Thursday, May 28, 2009
There has been much written lately on how to minister to different areas in our society. . . inner city, suburbs, rural, etc. . . . . Without a doubt, there has been too much written, and each part of our society comes with it's own problems, and each part needs Christians in them. The bible speaks in universals on this topic (mostly) and there isn't a right or wrong place to live.
So, as I write this series. . please know that I'm not saying that everything about the suburbs is wrong, and bad. The cities have their own problems and so do the rural areas.
I think, it's important though, to know what sins your local society pushes you towards, or make "easy" for you. There are things about the way in which you've chosen to live that push you towards certain things and away from other things. It's really important to realize that, then you can know what things to "flee" from and what things to "hold on to". That's all I"m trying to do. So, with that. . . I"ll do a shorter part 1, . . since I"ve already blabbed on.
#1 The Suburbs push you towards the sin of comparison/coveteousness.
I'll give this a short explanation here and come back to it in later points. But, basically, our suburban neighborhoods often turn into a big "show off" for folks with their houses, cars, accessories, etc . . .
When you're in the city and live in an apartment or older home, you're not trying to show off your stuff because there's so many people in a high-density area that no one cares about what you have :). In rural areas, you have more land (even in the "town" sections of rural areas) for your house and more of your stuff is "functional" (farm equipment, barns, fences, gardens, etc..) So having stuff is not for the purpose of "having the best/biggest/greenest _____ you fill it in). You have it because you need it.
I'm not sure what about the suburbs/home depot/lowe's/upgrades/floorplan/SUV culture that pushes us this way. But, for whatever reason, . . we're all trying to impress each other with what we're doing with our stuff in the suburbs. That much is un-deniable. We can take some instruction from the Apostle Paul when he said in 1 Thessalonians 4:11
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business . . . .
more to come. . . . . .
Anyway, that's why God created game 6. . . so we need to win (obviously) on Friday night. I think we will. I don't see any quit in our team. So, I'm expecting victory on Friday. Then, we'll have a battle royale on Sunday night for all the marbles.
If you want to go over the officiating and try to fix the NBA's problem (there is a huge problem). Read this article by the Sports Guy
This is a fun team to watch. I"m proud to be a Nuggets fan, no matter what happens in this series. It's great to have a winning, gutsy, scrappy team to root for.
Similar to this command, but a little different, I wanted to talk about watching WHAT we listen to more carefully.
I was listening to a podcast (ironic?) by one of my favorite sports-writers. He's The Sports Guy from ESPN, and he was interviewing Marc Cuban, one of the smartest businessmen out there right now. They were talking about how the sports news cycle is so voluminous that everyone has a blog, everyone is taking shots at him (the owner of the Dallas Mavericks), and anyone can basically say anything that they want.
He had a really good point: It's important to filter through the information that we could consume and give attention to. . . . and discern which information (blog, website, book, album) matters at all. In his case, there were some people he didn't need to listen to, or follow on twitter no matter what they said about him, because they had 5 listeners and they weren't known or influential at all.
This is true in the church as well. . . .but for different reasons.
We live in a day where you can listen to any theological point of view that you'd like to, on demand, at any time, from anywhere in the world. It was not always this way, it used to be that your local pastor and local church were the main source of theological and practical instruction in your life.
This is a good thing, it's great that we can learn from great teachers around the globe. But, the sheer amount of information and divergence of opinions can be paralyzing, numbing, and hurtful, spiritually.
We need to be careful to what we're listening to. You can evaluate that which you listen to in light of the Bible and your own study of the word. You can also research and see what the critiques are of a certain view.
But, also. . . you can just choose to not listen to someone. You can choose not to consume some theological information. Perhaps you're even in a season that a certain good theological training isn't what you need right now. How was the pastor on the internet to know? He was in London! :)
Now, this takes discernment and community to help you know what you need. But, don't fall for the trap of over-consumption or trying to always find what's "new" that's out there. Be patient with bible teachers. Time will help to show which one's are worth your time.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
(warning: long and heavy post)
(warning: long and heavy post)
I hadn’t thought about it much until this week. . .. . but this is the 20th anniversary of an event that changed my life forever. It still affects the way I go about pretty much everything in my life. I played it off for years like it was no big deal, and it didn’t affect me. But, that just exacerbated everything and brought me to a place of brokenness about 10 years ago where I realized my whole life was being affected by it.
I’m talking about my parent’s divorce. I’m not here to slam my mom or my dad. My dad passed away a few years ago, and my mom still lives where I grew up, is the best mom in history and she’s climbing the charts of “greatest Grandmother ever”. I don’t wish to defame either of them or “blame” them for anything that has happened in my life.
But, I do wish to shed some perspective on the whole issue of divorce and our culture’s attitude towards it. One of the reasons why I’m thinking about it these days is that in my line of work, many people come to the church seeking advice on divorce. Many of them are looking for a “pass” from the church to allow them to proceed with their intentions of divorce. How ironic that they would come to me? :) But, it happens regularly, and they’re usually not thrilled with what I have to say.
I also have had at least 5 couples who are close friends of Jody’s and mine, who have been divorced in the last few years. All of these folks were married the same year as we were, or more recently. Just for perspective, this year is our 10th anniversary. That’s not very long. For some reason, that really bugs me. I was at a few of their weddings. . . I did the music,. . . :) It’s just heart-breaking and maddening.
Basically, here’s my view on divorce. Divorce forever alters the lives of many people. The spouses to be sure, but the children are harmed, extended family are harmed, and the future children of all of those people as well.
Here’s some of the affects divorce has had on me:
1) I don’t do really well with authoritative male leadership. Again, I’m not “blaming” anyone for this. I’m responsible for my actions. But, there’s a wound in my heart that makes me very wary of men in leadership in my life. I can’t really handle it when older men yell at me or authoritatively instruct me. I’ve actually had to leave a job over some of these issues.
2) I have an approval complex at times. My punk rock side truly does not care what people think about me on a large scale, . .but in basic conversations and interactions I often interact to seek the approval of others. I’m definitely not the only one, and divorce is not the only thing that causes this. . . . but it is there in my life, and I think it started when I didn’t have a lot of early affirmation of my male-hood (word?) or strength.
3) I have a very low tolerance and/or quick fuse for people that are pursuing divorce or are mis-treating their family. (this is probably obvious right now :) )
There are many more. . you’re probably a little uncomfortable at my closet cleaning. . .but you can see how some of those things have made my current roles in life a little tough at times :).
Before jumping to conclusions, let me say as well. . there was no abuse in my family. Also, after the divorce both my mom and dad did an amazing job at maintaining our relationships and staying close. After speaking with many people who have gone through the same thing, I can truly say I was blessed with how the circumstances played out after the divorce. No question on that. . . . .
But, the fact remains that God hates divorce for a reason, and even a civil, congenial, agreeable divorce is a heart-wrenching, life-changing, sinful affair.
Why am I writing this today? Well, there are a few reasons. I want to give praise to God that he has brought me through all of this, and I’m currently a blessed man with a beautiful wife, great kids, and a victorious life. I don’t dwell on these issues often, and God has given me many victories and has kept me from many vices that others who go through a divorce have fallen into. God is faithful where man is not. And, there’s no doubt that the Gospel is big enough to heal wounds from divorce, as it is big enough to heal all wounds.
This is true, and even though my life has been negatively affected, God has actually used the divorce as the greatest means of sanctification in my life. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without it. As Jesus pursues me, he often uses issues that arose from the divorce as the pathway to spiritual change in my life. I’m grateful for this, Romans 8:28 is true, and this has all worked together for good in my life.
The other reason I write is to encourage you to persevere in marriage. If you’re single, I encourage you to get married and work for the good of your spouse. Divorce is something everyone at least has a fleeting thought about in marriage, . . this is nothing less than spiritual attack. But, humble yourself and know that the best path is the pain and dying to self that accompanies a healthy marriage, and not the pain, sin, and life-shattering consequences of divorce. Don’t do it! Stay married, and stay humble. And, please don’t come to church and ask me to sign off on your divorce!
Ok, I’m totally kidding right there. :) There are some times where, biblically, divorce is permitted,. . . but even then it is after many attempts at reconciliation, many attempts at forgiveness, and many, many overtures to restore the relationship. If this is what should happen before a biblical divorce; than it is truly a scandal how quickly we allow unbiblical divorces to take place all the time in the church.
If you’re divorced, I’m not here to discourage you or “pile on” with what you’ve gone through. Again, the Gospel is big enough for you and me to find forgiveness and restoration. Please hear me say that. I don’t want to add to your hurt by writing this.
My hope is to sober us all up a bit on divorce, and come against our culture’s easy, no fault divorce ethic. It has ruined many lives, it is killing our culture,. . .and much, much, more importantly, it grieves the heart of God and hurts His church.
I hope you hear my heart on this.
It’s been 20 years. . . Divorce is terrible, and we should think of it as such; God is good, and He has been doubly good to me.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Going into this series, most of us in Denver were fairly satisfied with making it to the WCF. We hadn't won a playoff series in 15 years, and so we were kind of "happy to be there" with the Lakers. But, something happened on the road to mediocrity. . . . we have a better team than the Lakers. The expectations have gone through the roof. This series could easily be 3-0 with us clinching tonight. But, we've choked in some crucial moments. So, here we are at the all-important game 4, and we're up big. Let's hope we can keep it going. I like our chances if we're going back to L.A. at 2-2. We've already proven we can win in L.A.
--Carmelo did pout quite a bit in game 3, but he has a terrible flu tonight in game 4, maybe he was starting to deal with that over the weekend, who knows. But, regardless, Kobe showed why he's still an assassin by taking that game from us at the end. Back in the Shaq days, I was a huge Laker fan and I used to love Kobe going off like that. Not anymore. :)
--Don't blame George Karl for the out-of-bounds play errors. In game 1 and game 3, the intended recipient of the pass was open for at least 2 seconds before the errant pass was thrown. Timing is everything on out-of-bounds plays and A.C. and Kmart are the culprits.
I'm going to keep watching the game now. . . enjoy everyone!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Especially read the last 1/2 of this where he tells the story of he and his wife. I found myself dreaming of simpler days to come. Here's hoping and praying that I can see the forest for the trees well enough to do something similar when I get older. I think we lose our way sometimes, . . I hope I don't.
--No doubt that Adam L. is a better singer than Kris. It's pretty obvious what happened. Kris took all of Danny G's votes. Thus, the victory. It shouldn't be a huge suprise, America always likes a dude playing his acoustic guitar more than a dude with make-up and nail polish. It's more of a cultural comment than anything else. Don't be mad, Adam fans. . .he's obviously not a "homecoming king" kind of guy. Whether or not anyone cares. . . Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, etc. . .those states exist. And, their inhabitants will not be voting en-masse for a dude in make-up anytime soon. That's our culture.
--What was up with "Washed-up Idol" last night? Trotting out all the old-timers was pretty awkward at times. Especially awkward, when their younger, amateur counterparts were outsinging them. KISS and Rod Stewart should never appear on a singing show again, and Lionel Richie was getting hammered by Danny G.
They need to have some current bands/singers at the top of their game to show that there really is a level above the Idol Karaoke that we've seen for 3 months.
--Adam L. will be fine, and even though I don't think he'll have a long career as an album artist, he could star on Broadway as long as he wants, and he could sing lead for Queen or KISS, as he demonstrated last night. He's truly an amazing vocalist.
--I'm not sure Kris will go as far as Adam. He just isn't a "pop" guy (much like David Cook) and he doesn't fit neatly into any current genre's. If they let him write and do his own stuff, he has a shot,. . . we'll see.
--A.I's batting average isn't very good,. . .the last certified "star" that came out a winner on A.I. was Carrie Underwood 3 or 4 years ago. Since then, the winners have not set the world on fire.
The Nuggets need this one tonight. The Lakers will have trouble in Denver, but the Nuggets won't be able to win 3 in a row either. So, this is an important game.
We just need to focus, make free-throws and not give Kobe dunks. Gasol wants nothing to do with KMart, . .same for Bynum vs. Nene. If Odom and Walton hurt us again, . . that will make it tough.
We need big nights from the Birdman and JR Smith. Smith needs double figures. I also think we need to play Kleiza on Kobe a bit, and get him some burn. This really isn't A.C's series. George Karl needs to take a page from Stan Van Gundy and play some different lineups (i.e. JJ Redick started against Boston and didn't play at all last night, . . DNP).
I don't say that because of AC's bad pass. That wasn't why we lost. I'm just not sure AC matches up against anyone from LA very well except for Farmar. It's not his series.
Let the games begin!
Let's see Kleiza!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
This is really funny. . .it can't be good when the car review includes "biblically terrible". :)
In other news, not to toot my own horn, but my review of the Lakers series is pretty much spot on so far. Nuggets bench got outplayed by the Lakers bench, we can't stop Kobe, walaa.
I'm encouraged that we're giving the Lakers all they can handle. If we win game 2, look out. They're going to have a tough time in the Pepsi Center.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I think this will be a hard-fought series with the Lakers. I still feel like we are on the bad end of alot of matchups and the Lakers will eventually prevail. But, unlike last year, the Lakers have some glaring weaknesses that we can exploit. Let's break it down by position:
Point Guard: Huge advantage Nuggets. . . Chauncey needs to dominate Fisher and Farmer (which he should) , get some steals from them on D, and shoot well.
Shooting Guard: Huge advantage Lakers. . . .We don't have anyone to guard Kobe. If Dahntay Jones can get in his head at all and slow him down for the beginnings of quarters, that will be huge for us. I don't see it happening.
Great move by George Karl in refusing to play JR Smith on Kobe. When the 2nd unit is in, Anthony Carter will guard Kobe. This keeps Kobe out of JR's head and keeps JR's fragile confidence up. Good coaching move.
Small Forward: Advantage Nuggets. . . one of the keys to the series is how much difficulty Trevor Ariza gives Carmelo. I think Carmelo steps up and dominates him. . .but perhaps not for all 7 games.
Power Forward: Wash. . . . .Yes, I'm saying Kmart is equal with Pau Gasol. He's been amazing in these playoffs. If Kmart can keep Pau from having wide open 15 footers and really get up in his grill (thus, not helping on Kobe). Pau will be contained.
Center: To me this is the key to the series. If Andrew Bynum plays well, the Lakers will be tough. . if Nene plays well, the Nuggets will be tough. If either of them gets in foul trouble early. . that particular game will change dramatically. This is the kicker right here.
Bench: Which Birdman will show up? That is the key here. Beyond that, the Lakers are deeper than the Nugs. That is why it's important for the Nuggets to play with the lead in each game. The 2nd unit with Farmer, Odom, Walton, etc. . will give the Nuggets problems, even though the Nuggets have a better starting 5.
So, I"m picking the Lakers in 6 or 7. This has been a dramatically succesful season for the Nuggets, and an amazing season personally for the Birdman, Carmelo, Karl, JR Smith, Nene, etc. . . . no bad feelings at all for these guys. Does anyone remember when we had to play Kmart on Kobe last year?? Needless to say, we've come a long way.
I just think Kobe wills the Lakers to win this one.
If the Nuggets steal game 1 or 2 in L.A. though, Lookout!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Over the last few months we've been memorizing some things during our family worship time right before bed. So, now Provi, Eden , and Sam all have memorized the Lord's Prayer, and the first 1/2 of the Apostle's Creed. We're now working on John 3:16.
I'm not doing it so that they become Christian jerks when they get older. . . .But, I'm just trying to point their hearts toward Jesus, and then pray like crazy that He grabs their hearts. Prayerfully, we hope these words will sink in and accomplish the work God meant for them. Anyone have any small passages that you've helped your kids memorize? I"m always looking.
"I don't feel I need to call his name in the media and all that, but it's a little personal," . . . . . ."And I'm going to take care of it."
"I'm going to take care of it"?????? What does this mean. Knowing what I know about K-Mart, I'm at once excited and terrified.
Let's just say I won't be surprised if Chauncey "throws the ball away" right towards Cuban's courtside seats and K-mart "dives for the loose ball" right in the grill of said owner.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Why has Star Trek lasted so long? What started as a 3 year run on T.V. in the 60's (and fans had to phone in and beg for the 3rd season to happen) has become a 40 year phenomenon.
There are great characters, to be sure, and a few good stories (some, not so good :) ). But, the reason Star Trek has lasted is because Gene Roddenberry, the creator, had a vision for a kind of futurist utopia. He envisioned a post-racial, post-national, post-religious, post-combustion engine :) world. He has always tried to appeal to the universal human desire for peace and a better future by the breaking down of all of these walls.
We're escaping into that dream with him, basically.
Gene Roddenberry has basically taken "Imagine" by John Lennon and put that whole song on the screen for 40 years. From Kirk's interracial kiss of Uhura (totally scandalous in the 60's), to our world becoming a part of the collective "United Federation of Planets", to warp-drive, to actually flying the Enterprise all the way to "god" (star trek 5), he's almost gone line by line from that song. ("Imagine there's no heaven. . . .no religion too,. . . Imagine there's no countries. . . the world will live as one").
This kind of philosophy actually has a theological term. . . It's an "over-realized eschatology". Eschatology is the study of "last things". Roddenberry (and he's not the only one) has basically tried to make "heaven come to earth" and realize, through story, what that would be like.
There's a problem here. . . . . God never promised that we would get to a point where all of the world's problems would go away, and all divisions would vanish, . . and we'd all hop in the Enterprise and go kill the Klingons. (ironic that even Star Trek has become more and more violent over the years as it realizes a "post-war" future)
To be sure, we should fight for equality, seek justice, and work to break down barriers here on earth. That's our life's work as Christians. But, the fullnes of God's Kingdom isn't coming until That Day when Jesus reigns over all peoples and sets everything right (Rev. 22).
There's a balance between the "already" and "not yet" of God's Kingdom on earth. We're working in the power of the "already" after Jesus' victory on the Cross, and hoping for the "not yet" to come quickly,. . . Maranatha.
So, go enjoy Star Trek, I hear it's a great flick. And, enjoy the great characters drawn with large strokes from our different, human, personality types. Just know that we're not getting to a place of Intergalactic peace by dreaming about space and hoping for the best inside of us. We're human, we will ALWAYS mess it up.
But, one day, all will be made right, and the Children of God will sing together, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb who was slain. "
back to the Nerd-Cave. . . . .
Thursday, May 7, 2009
With that said. . . . . Last night the Rockets and Lakers had a basketbrawl in L.A. It was an old school playoff game, like 80's Lakers/Celtics, or 90's Bulls/Knicks or Bad Boy Pistons vs. anyone, etc. . . .
There were a few controversial plays. Derek Fisher's bulldozer job on Luis Scola should warrant a suspension. It was flagrant, intentional and outside of a normal basketball play. Just a dumb move.
I have no problem with the league suspending Fisher.
Kobe's elbow to Artest, in my opinion, does not warrant a suspension. The league usually rules that elbows to the head or neck warrant a suspension (happened to Dwight Howard in the last round). Kobe elbowed Artest in the shoulder, in the middle of a basketball play, with Artest draped all over him. If the league suspends Kobe that will prove how whimpy they have become. Here's Kobe's play. . (the poster is obviously a little biased) .and here's the Mona Lisa of playoff fouls (fast forward to the 1 minute mark for the slo-mo) courtesy of Kevin McHale. Again, no fines were levied after this. But, we had one of the best series in the history of the NBA. Hmm. . perhaps there's something to learn there.
(by the way, does anyone else miss Dick Stockton and Tommy Heinsohn calling games for CBS back in the day?. . . great times)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Keep it up, Bird!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Well, if that's you, let me recommend reading Hebrews. Our program took us right from Leviticus into Hebrews and it helps explain so much of the sacrificial system (how Christ fulfills it), the old covenant (how the new one is better) and the Priesthood (Christ is now our High Priest).
It was so helpful to read those books (Leviticus, Hebrews) in that order. I highly recommend it. If you have questions about the O.T. law, if you're discouraged about the meaning of the ceremonial passages, and how it relates to you. . . don't give up. . .those books are rewarding when you go all the way through them. Then, give Hebrews a read.
It's been easy to pile on Michael Vick, call him a gangster, an idiot, etc. . . . What if someone thought enough of Jesus and our call to ministry to actually engage Mr. Vick and encourage him in the Gospel?
Well, Tony Dungy did just that. . . . .Way to go Tony, way to show your faith as real, way to reach out courageously to someone who is maligned, way to incarnate the Gospel into Michael Vick's life by visiting him in prison. Jesus had something to say about that kind of ministry . . check out Matthew 25:39-40.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Off to the races, random-style. . . .
--Brian Scalabrine makes me feel like I could still play in the league even though I couldn't start for my high school varsity team. exhibit A. I"m sure he's a nice guy, but seriously, how is he in the league?
--The Celtics pulled out that series, but I'm not sure how much they have left in the tank. Even if they can beat Orlando, (coached by "the master of panic" . . . Shaq is always right), I don't see them hanging around very long with Cleveland.
--Rajon Rondo should've had two flagrant fouls in that series. Unbelievable.
--The NBA has a referee problem. Everyone knows this, but . . . it's really annoying when they swallow their whistle at the ends of games. Those who were present for game 5 Nuggets/Twolves 5 years ago know what I"m talking about. There should be the same rules at the end of the games. I know, I know, let the players decide. But sometimes that turns into "let the players mug the guy with the ball to thus prevent victory for the other team"
--Chris Anderson is ridiculous. I dare anyone to find a player currently as effective as Birdman while playing for the league minimum ( a paltry 774, 000 a year :) ) This is a great story that, hopefully, will be told soon. But Birdman came from a childhood of abuse, went through Junior College, Euroleague, and the Chinese National League before getting to the NBA, got kicked out of the league for Drug Abuse, and now he's back. He's playing ridiculous, Nowitzki wants no part of Birdman, and I'm a huge fan. He seems to be a really down-to-earth guy. (with a faux-hawk and 300 tattoos :) )
--the Lakers look disinterested, if Ron Artest is smart he won't say anything to Kobe, don't tug on Superman's cape. Keep them bored.
--back to the first round. . . How does any NBA team lose to another team by 58 points? I think the Calvary Bible Church staff could keep it within 50 (that's for you, Adrian). Terrible effort by the Hornets.
--Don't believe the hype about Dirk Nowitzki getting fouled. Go ahead and youtube some replays if you want. . .but it's a classic perception problem. He's always off-balance, he's always stumbling, and it's not because he got fouled. We've seen this before (Manu Ginobili). Don't be fooled.
--You might think Kenyon Martin is a thug. His Technical Foul on Dirk N. was epic. He just threw him out of bounds. :) Did Dirk get in a rhythm the rest of the game? Did he hit 6 shots in a row again on Sunday? No. I say good foul. speaking of which. . .
--The fine from the NBA was ridiculous today. 25k and an "upgrade" to a flagrant foul for KMart. Please. The League is way too reactionary and fearful about fights these days. Let me remind you here. Remember, no one was suspended for this. No fines were levied. . . . These were the Golden Days of the NBA!!! Good Clothesline Kevin McHale! Let the boys play. If Ron Artest is involved with any game. . . just post extra security :)
Enjoy these playoffs!