Thursday, November 29, 2007

some fun, thought-provoking cartoons

I could look at these for hours. We even built a teen Growth Group one night around these cartoons. Clever. Thought-provoking. "Biting". Challenging. Sometimes even confusing, or able to make you go, "Hey, now wait a dang minute!"...but I think that's the point.

Enjoy, if you dare!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not Safe...but Good

I love the creativity of CS Lewis. The Screwtape Letters are brilliant. The Chronicles of Narnia equally so. And one of my favorie quotes of ALL TIME is found in the Narnia book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In it, Mr. Beaver is teaching the humans about Aslan, prophecies, etc. He is asked something like (forgive me if these aren't direct quotes), "Is Aslan safe?" "No! He's not safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you," is Mr. Beaver's response.

Aslan=Jesus, by the way, if you aren't familiar with the allegory.

We often don't like to think of Jesus as "unsafe". I mean, we want a savior who calms things down, right? One who makes things nice and neat. One who gives us all we want. One who places us on a path with no bumps, uncertainty, etc.

But that's not reality. And I think we are often afraid, when we realize this truth, to truly share that with others, as who wants to accept a savior who may allow (or even ordain, depending on your theology) life to be uncertain at times, difficult at times? But there's more to the story...

We just, as humans, desire for things to "make sense". We want everything to fit into neat criteria. And a God who sacrifices himself just doesn't make sense. If he is all powerful, we wonder, how come he didn't just say, "Just kidding", and come off the cross and use his power to make things right? How does creation work? Was it 6 literal 24 hour days? Was it 6 "days", but God used processes we can't explain (and since God is not limited by the boundaries of time, possibly took a long time to do it?). I could go on and on, but they are all issues that make non-believers, or those believers that still struggle with mystery, experience great doubt and questions.

The knowledge that Jesus, while Good (capital G), still is not "safe", is one of these things. Here are some scriptures we often gloss over (or ignore altogether) that, if we take seriously, really mess things up:

52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.";&version=31;

33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.;&version=31;

13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.;&version=31;

There are plenty more examples, but the above are just some of those sayings of Jesus that, taken seriously, surely would mess up what "makes sense" to us and thus, mess up our life.

Not safe...but Good.

We need to be encouraged by God's sovereignty in the midst of uncertainty. We need to feel good about the fact that despite the mystery and occasional struggles of following Jesus, that God works all things to His good and purpose (a BIV-Ben International Version- interpretation of Romans 8:28 We may very well be called to do something that goes against our family's wishes (and possibly losing their support along the way), but if it is truly of God, it is what we must do. We are called to love and pray for our enemies, and despite that being hard from the standpoint of us often feeling "entitled" to hate those who have done us "wrong", we must do so. Loving an enemy may even cause you to be ridiculed by others as a result. We may even be sensing God's call into a season of uncertainty, simply a call to trust His leading even if all the "criteria" aren't perfectly laid out for us.

We need to trust in the Good. We may be in a period of confusion, but it is Good. We may be feeling led to love and forgive someone who, according to everyone else, deserves to be shunned and hated, but it is Good. We may be called to head in a direction that may make no sense to your family (even if they are believers!), risking ridicule or worse, but it is Good.

And I want what is Good, forsaking what is "safe". Why?

Because he's the King, I tell you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, finally back in the swing of things. It was a fairly eventful holiday. When asked, "How was it?", I tend to respond, "A little bit of everything." Fun. Rest. Joy. Drama. Boredom. Confusion. Frustration. Excitement. Curiosity. You name it. It was good to get away, to see folks (the Austin's, Marja, as well as the "typicals"). We always have fun with Scott and Shannon, as it's good to spend time with real friends we "connect with". We do have friends in Weatherford, but we just haven't really clicked with many folks beyond a surface/"respect" level, so being with the Austin's, Travis's, etc., always is rewarding. It was fun to see Marja, my "NoCal cousin" as well. We didn't hang a ton, but it's just fun being around her. She is just one of those folks that has a "cool" air about them. Plus, Jax really had fun with her. Maybe someday we will save up and try for a NoCal trip, seeing Marja in Santa Rosa and the Fowler's (Rena and Chris) in Oakland.

Overall, a worthwhile time (I won't get into the drama right now...not sure if this is the place for that...).

I almost forgot! I also got to re-discover Legos...built Jax a starfighter and had MUCH fun doing it! :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yay it's almost holiday time!!!!!

For some reason, I am way excited for Thanksgiving this year. Maybe I just need a small change of scenery. Maybe it's because it will actually be cool in Houston (and even colder up here in Wford when we return). Whatever the reason, I'm excited.

Some things to look forward to:
  • Cool weather
  • My dad's "grilled turkey"
  • Good football on Thursday (Cowboys are fun to watch, plus for once the Detroit/Green Bay game is a biggie)
  • Dinner somewhere "special" with Scott and Shannon Austin tomorrow
  • Marja!!!!
  • Missy is getting her hair CHOPPED so she can donate it to "Locks of Love". I think she will look cute (and I tend to like long hair). I do know it will be a struggle for her, as she is a bit scared of having short hair, and that the whole process was started long ago (before her grandma Candy died) as a tribute to Candy. So, it may be an emotional haircut
  • Guitar Hero 3 supplied by Jill
  • Getting to see Jill's big baby belly
  • And the typical "love watching Jax have a BALL with everyone" emotions...

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


And now, immediately after that last post...a thankful list...

I'm thankful for (in no particular order):
  • Being blessed with a family like ours
  • Having a wife that loves me and challenges me to be the man I should be
  • The honor of being Jackson's daddy. If God loves us, as a father, 1,000,000 more than we can fathom...he must love us to infinity and beyond as I love my boy like no other...
  • God loving us so much that He did/does WHATEVER IT TAKES to make us one with, forgive me for not always approaching life like I realize it...
  • Good pizza
  • Good Mexican food
  • Another year with Granny
  • Labor Day weekend in Kerrville with both sets of grandparents
  • Cool weather
  • Zion Hill Church in Pineville, LA, with the Sr. Hi CTCYM gang this summer (REMEMBER WEDNESDAY!)
  • Gary and Carol Turner for being pastors and friends when we needed it
  • The RedHouse Youth gang for making my heart smile so much as you continue to grow in your faith
  • Learning "Rain Down" with ParadigmShift last week (my goodness that song rocked)
  • Letting me have some painful experiences that teach me more about life, humility, and dependence upon God
  • Jason Howeth for making my day and visiting Sunday School (and showing me Facebook so I could reconnect with old friends)
  • and on and on and on....

When We Just Don't Get It

I am a naturally half-glass-full person.

I am one who tends to see the good things in life and people.

And for some reason right now, I am just "done". And I really don't get it.

I mean, I can list off various reasons and excuses, but when I step back, it is all just whining and selfishness.

So it got me to thinking about all the things we take for granted, and as a result, neglect to thank God for all he does to care for us.

So forgive me Lord for:
  • Being quick to get frustrated when things aren't going "my" way
  • Just going through the motions lately
  • Placing my self-worth (and wanting to be "praised") at the forefront, and letting it affect whether I have a good attitude or not
  • For saying or encouraging some aspect of God's Truth, or an attitude, etc., to those I serve in my family or at church, then turning around and "forgetting it" in my own life
  • Not looking for Your hand in subtle things (as opposed to just the big things)
  • Worrying too much about what others think
  • Among other things I'm sure...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

i've decided i really, REALLY like foo fighters

It's been awhile since I got truly excited about a musical artist. I mean, occasionally I'll hear a cd or song that's fun for awhile, but there are few artists that truly "stir me up". One is U2. Another is the David Crowder* Band. And now, Foo Fighters...

Not that they are new, either in reality or to my ears. I remember back in '94 or so when I heard that Dave Grohl, the drummer from Nirvana, was in a new band where he was singing and playing guitar. While I was impressed he was diverse in his musical talent...I had no idea he was so gifted he could actually play EVERY instrument on the album (at least the first one; later albums used different musicians). I enjoyed most of what I heard form them for 13 years or so while never really "being into them". They were just a decent band, better than most out there at any given time, but for some reason I never allowed my imagination to be gripped by them.

Well, I ended up with several songs of theirs on my ipod, including a few that were rockin' enough to be added to my "ExcerRock" playlist. This is my "running/cycling" playlist of songs that just rock, make you want to pump your fist in the air, etc. Keeps me moving. But usually, lyrics don't matter. After listening to a few Foo Fighters songs on that playlist (and thus others due to my being so impressed), they are now in my eyes a rare band that a) rocks and b) lyrically rocks and seems to sing with purpose. A perfect example (my favorite song right now?) is "No Way Back" from their CD In Your Honor that came out in 2004 (I think). I'll post lyrics and comment on them in a moment, but first, a small diatribe...

***I am not one of these folks who think the only stuff worth pondering is overtly "Christian" stuff. Music, books, art, etc. While I am not one who thinks "anything goes" either, I do believe God can speak to us using things out of left field. Things that, at first glance, might not be "Christian". What I am about to share may be one of those times where something not overtly Christian has had a profound effect on my faith...and inspires me...

No Way Back
by Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters

Lately, I've been
Livin' in my head
The rest of me is dead,
I'm dying for truth.

Make me, believe,
No more left and right,
Come on take my side,
I'm fightin' for you,
Fightin' for you.

Pleased to meet you take my hand,
There is no way back from here,
Pleased to meet you say your prayers,
There is no way back from here,
But I don't care,
No way back from here.

Wake me, I'm ready,
Somethin' don't seem right,
I was dreamin',
I was talkin' to you,

Memory, mend me,
Know I've seen my share,
Things I can't repair,
I'm breakin' to you,
I'm breakin' to you.

Pleased to meet you take my hand,
There is no way back from here,
Pleased to meet you say your prayers,
There is no way back from here,
But I don't care,No way back from, here.

Pleased to meet you say your prayers,
There is no way back from here,
Pleased to meet you say your prayers,
There is no way back from here,
But I don't care,
No way back from, here.

I have no idea what Grohl's personal spiritual bent is. But for some reason...I see God in this. I see someone screaming their heart out for Him. I see reckless abandon. I see risk. And it fires me up inside. "No way back, and I don't care." New creation, anyone? "Old is gone, new has come" anyone? Take up your cross and follow? Drop your nets? I see all of that in this song. A cry for truth, to follow in faith, to be broken and put back together by God. I ran to this song yesterday, and was the most encouraged and fired up to follow Jesus as I've been in a long time (and things haven't been necessarily "dry" lately). It was awesome.

So amazing how the Lord speaks to us...even out of left field. Even with the Fighters of Foo.

Friday, November 2, 2007

a "couple days late" halloween report

Halloween 2007 has come and gone. This week has been eventful, mostly due to each family member having some variety of sickness...ranging from just "sniffles" (Jax) to fever and, um, "digestive problems" (me) to simply feeling like poo in general (Missy). But, we made time for a second annual visit to Lee St. on Halloween with the Bezner's. Jax was an astronaut (thanks to Oma and Opa!), his costume quite popular with others, and he was such a joy to watch! From saying "Trick or Treat" with enthusiasm to "Happy Halloween!" to as many as he could to "Thank you" when recieving candy (which got many positive comments), it was too fun.

One thing that impressed me as well was Jax's sensitivity to things on the more "scary/evil" side. Not that he got scared (he didn't), but, for example, when looking at a bunch of "glowskulls" lined up in a yard, he simply pointed and said something like, "Look at the angry faces", with a perplexed, almost "disappointed" look. I'm glad he saw them and was unimpressed. Missy and I, while refusing to let the increased 'evil' present in Halloween beat us (we'd personally rather set an example of fun and safety as opposed to boycott it altogether...this holiday wasn't meant to be all evil and has just been allowed to become that...and to boycott it as a result seems like "admitting defeat"...we have freinds we love and respect who do not support Halloween, and that's fine...but we want to try and be good examples in the midst of bad ones...ok, diatribe over), have set some rules like encouraging costumes that aren't so much 'scary' (like vampires, ghosts, etc.) and instead going for fun characters, random items, etc. We'd rather dress up as, say, astronauts, tacos, or Yoda... Anywho, it was a great night, not cold like last year (although I am ready for another cold snap), and fun to be with friends.