Thursday, November 30, 2006

Early Christmas For Me

All I need/have to say is that I bought Sufjan Stevens new Christmas CD.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ready, Set, Action!

So I went to my first book club this morning, and I really enjoyed it even though I didn't say a word during the conversation. To be honest I feel somewhat intimidated by the brains that are in that circle. But I really enjoyed it and I really am going to try to make this a weekly event, if work will allow this. So they're reading through the book Simply Christian by N.T. Wright and its my first Wright book and I really like what he has to say.

Just a few quoates from the book that really got me thinking.

"Not all Jews of this period believed in or wanted a coming Messiah. But those who did, an they were many, cherished a frequently repeated set of expectations as to what the anointed one would do when he arrived. He would fight the battle against Israel's enemies-specifically, the Romans. He would rebuild, or at least cleanse and restore, the Temple (a task that, as noted earlier, the Herod family had undertaken, to press their claim to be the true royal house)."

"Nobody was expecting anyone, least of all al Messiah, to rise from the dead. A crucified Messiah was a failed Messiah."

"Nothing in Jewish literature or imagination had prepared people for a portrait like this. If the gospel writers had something up to fit a preconceived notion the one thing they would certainly had done is describe the risen Jesus shining like a star. Accoding to Daniel 12:3 (a very influential passage in Jewish thought at the time), this was how the righteous would appear at the resurrection. But Jesus didn't."

"The death of Jesus of Nazareth as the king of the Jews, the bearer of Israel's destiny, the fulfillment of God's promises to his people of old, is either the most stupid, senseless wast and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns."

"The music he wrote must now be performed. The early disciples saw this, and got on with it."

The last two quotes are the two that really got me thinking and the feeling I got from reading this last chapter is that its time to stop talking about Jesus and talking about the church and talking about how we are Christians and it's time to start living that out,it's time to stop doing church and start being the church, it's time to we allow Jesus to effect us in day to day life, in our every thought, every action.

It's time we the musicians start to play this music that has been written for us.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Marriage vs. Dating

So as most of you know, the wedding day is approaching, not super fast but June 30th will be here before you know. So I've been thinking about wedding and the bond of marriage and I get excited about it and wanting to be that person for Courtney. But I've also been thinking about the difference it will be between dating and marriage and how much more of a commitment it is and how much deeper everything runs. Divorce is not an option in a marriage situation, not in my case at least and most of my friends. You don't just break up with each other in a marriage.

Marriage is one of the main metaphors God used to describe our relationship to Him. He uses this on an individual level and a corporate level, a husband and wife, Christ and the church and Christ obviously as the groom and we as his bride.

Well I've been thinking about the marriage vs dating situation and how much deeper everything goes. When you date someone, you do things so that the other person will think you're awesome and if they don't think your awesome then you usually take your show and go somewhere else and see if someone else likes it better. But if you are convinced that the other one likes you, and you don't want to take your show somewhere else, you then start to perform less and less and settle into something more like loving and serving that person and thats usually where marriage comes into play.

However when I think about the church, we tend to be more partial to dating, we still like to put on the show and we still like to do things that make us feel better and make us happy and make us comfortable and make us feel safe and so we have gotten to the point to where we have settled for simply talking about the Kingdom rather than actively living it out.

Think about this marriage metaphor, the people in attendance that day can obviously see that the husband and wife are in love. The minister asks the groom, "Do you take this woman to be your bride?" and with strength in his voice he says, "I do" and then he turns to the bride and asks, "Do you take this man to be your husband?" and as the bride, we say, "I want to" and we really do mean it and we really do want to be his bride, but we just can't say I do. Why is this?

You see, it seems to me that somewhere along this road we've been traveling on, we as the church and we as individuals have decided we'd rather just date.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Im Gonna Lay Down My Burdens

So I realize that its been years it seems like since I last blogged, so I do apologize to all 3 of you that actually read this. No need to make excuses for my laziness in blogging, but I do finally feel like things are starting to fall into place.

Im going to be trying to blog at least once a week to at least give a bit of an update on how the week is going and my thoughts at the time, but hopefully I'll blog more than that.

A friend of mine from this summer recommended that I read the book The Kingdom of Couches by Will Walker. Up to this point of reading it, I would recommend it, nothing that just makes your jaw drop, but still a good book and a very good book on the importance of community, so with that said, Id say yeah, give it a look.

He poses a very intersting question to some of his students at the University of Texas, he's on staff at Texas with Campus Crusade for Christ, he asks, "If I could choose when to go to heaven, would I rather die and go right away or keep living and go later?" To sum up his answer to why he would rather stay here on earth, he quotes Paul from Philippians1:23-25 where Paul realizes that of course it would be better to go to Heaven, but also recognizes that it would be better for the Philippians that he stay for their "progress and joy in the faith." He realizes that the Philippians need him.

Where am I going with all of this you ask, well here is where Im trying to go. Paul would rather stay here and edure this place just a little bit longer for the sake of the Philippians. He realized that this life is not about him, he gave up his status of being someone important and in a powerful position to follow Christ and submit to his authority.

I too often see in myself and in other Christians where we are still way too concerned about ourselves and even though we say we are not about ourselves and selfless, deep down, the reason we do the things we do is to make ourselves look just a little bit better, even if its just a little bit better. Will Walker says that we don't have to die to ourselves, all we have to do is "spiritualize my pursuit of being important."

Jesus' hope for us a followers is that we may be brought "to complete unity to let the world know that [God] sent [Jesus] and has loved us even as He has loved Jesus." It is still more than just a community, but rather a missional community as Walker puts it. "People infused with the love of God, overflowing to everyone around them." People who instead of striving to be important, rather strive to be significant. If we as a community and not just as a community here in Knoxville or whatever city you may be in, but on the bigger scale, a community of Christ followers are taking the Gospel to the people around us and those around us don't see a community then it seems fake or irrelevant, but if they see a community and don't hear the gospel, then it comes across as being exclusive and some type of club to be in or even worse, judgmental.

Will we decide to settle for the good life of being important, making enough money, being part of a church, looking good to everyone else, or will we strive to significant and strive to become one so that the world around us will know that Jesus is who he says he is.

Read Hebrews 11:13-16

May God not be ashamed to be called our God

Sunday, September 10, 2006


So I know that Im not the best at it and I fail not just daily, but more like hourly, but God has really been teaching how to love on all levels and to love with no strings attached. And this has been something that has been going on for the last year or so and God has been using Scripture and friends to teach me how to love. Looking back, here are a few observations; Vaka - any of you that know Vaka know that he wears his emotions on his sleeve and he lets you know what and how he feels about you. Vaka, you taught me that its ok to express how your feeling and how much you love a friend and in particular, between two guys, its hard to express that sometimes cause we have to be "manly" and telling your best guy friends that you love them apparently isnt the coolest thing to do these days, I beg to differ now days. Thank you for teaching me Vaka. Kenny - If you are around Kenny and Nicole for 5 minutes, you know that Kenny loves her to death. Kenny has taught me a lot on how to love Courtney by watching him love Nicole. I could write a whole page about this, but I'll spare you. Thank you beyond words Kenny on teaching me by example. Bill and Betsy - given their situation at their previous church, you've taught me how to love people and simply love them in a situation that is from hell basically. I've learned how to be persistent to where God has called his people and to love the people no matter what the situation is at the time, love the people God has placed around you. Thank you Bill and Besty for that. Courtney - She has taught me how to love myself. If you know me then you know that Im my biggest critic and sometimes dont have the most confidence in myself and she has given me that confidence and given me the support that I need and I too often forget how lucky I am. Thank you Courtney. Taylor - Taylor really through this last year and all of his trials and all of the talks we had, which are some of my favorite times when I look back, not because of his trials bet because of the opportunity to grow together in God and to learn from him, but through all of that Taylor really taught me how to love God more and to always go to Him first and seek Him first and to soak everything in prayer, thank you Taylor. Again I could go on for days because these are just a few that have taught me tremendously. I feel like Im sitting on a perfect oppotunity to love another good friend that needs love more than anything right now in his life and I and all my other friends have the perfect opportunity to love him and to reel him back. I get frustrated when I see some of his friends just cut the line and give him no chance, that hurts my feelings and it also makes me angry so Im sorry for coming across as a jerk sometimes, but I love this guy and I feel like if we lose him this time he's gone, and I dont want that to happen. Again God has taught me beyond words on how to love and Im so thankful for all my friends and all that you have taught me and we are living the faith, we are living it out, thank you for being the community that I need. I hope that I too can be that for you guys.

P.S. - I started today reading probably the thickest book or at least one of the thickest as far as theology goes (Desiring God - John Piper) and I cant wait to see what He teaches me.

I love you all.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


How powerful are words in your life. . .are words you say just words or do they mean something more? I was reading last night from a commentary on the book of John that I have recently decided to spend some time in. And the author of the commentary was giving a brief background on the Jewish culture and he was talking about how John really focuses on Jesus being the "logos" or the word. As I was reading I came upon this statement that stuck out in my mind; "To the Jew a word was far more than a mere sound;it was something that had an independent existence and which actually did things."

I feel like words dont mean anything to us Americans anymore. I always hear the statement that is somewhat along the lines that actions speak louder than words. I do believe that is true, but I however also believe that we need to place a higher emphasis on the words we say and hear. In Biblical times, there were not 2 or 3 Bibles in every household sitting on the coffee table or in the drawer next to your bed. All they had were words, they didn't have the New Testament in 8 different versions as we do today, so they would gather around and have these meetings and share the gospel through words. I do understand that we do need to know our culture and know how to reach our culture and I know that our culture is one that says that actions do speak louder than words and so I understand that we do need to be people of action, but I believe we as Christians need to place a higher emphasis on the words that we say and hear and like the Jewish culture in the time of John, may they not be a "mere sound", but may they be "something that had an independent existence and which actually did things." May the words we use, bring action, may the words we hear, may they cause us to be people of action and not just let them go in one ear and out the ear. God created the heavens and the earth by speaking words.

"If you wish to see that word of God, if you wish to see the creative power of God, if you wish to see that word which brought the world into existence and which gives light and life to every man, look at Jesus Christ. In him the word of God came among you."

Saturday, August 12, 2006


So we, and when I say we I mean my dad, brother and myself, decided to paint the little side porch tonight. Well we didnt decide to do this until about 4 o'clock tonight. So we brainstormed and maybe two trips to Home Depot and 7 1/2 hours or so later, we still dont have the porch painted. Not only did we decide to paint it, but by all new ladice to go around the porch and on the top and apparently we have a big party here tomorrow night for Ben and his welcome back into the states. So we have a lot of work to do before 5:30 tomorrow night. We'll see how it goes.

I took a little trip this afternoon to Best Buy and Barnes and Noble to look/buy some cds. I wanted to buy about 6 or 7 but I brought it down to 2. I bought an older Ryan Adams cd - Gold and went with a group called BR549, kind of a country rock style, I like it so far. Im excited to be back in Knoxville soon so I'll have disc exchange close at hand, and Mckays and good friends with good music taste and good music I havent heard yet.

Oh and apparently you can rent CDs now at the library, my sister goes there and borrows them.

Does anyone read this anymore. . .I dont think they do. Maybe this is a lost cause?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What Are We Doing?

I feel like we've missed it. When I say we, I mean the church. The American Church. I feel like the people in church today just dont get it. Church and being a part of the church today means going on Sunday and maybe even being a part of a small group or bible study, whatever you want to call it, maybe even being a part of a community service project, maybe even being an elder or deacon and then having your own life at home. I am learning more and more that everything, everything we do is spiritual and there is not a seperation between the "secular" and the "spiritual" or "religious". There is no such thing and it breaks my heart to see churches today and even individuals, including myself at times, miss the point, miss what its all about.

Ive been thinking alot about what and where to go as far as ministry goes and to be honest, I feel completely lost on where God is leading me. But I do know that I want to create an enviroment and be a part of people that really get it, that its abour relationships, its about community, its about love, its about caring for each other. I want to be apart of a church and community that gets back to the simple truth of it being all about Jesus and coming back to Jesus. I want to be a part of a church and community that lives the gospel, speaks the gospel, eats and drinks and breaths the gospel. I want to be around people that know that this life, this christian life is not simply a game, its not something that we do three days a week, its not even about doing good things, its about Jesus and the redemption that He offers us. I think Mark Driscoll says it best when he said that "God's mission is not to create a team of moral and decent people but rather create a movement of holy loving missionaires who are comfortable and truthful around lost sinners and who, in this way, look more like Jesus".

I dont want to be known for something he does or doesnt do, but rather I want to be known for something that I am.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Top five

Give me your top 5 books to read. . .or however many. . .top five best books you've read or maybe top 5 books to read now. . .or something. .

Thursday, August 03, 2006

No One Told me. . .

Well we made it up to Port Hope, Michigan, which is at the very tip of the thumb of Michigan. The first few days we were here it felt like we were in the fourth ring of hell it was so hot. It is an extremely laid back town and a very old town, which is really cool to see. Grandad has a ridiculously amount of antiques in the house and out in the two barns, its amazing to see. Today it finally cooled down and it feels amazing. We worked on fixing/making a new gate for the back yard, that was cool, for a while however I felt like I was just following them around like a lost puppy dog but things changed today and I was able to actually do some manual labor on the farm so that was fun. Ive been sleeping in a bed that I feel like was made in the 1800's and I feel like Ive been sleeping on a board, but hey Im not complaining cause its got a roof over top and its better then sleeping on the cement or something. No one told me it was this nice up here, this is my first trip to Michigan, first of many Im sure, but its been a good one and Im glad I was able to finally make it up here to see what Courtney will inherit one day. Its been good to meet some people up here and try to learn the history of Port Hope and all that jazz. We went to a graveyard last night and Grandad was telling me all about all the generations that were buried there and I couldnt keep up with him. It was Grandad's Great Grandfather that foudned the town of Port Hope so Courtney is the fourth generation, which was cool to see all of this. I would love to bring our friends up here one day and just hang out up here and to see this area and to just relax, that means you Bill and Betsy and Kenny and Nicole and Jake and whoever you might be with at that time, and Vaka and Shannon if they're still around this side of town and whoever else I may have forgotten, but we will pencil it in our scheldue books and see what we can do one day hopefully. This town is great for relaxing and catching up on some reading, when your not working on the gate or one of the other 3,487 jobs to do around here, but its still great. The town basically shuts down at 9:30 and the house has a beautiful big front porch that I love to perch myself on and just watch and listen and think.

Well we are getting ready to go out to eat, all the family so Im going to get off here. Oh and just to let you know. . .no one told me that I had to bring maybe some "nice" clothes up here for dinner. The guys dressed up nicely in polo shirts and either nice jeans or khaki's and the ladies all dressed up nicely and then here I am in old jeans, chuck taylor's and a good will t-shirt. I didnt bring anything else. . .oh well, nothing new to me though. .Ive always felt a little like the black sheep so no worries folks. . .I'll just keep on keeping on.

I'll see you all soon hopefully and Im reading a book on the Jewish culture and the Jews in the time of Jesus. . .interesing. . .goodbye

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Let The Road Trips Begin

Well Im back from CIY with the youth group and it was really good. Many people that I had talked to said that they thought it was the best they've been to in years and Id have to agree with them, it was pretty good. We had a little trouble with the youth group this year, again as we do every year, but it was the first night there in the dorms and so needless to say we didnt get to bed until 3 or so that morning.

It was good to see some old faces and to meet some new ones. Some of you may know that Court and I have been talking and just wondering about church planting and whether or not thats what we want to do or called to do and while at school I talked to two good friends about doing church planting and especially up in the New England area and they too had talked to each other about doing it as well, without knowing that I had talked to them both as well. Well I met a guy this week, one day at lunch and all the seats were taken by my youth group so I decided to meet someone new. I asked if this seat was taken and he said no and our friendship began. We introduced oursevles and did all of that get to know you stuff. . .where you from . .what do you do and so on. Well he began to ask me about what my plan is after the internship was over and I went on to tell him about helping out with a church plant here in Knoxville and then proceded to tell him about my ideas of maybe doing church planting in the New England area. Well Rick got real big and wide eyed and said "No Way", at this time I just assumed he was an energetic guy, but he began to tell me his story. Well Rick was from a bigger church in Florida, but he grew up in Rhode Island and would love to go back there. He began to tell me about how God was working in him and about how a few weeks ago they had a guest speaker come in and talk to his congregation about church planting. He said it was very interesting to him and sparked something in him that caused him to want to move back to the New England area and maybe do church planting. He told me about how just this week, he had talked to someone about doing church planting and moving back to that area up north and about how he would love to go back and reach his home people. The New England area is deeply rooted in Catholicism and to be honest, I have not done a lot of research on Catholicism, but I am extremly interested not due to this fact, but I am just interested in learning about other religions and their beliefs, but this also gives me a little more motive. So with the fact that the New England area is so rooted in Catholicism, it would be great to have someone like Rick who grew up there and who has a heart for the peope of New England.

I feel like God is up to something. With this conversation and with the conversations I have had with friends at school and probably the conversations that I will have in the future.

On a lighter note we went to McKays last night, one of my favorite places here in Knoxville and I got two books Im excited about, The Desire of the Everlasting Hills and The Gifts of the Jews by Thomas Cahill. So Im looking forward to going up to Michigan to have some time to read these books and probably a few others.

I think that I put the finishing touches on the apartment that Kyle and I will be living in this year, pretty small but good enough for me and they're cheap so Im not going to complain. If you know of a good job or a good place for me to work, let me know.

Well we're getting ready to leave to head to Johnson City for Nate and Emily's wedding and to see some family so it will be fun. The road trips are about to begin, 1st stop - Johnson City, TN, 2nd stop - Noblesville, IN, 3rd stop - Port Hope, MI and then back to either Indiana or Knoxville, not sure yet for me. So I may not be able to post for a week or so with me being up in Michigan and not having a computer so to the few that read this, have a great week or two.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cleave and Leave

I leave tomorrow to go to CIY in Cleveland, TN at Lee University. With that said it might be a few days before I post next, I dont know if I'll have internet there or not. I kind of like this blog thing so far, it gives me a chance to write about whatever I want.

Im excited to get out of Memphis, its been an interesting summer to say the least. I've realized that I want to work with someone that is a little more organized than my "boss" this summer. Not that Im some kind of OCD person or anything, I just like to have things somewhat lined up and be somewhat organized and that wasnt the case this summer but thats ok. It was hard to get people motivated out here to do stuff and to acutally take God and Christianity serious. It's frustrating, and I know its not just here in Memphis but everyone there will be people, but its frustrating to me that people do not see church as something that is living and breathing rather than just a building. People think that being a "Christian" is just about being a good person and doing nice things and the right things and about saying the right things at the right time and looking good to everyone else. They fail to see the relational aspect of Christianity, the relational aspect between us and God and between us and other people. But I will take what I have learned here and value that and move on from here and onto the next thing. I will soak up the good that has taken place this summer.

Im looking forward to getting back into Knoxvegas and hopefully help out with a church plant. Thats something completely new to me and something that is extremly appealing and attractive to me, especially creating a come as you are enviroment and not reaching to the middle class, white amearicans and putting on a show for everyone, but actually having community and having relationships and caring for each other and praying for each other and loving each other and being the church.

Thats all I have for now, off to finish packing my car and getting things ready for the road.

Hi Betsy.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Here We Go

Well here we go, I finally decided to give into to technology and into the fad thats going on. I've always been a little behind the times with getting the new and improved, next best thing. I didnt get my first cell phone until right before my freshman year of college, I still have an old computer (no MAC for me), just got an ipod for Christmas and still don't know of to fully work it, and I don't know that much about the technology world and so this will probably be a long and slow process so I ask for patience with me and this new project I am taking on. I've never been one that is great with journaling or keeping up with stuff like this, so we'll see how this goes, but I'll try to keep up and post as often as I remember to. I swore I wouldn't get a xanga, so I decided to get this instead and I may as well have one cause I read everyone else's, so here's to you Betsy.

Im getting ready to leave Memphis for good, we're taking the kids to CIY and then off to Nate and Emily's wedding I go then off to Port Hope, MI to see where I might end up one day with Courtney. Im actually pretty excited about the next few weeks and the traveling I will be able to do and just getting away and having some free time and being able to spend some time with the misses, haven't seen her much this summer, so it will be good times had by all. However I am also excited to get back into Knoxvegas and see friends and live there hopefully and maybe be involved in some new and exciting stuff that is soon to be happening there, still havent heard anything yet on the apartment however. Well thats about all I got for now, finishing packing up the office, I have too many books for my car I think, I may not have room for all my clothes and other belongings with all the books I brought, good thing Im a professional packer. But this has been fun and hopefully I'll hear from all 1 maybe 2 of you that will read this and hopefully you'll hear from me soon as well.