Friday, March 31, 2006

March Blogger Awards

The Best of BBC Blogs

Vote for the Post of the Month
Here are the Nominees

AJ's Versus
Corky Courtney
DJ wonders about ***'s
Elizabeth's Tale of Woe
Micaiah's 1st Pics
Jo's Regurgitation
Kayla's Crazy Town

Overall, though, I was quite disappointed with BBC blogs this month. You all stink. OR it could be that I'm in a bad mood b/c my contacts were bothering me as a scanned 80 blogs. Either way, as a result of my frustration I am breaking a rule and giving the best BBC blog for March to a non BBC blogger

March's Best BBC Blogger:
Stephanie I

January Awards
February Awards

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I am an active member of a large Christian message board. One of the forums on this particular board is made up of nothing but polls. Here are some of the more interesting poll results:

When did you become a Christian?
20-29 = 31%
10-19 = 30%
0-9 = 18%
30-39 = 12%
Other = 09%

Thoughts: I found this pretty surprising. I have been told so many times that almost everyone gets saved before they are 20 and that 20 somethings are the hardest people to reach.

What denominational family are you part of?
Baptist 32%
Pentecostal 20%
Independant 10%
Holiness 9%
Anglican 6%
Other 23%

Thoughts: I actually posted this poll after I read Ron Rhodes Complete Guide to Christian Denominations. The results were pretty much exactly what I anticipated.

Where do you stand on the issue of eternal security?
A believer can fall and lose salvation 48%
A believer can fall but are still safe 31%
A believer cannot fall 21%

Thoughts: Pretty much half in half in terms of whether we are eternally secure or not. But I am baffled by people picking the middle category.

Do you speed?
Yes 75%
No 25%

Thoughts: Somehow I get caught behind that 25% every day on my way to church.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Tall of Laziness

Everyone has a weakness. I think mine is laziness. Sure, I work. I do my job and try to do it well. But in the little things I often feel like a lazy slob. Here are some practical examples of my laziness:
  1. I almost always fall back to sleep after my alarm sounds
  2. I never turn off my laptop b/c it takes 2 clicks
  3. If the TV is on too loud but the remote is across the room, I'm content to be annoyed for an hour instead of taking 5 seconds to get the remote and turn it down
  4. I titled this post the 'tall' of laziness instead of the 'height' of laziness b/c the word 'tall' is shorter (which in itself is kinda funny now that I think about it at 3:56am)
  5. I often ignore my bladder until I have another reason to get up
  6. I have been on 3 walks since I got my iPod Nano
  7. I still can't get myself to put dishes in the dishwasher and not just on the counter
  8. I only shave prior to church services
  9. I am still angry I had to type out the word 'height' in example #4

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

LoTR Review

I finished watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Having never read the books or seen the movies before this week, I believe I was able to approach the themes and symbolism in a fresh manner. But my compartmentalizing nature made this a difficult task. All throughout the films my brain was trying to associate specific characters with Christ (like Aslan in Narnia). These associations, however, broke down whenever pushed too far in any direction.

In some ways Aragorn (in the 3rd movie mostly) was much like Christ the King. Gandalf reflected the prophetic and miraculous aspect of Christ at various times. But perhaps no character, to me, better illustrated Christ than Frodo. He was a mere hobbit and Christ became a mere man. He was tempted by the power of the ring and Christ was offered power by the devil. Frodo was, perhaps, the only individual in the movie able to make the journey without giving in to selfish ambition. And both he and Christ completed their journey and then departed.

The other question that came to mind as I completed the trilogy was, "Who am I in the Lord of the Rings?" I believe that I (and we) are most like Sam. We are called to aid the work of Christ in this world. We are called to carry the cross (as Sam carried Frodo). We are left with some pages to fill in the great narrative of Christ's work.

These are probably very obvious (or totally off-base!) connections, but those are my thoughts after watching The Lord of the Rings for the very first time.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Top 10 Cereals

  1. Oatmeal Crisp Almond (General Mills)
  2. Oatmeal Crisp Raisin (General Mills)
  3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch (General Mills)
  4. Golden Grahams (General Mills)
  5. Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills)
  6. Cheerios (General Mills)
  7. Cookie Crisp (General Mills)
  8. Life (Quaker)
  9. Frosted Flakes (Kellogg's)
  10. Cap'n Crunch (Quaker)
End Notes:
~ I had no idea General Mills made almost all my favorite cereals. This reminds me of the time I went to download all my favorite country songs and found out 90% of them were by the same guy (John Michael Montgomery)
~ Kellogg's really stinks at making cereal
~ I once had 22 straight meals of cereal. I do not recommend this
~ I can't find Apple Cinnamon Cheerios in my area anymore, but I remember liking them
~ There is a cereal restaurant now. Click HERE

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Banquet

I learned this song at a kid's program many years ago and have liked it since. I altered some of the lyrics to better fit my theology.

I cannot come
I cannot come to the banquet,
don't trouble me now.
I have married a wife;
I have bought me a cow.
I have fields and commitments
that cost a pretty sum.
Pray, hold me excused, I cannot come.

A certain man held a feast
on his fine estate in town.
He spread a festive table
He wore a wedding gown.
He sent invitations
to His people far and wide
but when the meal was ready,
each of them replied:

The master rose up in anger,
called his servants by name,
said: Go into the town,
find the blind and the lame,
find the peasant and the pauper,
for this I have willed,
my banquet must be crowded,
and my tables must be filled.

When all the poor had assembled,
there was still room to spare,
so the master demanded:
Go and search every where,
to the highways and the byways
invite them all to come
Ask every single person
For the banquet has begun.

Now God has written this lesson
for the rest of the mankind;
If we're slow a responding,
we may run out of time.
He's prepared us a banquet
and invites us still today
when the Lord and Master calls you,
be careful not to say:

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lord of the Rings

Last night I wasn't feeling well so I went to bed early and watched the 1st Lord of the Rings movie. I have never read the books or seen any of the movies before. I found it somewhat average. I wasn't disappointed because I didn't have high expectations. I will watch the other 2 at some point in the next week just so I can say I finished the trilogy. I will add any additional thoughts to this post instead of reviewing the 3 seperately.

Fellowship of the Rings
Rating: 6.4
Status: Worth the Time

The Two Towers
Rating: 7.9
Status: Must See

The Return of the King
Rating: 7.7
Status: Must See

I know it'd be difficult, but I'd really love for someone to try to make The Screwtape Letters into a movie.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Personality Test

I took a personality test today, but I don't agree with all of the results. For instance, I'm not sure how I can be pretty high in aggressiveness AND cautiousness. Also, I know I'm not Mr. Excitement, but 1%?!?! Lastly, I may have struggled with confidence in the past, but now anymore. 1%? I'm quite confident I could beat the crap out of this test. You can click the test to make it bigger.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cliche War

Which cliche do you find more truthful?

absence makes the
heart grow fonder


out of sight
out of mind

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Funny Movies

It's pretty hard to make me laugh. If I'm amused by something I tend to just smile. Sometimes I have to snicker just to let the other person know that I approve of their comedic narrative. I really do approve. I just am not a laugher. That being said, there are some movies that actually make me laugh out loud repeatedly. I want to compile a list of such movies.

Captain Ron
Dumb & Dumber
Napoleon Dynamite
National Lampoon's Vacation
What About Bob?

I find many other movies funny, but I can't think of any of them making me laugh a multitude of times. I may be forgetting some though. Feel free to list some movies that actually make you laugh a ton.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More on Murray

A week ago I had a post about Arnold Murray and his off the wall teachings. Well, I was asked about him again this week and so today I listened to his program online. Well, in the 10 minutes I devoted to researching his ministry I found a few gems:

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thought of the Day

It is just and good for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer unless richness and poorness are defined in worldly ways.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tony Blair

Does anyone else find "Questions for the Prime Minister" on C-SPAN fascinating? Tony Blair is my favorite politician. That's all for today.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I just finished a very informative book about dispensationalists and their thoughts about (and even influence on) the future. It is my belief that this eschatological view has an inherent pessimism which limits the motivation of its adherents to make a positive impact in the physical realm.

Over the past few years I've been frightened by the reaction of ardent dispy's to bad news. To a large degree, they like it! And why wouldn't they? Bad news, for them, just means the rapture is right around the corner. For example, ever heard of the rapture index? It's a website that ranks how bad the world is using 45 categories of badness. If the world is really bad, the score is really high. Right now the score is 156 which means we should 'fasten our seat belts' and get ready for an exciting ride.

Built into this system of thought is the idea that we, as Christians, are just trying to 'hold-on' until Jesus takes us out of the worsening world. Before that day comes it's good to tell people about Jesus, but why try (for instance) to establish peace in the middle east when Armageddon is inevitable? Why not leave those left behind to deal with the messes they've made?

But what if they're wrong? What if a 19th century invention is just a 19th century invention? What if a third of America's 50 million evangelicals have un-necessarily given up on increasing the size of God's government here on earth just because they don't think it's the right era to do so? What if Christ isn't waiting for the "world" to get worse to provoke His return? What if He's waiting for the "church" to get bigger and better?

It's amazing what a change of focus can do. Since I left the dispensationalist camp, my hope in the church and in God's activity in this world have increased dramatically. Scripture has given me this hope.

Ephesians 4:11-13
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Those verses, along with others, make me think that the Lord is waiting for 2 things before He returns: An increase in the QUALITY & QUANTITY of the church. In fact, Peter uses a very interesting phrase a few verses later. He says that by living holy and godly lives we can actually speed the coming of that great day!

It's not bad news that provokes the 2nd Coming, it's good news. It's not 'holding-on' that hastens the return of Christ, it's 'growing-up'. It's not giving up on God's world that shows we're ready to see our Savior, it's impacting His world that impresses Him.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Early Edition

  1. I'm posting early b/c yesterday's post was super boring
  2. As mentioned previously, I like the show Early Edition
  3. This post is not named after that show, though, it's simply titled 'Early Edition' b/c I'm posting Friday's post 8 hours early
  4. I feel like I'm due for a paper-cut b/c I haven't had one in a really long time. It's a scary feeling
  5. You can watch the NCAA tourny from your computer. I am planning my work day so that I can catch the end of most of the good games
  6. I forced myself awake at 9am today. I've been getting up at noon for weeks
  7. I added a hit counter at the bottom of the right sidebar
  8. I just passed 64,000 hits
  9. I bet only half of them are me

Thursday, March 16, 2006

7 for 7

I am a perfect 7 for 7 in regards to guessing which female will be voted off American Idol. This means 1 of 3 things.
1. I'm a really good guesser
2. I am the average american
3. I know the pulse of america

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shows that Start with F

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

Facts of Life I remember the theme song, but that's it
Family Matters Thanks DJ for pointing out its absence
Family Feud Still watch this sometimes. good fun.
Family Ties Pretty annoying now that I think about it
Farscape I have enjoyed this sci-fi series (not finished yet)
The Flintstones One of the better cartoons of all time
Fraggle Rock Awesome theme song, awesome kid show
Frasier Best spin-off ever? I think so
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Not a work of art, but it was fun
Friends Casting was good, but I stopped watching
Full House A TGIF classic.
Futurama Henderson made me watch a handful of them

Best of the F's? FRASIER

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Off the Wall

I was asked this Sunday about the Kenites. I've never been asked about them before. Heck, there are only 7 verses in the Bible that mention them and none of them seem especially significant.

It turns out Pastor Arnold Murray of Shepherd's Chapel makes a huge deal out of the Kenites. They are the descendants of Eve and the serpent's son, you know: Cain. I did the tiny bit of research on Murray that this issue merits and found that he's mostly just doing a pretty horrible job of interpreting Genesis 3 and the seed parables in Matthew 13.

Thankfully, I turned the person asking the question to Genesis 4:1 and that was the end of it. Anyone else ran into this Kenite stuff? Anyone know much about Arnold Murray and/or Shepherd's Chapel?

Monday, March 13, 2006


Every time I clean my room I re-arrange it.
Is this common?

At BBC my room had some of the strangest arrangments. Henderson and I had desks on beds, computer monitors taped to bed-posts, mattresses on the floor, desks on top of each-other, etc. We actually got in trouble a few times for our interior decorating.

My current room is even smaller than my dorm-room, but I've still found a multitude of slight variations to keep things fresh. Without the possibility of re-arranging, I'd have no motivation to clean at all.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Altering the Altar 5

I've expressed some of the reasons why I don't think much of the concept of the altar call, but I admit it's just a personal preference (perhaps a conviction). Unfortunately (and fortunately), when I preach the room is not empty. How should I respond to people in the congregation who ask for more altar calls? I can tell them why I don't like altar calls, but if I continue to refrain, am I then taking away a prop that is helpful to them in worship?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Altering the Altar 4

Why did preachers start using altar calls?

I know there are answers to that question. I'm just not sure there are any GOOD ones. For about 1800 years nothing exactly resembling the modern day 'altar call' was commonplace by any stretch of the imagination. From Peter/Paul to Wesley/Whitefield there was hardly an altar call to be found. Since then, Finney/Moody/Graham made the altar call a staple in the evangelical world.

Do people need to make a decision to follow Christ? Sure. But what does walking to the front of a room HAVE to do with that? As a pastor I can sympathise with the desire to SEE the fruit of a sermon, but I'm reminded of a quote from Wesley's journal regarding such: "Preached at (such and such a place). Many seemed deeply affected. But God alone knows how deeply."

I think lots of great things have happened at altar calls in the past 200 years. I'm not saying otherwise. But I have a conviction that the prop may have caused more harm than good.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Altering the Altar 3

Another reason I'm not a big fan of the altar call is that I live in the post-cross era. I just don't see a New Testament case being made for the continued use of an altar in worship. In fact, I see the opposite. Hebrews 13 tells us that We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. In context, the author is talking about the cross. That is where the once and for all sacrifice was made.

In New Testament times, it's not about going to a certain location to get right with God. It's about turning to the cross no matter where you are. I don't care if it's an altar, pew, chair, car, bed, etc. Christ will find us.

I guess there are some props I find helpful. I like having a large cross at the front of a sanctuary. I like having a big huge Bible in front of a pulpit. But I don't find the altar meaningful. Or, at least, I find more potential negatives than positives when it comes to the altar.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Altering the Altar 2

Here's the scenario: An altar call is made. People go forward. They're ready to take a step in their relationship with God. They kneel at the altar and begin to pray/listen. 5 seconds pass. Someone places a hand on their shoulder.

I'm not a fan of this. I love to see people interacting with God. I hate to see them interupted when doing so. I'm sure the motivation for laying your hands on someone at the altar is usually pure. But it just seems like more of a distraction to me than a help.

1 other problem. I notice, in the modern church, a desire to 'control' God's work. We treat the church like an organization instead of as an organism. I think there's a difference. Laying a hand on someone at the altar (and sometimes even whispering a prayer or even interupting them to pray WITH them) seems like trying to organize the Spirit's work.

Just my opinion. What's yours?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Altering the Altar 1

The older I get, the less likely I've become to respond to an altar call. When I was a teen, I responded to quite a few of them at camp li-lo-li. The speaker would deliver an inspiring message and then urge us to commit to God. At Bethany I think I responded to a couple in my freshmen year. Maybe 1 as a sophmore. I doubt any as a junior. And I know I haven't gone forward since then at any service. THAT is MY altar history.

Now, before I post for a few days about my view of altar calls, I would love to read about your history with them. Not really your 'view', just your experience. Don't worry, I have no interest in rebuking your experiences, just genuine interest in your altar history.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Challenge of Jesus

My favorite way to review a book is to pick my favorite quotes. For this book I underlined hundred of lines, starred about 25, and then selected 10 of those to share with you:

"It has far too often been assumed that church leaders stand above the nitty-gritty of biblical and theological study; they have done all that, we implicitly suppose, before they come to office, and now they simply have to work out the 'implications'. They then find themselves spending countless hours at their desks running the church as a business, raising money or working at dozens of other tasks, rather than poring over their foundation documents and enquiring ever more closely about the Jesus whom they are supposed to be following and teaching other to follow."

"When Jesus came to Jerusalem there was bound to be a confrontation between himself and the temple. The city, the system, was simply not big enough for the two of them."

"Suddenly, with the right story in their heads and hearts, a new possibility, huge, astonishing and breathtaking, started to emerge before them. Suppose the reason the key would not fit the lock was because they were trying the wrong door. Suppose Jesus' execution was not a clear disproof of his messianic vocation but its confirmation and climax. Suppose the cross was not one more example of the triumph of paganism over God's people but was actually God's means of defeating evil once and for all."

"How long must it be before we learn that our task as Christians is to be in the front row of constructing the post-postmodern world?"

"Some have (argued that)...there is really no point in attempting to reshape the present world by the light of Jesus Christ. 'Armageddon is coming, so who cares about acid rain or third world debt?' That is the way of dualism; it is a radically anticreation viewpoint and hence is challenged head on by John's emphasis on Easter as the first day of the new week, the start of God's new creation. On the other hand, some have so emphasized the continuity between the present world and the coming new world that they have imagined we can actually build the kngdom of God by our own hard work."

"We are like musicians called to play and sing the unique and once-only-written musical score. We don't have to write it again, but we have to play it."

"As Jesus was to Israel, so the church is to be to the world...Bearing God's image is not just a fact, it is a vocation."

"God did indeed accomplish it. The foundation has been laid. The garden has been planted. The musical score has been written. The principalities and powers that kept us in exile have been defeated; they need reminding of this, and we need reminding too, but it is a fact- if it isn't, the cross was a failure. Out task is now to build the house, to tend the garden, to play the score."

"The proper way to expound the parables today is to ask: What should we be doing in God's world that would call forth the puzzled or even angry questions to which parables like these would be the right answer."

"We are discovering what the Eastern Orthodox Church refers to as, yes, 'divinization.' Ultimately, if you don't believe that, you don't believe in the Holy Spirit. And if you think that sounds arrogant, imagine how arrogant it would be even to think of trying to reshape our world without being indwelt, engergized, guided and directed by God's own Spirit."

"I believe, and I challenge my readers to work this out in their own worlds, that there is such a thing as a love, a knowing, a hermeneutic of trust rather than suspician, which is what we most surely need as we enter the twenty-first century."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fastest Driver Contest

I recently drove from Baldwinsville to Johnson City. There was 1 problem: Yahoo says that it's a 1 hour 52 minute trip and I had just over 1 hour to do it in. So, as most people would, I drove fast. I left at 5:20 and arrived around 6:28 I think. I don't think I went any faster than 92mph (about 148km/h). I want to know which of my readers has gone that fastest.

*Be not afraid, no police-people read my blog
*miles/km converter HERE

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I tried a different teaching style as my Sunday School Class studied through Galatians. I simply provided a list of questions based on the passage each week and hoped that it would create a thorough amount of conversation. It worked well enough to last 23 weeks. Here are the questions we used (In chapter 5 we used a more topical approach to the fruit of the Spirit).

Galatians 1
Galatians 2
Galatians 3
Galatians 4
Galatians 5
Galatians 6

Friday, March 03, 2006

Knew News

1. My new laptop arrived JUST in time. My old one won't even come on now unless I put pressure on the power cord.
2. I just finished making a photostory based on our 30hr Famine. I bet it will be my post for tomorrow. Just wait and see.
3. Next week I am going to be doing a series on 'altar calls'. I've been having lots of thoughts about them lately.
4. I think our church is at a crucial moment. I can tell b/c I sense both God and satan are moving.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Glorified Garbage Man

A couple weeks ago I awoke to the sound of the garbage truck coming down the road. I rushed outside and got the 2 bins to the road just in time to watch the truck drive by. Turns out they only do one side of the road at a time now. I wonder if they were laughing as they passed me by.

Segue to seriousness

Sometimes pastor's are treated quite a bit like garbage men. Some people expect pastors to clean up their garbage, but they're not interested in following the garbage man anywhere. They want the pastor to use their 'authority' to confront a foe, but aren't interested in the pastor's 'authority' when it comes to positive spiritual direction.

If enough people treat the pastor like that, he'll probably loose his vision and end up in the dumps.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sermon Types

I've discovered that I have about 5 different 'types' of sermons

'Movement Busters'
Sometimes I notice a trend in the church that is not Scriptural. These sermons basically consist of a biblical refutation of such movements.

In these sermons, I pick and issue that is relevant and let Scripture speak. These almost always contain lots of quotes as I move from describing the problem to prescribing the solution.

'Which One Are You?'
Most passages of Scripture involve multiple characters. Here, I describe the characteristics of 2-5 of them and ask the people to consider which character they most emulate.

Though there is some exposition in all my sermons, many of them just work through a passage verse by verse with observations and applications throughout.

'Word Study'
Sometimes I just pick a word in the Bible and read all the verses that use that word and then organize them into a few key points.