Monday, August 31, 2009

Matisyahu Helped Me Connect with God This Morning

I read Philippians 1 & 2 this morning and I was struck by the phrase "live your life in a way that is worthy of the gospel." Boom. I want that.

And I read from Church History in Plain Language about Constantine, Ambrose and particularly his calling the emperor to repent of his slaughter of 7,000 Thessalonians in the coliseum.  The bishop making the emperor repent?  Awesome.

But it was the culmination of that stuff listening to Matisyahu's One Day that about brought me to tears in worship.  Check it out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Best Christmas album ever? Dylan's Christmas in the Heart coming October 13th

i'll be the one at the cool kids' table doing the "make milk come out of my nose" trick

first day of class today. sabrina has been very supportive. she is walking me to the bus stop and has helped me get the essential items to be successful, not just in school, but in making a great first impression. so i have taken these pictures to show you that i am going into architecture school equipped with:

1) a trapper keeper, of course, that displays my passion for hot air balloons (because unicorns were sold out).

2) My A-Team Lunch Box. Yep. Ain't nobody gonna pity this fool.

3) And, just so that my coolness is immediately recognized, a classic winger t-shirt. she IS only seventeen. but that is how we do in texas.

see you at the max, suckas.

Church History in Plain Language

I'm spending a few minutes of my morning time reading a chapter from Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language.  The chapters are small enough to read quickly, narrative enough to be fun and informative enough to be instructive.  There's real power and joy and lessons in reading the story of God's people as a community and as individuals.  Shelley keeps it moving, as he says was one of his goals, and tells great stories.  

It's a large book but it's amazing how much we can read and what progress we can make by reading a manageable chunk daily.  Shelley has made each chapter the perfect length.

I've taken seminary courses on Church history but this book is honestly just as helpful, if not more so.  What is the saying that tose who fail to know history are doomed to repeat it?  Knowing Church history gives us the ability to acknowledge ancient heresies and attacks in their modern skins.

So far this is a must read.  Thanks for the recommendation @joshuareitano.  Now if only I could require all our Confirmands to read it...

Some quotes from today's chapter:

"...the attempt to tie the gospel to the latest theories of men is self-defeating.  Nothing is as fleeting in history as the latest theories that flourish among the enlightened and nothing can be more quickly dismissed by later generations."

"In orthodox Christianity redemption came not by some secret knowledge of spiritual realms but by God's action in history." 

"Man's evil is not in his body; it is in his affections.  He loves the wrong things.  This affliction is so deep, so basic to man's life on earth, that only a special Savior can free him from himself...Man does not need a teacher.  He needs a Savior."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Henry Nouwen on Numbers

"God rejoices when one repentant sinner returns. Statistically that is not very interesting. But for God, numbers never seem to matter. Who knows whether the world is kept from destruction because of one, two or three people who have continued to pray when the rest of humanity has lost hope and dissipated itself?

From God's perspective, one hidden act of repentance, one little gesture of selfless love, one moment of true forgiveness is all that is needed to bring God from his throne to run to his returning son and to fill the heavens with sounds of divine joy." from The Return of the Prodigal Son

I hate the numbers question. It is inevitably one of the first questions people ask when they find out I work as the director of a student ministry: "How many kids do you have?"

I always take this as a way for someone to size me up, see how good a youthworker I really am. They probably are just being curious and kind but it still stinks that it's at the top of the list of questions.

I'm always tempted to answer with sarcasm & snark. "We mail our newsletter to over 300, we have small groups with around 50, we do service projects where only 1 or 2 kids shows up. Pick whatever number makes you feel good."

Measuring is important. Numbers represent real people. However, Nouwen points out that it is the small, the seemingly insignificant and the immeasurable that is most significant. Good reminder that Kingdom advance incremental and sometimes almost imperceptible.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


aerial view from our bird's nest bedroom.

a bed in the sky.

a small portion of sabrina's mobile jungle on our porch.

the bourbon lush with her bourbon slush! thanks, mom.


so, here are some pictures of our new place in the lone star state.

walking in the door - ladder up to our loft-bedroom. artwork provided by phillip. muse provided by magic johnston.

our couch, which is also a comfy sofa bed. although it is "reading" as yellow barf on brown barf, it is actually quite awesome in a psychedelic grandma way in person.



sabrina's studio in process of set-up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Playing for Change Video | via @lensweet

Beautiful music, superior use of modern technology for something positive and good.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Len Sweet re: Twitter Theology | MUST READ!

A while back I posted a link to a Time article on Twitter and how it's changing the world for the better and forever. Len Sweet (author of many books I've read and enjoyed like The Gospel According to Starbucks, Aqua Church) is a fantastic thinker and this article does a great job describing his perspective, and much good, about Twitter.

Particularly he has commented on something that's bugged me for a long time, that we in the church LOVE to talk about leadership in significantly greater proportion than we talk about following or serving. Biblically the scales are tipped towards the latter.

Anyway... tolle lege!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Because until Dusty's canned, Taveras is cut, Stubbs is promoted, and this season is finally over, there's nothing else to be happy about.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our New Mistake

So Brian and Cheryl have Meka, Eden, and the New Kid.

Todd and Sabrina have Trapper John and Hammerin' Hank.

Not to be outdone--or rather, only to be moderately to severely outdone--Grace and I have Esme and

--wait for it--

Zooey [for real this time]. She's our new little girl. These are the best shots I could get with a hyper kitten and a cell phone. More will come.

She smells weird, but we love her anyway (a dollar to anyone who gets that reference without Internet searching it).

"Trouble Won't Go" | The Blackthorn Project and friends

This is what worship ought to be like and why I LOVE the enter the worship circle projects.

We are going to try this one for the offertory Sunday.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Newport Folk Festival 1963 & Now

In 1963 Bob Dylan's star rose to the highest heights of the folk world at the Newport Folk Festival (so they say, I missed by virtue of not existing yet). Here's some pics of Dylan & others with some commentary by photographer Rowland Scherman @ NPR's All Songs Considered blog: CLICK HERE

Particularly check out photos by Scherman (and others like Barry Feinstein): CLICK HERE

Some iconic shots, to be sure.

This year's Newport Folk Festival can be streamed HERE. Artists include Iron and Wine, Neko Case, Fleet Foxes, Joan Baez, the Decemberists, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Gillian Welch, Elvis Perkins in Dearland...