Monday, August 20, 2007

Chilling Words From 1994

In 1994 Dick Cheney had the following to say on C-SPAN about going into Baghdad and overthrowing Saddam Hussein....

Where those prophetic words or what? I personally believe that Saddam Hussein needed to be taken out of power and punished for his crimes and I support the President's decision in going into Iraq to do that. But I have a problem with the fact that it seems that we have gone into this war without some plan on how we can get out.

I really do not have any ideas on a solution for this problem that we are facing over there, but I honestly have to say that I am seriously beginning to wonder like Vice-President Dick Cheney said back then is the cost of American lives worth all of this? I am beginning to think that it is not worth it.

I do not know how we can leave and I depending on which Presidential candidate that you talk with, you will get varying opinions on that as well. But I think that we need to find a way out and do it soon, because I am tiring of hearing about more and more casualties of these young, brave men who have sworn to defend our nation. And for that I salute and support them, but you need to begin to ask yourself if the cost has succeeded the reward.

Okay, comment away....



From Childhood Memories To Adulthood Memories

Kimmy and I decided on the camera that we wanted to get from the sale of my childhood memories. We purchased from eBay a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. We are really looking forward to getting it and getting some really cool pictures of Caleb's soccer games, Hannah's dance stuff, our trip on the Pacific Catalyst in October and wherever else life leads us. I know that Kimmy will be really happy capturing all of our families memories and I will be happy knowing she is happy.

I will post our first picture here when we get the new camera, so stay tuned.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How Much Are Your Childhood Memories Worth?

Mine were worth $552! I sold three of my Transformers today on eBay: Devastator, Omega Supreme and Jetfire. They were in mint condition and, yes, I did play with them. I just took extremely good care of them. We did not have a lot of money growing up so my parents always told us to take very good care of our stuff. So I would play with them and then put them back into their styrofoam cases and then into their boxes.

Yes, I know that means that I am a little crazy, but I am also the one laughing now because I was able to sell them! So Kimmy and I decided that we would buy a Digital SLR camera with the money. Especially since we will be going to Washington state in October for a cruise on the Pacific Catalyst, we wanted a really good camera to capture those memories with. Now I need to decide between a Nikon or a Canon. (Feel free to give me your personal opinion.)

I posted pics below of my old Transformers.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

This Beautiful Mess (Book Review)

Rick Mckinley, who is the Lead Pastor at Imago Dei Community, wrote a book titled This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God. This book seemed to me to almost be the sequel to Mike Yaconelli's book Messy Spirituality. And reading those two books back to back really only seemed to enhance that thought with me.

Where Mike Yaconelli's book talks about how our spirituality is messy and that is okay, Rick Mckinley's book talks about how we can take our messy spirituality and enhance the mess we find ourselves in here on planet earth and bring some beauty to it all. Mike talks about fixing ourselves and Rick talks about fixing the world around us.

There are so many points that Rick makes that I could point out, but I will just point to one part that I really liked in Chapter 6 "Already, Not Yet". Rick talks about how the Jesus says that the Kingdom is already here and also not yet here, and how there is a tension that exists in that. And Rick shares a story about when his son came down with a mysterious illness and had to be hospitalized and through that Rick learned a lot about what that tension means and you will have to read that book to get it, but I want to share one part of the story about his son being in the hospital that stuck out to me....

During those weeks, some well-meaning people gave us the right answers. "God knows what's happening," they said. Or, "Josh will be fine because we're praying." The right answers seem right to say, of course, and seem right when you hear them, but they don't help much. To be honest, the right answers began to make us angry. Somehow Christians have a hard time saying things like, "I don't know why the hell this is happening or how this will end. You guys must be scared to death." I guess we all need to be able to explain life down to every last detail even when the answers don't mean anything to us. We just can't stand the questions. But in the kingdom of God, I have come to believe, it is all right not to have all the answers, and I think Jesus likes it even more when we don't make up ones that are safe and but hollow.

A big heart "AMEN!!!" on that one.

So if you are looking for ways that you can practice the presence of the kingdom of God where you are at, I recommend this book to you. It is a very easy read and filled with good practical advice.



Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Young Adults Aren't Sticking With Church

At least that is what an article in the USA Today is claiming and I would have to agree from what I am seeing.

Protestant churches are losing young adults in "sobering" numbers, a survey finds.

Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 — both evangelical and mainline — who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to the survey by LifeWay Research. And 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church.

"This is sobering news that the church needs to change the way it does ministry," says Ed Stetzer.

That may not seem like major numbers, but in my opinion any loss is bad and the church needs to look at why that is happening, and then turn around and figure out what they can do to stop the bleeding. And here are a few things that the article points out that I think are keys.

"Too many youth groups are holding tanks with pizza. There's no life transformation taking place," Stetzer says. "People are looking for a faith that can change them and to be a part of changing the world."

I think that that is a big problem. Youth groups have become not much more than entertainment venues. We orchestrate our services to have the feel of a concert, music festival, amusement park, some big major event, etc. and there is so much time spent on that, that it is hard to delve into the life on life ministry that is much more important, in my opinion. But I am not the big show kind of guy anyway. And that is what Chris Folmsbee is getting at in his book A New Kind of Youth Ministry.

"Unless religious leaders take younger adults more seriously, the future of American religion is in doubt," says Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow in After the Baby Boomers, due in stores in September.

The proportion of young adults identifying with mainline churches, he says, is "about half the size it was a generation ago. Evangelical Protestants have barely held their own."

That is another problem that I see. A lot of churches do not take young adults seriously and unfortunately that is reflected by the fact that they do not have ministries geared towards and for them. Instead they think that the main service is good enough for them, because after all "they are adults now". But the reality is that the main adult service is primarily geared towards people who are in their 30's and above, and have families. And so most young adults are getting lost in the mix.

Now I know that some churches just do not have the resources to have a separate ministry geared towards young adults, but there are always ways around that. Take for example what a friend of mine's church is doing, they are pooling together resources with other churches in the area to start a ministry to young adults. It is called Elevate North. What a great idea! And it gives me such great hope for the church, because if we keep losing the young adults, we may lose the church.

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Messy Spirituality (Book Review)

I have no idea why I took so long to read Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli, but I am glad that I finally did. This book was amazing and has seriously changed my life! I loved the part on the back cover where Mike says....

"I Guess I’m Not a Very Good Christian . . ."

Do you feel like:
I don’t pray enough
I don’t read my Bible enough
I don’t share my faith enough
I don’t love God enough
I’m not committed enough
I’m not spiritual enough

Because that is how I often feel as well. Mike's book is raw and real. He pulls no punches and tells it like it is, which is what I like in a person. I never really knew much of him unfortunately until after his death, but I can only pray that I can live my life with half the passion that he had.

Much like Jesus, Mike does not care about what you are or do but is more concerned with where your heart is. And mike teaches us that we need to look beyond the superficial things and look at our own heart and the hearts of others and not just judge them based on what we see. Such a simple thing, but it is something that most Christ followers do not get, I know that I do not always.

If you find yourself in the category of not always feeling like you are a very good Christian, I encourage you to read this book. Mike will help you realize that your spirituality, no matter how messy it is (and I hope it is messy), is real and genuine and that Jesus meets you just where you are at.



Sunday, August 05, 2007

Serve God, Save the Planet (Book Review)

I heard a podcast from Mars Hill Bible Church where they had a guest speaker named J. Matthw Sleeth and he was a doctor who authored a book titled, "Serve God, Save the Planet", share during their "God is Green" teaching series. Matthew had encountered so many people that were dealing with cancer and other things that he started doing research and found that there were many things that pointed toward environmental issues that was causing so many of the cancer causes in our country that he decided that the solution was not to search for the cure for cancer, but to search for ways to prevent it. In other words he believed the old adage that an ounce of prevention is more important than a pound of cure.

Read More Here