Archive for November, 2006

iPods eVerywhere

Posted: November 14, 2006 in 7th anniversary, Apple computers, covet, iPod

Apple announced Tuesday that it is teaming up with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to deliver the first seamless integration between iPod and in-flight entertainment systems. These six airlines will begin offering their passengers iPod seat connections which power and charge their iPods during flight and allow the video content on their iPods to be viewed on the their seat back displays.

Dang it! I had been telling myself that I could continue to live with my blue iPod mini for many years to come, but now I might have to come off the money to pick up a new video iPod.

My problem is that Apple makes me covet! I was in the store yesterday for a podcasting workshop, and those new, shiny MacBook Pros and iPods just started calling out to me–it’s like I’m an addict. The problem is that I don’t have $2,700 for new 17-inch MacBook Pro or even the $249 for a new iPod. As a matter of fact, both my iBook G4 and iPod mini are just a little over a year old. But when I’m in the Apple store, I feel like I need new stuff.

That’s the problem with covetousness; we will never be satisfied with anything outside of God. We will keep reaching and reaching never to find that ONE thing that we think will cause our straining to cease. And Satan knows it. He promises that the next new gadget, a thinner waist line, the love of that person you’ve been pining for, a better sex life, or whatever it is for you, will bring you the satisfaction that you desire. It won’t! Just like Apple and their introduction of the newest MacBook Pro last month which was an upgrade from the first MacBook Pro that came out in January, the evil one keeps moving the finishing line. There will always be a newer model, and faster mode, but it will not satisfy. Only one thing can: enjoying God and worshiping Him forever.

When God says, “Thou shall not covet…” He’s may be saying, “You’d enjoy life a lot more if you could not covet; you’re only hurting yourself.”

I think that’s good advice.

Wednesday marks my 7th anniversary of serving the Bering Drive Church. There have been ups and downs, joys and deep hurts, but in the end, it has been good for me. Some of the best people I know worship God here. I am honored to know them, to be able to speak to them with grace, and have them love me, my wife, our 2-year-old daughter, and the little girl that is on her way to joining us. Thanks!

So Proud

Posted: November 14, 2006 in family, pepperdine, speaking

I’m incredibly excited about another “first” in my life. Though both my wife and I have made our livings using words–both written and spoken–there have been precious few times when we’ve been able to use words together. Even though when one of us speaks in public, the audience is probably hearing us both, we have never shared the same lectern, podium, or stage.

Well, all that’s about to change.

This May, Rochelle and I will be speaking and teaching together at the Pepperdine University Bible Lectures. Though I’ve been blessed to teach at the lectures several times before, speaking alongside my beautiful wife will be something completely new. And yes, I have joked with Ro about riding on my coattails, but the truth is that she is and excellent presenter and an extraordinarily thoughtful person. In fact, if she had been raised in another faith tradition she likely would have been a preacher and a brilliant one too–just like her father.

At present, we’re still kicking around topics for Pepperdine, but we will settle on something by Wednesday I’m sure. The reason I’m sure is because we have to. Dr. Jerry Rushford and his crew at Pepperdine need to print the program soon. So if you have any suggestions, we’re more than welcome to hearing them. And if you think I should just sit quietly in the background and let Rochelle teach our classes, well, that’s probably a good idea, too.

Scripture Love/Worship

Posted: November 13, 2006 in Everything

I come from a religious tradition that truly loves Scripture. Well, love might be the wrong word; “worship” might be a more accurate term. This love/worship of Scripture for the church and for the individual has been both a blessing and a curse.

On the blessing side, I grew up learning, memorizing and reciting Scripture. It was important for us to know what the text said. Each Sunday my brother and I, along with all the other kids, would bound into the church building prepared to recite the week’s text which had been given to us as a memory verse the previous week. For each properly regurgitated text we would get a star by our names on the bulletin board and the pride that comes along with knowing that we knew something that all the adults told us that we should know. Therefore, by the time I left home for college, I knew what the Bible said. That’s the blessing side.

The curse side is that the love/worship of Scripture turns the Bible into a idol. In those same churches that taught me so much Scripture, I–along with scores of others–learned that the Bible was the important thing, and everything else was secondary at best. Everything. Jesus wasn’t even the point, except in terms of what the Bible said about Jesus. And don’t even get started talking about the Holy Spirit. We couldn’t quantify it, so many people within our fellowship held the position that the Holy Spirit was only operative up until we got, you guessed it, the Bible.

Now, of course, I’m not against the Bible, I like the Bible, but I think it would be wise for us realize the text of the Bible isn’t the point of the Bible. The Scriptures point to Jesus and the God who sent Him into the world not back to itself. After all, at this point in world events, there have been more Christians in history who worshiped God without the Bible as we know it than have had the Bible, and the church seemed to manage okay.

This week I was lead to think about this as I was reading Bill Willits book, “Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture.” Willits writes succinctly, “Biblical literacy is important for people to become lifelong self-learners of the Scriptures and doers of the word. But in and of themselves, I would suggest they aren’t the goal.”

Good Reads

Posted: November 11, 2006 in Everything

As four workman were working on my on my air conditioner, installing a new evaporator coil in the attic, I heard a knock at the door. When I got to the door there was no one there. What were there was two packages.The first one was a gratis copy of Spencer’s Burke new book, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity. It is the pre-released, pre-proofed copy. Written across the cover are the words “UNCORRECTED PAGE PROOFS. NOT FOR SALE.” I guess this is the copy that they send to a small group of people to read the book before its release and create buzz. Since the book has been out a while, I guess I won’t be much good for pre-release buzz. What I can do is tell you all about it and encourage you to pick up a copy.

The second package contained the newest installment of THE VOICE Bible project entitled: The Dust Off Their Feet. Brian McLaren is the principle writer with great contributions from Chris Seay, Kerry Shook and many others.

You’re gonna want to purchase every installment of THE VOICE. Every time I open the pages of the first few installments–The Last Eyewitnesses and The Dust Off Their Feet–I’m captivated by the beauty of the words, thoughts, and images. It really is a project that is recapturing the grandness of Scripture.

Thursday Morning

Posted: November 9, 2006 in Everything

Thursday mornings are hard at my house. On Thursdays my wife leaves for work about the time I wake up so I have to wake, feed, and dress both myself and my daughter for school and work. Then we have to fight 20+ miles of Houston traffic to get to pre-school–which is also in the building where I work–before the 2-year-old teacher looks at me with great disdain for showing up late. Often I find myself dreading Thursday mornings. But this morning, when I got to work I read again a post I placed on this blog in May 2004 and remembered the beauty of being a father.

Don’t you hate mornings? I do! I have never understood those people who jolt out of bed and bound around the house before 6:00 am each morning. Are they crazy? Do they not have good dreams? My wife works with a woman who wakes up every day around 4:00 am. She practices her piano–which I’m sure her husband loves,–eats breakfast, reads the daily paper and gets to the office before 6:00. Why? Surely there must be some mental dysfunction going on there. But, I guess some folks are just morning people.

I am not one of those people! I am a night person. In my view the world is backward. We should sleep in the day and be up at night. I understand why our inner clocks work the way they do, but I’m not a farmer or a rancher. I don’t need the daylight to get things done. The earliest anyone needs to get up is 10:00 am. Anything that needs to be done before that can wait. Right?

Well, that’s how I used to feel.

Now our daughter, Malia, wakes up every morning between 7:30 and 8:00. From the living room we can hear her begin to stir. Turning, stretching, yawning and sighing are signs that her new day is about to begin. My first instinct is to race in to get her, but to do that would mean missing the magic. When she first stirs, she’s not quite fully awake. The patient man is rewarded if he can wait for a few minutes until she is fully awake but she hasn’t realized she is alone. If you go in her room then, you will see the glory of the sun in her eyes. Standing there, I watch her roll over when she senses the presence of someone in the room, her eyes blink as she recognizes a familiar and loving face and then a smile only given to angels inches across her face. It is magic!

Right then, a overwhelming feeling of joy and love floods from the heavens into my heart. My only response is to pick her up, kiss her and tell her how much she is loved. It’s a feeling so far beyond words, that one feels silly even trying to describe it. No matter how difficult it was to put her to sleep the night before, or how much she fused the previous day, or how many diapers there were to change, the love greatly outweighs the pains (if those things can even be called pains).

There is something mysterious and magical about the morning, something glorious. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh start to revive our lives. Malia has taught me that mornings are God’s perfect painting of renewal and blessedness.

Standing over her this morning, these words came to mind:“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (May 2004)

Those are beautiful words if I say so myself. Here are some beautiful words Malia shared with me this morning as I went into her room: “Daddy, I’m poopy.”

How things change! She is still glorious!

Ted Haggard

Posted: November 6, 2006 in Everything

This weekend, while I was lying sick in my LA-Z-BOY, I wrote a brilliant, thoughtful and sensitive post for this blog about Rev. Ted Haggard. In the post I wrote about ways to think about all this if the allegations made by male prostitute, Mike Jones, concerning Haggard were true and ways to think if they were false. It ended discussing the nature of people to sometimes go to public battle about private issues–our way of taking a battle that we are fighting on the inside to others in the hopes that defeating it outside us would help us defeat it within us.

Since I started that post more information about Haggard has been exposed and to post that blog now, knowing what we think we know, would seem silly.

One thing I can say is that the Haggard situation, regardless of what you think of him or drug-use or homosexuality or politically involved evangelicals, is just sad. It’s sad for Haggard, his wife, their five kids, their 14,000 member church, Mike Jones (a man who made a living as a male prostitute and drug procurer), the church, the witness of Jesus, and everybody else. Heck, I’ve felt sad about it all weekend and I don’t know the man or anybody that he knows. It’s all so terribly sad.

Out of Ur–a blog hosted by Christianity Today and one of my daily reads–has posted a thoughtful article about Haggard. Read it here.

Drive Thru History America

I went to school with Dave Stotts, the host of Drive Thru History. He, like me, is also from Atlanta, so you know he’s a good guy. What you get in the DTH videos–both this series and the original Drive Thru History–is pure Dave. I’ll always remember he was doing a announcement in chapel He prefaced it by saying, “Okay guys, I’m gonna take you back, way back on this one.” Then Dave fell backward on the stage. I laughed hard. No one else did!

At any rate, check out Drive Thru History, which is currently airing on The History International Channel. It’s a great show and Dave does the writing, research, filming, producing and editing pretty much by himself. It’s incredible, I think. Dave brings a sense of humor, fun and insight to history. In particular, Dave highlights the role of Scripture and people of faith in the unfolding if history. There’s no Christian overreach or here.

You’ll be blessed by Drive Thru History.