Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Power Rankings2

1. NY Giants
2. Tennessee Titans
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Washington Redskins
5. Dallas Cowboys
6. Tampa Bay Bucs
7. Carolina Panthers
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Denver Broncos
10. Philadelphia Eagles
11. San Diego Chargers
12. Jacksonville Jaguars
13. Baltimore Ravens
14. Chicago Bears
15. Green Bay Packers
16. New Orleans Saints
17. Indianapolis Colts
18. NE Patriots
19. NY Jets
20. Arizona Cardinals
21. Minnesota Vikings
22. Cleveland Browns
23. SF 49ers
24. Atlanta Falcons
25. Seattle Seahawks
26. Houston Texans
27. Miami Dolphins
28. Oakland Raiders
29. Kansas City Chiefs
30. Detroit Lions
31. Cincinnati Bengals
32. St. Louis Rams

Monday, September 29, 2008

Office Plan

My favorite show is, by far, The Office. But on Thursday nights I have men's group and then play basketball till about 9:30. I have decided to DVR all of the episodes and watch them around Christmas time. With the Houghton program in full swing, I'm down to Friday and Saturday nights as my only free evenings. This partially explains my lack of recent weekend posting. Speaking of Houghton, I must now go there. Bye :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

Via facebook I found the website Yearbook Yourself and found the results funny enough to share. Here are my 5 favorite grad pics!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Community at a Distance

I, for one, am glad about the changes the Wesleyan Church made in regards to community membership. I am glad they can now vote. But I still think the denomination did a poor job of reflecting the intent of the majority in the wording of the community membership agreement. The following lines in '5575' are unfortunate:

"The church of Jesus Christ is not only for those who are spiritually strong and mature" ... "There are those who are not yet ready for Covenant membership in the Wesleyan Church" ... "They may participate in church life until they may become Covenant members" ... "It is your purpose to prepare to be received at the proper time in Covenant Membership"

I really think Community Membership should no longer be necessarily viewed as a stepping stone to Covenant membership. Do we really have to call Christians who won't sign up for our particular legalisms immature and unready? They already can't serve in elected office. Can't we just let them be without speaking down to them? Just my thoughts. I'm hoping there is still time to change this wording.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Under the Sea

I had a strange thing occur just now while half-asleep. I was dreaming a music video. The song was about walking on the ocean floor. In the dream, I was able to live underwater and the song was about my life there. The lyrics were descriptive and accurate of what I was doing. But it turns out I was only half-asleep because Jackson Brown was performing a new song on Colbert Report, which was looping on my DVR. His song was about going to Cuba 'where the river ends.'

I find this fascinating. Obviously my 'dream' was partially based on the waking world. The 'sound' of the song was exactly Jackson Brown's tune. The lyrics were even slightly overlapping in content. But the story of the song was completely different. And 'my' lyrics were full, complete, and sensible. In the dream world, it seems, I am a prolific song-writer. I often wonder if we're much more creative in our dream states than we are in the waking world, and if so, what stifles creativity while awake?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Critique my Chart

I made a chart, a while back, that I think works very well for discussing the Calvinist vs. Arminian theology. In our anti-institutional age, it seems to work well to describe dismiss the extremes of both labels and focus on a biblical yet balanced view. But I'd be glad to receive constructive criticism of either my message or my method in making it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ghost Town

He sees dead people. Sounds like it's been done before, but 'Ghost Town' is a surprisingly fresh comedy starring Ricky Gervais (the boss on the BBC version of 'The Office') as a dentist named Bertram Pincus. Dr. Pincus doesn't like people, so it's quite unfortunate when, after 'dying' for 7 minutes at the hospital, he's able to see a lot more of them. These ghosts have unfinished business on earth, and once they realize Pincus can see them, they won't leave him alone.

This is probably one of the funniest movies I've seen in a few years. Gervais deserves a wider American audience and he'll probably have a good string of American movies in the next 5 years. The supporting cast is also good, especially Greg Kinear, Tea Leoni, and Kristetn Wiig. The movie is more funny as a comedy (first 75% of film) than it is powerful as a point-making film (final quarter), but overall, a very enjoyable movie going experience.

Rating: 7.9
Status: Must See

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Power Rankings

Every 2 weeks, I intend to give my NFL power rankings

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. NY Giants
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Green Bay Packers
5. NE Patriots
6. Buffalo Bills
7. Denver Broncos
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Tennessee Titans
10. Arizona Cardinals
11. Indianapolis Colts
12. San Diego Chargers
13. Philadelphia Eagles
14. Chicago Bears
15. New Orleans Saints
16. Minnesota Vikings
17. Jacksonville Jaguars
18. Cleveland Browns
19. Tampa Bay Bucs
20. Washington Redskins
21. Baltimore Ravens
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. NY Jets
24. Houston Texans
25. Oakland Raiders
26. SF 49ers
27. Atlanta Falcons
28. Detroit Lions
29. Cincinnati Bengals
30. Kansas City Chiefs
31. St. Louis Rams
32. Miami Dolphins

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What to do?

Over the past several weeks, I've noticed an intense discomfort among some Christians about the following passages. What do YOU do with these verses?

Judges 9:23
God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.

1 Samuel 19:9
But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp

2 Chronicles 18:22
"So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

Monday, September 15, 2008


For over 650 noteguides, similar to the one below, click on the Knew Kingdom link on the left sidebar :)

What good can come from bad circumstances?
An analysis of Philippians 1:12-30

1. They can allow us to be a light in a dark place
“As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ” (13)

2. They can provoke others to step up
“Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly” (14)

3. They can get God’s people praying
“I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers… what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (19)

4. They can help us to sense God’s presence
“Through… the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (19)

5. They can remind us of our purpose
“Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death… I will continue with all of your for your progress (20, 25)

6. They can be a sign to unbelievers
“This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God.” (28)

7. They can prepare others for similar struggles
“It has been granted to you… to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had.” (29-30)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Media Trends

I don't think I ever posted this video which shows how much mainstream media coverage impacts the thinking of mainstream citizens. It's a very interesting video, about 7 minutes long.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 'Liberal' Label

Tuesday night at our small group my view on a particular issue was labeled 'very liberal' by one of the great members of our fun lil gatherings. I believe this is the first time a position of mine has been labeled 'liberal' (of course, the discussion wasn't hostile at all, but an edifying discussion of some pretty deep theology). But this got me to thinking about the 'liberal' label.

Years ago, I would have been very offended to have any of my views placed in that camp. Republican politics branded the word as a synonym for evil. In reality, though, the label should be dealt with on a case by case basis. A political 'liberal' likes to tax and spend. I'm not a fan of that kind of liberal. But it's good to be 'liberal' with your money when dealing with the less fortunate.

Even in theology, the label 'liberal' can be good or bad in different cases. It's considered 'liberal' to reject the historicity of Jesus and His resurrection. That kind of liberal is bad. But in our group, my position that 'those who have never heard of Jesus' may still be saved by Jesus was rightly labeled liberal. Now that's a label I can be proud of in that it recognizes the liberal amount of grace and love that extend from Jesus. If the source of your liberality is love and faith, that's my kind of liberality. If, however, the source of your liberality is self and unbelief, I reject your liberalism.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Negative Evangelism

Let's say you're a star high school football player. 2 college coaches have come to your house to recruit you for their teams. The 1st coach promises you a full scholarship. He highlights their phenomenal fitness center and guarantees you'll be amazed by the roar of their crowds. He even whispers to you, when your parents step out of the room, that the party life on campus is awesome. As he walks out, you wonder how anyone could make a more appealing offer than what you've just heard!

The 2nd coach, on the other hand, focused on how big of a commitment it will be to join his team. You'll have to pay a price. Classes won't be watered down just b/c you're a star athlete. You won't have as much time for your family and friends. As he walks out the door, you wonder if he was trying to talk you into enrolling or out of it!

Which coach's recruiting method is more like Christ's? Which is more like the church's?

Friday, September 05, 2008

NFL Predictions

American Football Conference

13-3 New England
10-6 Buffalo
8-8 NY Jets
4-12 Miami

10-6 Cleveland
10-6 Pittsburgh
4-12 Baltimore
4-12 Cincinnati

12-4 Indianapolis
9-7 Jacksonville
8-8 Houston
8-8 Tennessee

13-3 San Diego
6-10 Oakland
6-10 Denver
4-12 Kansas City

National Football Conference

13-3 Dallas
10-6 NY Giants
9-7 Philadelphia
4-12 Washington

10-6 Minnesota
7-9 Green Bay
7-9 Detroit
6-10 Chicago

11-5 New Orleans
9-7 Carolina
8-8 Tampa Bay
4-12 Atlanta

9-7 Arizona
8-8 Seattle
6-10 St. Louis
6-10 San Francisco

Super Bowl
San Diego over Dallas

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Dotted Line

Today one of my tasks is to sign an agreement with a local ministry. As part of the agreement, I'm to agree with this ministry's 'statement of faith' of which there are 10 items. While I'd like to re-word a couple of them, there is one that I'm not sure I can sign-off on.

8. We believe healing is provided for in the atonement and that it is a privilege for all believers (Isaiah 53:4, Matt. 8:16, John 5:14, 1 Peter 2:24)

I'd have to have clarification on this. Are they saying all believers can be healed of PHYSICAL diseases upon request b/c the work of physical healing is already accomplished in the cross? Or are they talking about SPIRITUAL healing? Or are they saying that physical healing will ULTIMATELY be accomplished in the resurrection? My guess is they mean PHYSICAL and they mean NOW, but if that's the case I can't sign the agreement.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Prayers that Work

I've been noticing something lately about prayer. When we pray for little things that will teach big lessons, God seems to be very interested in answering with a yes. I'll give you an example. Person X has a pet missing for 3 days as of Saturday night. Person X knows I'm a pastor and asks me to pray that this pet will return. I, of course, agree to do so and ask 2 different churches to pray the next morning. Pet comes home by noon on Sunday.

Now, I've prayed for such things many times and had the hoped-for results not come about. But this time, instead of just praying for the pet to come home, I prayed that God's seemingly little action would teach a big lesson. My prayer was as follows: "God, you care about everything that we care about. Person X cares very much about this pet. If it be your will, bring this pet home. Let this person learn that you care about her concerns and, more importantly, that you're in the business of bringing the lost home. Amen."

So a new tactic in my prayer life is to try to identify how answered prayers would fit with what God wants people to know about Him. Instead of just praying for this or that, I'm praying for 'this' b/c it will prove 'that' in recognition of the fact that all things allowed into our lives can serve as part of God's plan to relate to His children.