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)
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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...