Friday, December 30, 2005

The Weight of the World

It is official: I have reached 190 lbs. I'm sure many people out there - weight watchers, calorie counters, & especially daily, scale tippers, you can identify with my weighty declaration.
The mystical 200 lbs. has always been looming out in space, but not a real space as though my handles could stretch to that height. Scientist are now concluding that this feat is now attainable. The ends of the universe are within reach!
I echo this attainment as an almost thirty-something year old who continues to lose hair even as my breaths grow shorter and shorter. Ah, but when kings and heroes look back to the life of John Mark, they will say THIS is his finest hour.
Watch out for the radical transformation of a 190 lb. thirty something to drop weight like hot grease rolling down flabby bacon.
I say this statement with inner thoughts of dropping my six hour TRI time to 4 hours.
I can't help but give a shout out to my brother-in-law, Ivan, who says that blogs give way to much information about a person that he could care less about knowing. I have to admit that I am sucked into the pantheon of "giving much information about self". That's right counselor I have confessed all about self.
Enjoy all of my moments everyone. You have heard my predicament and my target so let us join together in an ever blessed goal. Eat, drink, and be fast for tomorrow we race!
Take a deep breath Ivan, because you are the wind beneath my wings :)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Handlebar Mania

The bottom line is this face has to make you laugh! You might be laughing at me, with me, or whatever; the bottom line is handle bar mustaches are funny. I hope you enjoy it as much as my wife does :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Kind of Santa Claus

Check out James Parker's article on good ol' St. Nick

Tis the season

I love Christmas season, but I must say that I despise the smorgasbord of senseless songs, decor, and newsreports. More directly it is dung that needs to be trampled under somebody else's feet. I'm tired of smelling this putrid smell every time I turn on the radio, TV, or see some "holiday spirit" in front of someone's house.
First, radio stations that play "christian" music prove the point that parachurch organizations not held in accountability to a covenant church are simply not faithful to God's Word. Listen for yourself on any given day, much less Sunday. I don't want to hear White Christmas, Jingle Bells, or Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on a channel that is supposedly committed to "exalting Jesus as Lord". As a youth minister, I love to play wacky games like bobbing for gold fish (many fish die in the process but do not stop the game). However, sticking to the mission and purpose of the ministry is vitally important. The main problem is having a message that is "safe for the whole family". The Gospel is not safe for the whole family. When church membership is a good thing to put on your resume, then we've got a problem. When the safety net does not include anything about the bloody Gospel that gives life to me, then we've got a problem. When I can sing along with the Christian church, Nazarene church, Methodist church in the same tune, then we've got a problem. None of us attend the same church yet we're in one accord on the radio station. I don't want safety. I don't want bubble gum theology. I don't want Peter Gabriel singing to me about the Father eyes or Los Lonely Boys asking me how to get to heaven, and I surely don't want A CHRISTIAN STATION AIRING THESE SONGS LIKE THEY ARE GOOD CHRISTIAN SONGS!!! Let's make music to the praise of God's glorious grace and redeem the creativity that God has uniquely given to His creation. Let's explore whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise. Surely in this wide expanse we can enjoy the finest Christian made music and art that is not a likeness of the world's music.
Besides the radio stations playing, I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus, the battle for Christmas is not only faught on the radio stations but in Christian homes with being Christians on the wrong side. Churches wage war over Halloween because every dutiful Christian knows that creepy goblins, bloody monsters, and witches with brooms have 666 stamped on their costume. Yet, when Christmas time comes we blow up a ten foot Santa Claus in our yard! What message are we sending when the TV crews do reports asking "will you say 'Happy Holidays' or 'Merry Christmas'?" Santa and Frosty do not look like the reason for the season. We have to remember that we are to provide a defense for the Gospel. What defense do we provide when people merely watch us? I don't think Santa is evil, but the signs of the times have raised this controversy to a level that Christians must be proactive. In the same way, I didn't have a problem with Halloween, but the day that we now live requires churches to answer to pagan history. We cannot celebrate Christmas with a syncretistic twist.
Stand up church and redeem the times with the truth of the Gospel and be the light in a dark world. We must give an account for the reason that we celebrate Christmas. To quote Peter Frost, Christmas without Christ is just mas - Spanish for more. More problems than before.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Oh boy, Hear our prayer

Jim Hornback passed this interesting article of his along to me.

In recent months/years, there has been a push by the ACLU and others, to restrict, or do away with completely 'Christian' prayers at public functions, such as innaugurations and installations of public officials, or in settings such as in Congress, state houses, etc.

In lieu of 'Christian' prayers, if there HAS TO BE any prayer at all, then a NON-SECTARIAN prayer is requested, so to not offend anyone who may be of another religion, or an atheist.

According to Websters dictionary, non-sectarian is defined as 'not affiliated with a particular religion'. Prayer is defined as 'a request to God or a god'. Someone smarther than I will have to explain how you can pray (make a request, without defining to whom it is you are making the request. Which is why I contend that non-sectarian is an 'oxymoron', which is defined as 'a combination of contradicting or incongruous words'. Incongruous is defined as not harmonious, disagreeing, or inconsistent. Let me put that all together: Christians are being asked to request, or petition an entity which is not affiliated with any particular religion or of no religion. Why did I add 'no religion'? If I address A N Y God (god), there is a built-in system of belief (or non-belief per the atheists).

Does that not describe oxymoron: a combination of contradicting, or inconsistent or disagreeing words?

So here is my attempt at a non-sectarian prayer -
Hello? Anybody, or anything, there? Or, in case there is more than one of you, to whom it may concern, whereever you (all) are. I address my request to you. If you have any power, any knowledge and if you can, or wish to, blah, blah, blah. I hope my remarks are acceptable to you, as if that matters. I ask this in the name of somebody else, if that would do any good. And all the people said, 'HUH?'

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'm looking for the party

MacDonalds has a solid menu that is hard for me to turn down or pass by when I'm hungry. Many fast food restaurants try to rob Ronald of the best fries in town, but my fast food cravings can only be satisfied by the double cheeseburger and medium fry - ALL FOR $2.12!!! Anytime my need strikes, I am only $2.12 & a mile away from satisfaction. The reality is I can satisfy any need I have with relative ease. Hunger is one thing, but every individual has a need that has only one satisfaction.

Every Wednesday night, teenagers gather at Shively Heights for something expected. There is form and process to each evening. Recently the ping pong table has returned to the foreground of the night. I once reigned as champion over the table, but now I disgracefully admit, I have been dethroned.

After as many games of ping pong can be squeezed in before 6:30, all the teenagers are rounded up to the main event - WORSHIP. I wonder what they expect to happen. The majority of teenagers come on their own initiative, and most of them who come have a knowledge of God, Jesus' death and resurrection, the need for forgiveness, and the need for some kind of religion.

The problem with me is that I do expect something to happen. I love getting to tell people about God's Word. The point is not that I like to hear myself talk. Rather, the point is that I get excited when I talk about God's Word. The beginning of nearly every single New Testament letter begins trumpeting the truth of what God has done for His people. When a believer hears the truth, the response is simply to celebrate, rejoice, get excited, pumped up, crunked. How many teenagers use the word rejoice in a day? I don't care what the word is. It is the response that's the same - the Word makes us exuberant with joy! When I don't hear people respond or don't see people moved, I wonder what in the world has seized their minds and desires.

As each week passes, I see the glaze in many teenager's eyes. There are so many things that grab the attention of a video junkie teen. Materialism has cashed on all of America's generations - not just teens, not just young adults, EVERYBODY! I crave to hear someone say, "I want God. This Jesus, you talk about - I want to know Him."

I want more than $2.12 worth of religion. I have been shown my Creator. I know what the victory is. I just want to celebrate the truth with everyone. I do keep coming back to church because the church has the truth. I'm not the lone ranger, and I need the party.

Pray for students to crave a relationship with God. Pray for worship at Shively Heights Baptist Church

My Cousin Seth

On Thanksgiving Eve, a few friends and I went to the concluding show for My Morning Jacket. Check out Seth's blog about the show