Showing posts from June, 2012

Reduction and death a bit disheveled

Sometimes I have fragments of thoughts that I could turn into a full post, but it doesn't make sense to. This is one of those posts: I was watching an old episode of the Twilight Zone last night and caught a glimpse of an interesting transformation. At the beginning of the story death is portrayed as a well put together man handsomely groomed and in control of a situation, an appointment, that he had with a mere mortal. Toward the end of the story his hair was mussed and he was clearly being manipulated by the man who was making the pitch of his life; a "pitch for the angels" as he called it. I got to thinking that if a man could be portrayed as doing that to death I cannot even imagine what the Son of Man actually did to it. I mean, I have some indication of the extent of death's domestication through what has been recorded in the Bible, but I have a feeling that I will be marveling at the Master and His masterstroke for all of eternity. -----------------------------

Missing cassettes and satisfaction

I recently re-purchased (my cassette tape came up missing) the album Little Red Riding Hood  by the Lost Dogs. It is a great album and the more I listen to it the more I am coming to appreciate and enjoy it. The song Imagine That  is an absolute classic, but it is the song You Satisfy  that got me thinking this morning. There is an oft-repeated line in the song where they sing "Oh Lord You satisfy...". You satisfy. It sounds so active as if God is here satisfying me. And it sounds that way because that is exactly what He does. That got me to thinking about how many times I chase this, that, or the other thing in a quest for some type of satisfaction. When it is all done I realize that I am satisfied, but the fact that I am, and the quality of the "this, that, or the other" that satisfied me is not inherent in the thing that I chased. It rests in God Himself and His active work of satisfying me. Then my thoughts turn to the chasing itself. It seems to me that there i

Thankful to be exhausted, nauseated, and dizzy

Originally I thought about titling this post as "Exhausted, nauseated, dizzy, and thankful" but I thought better of it for that would belittle what God did for me yesterday. I have never been more convinced of this than I am now: God does His best work through relationships. Just looking at the way Jesus called 12 people to himself and how he lived with them and for them makes me think that this was His plan all along. Yesterday I got to spend the entire day at Darien Lake with some junior highers and middle-schoolers from Northridge Church's youth ministry and to say that it was splendid is a complete understatement. It was just about heavenly. To top it all off I got to hug my fifth-grade son and let him know that I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend the day with him. How could God have done better work? How could He have been more excellent in the way He provided for me as I got to hang out with people I am growing to love even more and, hopefully, show them

My run in with the law

Last night I was riding a golf cart around the Greece Little League ball fields giving people rides and selling drinks. Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn flagged me down and hilarity ensued: The Sheriff: "Do you have any water?" Me: "Yes sir. That will be $1.50." The Sheriff: "$1.50!!?? That's highway robbery." [Irony of him being a law man and me serving him from a non-road-legal golf cart noted] Me:  [Handing him the bottle and taking his $2.00] "This is the best water you will ever drink." The Sheriff:  "Keep the change for the till." Me: "Thank you, sir." It is experiences like this that make me wonder why I ever dread doing anything. It was a warm night and I was not looking forward to spending it away from my family, but who knew I would be driving a golf cart around peddling drinks and giving rides to people that were, in and of themselves, interesting as well. Besides, like my Dad, I like to talk and be around people

Four Christian music albums that changed everything

I had the opportunity to spend most of my conscious childhood in the 1980's and, as a result, witness a great transition in the secular music scene, but also what I consider to be a seminal shift in the Christian music scene. Now the first Christian music album (besides one by Dallas Holm...but that is a subject for another post) that I had ever heard was Soldiers Under Command  by Stryper. I know what some of you are thinking..."What??!! They can't be Christians wearing all that spandex and playing those drums real loud like they do. You are possessed by the Beat Menace himself!!!" Well, that is a subject for another post entirely, but go with me on this journey. Or not.  When I was in college It was all that my friends and I could do to get down to Houghton College, over to Buffalo, or to downtown Rochester to catch the rare Christian musical act that was passing our way. We had a great time taking in music by Whiteheart, Bryan Duncan, Michael Peace, Newsboys (befor

My writing

I guess I can't help it. I do like to write and find great satisfaction in knowing that people like my writing. I think this is especially true when I try to be humorous. There is an even greater satisfaction for me when people laugh at what I have written. This past week our kids ministry "took over" the main worship service on Sunday...what we call "Big Church" to the kids that we minister to. I was given the task of being the "HighPoint Guy". Now, HighPoint is the name of our children's ministry on Sunday mornings and the people organizing the service wanted me to explain a little about why we do what we do and present it like Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame. I basically had four times that I appeared on stage to give a bit of background on what people just saw. Here is what I came up with: -------------------------------------- Appearance #1 after opening songs: What you just saw was not a figment of your imagination nor is it a hastily arran

As bilingual as I get

I was 10 in 1980. It was also around that time that I started to get decent with the clarinet and I developed a real love for music. During the 1980's there was a lot happening in both the Christian (especially in the late 1980's) and secular music world. There was plenty of good music coming out of Europe and some of the most memorable music, for me anyway, came from Germany and Austria. One Austrian artist, Falco, really appealed to me and sang in a weird mixture of Austrian German and English. Here's what goes through my head (and, loosely, across my lips) as I sing his second most popular song in the US - Vienna Calling: Mumble mumble mum Rio Mumble mumble Tokyo Mumble mumble mumble mumble Mumble mumble sowieso   Mumble mumble mumble mum Mumble mumble mum Mumble mumble mumble mum Mumble mumble mum   Mumble mumble mumble mum Mumble mumble mum Mumble Tucson, Arizona and Toronto, Canada   Wien Wien Mumble mumble mumble mum Mumble mum Mum Wien Mum Wien Mum

The HighPoint blog post

I have the absolute pleasure of working with some great people, and even greater kids, in our church's children's ministry called HighPoint. I also get the opportunity to write for the blog once a month. Here is the post I submitted for the virtue of trust that we are focusing on this month: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For a very long time I was too scared to go on any roller coasters. No matter how many times my older brother, Steve, went on them and arrived back to the group alive and excited from the experience (not gasping for air or fainting from fright) I just wouldn't get on them. I had a picture in my head that the roller coaster was something that was going to send me careening off of the cliffs of insanity thereby permanently damaging my mental and physical well-being. So I decided to sit it out. I just didn't trust the people, including my own brother, who said that I would love the experience. I knew bet

Idle judgements and declarations

Therfore seith Seint Jerome: 'Dooth somme goode dedes that the devel, which is oure enemy, ne fynde yow nat unocupied.' - The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer I think that, in my own life, when my mind and hands are not occupied with "goode dedes" then my enemy has an opportunity to exploit them. And he does that far too often. I wonder how often he uses my idle words or the opportunities that I take to declare something to be this, that, or the other when, in fact, I don't know what I am talking about or I simply have not obtained (or cannot obtain) the information necessary to make the declaration or pass the judgement. How many times have I said "This is the way it is..." when I am simply guessing? Can I really know why something is the way it is beyond the presented proximate cause(s) of the situation? Should I limit my understanding of what I see to the revelation found in God's Word? I think I have to maybe 97 out of 100 times I want to say

Think about these things

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8 Even though this command is given in the context of peacemaking (Philippians 4:2 sets the stage) it had always been presented to me as something that I should do to combat impure thoughts whether they are lustful, violent, or something of that nature. Obviously, the context of the command begs to differ with that, but I also am finding a broader application as well. It is so easy for me to dwell on the bad stuff that has happened to me; easy to complain about how this, that, or the other thing is unfair. Now there is a time and a place for those thoughts. If I do not recognize and injustice or a sin that should not be overlooked then I will not fight for the right thing nor will I engage in the ministry of confrontation. But there comes a time and place for

My Source of trust

"...Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"  - Genesis 18:25 I thought it was rather unfair to ask the boys to trust that God is doing right by, at the very least, allowing their school to close. My reasoning stemmed from the fact that, well, I have about 31 years more experience than the oldest on this planet and understand that these things happen and that I know that this is to make them, and their parents, more like Christ. I have seen things like this happen before and I have seen what is on the other side and, I guess, it's not too bad. But what if it is? What if it brings about something that, on the surface, seems so much less than what we had? What if my understanding is so darkened that I can't see the Christ-likeness that God is producing in me, or my children, as a result of His divine decree? What if this brings me to the brink of despair? I had a picture in my head this morning of me walking down the road and being restrained from going any furthe

I don't really know You at all do I?

Hi Dad, I have to admit something. I had a bunch of ideas in my head concerning how You work and what You're all about. I knew You answered prayers and empowered Your children to do Your work, but, recently, I saw something that I had never seen before. Oh I had seen it happen in various ways and through various means, but I almost think that those times were just a drop of what I experienced. I have to admit, it made You seem a bit unfamiliar to me. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed what I saw...I was a direct beneficiary of what happened. Yet, it kind of left me more than a bit unsettled. After the whole thing took place I tried to talk to my wife about it but I did not have a whole lot of words to describe what what I saw or how it made me feel. You took me off guard as I was waiting for what I expected to happen to actually manifest itself. But it never did and, as a result, I was in unfamiliar territory. When it was all over I wasn't sure what had just happened. I knew You

Spell check in ScribeFire (Chrome 19)

For the longest time I have used the ScribeFire plugin for Firefox and, now, for Chrome 19 for blogging, but not had a functional spell checker in that plugin. Not so recently, I had subscribed to a post about it in a feature list or bug parade type of forum and have been monitoring the progress of the enabling of the spell checker for the plugin. Well, I finally have it working. I received a post that kind of put me on the right track. Here is what I did: it turns out that the ScribeFire plugin is uses TinyMCE which is a WYSIWYG browser-based editing control. Well, there is a file called tiny mce src.js (in the Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions directory) where there is a line that reads  if (!s.gecko_spellcheck) t.getBody().spellcheck = 0; The value of the t.getBody().spellcheck needs to be changed from 0 to 1. Once that was done I was able to use an inline spell checker ala MS Word. If the file mentioned earlier is no in the directory mentioned earlier, just search for it on the

I was held

There is no other way to describe it. I needed God to hold me this day and He did just that. There have been times when this has happened before, but I am always surprised when it does. Thank you, God, for the reminder that your Son has died, risen, and is coming again. Thank you for focusing me on what really matters rather than a thousand other things. Thank you for the knowing nods and affirmations, the opportunities to encourage people, the amazing time I had with the kids at HighPoint, the time we had together as a family, and the hand I was able to hold tonight through some difficult news and information sharing. But most of all, God, thank you for holding me. Thank you for squeezing me tight and pressing me against your chest. I could almost feel your breath on my neck you were so close to me today.