Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jesus loves you but...

Okay so I know it is probably not a wise thing to laugh at but I have to chuckle every time I see one of those bumper sticks that says, "JESUS LOVES YOU but everyone else thinks you're an ***hole." In reality that seems to be the case with people we encounter in our lives. We have to admit that Jesus loves them (as He does all people) but yet they drive us absolutely insane. The things they say, the things they do, the things they think, etc. This weekend I got the opportunity to teach on unity as well as listen to my buddy Jeremy teach on the same topic. While preparing for my message and while listening to his, I kept coming back to those people in my life that I cannot stand. I don't like them. I don't want to be around them. I cringe when I have to deal with them. What do you do with them? To what level of relationship does God call us to have with those types of people in our lives? How much love do we really need to put into those people? Sad - even in typing this I sense myself wanting to justify some minimal amount of effort into building unity with those people. Sure I want them to go to heaven God, but can they stand on the opposite side of me? I feel challenged though to move beyond my selfish, minimal standard. I don't know if I can ever be friends with some of these people - but at the very least they deserve to be treated well, prayed for, and when I can help them out for me to do so. The ironic thing is that my character is more revealed in dealing with them then it is in dealing with those closest to me. So we'll see. It was a challenging & convicting weekend. Hopefully stepping forward I'll do better and not simply shooting for the minimum amount of love when dealing with them. Unity may be hard to attain, but it certainly worth the effort.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him...Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men...(1 Kings 12:8, 13-14)

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." (1 Kings 22:8)

I noticed a trend in the books of 1st & 2nd Kings about the habit of kings to listen only to what they wanted to hear. Instead of following good advice, they continously sought the advice and counsel of their friends and those willing to tell them what they wanted to hear. I could not help but notice the same trend within my own life. How often do I make decisions based upon my own thoughts and the support of those I know will not argue against me. If I know going into a decision a particular person will not agree with me, I tend to avoid asking them their opinion on the subject. Like Rehoboam, I tend to seek the advice of the "young guys" (my friends) over the "elders" - whomever they might be in a given situation. In reality this is all based upon a selfish desire to make my own decisions and not have to listen to anyone. The result for the kings was their own deaths, destruction of their kingdoms, and eventual overthrow by Assyria & Babylon. In other words, a complete train wreck. Knowing that - why would I or anyone else want to continue along the same pattern? I guess the key is to recognize the problem and know that going into any situation I must seek out wise advice - even if that advice is "bad" to me and contrary to my own standing. Easier said then done...

Friday, May 22, 2009

100 Foreskins

Saul replied, "Say to David, 'The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.'" (1 Samuel 18:25)
The amount of references to sex, sexual misconduct, private parts, and other related things in the Old Testament is staggering. Seriously. Who can honestly say the Bible is G-Rated if they have read even a small portion of the Old Testament.
So I have to admit that I am glad my relationship with my father-in-law is better then David had with Saul. It is shocking how far Saul's hatred & jealousy of David pushed him. To think that he would use his own daughter for an opportunity to manipulate and kill David is crazy. Saul basically decides to not only put David's life in harm's way by having him fight the Philistines, but also to make them hate David even more for the mutilation of their bodies after their deaths. Yet David not only does it, but he goes above and beyond by killing two hundred Philistines and bringing back their foreskins. (On a side-note: What if Jesus had said in Matthew 5 - "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. If your enemy tries to kill you by forcing you to retrieve 100 foreskins, go and bring him 200 foreskins..."). I just have admit it makes me grossed out and laugh at the same time thinking about David coming back from battle with a bag of foreskins and then someone having to count them out for the king. I mean seriously - who's job was that? "One, two, three..." Yuck. All that to say, once again the Bible never ceases to amaze me. David seriously dealt with a lot of crap from Saul. The fact that he later does not advantage of multiple opportunities to kill him shows some amazing self-control.
On a final note, I wonder why stories like this never get told during church services?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


So I am currently reading through the Old Testament and I realized a disgusting parallel between Genesis & Judges. In Genesis 19, two angels come to Sodom and it says that Lot strongly encouraged/requested they spend the night at his house. Then it says that the men of Sodom surrounded the house and demanded that Lot send the men out [which makes me wonder if angels simply look like men] so that they could have sex with them. In response to that request, Lot offers his virgin daugthers instead of the angels. Add that to the greatest dad moments in history. Now flash forward to Judges 19 [weird coincidence in chapter numbering there?]. There is a Levite who's concubine left him to go home to her father's house. He goes after her and spends some time at that house. Then he left with his concubine. They head to Gibeah [uniquely enough to not spend time in "alien territory"] where an old man from the hill country allows them to spend the night at his place. While hanging out, the text says some men come and pound on the door demanding that the old man send out the Levite in order that they can have sex with him. Sound familiar? So the old man decides that would be an awful thing so instead offers his virgin daugther [dad of the year #2] and the Levite's concubine [way to look after your woman you jerk]. Sound familiar? The men don't want either of those options, but the Levite still sends out his concubine anyway who ends up getting raped & abused throughout the night and ends up dead. The Levite responds when he sees her dead body - "get up; let's go" - only to discover she wasn't going to answer because she was dead.

So I just found this parallel to be weird, disgusting, and made me want to puke. I have also since re-discovered how many sexual dysfunction stories the first 7 books of the Bible contain. Seriously if there is a sin that people have completely given themselves over to more then sexual immorality, I would be shocked.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy 26th Birthday Sweetheart.

My incredible wife Danielle turned 26 today. I have been blessed to have been with her for nearly 10 of those years. Each year I discover more and more things that I love about her. She is the greatest and I could not wish for a better person to spend the rest of my life with. Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Book of Love

Goodbye Scrubs

"Endings are never easy. I always build them up so much in my head, they can't possibly live up to my expectations, and I just end up disappointed. I'm not even sure why it matters to me so much how things end here. I guess it's because that we all want to believe that what we do is very important: that people hang on to our every word, that people care what we think. The truth is, you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better. After that, it's all about the people you let into your life."
-J.D. (Scrubs)-
It is funny how when watching a television show you can become so engrossed in the show that you actually feel like you "know" the characters. While watching the series finale, I actually became choked up with the incredible way Bill Lawrence wrapped up the show. I love the quote that Zach Braff gave in the episode too. It has literally gotten me thinking about all of the relationships in my own life. My wife and I were in Flagstaff for my graduation the other day and we were talking about all of our fun memories with our friends from school back in the day. It made me realize just how incredibly important relationships are to life. In the end, they are the only things that really matter. Life keeps pushing forward, but the memories and joy that people bring to our lives is what sustains us. So funny as it might be, I enjoyed my 8 years with the cast of Scrubs. It was just a silly tv show and yet it gave me a lot of laughs & joy. In the end, J.D. and Crew did make me "feel a little better."

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Next Rung

Why does the next monkey bar always seem so much further then the one behind you? As a kid I remember swinging to the next bar always seemed far more difficult then it actually was. It was always much easier to simply stay swinging on the same bar and never move forward. Yet that was never actually any fun or worthwhile. The only time the monkey bars were fun was when you were swinging forward or doing something reckless that made your mom worried. Yet as I have grown older I have lost that sense of fearlessness and replaced it with one of safety and comfort. I would rather stay with the safe & comfortable because venturing forth means facing the fear of the unknown. Yet just like when I was a kid - that desire to push beyond the realm of comfort remains - even if I have gotten use to keeping it contained. One of my favorite authors is John Eldredge and he put is this way, "Desire fuels our search for the life we prize. Our desire, if we listen to it, will save us from committing soul-suicide, the sacrifice of our hearts on the altar of 'getting by.' The same old thing is not enough. It never will be." So why does the same old thing tend to win out? Why do we settle? Why do we cling to the same rung on the monkey bars eyeing the one in front but knowing the only move we'll end up making is backwards or staying on the same rung? The sacrifice it takes to live in safety & comfort seems like a far bigger loss then the sacrifice of taking the chances on moving forward in life. Easy to acknowledge - but surprisingly difficult to do. Its a sad reality when you realize your 5-year-old self would look at your adult self with eyes of pity. So the encouragement is this - SWING FORWARD and see the adventure the awaits.