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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blogging at 30,000ft

I'm taking a new step in my internets journey and blogging experience. I'm writing this post at 30,000ft above the face of the earth. I know! Crazy!. Airtran was handing out free trail passes to experience gogo inflight internet. And I've got to say it's pretty cool.

Now what makes it so cool is it's free, but normally it's between $9.95 - $12.95. They have all sorts of expensive price plans ranging from one flight access, 24 hr access, and 30 day access. All of it is too right for my bank account. I wonder how long it will be before it's free (why do I think everything on the internet should be free?).

So there you have it. I can officially cross this off my bucket list.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Prayer of the Weak

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wedding Entrance of a Lifetime!

I love traditional wedding entrances. Kelly and the wedding party came down to Pacbell's Canon in D. Beautiful, elegant, and amazing. I cried like a baby.

But I have to tell you, I love this wedding entrance. Love. It. In fact there is a part of me that is way jealous we didn't do something like this. This is full of love, celebration, exuberance, joy, and community as this man and this women and their friends and family join together to express in dance what is going on in their hearts!

I watched this video with a huge smile in my face and tears in my eyes at the joy expressed and the beauty danced. Simply awesome!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

100 Things Our Kids May Never Know About

Saw this great list over on Wired. Nothing sad about it...just a riot to think of some of high tech gadgetry/technology that I have lived through in my short lifetime. Crazy.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. High-speed dubbing.
  2. 8-track cartridges.
  3. Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.
  4. Betamax tapes.
  5. Laserdisc: the LP of DVD.
  6. Scanning the radio dial and hearing static between stations. (Digital tuners + HD radio bork this concept.)
  7. Blowing the dust out of a NES cartridge in the hopes that it’ll load this time.
  8. Turning a PlayStation on its end to try and get a game to load.
  9. Joysticks.
  10. Booting your computer off of a floppy disk.
  11. Recording a song in a studio.
  12. Finding out information from an encyclopedia.
  13. Using a road atlas to get from A to B.
  14. Doing bank business only when the bank is open.
  15. Shopping only during the day, Monday to Saturday.
  16. Phone books and Yellow Pages.
  17. “Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.” But they’ve already seen episode III, so it’s no big surprise.
  18. Having to manually unlock a car door.
  19. Spending your entire allowance at the arcade in the mall.
  20. Relying on the 5-minute sport segment on the nightly news for baseball highlights.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as to how much parenting, youth ministry, education, and our kids have changed over the years. We wonder how we are going to keep up with the changes. How will I keep up with the times? What will the world like in the next 2-3 years (not 10-15 like we used to say)?

But at the heart of even this funny/techy look at how the world of our kids is changing, one fact will always remain the same: they long to be known and loved by real life people (parents, family, friends, and healthy, caring adults in their lives). And you know what? We can do that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Very interesting findings on Millennial's take on the institution of marriage over on Ypulse. I don't necessarily hear this stuff a lot, but it's definitely the vibe I get from late teens and twentysomethings most of the time.

Here's a teaser:

- Among the unmarried young adults, despite all their romantic relationships, most say they aren't in a hurry to wed. Fifty-seven percent say they don't want to be married "now" and 17 percent are "neutral" on the subject. Only 26 percent say they are ready to take the leap.

- Almost everyone plans on getting married. Only 5 percent of unmarried young adults say it's "unimportant" to marry someday, while 50 percent say it's "very important." About 70 percent say they expect to marry by their early 30s.

- Cohabiting with a romantic partner, however, is a distinct possibility. When asked whether they agree with the statement, "It is all right for an unmarried couple to live together even if they are not interested in considering marriage," 57 percent of young adults say yes. Nineteen percent are neutral; 24 percent say no.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Prayer of the Weak

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Neon Maze

Neon Maze is one of the more addicting maze games online. I'm up to level 15. It's a bit mind numbing, but a decent time waster if you've got it to kill.

You simply guide your "Star Trek Enterpisey" ship through the neon maze on his way to freedom. The levels get progressively longer/more complex the higher you go.

It was fun to play while the kids were having some rest time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Live Baby Young

What do you get when you combine babies, old school rap, roller skates, and maybe just a little CGI? A slick little commercial promoting Evian bottled water.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Real Beauty

Sarah and I were sitting on the couch last night watching the end of the first couple of SYTYCD finish when the commercials began to roll. When you are sitting with your 7 year old little girl you have to be careful what is thrown on the screen for advertisement sake. It can get a bit dicey.

The first commercial was a plug for Maybeline eye mascara. After the commercial was done, I took this teachable moment to ask a serious and important question.

Me: Sarah, why do you think girls pay a lot of money on makeup and stuff to make themselves seem even more pretty than they already are?

Sarah: I don't know, Daddy. People have so much beauty on their own.

Quick grab the tape recorder! Dang it...none to be found.

She is so right. We have so much beauty on our own. God has been so good to the crown jewel of his creation. I hope she remembers and lives this out in a few years when teenage perceptions and reality begin to take hold.

Though our soul is marred by sin, we still have so much beauty bestowed on us by our Creator. He is constantly at work reminding us, showing us, leading us, and restoring us to the original beauty that we displayed in the garden before the fall. And this restoration project is not primarily physical, but mainly relational and spiritual in nature. It's not about externals, but it's about the heart.

I pray God's grace will keep that nugget of truth that Sarah spoke last night close to her heart. May this daddy foster a sense of strength and security in his daughter that comes from unconditional love and a knowledge of understanding who her daddy/Daddy is and how much I/He loves her.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prayer of the Weak

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Reflections on Michael's Memorial Service

OJ had the trial of the century. Prince Charles and Diana had the wedding of the century. So I guess it goes without say that this was the funeral of the century.

The international outpouring of love, admiration, sadness, and shock was incredible. To see people's connection to a man they cared about but really didn't know because they connected with his image, music, and humanitarian causes, as well as, fascinated about the surgeries and idiosyncrasies for which we felt confusion and pity.

As I sat there with my brother-in-law, Don, I wondered about what I was watching on TV and what an estimated 20,000 people were witnessing live at the Staples Center (not a church, sanctuary or cathedral, but an athletic arena home to the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings). Part memorial service, part tribute concert, and part entertainment extravaganza.

Now let me say this: all things considered, this was very tastefully done. Fairly simple given the person being memorialized and the scope/size of the event. It was thoughtful, honoring, and touching. All things a good memorial service has as elements.

But the whole time I was watching I kept wondering, "How will my Christian community react/slam this service?" How is it not holy enough? How is it not God honoring enough? How is it not sacred enough? And I began to answer to myself, "Yeah. How is that?"

But then I realized how could this service be all those things when those that put it together (most likely) know nothing of the One who gives meaning, beauty, and hope to times and places like that. Save for the pastor Smith that gave the invocation and possibly Rev. Al Sharpton, I didn't seem as though any of the other people had any relationship with Jesus. Spiritual people, yes, but in love with the God of the Universe and the Savior of the world? Probably not.

It was that line of thinking that got me thinking that this is why I love being connected to the spiritual community of the Church through a common bond of Christ. It's the Church and followers of Jesus that help those faraway from Him to make sense of times like these. Because only in a relationship with God does death remotely make sense (and even then it is still a brutal and harsh reality/finality). And only He brings funeral services into clearer focus of what death AND life are all about...Himself: Father, Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

It saddened me that this service didn't point to hope. It didn't give meaning to our existence. It simply idolized a mortal man with a great talent. It communicated to me an emptiness in the biggest compliment paid on that day to a dead man: He was the greatest entertainer ever. Not the best father. Not the most compassionate human being. Not the dearest loving son or brother. So empty. So sad.

This service is a reminder to me and to all followers of Jesus that people need Him. We need Him for eternity yes, but we need Him to help foster in us a deep sense of his love, hope, and peace as we walk in and live our lives by faith in the one who conquered the grave and death so that all the world might live, fully live and share that sacred state with Him and the whole world.

I wonder how you will remember Michael Jackson's memorial service. What does God reveal about Himself even in that place that didn't honor him? How will you be moved to help others see that there is ultimate hope and meaning even when those we love die all around us?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Overreacting Parent

As a parent, I can totally relate. I remember as a kid thinking (and wanting to say) the exact same thing.

It is so easy for me to overreact especially when "things" or "my stuff" gets jacked with by the kids. It's one of those things/issues that I need to continually die to self on while teaching grace to those in my world, particularly my kids, who feel guilty and maybe shameful.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Prayer of the Weak

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

(In) Dependence Day!

As Kelly, Sarah, Parker, and I celebrate the 4th of July here in central Illinois with our friends Charlie and Jen Dean and their boys, I've been reflecting on this day and what it meant, means, and will continue to mean for our future. While reflecting, I came across this piece by Seth Barnes (the guy I was kinda named after) on his blog.

Here is a taste:

"How ironic that today we celebrate independence from tyrants when only recently, we voted ourselves more government programs and more taxes, the very thing we fought a revolution to resist.

What a strange epoch in which we live, when the Prime Minister of Russia can chide America for becoming too socialist and for moving too far in the direction of dependence on the state. We are in the process of granting government increased control over our lives in many areas, and in the process, are setting in motion a cycle where our children or grandchildren will once more have to fight for independence.

God wants us free to choose him, but he also longs for us to subordinate our freedom and choose to become dependent, not on the state, but on him. We have swung the pendulum so far in the direction of independence when it comes to faith that we no longer really need God. Our stacks of insurance policies represent an effort to minimize the chances of having to depend on anyone other than ourselves."

Check out the rest here.

So as you and yours celebrate this day, may we thank God for those that sacrifice so much to keep us free nationally. But may we be in awe of the One who gave up his only son so that we would be spiritually, eternally, emotionally, relationally, and systematically free from sin, self, shame, and guilt for all time.

The Hunger Site

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