Monday, December 18, 2006

The Miracle Blade III

I started desiring very good, sharp knives a couple months ago because I've enjoyed cooking so much. So Maris and I were lured into the Miracle Blade III (The Perfection Series) infomercial. They weren't giving me the deal I desired so I hung up. Within five minutes they called back and gave me what I wanted. So my friend, Jitsuya, and I decided to put these knives to the test to see if they did what they claimed to do. Much to our surprise they did follow through with their promise. The video's not the greatest but it gives you an idea of the miraculous miracle blade. If you're in the area let me know and I'll put them to work and slice up a great meal for you. Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


You have got to check out these pics of our latest family member. Please visit her (then you'll get to see us as well).

Monday, November 13, 2006

KSU (45) vs. TX (42)

This was the only game I've watched this football season. Maris and I were given tickets Saturday afternoon. Here's that story. My roommate, Mark, from my sophomore year at K-State is up in Chicago going to seminary. His grandma, Mertyse, was sick so he called me up to have me bring over some of my fancy cooking for her and her non-cooking husband, Fred. So in my resourcefulness I brought over some of my mom's cooking that she had given me that very day. I was invited in to the warm couple's home and shared some nice conversation. They invited Maris and I over for some wine some time which presents an ethical dilemma in and of itself (ask me why if you really want to know). As I left their home I thought to myself, "That's nice. It's almost like we have grandparents here in the Li'l Apple too." Later that week Fred called me to see if we wanted tickets to the KSU womens' basketball game. We couldn't attend because we were too busy dining with some Japanese friends that evening. The next morning, however, we were able to accept tickets to the major KSU upset of the year.

What an awesome game to be at. The tickets were in the north endzone which wasn't crowded at all. However, it was a bit frigid. There are benefits to close knit community, warmth being one of them. We stood by silent Texas fans and watched every extra point and field goal sail over our heads. When the final buzzer sounded I was glad to have our camera to record such footage as this
crazy video.

There's more where that came from. Perhaps I'll get that out to you as well if there's a desire.

Maris and I are pondering why people so readily worship at a football game but fail to worship God Almighty. These folks go crazy for this stuff. That's what's on my mind. Thanks for reading...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

work day with friends

Can you see the irony in this picture?

Eid Ul-Fitr Pictures

Here's some pictures of me and friends at a KSU event to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Just click on it and view the slideshow.
I might try to see if we can have a KSU sponsored educational event about Christmas because our community seems to have been flooded with many people who don't truly know the reason for the season.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On Authority

In our day and age there is a resistence to any kind of authority. I've thought about this a great deal before. Why is there that resistence? There are many reasons I'm sure but a new thought popped into my head the other day as I was leaving my humble abode on Green Ave. Here 'tis...
Why in the world would we reject the leadership of someone or some people that have been put in a position by others? Why do we know what's best? Do we really think that if we were to do it our way somehow it would be better than their way? What makes us so much better? We probably don't really think we're that much better decision-makers, we want control.
Moreover, we probably question the leaders' intentions towards us. Now why would we question others' intentions? Well, probably because we recognize that our own intentions are selfish most if not all of the time. So we project our own selfish intentions onto others. This is probably a safe projection because we all share in this humanness. So where does that leave us? We need to have a shared goal. If we have a shared goal then it is best for the whole community if we are each selfish. If my personal good is within the communal good then we're good to go.
How does this happen? My answer is that the common goal must be rooted in the glory of God or else we will fail as leaders and followers every time. I won't unpack that here but will stop for now.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

my wife is beautiful

What a wonderful smile!

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Cracked Pot

There once lived a water carrier in India. He used two large pots for his task. He suspended a pole across his neck and attached a pot at each end of the pole. One of the pots had a big crack in it while the other pot was perfect. The perfect pot always delivered a full portion of water from the stream to the master's house, while the cracked pot arrived only half full each day.
For two years this water carrier made the same journey. The perfect pot became proud of its accomplishments. The cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. Finally, one day by the stream, the cracked pot spoke to his owner about his bitter failure, "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize that I have only been able to deliver half my water to your house. There is a crack in my side which causes water to leak out. Because of my flaws, you don't get full value from your efforts."
Then the water carrier replied, smiling, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
On that trip from the stream, the cracked pot looked around.
"Did you notice there are flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?" the master commented. "That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we passed these spots, you watered them. Now for two years I have been able to pick those beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, I would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Monday, September 11, 2006

the supremacy of Christ in a postmodern world

By supremacy of Christ I mean the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. By postmodern I'm not exactly sure what I mean if you know what I'm saying. Us country folk here in the Midwest tend to be behind times for some reason. So I want to help some young thinkers out there grapple with some present issues. Maris and I are going to a conference at the end of September that addresses the issue of postmodernism. Check out some of the videos for this conference here.

Unfortunately you can't attend the conference because it's SOLD OUT!

Let me know your thoughts...

Monday, September 04, 2006

it is not the critic who counts

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
check out Teddy's mugshot here:

I've been thinking about this quote recently because I can be a critic at times. I'm trying to discern the difference between godly discernment and ungodly criticism. I ask You, Oh God, for wisdom because I lack...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


"Four" is the expression used when golfers tee off, or maybe it's "fore," I'm not sure. At least that's what I remember from when I was younger. At any rate, I recently went to the driving range with my good friend at Colbert Hills. You can read all about our experience on his blog ( Praveen and I, the inexperienced guys, met up with Ben and Tom, the golf pros (perhaps I should just include Tom in that category). Our trip took me back to the one time in my life that I've attempted to golf an entire 18 holes, maybe it was just nine, I don't remember. Frustration overtook me by the final few holes. I found myself trying to smash the ball into the nearby apartment complex. For 45 minutes I was out for the demolition of an entire building. Needless to say, I never connected with the ball in those 45 minutes. (We all know you can't golf mad.) What a snapshot of an angry, immature person. If I hadn't grown up (at least a bit) I wouldn't share that experience with you. Perhaps now I am in a place where I can humble myself and enjoy a trip to the local golf course and play a round of golf (at least 3 holes). The County Club is next on our list. If you'd like to join us let me know...

Saturday, August 19, 2006


This guy is about 5 in. in diameter. I met him at Troy's house. With a little photograph manipulation he looks pretty cool. I know it's crazy but I am intrigued by the intricacy of these creatures. God put so much care and attention to detail in this guy. How much more did he craft us in an amazing way. Later...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ivan Speaks about Grandpa

My Grandpa passed away July 30th, 2006. Here are some remarks about his life from his younger brother, Ivan.

My Grandpa feared not death for he knew the love of his Creator. As we gathered around his hospital bed in his last hours of life, singing hymns, tears came to my eyes as I thought of my friends who don't know their Creator. My life is about helping people know their Creator.

My Grandpa died peacefully, excited to be at rest in Jesus. He finished well. That's how I want to finish...but not until my work on this earth is finished. Lord, have mercy.

Daiki fights Rob

This is Daiki's last evening in the U.S. He got to spend it fighting an Ultimate Fighter, Rob Kimmons (a.k.a. the Rosedale Reaper). Rob is actually a good friend of mine from high school. He recently rededicated his life to Jesus Christ and is trying to share the love of Christ in the Ultimate Fighting circles. Currently he's ranked 13th in the world in his weight class. I hope you enjoy this little fight...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Maris' Masterpiece

My wife painted these. She is very creative. Of course she wanted me to put them up with the lines going vertically and I misunderstood and made the lines horizontal. She likes it for now but I assure you, they will be vertical before you know it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

men holding hands

Don't worry, this is just my good friend, Bob, holding hands with a friend (apparently a very good friend) in Ethiopia. It's just part of their culture. It's interesting to think about physical affirmation and the place it has in our different cultures. In America it's ok to give the token "good game" (a.k.a. pat on the butt) during sporting events. It's alright to give a man hug as well (usually with a corresponding three pats on the back, signify "I'm not gay."). However, in Japan they don't give hugs at all (at least from my observation). At any rate, this picture just made me think about the whole physicality of cultures thing. Personally, I think physical affirmation is important to caring for others and being cared for. Let me hear your thoughts. In the meantime I'll be holding hands with my lovely wife...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

17 inches of catfish

Daiki caught this one.

Pot. #2

Yesterday, July 24th, 2006, I caught my first fish that was big enough to eat. It was a 13-inch bass. Of course moments later Daiki caught a 17-inch catfish but I was happy nonetheless (I'll post some nasty pictures for you shortly). At any rate, it got us to thinking about how Jesus said to Simon and Andrew in Matthew 4:19, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." To be a fisher of fish and a fisher of men takes great patience I've discovered. Sometimes all they want is a nibble of what I have. Sometimes they're not at all interested in my stink bait. But every once in awhile one bites hard and I've caught him. That is when we celebrate. I can fish all day long and catch nothing one day and then the next day I'm pulling them in like no other. I guess the important thing is that I'm always fishing. I think we're going to head back out to the lake tomorrow morning if you want to join us (Pottawatamie Lake #2).

Friday, July 21, 2006

Daiki Learns English

Learning a foreign language is difficult. Check out my wife's blog if you want to see me struggle through some Japanese. Don't worry, Daiki told me I could post this one. Please enjoy!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

our green pepper

 All we have is one so far friends. I'm trying to nurture this one so I can get it in my belly. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 17, 2006

lightning from above

I took this picture at Colbert Hills. God is powerful and it is evident in creation. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My Trombone Solo

This is the third summer I've played for the Abilene Community Band's one jazz concert. The last two summers I played piano. This summer I was replaced by an old man on the ivories and asked to man the trombone. I have this connection because I student taught a couple years ago with the director of this band. This was a great evening because Maris joined me for the third time. I had other fans in the crowd as well; Tone-bone from Wyandotte, Daiki and Cholo from Japan, and Mansour from Saudi Arabia. My parents also drove up from Augusta and took us out for ice cream. To top it all off I got paid $50 and sweated profusely in the 100 degree heat. Here's a clip from one of my solos. I'm playing mostly rhythmic stuff (listen carefully for the paradiddle).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fadhil's Audio Post

this is an audio post - click to play
Translation: Peace be with you. Hi Ben. I am happy to know you. I wish to have happy times with you. Thank you.

Ben's Response

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

shopping with maris

Wow, I have a headache...

Monday, June 26, 2006


You'll love this guy. Trust me...

more sushi party pics

the fire that daiki and tony started trying to make dessert
the salmon/avocado mixture that hiro prepared

trying to eat up the rest of the dish
consuming the remainder of the evening's meal Posted by Picasa

Sushi Party Part III

Here's the crew. We had a great time preparing the sushi and eating it, along with some miso soup and watermelon. Next time you'll have to join us. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Inspired by the World Cup

Hey guys. I just busted both big toes today playing soccer with some Japanese friends. Us Americans have sure been slow catching on to this soccer thing. It's pretty awesome. Just thought you might like to know that both of my big toenails are completely blue.

Suica Wari (Watermelon Smash)

This was at Sushi Party Part III. Watch Akira smash the watermelon after stumbling a great deal.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

@ the Ashraham (Ashley/Abraham) Wedding!!!

My brother just tied the knot on Saturday, June 10th. Maris and I had a great time with family and friends. Everything about the wedding was awesome. I was honored to give the wedding message for Abe and Ashley. We all wore flip-flops. If you want to know why you'll have to read the manuscript of my message. It's about 10 minutes long. Here you go:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news. We just heard this passage from Isaiah 52. By now, you’ve probably noticed the flip-flops that the wedding party is wearing this afternoon. There is good reason for the selection in footwear. Abe and Ashley wanted me to share a few words about text in Isaiah. As I reflected on this passage I thought about what is good news. Immediately I thought of the news that a friend is getting married, or better yet, a brother. It’s good news when you receive an invitation to a wedding. So you can imagine my excitement when you (Abe) finally began talking to me and asking me about marriage. That was great news. I was thrilled as many of you were. When you (Abe) get an idea in your head it’s not too long before the idea comes to fruition. Your elaborate plan to surprise Ashley by calling her up, pretending you were pulled over in the Yukon on family vacation and needed her to find your driver’s license was awesome. She followed the lights in our house to the basement where she found the Christmas tree with the DVD gift underneath. The DVD directs her to the play park where you’re just chilling on the swing set in a tuxedo, my tuxedo. Then you guys take a brief walk, Ashley stumbles in her high heels, you pop the question, she’s speechless with an implied, “Yes” and not much later we all receive the invitation in the mail. Now that’s good news. And the postman’s feet who brought this news were beautiful. That’s the news that we’re celebrating today.
But that is not the good news that you guys wanted me to share about this afternoon. You wanted me to speak about the good news of the Greatest Wedding Feast of all time, the marriage between Jesus and His people. How much more beautiful are the feet of those who bring this good news. Each relationship has a unique story. Your story is different than Maris’ and my story. So there’s also a story to the relationship between Jesus and His bride.
The story goes like this: God created His world. Mankind was the pinnacle of His creation. But man was unfaithful to God. In fact, all through the history of the world, man has been unfaithful to God. Mankind has cheated on God, chased after other lovers. But God has not divorced His people. Nor has He turned a blind eye to our adulterous behavior. There is a price to pay for seeking after other things instead of God. This price is death. We all know that relationships take sacrifice. This relationship took the ultimate sacrifice, the giving up of a life. At this point in the story, 2000 years ago, God, out of His steadfast love and mercy, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfectly faithful life, hang on the cross in our stead, and conquer death so that we can be in right relationship to God. This is the good news. Just as you, Ashley, had to say, “Yes” to my brother’s proposal so we too must say, “Yes” to God. The bride responds to the groom, so we must respond to Jesus. This isn’t a one time decision. It’s a daily decision to respond, “Yes” to Christ. Abe and Ashley, today is not the only time you say, “Yes” to one another. It’s everyday.
As I look around this room, I know many have responded positively to Christ and are presently growing in relationship with him, turning from the adulterous relationship with sin towards the love of Christ. But many in here have not said, “Yes” to Christ and are still living unfaithfully towards their Creator. Abe and Ashley’s bare feet, or at least almost bare feet, is to signify that they want to be a couple who brings this good news to people who need it. The only way they can do that is to experience this good news themselves daily.
After this ceremony and later this evening, we will celebrate your wedding together. But you were limited in the number of people you could invite. And still your party may get crowded, the cake will run out, the peanuts will be eaten, the pop will run dry, and the dancers will tire. This is not the case with the Great Wedding Feast. There will always be room for more, we will continually be filled with joy, and we will never tire of dancing. As long as we still have breath, we can respond to Jesus, our Bridegroom. He wants to redeem us back to Himself. Respond to Him.
Abe and Ashley, you have responded to Jesus and you want to help others respond as well. The other passage you’ve chosen will help you in this if you heed it. So we turn to Colossians 3. Verse 12 through 14 says to “put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you; so you also must forgive. And above all these things put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” In this passage, you are referred to as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. Abe, out of all the women in the world, you chose Ashley to be your wife. To be Abe Deaver’s chosen one is quite an honor. In the same way God has chosen both of you to be His beloved. That is an awesome reality. You are forgiven by the blood of Christ. His saving work on the cross is the foundation of your identity as holy and beloved. Embracing this truth is the only way you can live out Colossians 3:12-14.
The text says to put on several things. So when you get up each morning, to compliment your beautiful feet, this is what you are to put on as clothing; compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. These are not the clothes that this world wears. You might look a bit strange when you wear compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. But you’re in good company as these are the clothes that Christ wore. And these are the clothes that the men and women who bring good news wear.
The passage goes on to say that you are to bear with one another. This means that your minor differences shouldn’t become major tension points. For instance, you have to bear with each other when one of you is a little behind the clock, or when one of you pokes fun at others and it gets annoying, or any other pet peeves you have with each other. Maris and I are learning to bear with one another as newly weds and so will you guys. The vows you just took are a great reminder of bearing with one through every circumstance.
Next, the text says if one has a complaint against another, you are to forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. A good friend of mine, James Beecher, says that the thing he encourages his friends to look for in a wife is forgiveness. Let me speak from experience. Complaints against one another are inevitable. So forgiveness is necessary. It’s at the core of who we are in Christ. We are people who need to forgive each other and be forgiven by each other.
Finally, verse 14, and above all these things put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. This love is not the romantic kind, although God does want you to love each other in that way, and you will, you better. But this love is agape. Agape is giving each other what they need, not want they want. Loving each other romantically will come naturally. But loving each other with agape will not. You will have to work hard at this kind of love. This is the kind of sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated most fully when He went to the cross for us. This is the love that is defined in 1 Corinthians 13, where it says love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This is what will bind everything together in perfect harmony.
There is no greater training field for learning to love than in marriage. Abe, the better you love Ashley, the better you will love God and others. Ashley, the better you love Abe, the better you will love God and others. As a couple, you will bring good news to this world. And beautiful will be your feet. And one day Jesus will return to sweep His people off their feet and live with Him in marital bliss forever.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Glen Eyrie

Glen Eyrie is the famous Navigator headquarters that's located right next to the Garden of the Gods. Maris and I hiked up to the punch bowls when we were in Colorado Springs for my final training session with the Navigators. What a bittersweet time as I will greatly miss working on staff with this ministry but am excited about joining the New Hope team. Maris and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary at the Silverwood Inn (free drinks and made-to-order breakfast). We are learning. I pray that we're lifelong learners because it's going to take a lifetime for us to master this thing called marriage.

Monday, May 15, 2006

the last breakfast

The Gypsy men finished the school year out with breakfast together. Beginning with me and going clockwise, the Gypsy men are Ben, Chris, Jitsuya, Anthony, Daniel, Adam, Brian, Ryan, Henry, and Ethan. Hopefully our times together are not over yet. It's been real, it's been fun, it's been real fun. Just so you know, ladies, many of these guys are single.

My Little Bro Graduates!

Here’s Abe right after he moved the tassel from right to left. I don’t know who’s picture that is right behind him but that doesn’t matter. Abe’s done with his undergrad. Maris and I look forward to him and Ashley staying in the Little Apple next year. If you’re hiring social studies teachers I commend Abe to you.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the Global Night Commute

Here I am with Senator Brownback who just got done speaking to a group of us at the Capitol in Topeka. We were taking part in something called the Global Night Commute which you can check out at About 150 to200 of us Kansans walked for two miles in the pouring rain to the Capitol building to hear Sen. Brownback and a couple from Uganda speak. Then we headed to a nearby parking garage to spend the night. We wrote letter to President Bush and our Senators to encourage them to take notice of the children in Northern Uganda who are being abducted into the Lord’s Resistance Army. We also did some artwork pieces that will go into a sort of yearbook that will help support this movement as well. I was blessed to be a part of this with Maris and some friends. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 28, 2006


"Hi" means "hi" in English and "yes" in Japanese. So, hi and yes you should read this. Combine omelet and rice and you get omrice which is what this Japanese dish is called in Japanese. What you see is a two-egg omelet on top of a ton of rice with a ton of ketchup in it (not literally a ton, just a lot. that's an example of hyperbole). At any rate, I thought you'd enjoy this recent concoction that I consumed. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

farewell to the sea-farers

Once upon a time there was a young man named Ben who married a beautiful woman, and by beautiful, I mean beautiful. Now Ben worked for a collegiate ministry called the Navigators. Apparently they liked sailboats and to help people navigate the waves of life. If I had time, I would tell you all about Ben's adventures on the sea with his fellow pirates, but that's another chapter. After Ben's two-year commitment to the sea-faring regime came to a close he looked up to his Father and said, "Father, I would love it if I could continue hanging out with these friends from foreign lands. I want to get more involved in my local body of believers. It would be great if my wife could continue learning in her household seminary. That would mean that we need to continue to reside in the Little Apple. Can all these dreams come true? Will you please help us, for I know that You abound with goodness toward Your children?" At this point, Ben had very little idea as to how this might turn out in a desirable fashion. In fact, he suffered much anxiety over the issue. You would never know the inner turmoil he had at first glance. It is at this time that the way began to become clear. The pastor at the local community where Ben and his wife worshiped approached Ben with an idea. The idea goes something like this. Ben works on staff at the church, New Hope Community Church to be exact. His role at the church will be to help the New Hope friends to reach out to the foreign friends. When Ben first heard this idea he realized that the same idea was already floating around in his own mind. He just needed someone to put words and feet to the idea. It seems like Father had once again proven to be faithful in provision. Ben looked up again to his Father and said, "Father, thank you for answering my feeble prayers. I don't mean to ask too much but I know that You love to give good gifts to Your children so I thought I'd go ahead and ask. My wife would really enjoy being able to spend more time learning at her household seminary as well as spending time with me and my foreign friends. We want to tell them about You. It would be wonderful if she could quit her job of providing an expensive place to live for people and could begin providing a cup of coffee for people instead. Or maybe she could be a stand-in for teachers that can't attend school every once in awhile. At any rate, You know our hearts and needs better than we do ourselves. We trust You with this as well. Oh yeah, and can You please continue to provide the bacon for us, the daily bacon that is...and bread I suppose too?" Ben is still waiting back on these last two requests but is confident that his Father will pull through. The rest of the book has already been written from front to back. In fact, it was even written when there was no time. But now there is time and we are subject to it so I have to wait on the next chapter. And so do you. But I can assure you that it'll be good. It'll have its fair share of surprises. It'll have victory and defeat. It'll have interesting characters. But the hero will remain the same. Somehow, though, Ben will emerge as a sort of hero too. Perhaps you will as well. One day we'll read many completed stories together. Until that day, read on.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

the heavens declare

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
-King David (Psalm 19)
Posted by Picasa

Maris took this picture last Thursday after our near tornado experience. This is a Manhattan, KS view. Enjoy!


Here's a quote from a book I'm almost done reading. The book is about a saint, Godric, who is having his hagiography written (a hagiography is simply a biography of a saint). The hagiographist usually only records the good things in the proposed saint's life, neglecting the negative. This book, Godric, by Frederick Buechner, is the real life of the saint without the sugarcoatedness (the book is, however, fictitious). Please take the time to enjoy this quote. It's well worth the read...

“’Since all are sinners, I damn the ones I choose to damn and save the rest,’ Christ said. ‘So are my justice and my mercy both upheld. Thou, Elric, I have chosen to damn. Through all eternity thy fate shall be to suffer pain unspeakable and thus to show my glory forth.’
“I said, ‘O Lord, I am a sinner sure. I rate no less. Yet night and day I’ve served thee all these years as best I could. I’ve sought to quell my wayward flesh with chains and scarcely food enough to fill a gnat. All earthly loves I have foregone for love of thee. Canst thou not find it of they grace to damn some other sinner worse than I instead?’
“Christ’s laugh was terrible to hear. ‘is that how Elric does my will to love his neighbor as himself?’ he said. ‘For this thou shalt be doubly damned. Thou mayst as well go gobble up what brutish, greedy joys thou wilt while yet thou canst, for the very moment thou dost breathe thy last, thy torment shall begin.’
“Was this the sinners’ friend, I thought, the one who healed the sick in Galilee and prayed his Father to forgive us for we know not what we do? All hope was fled. The one who sits upon the mercy seat had proved himself most merciless of all. I would have hanged myself except I feared to hasten to my fiery doom. And then the priest who shrived me saved my soul.
“’Poor fool,’ he said, ‘the Devil often comes in such a guise. Our Lord would never speak so cruel. The next time, take a piece of dung and fling it in his face. Then you will see.’
“So when Christ came again, or so I thought, I winged a turd that caught him on the snout, and sure enough he was not Christ. His white robe fell, and underneath he wore a pizzle like a mule. He had a pointed tail and serpents’ scales. He howled at me and fled. Thus does the Devil seek to thwart our faith with lies. Godric, be ever on your guard.”

To check out more on this book go here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

just so you know...

I like marriage and love my beautiful wife.  Posted by Picasa

my colorful friend, jason

When I say my friend, Jason, is colorful, I certainly don't mean he's fruity or anything. Rather, I mean he loves people in creative and colorful ways; that and the title sounds like it goes with the picture. At any rate, I dedicate the following entry, "the commandments of Christ," to this guy. Thanks for reading...
 Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 03, 2006

the commandments of Christ

What comes to mind when you think of what God commands us to do? Stop right now and think about it.

What list do you pull up in your mind? What do you feel guilt for if you fail to do it? Take the time to consider where the guilt is in your life. When you go to sleep at night, why do you feel guilty?

One of the common verses that Navigators in particular likes to use is John 14:21 which says, "Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." So, what are the commandments of Christ? What should come to our mind when we read this? Let's let Christ answer that question in the context that He spoke these words.

First, look at John 13:34-35. Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." So this is the new commandment that Christ gives; to love one another. You mean He doesn't tell me to do all the stuff that the Pharisees told me to do to be godly? Yeah, that's right...

Next, check out Christ's words in John 15:12, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." That's His commandment, love one another. And the passage goes on to give the ultimate example of this love. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends." This depth of love is later perfectly demonstrated by Christ on the cross of calvary where Jesus dies for His friends.

Jesus tells us why He commands these things in John 15:17, so that you will love one another. That's the big deal, loving one another. That's it. That is what should be running through our feeble little minds when we think about obeying Christ. We can obey everything that we think we should obey, even giving away all we have, or being martyred a fiery death, but if we have not love, than we gain nothing...nothing (1 Corinthians 13, the great love chapter).

Is not this the greatest commandment and the second greatest commandment upon which all the law hangs to love God with all we are and our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:27-28)? Paul even reduces this to one word. He says, "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Galations 5:14).'"

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:2-3)." It seems like circular reasoning to me. We know we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments, which have to do with loving the children of God. This is not a heavy, burdensome thing, this is a glorious calling. What is better, or more powerful, or more satisfying than being loved by another and loving another? Nothing. That thought empowers me to love and good deeds.

Love seems to be such a vague, ambiguous thing, especially since you can do things that look loving but with selfish ambition. So how do we love? I don't know the full extent of this answer but here are a couple thoughts:

Paul says that the love of Christ compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). John says that we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). We have to know the love of Christ first. That's why Paul prays the way he does in Ephesians 3:14-21. We have to be strengthened with power through God's Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith - that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. As God answers this prayer we are able to love more and more as He loves us.

Paul also prays for the Philippians that their love may abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment, so that they may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11). We need God to answer this prayer so we have a discerning love, a love that knows how to excellently love those we seek to love.

I pray that you and I who know Christ's love already will press on to know Him and His love more and more and that we'll love extravagantly out of that relationship. For those that don't yet know Christ, I pray that He invades your life with such a compelling love that you too will concede to His glorious love.

Thanks for reading. I'd love thoughts or questions or comments...

Friday, March 24, 2006

daiki-kun and haircuts

I recently chopped of all of my hair. I even shaved my beard off and left only a remnant known as the goatee. My inspiration for destroying the afro in its prime was this man, Daiki Ikeda. Every year I tend to go through this ritual of cutting off my hair in some dramatic way, sort of. People are always shocked even though it happens year after year. There really is no rhyme or reason to the shedding of the 'fro. I suppose its a fresh beginning. At any rate, I just wanted to put a picture up of my good friend, Daiki. He is leaving the States to return to Japan shortly. I pray our friendship continue into the wee hours of the future.
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

financial wisdom?

I just got done visiting with a good friend about student loans. It seems that many young, aspiring missionary types such as Maris and I desire to pay off student loans quickly. Is this financially wise? That is my question today. If I'm paying off student loans over 10 years with an interest rate of 2.46% for example, why would I want to pay them off quicker than that? Especially when I could invest the extra money I would pay in a high interest savings account or CD or something at 4% interest. I'm just trying to think through some of the issues of stewardship surrounding the young couples of God in our society. I know that the Proverbs speak to money quite a bit as does Christ Himself. What does wisdom look like in our society? How are we to operate? Take this other example, Maris and I owe on a vehicle. We have 0% APR. It seems to me that it would be foolish to pay this off quickly even though we are in debt to Chrysler. If anyone has some insights into the financial world of the believer, please let me know. I don't want to be foolish with finances thinking I'm operating out of some sort of principle that isn't necessarily Biblical. Thoughts anyone?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

agape - charis - love

I looked this word up in my little New Testament Word Study (by Spiros Zodhiates...I recommend it) and I became somewhat enthralled with this entry (#26 agape). Let me replicate the definition for you:
Agape; love, a word found only in revealed religion. Translated charity (1 Cor. 13:1) meaning benevolent love. Its benevolence, however, is not shown by doing what the person loved desires but what the one who loves deems as needed by the one loved; (e.g. For God so loved the world that He gave ...John 3:16). He gave not what man wanted, but what man needed as God perceived his need, namely His Son who brought forgiveness to man. God's love for man is His doing what He thinks best for man and not what man desires. It is God's willful direction toward man. But for man to show love to God, he must first appropriate God's agape, for only God has such an unselfish love.

I pray that God allow me to love those around me with this sort of love. Love that really looks to their best interests and not my own interests. I don't want to love people to the end that their relationship serves me and my purposes. I want to love people to the end that they know God and become more like His Son, Jesus Christ. That would in turn serve my longer-term purposes of being in fellowship with fellow Christ-followers and with Christ Himself. I want to love like this. I want you to love like this. I want to help others love like this. I want you to help others love like this. May God pour out His mercy that we be men and women like this. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

beautiful feet and a tibetan monk

Here's a Tibetan monk I met at the KSU Union. He spoke of Buddhisim and all it has to offer those who practice it. He spoke of His people that are persecuted by the Chinese government. He spoke of peace on earth. He had little to say about the afterlife. I had so much to say but had to go "minister" to someone else. How can the "distractions" of life become opportunities? How did Jesus do it? He seemed to have time for people. What do beautiful feet look like in this setting? I pray that God gives me time for people, time with people. I pray that God gives me beautiful feet. Posted by Picasa

Beautiful Feet

This Thursday I'm speaking at Navigators about beautiful feet. Here's a picture of my feet with shoes on them. Are they beautiful? If so, what makes them beautiful? Check out Isaiah 52:7 and let me know some thoughts about my feet or your own feet. For some reason I've been in the mood to talk about feet recently, not to smell them but to see them, beautiful ones in particular.
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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

the men that don't fit in part 1 and 2

The Men that Don’t Fit In

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

By Robert Service

The Men That Don’t Fit In: Part 2

Now the Gypsy men who don’t fit in
Many say are fools.
By the world’s standards they never win
They just don’t have the tools.
But theirs is a depth that’s high above
A depth that can’t be touched
By the mediocrity that many love
That doesn’t amount to much.

Their goal is not their own vain rest
After years of meaningless toil.
They’re not content to be the best
At bowing to earthly soil.
They say, “Keep your trophys and trinkets too,
I don’t even want your money.”
Their soul’s desire goes deeper than you
Even though you think they’re funny.

They want Him and what He desires
They’ll join a bigger war
They possess His strength and He never tires
That’s who these men were made for.
Their bodies fade and their hearts grow strong
And their lives appear futile
But deep inside you’ve known all along
Their impact will last awhile.

Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood
And they don’t know how to rest
In fact theirs is the blessing of His blood
And they’ll never fail the test.
These souls won’t rest ‘til they rest in Him
And He’s not back and they’re not through.
So these are the men who don’t fit in
And now we invite you too.

Give up your lame and selfish way
And live for something more
‘Cause in the end you don’t want to say,
“I’ve lost all that I’ve stored.”
Don’t despair, oh pathetic man
Put away self-serving sin
Embrace the cross and join our clan
Of men who won’t fit in.

By Ben Deaver

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Sushi Party Part II

We had a second sushi party Saturday evening the 18th of February. The first was last semester. I believe you can see that picture on this blog as well. As for the sushi party part 2 we had about 70 people from all over the world join us for some great sushi. The countries represented were Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Ecuador, and the U.S. The purpose was to foster a community between International students and American students. Hopefully many friendships were formed and strengthened.

Of course anyone who becomes a friend of mine will soon discover my main passion. I had the opportunity to sing about my passion at our little party. Jesus Christ is my passion. I know many people are resistant to hearing about Jesus and why He's important. However, if anyone cares about me and what I care about then they will care to hear about this too. Many people are sensitive to people trying to shove religion down their throat. I think I'm more sensitive to people not sharing with me what they really think and believe. For me to be genuine in friendship means that I will share with my friend my love for Jesus Christ and why I have that love.

If there are any questions or comments please let me know. Let's put away shallow relating and begin talking about what's important to us. Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

heavy heart

I know my heart is really only the size of my fist but it feels much heavier than that today. Sometimes it feels like I have an football in my chest or something. Many things seem to affect how the weight my heart is. Today it is many things.

First, I still don't know what I'm going to do after May. Should I teach, should I work at a church as a music guy, should I work at a coffee shop so we can open one up later? I just don't know yet. (If anyone thinks they have a great option for me, please let me know.) It seems that I would like to take a step away from the collegiate ministry scene for awhile. You can ask me about that if you would like...

Second, financial anxiety...enough on that.

Thirdly, relationships tend to weigh on me. When I feel like sticking up for a friend who I believe is somewhat being abused by another friend, my heart gets heavy. When I feel like a friend isn't being listened to or I feel like I'm not really being listened to then I feel the weight of that. More and more I realize how important it is to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19-20). I'm yearning for the living out of brotherly love, genuine love, love that does not insist on its own way, basically the biblical descriptions of love, esp. in Romans 12:9-21 and 1 Corinthians 13. I want to love like that and be loved like that. At least that is what I want to pursue.

Fourthly, there seem to be many people around me that enjoy spending time with me. But it is difficult to hold out the word of life to them. I want to know how best to answer each person. I want speech that is gracious, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). I want none of my words to fall to the ground, like the Lord did with Samuel's words (1 Samuel 3:19). I desire to see people experience life, true life in Christ. I'm on my knees asking for wisdom.

It feels good to get that weight off my chest so to speak. It doesn't decrease the weight but maybe a fellow brother or sister will come along and help me bear the weight. Thanks for reading...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Quarter of a Century

I am 25 years old as of January 26, 2006. My body is taking this thing pretty hard (not really but it seemed like the thing to say). As you can see in this picture of me at Carlos O'Kelly's getting ready to eat my free, birthday fried ice cream, I'm excited. I think a man's search for significance leads him to ask if what he's doing and has done has been worthwhile. When I ask that question of myself I see God's faithful hand in and through my life. However, when I look to the future, I begin to become anxious wondering what the next 25 years will bring. It's interesting that I still get anxious even after quoting Philippians 4:6-7 to myself for more than a decade. This is a riddle I must solve. At any rate, I am presently trying to not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to present my requests to God. Now I'm waiting for the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus...

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