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Showing posts from March, 2011

High Five Thursday!

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APRIL FOOLS!

As many of you know, tomorrow is April 1st. This means that countless numbers of people will fall victim to some type of practical joke...and then become a hit on YouTube. I admit that I get a kick out of watching others become fodder for laughs and humiliation, but it's no so fun when you're the victim.

That's the unfortunate thing about practical jokes. Someone is always singled out.

The guys at Improv Everywhere, however, are masters at the victimless practical joke. Wanna see what I mean?

Top 5 Improv Everywhere Missions

[You can click on the titles to see the whole setup and behind the scenes action or go to improveverywhere.com]

Best Buy



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Star Wars Subway Car



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Suicide Jumper



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Human Mirror



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Frozen Grand Central

Are You There, God?

[My wife and I had a conversation about this the other day. She had some really good thoughts that got me thinking more about the subject. She's pretty amazing like that.]

Faith.

It seems simple enough. I can look around at the world and the universe and know in my gut that someone had to be behind it all. I can read the Bible and believe it's claims that the Creator of the universe wants to have a relationship with me. My heart tells me that I am loved and that I am a part of something much greater than myself.

But what happens when the love I have for my Creator doesn't feel requited.

What are we to do when everything around us is darkness and chaos, yet God is silent?

"If God would just speak to me like He used to speak to people, it would all be better. I would be able to fully trust and believe Him. Since I would know exactly what He wants me to do, I could better follow and serve Him. Just talk to me, God!"

I think most of God's people think something li…

Merciful Punishment: Reflections on the Good Judge

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It's sad but true. To the average person, even the average Christian, YHWH of the Old Testament and Theos of the New seem to be two completely different persons. Most associate the God of the OT with rules and regulations who dished out wrath and punishment if disobeyed. Meanwhile, they view the God of the NT as a God of love and forgiveness who tosses grace and mercy like candy flung from a float in the Independence Day Parade.

I will grant that God's dealings with humans seems to be a bit more direct and immediate in the days of Moses and Elijah. But is His character really that different? Some of His punishments do seem a bit harsh, but is there more to them than just the surface level understanding?

The teacher of the adult class on Sunday morning briefly mentioned the infamous Bathsheba incident. David rapes and impregnates the wife of his friend and officer. To cover it up, he has him sent to the front lines and killed, thus freeing himself to take Bathsheba as his own w…

Easy Green Tip of the Week

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Bottled Water? Really?

In my opinion, there is no greater testament to the convenience-oriented, consumeristic society in which we live than bottled water. It's easy, it's cheap, it's disposable, and it's much better for you than sodas, right?

It's water, folks!

I will admit, before I give the wrong impression, that if I am out and I get thirsty, I will buy the occasional bottle. But you won't see my wife and me at the grocery store lugging 24 packs into our cart. Most of the time, the water from your tap is just as clean and filtered, if not more so, than your average bottle of water. In fact, many times it is bottled straight from municipal water sources! These companies are charging literally thousands of times the cost of tap water, for the same product.

Don't even get me started on the damage done to the water table and the amount of plastic that winds up in the ocean because of the bottled water craze....

In the documentary Tapped, a spokesman for Dasani i…

High Five Thursday!

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A bit of a twist this week. This is a shout out to all you English teachers out there, including my own parents, who helped turn me into a grammar-Nazi.

Top 5 Grammatical Pet Peeves:


Less and Fewer

It pains me every time I go to the express checkout line to see the phrase "10 Items or Less." Everyone knows it should be "10 Items or Fewer," right? It's simple, really. Less is used with singular nouns; fewer is used with plural nouns.

"John has less money than I do."
"John has fewer quarters than I do."

"There is less of a crowd than I expected."
"There are fewer people than I expected."

It's not that hard, people. Maybe someone should write a letter informing these department stores of their grammatical mishaps...
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I and Me

It baffles me. I know English teachers spent months of class time on this one concept alone. Yet I still see rampant misuse of the first person pronouns from Facebook posts to polit…

God hates....?

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I'm sure most of you have heard of the Westoboro Baptist Church, unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade or so. In which case, stop it! There are much more comfortable places to live.

This small group of mostly relatives "worships" in Topeka, Kansas, and protests, well, just about everywhere else. There is a documentary I watched recently, Fall From Grace, which follows and interviews members of this church. The travel around the country protesting and picketing at different events (including military funerals) and places (including synagogues and other churches). One of their most common three-word-signs is "God Hates Fags." And I hate using that word. It pains me to type it.

That's a strong accusation. They blame homosexuality for most of the catastrophes and hardships that befall the US, such as Katrina and 9/11.

The most unfortunate thing is that these people are not the only so-called Christians who have bought into the lie that G…

Easy Green Tip of the Week

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[Insert obligatory reference about Spring here]


Eco-Solutions: Spring Cleaning Edition


My wife is pretty amazing...make that pretty and amazing. She is always looking for ways to save us time and money. Now that we have a little person in our house that can't read warning labels yet (not to mention two VERY curious cats), she has been finding ways to make our home safer.


So let's hold on a second before bringing out the big guns for your Spring Cleaning. My wife has recently shared a link on her Facebook page which gives step-by-step instructions on making your own cheap, effective, and non-toxic cleaning kit.


The instructions are provided here at Care2 Make a Difference. You can make your own soft scrub (great in the bathrooms), your own all-purpose spray (awesome at cleaning up messy counter tops), window cleaner, etc.


Now you can freshen up your home without worry. Baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, and dish soap are the main ingredients in most of the products. Completely safe…

Blinded

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"I can't see anything."

"You're suffering from hibernation sickness. You're eyesight will return soon."

"Where am I?"

"Jabba's palace."

"Who are you?"

"Someone who loves you very much."

Han and Leia share a kiss, and live happily ever after. It's not every day that the damsel rescues the knight in distress.

Anyway, Han spends the next several scenes in a state of near-blindness. I feel his pain. The same thing happens to me when I stumble to the bathroom at 2 am and flip the light switch. It's painful to go from several hours of darkness to instant light. How much more pain must Han have felt after such a long time frozen in carbonite?

I can across this passage this morning which I have read many times, yet I noticed something new this time. 1 John 2:10-11 says, "Whoever loves his brother abides in the light and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darknes…

Huh...Who Knew?

I just read this interesting NY Times opinion article about the importance of monogamy in America. The author is not necessarily pushing for the religiously conservative save-yourself-for-marriage type of monogamy, but he points out a surprising trend occurring in the sexual lives of teens and young adults.


Stats show that in 2002 only 22% of those age 15-24 were virgins. That percentage rose to 28% in 2008. He goes on to say, "Successful abstinence-based programs (yes,they do exist) don’t necessarily make their teenage participants more likely to save themselves for marriage. But they make them more likely to save themselves forsomebody, which in turn increases the odds that their adult sexual lives will be a source of joy rather than sorrow."


Across the board, teens are not exactly saving themselves for marriage, but they are waiting longer and being more choosy. This also correlates to recent finds that show, "a significant correlation between sexual restraint and emot…

High Five Thursday!

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IRISH EDITION


Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody! In the spirit of the day, here is my Irish-themed Top 5


Top 5 of All Things Irish:


Celtic Knots


Knot work has been a part o Celtic history for centuries. But some of the more famous knots weren't around until St. Patrick brought Christianity to the island. I love the Celtic Cross (I even have one on my Bible) and the Triquetra (the trinity knot).



















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Celtic Music


I'm a sucker for some Irish music. From Gaelic Storm and The Chieftains to Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, there's nothing like a good jig.


And it doesn't get much more Irish than this:





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Irish Blessings


"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand"


"May your glass be ever full,
May the roof above your head be always strong,
And may you be in heaven
Ha…

My Re-Birthday

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Yesterday was Pi day. Yet before I knew that magical, irrational number, March 14 was the day on which I was baptized. I guess I was in 5th grade back in 1999 when I made the decision to obey in faith the gospel which I had been taught.

It's interesting to me that I could quite calmly make the biggest decision of my life as an 11 year old. But now that I have been a Christian longer than not, I look back and realize that in the last 12 years, I have sinned WAY more than in the first 11.

That brings me to this song. I have been a big Relient K fan ever since their first album. They put out a single a year or two ago that I just recently started paying attention to. It's called "Forget and Not Slow Down." The chorus is a great reminder of the fact that on our journey to follow God, there will be many times that we fall down, turn aside, or just lose track of where we are.

But God will always be there to "resurrect the saint within the wretch."

"But if we …

Easy Green Tip of the Week

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Water-Saving Shower Heads

I love a nice, steamy shower almost any time of the day. However, apartment living has basically forces us to endure small, inefficient water heaters. So a couple weeks ago, we decided to upgrade to this:


It's the EcoFlow by WaterPik. It has several different settings, including a "Water Saving Trickle," which actually has more pressure behind it than our old shower head. On the "trickle" setting, it sprays 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm). That's down from 2.5 gpm with our last one.

It may not seem like that great of a difference, but over a 10 minute shower, you end up saving 5 gallons of water. Since both my wife and I take showers almost every day, that turns into a 10 gallon savings each day. This quickly adds up to 3,650 gallons of water per year! This $20 shower head should pay for itself in no time.

But if you want to save even more on your water and electric bill, there are shower heads that shoot as little as .5 gpm! I haven'…

In the Garden

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In case you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you've probably noticed that there is a big push to "Go Green." Environmentalism has entered into mainstream pop culture. Now with oil prices on the rise and sky-high energy prices, more and more people are jumping on the eco-train. And why not? Using less energy = saving more dollars.

What's more, Americans are becoming more aware of the long-term environmental impact that everyday decisions can have. Global warming has become a household term and a serious concern for many people. We understand now that if we continue on the same track, there won't be much of an earth left for our grandchildren to enjoy.

This is all good in my opinion. The only unfortunate part about this whole green revolution is that it has begun and is primarily sustained from a secular angle.

Let me explain. In response to the whole global warming issue, I've heard many Christians scoff, brush it off, and say that it…

High Five Thursday!

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Spring is just around the corner. As we get ready to lose an hour of sleep, adjust to bipolar weather patterns, and suffer through yet another round of sinus infections.....Here's my top five things to do in the Spring!

Top Five Things to Do in the Spring!

Grilling out

Or for you Northern folk, "barbecue-ing". Although any true Southerner can tell you that barbecue is something you eat, not something you do. But anyway....I absolutely love firing up the grill. In my opinion, a charcoal grill sprinkled with hickory chips is the best way to cook any piece of meat. Not to mention corn, potatoes, etc. If I had the time, money, and energy for it, I would light up the coals every night from April to September.
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Opening up the windows

I love it when God sends us that weather where the temperature hits that magical 72 degree mark and the clouds take a hiatus. At that moment, the thermostat is set to "Off," all the light fixtures are off, and our apartment is …

Dirt

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Yeah, can you believe someone actually made a movie about dirt? I started watching it the other day, but didn't have time to finish it. The filmmakers and the interviewees shared some very interesting insights about the ground beneath our feet.

Did you catch the one guy in the trailer who said, "We are dirt"? As a matter of fact, fertile top soil contains pretty much all the building blocks of human life--carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, water, and various other elements and minerals. When any living organism dies, it is broken back down into these fundamental elements to become...dirt.

[This is where I'll throw in this week's eco-tip: Composting! Is simple, it's green, and it will help replenish parched dirt or fertilize your own gardens. For some helpful ways to get started, check out these websites: howtocompost.orgcomposting101.comcompostguide.com]


When God made humans, Genesis 2:7 says that He formed man out of the dust of the earth. When a person is dead, t…

Jesus Knows Me

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I saw this wooden wall plaque on Etsy. I think it is so cool. We talk all the time about how Jesus loves us, but it seems so philosophical. This twist of the familiar children's song reminds me that to be loved is to be known.

Jesus knows me personally, intimately. And I love that.

High Five Thursday!

Interesting turn this week. Here is my list of my
Top 5 Not-So-Preachable Bible Verses
WARNING: Reader discretion may be advised.
Genesis 1:29-30 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Wait...so, every animal was originally created to be strictly vegetarian? Apparently so. I guess this means that in God's original design, humans were not encouraged to eat steak, hamburgers, or chicken nuggets. I suppose this also applied to lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
A world in which every creature is vegetarian, thus eliminating the need to kill any other living being. Try preaching that right before the monthly pot-luck!
Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those …

Imago Dei, part 2

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There is so much more to this thing about "being made in God's image" than I really want to take time to discuss. All I want to do is share some thoughts from a few different angles.

Last time we looked at the job that God intends for his image bearers to carry out - tending to, caring for, and ruling over the rest of creation. This is the first and foremost responsibility given to human beings. That word "responsibility" will come into play several more times.

So here are some more thoughts on the Imago Dei. I'll try and keep it brief.

1. All humans are created in God's image. That's right. All humans bear His image - male and female; red, yellow, black, and white; rich and poor; slave and free; alcoholics, homosexuals, and devout Christians. We have a tendency to place people into various categories when we encounter those different from ourselves. We see a middle-aged, black female who is a single mother living on welfare. Judgments are made, and…

Imago Dei, part 1

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Why are we here?

This is a fundamental worldview question with which mankind has wrestled since the beginning. Although we ourselves are mammals, and although we share many similar qualities with certain other mammals, when I look around, I can tell there is something unique about human beings. I have heard people say that the only characteristic separating us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our intelligence. Yet there are animals that are extremely intelligent and community oriented, just like us. (And according to others, humans are only the third smartest race on the planet...)

So what is it that really separates man from beast? I believe the answer to this question is also the answer to the original question: the Imago Dei, or the Image of God for you non-Latin speakers.

It is true that humanity is closely linked with the rest of the animal kingdom. Mammals and humans were created on the same day. Genesis 1:20 even says that all the animals have the "breath of life" …