Saturday, April 30, 2005

Congrats to BBC Grads

I know some of my friends just graduated yesterday. Good job. That's all.

Friday, April 29, 2005

First Pic

I haven't gotten most of my pics back yet, but here is a pic with most of the team in it. Li Hsin is wearing the orange. She was the translator for the team in Mianyang. Fran is behind her left shoulder and the organizer of the trip. Liz is next in line and worked with me in Da Qiao. The 2nd to last lady (in the back right) is Pat, she worked with Fran and Li Hsin. The lady in front of her is Rui Ping, our translator in Da Qiao. The three Chinese men in the pic were former contacts and/or security/drivers. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Questions Kids Ask

One of the open doors to ministry during the China trip was a simple question/answer time I used to start each class. I would have them all write a question for me in English and then asked volunteers to stand and ask their question out-loud.

Some of their questions are worded so poorly it's hard not to laugh. Other questions are meant to be funny like 'Do you have a girlfriend?' Still others are extremely difficult to when I say, 'No, I don't have a girlfriend' and they ask 'Why not?'

But the best questions are the one's that open a door to share Christianity with these students. One boy asked, 'Do you have beliefs and if so, what are they?' A young girl asked, in a round-about way, 'Is my life meaningless if I don't make it to college?'

I could sense the Spirit as I answered those questions from a Christian perspective that many of those students had never heard before.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Name Game

Chinese names are quite hard for Americans to say. Kindly, the Chinese people realize this and many of them have taken English sounding nick-names. To match their generosity, I go by my Chinese name when I'm in China.

I'm Matai. Ma means horse. Tai means wife. I am horse-wife.

Some of the Chinese English teachers chose common American names like Tom and Ed. But others chose interesting names like Bird and Wonderful. And to answer your question, Kayla, yes the other teacher's name is pronounced Poo. I enjoy that also, so we didn't give him and English name.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Why I Loved China Trip 05

I have returned from the future to post in the present tense. Thanks for stopping by while I was gone. Here are 20 reasons I loved my 2nd trip to China:

1. I actually like long flights 2. I'm proud to say I've still never used an airplane bathroom 3. I watched 6 decent in-flight movies 4. It was cool to have a friend (Elizabeth) come this year 5. It was great to see RuiPing again (our translator) 6. The teachers at Da Qiao are all fun to work with 7. The students asked great (door opening) questions in class 8. Mr. Pu (one of the English Teachers) understood the Gospel for the first time 9. I represented American basketball much better this time 10. I got to play Ping Pong with a Chinese pastor 11. I was able to lead a devotional in a Chinese Church 12. I learned and performed a Chinese love song 13. Home cooked Chinese food is awesome 14. I saw the best (scariest) fireworks show of my life 15. We learned some new Chinese kids games 16. We had a great time of testimonies in Chengdu 17. A lot of former contacts really opened up to us 18. We met some great new friends at church in Beijing 19. The Great Wall is still great 20. We made all of our flights (some just barely)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Back From China

Look at the date of this post. I am blogging from the future.

I want to thank any and all who took a moment to pray for the trip when they visited this blog b/w April 11th and 25th! God bless.

BLOG NOTE: Reviews of some of the greatest movies ever (Scroll Down) were posted every other day while I was gone...Hope you enjoyed checking in, praying, and reading a review throughout the 2 weeks

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Dumb and Dumber

I hated this movie the first time I saw it. It was so.....well, dumb.

People kept telling me how funny it was, though, so I gave it a second chance. This time, however, I was in the mood to laugh. I was tired and just wanted to see something stupid and silly. This ended up being one of my favorite comedies ever.

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are super good at being dumb. That impressed me because I've liked both of them in more serious roles. I like versatile actors. Carrey started off all goofy in his career, but he's actually a really good actor in my opinion.

I would consider this and Napoleon Dynamite the two best comedies I've seen. I mimic those 2 movies a lot to either annoy people or make them laugh (their choice!). I think it is SUPER hard to make a comedy. Not many movies make me laugh, but this one definitely did. And for the record...I think Jim Carrey was the dumber one.

Rating: 9.2
Status: Must Tell Others

Friday, April 22, 2005

Cast Away

I really liked the movie Cast Away. I mean, it certainly wasn't an original idea, but it was very well done. Probably only Tom Hanks can carry a movie all by himself (well, he had help from a volleyball). The movie had some great lessons to teach, some great background music (if you haven't noticed I think background music is a key ingrediant to make a good movie great), and some spectacular acting from Hanks (and Hunt at the end, even though I normally don't like her).

But my favorite part of the movie was the ending. Stop reading if you don't wanna hear a comment about the end of this movie. I love when things don't work out in the end. I love when the watcher is left wondering. This movie did this better than any other. And it was realistic. It would have been cheesy any other way.

Rating: 9.4
Status: Must Tell Others

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is certainly one of the greatest movies of all time. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman became some of my favorite actors after watching this the first time.

There's so much symbolism in it, some great lines, some surprises, some real funny scenes, and some thought provoking ideas. I can't really think of one specific thing that makes it great, but I really felt like I was in prison while I watched it (I guess that sounds negative, but I mean it in a good way). So many characters were developed so well. Oh, and the background music is fantastic.

Rating: 9.7
Status: Must Tell Others

Monday, April 18, 2005

Meet Joe Black

This has got to be my favorite movie of all times. Maybe it's the rebel in me. Most people that start watching this movie don't finish. They say it's too long. They say it's too boring. They say it's too stupid. I, on the other hand, have seen it many times and love it.

Meet Joe Black is a loose re-creation of Death Takes a Holiday. Brad Pitt plays Death personified. He offers Anthony Hopkins a chance to live a few extra days in exchange for a tour of life to the fullest. The result is a funny, thoughtful, elegant, well-acted couple of hours complete with various life philosophies, a bad guy, and even a love story (with Claire Forlani, perhaps the prettiest girl in the world, as deaths love interest).

There's no movie I quote more, there's no movie I watch more, there's no movie I love more. I urge you to Meet Joe Black.

Rating: 9.8
Status: Must Tell Others

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Truman Show

The Truman Show is one of the most creatively unique movies I've ever seen. I guess people have had similar ideas, but never was that idea carried out to near perfection like it was with this film.

Jim Carrey plays the world's most famous man, but he doesn't know it. His life is broadcast to the whole world. His friends and family are actors. He has no clue. The movie focuses on the time in his life where he starts to figure out that something is not quite right in his world.

This was one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, but what makes it one of my all-time favorite movies in general is that it's also very thought provoking. As a Christian, I saw doctines illustrated by this film. I know different people viewed it different ways, but I saw the shows creator as Satan and Carrey as mankind. Satan hides reality from us, limiting our perspective, but the Spirit helps us to overcome our fears and reach for something beyond what is seen.

But the great thing about this movie is that you can enjoy it without reading anything into it whatsoever.

Rating: 9.6
Status: Must Tell Others

Thursday, April 14, 2005


You've gotta have a stomach to watch Seven. It's rated R for serious reasons so don't watch it if you can't take it. This movie made me sick to my stomach on numerous occasions. That being said, no movie has left me thinking like this movie did.

I honestly sympathized with the bad guy while simultaneously despising him. In some ways he had the perfect message, but used the most horrible method to deliver it. The contrast between the leading characters is phenomenal. The quote at the end of the movie has become part of my world view.

"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, 'the world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part."

Rating: 9.4
Status: Must Tell Others

Sunday, April 10, 2005

20,000 HITS

My blog now has 20,000 Hits

19,994 of those were me

Thanks a ton to the other six!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Guessing Game

One of the few video games I play is The Sims 2. A couple months ago I designed our house, now I'm going to give you a chance to guess which pic is the house I created and which pic is our actual house.

Posted by Hello

Friday, April 08, 2005

Chinese Bible Study

Today I was the substitute leader of a Bible study for Chinese students studying at the University of Buffalo. I've done this a number of times and it's super fun and junk. A guy from our church came too (he's teaching it next week since I'll be in China) so it was neat to chat with him on the way to and from.

I've mentioned this before, but I love how hungry for the Word these students are. We did an hour and a half study on how we can practically know God personally. It's so much more fun to teach when people have eager ears. And here's a shocking reality...they LOVE my sense of humor (either that or they don't understand a word I'm' saying and find THAT hilarious).

ps (for Elizabeth)- There was a girl that came to the class tonight that looked and acted exactly like you. Her name was Naomi. Do you have any relatives in WNY?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I Need A New Job

I am currently unemployed. Let me know if you hear of any openings.

I have plenty of experience...

I used to convict people of sin, but they stopped believing sin exists. I used to counsel the hurting, but now they have pop-psychology and self-help books. I used to sanctify people, but now they don't know what that means. I used to inhabit praises, but now they're too busy following the words on a screen. I used to pray with people on Wednesday nights, but they decided to stop doing those services. I used to meet needs, but they have programs to do that now. I used to give pastor's a vision for their community, but now they just steal leftover vision from super-pastors. I used to be on the move, but they fell in love with the movements instead of with Me. I used to be Someone, but now I'm just an it.

Give me a Call,
Holy Spirit

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Broader View

Did you guys know I have blogged for like 25 days in a row? I try to blog before I go to sleep and it's usually about something that had been on my mind that day. I realize, however, that this limits the broader view of what's going on in my life, so today I want to just post some longer term stuff.

1. I am going to China 1 week from today for about 15 days. While I am gone, I will magically continue to blog daily (pre-typed movie-reviews), but I will keep a prayer request post at the top of my blog. In other words, The Matthew Never Knew will still be worth a daily visit.

2. I am finishing up a long series on the Gospel of Mark in men's group. It's a 25 part series and has been very rewarding to me personally. Leading this men's group is one of my favorite times each week. The ages of the participants range from 18-80 and I think that's awesome.

3. I am in the midst of another long series on the Book of Revelation. It began January 23rd and won't end until August 21st. I start with devotional thoughts on the chapter at hand, but finish with a study of the 4 major views of Revelation.

4. I am being ordained this summer prior to our district family camp. The week of camp is the only thing I really have planned this summer. Technically, I haven't taken a vacation in 2 years (because camp is a district function and China is a mission trip), so I'm open to interesting proposals!

Sunday, April 03, 2005

New NHL Nets?

The Buffalo Sabres have proposed a new hockey net in an effort to improve the struggling sport when a collective bargaining agreement is reached. Here is a pic of their idea:

The curves are intended to prevent goaltenders from hugging the posts. Personally, I think they should just force the goalies to wear smaller equipment. Even if the NHL likes the Sabres idea, I think the crossbar should remain un-curved.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Your View of Revelation

I just made my own quiz. It should accurately show what approach you take to the book of Revelation. Take it HERE

You can read how I changed my mind about Revelation HERE

Friday, April 01, 2005


This should make some of my readers happy!

The USA will cease to exist in 2007. According to a muslim scholar a tsunami, sent by Allah in response to American arrogance, will strip the USA of its super-power status.

I bet I can find a Bible code that says this scholar is a liar!