Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wrecked: God's Multiple Personalities

It was my first Sunday in the bigger kids class. Our family had returned from three years in Europe just in time for me to be promoted the big kids class. We had been back in the US long enough to choose a church, and I had made a couple friends already, but still I was the outsider, and now as an incoming seventh grader into the "teen class" I would stake out the identity I would hold from the next six years of my life.

The text for our study that first morning as we welcomed the newbies into teen issues was Galatians 5:19-21.
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I really understood the message of the verse; after all I was raised in the church. God didn't want me participating in any of the things in this list. I wanted to be liked by God, so I therefore did not want to do any of these things. However I had a problem sitting there in my seat this first Sunday in the teen class, already uncomfortable as the new kid: I did not know what one of these words meant. How could I be liked by God if I was negligently participating in this word of which I had never heard. I raised my hand, waited to be called on and asked, "What is an orgy?"

Continue Reading At Wrecked For The Ordinary

Friday, November 28, 2008

You Are My Portion

Here I am Lord
Falling on my Knees
Fasting in your presence
Feasting on you,
Meeting all my needs.

You are my portion
and my all.
You are my good
Both great and small.
You are my portion
and my all
Wanting no more than you
This is my hunger call.

Here I am Lord
Hands out to receive;
In this meager offering
Emptied for you to fill,
Christ you form in me

You are my portion
a living spring for free.
Longings quenched by you alone:
I will never be thirsty
You are my portion
a living spring for free.
You are my deepest filling.
This is my gluttony!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Childhood Memories MeMe!!!

Elysa tagged me for a meme and I thought it sounded fun so here goes my recollection of my top 15 random childhood memories:

15. I peed on a boys stuffed teddy bear at camp, because he peed outside the tent and that was not allowed.
14. I was a member of the Young Astronauts, Junior Mensa, and Future Problem Solvers when I was in seventh grade.
13. I pretended to be a spy and my secret name was Mark Mathis.
12. I fell off a zipline that was about 20 feet off the gound because the older kids were shaking it and I could not hold on. (Pansies in harnesses today)
11. I stole two pieces of beef Jerky from the 'shoppette' in Landstuhl and still have guilt over it to this day.
10. I agreed not to 'break up' with a girl at camp because she showed me that our church camp had a no dumping sign.
9. I once tried to cook an unopened can of Dr. Pepper on the stove top.
8. I got stuck with my brother in frozen mud in a farmers field, that my brother had told me NOT to go into, and he only came into to get me unstuck.
7. I woke up on an overnight bus ride to Holland screaming about worms and bugs...
6. I constantly told people my surgry scar was a knife wound where I had been stabbed in the hallway at school.
5. I snuck into the woods with a girl at camp to kiss, while we were in the woods I found another guy's lost football that had floated down the creek. She returned him the football after we got back from the woods and from then on she was only sneeking into the woods with him.
4. I lit my sister's bedroom on fire, and then pretended I did not know where the burning smell was coming from.
3.My brother told a guy he would fight him on a scheduled date. It was 2 days after we were moving back to the states.
2. My mom was sick and I made grilled cheese sandwiches. I poured oil in the bottom of the pan and dropped the bread with butter and cheese into the hot oil. Each sandwich weighed about 2 pounds.
1. I forged my mom's name to a progress report sent home by a teacher my mom saw everyday when she dropped her kid off at the daycare my mom worked at. (This is a great story and you should fly me into your next children's day at church to entertain your students with it, while teaching a valuable lesson)

Ok, so that was fun, I am probably laughing much harder than any of you, since I lived through them. If you are wondering why I think they are funny, you'll have to have me tel you the whole story, everyone of them is a riot.

So on with the tagging! Well actually I'll do that over on FB! Except for my brother, you're tagged Randall!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Andrew Peterson - The Good Confession

I don't know I would have believed it possible for AP to write a song better than Holy Is The Lord. I really felt it was a once in a lifetime masterpiece. AP's Holy Is the Lord was on level with Rich Mullins' Jesus.

On his new album Resurrection Letters Vol 2, AP has done just that. In the vein of Rich's own statement of faith 'Creed', Peterson has given us 'The Good Confession.'

All I know is that I was blind but now I see
that though I kick and scream,
Love is leading me.
And every step of the way his grace is making me;
with every breath I breathe,
he is saving me. And I believe.

I believe He is the Christ
Son Of The Living God!
I believe He is the Christ
Son Of The Living God!
I believe He is the Christ
Son Of The Living God!

My Lord My Savior
I Believe!

I truly believe this is the song, more than any other he has written up this point, AP will be remembered for. It is beautiful, mystical, and worshipful. AP truly ends his best album to date, with his best song to date. I would think he could go nowhere but down from here, but I thought that after "The Far Country" too, so here's to you Andrew, keep making music!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Encountering God At The High Places

Frank Viola has a series of books that I have mentioned here before. The first Pagan Christianity is an amazing deconstruction of the modern church congregation. The followup is entitled Reimagining Church which inspires the reader to find the kind of church community reflected in the New Testament. Both books put skin on tensions that I have felt for many years now. Both books are having a transformational affect on our family. Even as I read and am inspired to be a part of this kind of organic all consuming community of believers, there is another balancing pressure in me holding me back to my roots in the traditional model of doing church.

Here me correctly, I do believe the primary model of doing church in American Christianity is broken. I do believe that in many ways Christianity has "thrown out the baby and kept the bathwater1" Even still, I have a love for her that is more than just a clinging to the familiar. Augustine is often credited with saying that, "The church is a whore, but she is still my mother." This is the level of deep emotion I have for the very entity that is the church, despite her harlotry that is so conformed to this world.

So in essence I agree that the church does not remotely live out the community God desires to create in her, and so I am left to wonder if God even desires to work through the traditional church congregation anymore. Those people who know the situation I am involved in within my own family, know how seriously and personally I am taking these considerations. This is not a theoretical exercise, but a prayer filled journey of direction seeking from God.

Last night, as I was reading in 1 Kings God revealed true north on this trek. All the good Bible school kids can tell you that God met with Solomon in a dream to grant him any desire of his heart, and Solomon chose wisdom. What I don't think we discuss in the classroom is where Solomon was, and what he was doing when this encounter with God took place.
1 Kings 3:3 Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, "Ask what you wish me to give you."(NASB)
When the Hebrew people entered the land of promise, God had instructed them to among other things destroy the High Places. It was never God's desire for his people to worship in the places and ways that the Pagan nations around them worship. God wanted his people to be a peculiar people, and worship him only in the way he prescribed. Yet the people did not follow God's will in this matter. The people did not destroy the High Places, and those centers of pagan worship were synchronized into their worship and became a snare to the demise of the people's relationship with their God.

So here we find Solomon, outside the will of God, worshiping not in the tabernacle, but instead on the High Places of Gibeon, a particular favorite of the people of his time. Although the place and method of his worship is harlotry with nations God had driven out before them, his heart and offering is genuine to worship the Lord. So this night, in this place, God shows up to encounter Solomon.

God wants to encounter us so badly that he will do that in spite of our failure to recognize his best will for us. Even when we build institutions that more closely resemble the High Places of the Greek and Roman world, God will still arrive with his good gifts to those who are seeking him in genuine worship. These institutions are the same snare to our relationship with God as the High Places became to people of Solomon's time, and yet God still encounters his people in them.

I must confess I have been limiting God. I have limited his desire to shower good gifts on his precious people. I have limited his ability to pass through the doors of an institution that claims his name, yet rarely reflects his character. I have doubted the hearts of many true worshipers, who are seeking God in the only places and way they have ever been shown. I believe there CAN BE rebirth in our church congregations to the abundant life of church community. I believe God desires to encounter his true worshipers. I believe God is uniting them in the places they are to the form of people they need to be.

I desire the community of the Acts church with everything in me. I do not believe we can see systemic economic racism eliminated in this country until we learn to live in God's community. I do not believe we can meaningfully impact slavery and oppression until we live out the kind of love that will get us killed by the kingdom of this world. For our family, I do not believe we can succeed in the Nsoko orphan village without an Acts model of community. I believe God wants his people to live this way, to be marked by this radical love. I believe God wants his people back in absolute community.

God did not hand me a road map to this journey, he pointed me back to true north. I still don't know what the future looks like, but I am overwhelmed and humbled to be seeking a God who seeks to encounter us.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Never forget Justice is what Love looks like in Public!

In the trailer to the new rockumentary Call+Response Dr. Cornel West, a philosopher and composer states, "Never forget Justice is what Love looks like in Public!" These words could never be more true than this time. A quote like this must come from the Isaiah and Jeremiahs of our time.

The post, Three Year Old Sex Slave, on another blog, brings to light just how horrific this industry can be. To look away from the horrors of the slave industry is to see our brother or sister in need, and tell him to be warm and well fed. There is possibly no message I could make more sure of myself to the American church than that this, the epidemic of slavery in our time is the relevant question of Jesus in Matthew 25.


Choose this day whom you will serve, Either the God's of consumerism in whose land you live.

Choose your chocolates, your clothing, and your home decor that exploits humanity even to the youngest children. Choose the comfort of ignorance of the dirty streets of our urban communities where small girls and boys are imported from destitute countries for the perverted sexual pleasure of a few. Choose the skewed reality of our entertainment companies, who preach exploitation as normative behavior.

But as for me an my house, we will serve the Lord!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Webkinz Autologin

I have two children who are avid Webkinz users. However I am often bothered by the fact that I have to come log them into the system, and if they get booted, I have to come repeat the process again. So today as I was working on some Windows automation stuff for a work project, I decided to see if I could write a small Automation script for an autologin to Webkinz.

So here is my tutorial to how to use this.

Step 1: Download and Install auto-hotkey. Don't worry about the name, we are creating a shortcut not a hot key.

Step 2: Open Autoscriptwriter (recorder) which should be under your start menu. and copy the following text into the run line:

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
Step 3: Click the red Record button and after the login Window opens, Click on the Username field and type in your child's username. Then TAB down to the Password field to type in your child's password. Finally, click on the Begin Playing button using your mouse.

Step 4: In your upper left hand corner is a stop button. Click stop and wait for the generated script to appear.
Delete any extra code from bottom after your mouse click, that may have been generated while waiting for page to load. Change Sleep value from 100 to 1000. Your script should look almost identical to this one, with only the "mouseclick" coordinates being different for your screen, and the username and password belonging to your child.

Run, C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
WinWait, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Mozilla Firefox,
IfWinNotActive, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Mozilla Firefox, , WinActivate, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Mozilla Firefox,
WinWaitActive, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Mozilla Firefox,
MouseClick, left, 504, 487
Sleep, 1000
Sleep, 1000
MouseClick, left, 504, 607

Run, C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
WinWait, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Windows Internet Explorer,
IfWinNotActive, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Windows Internet Explorer, , WinActivate, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Windows Internet Explorer,
WinWaitActive, Welcome to Webkinz® - a Ganz website - Windows Internet Explorer,
MouseClick, left, 836, 449
Sleep, 1000
Sleep, 1000
MouseClick, left, 836, 567
Step 5: Save file to Desktop as Webkinz.ahk and close Autoscriptwiter.

Step 6: Teach child to double click icon to go into Webkinz World.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Thousand Questions

I was overwhelmed last night as I watched this video. We had gone to Willow Creek and they showed this video at the end of the service.

When the video was done I was so wondering why God still has us here. Please join us in passionate prayer that the Lord will move miraculously and sell our house despite this market so that we can get busy in the work God is doing in Swazi.