Showing posts from November, 2012

Russian Fire Engines

Nothing too profound today; just a quote I came across while reading for one of my classes. It comes from Charles Strohmer's book The Gospel and the New Spirituality . At this point, he is illustrating an irrational way of thinking. He quotes Andre Kole as he writes: "Fire engines are red because they have two firemen. Two firemen have four feet. Three feet from four feet leaves one foot. One foot is a ruler. Queen Mary was a ruler. Queen Mary ruled the seven seas. The seven seas have fish. Fish have fins. The Finns were conquered by the Russians. Russians are red. Fire engines are always rushin'. And that's why fire engines are red." Yes, some of the references are a little dated, but I think the point is clear.

Wind-up Wednesday: Harry Carey and Space

I'm a big Chicago sports fan, but even if you aren't, surely you remember Harry Carey, or better yet, Will Ferrell's impression of him. Enjoy this bit of fun to get you started through the rest of your week. You'll have to click on the link inside the box to watch since they don't want it posted elsewhere. I hope you learn a lot.

Holiday Prophecy

As I've been reading through some of the books of prophecy in the Bible I have been struck with how similar our times are to those of ancient Israel. There is a common theme throughout these books of calling Israel to "Return to the Lord." Why have they walked away from God? Because they have grown complacent and forgetful in the midst of great prosperity and peace. There needs were all satisfied. Even their wants were satisfied. The generations that had fought for these blessings and had experienced the mighty deliverance of God were old or had passed on. Now, a new generation lived that expected this life of ease and prosperity to continue. They hadn't worked for these blessings and they certainly didn't see the need to keep working hard or to thank God for things they felt they deserved. Do you see yourself in that mirror? I sure do. It is easy to praise God when times are tough; when you don't know where the next paycheck is coming from, when your chil

Sunday Singables: "Romans Doxology"

"Romans Doxology" by John G. Elliot, released on When God is Praised  (2006), written in 1989, based on Romans 11:33-36 Click Here to listen to "Romans Doxology" by John Elliot This song is based on Romans 11:33-36 which is the doxology (short hymn of praise) Paul expresses after some rather difficult passages earlier in Romans. It isn't word for word, but it pretty accurately declares what Paul was writing about in this passage. Why I recommend this song for worship- Many churches conclude their services with a song of doxology. It can be difficult to keep this part of the service fresh if you constantly sing the traditional "Doxology" song found in most hymnals. You know the one: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below..." While I love that song and have even sung it with added verses, it is also good to sing other doxologies from scripture. This one, based on the doxology from Romans 11,

Thanksgiving Indigestion

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. We had the privilege of having family over for a few days. Maybe that isn't such a privilege for you, but we are blessed with wonderful relationships across the bloodlines of siblings, in-laws, and everything in between. Our time together progressed in the typical American fashion. Family came in on Wednesday evening. We talked and played a game or two, all the while preparing for the big meal the next day. Thanksgiving morning dawned with delicious "sticky-buns" dripping with sugar and cinnamon out for breakfast and some morning physical activity to burn off a few calories before dinner. This year it was 18 holes of Frisbee golf with my brother in law. Pretty soon football was on T.V., the smell of turkey was pervading the house, and everyone was anticipating the feast. Dinner was great and so was desert. The day seemed to be winding down in the normal way Thanksgivings do, with everyone slipping into a half-awake turkey

Wind-Up Wednesday: "Googly Eyes" (Christopher Walken)

Wind-Up Wednesday: "Googly Eyes" This will be a light week for posts with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, so here's a little fun to help with what might be a stressful week.

Sunday Singables: "Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder"

"Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder"  by John Newton, released by Jars of Clay on Redemption Songs  (2005) and by Indelible Grace on For All the Saints (2003) (this is the Jars of Clay recording) This song, originally written by John Newton, is featured in the Trinity Hymnal with a different melody. The tune linked above is an alternative one that I really enjoy. While both melodies work in different contexts, the one I'll be featuring today is the more contemporary one done by both Jars of Clay and Indelible Grace. Why I recommend this song for worship- Wondering at the cross is something we don't do enough of as Christians. Maybe we don't know what is so special about the cross. Maybe the awe of someone dying for our sins and freeing us from death wears off over time. I think most, if not all, of us could attest to the fact that our passion waxes and wanes depending on how life is going. That is where this song can be very effective. It calls us back t

Waterproof Smartphones

I recently read an article stating that we are just a few short years away from affordable waterproof smartphones. While that does mean we can go back to not worrying about pushing someone into a swimming pool, it also means that the last bastion of cell-phone freedom will be disappearing forever. I'm talking, of course, about the shower. I love taking showers. There is something about the hot water and the peace and quiet of no technology. I did attempt for a time to do the whole shower radio thing, but that quickly broke. Having a place where technology can't get to you is kind of nice, though. You can be alone with your thoughts, pray, sing, and of course get clean. I remember just a few short years ago when you couldn't get cell phone service in certain areas, like on a cruise or on an airplane. Those places were true escapes from being connected to the world. I remember my father-in-law would take cruises specifically because the office couldn't reach him by pho

New Song: When He Comes

Our Christmas program this year is entitled "The Night Before Christmas." Part of that theme is looking at the Christmas event from the perspective of Ancient Israel, longing for Messiah to come. In a sense, we are still waiting for the fullness of that coming when Christ returns a second time. As I looked around for appropriate Christmas songs with the theme of waiting for Messiah, I didn't come up with much that would fit our context, so I just decided to write one. It does focus on the first coming of Christ, but I think it is a song to be sung throughout the year as well. I'll post the actual performance after our Christmas program next month, but for now I hope you are encouraged by the words. Some of the phrasing might be a little hard without knowing the melody, but you'll get the idea of the message of the song. Enjoy! ( click here for music for this song, now available ) When He Comes I have prayed for oh so long, waiting for the one; the one

Wind-Up Wednesday: Iron Man vs. Dora

I know, I know. I've been a slacker blogging this week. So, as a reward here are two fun clips for your Wind-Up Wednesday. There's a lot more coming this week, but that'll happen later. Today there's something for everyone... action, superheroes, kids shows, and learning spanish! Enjoy. Dora... Iron Man...

Sunday Singables: "Behold the Lamb"

"Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)"  by Keith and Kristyn Getty, released on Awaken the Dawn  (2009) Our church observes communion each Sunday morning. Honestly, I love it. It hasn't grown stale and it is a wonderful reminder each week of the forgiveness found at the cross and that the Lord is coming again. This brings a unique challenge to me as a worship leader though because I need to have a song for communion each Sunday. While there are a lot of hymns out there about the cross and the death of Christ there aren't that many about communion itself. This song is a wonderful exception. Why I recommend this song for worship- Each verse of this song brings forward a different element of communion. It takes the singer on a journey from forgiveness of sins through the bread and cup and to our response as partakers together. It makes me think a lot about what I'm doing as I get ready to take the elements and really keeps it fresh and new. As I said earlie

Bless the Lord's Chosen One (or die?)

Lately I've been reading a lot about David. You know, the "David" and Goliath, King "David", City of "David", Son of "David"... that David; the one who was king in Israel about 3,000 years ago. You can read all about him in 1 Samuel 16-1 Kings 2 . (By the way, did you know that the reason there is a first and second Samuel and not just "Samuel" is that there wasn't enough room on one scroll for the whole thing, so they split it into two books? Kind of like the Harry Potter 7 movies... just a fun fact) One part of his story in particular has caught my attention, especially in light of the recent events of the election. It has to do with the transition of the throne from David's predecessor, King Saul, to himself. This part of the story picks up in 1 Samuel 24 . You see, David had already been anointed the next king. Saul had failed the Lord in his duties in many ways. Therefore, God rejected him from being king and began

Wind-Up Wednesday: Da'Coach vs. Da'Obama

Here's a little post-election day fun. I wonder what could've been... And of course, some classic superfans footage in celebration of my 7-1 Bears and the wonderful city of Chicago!

Election on Election Night

Do you believe in election? This is a question that you might answer differently depending on the time of year. Tonight, on America's election night, we all believe in election. We vote and whoever the most people vote for wins. I wonder if you ever think about the word "election" and it's relationship to the idea of election in the Bible. When you ask people about Biblical election you might raise a few eyebrows. For some reason we are okay with us choosing people to rule over us, but when it comes to God choosing people we have a problem. "What about free will?!" "We want to choose ourselves!" One of the classic passages to think through would be Romans 9:10-16 where God elects Jacob over Esau. I'm not going to even attempt to explain this in a blog post, but I just want to reference it to show that it is something the Bible addresses. That particular passage is a tough one because it gives us a glimpse behind the scenes to how God works

Sunday Singables: "Lift My Eyes"

"Lift My Eyes" by Joshua Huff (2009) released by Joshua Huff on Enriched Affections This is a song I wrote a few years back for a Summer Camp our church did where the theme was "Raise Your Gaze". It is based on passages from Job 38, Psalm 84, and Psalm 121. Thanks to a former student in my youth group, Tim H., for posting it on his YouTube channel. Why I recommend this song for worship- Something I think all of us struggle with is being distracted by the things of this world. This song encourages us to lift our eyes off of those things and instead focus on the Lord and what He has done. We are so small compared the bigness of the world, and yet God still saved us and opened our eyes to see him. This could be used as a call to worship or just something to encourage you in your daily walk with the Lord. It's pretty upbeat and hopefully the melody and feel of the song match the words. Whenever you are tempted to focus solely on your own troubles and think

Movie Review: Argo

Moriah and I had the privilege of going on a date last evening. Being the parents of three little ones and living far from family, these are hard to come by. However, we were able to get out and we decided to see a highly recommended film from others, Argo. This film scored a 96% from Rotten Tomatoes and high praise from many of our friends, so we decided to take a risk on a movie neither of us really knew anything about and go see it. Plot: If you aren't familiar with the plot, which is probably most of you under the age of 40, it is based on a true story that took place during the Iran Hostage crisis in the early 1980's. While the nation at large was following the story of the many hostages inside the U.S. embassy in Iran, there were six who had escaped and were hiding out in the home of the Canadian ambassador to Iran. This movie retells the daring attempt made by the CIA and Canadian government to rescue these individuals by creating a fake movie, Argo, and pretendi

Martin Luther Resource

I'll have a bit more to share tomorrow. I have a wonderful date night planned with my wife and we are going to see Argo, so expect a fun movie review. For now, I'll leave you with a great resource on Martin Luther (by the way, I always found his resemblance to Mark Deven uncanny, and a bit ironic- see picture to the left). This link will take you to Desiring God's page with John Piper's biographical message on Martin Luther, as well as the whole thing typed out if you'd rather read it. If you don't know a lot about this man but don't have time to read through a whole biography, this is your chance to learn a ton in about an hour about one of the most impactful men in the history of the church. Enjoy! John Piper's Biographical Message and Manuscript- Martin Luther: Lessons From His Life and Labor