Monday, October 31, 2005


No ISM's death brings me more joy than this one: Legalism.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a rigid person. I'm very laid-back and carefree to a fault. Legalism is very strict and troubled. One of the best qualities of the younger generation is its grace. I think we have more grace than the previous generation. We let things go. We forgive. We aren't upset by different opinions. I am excited to see how ministry changes as legalism dies. What new things will we accomplish? What new struggles will we have?

In my experience, most of the annoying times in ministry are the result of legalists demanding the un-necessary. They slow down momentum. They stifle the Spirit. Their preferences aren't the problem, it's the fact that they demand them. I wish I could say 'rest in peace' but legalists know no peace. They are always at war.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I have not met very many young racists. Racism is being defeated. A couple generations ago, many people hated those with a different skin color. The last generation didn't adhere the ugliest form of racism. The majority still categorized people by skin color, but only a minority guaged value by it. My generation doesn't even tend to make a distinction based on skin color. This is good news.

There are still racist people, but racism is becoming less and less of a problem in North America. I'm sure it's still more of a problem in certain areas, but with each passing year more racists will pass away. Racism is dying with them.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


The 2nd giant ISM that has seen its glory days is Calvinism. For better or for worse, the protestant marriage with Calvinism is over. It's getting harder and harder to find someone who actually thinks of God like John Calvin did. And even those preachers and theologians who maintain their faith in the tulip, their followers are practical arminians (Drury pointed that out HERE).

I remember when I was at Bethany, I was kind of ashamed that none of my favorite Bible teachers were Arminian. All the people in ministry that I looked up to were calvinists. But that's simply not the case anymore. I now know many fine biblical thinkers who think calvinism is kinda crazy. Calvinism has been replaced by a 'moderate calvinism' that is practically identical with classical arminianism.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Over the next few days I want to declare the demise of 4 powerful ISMs. The first 'ism' that isn't going hold its sway over the population is dispensationalism. Born in the early 1800's, dispensationalism is the eschatological view made popular by John Nelson Darby, the Scofield Reference Bible, Hal Lindsay, and the Left Behind Series. But my prediction is that it will soon lose its grip on evangelicalism.

Ironically, the death of dispensationalism may be caused by its leading advocates. They have made it so popular that thinkers have started thinking again about eschatology. I predict you'll see more and more leading evangelicals jump off the bandwagon. RC Sproul already did. Then Hank Hanegraaff followed his lead. In fact, this past Tuesday & Wednesday, Hank had Steve Gregg on the Bible Answer Man program to discuss Gregg's book Revelation: 4 Views and dispensationalism was dealt a significant slap heard by millions of listeners.

RIP Dispensationalism (1820-20??)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

New Stuff

They don't build things to last anymore. In my observation the newer something is the more likely it is to malfunction. Cars. Laptops. Microwaves. Dryers. TV's. Christmas lights. Lamps. Remotes. These are all fairly new things around me that haven't worked properly in the past month.

The pessimistic part of me wonders if manufacturers make things crappy on purpose just to maintain a buyers market. Or maybe they made some behind the scenes deals with repair men. Who knows?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

March of the Penguins

March of the Penguins is a documentary about... well... penguins. It is a documentary of the highest quality. The footage is amazing. I learned a ton about penguins. They are awesome creatures. All throughout the film I was reminded of God's great care over creation. It's amazing how he gives His creatures the know-how to overcome whatever the environment throws at them. Morgan Freeman narrates, but the Penguins tell the story.

Rating: 7.9
Status: Must See

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sleep Chart 1

Each Tuesday I'll be posting and examining my sleep statistics. Feel free to join in as I try to reach my goal of sleeping from about 1:30-8:30 each night. This week, I'll explain my failure by saying I had to record the problem so I know what I'm working against.

Tuesday 7-12 (5)
Wednesday 1-6:30 (5.5)
Thursday 2:30-11:30 (9)
Friday 3-5pm, 3:30-11 (9.5)
Saturday 3:30-7:30 (4)
Sunday 2:00-12:00 (10)
Monday 4:00-10 (6.0)

Too Little, Too Much, Just Right

The Good- Averaged 7 hours/night, exactly what I have in mind. The Bad- The norm seems to be something in the 3-11 range. The Ugly- I'd imagine it's healthy to keep all nights b/w 6.5 and 8.5, but I had ZERO nights like that.

Each week I'll add a healthy habit and see how much it impacts the stats. This week I pledge to not eat after 10pm.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Time Capsule

Sunday was my sister's 15th birthday. One cool thing about her is she asks me for the same present every year...that I take her to a Sabres game. Can do Lauren. Can do. I thought it'd be cool to interview her and in a year or ten she can come back and read the interview to see how much she's changed (or not changed):

How old are you? 15 What's your boyfriend's first name? I don't have a boyfriend What are your favorite foods/drinks? Hmmm..umm...let me think. I really like french fries and red bull and cappuccino. What do you want to be when you're grown up? Elementary Teacher Where do you think you'll live? Out of state or probably the southern tier of New York Who are your best friends Oooo..heh heh. Amanda, Sarah, Brittany, Clark. Those are my best one's. What kind of music do you like? Alternative & Rock & Punk and some Emo. I like every kind, but those are my favorite. I like music that I can sing to. What are your religious beliefs? Christian. But a denomination that will let me drink wine. Any closing words? Amanda, you're awesome and I can't wait till my next birthday. I'm gonna try to stay out of trouble this year.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Once again I served as chauffeur for my sister and her friends as they went to see a scary movie. I, however, hate scary movies (b/c they are dumb and not scary) so I picked Elizabethtown b/c I find Kirsten Dunst uniquely appealing. This movie was a lot like Garden State. But I'm going to give it a lower grade for a few reasons: 1. It wasn't as funny. 2. Dunst is not quite as cute as Portman. 3. It didn't flow as well. It seemed like patchwork, a bunch of decent ideas crammed together lazily.

Rating: 5.9
Status: Average

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Right Behind

The Upturned Table Parody Series has turned in another solid effort with 'Right Behind', a parody of last days goofiness. Much like the Mantra of Jabez, this book does a jiffy job of humorously pointing out the shallowness of North American pop-Eschatology. The characters (Buford, Buff & Cleo) brought many smirks to my overly malleable face as they conversed about the 'rapture' and their part of the story (yes, in this book, the characters are aware of their roles). I enjoyed the story thoroughly, even the lackluster ending. Perhaps there will be a sequel or eleven.

Friday, October 21, 2005


The early church impacted the entertainment industry. They considered the Coliseum Games and Gladitorial Contests immoral. A monk named Telamachus, for example, was so appalled by them that he actually walked in the 'playing area' to break up the fight. The crowd wasn't impressed by his peacemaking nature. They stoned him to death.* Emperor Constantine, however, was so moved by the passion of Telemachus that he put an end to the games by law.

Do you think there are forms of 'entertainment' in our culture that are appalling? Are you appalled by them? Are you willing to put yourself at risk to point out their appalling nature? Am I?

*The version of the story that includes Telemachus being killed by the gladiators and the crowd leaving in shame (never to return to the games), doesn't seem to be true. The actual account of the event can be found HERE

Thursday, October 20, 2005

White Sox vs. Astros

Growing up, I had a favorite baseball player: Jeff Bagwell of the Astros. My brother also had a favorite player: Frank Thomas of the White Sox. Coincidentally, it turned out they had the same exact DOB (5/27/68).

Fortunately for my brother and I, both players have had excellent careers. Unfortunately, we never got to see them play against each other. Fortunately, they have yet to retire and their teams are about to face each other in the world series. Unfortunately, both of them are injured. Thomas won't play at all. Bagwell might play a little.

Sometimes things just don't work out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

One Last Try

I have decided to make one last attempt to change my sleeping habits. My goal is to sleep from 1-8am on average. I am currently sleeping from 4-11am on average. If this final attempt is not successful, I'll consider it a lost cause.

For the time being, I'll post my sleeping statistics each Tuesday. Your job is to find some way to punish me for bad stats. For some of you that means not talking to me, for others that means the opposite. Hehe.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Stupid Pujols

I had a post all typed out, but stupid Albert Pujols ruined it. So I'll do one of those hip new point form posts.

a. This past weekend we moved my grandma into a new house. I actually like moving furniture and boxes. b. I got to preach Sunday morning b/c my boss was on a quartet tour. c. notes from my sermon can be found HERE. d. I wanted to take a nap in the afternoon, but I was too tired to move all the stuff off of the couch in pastor Joe's office. e. Essentially, then, I was too tired to sleep. f. I had a deep 10 hour sleep sunday night. g. the light-bulb in my room blew. h. we don't have any more light-bulbs. i. I put up Christmas lights instead.

Good, this post begins and ends with me ("I"). Just the way it should.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The New Canon

Part of the criteria for identifying the Canon of Scripture was popular usage. This caused me to question, what if that same criteria was used to form a contemporary 'canon' for the church. What books/media would be selected as 'Scripture' on these grounds?

Here's my best guess:

Genesis- This book still gets read quite a bit for 2 reasons. First, the creation/evolution debate. Second, most people who decide to read through the Bible in a year make it this far. The Prince of Egypt- In the spirit of Costanza, the 'through the Bible' crew rents the movie instead. Joshua 'A modern day parable- Hey, it's got the same name as a book in the old Bible, so we'll take it. 23rd Psalm- That should cover it. 150 hardly seems necessary. New Proverbs- This would be a collection of quotes from Bright, Hybels, Dobson, Warren, Graham, Lewis, etc. Heck, we'll even retain a few from Solomon. Daniel- I think people still read this one because it's full of excitement, but short on chapters. Plus, we've gotta read at least 1 of the prophets so we understand the genre. The Jesus Film- Why read 4 books when you can watch 1 movie? The Passion- The most important week in history is worthy of Hollywood treatment! Romans- Just in case theology is important. The Purpose Driven Life- This could replace the rest of those Epistle things. Each chapter is like a letter to contemporary Christians. Mere Christianity- For those who finish 40 days of purpose wanting more! The Left Behind Series- We love our eschatology. And what better place to get it?

This gives us 12 books for the New Bible. Just like the tribes of Israel or the number of disciples! Surely this is an inspired list!

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Canon of Scripture

The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce is certainly one of the best books I've completed in the past year. This highly informative 350 page resource sheds plenty of light on the oft-cloudy questions of how we arrived at 66 books/letters instead of, for example, 65 or 67. Bruce deals at length with both the Old and New Testaments. He balances academic information with practical thoughtfulness extremely well. I learned a ton from this book and have a better appreciation for the Bible to show for it. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I have to disagree with most of the serious hockey fans I talk to. They think the shootout is stupid and ridiculous. I think it's not only necessary, but also an improvement.

The shootout is necessary because the NHL needs to grow to survive. The league must let go of some of its sacred traditions. Sports fans want excitement. They want scoring. They have to be crowd-pleasers. It's a business. If you can't stand it, don't watch the NHL. The NHL doesn't have a monopoly on hockey.

The shootout is an improvement because it isn't quite as stupid as having dozens and dozens of games without winners. The NHL was the only major sports league that routinely took up hours of peoples time and loads of peoples cash and failed to let the celebrate or complain.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

2 Ministry Fears

That people just don't care- I sometimes am afraid that despite the passion of the preaching & the seriousness of the sermons, a large percentage of church people just don't care. They're content to remain unchanged... content to be church-people, but not God's people.

That I'll blame myself- I sometimes fear that if that's true, I'll blame my ministry. I've heard it said (especially in church growth circles) that if people don't listen, it's the speakers fault. I disagree, but if you hear something enough it's hard not to believe.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Contacts or Glasses

I can't decide which I like better.

COMFORT Glasses are kind of annoying to wear sometimes, but contacts make my eyes itch (b/c I refuse to take them out at night).
Popular opinion says it's best not to have glasses, but they do tend to make me look older (which is a good thing).
Since I am too stubborn to take contacts out at night, there's always the risk of damaging my eyes. On the other hand, I have broken my fair share of glasses.
COST Both are pretty expensive. If your prescription doesn't change you can keep glasses forever, but they can go out of style too.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Nephilim Debate

Relevant Passage: Genesis 6:1-4
Current Debate:

Theory #1 Fallen Angels
This interpretation equates the 'sons of God' with angels that fell and (or possibly so that) they could have sexual relationships with human women. The offspring of these unions were giants. Strengths: This phrase 'sons of God' refers to angels elsewhere (3 times in Job*), but isn't used of humans in the Old Testament. The book of Enoch takes this interpretation and Jude quotes Enoch as, apparently, a valid source. The Hebrew term 'nephilim' comes from the root 'to fall' possibly referring to 'fallen' angels. Weaknesses: Humans are also called called God's children thoughout Scripture, even in the Old Testament (Hosea 1:10, for example). The book of Enoch was almost certainly not written by Enoch, but seems to have originated in the last century before Christ as part of the apocalyptic genre. Matthew seems to indicate that angels aren't capable of sexual relationships. This view is usually held by those attracted to mystical interpretations.
*Job 1:6, Job 2:1, Job 38:7

Theory #2 Seth's Line
This interpretation equates the 'sons of God' with God's people. The problem was that men from God's holy line mixed (sexually) with worldly women. The fruit of these unholy matrimonies was negative. Strengths: This view seems to fit the context of God's displeasure with mankind (no mention is made of displeasure with angels). The term 'giant' can also refer to one of great carnality. If this view is correct, it is very similar to the problems faced in Canaan when the Israelites made the same mistake. This is the majority view today among scholars. Weaknesses: This view discounts the interpretation of the book of Enoch. It seems to have been the minority view in ancient times. This view is usually held by those who avoid all mysterious interpretations.

So what do you think?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

NHL Predictions

My 2005 NHL Predictions


B+New Jersey
B Toronto
B Tampa Bay
C+NY Islanders
C Montreal
C Atlanta
D Carolina
F Washington
F NY Rangers


A Calgary
B+ Vancouver
B Colorado
B Detroit
B Dallas
B Anaheim
B Chicago
B San Jose
B Phoenix
C+St. Louis
C LA Kings
C Edmonton
C Nashville
C Minnesota
C Columbus

Stanley Cup
Ottawa over Calgary

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Jericho, Jericho

I wrote this song yesterday based on recent readings in Joshua. For more songs you never knew, click here

Marching around this city
How could it fall so simply?
Not a thing that I have done
Could have made this battle won
The enemy was in great fear
Before I was even near
Walls went down without a fight
The battle won was not by might

Jericho, Jericho
I have had my Jericho
And my victory has been won
By what I could not have done
Jericho, Jericho
And now I will always know
Though in the future I may fight
Victory will never be by might

Marching through that city
And all the things so pretty
Oh the treasures of this earth
Could a little plunder hurt?
The command you made was clear
There were still things I held dear
Oh, the price of selfish eyes
Oh, the price of hidden lies

Repeat Chorus

Marching from that city
Toward the land that's for me
All the kingdoms that must fall
For you to be my all in all
Town to town I'll always go
But I'll remember Jericho
I will have to fight the fight
But I'll never fight by might

Repeat Chorus

And all the ground that I can claim
Is through the power of your name
And though the battles may be rough
It's your power that's enough

Repeat Chorus

Monday, October 03, 2005

Life after Jericho

About 7 years ago when I asked God to change me, He changed some things about me right away. My bad temper was replaced by peace. Other things, however, took time. My fear of public interaction, for example, was defeated slowly and with exercise.

Reading through Joshua, I find it interesting that God gave them Jericho without a fight. He wanted to show them that victory came by His might, not theirs. But after Jericho there were many other kingdoms that needed to fall. And Israel had to get bloody & dirty. The victories were still from God, but they needed the battle.

I had my Jericho when God took my bad temper. But as I continue to claim all the ground God has paid for, I know I must fight the good fight of faith. And when I come across another kingdom of this world still residing in my heart, I must remember Jericho during the bloody battle.

I just finished a first draft for a song on these thoughts. I'll post it tomorrow.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg. Tom Cruise. A classic story. All the potential in the world. Zero results.

I expected a lot out of War of the Worlds and was unpleasantly surprised. It seemed like Spielberg was out to prove he could make an alien invasion film without focusing on the alien invasion. Instead he focused on the characters. The problem? The characters weren't interesting. It was basically the same 20 minute movie six times, which was five times too many.

The acting was fine. The special affects were fine. The movie was boring.

Rating: 5.1
Status: Average

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Okay Okay. People kept telling me to watch the show Lost. But I hate getting into something once it's already started. So I decided to watch the very first episode 2 nights ago. It was interesting enough to motivate a viewing of episode 2. Then 3, 4 & 5. Then I fell asleep at 6am. Last night I watched episodes 6-12 from 2-8am. Needless to say, I'm quite captivated.

If my boss is reading this, I am sorry to report I've joined the 'Lost' cult.