Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011's Favorites

In chronological order:

This Must be Dealt With
I’ve used this one to end two different sermons. The power in it has been captivating to me. There are a few who want me to read it for a poetic reading (that’s a big maybe). I wrote it one cold January night when it was snowing. Looking up all the passages for this one was particularly fun.

I Believe, Help My Unbelief
Written in 2010 for a friend this post kept punching me in the brain. I finally posted it at the end of January and it’s one that still is running through my thoughts.

Quite Frankly
This one was a tough write for me. I’ve thought this for a while, but never voiced it until I wrote this post.

The Armor of God (Sermon)
This one is a favorite because it was the first time I’d ever had a manuscript for my sermon. It worked well for two or three, now I’m back to a half-note-half-manuscript deal.

Letting Go of the Faded Memory
Inception & C.S. Lewis collide. Enough said.

Getting Ahold of Happiness
I wrote this puppy after “AFTERdark” a Christian pep-rally some WSU students put on in early spring.

Common Error pts 1, 2, &3 & A Response to Myself pts 1,2, 3 & 4
These were quite literally me thinking out loud for the world to read. I had always had an issue with the term ‘common grace’ and if you read these you’ll see my reasons plus my own response to, well, me! O and these were written and posted in 2 days.

He is Here
This one is my hand at poetry. You have to be kind to read it. It’s a wee rough.

What is Joy?
The church I work for (Journey the Way) did a sermons series through Philippians and it was titled the ‘Pursuit of Joy.’ This was the ending of a sermon I had preached over the summer, which I thought applied rather nicely.

The Thinker's Thoughts on Thinking
This one still kills me.

A Little Spilled Coffee
This was the first of what I hope to be continuing posts. It’s observation with my own speculation. Watching people is apart of what I do and my mind tends to write a story for each person I never get to talk to. Others like this one are: A Coffee Shop Scene, Tragedy and Two Pairs One Table

Final Stress
This one was good for my heart to write, and my head. Ugh finals.

Christopher Hitchens
I really will miss this guy’s whit and cynicism.

The most popular posts of year:
1. The Hidden Hide
2. Christopher Hitchens
3. A Coffee Shop Scene

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Past

I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately. Remembering things I’ve done and places I’ve been in contrast to where and who I am now.

Typically I don’t look back. (but I may try to forget some things, but even those things are daring to be remembered too.)

Red Lobster, that’s where it began. Eating a lovely meal with grandma. Thinking, “Tables were never this clean in Egypt and food was never this good in Uganda.” Seeing, in stark contrast mind you, the difference from where I was and where I am.

That’s where many of my thoughts have been lately.

There’s a dirty and bland world out there. There are starving children and kids with AK-47’s killing each other and their families. There are women dying in the streets far away from their home. And a man with one hand no lips, no eyes, and acid burns on his face begging for money in a dank corner of a Ugandan market.

We’d consider it out-of-control, they’d consider it normal.

Egypt I loved, Uganda scared me, Israel was homely, Amsterdam was crazy, and Frankfurt was too short.

This isn’t a list of credentials to be read and envied. It’s not a look-at-me-I’m-better-than-you-cause-I-traveled list. It’s just a dude remembering how good we’ve got it here in, “no-where,” Wichita, Kansas.

We can drink the water in the showers, and brush our teeth from faucet water and not a bottle. We all (for the most part) have cars (no matter how crappy they are). Houses, safety, and pets we don’t have to eat.

No-where Wichita seems like a vacation compared to war-torn Africa. #justsaying

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Time-ish Thoughts

1) Case of Skittles... 'nough said.

2) I got to hang out at The Anchor for a little bit. It was a good Christmas present.

3) Are there any good excuses to leave my Christmas tree up all year long? ...other than being a redneck.

4) Does the world end at the beginning of 2012 or the end of 2012?

5)I bought The Hunger Games to read after I meander through The Lord of the Rings again. (Starting with The Simarillion, then The Hobbit, then LOTR) In other words I'll be in the realm of complete and utter nerdom for the first few months of 2012.

6) New vaccum! (You know you're grown up when this excites you)

7) Hey Wichita, if you add 50 to the highs these days, they still don't touch this summer's temps.

8) Gonna see The Civil Wars, again!

9) Hat Man Jack's andThe Spice Merchant.

10) Fight the good fight of faith.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two Pairs One Table

They were father and son, the father near ninety his son in his sixties. Both bedecked in hats, the father with his bolo tie and boots, the son in a simple jacket.

The gentleman at the table next to them complimented the father’s tie; he said he got it from his wife for their 25th wedding anniversary and the ring on his middle finger she’d given him for their 50th anniversary. The son simply listened to his dad’s tale.

“She’s gone now.” Said the father, the son gently nodding in agreement. Neither pain, nor regret hindered his voice; just the simple fact that she’d moved on was all that could be read in his voice. Finishing their drinks they moved on because, “There are people to see and places to be.”

A few minutes later a couple took the seats at the same table. His salt and pepper hair was in stark contrast to the conversation they were having and the pictures she was holding. A sonogram, a little blip on the picture indicating a baby.

They launched into a discussion rather happily, both leaning closely over the little Starbucks table, of how to break the news to their family. “Should we do Christmas day or Christmas Eve, over e-mail or Skype?” His Scottish brogue said so nicely.

The little table heard & saw both pairs. With what might be the father’s final Christmas, and what is a baby’s first days of life. The discussion of a father and his son, the love between soon to be parents while the world whizzed by in the chaos of shopping, these moments will be remembered more than trifles and gifts.

While the father will lavish his great-grandchildren with presents and his son with the respect of age and the love only his tried wisdom can bestow; while the parents will prepare for the child to come with beautiful little trinkets. The relationships will never be as fresh as they are now.

For the chasm of death will separate both pairs eventually, but it doesn’t now. So conversations and memories are being made and one day the chasm will be no more and the bonds of fellowship will be picked up in perfection more vividly than they were five days before Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Thoughts

1) My cat uses echolocation to get around and likes coffee as much as I do.

2) Toys-R-Us has Twilight toys for preschoolers. Unacceptable America, unacceptable.

3) Christopher Hitchens died? Dang it. Read more here.

4) Sherlock Holmes 2 = success

5) Grace, grace, grace, it’s all grace.

6) I’m not sarcastic. Ever.

7) Do Christians really want to die on the hill of “Happy Holidays?”

8) The closer you are to a situation the less you see it.

9) I’d like to be in Bethlehem this time of year, or Scotland. Either one.

10) Grandma took me grocery shopping! Food, good food!


11) The Three Musketeers is teaching me a lot about myself. Read it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

“Christopher Hitchens died today, he was 62.” This is what will be published in articles across the world. Many know him as a scathing writer. His books against the existence of God are well known; his speeches are all over YouTube. His calling Mother Theresa a, “Fraudulent fanatic,” is remembered well.

Cancer is what killed him. The incurable disease, the one science can’t fully fix. Irony, for the man who put his ‘faith’ in science to be killed by its failure at the end.

But to damn the man in a blog post is to affect nothing. Sure I could rant at his open disbelief in God, but I think that cowardly since he can’t offer a rebuttal.

No, I will call him a well-written man and a wonderful rhetorician. Causing all kinds of people to think and consider. Whether they were Atheist or Christian. I will pity his death; for I rather enjoyed listening to him speak.

But I will also say, there is more to life then being well written and a beautiful speaker. There is more to life than making people think. There’s more to life than all this life and death and tragedy and comedy. There’s love

Not the blind love of youth. Nor the love I have for Oreos. But the love of a Savior for his people, which causes faith in what is unseen.

‘Cause that’s all faith really is, believing what you can’t see to be. Hitchens’ had it in the power of words and our modern sciences; I have it in the power of words and the work of Jesus. While science astounds me it cannot redeem me.

But see, that’s just it; I feel the need of being redeemed from my sins. I feel the need for a Savior. Hitchens never did. It can’t be because his brain was more evolved than mine. Nor can it be that his studies revealed more to him than the studies of C.S. Lewis or Sir Isaac Newton.

Perhaps I’ve believed the lie. Perhaps he believed the lie. I won’t damn him, that’s not my place nor my job and he won’t damn me.

All I know is this; I will die for this Gospel, this Savior, this Jesus. Willingly and lovingly die. I proclaim until then His worth and Excellency and work. As Hitchens wrote so I shall write, as he spoke I shall speak. Yet the difference shall be this one thing: there is a God and He’s knowable.

So, I thank Christopher Hitchens for who he was, for his devotion to his faith and his bold proclamation of it. And I say this meaningfully, he will be missed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I got a cat. The Wichita Eagle had a classified add for, “Absolutely free kittens.” I called, went over with my sister and took one (his name is Luther and he’s at current intently watching me type while he lays upside down).

As we were leaving the place my first thought was, “These people are really going to let me walk out of their house with one of their pets? I’m not responsible enough for this! This has to be a crime.” But they did. (O and he’s litter box trained.)

Anyway, enough about the cat.

The point is responsibility, and knowing life isn’t about you. Sure you get a critter to love and nurture, but you also have to wake up to feed them, make sure their healthy, and clean up after them (it’s like an infant on an incredible light scale - but infants don’t have claws).

Learning to put others before you in a small way to begin with. Fighting your (my) sin of workaholic because there’s a creature at home.

Fighting sin to the glory of God should weigh in on many of our decisions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Siren

The Sirens call our names. Calling us to the ‘freedom’ they offer, the ‘hope’ they can give and the ‘peace’ they’ll bestow. As we sail near their islands, their islands which dot every turn and point of our lives.

Yet we know, from devastating experience, these Sirens will kill us on their rocks. There is no island, there’s no hope, no peace, or no freedom, just some jagged rocks, which will do nothing but rip our souls to shreds and sink us in an ocean of despair.

It’s true to say that the valley of the shadow of death knows our names. We know its depths and we’ve seen its turns. We know how it affects our hearts and minds.

But a symphony of blood calls out; it speaks a better witness than the blood of Abel. It rolls back the clouds to reveal high noon in the valley of the shadow of death. All the Siren’s calls are shown to be faux and the despairs we’re in are shown to be nothing in comparison the one who shed the blood, which sings in our defense.

The sea we are in is a sea of grace; the valley we are in is a valley of beauty. We’re lost inside the grace of God. And his grace toward us is not in vain; it will never be in vain.

Friday, December 9, 2011

10 Finals Thoughts

1) Wait. What? Where am I?

2) Brain = Fried

3) Since when were we studying the weather on other planets? Thanks meteorology class.

4) 3 papers over 10 pages. I have no words. Profreading? Watch this.

5) My heartrate is through the roof. Stress

6) College Algebra. *Sigh* 3rd times a charm?

7) Can I just give a persuasive speech in Algebra telling them why I don't need algebra? Point 1: COMMUNCATION MAJOR

8) On Monday The Three Muskeeters started getting really interesting... Today, I'll pick it back up.

9) Coffee.

10) I wrote a paper like a story & had to talk myself out of putting it on here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Final Stress

Typically I’m not a stressful person. Usually things glide along rather well and the stress of it all is a, “whatever,” in my brain. That wasn’t me last night.

Many things accumulated to produce in my spirit such a discomfort and such a loathing of everything that I despaired.

The church changed location, multiple papers are due in multiple classes, tests, exams, finals in every class and on top of it all I spent all last week preparing for a sermon… I’m whining I know.

So what did I do? I took a 45min shower. And the whole time feebly sang Amazing Grace.

He saved a wretch like me; he will see me through Algebra.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years… This week won’t be the end of me.

Stress. It’s a stupid little word. St-ress. Yet we all resound with it’s pitiful call, we identify with it at the end of semesters or the nearing of deadlines. When worry becomes us and we think all shall be lost if things don’t go according to plan.

So let this little post do a work in your heart and your head as it has done in mine, quiet your soul and know that He is still God and you are still man. Though passing might not happen and much must be done there still is on the throne Christ whose plan is certain. And you, O student are adopted as his brother and loved as his sister, because he stooped to save us wretches from far worse than finals.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Narnian Church

I was talking with a good buddy this weekend after church and somehow (not quite sure how) we got on the topic of Narnia (‘cause all good conversations should digress into literature or theology). Yet while we were talking I had an idea.

We love the stories of Narnia, all of them, they’re beautifully captivating, children going to some other place and becoming kings and queens and animals talking. Romantic to say the least, imaginative, for sure, since we’ve all desired at some point or another to be royalty.

The kids in the stories go from reality to Narnia, and then in the end Narnia is what is made whole and beautiful.

This mirrors the Church.

We are able to go to the Church, to be apart of her and to love her, but she is not the place we’re going. Yet she will be made new (more beautiful and more splendid).

Worshiping together, fellowshipping with one another, marveling at our God. Will be new and better and more wonderful. The Church, the thing we love and rest in when the realities of the world are too much, she will be made wholly new and wholly perfect.

Because the Church we now know is just a shade of the Church that will be.

Because the worship we now give is hardly a drop in the bucket of the worship we will give.

But if you hate the Church, then this poses a problem. ‘Cause why would you want to spend forever with a remade Church?

My only response to this is, is this: be careful whom you hate (or strongly-dislike, or don’t want to be apart of… etc). The bride of Christ surely is not one to hate. To claim Jesus as your Savior but hate the people he saved is hate yourself.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Worst Christmas

"O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Christmas time! What with all the trees, lights, gifts, family and friends is always an exciting time of year. As a kid dreaming of what might be in those boxes under the tree you helped mom and dad decorate. Bundling up like Eskimos to go to school. Sipping apple cider with a favorite book in your hand.

The dark mornings and the darker evenings, the cold nights and the freezing car rides (or at least until the heater gets going), singing the music of this time of year.

The music. It's always extremely interesting to me, I used to not like it, but now - after reading Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia - this music draws me to remember the moments leading up to the enemies demise.

The deep breath before the plunge of battle. When warriors courageously died for what would come if the evil one fell. When sword and shield were shattered and rattled in pursuit of freedom.

It’s right to see this time of year in this light. For from the beginning of time the prophecies, the promises, and the people of God yearned for the coming deliverer. One who would cause the stronghold of the enemy to shiver in fear, to quake at their final abolishment and defeat.

All the great stories take their bow to this idea, this theme:

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.” (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)

Christmas is the worst thing that ever happened to the devil, thank God.