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LEVEL UP

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There comes a point in your life of faith when you begin to wonder... Is this all there is?

My brother-in-law gave my sons a Playstation for Christmas. It's really cool because it comes with the motion controllers. We've been playing the typical sports game with each other quite a bit lately. It's cool, but pretty basic. It has disc golf, table tennis, volleyball, archery, and a few others.

Like with most games, when it is your first time playing it offers you a chance to learn the basic skills of the game. It will give you a walkthrough of the controls and motions needed to perform the basic tasks. But after a few minutes of learning, it's time to move on to the actual game.


Most video games begin at a very simple, easy to follow level with basic tasks to complete before moving onto the next level or challenge. The difficulty increases as you play through the game, as it should. If all you could do was the basic gameplay tutorials, that would be a really crappy game. …

The Fruit of the Spirit Is...Mediocrity?

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Have you ever wondered if you're good enough?

I believe all the hands in the room would be up. Deep down I think we all wonder if we really measure up, if we're successful, if we're doing ok.

I love these alien cartoons by Nathan Pyle. I'm sure you've seen them, but this one is great:


Graduation is a time when authority figures publicly acknowledge our sufficiency. "My knowledge suffices!" We don't often get that in life outside of school or sports. Maybe your boss will let you know you're doing a good job. Maybe you'll get that promotion or a pay raise. But when we're out on our own, we don't have the same level of feedback and/or course correction like we get in school.

This is even true in regards to our faith. How do we know if we're on the right track? Are we faithful enough? Are we loving enough? Have we done enough good? Have we committed too many sins? It doesn't really help to have a preacher get up every Sunday and s…

Remembering President Grant, the Holocaust, and Eunuchs

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Why You Might Be Wrong About the Bible

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Getting back into the YouTube game. Enjoy.

Harry Potter and the Ancient Enneagram

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What's the number one rule of the Enneagram?

Everybody say it with me now: "I will not type other people."

Learning the Enneagram is a journey of self-discovery. No one can tell you your number. Only you can know your own motivations, fears, and desires. It's not some party trick, Oooh, let me guess everyone's number and tell me if I'm right! You can make assumptions, but you're better off keeping them to yourself. If you tell someone what you think their number is, you are robbing them of a valuable part of the experience.

But while I won't sit here and tell others what I think their type is, it can be a lot of fun to discuss the types of fictional characters. You can't really be "wrong," and even if you are you aren't hurting anyone in the process. When it comes to literary figures, we are often given a glimpse into their inner thoughts, motivations, fears, and desires. We can make certain conclusions about them that we can't f…

PERSECUTED | 40 Days of Focus, Day 25

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Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 | NIV)  You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
(Matthew 5:10 | The Message) Most of us have no idea what it really looks like to be persecuted. We've all experienced bullies and jerks. We've all face insults and passive aggressiveness. But real persecution is deeper than that. Persecution arises out of fear and a lack of understanding. We fear that which we don't understand. We cannot love that which we fear.

One of the most misunderstood types on the Enneagram is Type 5 - the Observer or Investigator. Fives have a deep inner commitment to truth and knowledge. They would rather sit back and people watch than actually engage in social interactions. They read the Encyclopedia for fun as kids. They are typically the type of people who know a little bit about everything and everythin…

PEACEMAKER | 40 Days of Focus, Day 24

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Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
(Matthew 5:9 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
(Matthew 5:9 | The Message) Everyone who would rather avoid conflict, let me know by making a passive aggressive comment under your breath!

There are very few people who appreciate conflict and arguments. Type Eights aside, most people would rather avoid those hard, painful conversations. But I think we are all aware that absence of conflict does not equal peace. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Whenever a family never fights or argues, it's probably because nobody is talking to each other, they're all just avoiding the tough topics that need to be addressed. Anger and resentment bubble and simmer just below the surface. From the outside everything might look ok. But unless there is some conflict, there can never be real gr…

PURE | 40 Days of Focus, Day 23

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Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
(Matthew 5:8 | The Message) Pure in heart. Now that's a phrase we don't use a lot. We don't tend to talk about purity that often. We want our water to be pure. We want essential oils to be a certain degree of purity. We like pure gold and Purity Milk. But our hearts? Is it even possible to be "pure in heart?"

When I think of this phrase I think of innocence. Deep down we all know that we adults are anything but pure and innocent. In fact, if we meet someone in their late teens or early twenties who actually is "pure," we feel uncomfortable around them. We call them sheltered or socially awkward. There's something unsettling about an adult who is "too" innocent or pure hearted. They're just a little too childlike.


But isn't that the point? Jes…

MERCIFUL | 40 Days of Focus, Day 22

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Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
(Matthew 5:7 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
(Matthew 5:7 | The Message) A word about mercy. The word is closely related to the concepts of justice and grace. Here's an easy way to keep them all straight.
Justice: I get what I deserve (positive or negative)Grace: I get what I don't deserve (positive)Mercy: I don't get what I deserve (negative) We want the world to be fair and just. We want everything to be boiled down to a simple ration where the guilty are punished and the "good guys" get rewarded. But that all breaks down the moment we understand that bad things happen to good people, and the "bad guy"sometimes gets away with it. We begin to believe that the world is chaotic, that it's dog-eat-dog, and that only the strong survive. We can't take anything for granted - even our personal safety and survival.
Some of us…