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Showing posts from 2009

New Blog Site

Hey everyone, Just wanted to let you know that I am picking up my blog at wordpress. There are various reasons for it, but you can still find me at: http://danielnlee.wordpress.com/

Post-Modern advertising at its finest (or worst)

Have you seen this Gap commercial? Globalization, acceptance, diversity are all good things, but I think this is pushing it..."Happy Do-Whatever-You-Wan-ukah!" Really?

Worship

Wow, so it's been almost two months. Crazy how its already November. 2009 is almost over and I will soon be entering my last semester of college. Anyway, my excuse for not having updated in nearly two months fall into the realm of club stuff and research papers. I'm finishing up my 2nd term paper of the semester tonight, but I am taking a little mental break to write freely (i.e., not having to cite any sources for what comes out of my head). Both of my research papers have been on the topic of worship. The first was based on Jeremiah 7:1-15, better known as Jeremiah's Temple sermon. The second, which I am still working on (oh man, I just used a preposition incorrectly. Take that!) is an attempt to establish the principles of biblical worship. I thought that they were pretty good principles for Christian worship, so I would like to share them briefly. 1) Biblical worship is concerned first and foremost with the acknowledgment and glorification of God. That part did not …

Terrifying Peace

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The Master had been surrounded by huge crowds all day. Hours he spent teaching them, trying to explain faith and heaven through stories about seeds. It was getting late, and the Master was exhausted from the crowds. He gave the word and we loaded up the boats and set sail on the Sea toward the other side. As we set sail the sun was setting over the mountains to the West and the whole body of water was transformed into brilliant shades of purples and pinks as the sky dimmed orange and then red. The sun dipped behind the hills, and as the sky grew darker some clouds began to blow in on an east wind. The wind blew harder, and the sea once smooth was now tossing the boats like a child's plaything. Our boats had been blown off course and there was no way to tell which direction we were heading. The waves grew taller, the winds grew fiercer, and the rain began pouring down upon us. We were all frantically rowing, steering, and bailing water out of the boat, for the waves were now breaki…

Does God Ever Want to Say "I Told You So"?

I heard about this on the news this morning. The Center for Disease Control is considering new and stronger efforts to suggest women have their male newborns circumcised. Studies have shown a significant decrease in spread of infectious diseases (HIV & other STDs) among circumcised heterosexual males. So much so that a circumcised male in Africa is HALF as likely to contract HIV than his uncircumcised neighbor. You can read the full story here. There has never been any question that circumcision had some benefits, but until recently doctors had no idea just how much more sanitary and safe circumcision is than uncircumcision. This just makes me think...God really knew what he was doing. Sure he commanded his people to circumcise all male babies. Yes, circumcision was God's way of signifying his covenant with the children of Israel. It was a way of setting them apart from other nations. But I think the CDC is finally catching on to something God knew all along. The command to …

They Quit Asking

The other day I started reading in Jeremiah. I have never really sat down and read from this prophet before, but I'm already amazed at Jeremiah's relevance to us in the 21st century. In chapter 2 God begins to speak through Jeremiah bringing His case against the people of Israel and Judah. Listen to what God says about them: What fault did your fathers find in Me that they went so far from Me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves? They stopped asking: Where is the LORD who brought us from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, through a land of drought and darkness, a land no one traveled through and where no one lived?I brought you to a fertile land to eat its fruit and bounty, but after you entered, you defiled My land; you made My inheritance detestable. The priests quit asking: Where is the LORD? The experts in the law no longer knew Me, and the…

This is the Truth

Awesome video. Check it out. Chills.

It's a God Thing

As I get older I have stopped believing in "coincidences." I truly believe that everything happens not just "for a reason" but because God knows we need them to happen. I am persuaded that the Spirit of God is alive and active in the lives of those who allow Him to be. This is what is promised to us by Jesus, Peter, and Paul...and I'll take their word on it. For instance, when I was signing up for interview spots last semester for the churches coming to interview prospective interns, I took a shot in the dark with Central church of Christ in Athens, Alabama. I knew I had family in Athens, but I had no idea which congregation they were a part of. Turns out they are indeed members of Central. Then we needed to find out about some sort of counseling internship for Katelyn. Most psychology students have to work extremely hard to find a summer internship and then they end up filing papers or doing other grunt work. As it turns out, Katelyn got a job working with o…

What really matters

Last Sunday a verse in Galatians really popped out to me. "...what really matters is faith working through love." Galatians 5:6b (HCS) The preacher brought this up in his sermon and then we talked about it more on Sunday night. It really got me thinking...What would church look like if we took this seriously? So many things we place such high importance upon don't fit. Not that certain practices and traditions aren't valuable. But when you really think about it, how many times do we find ourselves arguing, debating, and consuming our time with things that don't involve "faith working through love"? What does instrumental music have to do with faith, love, or action? Women's roles? The manner in which we take the Lord's Supper? Whether we meet in a building or not? What version of the Bible we use? It's up to you to decide whether these are issues worth fighting about. Each one of us must decide what belongs within the model of "fai…

Fall of Man - Rise of Mercy

I had always heard growing up that Genesis 3 is about the fall of man. Humanity went against the will of God and thus sin entered the world. That sin separated man from God, thus humanity "fell" away from God. But recently I have noticed that this story is not so much about the sin as it is God's reaction to the sin. Take yourself back to that moment when you first realized that you had done something wrong and got caught. Remember those feelings of dread, shame, embarrassment, guilt. Now multiply those feelings many times over and you might begin to understand the emotions that swarmed over Adam and Eve. Their eyes were opened to their nakedness. For the first time in their lives they felt shame about their "private" parts. In an attempt to cover their sin and their shame they tried making loin cloths out of fig leaves and then tried to hide themselves from God's sight. Imagine the hurt that God must have felt. His prized, most beloved creation, His ma…

Going Green: not just for hippies, tree-huggers, or Al Gore

I've done a lot of teaching and promoting lately for this whole green/eco-friendly movement. My hope is that the church universal will keep up with the rest of the world. It's well past time for us to jump on the bandwagon. This isn't something just for hippies or "tree-huggers." It is also a command that Elohim gave to mankind. The first job (or command) that God gave for man to do was that of a gardener. Genesis 2:15 says that God placed man in the garden to work it and to watch over it. Man was to put the earth to work, to cultivate it and enjoy the produce. But he was also to take care of it, tend to it, serve it. This was the first command given to man. After the blessing to be fruitful and multiply, man was told to subdue the earth and rule over it. In other words, put it to work but treat it well. The same applies to us today. All humanity has been given the freedom to use the resources given to us by our Creator, but as we know, great freedom requires g…

What's in a name?

What is your name? What are you called? Why do you have that name? Why do things and people need names? Giving a name is part of the creative process. Think about it. Your parents "created" you, so they gave you a name. People give names to their books and movies and products. It seems as if the creation isn't complete until the thing has a name. We see in the creation accounts that when God creates, he also names. He called the light "day" and the darkness "night;" he called the land "earth" and the water "sea." But when it came to the animals, God let that job up to man. Whatever name man gave to an animal, that's what it was called. God involved man in the creative process by letting him appoint names. A name completes the creation. It is given by the Creator (or one whom the Creator appoints). A name gives purpose, meaning, significance, uniqueness. Fast forward to the story of Moses when he encounters God in the burnin…

Get Behind Me, Satan

So I was thinking the other day about this idea of personified evil in the figure of "Satan." I have a difficult time understanding this concept. There is no mention of "Satan" or "the Devil" in the Old Testament as we see him in the New Testament. Each time the Hebrew word for satan is used, it is in reference to the accuser, which was most likely a position in the heavenly court. Read Job again with this understanding, and it makes a little more sense. This idea of personified evil was not developed until the Babylonian exile when the Jews were exposed to the new religion of Zoroastrianism. The religion is still around today, though it is not widely practiced. The religion is not monotheistic, rather it is dualistic. There are two gods, one good, one evil, and they battle each other over the souls of mankind. The Jews took this dualistic concept and Judaized it. They remained monotheistic, but they developed the concept of Satan as personified evil. H…

The heavens and the earth

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1 The phrase "the heavens and the earth" is a prime example of a Hebrew literary device in which two opposites are mentioned but the implication is that everything in between is included. Another way of understanding that verse is to say, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...[and everything contained therein] or [and everything in between] or [and everything else we see]" A common question is raised, however: Why did God bother going to such great lengths to create a seemingly infinite universe when the small pebble called earth is all that really matters? It seems like God went a little overboard with the whole creation thing. But when you think about the purpose of the universe and all of creation, what seems like wasted space actually testifies to the awesomeness of God. The purpose of creation is to reflect the character and the glory of the Creator. Think abou…

In the beginning _____(fill in the blank)_____

This summer for my youth internship I'm going to be teaching the Sunday morning teen class. My topic? Genesis 1-11 Sounds crazy, but I really felt a pull towards going back to the beginning. It probably has something to do with the fact that I was studying the Old Testament a lot. But nevertheless, I am totally excited about walking the kids through the first eleven chapters of the Bible. Genesis is all about beginnings. We all have our beginning sentence in describing our own spiritual journey. "In the beginning _______" For instance, "In the beginning there was my family," or maybe, "In the beginning there was my mentor." These are the starting points which mark the trailhead of our spiritual journey. These words recall the earliest memory of a relationship with God. If Scripture is viewed as a spiritual journey of the world, then Genesis 1:1 shows the starting point of that journey: "In the beginning God created..." That's it. Th…

What happened to April?

It's amazing how quickly an entire month can fly by. I hardly even realized that the entire month of April has gone by without one single blog post. Hopefully I'll do more once finals have calmed down. One of the highlights of April was the trip we took to Dallas with my Living World Religions class. About 90 of us spent a weekend visiting eight different religions: Friday - Hindu Temple, Buddhist Wat (monastery type place), Mosque, and Sikh Temple Saturday - Synagogue, Bahai Center, SGI (another sect of Buddhism) Sunday - Church of Christ (predominately African American) That was an awesome experience and I will definitely share some more thoughts later. There was also Spring Sing/Easter, which was cool as always. I got to visit with the congregation where I will be interning this summer. They have an awesome group of kids, and I can't wait to get to hang out with them and spend the summer sharing my faith. One cool surprise just this week was the random visit of an …

God of the Outcasts, Savior of the Untouchables

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In Living World Religions class, we just finished the section on Hinduism. I must admit that going into this class, I was almost completely ignorant about Eastern religions, especially Hinduism. I still am not as familiar with the religion as I would like, but I learned some interesting things about their worldview. One of the more outlandish claims (to my Western, egalitarian eyes) is that of the Caste System. There are four main Castes, in a hierarchical system, with sub-castes in each of the four. But then there are the Outcasts, or the "Untouchables." These are people who are "reincarnated" with some sort of defect, disease, or simply born into poverty. Essentially, their plight is their own fault - a result of some great failure in past lives. They are not allowed to associate with people in the other castes, they are given the lowest of the lowest jobs, and are given little more than table scraps to eat. They can't live in the city; they must live outsid…

"Illusion of Truth"

The other day, I was reading in one of my Psychology books about an effect of memory called"Illusion of Truth." Research has shown that there is an unconscious tendency to give credibility to statements we have heard in the past. We may not remember the instance of hearing the statement, but if we hear it again, it will seem "familiar." We could have even been told that the statement is false, but we will still give credibility to it if it sounds familiar. Automatically, two applications come to mind. First, news headlines, once they are published or reported live, stick with people. Even if the headline proves to be false later, the damage is done. People will still think of the headline as true when brought up in later conversations, etc. This is, unfortunately, more true of negative headlines. Second, think about what this says concerning human nature. This is an unconscious effect. What comes more "natural" than unconscious behaviors? Thus, it can b…

Eden - Permanent Paradise or Temporary Training?

Here's something I've been wrestling with over the past few weeks, and I wanted to share it with you (and get it in some form of writing for my own sake). I've always grown up with the impression that the Garden of Eden was the perfect world as God intended it to be, where man could walk and talk with his Creator, where man and woman would live immortal lives, where all was as it was originally planned. That is, until everything went horribly wrong: Satan (the figure we know from the NT, disguised as a serpent because serpents are evil) lied to the woman about this one Tree in the Garden that God had planted. The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was put there simply so God could say, "I created humans to have free will. They can choose to disobey me whenever they want!" The woman took to "apple;" ate it; went and found Adam who was completely clueless; he ate it; they realized they were naked; and hid from God because they were guilty for what th…

Names in the Dust

Have you ever wondered what Jesus may have written when he stooped down and wrote on the ground in John 8? This is one of the most intense scenes we see of Jesus' ministry. Tensions are high. His answer to the Pharisees question will bring him certain doom, either from the Jews or the Romans. He's in a no-win situation. All eyes are on him. The very life of this woman hangs in the balance. And what does he do? He seemingly ignores everyone. The suspense of the moment is tight; everyone's waiting and watching, yet he stoops down and draws in the dirt. Twice! What was he writing? One possibility may be found in Jeremiah 17:13, "LORD, the hope of Israel, all who abandon You will be put to shame. All who turn away from Me will be written in the dirt, for they have abandoned the fountain of living water, the LORD." Think about the situation. The Pharisees and scribes, the religious leaders of the day, the ones who are supposedly the upright a…

Scream Free Parenting

On campus this weekend at Harding was Hal Runkle, author of the book Scream Free Parenting. He spoke in chapel Friday morning and then held a seminar Friday night and this morning. His take on parenting seems to be quite different than much that I have heard. I would highly recommend his book and the other resources offered by his company, Scream Free Living. Check them out at www.screamfree.com

What if...

After hearing this speech by Ron Paul, I think he is the type of leadership our country desperately needs in Washington. (Thanks to my friend Jon for pointing out this video for me) The two lines that I found particularly convicting were: "What if we wake up one morning and realize that the terrorist threat is a predictable effect of our meddling in the affairs of others..?" "What if Christianity actually teaches peace...?" _____________________________ On a different note, we found out some exciting news tonight. Katelyn is going to have the chance this summer to get her Field Experience for psychology at the Child Haven children's home in Alabama. God has been working to get us to Alabama. This is the answer to many prayers. Please keep praying for us that this summer may be a chance for us to grow and to have an impact on others.

One sad, sad man

As I've been reading through the Old Testament this semester, I have read through some very sad, depressing stories about people who begin to rely on themselves instead of God. For instance - the fall of man, the tower flood story, the tower of Babel, the death of Moses, the inability of the Israelites to drive out the Canaanites, the stories found in Judges or Abimilech, Samson, and the Levite in Benjamin. I could go on. But the saddest, most pathetic, most pitiable characters I have encountered so far is King Saul. When we start out, he is anointed by Samuel as the king for whom Israel had been praying. But as the story progresses, we see "the Lord's anointed" fall into a moral tailspin. He begins to rely completely on himself and turns his back on God. He begins by disobeying God and blaming others for his mistakes. Then he flat out rejects God to the point that God regretted he ever made Saul to be king. What starts out as a little rebellion quickly escalates in…

Spending the summer in Athens....Alabama, not Greece

I posted a couple weeks ago about Harding's "C-Harmony" - aka Speed dating for internships. I'm happy to announce, after much prayer and deliberation, that I will be the youth intern for the Central Church of Christ in Athens, Alabama. I know this is going to be a great opportunity for me to grow in my experience and understanding of ministry. I will definitely keep you all posted throughout the summer and even throughout the semester as I prepare for this. We are also hope that it works out for Katelyn to work with one of the elders of Central who has his own counseling practice. Please keep us and the Central church in your prayers.

Getting all Philosophical again

Here are some ideas that have been running through my head over the last few days. A lot of it is along the lines of Plato, who happens to be my favorite Greek philosopher. It's part philosophy, part theology, and a dash of psychology. I hope it doesn't come out too confusing.... There is a law in physics which says that everything which happens has a cause, and nothing which is caused to happen can be greater than the cause. Energy is (in a way) lost. There is also a law which I have observed (a more philosophical/subjective law) which says that nothing created can ever be as good as the creator. For example, a human will never create a robot which is as "good"/perfect (mentally, emotionally, socially, etc.) as the human creator. A poet can only create a poem that is limited by linguistics. The written or spoken words, however, will never be as "good"/perfect as the original ideas within the mind of the poet. The artist can only do so much under the limi…

Expelled

So tonight's movie at Harding was Expelled, a documentary by Ben Stein concerning the issue of intelligent design. He raised many good points in the interviews he conducted with scientists on both sides of the Intelligent Design v. Evolution debate. Much of the movie was concerned with the simple fact that there is no "academic freedom" in the world of science. Those who dare question Darwinian evolution are "black listed" - they have lost their jobs and careers, have received threatening/hateful mail, and have become a laughing stock of the scientific community. All this simply because they are dissatisfied with the blanket "answers" provided by Darwin's theory. One main goal of his documentary was to show the devolution of morality and ethics in lieu of Darwinian evolution (natural selection, etc.). The climax (of sorts) of the movie was his discussion about Hitler and the Nazi regime - how they played off of evolutionary principles in order to…

Thoughts on Faith

In one of my classes, Advanced Intro to the Old Testament, we are assigned to read through the entire Old Testament in one semester. It's going to be a challenge, but I hope to keep up with it. In reading through the Pentateuch, Torah, Law, whatever you want to call it, I noticed something. Several things, actually, but I will only touch on one right now: We live in an age of postmodernism, which is really just a pendulum swing away from modernism. During the age of modernism, the western world became obsessed with proof. Everything we could "know" for sure was that which the sciences could measure, test, observe, reproduce, record, i.e. "prove." This was troublesome when it came to the existence of God. Since science could not "prove" God, He must not exist. Then we saw a response in the area of "Christian scientists" who pushed for the science of intelligent design to be added to the curriculum in schools across America. The idea is that…

My first speed-dating experience...will hopefully get me a job.

So today at school, we had what Harding likes to call "C-Harmony", a spin-off of eHarmony, where churches from all over the country send ministers, elders, and whomever else they want to in order to interview a flood of Harding students wanting youth ministry internships. There were about 37 churches represented and over 200 interviewees from Harding. Each interview lasted 30 minutes - 2 rounds per hour from 1 to 5 pm. I interviewed with 4 congregations and have mixed feelings about all the interviews. A 30 minute interview is not nearly enough time in my opinion, but hopefully I made a good enough impression on the ministers in order to get some offers. Pray for me that God will guide me to the congregation where he wants me and that my own will and desires don't stand in the way of his. PS: If any of you reading this know of any place that is looking for interns this summer, put in a good word for me...

Back in the Swing of It

A few weeks have passed since my last update. Sorry about that. It's been busy to say the least. Katelyn and I had an awesome Christmas with her family in Indiana. When we got back to Columbia we had much to do before our big move. Then the day finally came - we moved into our apartment here in Searcy last Monday and have spent the last week unpacking, setting things up, reassembling, rearranging, customizing, improving, etc. All the fun of moving. The two greatest things about this move are 1) we're finally able to call somewhere "home" and 2) we finally get to use all the cool wedding presents we got 8 months ago. A new semester of school started today, and I am stretching myself to the limit...just to see what that limit is. I am taking 17 credit hours (which translates into 21 hours of class time) and working about 20 hours per week. So if you don't here from me for a while, I'm most likely either studying my Greek or reading for Advanced Intro to Old Te…