Monday, November 30, 2009

The (Near) Thanksgiving Day Massacre

I lost my camera on Thanksgiving Day. There was a good chunk of time when there was a search party, because I wasn’t about to leave California without my $200 camera. There were three different ways that people saw this apparently.

My Point of View
There were a bunch of kids around who weren’t really helping me look. My nephew Warren was looking in the freezer, while my niece Anaiya suggested, “Maybe it’s in the cake.” I figured that they were just going to be in the way, so I told them to sit down and be quiet. One of them said they were cold, so they put the blanket over themselves. I was being nice while looking for my camera.

The Kids’ Point of View

I didn’t verify any of this, but I’m pretty sure that this is what they were all collectively thinking: “Man, he’s serious. He’s making us sit down, all in a row. Maybe we can chat it up while he looks? Oh, no, he has his belt. Did he say something about a rod? I don’t know what that it is, but he sounds serious. I guess we can’t talk. He’s got that wild look in his eyes. I think he might just kill one of us. Let’s not say anything. He’s being mean while looking for his camera.”

The Other Adults’ Point of View
“Oh, my goodness, look at him. He has all the kids lined up, oldest to youngest, on the couch. They’re not saying anything. They were talking, but they shut up real quick when he got that belt. Did you hear him? He said, ‘The Bible says to use a rod.’ He’s going to start torturing them. Just wait. He’s gonna throw a bucket of cold water on them, get in their face, and ask, ‘Where’s the camera?’ He’s going to get information from them one way or another. There’s no mercy. Chrissie’s only four. What’s she gonna tell him? Oh, snap. We need to look harder or else we’re next. We’re not going to escape. His mom’s the only one safe. The rest of us might not survive Thanksgiving. He’s gone crazy while looking for his camera.”

I still say I was being nice. Everyone else blew it out of proportion. Anyway, we all laughed at it after my camera did appear again. And nothing of mine disappeared for the remainder of the trip. And for some reason unbeknownst to me, everyone asked permission before doing anything, even getting a cup of water. I can’t understand why. I guess I’m just a man who demands respect.

Give me respect... or else

And now, for the completely unrelated video of the week, I give you Si! Enjoy.

Guacamole from Si on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank God

So, the whole Monday and Thursday posting thing seems to be failing. Last week was due to laziness, but this one's on purpose. I wanted to post this on Wednesday because Thursday, as we all here in America know, is Thanksgiving and I would rather you, the reader, spend time with your family and cooking and eating and going into a food coma before eating again.

Now, what else can I write about right now than about giving thanks for what we have? Though I often miss it because I'm human (read: stupid), God truly has blessed me immensely. I was reading in Isaiah this morning, and was reminded of the security and eternal forgiveness that we have in Jesus. Isaiah 22:14 says, "The LORD of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: 'Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,' says the Lord GOD of hosts." Jerusalem had turned to themselves rather than to the One who made them, and so He left them to their own devices that would lead to their own destruction.

In John 10:28-30, Jesus tells us that we are in God's hands and no one can take us out because He is greater than anyone and everyone else. In Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul tells us that we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our inheritance. It is so amazing to think that everything we have done and will do have been atoned for because of the sacrifice of our Lord.

Lord God, I think You for the assurance that we have in You. That You have given us Your Holy Spirit freely, so we can live forever with You. I thank You that we already have that eternal life and that You have us in Your hands. I thank You for Your amazing grace and mercy that we receive everyday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I lost my salvation on the way to church

Friday's post (I apologize for posting it late, btw) discussed how I don't know how to love God with all of me all the time. Well, a close examination of my life has showed one way in which I am not doing it.

As some of you know, I've only had a driver's license since late August. Since then, I've been driving quite a bit. I'm still a pretty bad driver, but that's another post. I've noticed that I'm not the only bad driver on the road. Other people on the road make me start yelling at them and thinking evil thoughts about them (I love how they're to blame).

I noticed Sunday that I yell at other people A LOT. I mean crazy, ridiculous, don't-know-volume-control kinda stuff. I think that the things I think, however, are sinful at worst, mildly funny at best. Examples:

The speed limit's 40! Why are you only going 45?

(Realizing that the man who I was driving behind was graying) Old people!

I wonder if I could hit this guy if I speed up?

(Checking the age of a woman next to me) I wonder if I could beat her. (Our lanes were merging. I was so intent on looking at her that I didn't notice the light turn green. She did.)

I realized that I, like other drivers, am the only one important when I'm on the road. I am all that matters. That's not loving God with all I am all the time and it's not loving my neighbor as myself. If Jesus gave a 3rd greatest commandment, I would probably break that one too. I think that's why I listen to Christian music when I'm driving. Otherwise, I don't think I would be saved anymore.

In an unrelated but still kind of important note, I started a ministry blog called Inside my Ministry. It's just a way to kinda clean up some clutter that I felt was happening on this blog. So if you want to read about my ministry, go there.

And now, I leave you with this completely unrelated video, but is nonetheless hilarious. And it raps the gospel, so it has to be good. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Love for God

This Sunday, I went to 2 different churches. Both of them were talking about the first and greatest commandment that Jesus gives to us. I kinda think God was telling me something.

Both sermons pointed out the completeness that the commandment demanded. Jesus says to love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. That means to love Him with everything. The passage that Jesus is quoting from goes even further. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us with what we are to love God. Verses 6-9 says when. It says to teach your children to love God. Love Him when you sit. When you walk. When you lay down. When you rise. This reminds me of a song that says, "I only think of you on two occasions/ That's day and night." God has covered all the bases. We are supposed to love Him all the time with all of us.

But I have a small beef with that, and it's with the application. It's one thing to say to love, but what does that look like? Pastor Justin pointed out that Jesus' answer to the scribe was to love, not to obey. I thought, "Well, of course the commandment doesn't say obey. It's a commandment. It's implied that you're to obey it." I think I understand his point more now that I'm thinking it over. God doesn't want blind obedience. He wants us to love Him. If we keep every command that God ever gave Man, if we go to church every week, if we join ministry and lead thousands of people to the Lord, but don't have love for God, do you know what that makes us? 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says that all we are is noise. We are nothing without love.

That was God's beef with the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2. In verses 2-3, Jesus tells the church that He knows the good they do, He knows their hatred of wickedness, He knows that they have even suffered for His name's sake and yet persevere through it all. In verse 4, however, he tells them that they have forgotten their first love. Christianity to them had become service for God, which took the place of a love for God.

I don't want you to think that I am saying don't do. I am saying don't equate doing with loving. We can do and do and do and wear ourselves out without loving. They do not mean the same thing. I'm saying don't do instead of love, but do because of love. I think that's what Jesus meant when He said in John 14:21, "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me." That's how we show that God dwells in us and empowers us to love Him and to love others.

That still doesn't answer the question of what it looks like to love God with all of you all the time. And this is why I was slightly hesitant to write this blog. I don't really have an answer. If I had an answer, though, I think that would defeat the purpose of the previous three paragraphs. If I said to love God is to do this, that, and these, I'm no better than the Ephesians. I think the main reason I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this commandment is because my natural inclination is to have instructions on how to do something. Love doesn't quite work like that. My prayer is that you, the reader, and I would love God with all of our being all of the time, whatever that may look like.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More reflections on Isaiah

As you can see here and here, I've kind of adopted Isaiah being called by God as my own calling into ministry.

Well, if I'm going to model my calling after Isaiah's, why not model other things? I was reading in Isaiah this morning, and came across Isaiah 20. It's six short verses that you should read right now. Go ahead, I'll wait.


Well, now that you've read it, I think it's obvious what my logical next step is. As I have answered God's call to go out for Him, I must now loose my sackcloth and take off my sandals. And Isaiah did this for 3 years, so it's going to be a while until I put my clothes back on. I don't know what purpose God has for me being naked for 3 years, but I must follow Him.

*I know the picture (from this guy) has nothing to do with this post, but I thought it was hilarious, and I don't think you really want a picture that's relevant to the post.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Love of God

As some of you know, I was in Florida the end of October into the beginning of November for a national staff conference for everyone working with the collegiate part of Navigators. For those of us on EDGE Corps, it was 8 days of humidity, meetings, seminars, and debriefing. You'll probably hear more about this trip, but for your sake and mine, I will break it up into smaller chunks. This chunk is probably the only part that I can relay back to other people without looking at my notes, which is good because I don't have my notes in front of me right now.

The Message
Later in the week, we would have early morning group sessions. This one in particular was called "The Love of God." Sounded simple enough. The Bible is graced with many pages that speak on the love of God. I typed "love" into Bible Gateway and got 683 results (granted, not all of those results are about God's love, but I think you see my point). We had the special privilege of having Jerry Bridges, the second oldest collegiate Navigator, speak to us on this topic this particular morning. The verse that he used that stuck out the most to me doesn't even have the word "love" in it. It was Romans 8:32, which simply says, "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"

Why that hit me so hard
As much as I enjoyed my time in Florida, there were parts that were just miserable. I think there was only one night that I had a decent amount of sleep. Most nights that week, I was kept up by a really bad toothache. It would hurt mildly during the day causing a mild inconvenience, but come night time, I wanted to slice the right half of my face off. The painkiller I was taking wasn't helping. I asked God to stop the pain, to grant me some sleep. It didn't happen.

Jerry Bridges, in his message, talked about how we often turn to God and ask, "If You love me, why _________?" We can fill in the blank with whatever is bothering us at the time. We accuse God of holding out on us. Now, I don't think sleep is too much to ask for. But God essentially said to me through Mr. Bridges' message, "Jason, you are so ungrateful. You're complaining about your tooth hurting. You're complaining about a couple nights of sleeplessness. You've taken your eyes off of the cross. You complain about losing a couple hours of sleep, and don't realize that I've given you life. Not only this temporal life, but eternal life. With me. I loved you so much, that I did not spare my Son, my only begotten Son, but I gave Him up for you. So I could bring you to Me. You didn't deserve it. You still don't. You were My enemy, but I love you. I love you enough to make my Son suffer death and separation from Me, so you won't have to. Is that not enough for you?"

My prayer for you, the reader, is that the cross is enough for you, and that you not lose sight of what God has done for you--in spite of you being His enemy--because you set your sight on something that He hasn't done.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Math:1, Men: 0

If you didn’t know that I’m a math geek, then you probably don’t know me too well.
That said, it is my extreme pleasure to disprove a common math problem that young men love. Sorry, guys.

The Problem*

*I couldn't figure out how to do some of the characters in blogger, so I figured them out in Word and then printscreened them. In order to see it better, just click on the image.

The Problem with the Problem
One of the givens is that Girls = Time and Money.
I'm OK with that. But to write that out mathematically, you would have to say Girls = Time + Money. Instead of Money squared, you would get 2Money, and the square root of 2Money doesn't mean anything.
To get Time*Money, Girls would have to equal Time of Money, and that just doesn't make sense in English.

Well, guys, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but a former math major's gotta do what a former math major's gotta do.

For those of you who are not math-minded, don't worry, most posts won't be about math. I just had to get this one off my chest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sometimes, more is more

I read blogs. I think that's fair since I expect other people to read mine. That's why blogs exist. So people who normally wouldn't give two rips will see what's happening in the lives and minds of other people, some of which they've never met.* One such blogger is Matt, who wrote some rules that bloggers should follow. I didn't really pay attention to the rules (see what a bad blog reader I am?), but his posts got me thinking about my own blog and how rarely I update it. I thought that I should update it more often.

And then I thought about quite how vague that is. So I thought that maybe I'd give myself a once a week minimum. That, too, is too vague for my taste. So, I thought I should narrow it down to specific days that I will have a blog post up. I will spare the details about how I came to the conclusion that I will, until further notice, have a blog up every Monday and Thursday. These blogs will not have any kind of recurring theme except that they are from my mind. Some will be related to ministry, some will be bad jokes. Heck, maybe I'll post a recipe or two. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wet yourself and then deny it when your roommate says something about it. Or at least that's my goal.

So, that's my dream for this blog. If you see a lapse in the posting, I give you permission to throw a pine cone at my head (or to let me know in a gentler manner).

I will consider this my Thursday post a day late. See you Monday!

*This is not a rip on blogging, per se, because I obviously am a blogger myself. I just find that I read about people who I have never met and I don't think I would care remotely about them otherwise.