just maybe, we might "learn to open our eyes".



Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sanctity Of Human Life Sunday

Every year that this comes up, you never have to remind me of how many years that it has been since Roe V. Wade was decided upon. I know it because it it the same number of years that I will be turning in age a little over a month later. !973 was a big year in more ways than one, because this nation set itself on a horrible course.

But sadly, I think that it is not our nation that got the worst of it. I think that the Church did. Why, you ask? Because it has caused the Church to have tunnel vision. All they see when they talk about the sanctity of human life is unborn children. But all life is sacred and needs to be cared for. The Church, in my opinion, has gotten so focused on this one thing and we have allowed injustice to run rampant. Every 8 seconds, someone in the world dies of AIDS. That is 10,000 people on a Sunday. And what has the Church done about that? Sadly, not much.

What about basic human needs in the world like clean water?

1.2 billion people don't have access to potable water (roughly one sixth of the world's population).

2.4 billion people lack proper sanitation services (about two fifths of the world's population).

Around 5760 children die each day (4 per minute, 2.1 million each year) from illnesses associated with a lack of drinking water, basic sanitation, and a bad level of hygiene – the equivalent of 30 Boeing 747s crashing each day. And roughly 1 million adults, predominantly women, die each year.

The above information came from this website.

Why not talk about those things on "Sanctity Of Human Life Sunday"? Instead all the church focuses on is abortion. Is it tragic and horrible? Yes! But according to this website the number of babies aborted in one year here in the U.S., has yet to reach the numbers of children worldwide that have died due to lack of clean water and basic sanitation. But sadly the Church hasn't done or said much about the need for clean water.

I know that many people will declare that I am not a "true Christian" for thinking like this, but I am honestly wondering if maybe the Church needs to back off the whole abortion and go the route that The Cause has. They are a movement of mainly 20-somethings that is a grassroots movement of prayer and fasting to contend for the return of righteousness and justice to America. I think it is time for the Church to take the issue of abortion to prayer and prayer alone.

I am beginning to be amazed at how we have allowed abortion to be one of the sole issues that will base our votes on, and I am guilty of that. But yet we have allowed injustice to continue in many areas and I think that that pisses Jesus off. We need to start looking at how we are treating our environment and social justice issues as well. So I say that we turn the "Sanctity Of Human Life Sunday" into something that will truly show that all of life is sacred, because everything is sacred and spiritual.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

In Honor Of The Ice Storm

A friend of mine posted this as well and I had to as well. Kimmy and I took some pics around the neighborhood of the ice. It was pretty cool! Here are some here, but I also have more here.

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Why I Dislike American Idol

I have never liked that dumb show. My wife and daughter like it, but I just can't get into it. In fact, my wife won't even watch it because I will leave the room and go watch something else when it is on. So she will change the channel and watch something else. I am not sure why, because when I watch football she goes into the other room and I don't mind watching two different things.

I don't feel this way, because it has the word "idol" in it's title and the Bible says we are to have no false idols, like a friend of mine told me. But the reasons why I do not like it starts off with what people say is the best part. I can't stand the auditions. I hate seeing these people getting up in front of national TV with the delusion that they have a good singing voice when it is clear that they don't. Someone should have told them this before they get embarrassed in front of the nation. Then you have their parent's coddling them and telling them it is okay, instead of telling their kids that Simon was right, you do have an awful voice and singing is not your gift nor talent.

Instead we have to have Simon telling them this and looking like the bad guy. Now don't get me wrong, that is another aspect that I can't stand. The brutality that these poor people have to go through at the hands of Simon Cowell. While I appreciate his honesty, I think he can be a little kinder in how he does it.

And then finally, I hate how it is very apparent that they are looking for a pop star only and for the most part a lot of musical genres get left out. You will never see an American Idol that is a rocker or rap type of singer. Sure, you will get someone who is country-ish, R&B-ish, etc. But they will be forced to adapt to a particular style. Just look at Kelly Clarkson, the music she first put out sucked! But then when she did her second album and went her own way, she excelled. American Idol is not about finding the best talent in whatever style they are, but to find the most popular person and fit them into the style the producers want. And if you don't think it is a popularity contest, look at last year's winner, the Jay Leno look alike.

So this year, I am being nice to my wife and taking up precious space on my TiVo's hard drive so she can watch that show during the day while I am at work. I am such a good husband! And I am sorry to all of you people out there that sit through that stupid show.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Velvet Elvis and The King

I recently finished Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis and all I can say is wow! This book challenged me in my faith and taught me so much about how I need to approach my reading of the Bible and also my faith. I highly recommend this book! This book has raised many eyebrow's in the Church and has lots of critics. But let me tell you that this book is sound doctrinally and more importantly it is sound biblically.

The subtitle of this book is: Repainting the Christian Faith, but let me tell you that I do not think that Rob is repainting the Christian faith at all, I believe he his uncovering a beautiful masterpiece of what the Church was always meant to be. It is as if he has stumbled into an old, abandoned church and saw a stained glass window that had obvious signs of neglect. It is covered in dirt, grime and filth, but Rob has pulled out a bottle of cleaner and some rags and begun to clean it, revealing the beauty underneath. The Church in America is like that dirty, old stained glass window. There is a lot of beauty there, but due to years of neglect it has gotten dirty.

And it is refreshing to read a book where a person is not only talking about how we can do it, but is also doing it right where he is at. The Church has fallen into certain ruts and we have fallen asleep and Rob;s book is not just a wake up call, but an insight into how we can begin to recapture the hearts of the lost and bring some respect back to the Church. The Church was meant to bring heaven to earth, but instead we have brought hell to earth in many ways, instead. And this book calls us to begin doing that, so go out and get a copy of this book and allow it to reinvigorate you and your faith.

The King

Today is the celebration of the birth of a great man, and it actually falls on his birthday this year. You can probably guess who I am talking about by looking at the picture to the left.

I recently read an article in the Macomb Daily by Larry Elder entitled, "Flipping The Bird – While Black" that I think embodies much of what Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed about. He was relaying a story that he had recently read to his brother as they were walking into a store....

While I told this story to my brother, our pace slowed as we approached the bookstore. Soon, my brother and I stood still in an empty parking space as I finished my tale. "Was I a victim," I asked Kirk, "of being a black-man-driving-behind-a-convertible-full-of-black-people-who -flipped-me-off?" As I said this, I thrust my hand in the air, middle finger prominently stuck out, to re-enact and punctuate the story.

Just as I did this, a car that apparently had been waiting patiently for my brother and me to move from the empty space revved its engine and took off.

"Hey, Larry," Kirk said, "the guy in the car thought you were flipping him off, saying 'F-you, go park somewhere else.'" Having gotten so involved in my story, I didn't realize that we had come to a standstill, nor did I see the driver patiently waiting for us to get out of his way so he could park in the space where we stood.

The driver ended up parking many spaces farther away from the store, apparently frustrated that he got "flipped off" by a guy who stood in a closer parking spot. I suggested we go to the driver and explain that the hostile gesture was not meant toward him.

"Forget it, Larry," my brother said. "Let's just go to the store."

"No," I said, "I don't want the guy to think I'm an a--hole."

So Kirk and I turned and walked briskly toward the man – a white guy in his mid-30s – as he got out of his car and walked toward the store. As we approached him, he looked terrified, probably thinking that the guy who flipped him off, and his companion, wanted some sort of confrontation.

"Excuse me, sir," I said.

The guy warily said, "Uh, huh – " as he quickly walked by us.

"I was just telling my brother," as Kirk and I followed him, "about how some guys flipped me off after I honked at them. And just as I was telling the story, I shot my hand in the air to show how I got flipped off. I hope you don't think that I was flipping you off."

The guy slowed down, and turned and smiled. "Well, I did think you were saying something to me."

"Sorry, I really wasn't. C'mon, we're all Americans here!"

We laughed, the three of us, and chatted as we walked into the store. We talked about how we all hated Christmas shopping, especially at the last minute. And we all complained about this damn crowded parking lot.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said....

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And that story showed just that. So my question to you today is, "Are You Color Blind?"

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sometimes I Am Embarrassed To Be A Christian

I was reading the USA Today the other day when I ran across an article about one of the newest members of Congress. The article was entitled The Truth About Oaths. What is so significant about this newest member of our U.S. Congress? Well, he is our nation's first Muslim congressman and he wanted to swear on the Quran when he got sworn into Congress. And Christian are up in arms and making statements such as....

"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned," Prager wrote, "America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress."


The powerful American Family Association has called for the use of the Bible for all members of Congress. AFA President Tim Wildmon explained that the Quran "represents a change in our society, our culture" if it is to be treated "as equivalent to the Holy Bible." In perhaps the only point of universal agreement, Wildmon noted that, "If calling the Bible superior to the Quran in American tradition and culture is intolerant, then I'm guilty."

Prager was equally unapologetic, dismissing the Quran as if it were some book-of-the-month selection: "Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is."

That is funny, because I do not remember seeing anywhere in our U.S. Constitution where it says that we are exclusively a Christian nation. But somehow Christians have gotten that impression. I know that our nation was founded upon predominantly Christian principles, but our Founding Fathers intentionally created our nation as a secular nation. And written into our U.S. Constitution is this little statement....

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

But the Church and organizations like the American Family Association feel that their should be an amendment to our Constitution requiring people to swear on the Bible, whether or not they believe what it says. But you want to hear something funny about that? Even Iran with it's Islamic government, which has set itself up specifically as an Islamic nation. Check this out (it is from that article in the USA Today)....

It appears that though the Iranian government denies the Holocaust and calls for the eradication of Israel, it views Prager's idea of requiring people to swear to someone else's faith to be … well … extreme. (Iran's parliament has had a Jewish member, Morris Motamed, for years — though the Jewish population is about 25,000 out of 70 million). Various experts on Iran told me that such tailoring of oaths to religions goes back to early Islam. Indeed, Tehran University professor Hossein Bashiriyeh explained that "an oath taken with a holy book other than one's own cannot be religiously and morally 'binding.' … In effect it will amount to not taking an oath at all."

They get it. Why can't Christians? We somehow think that if we change legislation that we will somehow cause everyone in America to bow their knee and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But I have news for them, it won't happen. What is going to change them is for us to be a light into this darkened world. We need to understand that it is up to us and not our government to do that. It is time that Christians realize that and start doing something about it. We are great at letting the world know what we are against, but horrible at letting the world know what we are for. Let's do what we can to stop bringing shame to ourselves.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Seizing Your Divine Moment

I finished reading Erwin McManus's book Seizing Your Divine Moment: Dare to Live a Life of Adventure a few weeks ago and I was wowed & challenged. Here is the blurb about it from amazon.com....

In this inspiring book, Erwin McManus uses the biblical account of Israel's war with the Philistines (1 Samuel 13 and 14) and the characters of Saul and Jonathan to demonstrate the difference between living a life of purpose and adventure, and living one of apathy and missed opportunity. In the midst of a less-than-hopeful battle, Saul-who should have been leading-rested beneath a pomegranate tree as Jonathan seized the divine moment that would impact the future of Israel. Through this story McManus artfully illustrates the eight characteristics of an adventurer's heart, what he calls "the Jonathan factor."

Using powerful examples from his own life and ministry, along with fresh biblical teaching, McManus asserts that God crafts divine moments specific to each of us-priceless opportunities for us to actively engage in God's big-picture plan. Apathy and apprehension prevent us from being all we are meant to be for God's kingdom. But by developing the characteristics McManus outlines, Christians can move from mundane to miraculous living.

I was wowed at how many times I have sat back and not done or said anything, because I was waiting for God's clear direction, meanwhile people were out doing what needed to be done. And then there have been many times where I wondered why we were sitting around praying when we knew what we were supposed to do. I first heard Erwin share this stuff when I was at Saddleback Church for the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry conference in 2005, when he spoke at it. I walked away with so much wonder about what God wanted me to do. At that time I was only a week or so away from leaving the church that I was working at and had no idea what divine moment God would want me to seize.

Now here I sit almost 2 years later finally having finished reading the book. (It took me that long, because he was also doing a sermon series on it and I was getting the podcasts for it.) And I can say that I am glad that it took me that long, because I do not think that I would have gotten out of it what I needed to then. I believe that there is a divine moment that God wants me to seize this year. Now it is just up to me to go out and find out where those Philistines are and challenge them!

I encourage you to take the chance and time to read this book. It will revolutionize your life, I promise!



Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Was Standing On Holy Ground

I met with my brother-in-law at one of the local coffee shops called The Daily Grind and little did we know that when we walked in that we would be standing on holy ground. I can not get into the details of what we were meeting about, but it was one of the coolest talks that I have ever had with him. As I sat there talking with him there were moments when I did not feel like I could catch my breath or even stand. Tears were shed and God was definitely there.

Now I know he was there the whole time, but it was just one of those awesome moments where you can really feel him there. I have been reading Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis and it has really opened up my eyes to look for those times and places where we can encounter God, because He is everywhere and in everything!

I have also been listening to the podcasts of his talks from his church, Mars Hill Bible Church, and his most recent series entitled, "Calling All Peacemakers" has revolutionized my life. It is one of the best talk series that I have ever heard. And I encourage you to download it from iTunes, just do a search for "Mars Hill Bible Church". And it is a free download! It has really taught me what a peacemaker really is and that there is a third way that lies between the pacifist and the aggressor. And some of that played into the reason why I had the conversation I had with my brother-in-law.

It just was so cool to be there and have such a holy moment!



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I Cried Today....

It was exactly one month ago today that Kimmy and I went to visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. And the had the final viewing of President Gerald R. Ford's body there today. I watched much of the coverage of his funeral services in Washington. It was very moving and emotional. Though I do not remember much of his time as President, since I was born the year he came into the office, I have developed a great appreciation for him.

Plus, I have a hard time at funerals anyway, when I see the families crying. But I think it is cool that when the plane landed in Grand Rapids with his body they played "Hail To The Victors" and "The Yellow and Blue".

Then tonight they officially retired Steve Yzerman's jersey. As they lifted the jersey up out of the box and up to the rafters, I just couldn't hold back the tears any longer. I remember when he got drafted and then when he was made the youngest captain ever in the history of the NHL. And I remember seeing him lift the cup in 1997, 1998, and 2002. He was such an amazing hockey player and he lead the Detroit Red Wings back to glory with a grace, style and commitment unmatched in most of today's sports. How many players stick with the same team for 22 years and stay as the captain for 19 f those years. That is unheard of.

Stevie, you will be missed! Thanks for bringing respectability back to sports!

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Monday, January 01, 2007

We Interrupt This Day Of College Football....

to talk about the Detroit Lions. I am so disgusted with them after yesterday. They had a chance to get the first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and what do they do? They win the last game of the year, pretty well assuring them of not being able to get their pick of the litter. They can not even succeed at sucking!

And then you have morons who run sites like the firemillen.com that are of no use. Like Matt Millen is the big problem with the Lions. Did they know that since 1964 the lions have gone 274-365-13 since then over 652 games. That is a winning percentage of 42% with a whopping 13 winning seasons over those 43 years, that means the Lions have been a winning team 30% of the time during that stretch. And what is so significant about 1964, you ask? That is the year that William Clay Ford, Sr. took over sole ownership of the Detroit Lions. But yet the idiots at firemillen.com are expending their energy on getting rid of Matt Millen. WAKE UP, BOZOS!!! He is not our big problem, the owner is.

You want to do something to see change. The fans should continue to buy season tickets, but not go to the games. That will cause him to lose money on parking, concessions, souvenirs, etc. And then on Thanksgiving Day have everyone show up and at kickoff walk out of the stadium without having bought any concessions, souvenirs, etc. and that will cause Ford to have the public humiliation that he deserves and will maybe make him finally do something to change the course of this team. He obviously doesn't care about the fans, so we need to make him care. He makes money hand over fist off of us and continues to spit in our faces and we keep thanking him every time. I would feel bad for the players to have that happen to them, but it is high time we do something. The Lions are a disgrace to the NFL and the city of Detroit and the fans. Either Ford does something to change, he sells the team, moves the team, or I hope and pray the NFL shuts it down.

As for me, I am seriously considering turning in my Lions fan card. Thank God for the University of Michigan football team otherwise i might just lose it all. Speaking of the University of Michigan.....


Oh yeah, and here is my Lions fan card....



Bloggin' Through 2006

Just to recap the past year, I went backed and looked at the first post of every month and provided a link to them below. I did this last year after reading a friend's blog who had done the same thing. So here goes....

January - still following Him!!!!

February - Thanks, Phil!!!! :P & New Toy!!!!! :)

March - Paczki

April - No Foolin'... Happy 30th, Apple Computers!!!

May - I Got Tagged!!!

June - I Want To Go To Hell.....

July - Our Family Vacation

August - More Of The Good Stuff!!!

September - Which Way Did He Go?

October - Drive By Blogging & I Am Done With Being a Christian

November - Random Ramblings

December - 11 Years Today!!!

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