Monday, February 27, 2006

Road To Armageddon

Just finished a book I've been reading in spurts for a long while. Timothy Weber's book "On the Road to Armageddon" is an excellent overview of dispensationalism. He gives the history of this modern interpretation and discusses its ramifications. I found his approach quite fair and extremely thoughtful in regards to middle east tensions and the role dispensationalists have taken as friends of national Israel. It's long, but it's good.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Famine Top 10

My Top 10 Highlights from the 30hr Famine

Over 100 Teens: It was awesome to see so many teens worshipping, listening, playing around, smelling, not eating, etc.

Unity: 4 or 5 youth groups were represented. That's 1 reason I love this event, it brings different churches together.

Over 43 Hours: I forgot to eat breakfast & lunch prior to the famine (totally by accident), so I actually went 43 hours.

My Own Room: My only condition for spending the night was that I get my own room. I just can't take the smell. I'm not a youth pastor.

Evangelism: The theme for the weekend was evangelism. All the devotionals & Bible studies were done really well and lots of kids made commitments.

Devotional: My devotional was based on CS Lewis's legend/lunatic/liar/Lord scenario, but with an emphasis on actions instead of just saying 'Lord, Lord'

Diana Davis: There was a girl (must have been the leader of another youth group) that looked and acted just like Diana Davis.

Basketball: I was the ref for a 3-on-3 basketball tourny. It was real fun. The winning team was named 'Ted Nugent'

Hair-Shaved: I had made a bet that the teens couldn't raise $3500 and if they did I'd shave the top of my head, but not the sides. I lost.

$4500 +: There's still some money coming in so they may reach $5000 or so. 2 of our teens raised like $500 on 1 particular Sunday by going door to door offering people the chance to crack eggs over their heads!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

30 Hour Famine

I'm at the 30 Hour Famine. I'll update later.

Anyone else doing it this year?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Church 'Stuff'

We cleaned out a closet* at church last night. It's amazing what kind of stuff accumulates at a church b/c few are willing to throw anything out.
Tons of sheet music from the mid 20th century
Old floor-boards with nails in them
Books about proper etiquette for girls in the workplace
Old sermon tapes
Broken and/or out-dated electrical equipment
The sad thing is, we didn't end up throwing it out either! We just moved it up to the attic. Granted, if it were just me** there, it would have seen the dumpster.

*technically, it's a 'choir room', but we don't have a choir. In fact, our building is about 13 years old and we've never really had a choir in that time. We've never had ANY singers use that room, but maybe that's b/c it was full of junk.
**If you have trouble letting go of junk, call me up. I love throwing other people's stuff away.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why We Lost

Both the USA & Canada are OUT of the men's olympic hockey tourny already! Why? I think there are exactly 5 reasons. I'll even try justify that bold statement by thinking of them:

Over-confidence- This especially applies to team USA. In the interviews I heard, they came across as super arrogant. They acted as if they were the favorites.

Poor Player Selection- I really think Staal, Spezza and/or Crosby would have improved team Canada. And if Ryan Miller had been picked as team USA's goalie this post wouldn't exist.

Big Rinks- Let's face it, the bigger ice surfaces tend to favor the skilled Europeans. Our teams looked slower quite regularly

Poor Chemistry- This specifically applies when facing opponents with mostly non-NHLers like Latvia & Switzerland. Those guys have more experience playing with each other.

Over Matched- I think Russia's top players are just better than Canada's top players. And I know Finland is a better team than the US of A. Sure Canada has more depth, but you can only put 6 players on at a time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shows that Start with E

Here are all the shows that start with 'E' that I have watched more than twice. Why? Who knows

Early Edition I liked this show. A cat delivers tomorrow's paper to a guy named Gary and he tries to fix stuff Ellen I thought this show was decently funny Everybody Loves Raymond I find every episode to be almost identical, but that's OK since it's kinda funny & true to life

Best of the E's? Early Edition

And since there aren't many E shows that I've watched more than twice, I'll post my ratings for tonights American Idol girls:


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Table for Two

Band: Caedmon's Call
Album: 40 Acres

Danny and I
Spent anther late night over pancakes
Talkin' 'bout soccer
And how every man's just the same.
We made speculation
On the who's and the when's of our futures
And how everyone's lonely
But still we just couldn't complain.

And how we just hate being alone.
Could I have missed my only chance,
And now I'm just wasting my time
By lookin' around

But ya know I know better,
I'm not gonna worry 'bout nothin'.
Cause if the birds and the flowers survive,
Then I'll make it okay.
I'm given a chance and a rock;
see which one breaks a window.
See which one keeps me up all night and into the day.

Because I'm so scared of being alone
That I forget what house i live in.
But it's not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call.

Well this day's been crazy
But everything's happened on schedule,
from the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt.
'Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden,
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt.

And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace,
Just to get me to sleep

Monday, February 20, 2006

An 'Off' Night

Last night in our parable series I felt 'off'. There may have been a few reasons for this:
1. The content of those 2 parables wasn't particularly on my heart like those of previous weeks.
2. I had a hard time motivating myself to prepare this week. Usually I am ready for Sunday night by Monday evening, but this week I wasn't ready till Sunday afternoon.
3. It was the 1st time I used the remote we just got to control the powerpoint presentation*
4. I had too many notes and they were written too small. For me, an abundance of notes means I didn't feel prepared.
5. I was super hungry. Hadn't eaten in 20 hours.
* A pittance for pizzas piled so high

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Disaster Dreams

I have a lot of natural disaster dreams.

Last night I dreamed that Lake Ontario had swelled to within 20 feet of our back door. We were relatively safe b/c our house, in the dream, was built on a grassy plateau. But the neighbors' homes were partially under water. And my dog Copper (who died 11 years ago) was alive, but in serious danger.

I used to dream a lot about fires, but I haven't dreamed of a fire since we actually had a fire. In those dreams, I always escaped via a wide scooter. I laid belly-side down on the scooter and used my arms to gain speed. It's a very slow get-away, but I never got burnt.

I feel this post is poorly worded, but dreams are like that.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Random News

Since the word 'random' is pretty much the most popular word in the blogosphere, I figured I should title one of my posts 'random news'.
  1. I just got freaked out (like 3 seconds ago) b/c I'm in the kitchen and I glanced out the window and saw a deer on our deck. But it turns out it's just one of those Christmas light deer with an electrical neck that turns back and forth.
  2. I just lost at Risk (like 3 minutes ago) to my little sister for the very first time. I lost like 70% of the battles. Stupid snake eyes. She is getting smarter too. She used to be pretty dumb, but she had an excuse b/c she was like 11.
  3. I need to be more aggresive in the social realm
  4. The 1st girl I ever kissed just signed on aol
  5. My niece left a sucker in a tiny glass of mountain dew and now it is a really sick color.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Current Studies

I'm currently teaching 4 hours/week and making good progress in my life's goal of teaching through Scripture 3 times. I believe I'm right around 20% through phase 1. Here is what I'm teaching through currently:

1. Sunday Morning. We are in week 21 of a 24 week series on Paul's letter to the Galatians. I'm not sure why this Sunday School class has grown so much. We were a class of 4-5 most weeks, but for the last 6 we've been averaging 14. My guess is it's b/c the 'fruit of the Spirit' passage is just super practical.

2. Sunday Nights. We are in week 7 of probably a 16 week series through the parables. We discuss 1-2 parables each week for just over an hour. Attendance is usually close to 30.

3. Wednesday Nights. We are in week 11 of a 15 week series through the letter to the Hebrews. I have personally found this to be a great study. Our Wednesday nights are divided into 2 groups. One group prays the entire hour. The other group does a 30 minute Bible study and then prays. Combined attendance is usually about 20.

4. Thursday Nights. We are in week 16 of what will probably end up being a 30 week series on the book of Genesis. This is my men's group which is usually 7 or so guys. We take 1-2 chapters a week and end with Wesley's accountability questions.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Exercise Machine

I bought an exercise machine. It's smaller than I expected. I will use this iPod Nano to accompany me on a daily walk (and eventually a jog) around the block. I won't be listening to music though, just talk shows I download from ministry sites. Now I have no excuses as to why I won't journey around the block. This was my surprise gift to myself for paying off my student loans.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Good Samaritan Principles

Each time we encounter a person or persons in need we make a choice. We either help or we don't. I suppose the 'spiritual' thing to say is we should always make the choice to help. But I don't think that's possible or wise in the real world. Maybe I'll take a hit for having this opinion, but here are some principles I use for making these choices.

7 Principles for a Good Samaritan

1. Consider the manner of the request
If a person is overly aggressive in their request or uses a high pressure environment to provoke a hand-out, I'm less likely to give. If they are interested in cash and not in conversation, I'm less likely to give.

2. Consider the quantity of the problem
How many people are involved in this need? Are there 200 needy people in 1 place? If so, I'm less likely to give to any of them and more likely to take the problem to the church to develop a larger scale ministry.

3. Consider the quality of the problem
Is the problem specific? Does it require immediate attention? If so, I'm much more likely to choose to meet the need. I'm much more interested in providing shoes to a bare foot man than a quick $20 to a healthy young male.

4. Try to connect/converse
I feel like if I can converse with the person in need, I'm able to get a better sense for what action is wise. Plus, connecting provides an opportunity to minister more fully.

5. Try not to give cash
My policy is it's always better to meet the need specifically than to just hand the person/people cash. Do they need gas? Fill their car up for them. Do they need heat? Pay their bill. We are called to give, but we are also stewards.

6. Try to limit the risk
Should I pick up that hitch-hiker? A good policy is to keep the risk to a minimum. What time of day is it? What's the reputation of that road? I am not sure a woman driver should make a habit of picking up male hitch-hikers.

7. Let the Spirit lead you
Most important, seek the Holy Spirit's guidance. He is all-wise and will help you make wise choices. The first 6 principles take a back seat to principle number 7.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Worst Pic EVER!

Are you willing to post your 'Worst Pic EVER'?
I am
Below are the nominees:

Candidate #1 Mustache Matthew

Candidate #2 Druggy Matthew
I am pretty sure I know
which pic you'll pick!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Man Power

One thing I am really starting to like about my Men's Group is I can depend on them to respond to a need. If the church facilities need some work, they can do it. If someone in the church is in need of a handy man, I know just the guys for the job. Personally, all I can do is move boxes or whatnot. But it's an awesome feeling to have someone ask me if I can help and be able to tap a couple guys on the shoulder and know the problem is solved.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Letting Go

So today I heard something about the NFL Draft and I realized I'd miss it while I'm in China. Who cares, right? Well, me. I really enjoy watching the NFL Draft. But then I realized something even worse, the Sabres are actually going to make the NHL playoffs this year (that's not the bad part) and I'm going to miss the 1st round (that is the bad part).

3 years ago while I was preparing for my 1st trip to China, I remember being super upset that I'd miss such things. I think sports have been an idol in my life. Drury elaborates on the idea of love for sports as a false religion:
We have our Holy seasons of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, but the god of Sports offers the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Final Four...The really dedicated adherents of the god of Sports memorize and recite the Mighty Acts of the saints, now canonized into their respective halls of fame. Some fans even take the pilgrimage to these hushed galleries to admire their wax figures, and many trade their faces on trading cards like holy icons...There are mysterious rituals like face-painting and end-zone dances. Hey, Sports has all the elements of a great religion! Sports offers high emotion, stories of grit and determination, pain and sacrifice, victory and defeat. And it all occurs in a gigantic structure in the center of town, reminiscent of medieval insistence that the local cathedral be the highest building in town, thus projecting its importance and might.
When I realized what I'd miss today, I was briefly upset. But I was less upset than 3 years ago. I am thankful that God is helping me to let go of this rival king in my heart. It may sound stupid to some of you that I held sports so tightly, but I did. The blunt teachings of Christ about the kind of committment He's commanding have loosened my grip on sports (and more accurately, its grip on me).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pizza Hut

A six-pack of ponderings on Pizza Hut
1. Pizza Hut, overall, has the best pizza
2. Pizza Huts best pizza is the stuffed crust pizza
3. Pizza Hut also has excellent Caesar Salad
4. Pizza Huts new cheesy bites pizza is stupid
5. Pizza Hut kills you on the drinks, just get water
6. If I ever get that disorder that Leonardo Dicaprio got on the movie 'The Aviator' where you repeat the same line over and over, the line I will repeat will be 'A pittance for pizzas piled so high' from a recent Pizza Hut commercial. I already catch myself saying it in my car on the way to work.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Guess Who

My lil sister really likes the game 'guess who'. It's a simple game. She picks a person and I ask 'Yes' or 'No' questions until I guess the person she has in mind. We've played this game so much that sometimes I can almost read her mind and win right away.

At first the questions are really general. Is it a boy? Is he famous? Eventually the questions get more complex. Is he fictional? Is he from a book(s)? And in the final stages the questions become quite specific. Does he live on a crowded page while wearing a red & white striped shirt? It takes time before I know enough to ask the perfect question. But once the perfect question is asked, I know I've won.

In some ways, I think asking God for stuff in prayer is like a game of 'Guess Who'. At first I have no idea what questions to ask or if the answer will be yes. The more I ask, though, the closer I get to asking the right kind of questions. And after I've prayed a lot, sometimes it seems like I know exactly what God is thinking.

In my prayer life, my goal is to get to know God so well that I find myself consistently asking the right questions and having great confidence in what the answer will be.

Friday, February 03, 2006

China Trip 3?

I'm going to let my readers decide on my participation in China Trip 06*. Just leave a YES or NO:


*actually, the results of this poll will be given little to no weight in my thought process

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Isaac's Typing Skills

Isaac as a ‘type’ of Christ
Both were conceived supernaturally
Both births had been promised well in advance
Both were spoken of as only beloved sons
Both were to be sacrificed on a mountain
Both were considered as good as dead for 3 days
Both carried the wood needed for sacrifice
Both showed submission to their father’s plan
Can you think of any more?