Friday, December 30, 2005

Getting Hitched

I wanted this post to mean more, so I purposefully haven't posted very much. (or I'm just lazy)

I've told mostly everyone who I have an email for and even sent one to people who don't use the same email address anymore.

It's official. For Christmas I gave Kori a diamond ring and a marriage proposal. We're getting married very soon. I'll post more details here later. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and encouragement. I look forward to growing closer to her and to God every day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Having A Personal Mission

Here we are halfway through December and I haven't even posted yet. I must apologize. I give no excuse. I've sat in front of this computer plenty of times this month and done nothing, getting up without as much as a link or a picture or anything. Sorry.

On that note, I came across this quote in a book I'm reading by Leonard Sweet. He's a big postmodern church/culture proponent and theologian. I thought this quote went along perfectly with what Cascade Hills is doing in Salem. It can also apply to each of us individually.

"The only church that can afford to be indifferent to trends is a church that is not on a mission." ~ Leonard Sweet
Do you have a mission for your life? If we are all the church, each one of us should have one. To completely remove yourself from the world is to seperate yourself from the call that Christ gave when he said "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. (Mark 16:15)"

For those reading my blog who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, is this a part of your personal mission for your life? For those reading who don't believe, what is your mission for your life?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

God Is Still Providing For All I Need

For those who like to hear stories of how God provides for our needs when we call out to Him, keep reading on.

In March, I bought a car for about $550 from someone that I know in Portland. I had to purchase it after my old car got smashed by a bad driver. A couple of months ago, this "new" car went kaput, with the water pump going out, and eventually the head gasket (or worse) following.

My doubts began to set in again, driving me to my knees, and calling on others to pray on my behalf. It appears God has heard His children and specifically answered this prayer by sending someone to purchase my busted car, as is, for $400. The car is no longer mine, but God continues to provide for me with all I need.

Please continue to pray for God's work in Salem, Oregon through the Cascade Hills Church of Christ that we can impact our community and show the love of the gospel of Christ to the world. Remember these stories and keep us in your prayers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Diagram of Love

While finishing up a book that I was reading by C.S. Lewis called The Four Loves, I came across a great passage. It talks about the true love God has shown and shows to all of us. In order for us to even begin to understand, we must be given examples, or as Lewis says:

"Statements about God are extrapolations from the knowledge of other things which the divine illumination enables us to know."
In other words, knowing about God and talking about God here are only human descriptions, of which our words cannot fully encompass the truth. (how's that for postmodern?)

That being said, hear how Lewis describes God's love for us.
"God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already forseeing-or should we say 'seeing'? there are no tenses in God-the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath's sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a 'host' who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and 'take advantage of' Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves." ~ C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sony Recalls CDs With Virus

You might think that after reading a headline like that that they accidentally put a virus on their CDs somewhere in the production process, or that they had gotten it through a loophole in their bonus features or something. That's not the case.

Sony BMG released 49 different albums with their "XCP copy-protection software" on it, which opened up huge holes in people's PC protection. After people complained, Sony released a "fix", but the holes got bigger and people's computers were open to virus attacks. What they don't emphasize is that the "protection software" actually IS a virus, and the worst part of it is that Sony really doesn't care all that much about its customers. They want to treat us all like criminals. It's ironic because most of the tripe they spew at us isn't even worth stealing.

I stopped listening to most popular music a long time ago, but I say everyone bans all major record labels and starts finding artists that care about making good music more than they care about getting famous and rich.

One of the articles:
Sony Recalls Copy-Protected Music CDs

Friday, November 04, 2005

What To Do With Your VCR

I found this article about things that you can do with your VCR after it completely goes out. There were a couple of really good ones, like using the timer to make an automatic cat feeder. Read the article, and get some good ideas. What else could you do with your VCR after it ceases being useful to watch movies on? (If you ask me, they're all pretty worthless to watch movies on anymore.)

VHS Lives On

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Pastor Electrocuted During Baptism

If you're baptizing someone, just make sure that you don't grab for any electronic devices while in the water. This is a perfect case for wireless mics. I'm not even joking.

Texas Pastor Electrocuted During Baptism

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Reason We're Not Going to Movies Anymore

I've heard a lot of stuff over the past year or so that says that more and more people are not going to the theater to see movies. I even heard a radio talk show talking about why Hollywood is losing a ton of money in the theaters. I recently found an article talking about why original ideas are no longer necessary to Hollywood studios, and that those can be left to indie films. Obviously they are in the business to make money, so I say to everyone, "Stop going to the theaters to watch the regurgitated plots and characters and filling these people's pockets!"

If we keep going, even if we hate the movies, they don't care. As long as they continue to get paid, they'll keep making this garbage. How much more do we have to endure the endless sequels of thoughtless time-robbing films before we realize they're not going to stop simply for the sake of "good art". Instead of spending twenty bucks on two movie passes and a popcorn, go out and buy a DVD or two of good movies and watch it at home. After you've purchased this movie, you can then watch it again and again and never give Hollywood another penny for that movie. Sure, you won't get to see the Daredevil sequel the day it comes out, but if you give your eight bucks to see movies like this, you deserve to not own your money anymore and are only aiding the intellectual terrorism of the artistic world.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Write A Novel In A Month?

Some of you may be wondering what that little image of the guy running with an oversized pencil under my profile may be. (If not, you should be)

Jason enlightened me the other day about a magnificent contest that goes on every year with people from all over the world as participants. The challenge: beginning midnight November 1st and ending midnight November 30th you must write a novel with at least 50,000 words.

"What is the prize", you are probably asking yourself right now. "What do I receive for my effort?" To which I reply, "Nothing."

Well, it's not exactly nothing. You get the satisfaction of knowing that in one month you have created what many people attempt to do in years, yet never can seem to get around to doing.

So I have accepted the challenge. I have picked up the gauntlet. I will join with thousands and tens of thousands of people attempting to write 1667 words a day until I reach the pinnacle of NaNoWriMo.org's goal. The final product does not have to be edited. It doesn't even need to be good. For those who have always wanted to write a novel, a story, or anything, I urge you to take the same challenge...if you think you can.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More From Our Founding Fathers

I submit again that our Founding Fathers were more than mere Deists. I shall let the words of Benjamin Franklin speak for himself.

In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.

~ Benjamin Franklin Constitutional Convention
delivered Thursday, June 28, 1787, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Images of Megachurches

I thought this was very interesting. Slate did a piece on megachurches and had some good photos of some of these giant places of worship. It makes me wonder what people get out of it or have to give besides more money, but it also makes me appreciate the simplicity of what Cascade Hills is doing. May God be glorified despite all our human vanity and selfish desires.

Images of megachurches

Sunday, October 09, 2005

New Part Time Job

I would just like everyone to know that I am now working for "The Man". That's right, I am now working in the Media section of Best Buy. Not only will this allow me to share my affinity toward video games, movies, music, and things of that ilk, I may also have a nice discount on these and many other electronic gizmos I may need or want. I am thankful to God for giving me a job (at higher than minimum wage) that will allow me to continue working with the people of Salem and bringing the Gospel to broken lives.

This will also keep me from getting kicked out of my apartment.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Searching For the Spiritual

In thinking about the launch of Cascade Hills I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis.

"[L]et us beware of the ambiguity in the word spiritual. There are many New Testament contexts in which it means 'pertaining to the (Holy) Spirit,' and in such contexts the spiritual is, by definition, good. But when spiritual is used simply as the opposite of corporeal, or instinctive, or animal, this is not so. There is spiritual evil as well as spiritual good. There are unholy, as well as holy, angels. The worst of sins of men are spiritual. We must not think that in finding [something] to be spiritual we have found it to be in itself holy or inerrant."

~ C.S. Lewis The Four Loves

Lewis was talking about "Friendship love" as an idea, with my addition of "something" in brackets, but I think it applies to, and that he is also talking about anything of a "spiritual" nature not pertaining to the Holy Spirit.

Because something is spiritual does not mean that it is good or bad. I have heard too many stories of people that I respect talking about their interactions with demon possession and with other spiritual warfare to take these things lightly. I have experienced personally evil spirits and Satan working against the work of Cascade Hills, the work of Kairos Church Planting Support and other church plants already. The Enemy is waiting to find ways to attack, and the dangers of "spiritual" things apart from God may lead someone in the opposite direction than they thought they were going. We have been given the Word through Christ, so we should powerfully share it in love with everyone.

It is my prayer that at Cascade Hills we seek God for all protection and strength that He will deflect all arrows from the Enemy and the love of Christ will be evident in our lives.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Techno A Cappella

I was bored the past couple of days (especially today with Kori being in Portland) so I was recording some stuff on my G5 (which is what I got it for in the first place, so I might as well get my money's worth). If you are a fan of Techno/Dance music and/or A Cappella music, then you might like this. All sounds are vocally produced by me.

A Cappella Techno

Friday, September 16, 2005

Inventor Denies Using Dead Cats For Fuel

For those that don't like cats, there may be a use for them after all.

There is an inventor who has created a biodiesel fuel using garbage. People are having doubts after a paper wrote that he is using dead cats as part of the mixture.

“I use paper, plastics, textiles and rubbish,” Koch told Reuters.

“It’s an alternative fuel that is friendly for the environment. But it’s complete nonsense to suggest dead cats. I’ve never used cats and would never think of that. At most the odd toad may have jumped in.”

Bild on Tuesday wrote a headline: “German inventor can turn cats into fuel -- for a tank he needs 20 cats.” The paper on Wednesday followed up with a story entitled: “Can you really make fuel out of cats?”
Here's the whole article:
Inventor denies using dead cats for fuel

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Intellectual Stimuli

Where do you find your inspiration to write?

Due to lack of an intellectual stumulus of any kind (or at least perceived lack of such), I feel like I haven't had anything important to say here. After sulking and giving energies to other things, I remembered the whole purpose of this blog, and with the viewing of many others' blogs with the equivalent of email forwards and some missing posts for months, I felt better about myself and the content I send into cyberspace.

I also found some great nuggets of thought-provoking goodness in a book I had dropped several months ago and just picked back up. Here is one talking about Jesus:

"He was not at all like the psychological picture of the integrated, balanced, adjusted, happily married, employed, popular citizen. You can't really be very well 'adjusted' to your world if it says you 'have the devil' and ends by nailing you up naked to a stake of wood."

~ C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
What Lewis was trying to explain just before this is that things such as greed, egotism, etc. are just as normal in people as physical maladies. They are "natural" to all of us, and there is only One in whom these things were absent. I'm all for speaking the language of the culture, but perhaps not being well adjusted might not be so bad. That is, of course, unless you're just plain looney.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Words On Rescue

I have been out of town in Cannon Beach the past week and some crazy things have been happening. First of all, my month of returning to run sound for Rescue is now over, however while away I have been trying to keep up with the happenings down in the Gulf Coast and the rescue efforts down there. It has made me think about what I have, how blessed I am, how fleeting these possesions are, and what I am to do with them. I have a friend who is more than likely going to be shipped down there in the next week or so to help with the efforts and regain some order. I also have another friend whose church in Memphis is taking in some of the refugees and helping them where they can with food and clothing. I pray we can each do our part to help hurting people.

In order to do my little part of helping out, any donations made here on my website will go straight to the relief efforts. I am still trying to figure out to what charity or how that will look, but rest assured it will all go there. Just click the button on the side and let's all do our best to help.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Man Dies After 50 Hours Of Computer Games

I'm sure Kori would like to use this against me ever playing video games. I am blessed that she doesn't really mind all that much that I play a little, and I regulate myself pretty well. I can't imagine ever doing anything like this guy.

The South Korean 28-year-old man died after a 50 hour marathon of gaming, stopping only to go to the bathroom and take brief naps and died of heart failure. He had recently quit his job to make more time for playing games.

Man Dies After 50 Hours Of Computer Games

Monday, August 15, 2005

United In Prayer

I have been told many times throughout my academic life that our founding fathers were nothing but Deists, believing that God created the world and then stepped back into the heavens to lay dormant. The more I read about some of these people, the more I can't help but think this is a total crock that church and state seperatists and atheists want people to believe.

We know that by His divine law, nations...are sujected to punishments...in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotton God. We have forgotton the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.... We have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness....

All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

~ Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Proclamation April 30, 1863
National Day of Prayer
These words still ring true today, for all of us.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Deep Thought of the Day

Today's Deep Thought comes in full audio quality for those too blind, lazy, and illiterate to read.

As the evening sun faded from a salmon color to a sort of flint gray, I thought back to the salmon I caught that morning, and how gray he was, and how I named him Flint.
~ Jack Handey


Spoken word by Tim Lewis

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Interactive Worship

I've been reading a lot of stuff over the past couple of years saying that our Sunday mornings have become a good stage act, with everything planned out: good music, good preaching, good presentations, etc. More and more I am hearing that as worship leaders we need to create an environment that invites all people to participate in worship, contrasted by the megachurch rock concert that happens in so many churches across the country.

What I want to do is begin a list of things that happen on sunday that allow as many people as possible to "do something" during worship. What things can we do to invite people to participate? Here are some of the things I have come up with, which also includes some verbs and adjectives that might describe some of the emotions and things going on during these sacrificial activities.

• creeds (recited)
• Communion
• Lord's Prayer reciting
• kneeling in prayer (physical positions)
• responsive or unison readings
• baptism
• art (created during worship or displayed/used)
• music
• whole room use (design, activity)
• externalizing internal feelings (verbal, physical)
• what can they do this week?
• testimonies (video or live)
• worship/prayer stations
--------------------------------------------
• praise
• adoration
• thanksgiving
• contrition
• commitment
• petition
• intercession
• lament
• introspection
• edification
I am asking everyone to help me add to this list to create more ways that we can participate in glorifying our God and creating an atmosphere that keeps us from becoming the audience, instead giving everyone more opportunity to be the ones giving the sacrifice, with God as the recipient.

Monday, July 25, 2005

In The Sports World Today...

I know it's been a long time since I have posted anything. I could say I've been busy, but you probably wouldn't believe me. I haven't been watching much television, but I have been keeping up with all my favorite sports teams. I won't bore you with everything, so here's just a couple of interesting things happening right now:

If you watch baseball at all, you know that the Oakland Athletics are on a winning streak. You might wonder how big a streak? They've won 6 games in a row, 22 of the last 27, are now 8 games over .500, and are now tied for the AL Wild Card. Seven weeks ago, they were 12 1/2 games out of the Wild Card. They're doing so well that if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs and the Yankees would be sitting at home in the Bronx with an early vacation.

On the basketball front, although the Blazers aren't exactly my favorite team, local fans will be glad to know that yet another good player is slipping away in the form of Shareef Abdur-Rahim to the New Jersey Nets. It is rumored that he will go with whatever it takes, whether as a free agent or as a sign-and-trade. Speaking of my favorite team, it is now said that Bonzi Wells (remember him Portland?) will be going to the Sacramento Kings from Memphis for Bobby Jackson, and the Kings are also sending Greg Ostertag back to Utah. I'll reserve my comments for this until I see them in action.

Don't forget the seventh Tour de France win in a row for Lance Armstrong. Now that he's retired he'll have to find something else to do, like go on tour with Sheryl Crow or become a politician. Whatever it is, what a story he has of willpower and overcoming obstacles.

This has been the review in sports. Back to you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Worship Songs

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a music-oriented guy. Anything that I do I'm usually looking for the music aspect in it. It's probably why I'm a sucker for the CDs in Starbucks. I always have to see what they've got selling, and whatever is playing over the speakers I usually have to say what it's from, try to figure it out, or tap along with the beat. In movies, I look at specific songs on the soundtrack and what they mean for the movie as far as setting mood or marketing. I will hear songs on the radio and know that they were used in a movie and try to guess which movie they came from.

I've been saying for a short while that more worship leaders need to start writing new music. I've been bugging Church of Christ friends to write new stuff, but I think it goes for every other leader out there; we need new songs. This is probably a backlash to the pre-packaged contrived shallow tripe that I see on the shelves of the local retail store and on the radio thanks to the money machine record labels. I wish this didn't include Christian music, but the truth hurts that it isn't immune to the innane.

I've also said I'm tired of thoughtlessly singing songs in church that I know are Scripturally flawed or just plain wrong. I don't know how many kids I had to tell at camp that I just don't want to sing "Does He Still Feel The Nails" because I think it's bad theology, even though they want to sing it because it makes them confront their sin and besides, they just like the tune.

I've found a couple of articles on writing music that resound with what I have been thinking over the past year or so about worship music. There are many old and new songs that I like musically which are just as bad theologically as the aforementioned song, and those that are so much about my own edification that God is merely an afterthought. Hopefully these articles will spur more songwriters to write for God, maybe even specifically to meet the need of their own congregations than those of the American public. Perhaps we will be more thoughtful about what we sing and how it glorifies God and calls our hearts to Him.

Open Letter to Worship Songwriters by Brian McLaren
Postscript to "Open Letter to Worship Songwriters" by John Mortensen

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Professional Wrestling and Fast Food

If you knew me several years ago, you would know that I was a huge professional wrestling fan. I'm not talking about the greco-roman olympic type either, I mean the over-oiled, screaming into a microphone, cage match type of wrestling. I even went to Wrestlemania when it was at Safeco Field a couple of years ago. I think it was there that my affinty toward it died completely. Probably the reason I liked it was the same enjoyment I got from watching other shows such as G.I.Joe and Transformers, because I could buy the action figures and use my imagination in the huge battles that would take place, and I could choose my favorite characters to win every time. For high school and college it was probably for the storyline/soap opera it gave and because I got to laugh at the juiced up men pretending to fight while I was eating snacks and hanging out with friends.

I said all that to say this: On my trip to Sierra Bible Camp at the end of this June, we passed through the small town of Cottonwood, CA. On the side of the road there was a sign for a fast food restaurant called Mean Gene's Burgers:

“Mean Gene” Okerlund was an announcer for professional wrestling for like 30 years and pretty much if you watched wrestling you know who he is. The funny thing about it is the obvious use of name recognition and desperate need for better marketing directors. Cottonwood isn't exactly the place I would go to in order to start a business, let alone one that requires many customers in order to stay afloat.

The moral of the story is, just because you are famous doesn't mean you should start a restaurant.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Living Stones

Are we living stones or giant barriers?

The stone covering Jesus' tomb was rolled away, revealing the Resurrection and the power of God. It did not cover the tomb. It could no longer cover the tomb, for God's power moved it aside. Are we revealing the Good News or covering it?

Exclusive religion afraid of mixing the gospel of Christ with those it seeks to reach in the form of pre-Christians is effectively attempting to shut the Kingdom gates in people's faces. Jesus has something to say about this:

"How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you won't let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and you won't go in yourselves."
~Matthew 23:14
Quoting Sally Morgenthaler:
"Are we insulating ourselves in our multimillion-dollar sanctuaries only to offer up vacuous, counterfiet praise with hearts that have been inoculated against the real thing?"
~Morgenthaler, Worship Evangelism, Zondervan Publishing House, p.29
Her words may seem harsh, but I believe she is reiterating what Jesus warns religious leaders against in making our services and religious lives about what pleases us instead of what pleases God and His call for our lives. I have seen too many times people walk into church buildings searching for faith only to be shown hypocrisy by those claiming to have it. Why would anyone want to come back to something like that? Why else do we think that people are so jaded against organized religion?

I pray we can all become living stones of faith, revealing the empty tomb and the great gift of life it gives us. I pray we stop being walls and barriers to people searching for faith and love and step aside our own desires and let God's will be done.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Don't Miss Me Too Much

Things are going a million miles a second here. I'm in the home stretch on completing the Witness CD. I'm pressing finishing it before Kori and I leave for Sierra Bible camp on friday. We'll be gone for a week so I won't be blogging all of next week, due to the lack of internet connection.

You can cry, but don't short out your keyboards, for you will need them to leave comments for me to read when I return.

I leave you with this bit of encouragement to ponder:

Monday, June 20, 2005

An Uncle Again!

My brother and his wife had their second child last night at about 9:50 PM. Jordan Michael Lewis weighs in at 8 lbs. 4 oz. and is 21 1/2 in. long. Though Janna gets most of the credit, pushing Jordan out in one push, since it was Father's Day, I'll give Mike his due.

Congratulations Mike & Janna! Don't let aunt Rebecca corrupt him!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Special Announcement To Readers:

I have a special announcement and proclamation to all of my faithful blog readers.

(cue telegraph)

Due to the demand for my tripe and "insights" the counter on my blog has surpassed the 10,000 hit mark. This is mostly an estimated count from my Google Adsense numbers and extrapolation of average daily hits from before I began using the ads. I do know that the total is at least this number.

I would just like to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog, leaves comments, helps me to better understand what I say, and laughs along with me at the stupid stuff. I look forward to sharing more thoughts about me, the world I live in, and my place in it, including references to obscure websites, daily news, and quotes.

A special thank you to my brother for getting me hooked.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 13, 2005

24-Hour Mexican Food

We didn't stop and eat there; in fact, I've never eaten there, not for lack of desire or from reputation (I'll leave that to your comments). I'm just simply stating a fact. What place do I speak of? Isn't it obvious?

Muchos Gracias 24-hour Mexican food restaurants.

While driving to Gold Beach this weekend with Kori to go to her sister's high school graduation, we passed through Reedsport, OR, which is apparently known for its culinary delights. What Kori mentioned used to be a Taco Time was now an active Muchos Gracias!

Is this the 24-hour Mexican food generation, or mere coincidence? Is Muchos Gracias the new "Third Place"?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Quote For The Day

It's not a reference from The Neverending Story, but I read it today and thought it was insightful, and not just in the self-asserting sort of way.

"For everyone who thinks he has arrived at his destination has actually hardly begun, and he who continues searching is closer to his destination than he realizes."
~ Dave Tomlinson (The Post-Evangelical, 62)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Questions Are All I Have To Offer

Since the blog is my medium, and my recent reading of postmodern Christian culture spoke about the participatory nature of this subject, here is where I choose to offer my questions and participation in this conversation. This participatory study requires us to submit to the terms and process determined by the subject being studied. McLaren and Sweet offer an example list of subjects such as salmon, mosquitoes, mountains, metaphors, chimps, etc. to suggest that any subject requires the student to particpiate in the observation process on the terms of each of these subjects. This is definitely in light of a couple of old articles I dipped my toe into.

The question then remains "What terms does God require for those who would understand God?" to which I tried to compile a list (despite its modern nature) of things that might aid in the participation in the study of God.

• All "fact" can and is interpreted in some way
• There is no true objective observer
• Leadership is demonstrated by someone who can observe and participate simultaneously
• Those who observe and study are participants in the unfinished narrative (or even meta-narrative) of God
• As leaders it is more important for us to ask questions than to give answers
I can't take credit for all these bullets (thanks to Sweet and McLaren) though they are all adapted in some way, but I also credit them for asking hard questions and forcing the leaders of the next generation to develop an understanding of a new language in postmodernism.

My call to everyone is to participate in the study by conversation and by being a part of the story of God. Comments on a blog are nice, but I believe more important is the need to understand God by doing as God through Christ has inspired and instructed. Reading books and hearing lectures on the subject are probably useful (without which I doubt I would be writing this) but the Word lived out in the lives of Christ-followers is where faith calls out the loudest.
"You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."
~ Matthew 20:25a-28 (NLT)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Powerpoint Background Images

I am back from the coast at Waldport, OR as previously mentioned and am trying to get motivated to finish the Witness CD. I have heard that James Wood knows some people from Waldport, which reminds me of his current venture into self-sustaining.

He (and his wife) have begun an attempt to raise a little extra cash flow for grad school by taking pictures and reformatting them for use in Powerpoint. You can find James ranting about many Powerpoint faux pas and his current one is leading him to do something about the problem. His new website is being filled up with pictures that they have taken and are making them available to everyone. All he asks is that you leave a "tip" via Paypal (there is a button at the top of his website) and you can use the images as much as you want, royalty-free!

PowerPoint Images by James Wood

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sunglass Contact Lenses?

I thought this was pretty cool. They have made sunglass lenses worn as contacts, marketed toward athletes that don't want peripheral-blocking sunglasses on their face. The coolest part about it: they give you "scary eyes".

This is the article:
Performance-Enhancing Contact Lenses?

Monday, May 23, 2005

My Wonderful Weekend

Probably many of my faithful readers have heard about my fantastic weekend of breaking down cars and delayed flights, but none have heard it from yours truly.

I left Salem for Portland at around 10:30 am on friday to meet up with someone at noon to catch a flight to Sacramento for a youth rally in Stockton (where I grew up). Right around Wilsonville my car lost power and began to slow down. I was able to reach the N. Wilsonville exit in time to pull off to the side of the road. I had no power and nothing but a faint clicking sound when I tried to restart the car. Apparently you don't need power to run your hazard lights though, since they worked just fine. (?)

I call up Jason, who is at the coast, then Dwayne, who is helping move stuff, then Christi, who doesn't answer her phone. The last person I call is Eric, who through the true act of friendship agrees to drive to Wilsonville to sit and wait with my car for a tow truck to arrive, while I fly to Sacramento to enjoy sunshine and smog. (for Eric's side of the story, see his post)

Eric proceeds to find my car sitting helpless on the exit and is able to start it and get it into a parking lot. He then drives back to Salem, picks up his mother, drives back to N Wilsonville to get my car and limps it to Salem. He removes the suspect alternator, takes it to the parts place, reinstalls it after find it to be not faulty, and charges my battery.

While doing that, I am enjoying a great weekend at probably the smallest youth rally I have ever been. The first day there were 40 teens and the second there were 25. Despite the numbers, everyone had a wonderful time, and I also was able to spend time with my parents and raise some money for church planting.

After leading worship at church on sunday, Tom Gaumer and I drove to Sacramento to catch our 3:40pm flight back to Portland. When we arrive, we find that our flight has been delayed due to "fog in San Diego". We later find out that the delays are due to some terrible air traffic controlling. Tom and I find some things to do in the Sacramento Airport to pass the time. When we finally do get our flight and make it to Portland, it is about 9:30pm. My sister picks me up to take me to Salem, but we need to stop at her place and get some stuff that I left there, and while still in Portland, one of her headlights go out and we have to stop at Fred Meyer and replace it. I finally get home around 11:30pm and my sister still has to drive home.

It turns out probably all that is wrong with my car is the battery, I had fun on my trip and raised some money, and I was able to see family and friends. I also got to wear shorts and flip flops and didn't wear a jacket all weekend.

(I considerend making every word in this post a different link, but I figured that would just be ridiculous)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Postmodernism Against the Backdrop of Relativism

This thought of value judgments placed in a postmodern world made me think of some thoughts I read in the current McLaren/Sweet book I am reading and my thoughts on what they say.

They contrasted secular relativism versus Christian relativism. My take on it is that relativism may not necessarily be the same thing as postmodernism. With relativism there is no reference point from which to judge anything. Everything is related to each other but there is no one thing to base anything on in an always-shifting, ever-moving world. Christian relativism simply looks like modern Christianity to me. If the reference point is God, what keeps us from assuming we can have it all figured out?

Postmodernism comes with the belief that everything is connected and allows for some sort of moral string of truth, whether that string comes from within or from an outside source. Whether or not this truth can be totally known by someone is something that should not be assumed, yet this truth remains.

In Christian postmodernity, if "truth is the way God does (or sees) things" (Calvin Seeveld), then none of us can really do or see that truth in its entirety. If seeing truth is to see things exactly as God sees them, perhaps the truth would kill us, just as God's glory would kill us if we were to see it in its entirety.

I suppose the language we use doesn't do this justice and I could be talking myself into circles (so help me out!), but as long as the idea that we always examine what we believe to be truth and not expect the same truth to be followed by other communities, or even be believed by others within our own communities, then we can possibly come to know God better. I don't buy into the thought that allowing for questions and mixing of different communities, other denominations or faith traditions, will dilloute the Gospel. If the Gospel is truth, it will weed out that which is not truth.

Of course there is a flip side to this, in being against relativism is no excuse for legalism. The defense I see today for moderns against postmodernism is that string of truth is assumed that it is attainable (or already attained) knowledge by us. Many moderns value truth and morals (as they probably should), but place unwarranted boundaries on people in other communities (as James has talked about in my previous post) with differing values. This is especially dangerous when placing Christian morality upon unchurched people and inhibits us from doing something else Christians should value: loving our neighbors.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Value Judgements and Subjective Comparison

In honor of making cosmetic and functional changes to my blog, I thought I'd quote some C.S. Lewis. (can't you see the connection?)

"The human mind is generally far more eager to praise and dispraise than to describe and define. It wants to make every distinction a distinction of value." - C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
He describes how people tend to place value judgments on everything rather than letting things be what they are. An example he uses places one poet against another saying "this poet is better than that poet", and is asking the question "can we even do this?" After reading more and more C.S. Lewis, I have begun to find grinding points in his writing style that I just don't like, however, his logical movements through thought, and his thoughtful analysis of human nature aid my thoughts into deeper contemplation and other facets of imagination. I think what Lewis is saying (both him and now I) is that saying "Mozart is better than Beethoven" or "my brother's blog is better than your brother's blog" or even "spaghetti is better than pizza" (which is simply a hands down incorrect statement; pizza pwns spag) are all silly pointless arguments.

The danger lies in using the same thought process toward things that matter such as "this person's life is more important than that other person's life", or "my way of thinking about faith is right and yours is wrong". Postmodernity demands that when comparing things against each other, value judgements demean both of those things. Descriptions allow the things to compliment each other and in "good" postmodernity looks for the good in both. This is not to say that each of those things does not strive for excellence, but merely keeps them from being forced into a hole of value without a chance to improve.

I'm not sure if C.S. Lewis was a postmodern. I'm pretty sure he's not from what I've read of him and his thought processes. This idea of not placing value on things, but rather letting things be what they are and describing and giving fluid definitions is very much a postmodern mindset. It leads me to believe that if even a modern thinker such as Lewis finds this idea to be true, then there might be some validity behind it.

Having seen some of the changes being made to this blog, before you go to all of blogdom claiming "Tim Lewis' blog is by far greater than all other blogs" think of Lewis' (both his and mine) words. Though this blog may be the very much awesome, there are plenty of other blogs that are also the very much awesome, and some of them happen to be listed to the right. ----->

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

God Continues to Provide

I had not thought of my trip to Pepperdine as a fundraising trip. Though it is something that I think about often, I had realized my trip to be at most a networking trip to get people on board with what we are doing in Salem and with Kairos (which it was). I had no idea what would happen simply by returning to my room early from friday evening's church planting lecture.

At around 10:30PM, after the 9PM Kairos lecture, I decided I was tired and didn't want to stick around and press any more flesh with potential church planting big wigs and supporters. I figured having me gone wouldn't really impact greatly the amount of support we are getting from all over the country and the rest of the team could handle it. When I returned to my room I figured I would talk to my mother (who was also at the lectures) since I wouldn't get to see her for a while and I wanted to hear what she had learned that day. Her uncle (my great uncle) was also in the room getting ready for bed. I had grown up knowing uncle Bill and always liked him, but didn't really know the extent to how much he was connected to our family. We all talked about the different classes we had gone to that day and week about the church and its attitude toward homosexuality, why people leave religion, worshiping God through the Psalms, and numerous others. Our conversation then drifted over to the church and what can be done right to redeem what has been done wrong by it and other related topics.

After about an hour I decided I was getting sleepy (kind of like I am now at 1:30AM) and went into my room to get ready. Uncle Bill shortly came into my room with a handful of cash and shoved it at me. He told me how interested he was in what we are doing in Salem and how he thinks what we are doing is good for Christianity and for the Kingdom. He also told me how proud he was of me and that he wanted to support what I am involved with. My mother told me the next morning (at 5AM) that he wanted to get newsletters and know about future opportunities for support and encouragement.

And all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

Monday, May 02, 2005

In Honor of Our Trip

I thought that since many of our blogging community will be gone to Malibu, California at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures this entire next week, I would post something somewhat related. Apparently Nicole Kidman has taken time out of her acting schedule to take an Old Testament class from a bible professor at Pepperdine, Dr. Robert Cargill. I'm trying not to assume it is as much a fad as Madonna's "studies" in the Kabbalah (her seven years, apparently she hasn't learned very much other than very surface unimportant, yet faddish things, according to Kabbalah experts) but I like to think that God is working here and believe He has the power to radically influence people's lives. I pray this chance to work in the life of an influential Hollywood personality breathes the Holy Spirit into the media, considering its looming destruction, thanks to my predictions in the previous post.

Don't believe me? Read the article for yourself, and don't miss us too much while we're gone. (apparently msn updates their stories without changing the url, so I posted a different article on the same subject)

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The End of Analog Television

I found this article interesting and quite fitting to Jason's recent acquisition. If the FCC and Congress stick to their date of making all TVs HD or HD capable, midnight of New Year's Eve 2006 all analog TVs will go blank for television airwaves. Everyone not owning an HDTV will have to either go buy one, or buy a box to connect between cable and TV or HD converter/antennas. While the picture for these will be without "snow", if there is a weak signal, instead of a fuzzy picture, you'll get nothing. I know I'm not about to spend $50-100 on a box to watch TV that I don't really watch anyway. Lower income families won't be able to afford them, so they'll have to resort to other things, like reading or playing outside or even *gasp* talking!

I'm guessing they'll end up just pushing the date back until more people buy these devices or newer TVs. If not, I could care less. In fact, the article states that new analog TVs will probably need disclaimers (and some already do) saying that they will essentially be useless in a year. I bought my 36" TV about three years ago, and it basically looks and works like brand new. I'm not about to trade up or spend more money on an already expensive product that has nothing wrong with it. I'll just watch more DVDs and play more Xbox.

My prediction is if this date comes and the FCC and Congress are true to their word, it could break the television and cable industries as we know them. Fewer people will watch TV. The audience will grow after the deadline, but it will take a long time for these industries to recover. If you ask me, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

It's funny that I got a comment about monkeys flinging poo on my blog (thanks Eric). It's like divinde providence that it should come to pass. I did this years ago. Have I mentioned that I worked as a graphic designer for a yellow page company for two years? One day at work, I got really bored (knowing that the company was being shut down). Just give it a click and view it in all its poo flinging glory.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Waldenbooks and Borders Sale

Because I think everyone should have the opportunity to get discounted books, Borders and Waldenbooks are having a 30% off sale from April 28th - May 1st with a coupon. It's only good for one book per visit as far as I can tell, but that doesn't mean you can't go in more than once with another coupon. Don't spend too much on books though. That's what the library is for.

COUPON!

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Membership Conversation

In conversations about membership there has been talk about finding new words without baggage or assigning new meaning to these existing words. Membership just sounds like something at the video store or health club. I can go to Safeway if I want to be a member of something, and get low prices at the same time. C.S. Lewis has some things to say about membership that I thought I'd throw into the mix.

Welcome to the Family

The very word membership is of Christian origin, but it has been taken over by the world and emptied of all meaning. In any book on logic you may see the expression "members of a class." It must be most emphatically stated that the items or particulars included in a homogeneous class are almost the reverse of what St. Paul meant by members. By members....he meant what we should call organs, things essentially different from, and complimentary to, one another, things differing not only in structure and function but also in dignity....How true membership in a body differs from inclusion in a collective may be seen in the structure of a family. The grandfather, the parents, the grown-up son, the child, the dog, and the cat are true members (in the organic sense), precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable. Each person is almost a species in himself. The mother is not simply a different person from the daughter, she is a different kind of person. The grown-up brother is not simply one unit in the class children; he is a seperate estate of the realm. The father and grandfather are almost as different as the cat and the dog. If you subtract any one member, you have not simply reduced the family in number; you have inflicted an injury on its structure. Its unity is a unity of unlikes, almost of incommensureables.

A dim perception of the richness inherent in this kind of unity is one reason why we enjoy a book like The Wind in the Willows; a trio such as Rat, Mole, and Badger symbolizes the extreme differentiation of persons in harmonious union, which we know intuitively to be our true refuge both from solitude and from the collective.

- C.S. Lewis from "Membership" (The Weight of Glory)

If this is true, as organs or members, we have opportunity to perform our functions and display our levels of dignity (dare I say faults) without outside judgement or judgement of other body parts working collectively for life. I also might venture to say that sometimes gangrene sets in and parts must be amputated for the sake of the life of the body.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

House Votes For Oil Drilling in Alaska

No offense to any environmentalists who may read my blog:

It's about time.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The End of Entropy

I've started a new book (finally finished the one I was working on) called A is for Abductive The Language of the Emerging Church by Leonard Sweet, Brian McClaren, and Jerry Haselmayer. What kind of a title is that? It is an attempt to get modern thinking people introduced to this "postmodern" thing everyone is talking about. Even its form, a glossary of terms, is a modern idea. They tell you not to read it in order from A-Z, but instead any other way. One they suggest is to read from most used letters in the alphabet (E, T, A) to the least used (J, Q, Z). The first letter is E, and one of the words they use is Eschaton. What could the end of the world or the climax of history have to do with postmodernism?

The word used right before Eschaton is Entropy. It sounds like and basically means the same thing as atrophy, only with Entropy, we're talking about the deterioration of society or a system. The Escaton if Entropy ends or reverses this decline. In the authors' own words:

"The Universe is partially created, an unfinished symphony, a masterpiece in progress. In this eschatology we are invited to be part of God's creative team working to see God's dream for the universe come true"

Even the postmodern view of our relationship with God is connective and collaborative. Where the Deist idea of God is Him creating and setting the world in motion and then taking a sabbatical, only checking in on us now and then, we are called now to join in the creation process and rejuvination of life. What a supreme responsibility and privilege to partake in shaping and molding how his creation becomes a masterpiece. I can see a little bit more how and why we are given the Holy Spirit. We are given the Artist's knowledge of how to paint and sculpt. We may end up doing it slightly different, a little more abstract, or not as well as the Master, but the outcome is something beautiful and totally different from one person's rendition.

Monday, April 04, 2005

New Album From Terry Lewis

I should be working right now.

I can't.

I just got two CDs from Terry Lewis. That's right, we're related. He's my uncle (which is why the picture on the back of one of the CDs looks like me). I've been raving to some people about how good he is, even though he's only been playing mandolin for about 2 1/2 years. He does all his own recording at home, but I he has lots of support from a couple of websites in Mandolin Cafe and Mandozine.

If you like bluegrass, jazz, country, or folk music, or just like to hear really good playing, support him by buying his CDs. You can tell him you know me and he may give you a deal. Just click on the picture here and it will take you to a page that has his email to contact him to buy CDs, or just click here. He doesn't have online ordering right now.

I'm telling you, it's really good, original music.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you've been around me for any amount of time, you've probably heard me complain about how little sleep I'll get that night, or how much time I don't have because I've been busy editing the new Witness album. Well after months of recording and working and not sleeping, I've finally finished a track from this CD and am posting it for all to hear. I won't be posting any more, because you are supposed to BUY the CD. My web server will be undergoing some maintenance soon, so you'd better listen to it now while you can. I'll even say you can save it to your computer and listen to it over and over again.

The song is an a cappella arrangement of a song by Sara Groves called The Word.

Only nine more songs to go.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Quote For The Day

In case you forgot to look for God in popular culture today, here are some words from a rock legend:

“Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion.”
- Alice Cooper

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Be Careful What You Pray For

Most of you know about the recent destruction of my only means of transportation and the great burden of sorrow it has brought to me. Well, looking back upon it, I can see the answer to prayer that it actually is. Let me take you back several months.

Before moving to Salem to plant a church, I was singing with an exciting, fun a cappella praise and worship group called Enterpraise, the very reason that I purchased some expensive, professional quality and sized speakers. One evening at an intense outdoor praise session (of which I was not present) one of the speakers began to make disgusting buzzing sounds on the low end of the frequency spectrum akin to that of a dying bird flapping its wings helplessly on a fiberglass sheet. Being the kind people they are, the leaders of Enterpraise decided to pay to fix this speaker and I proceeded to take the speaker into a shop to have it repaired.

Also during this time in late summer I was involved in several weddings, as seems to be the case for me over the past 5-6 years, none of which are my own. I was DJing a wedding of some friends for a very discounted cost, using my own equipment minus the broken speaker. One of the pieces of equipment was a small mixer being very useful for many applications and cost effective for it amount of uses. I had remembered I loaned it to a friend to use for an urban Portland church plant summer program, so I had to get it back. When I received it, one of the four channels had a horrible short in it, which I did not blame on them, for it was a cheap $50 mixer and I expected as much, however it still had three working channels, two of which I actually needed for the wedding. Upon completion of the wedding, I remember returning it to the church plant to complete the summer with the needed equipment.

Not long after this, I moved to a new apartment for a few months, waiting until I could finally move to Salem to work with some folks that one of my college professors hooked me up with through the church planting organization he started. In this process of moving and loaning out equipment I could not remember if I had received my mixer back from that summer. I also had not heard back from the shop with my speaker, but I did find out it was still under warranty and would cost me nothing to have it fixed.

One thing I can tell you about church planting is that there is no money in it. If you're looking for a job for the sake of making money, become a car salesman or work for the government. One thing on my mind since before I moved to Salem was how the heck I was going to pay rent and still be able to be involved in all of this talking to people and showing them the love of Christ (I know...go figure, church people being loving towards non-church people). I can tell you that my prayers have pretty much been seasoned with an idea of "Okay God, I moved here and don't have any money, but I have faith you'll provide, so I could use a little more reassurance a little bit sooner than the 4th of the month to pay rent". Come the end of this month, pretty much all of the fundraising support I have received has been wrung dry and I am running on fumes, and then the unthinkable happened: my car, my only means of getting around Salem and to and from Portland was smashed and totaled. "Thanks a lot God, you know I need that car!" was my first inclination, but God thinks much further ahead than me, and He's much smarter.

Before that, I had already gotten my speaker back, but it took the company I bought it from months longer than it should have, so the coffee house ministry we started at church was only using one speaker (which is pretty much all we need anyway, but I digress) and I was greatly inconvenienced. What if I had another wedding to DJ?! Well just last week, I got a call from the shop saying that Mackie had sent a mixer for making me wait so long for the speaker parts. Not only was it three times more expensive and better than my old one, but it was a direct answer to prayer and necessity for Summit.

Back to my beloved Saab, being squished to undriveable status, my claim was actually resolved quite quickly in spite of the person who hit me giving bogus information and disappearing into the night. All I know is I got the money for my car, and the authorities are now trying to track her down. My prayers for money were still not answered, because now I was going to have to take the $3100 I got for my Saab and try to find a new vehicle and still attempt to pay my other bills. Not three days later, my sister called me telling me that a professor at Cascade College was selling her old car for $650. On the way up to a wedding I was in that weekend (see...I've been in a LOT of weddings) I was dropping off Kori's cousin's car that she was returning after her cousin, who has been stationed in Japan for the past 3 years for the Navy, was returning back to the States and is being stationed in Whidbey Island, where my brother happens to be a youth minister at a church. I stopped in Portland to look at the car for sale and here is what i found: a silver 1991 Geo Prizm with 191,000+ miles on it, except the engine was actually only 3 years old with about 60,000 miles, with many of the parts being replaced along with that engine. She lowered her price to $550 and I bought it on the spot, to pick it up on the way back home to Salem, and leaving me with $2500 to pay bills and continue with this work in Salem I've jumped into.

My prayers continue to be answered. They may take days or years, but they still are answered, and not necessarily even close to what I expect them to be. All I can say is God is faithful and can do anything, so be careful what you pray for, you may just get it and lose everything in the process!

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ ~Philippians 3:8 (NLT)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My New Friend, Bebo Norman

Ok, so all I did is see Bebo Norman play a small live acoustic concert at the Cascade College All-School Retreat. We're not best friends, but I still got to meet him and whatnot. Don't be hatin', he's a cool guy and his music is good.

Monday, March 07, 2005

I Guess We Must Be Careful What We Say

Apparently people have been fired for blogging about their jobs and workplace. One flight attendant was fired for posting a suggestive picture about herself in her work uniform. So what are the limits of free speech?

Fired For Blogging

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Saab Hath Been Crushed

Some kind lady recently moved here from Tennessee and decided to turn left into me from a parking lot as I traveled down the street yesterday. See for yourself:


Thursday, February 24, 2005

No One Is Beyond the Reach of Christ

So I've been really busy, OK! Get off my back! I spent four hours today, five hours yesterday, three hours the day before editing ONE SONG for the new Witness album. That's just the past three days. That doesn't count the hours spent recording last weekend and the time I'd rather spend with my girlfriend than online posting to a bunch of weirdos.

But I digress...back onto the topic.

It was announced recently that the guitarist for Korn Brian Welch has decided to leave the group because he can no longer support the message the band portrays, because he has given his life to Jesus Christ. I can't say I'm the biggest metal fan, though I've been to two Metallica concerts and have enjoyed my fair share of metal, but I never thought Korn was all that good anyway. The reason I think this story is so interesting is because it tells so much about our culture. He is already being painted as a traitor to his fans and as a sellout to other beliefs. The other side of the story is that it shows the power of God to work in people's hearts and that no one is beyond His grace, regardless of the things they have done or said in the past or future.

38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Coffee May Decrease Chances of Liver Cancer

I knew there had to be something good about coffee besides keeping me awake. There apparently has been a study that shows that coffee may lower the risk of getting liver cancer. They say it has something to do with the caffiene. They did a study on mice previously by spiking skin cream with caffiene that it lowered the risk of skin cancer in them. This study on liver cancer was done on 90,000 Japanese people. Of course, drinking coffee probably also increases the chance of other types of cancer, but at least your liver will be healthy!

The healing effects of the Black Mistress.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Working Undercover For Christ

Last sunday at our worship gathering at Dwayne & Julie's apartment, Jason ended our wonderful encounter with a charge to put on our shoes and turn our cell phones back on and go out and talk to normal people (i.e. non-Christians).

For some reason I instantly got this picture in my head of going undercover. After being with all the "hoity toity" Christian people on sunday, I cover up the blinding glow that eminates from me with my grungy Columbia jacket and my nasty, grease-covered baseball cap in order to blend in with everyone else. The trick is to do my best to look like them and speak their language without sounding too much like a tourist. I then picture my job as a child of God, changed by the sacrificial blood of Jesus, encountering and engaging people enough to get close to them only to unzip and slightly pull open my outer facade in order to show them the glowing coolness that lies in secret beneath. Their reaction is not up to me, only that I show them. They may recoil in pain from squinted eyes, or gape in awe at the whiteness of the light they have never seen before.

I think my brother's got the right idea.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New Ideas

I told myself when I started this blog months ago that I would make the effort to post about once a week, or every other week just to keep the juices flowing, plus I really don't see the point of even having a blog if you have only a couple of posts. I mean, does anyone really want to hear your one opinion about a movie and your college football team without really knowing who or where the opinion is coming from?

After reading a blog entry from my brother about him wanting to write a book, it made me think about how much I would love to write a book. The only problem is that right now I can't think of one thing that would be new, novel, inspiring, or even somewhat interesting enough to write about. In fact, I have been so brain dead the past couple of weeks I haven't even been able to write a blog post.

This finally leads me to the point of this post: if you could write a book what would it be about? What topic do you care enough about or have enough mastery in the subject to compose an entire book on the subject? At this point in my life I honestly don't feel I have the knowledge or the skill to write an entire book that hasn't been written already or that would be interesting enough to any reader to make it worth taking the time to create it, but if I had to choose something, at the risk of killing a cat (watch "Surprise Dinner"), I would have to write about taking the Gospel to unloved people, and how the church as a whole hasn't done a very good job at being like Jesus, but how they have in fact been like the very people Jesus rebuked. Of course, I would try to do this in the most loving way possible as an example and at the risk of becoming even more hypocritical. This is what Cascade Hills is trying to do, and what I think a lot more of us need to hear.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Life As A Story

Dwayne recently wrote about life having a plot line and this same sort of idea popped up in my reading of my current book I'm swallowing written by a Portland local guy Donald Miller called Blue Like Jazz.

Donald Miller points out in chapter 3 that if life has a story, as any literary work it should have the four elements of story: setting, conflict, climax, and resolution. If this is the case, the setting is obvious. It's where we live, what we do, etc. Conflict is apparent in all of us, otherwise it wouldn't be essential in storytelling. We all understand conflict because we have experienced it. It's the climax that is important in our life and understanding of the Gospel, because in climax we are forced to make a decision. As Donald states it, "Climax is where a point of decision determines the end of the story", which he probably got out of a textbook somewhere, because this part of the book came from his being in college taking a literary course. He tells a great story that he heard at a Christian folksinger concert which is a perfect illustration of climax in a story (at least for him it is), whether or not it's true I don't know, but I'll just put it verbatum here to avoid butchering it:

"The folksinger said his friend was performing a covert operation, freeing hostages from a building in some dark part of the world. His friend's team flew in by helicopter, made their way to the compound and stormed into the room where the hostages had been imprisoned for months. The room, the folksinger said, was filthy and dark. The hostages were curled up in a corner, terrified. When the SEALs entered the room, they heard the gasps of the hostages. They stood at the door and called to the prisoners, telling them they were Americans. The SEALs asked the hostages to follow them, but the hostages wouldn't. They sat there on the floor and hid their eyes in fear. They were not of healthy mind and didn't believe their rescuers were really Americans.

The SEALs stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn't possibly carry everyone out. One of the SEALs, the folksinger's friend, got an idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them. None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there for a little while until some of the hostages started to look at him, finally meeting his eyes. The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans are were there to rescue them. Will you follow us? he said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go. The story ends with all the hostages safe on an American aircraft carrier."

He became one of them so that they would trust him and know that he was one of them, but he was more than that. He did this to show that he was willing to do whatever it took to get those hostages to safety. This is what Christ did and does for us, and what leads us to the resolution of the story. It sounds sort of cheesy, and I don't agree with a lot of Donald Miller's philosophies. I don't know him personally, though it sounds like he protests and doesn't support president Bush. What I agree with, he wants to help the poor and be faithful, and on this story I thought of how simple such a thing as Christ humbling himself is, and the powerful effect it has on his followers.
5 Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7 He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~Phillipians 2:5-11

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Here's the Real Scoop

Ok, so back on the 12th I put up a short little poem thing that was unquoted because, well, I wrote it. Really what it was is part of a larger piece that I had written a few years ago that originally was to be song lyrics (since that's all I ever think about is music), however I never could find the right melodic line to go along with it. I thought this might be a great place to throw up some of my "poetry"/lyrics to let everyone experience my thoughts and either excuse it as tripe or accept it as something else. With the assumption that original ideas are pretty much a thing of the past, I hope that maybe something will make it through the noise and touch some grey matter or maybe a left ventricle somewhere.

Get your tomatoes ready!

I wish there were a person who cared enough to share
The feelings of emotions that would make me more aware
Of the comfort there in silence waiting for my call,
But instead I feel the tugging of my own will over all.

I feel the drag of fleeting seconds and struggle for control,
To overcome the pain I feel and replace it with a peace
That overcomes all confusion, yet leaves me with the reigns,
Yet I can't see it anywhere, and refuse to let it be heard.

So I go on in my desperate attempt to walk with my own legs,
And I stumble and walk on darkened paths only to return.
This place that is so familiar, that I can't stay away
Gives no sense of comfort, still, I feel no other way.

I hear a voice deep in the darkness, yet with it comes a light
That drives away confusion, pain, and darkness in my life.
Still my life belongs to me, how can I let it go
To a voice that I have never heard, but still, I strangely know?

And so I let go of the reins that keep my legs in line,
And the paths that I thought were correct had been wrong all along.
My life is now much easier with someone else in full control,
And the comfort I was looking for now comes to me so strong.

Won't you give your life to Him? He knows which way to steer.
Just put the reins into His hands and let Him take you there.
Commence the chuckle-filled critique!

Friday, January 21, 2005

"Marveling" at Comics in the Movies

There seems to be a lot of stirring about movies, especially those having to do with comic books. The biggest complaint I see in most of the reviews on these movies is the lack of sucking on the part of casting and the overuse of CG. Still one of the greatest comic book movies is Batman and one of the worst being the more recent Daredevil. (Ben Affleck: grow some acting skills and stop letting Matt Damon carry you.)

My favorite comic book has to be Ghost Rider, which Marvel no longer makes, perhaps due to lack of appeal to a wider audience and the PC nature of the current culture. Apparently that means nothing to Hollywood for it seems they are turning it into a movie with the rumor of Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze. I can't say how disappointed I was in hearing this, even though I actually liked Matchstick Men, I am still trying to forgive him for his remake of Gone In 60 Seconds and The Rock. I couldn't think of a worse actor to play the role of a vengeful, dark, demon-posessed superhero than the twitchy, inane presence of Nic Cage, who was originally rumored as the lead role for Superman 5.

The one notable rumor that I have seen for a comic book movie is that for Iron Man with a possible Tom Cruise as Tony Stark. Normally I would stray away from star power due to the gagging caused from the overload in Daredevil and the later Batman movies but I think that Tom Cruise may actually be a good fit for this character, and is just good enough an actor to pull it off without looking retarded.

On a positive note, there is a comic book movie coming out that may not be of the superhero nature, and is much more obscure as it is from a series of comic book novels by Frank Miller (who wrote the "Batman: The Dark Night Returns" comics and is known for taking a suffering "Daredevil" comic series and made it the most gripping reading in comic books). The movie is called Sin City and is packed with star power, but the black & white filming with glimpses of color are true to the illustrations in his books and the color of the stories he writes. I'll be waiting for this one!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Purest Form of Fishing!

I don't even know why or how I got into searching for obscure sports today, but I did, and came across this timeless sport. Forget bait. Leave the tackle at home. It's one on one, man on fish. Grapple a fish with your bare hands in the amazing sport of noodling!

Since we're on the subject of popular culture...you can even order the DVD here!

Friday, January 14, 2005

I Am Oskar Schindler!

I took this test from my brother's blog. It's just for fun, is in no way a comprehensive list of my ideas, and should not be used to assume that I am German.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Voice I Hear

I hear a voice deep in the darkness,
yet with it comes a light;
That drives away confusion, pain,
and darkness in my life.

Still my life belongs to me,
how can I let it go;
To a voice that I have never heard,
but still, I strangely know.