Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hung out to dry?

So I was reading Acts 12 today and came across the story of Peter being saved from prison and certain death by an angel of the Lord. The angel basically just supernaturally releases him from his chains and leads him out of the prison past the numerous guards assigned specifically to him. Okay so that story sounds crazy, but I have no problems just believing that it happened. My question though is the aftermath of it all. So Herod is pissed and cross examines all of the guards. They obviously have no flippin clue as to what happened, but that doesn't matter to Herod. He simply orders that they get executed. So let me get this straight. The guards are simply doing their job and as a reward they got executed for what God clearly did through the angel. So did God hang the guards out to dry? Were they being punished for holding Peter captive - regardless of their personal feelings over it? I am not claiming that God is unjust, but when reading that I think it pretty much sucks for the guards. The only explanation I can think of is that they are guilty for keeping Peter in prison so their death is their punishment. Any thoughts on this???

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
-Charles Dickens-

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In the face of adoration...

So I came across the passage in Acts 10 today where Peter first walks into the home of Cornelius. It says, "As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. 'Stand up,' he said, 'I am only a man myself.'" This is incredible to me. Here is a guy who literally is bowing down to Peter and he has the humility and presence of mind to stop this from happening. I marvel at his "I am only a man" comment. I think the reason this is so mind-blowing to me is that I do not think I could respond like that. I think I would like to respond like that. I believe it is the right way to respond in that situation. But I think the feeling of someone giving me complete adoration and reverence would go straight to my head. I think I would have to fight every single impulse from within me that would thrive in receiving such respect and dare I say worship. I think the world of people who just live their lives with complete humility. They trust in God and find their worth in God so that they do not care what people think about them - good or bad. Humility is such a hard, hard thing to have. As my friend Jeremy once said, once you think you have accomplished humility you haven't. So as I study this passage, I see that in all situations I must realize that I am just a man. Therefore the adoration some might choose to have for me means nothing and the hate and contempt that some might choose to have for me means nothing. My worth is found in Christ alone and all glory and honor must only be given to Him, NOT me. Well done Peter. In the face of a tough test you passed, where I think I would have failed.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Well my grades for the fall semester were finally put up online by NAU. It was a difficult semester with lots of reading & writing, but I ended up with 2 more A's to the collection!! Yay! They bumped my GPA up to a 3.96 which is pretty good for a nerdy history student. I am so thankful for another solid semester. Now I only have one to go until I graduate from college!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Magic of This Country

President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his pick of evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration next month as one of "a wide range of viewpoints that are presented."

I find this very interesting. On one hand you have many liberals upset over the selection of a guy like Rick Warren. They are upset at President-Elect Obama because he would dare to select someone who actually was conservative in his social values. On the other hand, what do all of the conservatives do who were (are?) convinced that President-Elect Obama is the devil and only wants to bring about evil to this land. I personally enjoy that both liberals and conservatives don't know what to do with themselves right now over this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Baby Changes Everything

Persuasion over Coercion

To the outrage of local clergyman and do-gooders, he [Lincoln] announced in an 1842 lecture that "if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class." Consequently he refused to coerce them into temperance, but he enthusiastically backed the Washingtonian Society's program of converting alcoholics by "persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion." (Lincoln, Donald, p.82)

I continue to be amazed at Lincoln. This political and life stance is one I have to wholeheartedly agree in. Too often we assume that if we can just coerce people into believing or doing something, we will have won the battle. Its sad to me to think that we assume too often that a law or a forcing of an activity will somehow solve all our problems. My dad and I have often talked about the idea of gentle persuasion over harsh coercion in making societal changes. You can make laws and force change but in reality all that does is change things on the surface. The Prohibition movement did not stop stop the problems of alcohol abuse in this country. It might have removed the issue on the surface, but in reality it did not change the heart of the problem. The same is true in Christianity. We can scare people with hell and force our "Christian values" down people's throats with hardcore coercion, but has that really changed anyone's heart? Kind, unassuming persuasion seems like a much better position than harsh coercion. And yet it seems on a regular basis Christians want to take over political positions and change this country for the better. Just because you make a law (or overturn one) doesn't mean that you have actually done any good. You don't win an argument by spitting out facts and being harsh with someone else. You "win" by showing your heart and showing the truth through loving action. Unfortunately, it does not seem like many people understand this concept. Lincoln did, and that is what amazes me about him.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Strong Enough For a Man...

...But Made For a Woman. Well today is the day to try this slogan out. After taking a shower and doing my once a week shave (yes I shave as much as some 14 year old boys), I went to put on deodorant this morning. Unfortunately the stick of High Endurance Old Spice was out. I remembered at this point that I was suppose to pick some up at WalMart yesterday. So I searched all over to see if I had a back-up to no avail. So at this point I remember somewhere in the back of my mind the add that once proclaimed the woman's deodorant as being strong enough for a man even though it was made for a woman. So I figured - what the heck, why not see if that's true. So today I will be emanating a nice smell of "powder fresh" and apparently according to the stick of deodorant I can "dare to wear black" as well. We'll see how this little experiment works. Thanks Sweetheart for the use of your deodorant!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I had a friend send this to me. Its awesome.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How do you rank them?

So my nearly identical twin Scott Thomas and myself often have what we call our nerd debate in which we try to rank who we think is the greatest US Presidents of all time. The debate is pointless and we often end up picking guys we know will fluster the other (ie Andrew Jackson). It makes me think though. What makes a good US President? How do you define "good"? Do some guys get the benefit of the time period they serve in (ie Eisenhower or Clinton) while others take the shaft for a rough time (ie LBJ)? What do we as American people really want from our President? What do people outside of the US want from the President? Do things like character, vision, competence, economic policy, preservation of liberty, national defense, foreign policy, etc all really matter? Are we willing to sacrifice morals for a healthy America in terms of economics? What is our standard of the President and do we hold all leaders to this standard? I don't really know all the answers to this. But nevertheless I suppose I will continue to have the debate because it satisfies my nerdy history brain.

By the way in case you are wondering...

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Theodore Roosevelt
  3. George Washington
  4. Thomas Jefferson
  5. Harry Truman
  6. Ronald Reagan
  7. James Polk
  8. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  9. Andrew Jackson
  10. Woodrow Wilson

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Self Made Man

I am currently reading a book on Lincoln by David Donald. A group of guys and myself read a book (or books) each "winter" on a famous historical figure. Abraham Lincoln won the honor this year. I am completely fascinated by history so for the next few months I will probably drop a few things I am learning as I study Lincoln.

One of the first things that the book points out is the concept of Lincoln being a self made man. In other words, he was not handed anything in life. What he acquired and accomplished he did so on his own. In quoting a cousin and his stepmother the book writes, "somewhat dull...not a brilliant boy - but he worked his way by toil: to learn was hard for him, but he worked slowly, but surely. He must understand everything - even to the smallest thing - minutely and exactly. He would then repeat it over to himself again and again - some times in one form and then in an other and when it was fixed in his mind to suit him he...never lost that fact or his understanding of it." The guy came from nothing to make himself into one of the most revered figures in American history. Reading his story forces me to think about my own work ethic. Do I have that same drive, that same push, that same need to work my way through life? What am I not accomplishing because I lack the zeal that pushed Lincoln forward?

Another key was the book talking about Lincoln's early foray into the public service sector. Donald writes, "Lincoln seems to have had the unusual notion that a public servant's first duty is to help people, rather than to follow bureaucratic regulations." I am mesmerized by this quote. Not only for public servants but people in the church. Sometimes the bureaucratic regulations become so overwhelming for people in the church that we follow rules and conform to patterns of regulations and miss out that God never called anyone to work at a church. God calls us to love Him and love people. If we miss out on that and forget that no matter where we work we must learn to always help people, than what's the point? Everyone in the church is responsible for that. Sadly, it is "unsual" when people care more about other people than regulations.

The book is good so far. I recommend it off the first 70 pages...