Thursday, December 20, 2007

Labels and Blogging Vacation

For all two of you that read my blog, I'm going to take a blogging vacation. This will be my last post this year. In the meantime, I was watching the show Duel last night and I found it funny that every person on that show has a label. Labels like the Belly Dancer, the Used Car Salesman, and the Telemarketer are used to help a contestant pick their duelmate. The host then explains how teh labels are incomplete and how the Belly Dancer actually has a 4.0 GPA or that the Football Playing Telemarketer that loves Dirty Dancing (the movie, not the activity).

I know I like labels. For example, I am an ESTJ. I am a Student Minister. I hate though saying either of those things at a party because A) I hate being labeled as a Minister only (no more than a person being labeled as just a lawyer or something else) and B) no one knows what ESTJ means.

We label things/people we want to understand better and we remained focused on those labels.

What label are you given that you can't stand? What labels do you put on others?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two funny things I saw today. . .

This is how I envisioned the birth of Christ. . .

Pension Book - Like Facebook for old people. (Daan points us to this very funny image, which I got from Seth).

"Take a knee"

I saw the weirdest thing this weekend in the Dallas/Philly Football Game. It wasn't a play of great glamor or marvelous athleticism. It was a play of humility. It was a man choosing to put the best option for the team over getting another personal stat.

It was the fourth quarter with 2:30 to go in the game. Philly lead 10-6 with the ball on the Dallas 25. Philly RB Brian Westbrook busts through the on his way for a potential TD when all of the sudden he stops and takes a knee. That score would put Philly up 17-6 with 2:00 left. There is no way that makes sense. Wouldn't that put the game out of reach? Why would a high priced star do that? Who in their right mind would pass up a TD like that?

It doesn't make sense until you look at the situation. Dallas had no timeouts. The clock would stop at the 2:00 mark but after that Dallas could not stop the clock. Every play can take 45 seconds if some one wanted to take their time (like Philly would want to do). If Philly scored, Dallas would get the ball and possibly tie the game or even win. However, by not scoring, Philly could definitely run the clock out and thus win the game. Before the play, one of Westbrook's teammates aware of the situation, told him to take a knee. Westbrook was cheered on to do what was best for the team rather than what was best for himself.

When I hear that, I admire the personal sacrifice in the name of the team. Last week, coach Bobby Petrino of Atlanta "resigned" to coach another team when the going got tough with the Falcons. Over the weekend coach Rich Rodriquez "resigned" from W.Va. (his home college) to coach Michigan, which in his words was a "special opportunity." Truth be told, it is nice to see someone take one for the team, rather then for his own fame. Times might be tough in Philly but he still did something selfless while these other guys for whatever reason bailed on their teams for a bigger paycheck or for more glory in a bigger pond.

I know many pastors/Christians that do this too. They bail when times get rough. They go to "bigger" churches instead of sticking it out. They rather make a name for themselves at whatever cost instead of making a name in their given place, no matter the size. I know this is a question I had to wrestle with when I moved to RDU. I wrestle with this daily. Do I put my pride aside for the church? Do I seek "bigger" ponds rather than putting team first? Who glory am I striving for?

A lot of times I don't know how to answer this. Where do you stand?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What, no mini Tiger Stadium!

When I get out of debt and get a house, this just might be something crazy that I would do. Mini Fenway!

Go here if you want more of the story. They even built a mini Wrigley Field. Oh the Jealousy! Oh the need to play whiffle ball right now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Now this is Christmas Spirit

I give you Snowglobe Boy. He's right here in the Triangle too. Way to Represent!

w00ty w00t!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I give you the 2007 Merriam-Webster word of the year: w00t!

I know what you might be thinking, "Dan, that is not a new word. I heard all of the time during the 80's at sporting events." That might be true but that word was spelled with two "o's" and not two "0's". Numbers have taken the place of letters. Though the pronunciations is the same and mean the same, they are different words.

I found irony in the fact that words use to be visual symbols on paper of how a word is spoken in some form or another. Culture, up to the advent of the printing press, was an audio culture so words written down had to look like the audio form. I'm sure many of you as you read this hear my voice reading this to you(if you know me or your own voice if you do not know me. However with the computer age, language is now more visual. Symbol can be used that can express idea or words. For example, IDK my BFF Jill. LOL :) We are communicating with symbols rather than actual audio words. Book reading is on the decline in the younger generation. I think that is going to continue evolve into a symbol based economy.

Why should you care? I don't know per se but it is indicative of a changing culture. The church needs to adapt and leverage this change. Asking students of today that love communicating through image to read might be a sudden leap into scripture. There is a new tool out there called YouVersion that tries to merge the two. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"What is Myspace?"


Have you ever wondered how Myspace works? In this albeit funny SNL clip, it will show you parents everything you need to know and to keep in mind when it comes to Myspace (and facebook for that matter).

So do you know what your kids are doing on the internet?
FYI: Here is a dictionary for your viewing pleasure.
Sk8er Boi
Chad Michael Murray
Ashley Parker Angel
Jessica Alba

Friday, December 7, 2007

This makes me sick

Click the link and set your eyes on stunned. Let me be clear.
Highway to heaven?
Highway to heaven?

I know God is smart and all seeing but I'm sure he did have a federal highway in mind when helping Isaiah out. By the way, when Isaiah wrote the book, there weren't any book numbers. Ignorance, plain and simple.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A new respect for Joel Osteen

Okay, I don't agree with all he says but I won't go so far as to call him evil either. Joel Osteen does have a HUGE church but he doesn't seem to be in it for the money as I've heard many Churched and Unchurched people accuse him of doing. Read the following:

[Osteen] has not taken a salary from his Houston megachurch for two years. He owns one house — the same one he and his wife, Victoria, have lived in for 13 years — and until recently he drove a 9-year-old car he inherited from his late father. Osteen pays his own hotel bills, and there is no private jet.

Although the upbeat minister does take collections at services, netting an estimated $43 million a year, Osteen does not ask for money on his broadcasts, which reach an estimated 7 million viewers weekly in the U.S. and 100 other countries. Nonetheless, an additional $30 million comes through the mail. His most recent book deal earned him a $13 million advance.

“We make plenty of money from our books,” said Osteen, 44. “But we just live normal lives. We try to be conservative and honor God with our life and with our example.”

Osteen refuses to condemn the targets of Grassley’s inquiry, or Richard Roberts, who quit as president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., amid charges that he used school funds and facilities for his family.

“While I never like to hear negative things about friends and other ministers, I choose to believe the very best in them,” Osteen said.

Osteen leads the 48,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston. Services border on the nonsectarian, with no crosses in evidence. Osteen’s theology is more inspirational than theological, with a strong emphasis on self-help, in the feel-good tradition of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Osteen speaks from a lectern he prefers to call a “podium,” rather than a “pulpit.” His books are filled with lots of exclamation points, but the word Jesus rarely appears.

Osteen’s first book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, sold millions of copies. His latest, Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, is on The New York Times best-seller list, and propelled him onto 60 Minutes and Larry King Live, as well as several magazine covers.

In his new book, Osteen points to himself as an example of unlocking hidden potential. A college dropout, he preached for the first time when his father, who founded Lakewood Church, became ill and later died. For the preceding 17 years, Joel Osteen had worked behind the scenes in production at the television ministry.

The success of these books raises questions about how religious figures should handle the millions of dollars in royalties and contributions.

Osteen is not the only prominent religious figure who tries to navigate these issues and, by doing so, differentiate himself from such controversies.

Warren, for example, has repaid every dollar he has earned in the pulpit of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and pledged to give away 90 percent of his book royalties. He accepts no speaking fees and is not as reluctant as Osteen to criticize those who are less altruistic.

“The opulent lifestyles of televangelists make me sick,” said Warren, of those ministries now under investigation. The scandals, he said, flow from the “prosperity gospel” that many televangelists preach.

“Success in any area often creates a spirit of entitlement — ‘I deserve this’ — that is the exact opposite of servant leadership,” Warren said.

Osteen agrees, offering his own definition of the prosperity gospel: “I never preach a message on money,” he said. “I do believe that God wants us to be blessed, to have good marriages, to have peace in our minds, to have health, to have money to pay our bills. I think God wants us to excel. But everyone isn’t going to be rich — if we’re talking about money.” Source: Orlando Sentinel

I have criticized Rick Warren in the past when I was a young Calvinist at UT but now I really respect the guy and all he has done. He brought down the house Catalyst. I'm not willing to say listen to what he believes but I can say act least outwardly he is living out something of Christianity. I believe he is 100% genuine in he approach and means well. He gets vilified for having a weak gospel by many in the Blog world but I'm indirectly his presence on TV have brought some people back to church. He knows what he believes he was put on earth to do and is doing. He is focused and not ashamed about it. He acts humbly towards critics and seems to be living above reproach.

He may believe in a light version of Christianity but he is living out the "little" he knows. While many of us know more but live out a small portion of our knowledge. Which one are you? Unfortunately, I'm probably the latter rather than the former. . .

My things have changed. . .

Last night, Lori and I watched Babes in Toyland last night (it was Lori's choice). For all of you younger then say 30, it is a cheesy yet my wife loves it. While watching it though I had many of thoughts with most of them centered around how things have changed from 1960 to today.

Let me list the ways:
  1. Kids movies then used bigger words. I was shocked to hear some of the words that they were using that I honestly think would go above today's kids heads. I often think I use big words too much but at least I take solace knowing that there was a time (probably when kids read more than watched T.V.) that teens would understand bigger words. There was one point where Mary was singing about not being able to pay her mortgage. What movie today would handle this topic?
  2. I would much rather sing a song to communicate then simply talk about it. Granted, songs are more attention grabbing then simple speech but it makes me jealous that more people can't simply bust out in song. In today's movies, popular songs already written are used rather than the "character" singing.
  3. A plot did not seem to matter. It was all about entertainment and the music, not telling a good story. There were actually 3 different movies in one. At one point, I asked Lori, "Why is this called Babes in Toyland since I don't see a Toyland anywhere let alone Barbara Streisand?" The movie was all over the place. This would not keep a child's interest. Today's attention span would not be able to keep up.
  4. Most importantly, child labor would be frowned on today. At one point, about 5 kids were "volunteered" to help put together toys for Christmas. Plus, I hinted a form a racism against Gypsy in the movie that would never have flew past the ACLU.
  5. Graphics have come a LONG way.
Just a couple thoughts. Some changes were good, others maybe not. Over the last few year, how have you changed for the good? How about for bad?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This is me in a nutshell. . .

I'm not by nature obedient. I am a rebel. I loathe being told what to do but I have such freedom in obeying God.

From Mark Driscoll, Mars Hall Church.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What to do when you move. . .

My biblical journey right now is in the book of Jeremiah. Last week, I read something that was very inspirational to me and probably for many in the RDU area. For starters, this area is filled with people that have moved from their hometowns and families in order to help their family survive. This situation is very much like the environment Jeremiah is speaking into. Families were separated as members were sent from Israel into exile miles and miles away. This exile was a better option then being killed. That's when I read the following:
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. ~ Jeremiah 29:4-7
I love the missional aspect of this verse. God is telling the exiles that may have been hurting from being forced to move that they need to focus on the current situation. God wants us to live right now focusing on the family and the city. This was the word that God thought was helpful to prepare people for serving God during this time. There was a futurist aspect to things with focus on the present. Jeremiah continues on to talk about the promise of the second temple being built.

All of us have had to move along to something new at sometime in our lives. There have been many times that I have been so focused on the past that it impacted how I was living now and for the future. Jeremiah says remember and doesn't say dwell.

I could write more but I have to ask are you living in this way that Jeremiah is discribing or are you focused on something different?