Friday, December 31, 2004

Last Post

I quit blogging

Maybe I'll start up again next year

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Jesus in OT

If you could have been any person in the Bible, who would you choose? Noah? David? Peter, Paul or Mary? Consider the account found in Luke 24:13-35. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have been one of the two believers travelling to Emmaus? They were joined by a stranger (at least, they didn't recognize Him). They told Him about all that had happened to Jesus and the recent reports of His resurrection. But they were, at best, unsure. Imagine being one of those two men as Jesus walked them through the Old Testament, telling them how it all pointed to Himself (Luke 24:27). It was a seven mile walk, but there was plenty to talk about...Jesus: In the Old Testament! Remember, the NT wasn’t written right away. The early church preached Jesus from the Old Testament and Jesus from personal experience.

In October I posted about Jesus in Genesis, and I want to continue thinking about Jesus in the Old Testament by pointing out 5 of the most powerful forshadowings of Christ.

The Ministry of Moses (Exodus)
Have you ever thought about the similarities between the ministry of Moses and the ministry of Jesus Christ? I have been reading through a list of 75 such similarities, but I think I'll just pick out 7. Both men were Israelites. Both lived in a time when Israel was in bondage (Egypt, Rome). Both were spared in their infancy from horrible edicts. Both grew up in Egypt. Both were rejected time and time again by their people. Both of them had their ministries confirmed by signs, wonders and miracles. And most importantly, both set their people free.

The Passover Lamb (Exodus 12)
This is a pretty obvious piece of imagery since we already know about Christ's work. But imagine a Jewish man living in the time of Christ. Imagine if he had followed Christ's ministry and then, still unbelieving, observed the events of the cross. I believe he would have noticed the obvious comparison. The lamb for passover was to be pure, without blemish. Its blood was to be applied in a very specific manner. It's blood protected people from the wrath of God. It was to have no broken bones. Today, we don't paint around the doors of our houses with lamb's blood for protection from God's judgment...but we must paint the doors of our hearts with the blood of Christ to be free from wrath. And just like the Jews remember to celebrate Passover on schedule, we must remember to partake of communion to reflect on the lamb, broken and bleeding for us.

The Manna from Heaven (Exodus 16)
It didn't take long for the newly freed Israelites to start grumbling. They were much like us. The next meal was more important to them than their freedom. They had just witnessed miracle after miracles as they escaped Pharaoh, but now they didn't trust God to provide nourishment. God heard their grumblings and provided bread from heaven every morning, but only enough for one day. In John 6:30-42 Jesus announces that He is the true bread from Heaven. Jesus came down from heaven to provide us our most basic need, spiritual nourishment. Jesus is life. Without Him we are left to dying, but in Him we have access to life to the fulllest. But it must be a daily investment. We can't buy bulk on Sunday. Jesus comes in pieces. 1 day at a time.

The Veil (Exodus 26:31-35)
One of the most staggering slices of symbolism in my opinion is that of the curtain or veil which seperatetd mere men from the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God. In the Old Testament, this curtain was a visual reminder that man was sinful and, therefore, had no access to the Father outside the ministry of the priest. And even the priest of that time had extremely limited access to God's presence behind the curtain. Mark 15:38 tells us that upon Jesus' death on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to botttom. Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us that the curtain represented the very body of Christ. His brokeness allows us to boldly approach the presence of God. We, if we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, have become like the priests of the Old Testament. Christ was broken, so that would could have access to the Father.

The Kinsman Redeemer (Leviticus 25:47-49)
Slavery in the Bible wasn't about skin color, it was due to economic realities. If you were extremely poor, your only option might have been to sell yourself to another human being, becoming his servant. But you could be bought back by a Kinsman Redeemer. A Kinsman Redeemer had to be a close relative. He had to be free himself. He had to be willing to burden himself for your freedom. And he had to be able to pay the price for your freedom. Boaz was a kinsman redeemer (Ruth 4:9), but he also forshadowed Christ's ministry to us. Jesus came to redeem the sons of God. He has no need, only love as motivation. He had no debt, only riches to offer. He was both willing and able to pay the purchase price for our freedom. Only Jesus could have. Only Jesus would have.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Polar Express

I just got back from taking my sister to see The Polar Express IMAX. Wow. Very impressive. The movie was a pretty good and predictable movie, but 2 things really impressed me, the quality of the animation and the IMAX part of it. This was my first IMAX movie.

But even if I hadn't seen it in 3D it would have been impressive. The people looked so real. I remember being impressed by the previews I saw a long time ago. At some points it looks more real than reality I think.

And the IMAX theatre is quite impressive. Yes, you pay more, but I think it's worth it when a good movie is being offered. It looks awesome. And the glasses are quite stylish! Some of the people near us were so impressed at the beginning that they kept saying 'whoa' and giggling...which was annoying, but eventually they calmed down.

Rating: 7.2
Status: Must See (in 3D)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Time Changer

Despite the expected cheesy line that nearly all Christian films contain, I highly recommend 'Time Changer'. It is a great movie to watch in a small group setting. It creates some good discussion and thinking. This is probably one of the best 'time travel' movies I've seen. A great reminder that our message isn't an it. Our message is Jesus Christ.

Rating: 6.9
Status: Worth the Time

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas gifts

A common conversation starter this time of year is...'what did you get for Christmas?' Well, I don't want to answer it ever again. From now on my answer will simply be a link to this post.

So here it is...
Seinfeld DVD's
Car-ready CD player
Writing utensils
Electric Keyboard
Barbie dolls
Pajama pants
Deluxe Monopoly

I've copied this URL and you are mere seconds away from a 'control v'

Sunday, December 26, 2004


I remember writing this song in the middle of the night when I couldn't get the wonder of redemption of my mind. The song follows Jesus from Gethsemene through the cross to the empty tomb and then to His calling us to follow today.

verse 1
At a place called Gethsemene
On the ground fell a man
He knew there was no turning back
He knew His Father’s plan
So He took the cup
And He got up
And looked at all the lost
He knew He had to save the world
No matter what the cost

verse 2
At a place they called Calvary
On the cross He had to bear
The beating He was given
The thorns pushed through His hair
He paid the price
A fallen Christ
He died up on that tree
Yet with His final moments
He saved both you and me

verse 3
At the tomb three days later
Away the stone rolled
The Savior, He had risen
As He Himself foretold
Though crucified
He was alive
And He’s living still today
Victory through surrender
It is the only way

Optional Chorus
Willingly he came
Willingly he bled
Willingly he died
For me, willingly (2x)

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Why are you reading my blog? It's Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

First Knight

Sean Connery, Richard Gere & Julia Ormond impress in 'First Knight' one of my favorite 'love story' movies. I like a movie that can cause me to root for both rivals while bringing them together for a common and good purpose. Ormond is worth fighting over and for in this film. There are also many great & quotable lines worth remembering. Two thumbs up from me.

Rating: 8.1
Status: Must Own

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Cross at Christmas

It is impossible for me to separate Christmas from Easter. Jesus CAME to DIE. And the following quote from theologian John Stott explains this connection better than I ever could. It also shows that the beauty of Christmas can be found in the contrast between the Christian and Buddhist worldviews:

"I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time, after a while I have had to turn away. And in my imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wretched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside His immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death."

~John Stott

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Favorite Praise Songs



Monday, December 20, 2004

My Favorite Hymns



Sunday, December 19, 2004

Make My Motive

I've spent a lot of hours studying through the book of Job. This song is a simple re-telling of the early parts of Job's encounter with pain. The story of Job asks the sharp question, 'What is your motive for worship.' Is my motive based on something that could change, or based on a changless God?

verse 1
One day satan
Came up from the ground
From lying and tempting
And spreading sin around
The Lord asked Satan
Can my servant you hound
More blameless and upright
A man can’t be found

Make my motive
Lord to please you
For why I act will
Become what I do
Be my motive
Let it be true
That all I do Lord
I do it for you

verse 2
God had finished
So satan replied
You’ve given him treasure
What if his family were to die
And what if his wealth
Would no longer abide
Take it away from him
We’ll see what’s inside

verse 3
So all job had was
Taken that day
As soon as he found out
In worship he fell on his face
The lord had given
Now taketh away
The name of the Lord
May it be praised

verse 4
Satan came back
To try it again
Sure job succeeded
If you take his health I’ll win
So God permitted
And satan did send
A horrible affliction
Of sores on Job’s skin

verse 5
Job had his struggles
As we do sometimes
Our lives seem hopeless
We find no reason or ryhme
But trust in God’s hand
He alone is wise
And we’ll be righteous
Before God’s eyes

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Sounds of Christmas

Our church tried something new this year, a Christmas concert entitled The Sounds of Christmas. Our Senior Pastor, in contrast to me, is a very musically gifted individual. He was able to create a very solid band made of talent from various locations in Western New York. Guitars, drums, keyboards, an awesome sax player....stuff like that...and a few singers. VERY professional sounding.

But here's the catch: This wasn't JUST Christian music. It was a combination of Christian and Secular music fitting the season. Jesus and Mary were mentioned, of course, but so were Frosty and Santa. Obviously, if our goal was to please everyone in the flock we wouldn't have done this...but that wasn't our intention. The purpose was to get lost people into the front door so we could meet them and maybe, just maybe, plant a seed.

Attendance: 305
(we are a church of 220 average Sunday attendance, the concert was given Friday and Saturday night)
-Members/Regulars (190)
-Unchurched/Non-Regulars (115)

So what do you guys think of this tactic? Should we do it again next year? Would you be offended by Frosty? Should we have only used local church talent? Is 115 out of 305 a better/worse ratio than Christmas time events you've been part of?

Friday, December 17, 2004

An Old Nursing Home Story

Since I've been thinking about nursing home ministry, it reminded me of my BBC internship in Fillmore, NY. One of the activities I did was help and/or lead the Bible study at the nursing home near Houghton College. It was a great bunch of folks. One guy in particular was a favorite of mine. Every week, at the end of the service, he'd shake my hand and give me a word of encouragement. He complimented me a I figured...'this guy is pretty sharp' (funny how pride sneaks up on ya)

One day I was leading a Bible study about the return of Christ. As usual his hand found mine afterwords and he told me it was a great lesson and that he was certainly looking forward to Christ's return. He told me he really sensed the Spirit teaching through me and that God was going to use me greatly.

I took some of the ladies back to their rooms, and started toward the exit. I was thinking pretty highly of myself. 'Boy, I'm really communicating well. Some of these people get confused easily and yet they are understanding exactly what I'm saying! I'm just super.'

As I walked outside toward my car, the good old hand shaker was there talking to a friend who hadn't attended Bible study that week. He waved for me to come over and then told his friend, 'Here he is....the boy I was telling you about...the Messiah!'

I learned 2 things that day.
1. That guy wasn't as sharp as I thought
2. I wasn't as great as I thought :)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Nursing Home Ministry

Sometimes I wonder if there's anything I do that is as much like Jesus as when I visit old ladies in nursing homes. Okay, that sentance was long and probably could have been worded much better. But I really believe nursing home ministry is very near to the heart of God.

Today I was at a nursing home to visit three people.

The first is a fairly new permanent resident to the nursing home. She is pretty sharp still. I'm always humbled and amazed by how much she loves a simple visit, a Christmas card, a short prayer of blessing.

The second lady is actually my Great Aunt. I didn't really even know her until I realized she was a couple rooms down from the first lady. She's actually pretty young, but her mind is not very good. She thinks her husband is dead (he's not). She thinks she's going back to her home soon (she's not) and today she was convinced that the staff stole her chair (maybe they did). When I visit her I usually stay for 15 minutes. We have the same conversation 3 times. At the end of each segment, she tells me I'm 'a beautiful girl...boy' and I smile that my masculinity is still somewhat convincing.' She's very lonely and bored. Today, in an unexpected break from the circular conversation, she told me that sometimes she just wished she'd die. All I could say was that I'd miss visiting her. And she cried and gave me a hug.

The third lady is 85 (I think) and very very sharp. She's only at the nursing home to rehab from a broken wrist. She's a strong willed lady with a great testimony. She was telling me that she believes God has one more lesson for her to learn, and she's anxious to find out what it is.

I always feel weird while I'm making my exit from a nursing home room while the old ladies tell me how much they appreciate my visits. All I really did was sit there for a half hour or so. But then I realize that it's really Jesus speaking through them, reminding me that this is what love is all about.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

97 Movies???

I am switching to DVD's...slowly.

$300 for all 97

Cast Away (2000)
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Se7en (1995)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Truman Show (1998)
Bandits (2001)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Ben-Hur (1959)
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Dumb & Dumber (1994)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)
Ocean's Eleven (2001)
Patch Adams (1998)
Addicted to Love (1997)
Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Chocolat (2000)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Fallen (1998)
First Knight (1995)
Frequency (2000)
Glory (1989)
The Green Mile (1999)
Hook (1991)
Identity (2003)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
Liar Liar (1997)
Lola rennt (1998)
The Majestic (2001)
Meet the Parents (2000)
Minority Report (2002)
The Money Pit (1986)
Nothing to Lose (1997)
Pleasantville (1998)
The Postman (1997)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Road to Perdition (2002)
Shallow Hal (2001)
Signs (2002)
State and Main (2000)
That Thing You Do! (1996)
Trial and Error (1997)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Waterworld (1995)
You've Got Mail (1998)
America's Sweethearts (2001)
Antitrust (2001)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Arlington Road (1999)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Far and Away (1992)
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
The Italian Job (2003)
The Mask of Zorro (1998)
Matchstick Men (2003)
Office Space (1999)
The Patriot (2000)
The Preacher's Wife (1996)
The Rainmaker (1997)
Reindeer Games (2000)
Remember the Titans (2000)
Runaway Jury (2003)
She's the One (1996)
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)
Stargate (1994)
The Time Machine (2002)
Unbreakable (2000)
A Walk to Remember (2002)
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
Contact (1997)
Forces of Nature (1999)
Levity (2003)
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
October Sky (1999)
Rat Race (2001)
The Saint (1997)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The War of the Roses (1989)
About a Boy (2002)
At First Sight (1999)
The Cider House Rules (1999)
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Rounders (1998)
The Score (2001)
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003)
Open Range (2003)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Revelation: 4 Views

Some have accused me of being stubborn. Well, they're wrong...and that's final!

I have finished reading a parellel commentary on the book of Revelation by Steve Gregg entitled Revelation: Four Views. This book was very helpful in that, verse by verse, it described how different interpreters interpret the Bible's final book. Four views are described in its pages:

1. Historical- This view holds that the book of Revelation describes history from the time of the apostles to the end of the world. Most of the classical commentaries adhere to this view.
2. Preterist- This view holds that the bulk of Revelation describes the fall of Jerusalem in AD70 (this usually includes argument for an earlier origin of Revelation, aka...prior to AD70)
3. Futurist- This view holds that most or all of the events described in Revelation have yet to occur. The Left Behind Series follows after this view. It is extremely popular in today's Christian pop-culture.
4. Spiritual- This view does not seek specific fulfillments of Revelation. Instead, spiritualist scholars believe Revelation gives us divine principles that will apply many times throughout history.

It's interesting how different these views are. I believe all of them (as long as they are not taken too extremely) are well within the boundaries of orthodoxy. And yet how different they are! One says the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled long ago. Another says they are being fulfilled throughout history. Another says none of them are yet fulfilled. And another doesn't really say anything (just kidding, no offense to spiritualists).

For most of my life, I was really only aware of the futurist approach. But as I became more interested in the subject, I read many scholars advocating the historical approach. It was only in the past few years that I became firmly aware of the preterist approach. And, though much reading awaits, after finishing Mr. Gregg's 528 page commentary, I am now ready to officially announce that I'm (although still open to persuasion) changing my position.

I can now be called: Matthew, the partial-preterist.

This concludes, what some of you probably think, is the most boring post of all time.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Butterfly Effect

Who would have thought an Ashton Kutcher movie could be so good? I mean, the guy is quite creative and funny on Punked, but there's some good acting in this film to go along with a great idea.

The Butterfly Effect is the poor man's Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Rating: 8.3
Status: Must Own

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Self Entitled

At one point, I realized I had a pretty good handful of songs that really meant a lot to, of course, I launched an imaginary music career...but I needed a catchy title for my CD project. Many times new artists self entitle their first CD, but I wanted to be original. So instead of my fake CD being self entitled, I actually named it Self Entitled. This song was written to justify that name.

verse 1
Many years of my life
I spent living in strife
Trying to find my own way
I thought I’d make my own road
I was in control
And I would be OK

My life was self entitled
I thought I would stick to my old
Ways of doing things
I was lost and yes I knew it
But I thought I could get through it
If I stuck to my routine
Wasn’t the same as now (3x)
Living (2x) living self entitled

verse 2
Routines exactly what I got
Started believing this was not
The way to live my days
I started looking for some meaning
And this book I began reading
Had a brand new set of ways

repeat chorus

verse 3
Then one day next to my bed
It all made sense inside my head
I knew it was all real
I gave my life to Jesus Christ
And now I’m living like His life
And my future has been sealed

chorus 2
My life was self entitled
I thought I would stick to my old
Ways of doing things
But then the Lord came in my heart
And gave me a brand new start
And I’m living with the king
And I reign in Him (3x)No longer (2x)
no longer self entitled

Saturday, December 11, 2004

National Treasure

I wasn't expecting much out of National Treasure. I don't really like Nicolas Cage. I had heard it was all about the Free Masons. I figured it'd be pretty much a made-to-make-money-movie. Well, if it made money, it was earned. I enjoyed National Treasure very much. I watched it on my way home from China (If you are very observant, you'll notice the date of this post is prior to my entire trip. I am filling in some empty days with movie reviews) and was pleasantly surprised. It's an Indiana Jones style action film (which is a very good thing). I didn't roll my eyes at very much in this film at all.

Rating: 7.6
Status: Must See

Friday, December 10, 2004

The BBC Connection

If I know you, at all, based on my time at Bethany Bible College YOU can be a link on my blog. In the past few weeks I have stumbled across quite a few BBC blogs, but I am sure there are more. Even if I didn't particularly like you, I'll include you! Even if you don't want to be included, I'll include you. I don't think you can stop me.

I've seen various BBC alumni try to create list of 'other bbc bloggers'...I've combined those lists into a master list and will try to keep it updated. Let me know if I totally forgot about you....and if you're story that we once knew each other checks out, I'll add you to the list!

You can view the list near the bottom right of my blog

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Total Recall

There are some movies I like better every time I watch them. This is one such movie. Total Recall is truly a sci-fi masterpiece. All sorts of action, a great plot, a fantastic ending, it's got it all. This may be Arnold's best film. Check that. I boldly declare it to be so.

Rating: 8.8
Status: Must Own

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Four Loves

Okay...I just finished reading The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis for the second time (the first time I pretty much skimmed it, bad choice). I typed out my favorite 62 quotes. Then I bolded my top 19 of those. Then I enlarged the text size of the best 7 quotes for YOU! Here they are...

~The moment when one first says, really meaning it, that though he is not “my sort of man” he is a very good man “in his own way” is one of liberation

~If we are any good we must always be working towards the moment at which our pupils are fit to become our critics and rivals.

~The mass of the people, who are never quite right, are never quite wrong.

~If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.

~There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

~God is a host who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and take advantage of Him.

~No sooner do we believe that God loves us than there is an impulse to believe that He does so, not because He is Love, but because we are intrinsically loveable…We, being better taught, resort to subterfuge. Far be it from us to think that we have virtues for which God could love us. But then, how magnificently we have repented…Thus, depth beneath depth and subtlety beneath subtlety, there remains some lingering idea of our own, our very own, attractiveness.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

William Butler Yeats

I love quotes. Tonight I ran across a page of quotes by William Butler Yeats. On the right side of the page was his date of birth. It turns out, we were both born on a 6/13. So I read all the quotes on the page, here are my favorites:

"Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking."

"Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing."

I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love."

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober."

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people."

A short biography revealed one interesting tidbit....Yeats proposed five times to Maud Gonne and was rejected each time, after which he asked and was rejected by her daughter!

Monday, December 06, 2004

When Not If

This is a song I wrote in a valley. I didn't feel like loving God. I didn't feel like praying. I didn't feel like reading His word. I didn't feel much of anything. God taught me to invest in His relationship with me out of obedience and responsibility and reminded that feelings are fickle.

verse 1
It’s embarressing how bad things get
And no one needs to notice
It scares me how far gone I let
Our union slip away
I try once in a while to set
A method to this madness
And I show up just to regret
I have nothing to say

And I’m feeling really low and I
Know that I am very wrong
Don’t know what to say except
To sing to you this simple song

verse 2
It’s a matter of the will I know
At least in getting started
So reluctantly I still must go
With my feelings in the way
Cause if our bond will ever grow
It won’t be in avoidance
If I want to reap I’ll have to sow
Wait for a brighter day

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Sydney and Vaughn

Charlie woke up drenched and dazed and confused. Relationships weren't working well for him so far. I mean, sure, he had learned valuable lessons...1. Don't try to date Lois Lane if you're not ready to be Superman...2. Don't try to date the Hulk if you're not willing to be pushed around...and 3. Don't try to be a girl if you're...well...a guy.

So Charlie decided to leave his life of searching for a soul-mate. He decided to join the CIA. In the CIA he'd be too busy to go through another relational debacle. He was so excited. Until that first meeting. He was sitting quietly when she walked in. They had girls in the CIA??? He didn't see any other girls. Only her. But 1 was enough to devestate his plans.

As the reader would expect, Charlie and mystery girl number 4 were occassionally sent on missions together. He was given the alias Vaughn. She was given the alias Sydney. Their first mission was to pose as students and pass tests, so they studied together. The missions became more complex though, and pretty soon they found themselves posing as a couple that wasn't dating when, in reality, they were. They were glad when that mission was over.

Charlie was very happy. Not only was he now serving his country in the CIA, he had found a great partner to work with. The future looked bright...until...Charlie was hit in the head by someone from the CIA's enemy: SD-6. He lost his memory. He forgot how good things had been with Sydney. The SD-6 agents told him he was an unsatisfied agent. He foolishly believed them. But as the months went on his memory began to return. He escaped SD-6 and returned to the CIA headquarters. And there he saw Sydney and the past hit him like a brick.

Sydney was reluctant, but Charlie was persuasive. He wanted to be Vaughn again, but to her, he was just Charlie now. Charlie had the CIA place her on missions with him....but the spark never really returned. Charlie graduated from his position as an agent to a desk job with an office to himself.

But from time to time you can see Charlie glancing out his office window....looking for something similar to Sydney to come along.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Stepford Boyfriend

We first found our hero as an emerging superman, but just when Lois Lane was in reach timidity outfought temerity for the throne. The golden ticket and the relentless hulk gave Charlie some confidence, but they left Betty a confused transgendered soul.

The radiation was losing its affect, but Charlie/Betty wanted to speed the process along. He admitted himself into a clinic up North where he believed he'd find the help necessary. At the clinic people paired up and tried to help each other with their problems. Charlie watched patiently as people chose their partners. He didn't expect to be in high demand, being transgendered and all (yeah, I know this story is really weird, but I can't turn back now!).

One day, though, a young woman took a special interest in Charlie. He wasn't exactly sure why. She had a boyfriend. She was smart and attractive. He hadn't even shown any interest. But there she was, wanting to pair up. Charlie was not opposed.

But Charlie didn't realize being a pair was so complicated. Apparently saying yes to 1 relationship was saying no to 200 others. The young woman made Charlie aware of all the clinics rules. They were many, complicated, and enforced with disappointing looks. In particular, Charlie hated the early bed time rules.

One can go mad obeying the rules all day. Charlie read through the rule book often to try to find some loophole, but to no avail. Apparently, however, Charlie's version of the rule book was far from perfect. The young woman was able to find loopholes whenever she wanted in her version. It was odd to Charlie that the very same girl who enforced extra strict rules on him was also willing and wanting to avoid the most basic rules with him.

One night they were out and it started to rain. It rained for days. The rains came down and the floods came up. A whirlpool developed. The relationship circled towards the center. And this post is getting the relationship drowned. Drowned means dead. The end.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Hulk and Betty Ross

As Charlie and his confidence grew, some girls occassionally took notice. A couple of them asked Charlie to sign up for a science class. Charlie didn't really care for science, but he liked the idea of girls asking him to join things.

The science class was all about mixing things together to bring about a desired effect. Charlie watched as one of the girls tried day after day to create a love potion. Eventually Charlie decided she was never going to give up, so he decided to help her out.

Working as a team wasn't so bad at first, but then things got very complicated. One day Charlie and the girl were working on a particularly delicate potion. As Charlie added the final ingredient the beaker exploded and gamma radiation spread throughout the room causing mutations to occur in all individuals present. Charlie turned into a young woman named Betty Ross. The young girl turned into a giant, green, bad-tempered, Incredible Hulk.

Betty tried his hardest to keep the hulk happy (funny sentance I know). When she (the hulk) wanted to vacation in the North Pole, Betty took her there. When the Hulk wanted to vacation in the South Pole, Betty took her there too. Needless to say, they were racking up quite a few frequent flyer miles on the bi-polar express.

Betty knew he had to end the relationship. And he knew it wouldn't be pretty. But he did it. The Hulk was sad, then angry, then sorry, then furious, then she wanted ice cream, then she threw writing utensils. Pretty much what Betty had anticipated.

Over the next months the mutations slowly wore off. Betty became a man again.

Part 4 Tomorrow

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Charlie and the Ticket

Embarrassed by his shyness (isn't that a funny thought), Klark Cent changed his name to Charlie. His relational life was over despite the fact that he was only in middle school. He was down in the dumps over losing Lois Lane.

But then the energizing announcement was made: Willy Wonka was giving away a lifetime supply of relational happiness to 5 lucky people. To win, you just had to buy Candy bars and look for a golden ticket within. Charlie was excited until he started thinking. Over-thinking has always been one of Charlie's big problems. He calculated the odds. He wasn't willing to make the investment necessary to win the prize. And a golden ticket certainly wasn't going to fall from heaven.

Then one day at school a friend of a friend handed Charlie a Candy bar. He opened it nervously before class started. Low and behold....a GOLDEN TICKET. Charlie read the wording of the ticket to be sure it was real: 'You are the lucky winner of a relationship. To claim your prize simply look back three rows and across two aisles.' Charlie slowly turned his head until the smiling face of a sweet young girl glided into view.

But Charlie was skeptical. Some 'prizes' are scams dressed in disguise. He needed protection from humilation, so he called his lawyer who advised him to sign a 2 week relational happiness contract. After the completion of the 2 week period Charlie could re-evaluate his decision and make a bigger commitment. Charlie's lawyers received an odd look from the sweet young girl, but she agreed to the timid terms.

At the end of the two weeks, Charlie decided not to renew the contract. Nothing against the girl, but relational happiness wasn't too fun in middle school. When Charlie wanted to talk about sports with his friends, the sweet girl wanted to hold hands while she talked to her friends.

Charlie gained some confidence from knowing that some girl had given him this golden ticket. Perhaps Charlie needed confidence more than he needed a girlfriend. Charlie was no longer in the dumps

Part 3 should be posted tomorrow

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Klark Cent & Lois Lane

Once upon a time there was an extremely shy young man named Klark Cent. He liked an extremely beautiful young woman named Lois Lane. He was too nervous to talk to her, but one day she talked to him:

'Why is your first name spelled with a K instead of a C?...and why is your last name spelled withh a C instead of a K?'

The young man tried to think of a witty response....

''s a clue!'

The young man realized that didn't make any sense

', well. It's not a clue. My parents had to spell it like this b/c the name Clark Kent is copywrited.'

Lois laughed. She found his nervousness charming. Plus he was adorable. But she was pretty shy too, and waited for him to make the next move. The young man realized it was his turn. Over the next few weeks he planned and plotted. Finally he came to a decision: He would hang out with Lois's younger brother. This would show Lois that he was a SUPER guy, a family man. It would allow them to get to know eachother indirectly. Klark played football with Lois's brother. He talked with him, laughed with him, joked with him, took him on a trip to Cleveland, etc. Klark believed his plan was working perfectly.

But Klark had no conclusion to his plan. Opportunities arose and departed un-utilized. After a while, Lex Luther posted Klark's true feelings on his website for all the world to see. Klark was so embarressed. He gave up. His first big crush was over. He vowed never to love again. This lasted a few weeks.

Part 2 Coming Soon

(If you really want to guess who's who...IM me)

Monday, November 29, 2004

Series of Unfortunate Events

I recently saw an advertisement for Jim Carrey's latest flic, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Doesn't look like something I want to see, did get me to thinking:

I have decided, upon careful consideration, to do a 'series' of posts about my history with girls (note that I did not say 'my love life' since some of these were mere crushes, others were extremely immature forms of love).

However (I'm not allowed to start a paragraph with 'however' I bet...oh well), to protect those females who may not wish their names to be blogged about, I have made an executive decision to describe each of these relationships using symbolism. Names will be changed. Traits will be exaggerated. Circumstances will be twisted.

All this will protect the innocent, but it will also (hopefully) make each story more interestesting to blog readers as well.

Part 1 coming soon

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Whose Servant

Studying through the end of the book of Romans was very freeing for me. It reminded me that I am not in the business of pleasing men, but God. But it also reminded me that the Love God has shown to me must go through me to others. The grace God has given, I must spread.

verse 1
Right or wrong
We ask which right away
Black or white
There’s nothing else to say
We leave no room for gray

verse 2
To each his own
I hear my brother say
But ours alone
Is the right of way
Better hit the highway

But there’s a man whom I believe
Whose faith provided liberty

He said be sure yourself
For in that day
We’ll give our own account
Of our own faith
Fully persuaded let each one be
For in the end whose servant are we

verse 3
There are absolutes
And there are others
There are stronger
There are weaker brothers
Let us not grieve one another
But in gentleness love one another

Saturday, November 27, 2004

What is ALF?

What do YOU think? Posted by Hello

Alf came on the American scene in 1986 from the planet Melmac. His real name is Gordon Shumway, but the 'Tanners' called him ALF (Alien Life Form). In my opinion they were kind of rude not to call him Gordon. I mean, maybe I'd understand if he had some weird alien language kinda name that was hard to pronounce...but that wasn't the case.

Let me ask you a question. What is Alf? Is it a little human actor in there? Is Alf a puppet? Is he remote controlled? Some kind of robot? He's baffling to me. I don't think a person could fit in there, but he seems to realistic to be some manipulated doll. Is it possible that he really is who he claims to be?

For your information, Alf now has his own TV Show. I think he's on the TVLAND channel at 11pm on Friday's...or something like that. Either way, he's back. I haven't seen the show, but I encourage you to watch it, decide what exactly he is, and report back to me with the info.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Abolition of Man

Top Quotes From 'The Abolition of Man' by CS Lewis:

1. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. 2. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it. 3. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so. 4. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the fuction. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. 5. An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of theoretical or of practical reason is idiocy. If a man's mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut. 6. Man's conquest of nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men. 7. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the steet or garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to 'see through' first principles.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

4 ways to be a fan

Here's 4 different ways to be a fan in a rebuilding year

Go and complain- Don't like what your team is doing? Voice your opinion! Let it be known that you disagree with nearly every decision being made. Keep paying. Keep attending. Keep wearing the shirts. But hate it. Complain. Walk out before it's over. Complain about it all week. Repeat all of the above the following Sunday.

Stay home and complain- Have you had enough? Boycott! Don't give that stinkin team any more of your money until they do things your way. Keep an eye on the team from home. Keep talkin about the team to your friends. Discourage other people from wasting their money. Maybe show up for the most important weeks, but only because it's tradition.

Stay home and encourage- Ok, maybe you don't like some of the things the team is doing, but their still your favorite. You love a lot of their players. You see a lot of potential. You like the direction the team is going, but there are still some issues that bother you. You especially don't like that player who does a dance every time he makes a nice play.

Go and encourage- Alright, so things have changed a bit. Some of the young players have replaced the veterans. They do things differently, but you realize their goal is the same. They want to win! So you go to the games. You might shake your head every once in a while, but you get involved. You cheer them on. After all, the team is BIGGER than any one individual.


Okay, I tricked you. This wasn't really about sports. It's about the church: Being a Member of a Church in a Rebuilding Year. I've noticed these 4 reactions 'Christians' have when things change in a church. Some people keep going, but complain about everything they don't like. Some people stop going and spread the news of their displeasure. Some people don't come quite as often, but they realize the church is changing for the better. Others realize change is a necessary part of church life and they rejoice and the new things God is doing. After all, the Kingdom is way bigger than personal preference.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I Lost My Legs

Today I participated in a volley-ball tournament. It was a District Young Adult Ministry event. There were 7 teams. We finished 3rd. Our final record was 4-3, but all 3 of those losses came at the hand of one team: Big Tree Wesleyan Church.

I remember playing Big Tree at other events through my teenage years. I used to poke fun at them and call them 'little shrubs.' I guess they grew up. They were a good team.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. But I am SO out of shape. I was hurting just from warming up before the first game. It got worse as the day went on. The worst part, though, is that I know tomorrow I'll barely be able to move. I'm such a slug. My legs are worthless right now.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Survey Says...

Churches should have fun together

And once we start having fun, we should have more of it

Last night at church we had a time of fellowship and family feud. Sounds like a contradiction, I know. We had 10 of our church family play a game of Family Feud while many others watched and laughed. I was running the PowerPoint (I had to be very quick, I was more nervous doing that job than I am when I do special music!). Everything went really well and we had desserts afterwords.

I just feel bad for Christians that are opposed to fun. Some people don't think churches should do anything except get together and listen to God's Word for an hour...maybe sing a few songs (as long as they aren't enjoyable). Well, preaching/teaching is very important. It's my FAVORITE thing. But it's not the only thing.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Teach Me to Pray

The disciples were almost certainly men of prayer, but they noticed something unique about the prayer life of Jesus. The utter submission to the Father that the Son displayed in prayer is the goal I have for my prayer life.

verse 1
I’ve been taught by many
Great and small
But I can see you’re the master of it all
And I can hear it, in your voice
And I can see it, in your eyes
And I can almost see your prayers arise

So teach me how to pray, Lord
The very way you pray, oh teacher
If only I could do the same, Lord Jesus
Teach me to pray

verse 2
Before I ever knew you
Before these days
I learned back then from another how to pray
And I thought, I had it fine
But now I see you, here before my eyes
And I can almost see you prayers arise

repeat chorus

If you who do these great
And many mighty deeds
So naturally fall down upon you knees

Saturday, November 20, 2004

NBA Brawl Breaks Out!!!

If you have a high speed connection you need to see what happened tonight in the basketball game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers.

Click here to see the video

Who to blame?
1. B. Wallace for over-reacting to the foul
2. Detroit fan for throwing drink on Artest
3. Artest for going into stands
4. Artest for tackling fan
5. Multiple fans for throwing punches
6. Artest for throwing punches
7. Multiple players for throwing punches (Oneil, Jackson, etc)
8. 'Fans' for throwing more and more beers as the brawl continued
9. Security for not having any control
10. George W. Bush (for making everyone so mad)

Okay the last one is a joke (at least for me it is, some people blame him for everything)

Friday, November 19, 2004

Is Simple Stupid?

Earlier tonight my brother challenged me to a game of X-Box ESPN football. I have only played the game a few times. He has played a lot. I beat him 14-7 with a late touchdown. I guess I got lucky...because I didn't feel like I played very well at all. I didn't know what I was doing.

I miss regular Nintendo. I like simple games. The best football game on Nintendo was Super Tecmo Bowl. It wasn't very realistic...but if you won, you earned it. The games today almost seem to play themselves. They're very fancy, but not as fun.

But maybe I'm just too stupid to learn all those new buttons.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Prayer of Jesus

The Bible Answer man has responded to 'The Prayer of Jabez' with an emphasis on the prayer known most commonly as 'The Lord's Prayer'. This book is about the same length as the Jabez book and, therefore, can be read quickly. It contains very few spectacular insights, but some good reminders and is worth the small amount of time it requires of its reader. Hank Hanegraaff, as an author, is more suited for polemical writing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Thomas Newman

There are some jobs that, if they are done well, go un-noticed. A janitor doesn't often get recognition unless he fails to perform the task at hand. The same goes with composers of movie background music. The directors get credit. The actors get credit. The composers are seldom famous.

Do you like any of the following movies?
The Shawshank Redemption
Meet Joe Black
American Beauty
Pay it Forward
Road to Perdition
Finding Nemo

These movies have one key ingredient. Thomas Newman. He is my favorite composer. I love the background music for these films. Do you know who your favorite composers are?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Before Jerusalem Fell

The rumors are true. I've been dating. But the rumors are only partially true. I've only been dating the book of Revelation.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kenneth Gentry's book, 'Before Jerusalem Fell'. Gentry argues convincingly for a pre-70AD date for Revelation's origin. This book was instrumental in my conversion to partial-preterism. He covers the external and internal evidences before engaging the alleged late-date evidences. His case was very strong in my opinion.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The $650 Exchange

Couple Significant Items to report today.

In Spring 2003, just after I graduated college, I decided to make a $500 dollar investment in the stock market (specifically, in the 2 satellite radio companies). Today, about a year and a half later, I am withdrawing my investment. Total value: $1,157.69. Total profit: $657.69

This weeek, I bought my first TV. Well, technically that is not true. When my brother and I were younger we bought a TV off our parents so that it was OURS (we figured they woudn't be able to ground us from TV if it was OURS and not THEIRS, but apparently they paid the electric bill and our scheme was ruined). But that TV was only 50% mine. The TV pictured above is what I bought this week for about $650 (notice that's the same as my stock profit). It's a 30' Sanyo High Definition Widescreen TV.

So basically, I got a nice free TV just b/c people like satellite radio.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Peace Bridge

Today I woke up (around noon for those awaiting Sunday's sleeping chart post) on our living room couch. After transferring to my bed I slept a few more hours, ate some chicken wings, and sang Avril Lavigne songs really loud as I drove to church.

In the spirit of Avril, I was invited to dinner in Canada. I don't think I've been to Canada since I finished college. Thankfully I only went like 5 minutes in! Over the Peace Bridge from Buffalo to Fort Erie. Had dinner with a great Chinese couple. I met her at a Bible study in Buffalo. I met him in Beijing, China. Now we were eating a Chinese style dinner in Canada. It's a small world. It got smaller.

After dinner I thougt I was going to a Bible study at a church on Niagara Falls Blvd. It turned out to be Africa night. Which is really weird b/c just as I typed 'Africa' just now that same word was on TV (I'm half watching 'Mean Girls'). Anyways there were lots of students from various African countries. It was neat.

And now here I am at 4:14am. Not tired. Typical Friday. Peace out.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Screwtape Letters

Whether you believe in demons or not, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is an interesting read to say the very least. In his book, Lewis writes 31 fictional letters from one demon to another. The author of the letters, uncle Screwtape, shares advice with his demon nephew Wormwood on how to distract and discourage a young man from faith in the God of Christianity.

This book is a very interesting read because by the end we feel like we know this human subject very well, but in fact we have only overheard one demon corresponding about him. Perhaps this is because Lewis did such a great job at getting to the issues that real men deal with. It’s almost like we are the unnamed male being dissected.

I would highly recommend The Screwtape Letters not only to those interested in the spiritual realm, but also to anyone interested in insights into the mind of man. Lewis has a way with words and a keen understanding of what is vital. Since each letter is very short, this book can be read very quickly. On the other hand, you’ll pry want to read some specific letters a few times.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jesus Among Other Gods

I just finished reading a great book by Ravi Zacharias entitled Jesus Among Other Gods. Here are my favorite quotes in the order in which they appeared...

10. “I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to Him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny. I came amid the thunderous cries of a culture that has three hundred and thirty million deities. I remain with Him knowing that truth cannot be all-inclusive. Truth by definition excludes.”

9. “Purpose is to life what the skeleton is to the body.”

8. “I believe that what has actually happened is a cutting of the nerve of spirituality at the neck, so that it never filters down to the heart, hands, and feet. Life is lived out in self-contained compartments with nothing to connect them. Such is the amputation of religion that pays homage to God but would be the most surprised if God were ever to show up.”

7. “Jesus declares that wisdom reveals itself by what it produces. It does not take more than one look at our society to see the utter absence of wisdom. Jesus was not hesitant to call their bluff, as He does ours.”

6. "He did not just proclaim the truth. He said, ‘I am the truth.’ He did not just show the way. He said ‘I am the way.’ He did not just open up vistas. He said, ‘I am the door.’ ‘I am the Good Shepherd.’ ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ ‘I am that I AM.’

5. “Teaching is like a mirror. It can show you if your face is dirty, but the mirror will not wash your face.”

4. “The task of the church is not so much to make God relevant to the people as much as it is to make people relevant to God.”

3. “It is implied that many people believe in God only because of the context of their birth or family or determined conditions. If the criticism is justified, and undoubtedly it sometimes is, why do we not show the same distrust of secondhand doubt?”

2. “We see the symbol of the cross on necklaces and on church steeples so often that we have no concept of what it meant and accomplished. In fact, if it were truly expounded upon, we would take offense at the preacher.”

1. “Oh! For an unambiguous sense of safety in a lasting home.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

94 Things About Me

1. I was born on June 13th, 1981
2. I was born at a very young age
3. I was born at Newfane Hospital
4. I don’t remember the birth-event
5. We also got a dog named Copper that year
6. I have 2 older sisters
7. They dressed me up like a girl sometimes
8. I’ve only voluntarily dressed like a girl once
9. I lost a match-box car in kindergarten
10. I loved match-box cars
11. I used to crash them together
12. The one that stayed right-side-up won
13. Last car standing was champion
14. All the cars had names
15. The Dukes of Hazard car won a lot
16. I also liked transformers
17. I once buried my sisters Barbie in the yard
18. I still can’t find it
19. I have a younger brother & sister
20. I’ve had 4 best friends move-away
21. As a result, I became extremely introverted
22. I could go whole days at school w/o speaking
23. I was neither popular nor unpopular
24. My best friendships were church friendships
25. My first crush was a girl named Kelly
26. I was too shy to talk to her
27. She was a church friend, but even still
28. My first girlfriend was named Candy
29. She asked me
30. I said I’d give it a try for two weeks
31. After two weeks, I didn’t renew the contract
32. I was depressed in my mid teenage years
33. I became serious about following Christ at 17
34. I lost my bad temper from that night forward
35. Other sinful mindsets/habits remained
36. This happened during Houghton Family Camp
37. The preacher that night was Tim Elmore
38. I don’t remember the sermon, just the Spirit
39. I prayed for a long time that evening
40. I shared my testimony the following week
41. That was difficult for a shy kid
42. I sensed a call to full-time ministry
43. My calling was confirmed in an awesome way
44. You should ask me about it
45. Another girl pursued me my senior year
46. We dated for a few months
47. I graduated from Barker Central School
48. I graduated with honors
49. I went to college in Canada
50. It was a Bible College
51. I chose it because it was inexpensive
52. I chose wisely
53. I borrowed about $13,000 to pay for school
54. God provided about $15,000 in other ways
55. I was still very shy when I got to college
56. I didn’t know anyone
57. I avoided the cafeteria for two weeks
58. I was afraid I wouldn’t find a place to sit
59. I ate pop-tarts instead
60. I started an open-door-policy
61. I simply left my dorm room door open
62. I had new friendships hours later
63. For the 3rd time in my life, a girl pursued
64. For the 3rd time in my life, I obliged
65. We dated for about 9 months
66. While at College I became an avid reader
67. I disliked almost all my course-reading
68. I mostly read Christian-apologetics stuff
69. I love having completed books on my shelf
70. I think of them as trophies
71. I dated a girl my second year
72. All-together we dated for about two years
73. We are still good friends
74. My best male friend is from Maine
75. We shared a room at College
76. I did a six-month internship in Fillmore, NY
77. I grew up a lot in that time
78. I graduated with high honors
79. I didn’t work very hard
80. My worst characteristic is laziness
81. My best characteristic is laid-back-ness
82. I think I’m lying to myself about one of those
83. After college, I had no idea what to do
84. Within months, I was in full-time ministry
85. I'm the assistant pastor at my home church
86. I'm not sure what the future holds
87. Ministry has been a good experience so far
88. I like football and hockey
89. I like fantasy sports
90. I like debating on message boards
91. I love my family and have great parents
92. I married Katie (a girl from my church)
93. She deserves a whole other list of 94 notes
94. My favorite number is 94

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Jesus in Beijing

If you are a Christian and have any interest in China, this is a must read. David Aikman begins with a 'state of Christianity in China' address. He then gives a valuable historical sketch on how Christianity has developed over the centuries in this great country. Aikman knows the current spiritual landscape well and tells the stories of contemporary Chinese Christian heroes. He ends with some valuable anticipation on what the future holds for China. This book was so good I have made an 8 page summary of its contents available for anyone interested.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Wrong Address

Not too long ago I read Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, and agreed with it thoroughly. It's the best 'relationship' book since I Kissed Dating Goodbye! Just kidding, the latter is just about the worst book ever. My friend and I wanted to write a response book called I French Kissed Dating Hello, but we never got around to it. I did, however, write a song about this 'love language' issue. Here it is:

Wrong Address

I drive
A million miles
Being clever all the way
Telling jokes
To make you smile
Being sweet to make you stay

But after
Quite some time
I turn my head towards you
And you're not
Even by my side
I didn't have a clue

I'm sending love letters to the wrong address
I'm studying real hard, but for the wrong test
Throwing rocks at wrong windows
And making a mess
I'm sending love letters to the wrong address

I write
A million lines
Of all I want to say
A clever rhyme
With words that hold some sway
But when
The poem ends
The final draft is done
You can't
It's in a foreign tongue

Repeat Chorus

I show
What you can't see
Hold love behind your eyes
I love
As if you're me
And assume you will realize

Repeat Chorus

Sunday, November 07, 2004


“This book chronicles discrimination against Christians in American society. While tolerance is touted as the highest virtue in our popular culture, Christians are often subjected to scorn and ridicule and denied their religious freedoms.”

Thus begins the introduction to David Limbaugh’s most recent book, Persecution. I am sure many dismiss this book at once in frustration at the premise that the majority religion in our country could actually be persecuted. Such an instinct is probably natural, but misses part of the reality. The odd truth in this situation is that most persecution of Christians that occurs is by the hands of others who, in a census, would also probably be counted as Christians. Christianity, as is pointed out later in the book, is the only religion that has both genuine and nominal members. In our country, genuine Christians are persecuted by anti-Christians AND nominal Christians. Still don’t buy it? Well that’s what the book is for!

I must admit the first 294 pages of this book can be pretty boring to read. With page after page Limbaugh illustrates how the ‘free exercise clause’ is being trampled by rabid misuse of the ‘establishment clause.’

The book is poorly titled. What Christians face in America can hardly be considered persecution in comparison to what many Christians face in other lands. But it's still an interesting read.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Back to the Basics

After multiple posts about U.S. politics I am ready to return to basic blogging (to the delight of my socialist canadian readers). And after 2 straight posts that were lengthy reading I am ready to return to basic brevity (to the delight of my lazy american readers). Okay, now that I have offended everyone...

Tonight I went to a hockey game in Buffalo. But Buffalo wasn't playing. The National Hockey League has decided that this season they should fight over money instead of the greatest trophy in sports. It's always fun when millionairs whine, isn't it? No, this game was between two minor league teams: The Rocherster Americans and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. I was rooting for Rochester and they won 3-1. It was fun. I had nachos. The end.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Returning to our Roots

In light of my statements regarding the present 'state of the union' I feel it is an appropriate time to consider our past. America is a strong tower, a shining city on a hill for all the world to see. If we wish to heighten that tower and expand that city, we must know the strength of our foundations.

Are our roots secular or Christian?

Some would have us believe that the United States for formed as a product of the secular enlightenment. They believe that: Christianity doesn’t have much to do with the formation of our country. US law is largely based on Greek and Roman law. The philosophies of John Locke and English common law. The main basis of American law remains Greek and Roman law, natural law, etc. The main framers were deists and Unitarians, not orthodox Christians, not that it matters, but it is clear that the main influence was not the Bible.

But in reality we are a product of very Christian roots. The 'secularists' think Christianity is intolerant, inflexible, rigid, not compatible with freedom, but Christianity is a friend of freedom. The overwhelming majority of the founding fathers were devout, practicing, Bible believing Christians. Some of them weren’t orthodox, but they were certainly religious. Secularists want no part of God, these men wanted all of Him.

What movements led our first leaders to America?

The Seperatists (pilgrims)- The leader of the Pilgrims, James Robinson, felt the Church of England was departing from their roots. So he and his followers decided to set out for the new world to establish a Biblically based society of Englishmen. Their purpose was to glorify God and advance the Christian faith. They made the mayflower compact in 1620 where we get the idea of all men should be treated equally under the law, not from John Locke in 1690

The Puritans- Another group wanted to reform the church from within, but were resisted. So they left for America in the 1630's. Their purpose was to express and pursue the protestant reformation and to glorify God, to be a city on a hill.

What historical events shaped our nation?

The Great Awakening-In 1734 a nationwide Christian revival began. It provided spiritual passion and social unity. It was led by Jonathon Edwards and George Whitefield. The core of their sermons was man’s sinfulness, his need of a savior, salvation through Jesus Christ leading to changed hearts and good works. Their preaching led to a passion for human freedom. One historian made this statement, 'to the pulpit, the puritan pulpit, we owe the moral force which won our independence.'

The Revolution- A united band of Christian men, lovers of freedom, were stirred to fight for that freedom. And in 1776, they declared their independance. It was an independance worth fighting for.

What documents shaped a young nation?

Declaration of Independance- 52 of the 56 signers were trinity believing Christians. Early on in the document they declared: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Constitution- M.E. Bradford studied the religious backgrounds of the signers of the Declaration and the Constitution and concluded that the overwhelming majority were strong, practicing Christians. Describing the process used in creating such a great document, Ben Franklin stated, “We have gone back to ancient history for models of government." Recently a 10 year study regardiing these 'ancient' sources was completed and yielded the following results. The major models for the US constitution were: 8% Montesquieu, 8% Blackstone, 3% Locke, 3% Hume, 34% Bible. The Bible? Yes. 34% of the source quotations for the US Constitution are directly from Scripture. In addition to this, except for Hume and Locke, all others quoted were strong Christians. It was specifically because the framers were Christians that man’s dignity is proclaimed (we were created in God's image) and man’s power is limited (we are fallen). These men Believed the Constitution was undergirded by Christianity:

John Adams
- “We have no government armed with power, capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

George Washington- “True religion affords government its safest support”

Thomas Jefferson- “The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man and I am bound to give it the sanction of my example.”

Recently a Chinese scholar toured America to uncover the secret to America's success. Upon the completion of his research, he made the following statement:

“But in the past 20 years we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

He and his collegues have no doubt. Some Americans do. We must not. If Christianity is the source and substance of our nations rise to greatness, then it is essential that we recognize, remember, and rejoince over our Christian roots. Sadly, too many Americans doubt our Christian roots, and more and more Americans doubt the greatness of America. Let us not be doubters, let us be proud of our foundations.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

State of the Union

My fellow Americans,

Former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards has said that we live in two Americas. In one sense he is right. America has 2 distinct worldviews. America has 2 distinct political parties. And America made 2 distinct decisions on election day. In another sense Mr. Edwards was very wrong. A diverse America is not two Americas. We are one nation, under God. Nothing defines America to the extent that diversity does. Diversity is a good thing. It causes us to think through the issues. It causes us to consider our world view. It makes us a better nation of human beings.

America is one. America has weighed its opinions and beliefs. And now America has decided. And America has decided in a convincing manner.

Yesterday 11 out of 11 states voted to ban gay marriage. America has decided, convincingly, that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. We honor freedom in this country. What two people do alone is between them and the people their lives affect, but what we, as a nation of human beings support is another issue. America has decided.

Yesterday America voted to keep the Republican Governors in leadership. Almost 30 of our states now have Republicans in office. America has decided it wants smaller government. America has decided it wants fiscal responsibility. America has decided.

Yesterday America voted to expand the Republican leadership of the United States Senate. Republicans already had 50 of the 100 Senate seats. America decided to have 55 Republican United States Senators. America has decided it wants to support this President in congress. America has decided.

Yesterday America voted to expand the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. Only 218 Republicans were needed for a majority. America has decided to elect over 230 Republicans to these important offices. America wanted a stronger voice. America voted for that voice. America has decided.

Yesterday America voted to re-elect President George W. Bush. 4 years ago the Presidential elections resulted in a difference of about 500,000 people and 5 electoral votes. This year the Presidential elections resulted in a difference of about 3,500,000 people and 34 electoral votes. America has decided to give George W. Bush more votes than any President in American history. Over 58,000,000 Americans voted for this President. America has decided they want leadership that is tough on terrorism. They want leadership that allows the American people to use their hard earned money as they see fit. They want a President who sticks with what he believes is right, not what he thinks is popular. America has decided.

We live in 1 America. It's a diverse America. It's a free America. It's an America which has spoken loudly and clearly. It's an America which has elected Republican leadership to represent its voice across this great nation and around the world. It's an America that has decided and decided convincingly. It's an America I am proud to call my earthly home.

May we continue to strive to be a nation that is a blessing to others and may God continue to bless America.

~Matthew Aaron Rose

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's Over. For Now

Looks like the final tally will be.......

Bush 286
Kerry 252

John Edwards just made a short, yet hyper speech, stating that it's not over. They are obviously hoping that the left-over Ohio ballots are HEAVILY Kerry in nature. Bush is beating Kerry in Ohio by over 100,000 votes right now.

New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Hawaii are not quite set in stone, but it appears Bush will win the first 3 and lose the latter.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting Day


Early Exit polls show Kerry with a slight advantage in key swing states. Some reports show Bush down 4 in Ohio, down 4 in Florida, down 1 in New Mexico, down 1 in Michigan, and down 2 Iowa. This is a good sign for Kerry and seems to prove this will be a close election.

But I remind you that more Republicans have 9-5 jobs than Democrats. It was early exit polls that caused the media to think Florida voted for Gore in 2000. Evening voters tend to be Republican voters. If Bush is still within a few percentage points by dinner time, I think he'll win.
If you're a Bush supporter, don't put too much stock into these results. Get out and vote when you finish working (or pretending to work while you read my blog)!


As I hoped, the exit polls are getting tighter as the day gets darker.Early exit polls showed Bush down 4 points in 2 key states (Ohio and Florida). The latest exit polls are showing Bush down 1 in both those states. One early exit poll had Bush down 20 in Pennsylvania! The latest exit polls hahve Bush down between 2-4 points in that state.Bush-Backers have finished their 9-5 and they are on their way home....making one important stop. And hopefully, with their support, Bush will be able to call the White House home for another 4 years.

Latest Election Results:

Bush 51%
Kerry 48%

No state surprises so far. Things looking good in Ohio and Florida

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pastor Appreciation Month

October was Pastor Appreciation Month in the Wesleyan Church. What does this mean to me practically? Cookies! Church people make very good cookies. And, even better, during P.A.M. they make cookies AND give them to me! Free of charge. I really appreciated all the cookies, cards, and gifts that were given. They were delicious (the cookies that is). Hess Road has been a great church to grow up in and minister in. I know someday, when I finally leave, it will be sad....even for me (the guy w/o emotions).

I look forward to the next months of ministry!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

What Candidate is 4U?

This link is a quiz to help you discover what Presidential Candidate you agree with most. I've taken a lot of these quizes and I think this one is the best. It takes quite a bit of time and you have to read quite a bit, but the results are interesting. My final results showed that I agree with the candidates in this order:

Peroutka 13 (constitution party)
Bush 12 (republican party)
Badnarek 9 (libertarian party)
Kerry 3 (democratic party)
Nader -2 (independant)
Cobb -2 (green party)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

5 Shows That Ended Too Soon

My taste in TV shows must be relatively unique because I quite often find my favorite new shows being cancelled after 1 or 2 seasons. Below is a list of 5 such shows in alphabetical order:

1. Andy Richter Controls the Universe- If you're a Conan O'Brien fan then you may remember he once had a side-kick, namely Andy Richter. Andy left the show a while back to pursue his acting career. He has since been in crappy movies like Scary Movie 2, My Boss's Daughter, and then was out-acted by the Olsen twins in New York Minute. Scary Resume. BUT....In my opinion Richter hit a homerun with the TV show baring his name. The show is about Andy's life as an employee to a huge company, his relationships with his fellow employees, and his creative imagination. There were only 14 episodes aired before cancellation in January of 2003. I have been watching them re-run on Comedy Central (which, btw, advertised the airing of a never before seen Andy Richter this Monday).

2. Boston Common- I think one of the better casted shows I've seen was Boston Common. Every character had a distinct personality that added to the show's watchability. The show is about a brother (Boyd) who instead of simply dropping his kid-sister (Wyleen) off at college in Boston ends up getting a job as a handy-man for the school. Boyd quickly falls in love with Joy, a mature student who is dating a snobby teacher. So basically you get 32 episodes of Boyd wooing this girl, Wyleen struggling to adjust, Joy being confused, the snobby teacher being snobby, etc. Good cast, good comedy, bad decision to cancel it after only 2 seasons in the mid-90's.

3. Ned and Stacey- From September 1995 to January 1997 there was a very funny show called Ned and Stacey. Ok, the premise was a little strange...a guy and gal who hate eachother get married b/c it helps their current life scenario. The marriage is just for show (to her parents and his boss). Obviously, most of the humor is built around that situation, but the show is funny to me b/c the two lead characters are excellent, especially Ned. I hated him in the show Wings, but he's very funny in this one. Stacey (Grace from Will and Grace) is also very good. It was cancelled, wrongfully, after 35 episodes.

4. Sport Night- Ok, many of you know I'm a huge sports fan. In fact, one of my favorite shows is SportsCenter (a daily 1 hour show re-capping all the latest sports scores and headlines). Well, Sports Night was a show about the crew of a show like that. Instead of spending an hour watching their show, viewers spent half an hour watching the behind the scenes lives of the shows employees. It aired for 2 full seasons (45 episodes). I guess it was the combination of sports, comedy, and a well written script that kept my attention.

5. Working- Do you like the kid from The Wonder Years? Well, he grew up and had another good show called Working. He plays an idealistic college grad who just got his first job at a big company. Only 35 episodes aired from 97-99. This is your classic office comedy where every employee is up to their own hijinks. This show was kinda goofy and somewhat similar to Andy Richter Controls the Universe. I wish some station would show the re-runs.

Okay, so everybody that reads this blog...send emails to cable stations asking them to pick these shows back up. I'm not gonna send any emails, but I'd appreciate it if you all did!

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Great Wall

Tonight I'm the substitute Bible study leader for the International Students Chinese group. I've done this a few times and always enjoy it. They are so eager to learn about God. Sadly, I don't' usually get that impression from many Americans. I think I'm going to China again the Spring, but I doubt I'll be going back to the Great Wall, so here's my pic from the last time. Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 28, 2004

My Election Prediction

The Democrats could have won this election, but they simply picked the wrong candidate in John Kerry. His politics are too liberal. His wife is too annoying. His positions are too fickle. His campaign is too patronizing. His character is too questionable. His past is too controversial.

George W. Bush is not a great President. He is not fiscally conservative. He is a bad public speaker. He is a worse debater. But he will be elected because of his character. He is more conservative. His wife is not annoying at all. His positions are concrete. He comes across as genuine. He is likeable.

Originally, I thought this was going to be an extremely close election. I'm starting to think otherwise. My prediction for the Presidential Election in 2004 is:

Most Likely
George W. Bush 317
John F. Kerry 221
*This scenario will happen if people take terror seriously

2nd Most Likely
John F. Kerry 315
George W. Bush 223
*This scenario will happen if people take Michael Moore seriously

3rd Most Likely
George W. Bush 269
John F. Kerry 269
*In this scenario George W. Bush would most likely be elected based on a vote in the House

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Waiting 86 years

As I type this first line, Keith Foulke has made his first pitch of the night. Strike. It is the bottom of the 9th. The Red Sox are three outs away from their first World Series championship in 86 years. Ball. Strike. Foul. My emotions are mixed. Part of being a Red Sox fan is being a loser. Part of my identity could be minutes away from disappearing. Hit up the middle.

With a man on first and no outs, it's hard not to think of 'the curse.' Something has gone wrong for 86 years now. Is the curse really over just because we beat the Yankees? Strike. Strike. Ball. Pop-out.

2 years ago the Syracuse Orangemen won the NCAA tournament. Of all the teams I cheer for, they were the first to win. Is my luck changing? Does a Red Sox win mean the Sabres will win? The Bills? Strike. Foul. Strike. Strike Out. One out away from it all!

Ball. Bouncer to the pitcher. Foulke throws. GAME OVER.

The Boston Red Sox are the 2004 World Series Champions!!!

I'm not sure what to think. I feel feelingless.