Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Imago Dei

While I was visiting my friend in Oregon, we were able to attend a church called Imago Dei (in case your wondering, "imago dei" means "image of God"). I first heard about Imago Dei by reading Donald Miller (if you don't know that name, go read his book Blue Like Jazz right now). Two years ago I was at a leadership conference where I heard the pastor (Rick Mckinley) and Donald Miller have a conversation about Imago Dei and its impact in the community. Unlike some churches in Portland, Imago Dei is liked by the city. Its hard for a church to get liked by a city that has a politically liberal bent.

Needless to say, I was excited to attend this church. I was not let down, it was an excellent experience. They meet in a high school theatre. A really nice high school theatre. The music was excellent and Rick Mckinley gave a solid sermon. Both the music and the sermon were uncompromising in their worship of Jesus. Rick talked about Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1. Here are four random things I liked about the sermon (quotes may not be exact):

1. He talked about the difference in our inhereitance and God's inheritance (Eph. 1:14 and 18). Ours being this incredibly just and loving God and God's being a bunch of screwed up people. That's grace.

2. He called Paul's words in Eph. 1:3-14 "theological missiles exploding in the air." There's something about putting theology and missiles together that I really like for some reason.

3. He said "If all you believe in is this life, then you will live in hopelessness, if however, you believe in something more than just this life, then you have hope." An excellent way to share truth without condemning or sounding judgmental.

4. After talking about the difference between "knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus" we had communion. He introduced communion by saying "this table is our initiation into a relationship with Jesus, come if you are tired of knowing about him and want to know him." I like the idea of communion being an initiation into a relationship, I think I will steal it for the next time I lead communion.

Still in Oregon

I'm still in Oregon. I will be heading home tomorrow. I've tried to savor every moment, its been a lot of fun. My friend and I have done all the things we love doing: we've played board games, video games, tennis, seen some movies and gone bowling. Its amazing how well we hang out when we do these things. We have had focused time to just talk about things and "hang out" and those moments are priceless, but we also have this knack of "hanging out" even when we are doing something together.

I think God wants our relationship with him to be a similar thing. He definitely wants us to have times when we just "hang out" with Him, but he's smart enough know that most humans are busy and have things to do. So the key isn't not doing things, its remembering Him even when we do things. He understands that we can't have specific focused, one dimensional "hang out" time with Him every second of every hour of every day. His hope is that whatever we are doing, we are close enough to Him to still "hang out" regardless of what we are doing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I'm writing from Oregon right now, to be specific, Milwaukie, OR (near Portland). The wife of one of my best friends flew me out as a suprise present for his graduation. I really wanted to write on the anticipation of this trip earlier this week, however, I thought my friend might read my blog which of course would've given away the surprise. So, I will write on it now.

Isn't it amazing what anticipation does to us. I mean, I could barely sleep Thursday night because I was so excited. And while I was excited for myself, I think I might've been more excited for my friend, because I love suprising people with good things (bad suprises suck, but good surprises are one of the best things in the world). It was really hard for me to be at work Thursday because in my mind, I was already here. I was so excited about the trip that I found it hard to concentrate on my work.

C.S. Lewis said that the anticipation of something is often more powerful and exciting than the actual event (my paraphrase). I can relate to that sentiment, even though I do love being here and hanging out with a friend I rarely see.

As I think about anticipation, I wonder how excited God is about the return of Christ. I don't think we are nearly as excited about it as God is. As a Christian, its so easy to live outside of that anticipation because of the daily grind. God doesn't have a daily grind. I think he's so excited for us (us meaning followers of Christ) and just can't wait to fulfill his promises and bring the entirety of His kingdom into our lives. I'm pretty sure God's excitement outweighs any of ours. I'm also pretty sure that if we new how great it was going to be, we couldn't function at all in our daily lives because the anticipation and excitement would keep us up at night and flood our mind to the point we couldn't concentrate on much or do much. I think that's why God has to keep some of it a mystery. He knows us better than ourselves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Greatest Question Ever

In a class I teach at this church we recently watched an Andy Stanley sermon titled "The Greatest Question Ever." It was brilliant. The greatest question ever is this: what is the wise thing to do? Not: what is the right thing to do (sometimes its blurry)? Not: what does God want me to do (Christian language that sounds good but is often a mask to prove to someone that your Godly)? Not: what is immediately gratifying (the question culture wants us to ask)? Not: what will get me what I want (often what we want is what we don't need)? But: What is the wise thing to do?

He's goes on to apply the question to our past, present and future. First, in light of my past experiences what is the wise thing to do? Knowing that what we've done in the past often robs us of our future, what is the wise thing to do right now that will keep me from regretting my past? Second, what is the wise thing to do based on what is going on right now? I may someday want to join a bowling league and it might be fun and something I enjoy. But right now, with two young children and a wife who also works, it isn't the wise thing to do for me. Third, based on my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do? For me to get to where I want to be, what is the wise thing to do now? As Mark Beeson puts it "the foundation you lay today determines what happens tomorrow."

This question (what is the wise thing to do?) asked in light of your past, present and future can change your life. I hope you will ask it and find God blessing you because of it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Birthday Party

My daugther had her 4th Birthday party on Friday. Of course, it was a princess party. Its just amazing how much work goes into a party. My wife and I spent so much time, money and energy on it and during it that we were completely worn out. I'm just asking myself why we never spend that kind of time, money and energy on ourselves and our marriage. Don't get me wrong, it was worth it to have some of our favorite people there and to see Mikayla having so much fun. I just wonder why its so much easier to spend our time, money and energy on our children than on our marriage.
When I think of some good answers, I'll post about this again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blind Sight

Someone recently sent this youtube video to me. Its probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen (its less than 4 minutes and worth a viewing):

I'm amazed for several reasons:

1. The kid's ability
2. The kid's mother's attitude
3. The kid's attitude (probably has something to do with the mom).

The ability itself is very cool, but its the attitude that makes me love the mom and kid.

Next time you face a challenge, just remember that you're the one who decides your attitude. There's many things in life we can't control, but there's also many things we can...and attitude is one of them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pornography Statistics

Did you know that 47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home (Focus on the Family Poll, October 1, 2003).

Did you know that the Internet was a significant factor in 2 out of 3 divorces (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2003 -

Did you know that 4 out of 10 hits for pornographic material on the web is done by women 21 years of age and younger?

Did you know that 9 out of 10 of children between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the internet, in many cases unintentionally?

Did you know that according to some studies, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 9 years old?

Did you know that more than 70% of men between the ages of 18 and 34 visit a pornographic site in a month?

What does it all mean? Why does it all matter? Come to this and find out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Provocative Ilustrated Blog

I really like this blog(link below), in fact, I like it so much that I have added it to my side panel. I also like it so much that instead of writing about it later, I decided to blog about it now. Before you go to it, however, you need to know that it is intended to be provocative and create a conversation within yourself. At least that's what it does for me. Most of the illustrations are great, some aren't so great, but they all make you think and will probably mean something different to you than to me. I think 494 and 497 are two of my favorites.

So, here it is:

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Rethink Sex Seminar

I'm excited about this seminar. Its happening on July 9th at Good Shepherd. Ryan Bailey, who is the founder, president and primary counselor at the Rivendell Center here in Charlotte will be leading it.

I'm excited for three reasons:

1. Ryan brings both a theological and psychological approach. He's a graduate of Gordon Conwell's Master's in Counseling program which balances the Bible with the DSM-IV (DSM=Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Desorders). He doesn't bring a one sided approach: either too Christian (yes, I believe counseling can be too Christian...a good topic for a future blog) or too secular.

2. Sex is a fun, serious, mysterious topic to talk about. Its relational, spiritual, physical, emotional, social and cultural all at the same time. Its a topic everyone's familiar with but few are experts at (even if you think you are you probably aren't).

3. The seminar will launch into something else. You have to come to find out! Lets just say I believe God wants to something through what happens that Wednesday evening and following.

Interested? If you want more details and want to register online go here.