Wow. Cool. Amazon's Kindle Fire is now very much on my radar.
Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air interviews 83 year old, award winning author Maurice Sendak. You know him as the author of Where the Wild Things Are. He has a new book coming out, which is the point of the interview. But it turns into a talk with an author reminiscing about a life of art, being homosexual, therapy, losing loved ones, and ending life as an atheist in love with the world and feeling it slip through his fingers. Well worth a listen.
"I'm a happy old man, but I will cry my way all the way to the grave."
It's days like today that make me think I need to slow down and chill out more often. It's good for you, you know?
I found the Internet Monk website of Michael Spencer years ago. His words about Jesus and His Church, spirituality and truth have been deeply encouraging and helpful in my discipleship and as I work as a pastor. We soon connected and I had the privilege of speaking at his school in 2006 and my family enjoyed the Spencers & the whole experience. Michael Spencer died today in the presence of his family in his home in Oneida, Kentucky. I have this picture with Michael (left) and Matthew Smith (center) from our time there. The photo below is the bridge I took from the home we stayed in to the the school where iMonk served.
I thought it would be fitting during National Poetry Month and the day after Easter to give you a poem from Michael's wife, Denise, posted in 2007.
Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.
– Stations of the Cross, St. Ann Roman Catholic Mission
He stumbles ‘neath the load.
It is not heavy, yet it crushes.
Merely a mangle of thorns
Woven as a crude crown.
Thorns that boldly dare to mock their Maker.
He stretches out His hands,
Ready to embrace, but not fondly.
Only the ore of iron
Hammered into soiled spikes.
Iron dares to agonize its Author.
He writhes upon the tree.
Alone, and utterly forsaken.
Simply a structure of wood
Fashioned as a cruel cross.
Splintered wood now dares murder its Master.
He gazes on the crowd.
Mankind, pinnacle of creation.
One whispered word could destroy
Thorn, iron, wood, mad men.
Yet the Savior dares to speak:
As some of you have mentioned and many of you have noticed, I've been doing a minimal amount of blogging for a while now. Several reasons for that, some of which I'll be blogging on soon. I do hope to get back on it in the days and weeks to come.
I'm getting hungry to say something again, and to get discussion started on important issues. I also have a lot to say about our church transition: the good, bad, and ugly. Plenty to say about each!
I appreciate you guys hanging around.
Brief Molly Update: She is doing really well. Scheduling a neuro/psych test for the late summer and a sleep test in the near future. Otherwise, all is relatively well.
Are you going to The Gospel Coalition 2009 Conference? C'mon! I'm one of the speakers at Band of Bloggers. My topic is "What is the place for art and culture in Christian blogging?" As you know if you've read Reformissionary for long that I'm very fond of music, photography and poetry. Should be a good time.
A summer Chicago Tea Party? Interesting CNBC video...
I'm hooked on the eyeballing game.
Have you seen The Legend of Speedo Guy? Good stuff. Yes, Joe Thorn actually found something in sports that I hadn't heard of.
Quick update on Molly & Chiari. Her MRI's haven't happened yet as our local hospitals don't have the equipment to do the specialized ones she needs. So we either have to go closer to the city or wait until her appointment with her surgeon in September. Dunno what's going to happen just yet. I'll let you know.
Some days are better than others right now. The last few have been pretty bad, though the worst of symptoms from last year haven't shown up yet. Glad about that. Thanks for praying for her.
Here's David Ford's "Song for the Road," which I put up here as a tribute to my wife who is in constant pain, hourly frustrations. Should she ever wonder if I will be there when she needs me...
Now I know someday this all will be over
And it's hard to say what most will I miss
Just give me one way to spend my last moments alive,
and I choose this, I choose this, I choose this.
Joe Thorn is rebooting his prayer life. I'm actually planning some extended prayer in the near future. Good thoughts from Joe.
Al Hsu points to more Andy Crouch Culture Making stuff. Excerpts and more.
New Wendell Berry short story in The Atlantic.
David Powlison on Breaking Pornography Addiction.
Jonathan Dodson: Dark Thoughts from The Dark Knight
Ben Arment: How to Attract High-Caliber Leaders to Your Church
William Willimon: Pastoral Wisdom
Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat audiobook FOR FREE! Get it now, only a few days left.
Kay Ryan is the new U.S. Poet Laureate.
JD Greear: Writing Stuff Down
Paul Tripp has a potty mouth, and he's right on the money...
UPDATE: Congratulations to the Thorns on the birth of Madeline Ember Thorn, a 5.4 lb hottie born this afternoon. My wife is known for her huge babies, nearly doubling the size of Madeline with all of them. We always wanted to hold one of our own this small. Wonderful. Congrats Jen and Joe. More at Joe's blog, Twitter, and Flickr.
Jen Thorn is in labor! Joe Thorn is at her side. It's a beautiful thing. As she has contractions Joe is reading books about running marathons, sending me text messages, Twittering, and taking photos. I hope as Jen is doing the hard work of bringing a new life into the world you will pray for them with me.
Reformissionary Update: For some time I've wanted to add to my web presence by grabbing a "reformissionary" specific domain or two. Reformissionary.com has been taken for some time by someone who doesn't seem to be associated with the term. But I have now purchased reformissionary.org and reformissionary.net, both of which forward you to stevekmccoy.com. Enjoy.
Please pray for an Acts 29 Network international pastor in India who is facing persecution for converting Hindus. From Mark Moore's blog...
Please pray for my friend Pastor Sudhakar.
Pastor Sudhakar is a church planter/pastor in India who is planting churches in the "slums" of India amongst the poorest and most outcast. God has been very gracious and has blessed the ministry of Pastor Sudhakar so that many have come to Christ. I had the privilege of spending some time with him a couple of years ago. Over the course of our meal together I sensed that I was sitting with a man who has an unwavering commitment to the gospel and an unquestionable love for the people that he serves in his church. This, I thought, is a real man of God.
Pastor Sudhakar's work in India is now a part of the Acts 29 Network and we are working to help him with training his pastors, funding, etc. It is a privilege to be in gospel partnership with him.
This week, very concerning news came from India to us from Pastor Sudhakar. I am going to let you read it in his own words:
"On 9th( Sunday) of this month a group of 20 young people came while we were worshipping and beaten me and some women of our church and in return they have lodged a counter complaint on me putting allegation on me by saying i am converting lot of Hindus into Christianity. Kindly pray for me as the case is in the court."
Then, yesterday, we received this update via a letter from him to Mike Gunn:
Dear pastor Mike Gunn,
I am very much comforted by seeing your letter. I know there are some people who love me and pray for me which is my strength to push forward in times of trouble and persecutions.
Today the Judge will decide wether i will get anticipatry bail or not. Please pray.
Four anti- communial groups called RSS, VHP, Bajarangdal and Hindu Vahini together attacked me and our church people.
Hindu Vahini is the worst among these groups who killed two pastors brutually three years back in our city. They poured acid, cut the pastors into peaces and put them in a gunny bag and thrown thier bodies in the outskirts of the city.
These days the persecutions are increasing and as many non christians in my area are turning into christianity now they have targetted me.
I know without Gods will nothing will happen to me and at the same time i am trying to be careful and vigilant.
I really appriciate your prayers and concern for me. I will let you know the court proceedings as time goes on.
- Pastor Sudhakar
I'm posting this for three reasons. First, awareness. The idea of persecution is often times out of sight and out of mind for Christians living in the west. We must be aware of the fact that our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted for their faith everyday while we sit around and gripe and complain over the "time commitment" of being involved in a small group. Second, I post this in order to implore you to pray. Please pray for Pastor Sudhakar and his church. Pray for God's grace and mercy to him during this trial and with the continual persecution of his church. Pray that in his suffering Christ would be glorified and made to look beautiful to the people of India. Finally, pray for the four groups listed -- RSS, VHP, Bajarandgal, and Hindu Vahini. Pray that the gospel would convict them of their sin and the supremacy of Jesus and that they would turn to Jesus and repentance and faith. Pray especially for the Hindu Vahini group who is responsible for the brutal execution of at least two pastors. Pray the leader of the Hindu Vahini group would be converted to the gospel like Saul of Tarsus. Pray that he would be used to reach India with the gospel.
As I receive any updates on Pastor Sudhakar I will be sure to let you know. For those of you who are pastors, would you please have your churches join our church tomorrow in praying for Pastor Sudhakar.
A church member alerted me today that there was a gun scare at Pontiac Township High School, the school I graduated from in 1991. They found 6 guns and arrested 3, and no one was hurt. The photo is found with the USA Today article. I believe, though I can't be sure, the dude on the right is John Cox who graduated in '91 as well.
From the Pantagraph link below, quoting my brother...
“The police departments, school district and the students worked together to make this work,” Mayor Scott McCoy said. “Where this started was with an observant student who brought it to the attention of someone that needed to know. There are a lot of heroes here but there is one major hero and that is the student who stood up and did what he or she had to do to make sure that their fellow students and classmates were safe.
“There is a student right there that I can’t wait to meet,” said McCoy, who also commended police and school districts for working together.
“What we have today is something very minor to what could have obviously happened,” he said. “This is due to the due diligence of the police departments and school districts working together with this Code Red.
“The city is safe, school is safe, and all of our students are safe, and that is a direct statement to how well our police department had done and how they reacted to the situation.”
Going outside for the meteor shower tonight? You should...
The meteors in this shower all appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus. The best times to watch will be late night Aug. 12 through dawn Aug. 13.
"The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yield 90 or 100 meteors per hour," said Joe Rao, SPACE.com's Skywatching columnist. "However, observers with exceptional skies often record even larger numbers."
To see the show, one need only find a comfortable spot with a clear view of the northeast horizon, away from local lights. A dark rural location is best. Lie back on a blanket or lounge chair and scan the entire sky. In the late evening, starting around 9 p.m. local time, sharp-eyed observers might see "earthgrazing" meteors that skim the northeast horizon.
"Earthgrazers are long, slow and colorful," Cooke said. "They are among the most beautiful of meteors." But don't expect more than a handful in an hour, he said.
Later and during the overnight hours, the shooting stars will be higher in the sky as Perseus rises. Some skywatchers enjoy counting the number of meteors they see per minute, per hour or during a 15-minute interval and comparing notes.
So go outside, and listen to "Go Outside" from the Robbie Seay Band while you do.
Praise the God who mapped the stars out in the sky
Gather round with those who love and sing
"He is our King!"
Praise the God who mapped the stars out in the sky
Gather round with those who love and sing
"He is our King! He is our King!"
No one should be left out
No one should be left out
No one should be left out
No one should be left out
If you have air to breathe
Hear your call to sing
Here's Joe Thorn's post on our trip so far...
Steve and I have come down to Louisville to meet with friends and dialog about church planting and church planting networks. I have benefited from our denomination, and believe our church will remain Southern Baptist as long as doctrinal integrity and healthy cooperation remain in play. While I can imagine both of these things disappearing in 10-20 years, I like to think we will only grow healthier. Time will tell. NAMB is a great way to plant a church (we planted Grace via NAMB), but the alternative networks (Acts 29, Sovereign Grace, etc.) are producing great results as well. I really want our church to both partner with others in the planting of healthy churches and to be directly involved in planting as much as possible. This is why we are here. This and the Scotch Eggs at the Irish Rover. I’ll share more as I can.
I just want to add that ear X-tacy adds a lot to the trip. Hitting it tomorrow.
Mark Driscoll on The White Horse Inn - good interview and discussion
How To Raise a Pharisee (via) - what NOT to do in parenting
Mindomo - free mindmapping software online
The Emerging Church and Accountability - More "say what?" from the Missouri Baptist Convention
Mars Hill Church on Alcohol
International Arts Movement: Free Audio
Tolkien Professor Interviewed at Eucatastrophe
Principles of Economics, Translated (via) - very funny
Ira Glass (NPR - This American Life) on Storytelling (via)
Justice in the Burbs - new book coming, looks interesting
There have been rumors flying tonight around the web and I feel I have to say something. This is really big news and you need to do as I say even if you don't know why. Before you go to bed please move your clocks, watches, egg timers, and sundials forward one hour. Seriously, I don't have time to explain. And you don't have time to listen. I really don't want to create a panic, but time is short.
I dunno, I thought it would be fun to put up 13 things worth looking into on this cold and rainy Thursday in Chicagoland. This is going to be pretty random, but I expect most of you will find a gem in there somewhere. In no particular order but numbered for your counting pleasure...
1. Dwight Schrute Video (via Marko): "selling paper, fighting evil." A hilarious, Schrutastic 2 minutes of pure Office-alicious enjoyment. Please use this opportunity to stay in touch with your inner Schrute, who "has the strength of a grown man AND a little baby."
2. Tim Keller Quotes: thanks to Charlie. Here's one...
If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited. Why? Most Christians, even when they are very edified in church, know intuitively that their non-Christian friends would not appreciate the service. What you want is for a Christian to come to your church and say, "Oh! I wish my non-Christian friend could see (or hear) this!" If this is forgotten, soon even a growing church will be filled with Christians who commute in from various towns and communities far and wide rather than filling up with Christians and seekers from your church's immediate neighborhood.
Here are a few things to look for: 1) They are not just open to the gospel but they receive the gospel freely. 2) They are in a position of great influence over their family, friends and within the community. 3) They have the ability to introduce church planters into their sphere of influence effectively. 4) They are also great "bringers and includers" of others into the life of the church.
4. Dictionary Tooltip for Firefox. Love this extension.
5. Joe Thorn shamed me to switch my feed reading to Google Reader. Great recommendation. I've added a daily updated list on my left sidebar that shows what I liked from my feeds.
6. Convert your docs to PDF documents. "Very nice! How much?" Free.
10. Have you seen the new Challies-ified Monergism site? Looks great, and of course it contains great content.
11. You may want to check out the Internet Monk's conversations with another blogger about Southern Baptist identity (you will need to scroll to find all of them). Some helpful stuff by iMonk. The other guy? Not so much.
13. Saving the best for last, this is without question the greatest photo in Joe Thorn's portfolio...
Please pray for Alistair Begg, one of my favorite preachers, who has prostate cancer.
During the week of January 22, after a series of tests and finally a biopsy, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although this is not what I had hoped for, my doctors seem confident that this is very curable. We are presently discussing different treatment options.
Interestingly, we have just begun a new series of studies in James at Parkside Church. Immediately I have been entrusted with the privilege of not simply teaching, but in a particular way, living verses 2-4 of chapter one.
(HT: David Price)
Here are a few things I've read recently that you might want to check out.
Kent Shaffer: 5 Ways Your Church Can Build Trust In Your Community
Mark Driscoll: Twenty Leadership Questions for Building a City Within the City (including Driscollian chest fur)
Tony Morgan: 10 Signs You're Not Ready for Change
Drew Goodmanson: The Future of Spirituality and What Is After Postmodernism
Steven Furtick: Irreplaceable
Mark Dever: Baptists and Elders (best for Baptists who don't have elders)
Joshua Sowin: A Guide to Writing Well
Acts29: An Expanded List of Books for Missional Church Planters
ESV Daily Readings (I'm doing this one)
Both Stephen Shields and Scot McKnight tagged me, so I'm to release 5 newly declassified items about me you don't already know. Because of the nature of blogging it's hard to tell what has and hasn't been shared before. So here's my best shot...
1. In High School my brother and I traveled around central IL in the summers to lip-sync contests and scored tons of small town bling. The name of our lip-sync team? The Star Search Rejects. Our niche? Lip syncing to Weird Al polka medleys. We were big time, baby.
2. I currently have a poster of Jack Bauer on the wall of my office. Yes, he is holding a firearm.
3. When I as a little kid (maybe 3 or 4?) I got up in the middle of the night, raided the medicine cabinet and downed several birth control pills. My parents woke up and found me still eating and called my uncle, a doctor. He said to make me drink soapy water so I would vomit. I chugged it. Then Mom stuck her finger down my throat. I think that worked. But to this day I have yet to get pregnant. Coincidence?
4. One summer in the early 90's I listened a dozen times or more to a Rush Limbaugh audio book. Now he drives me nuts.
5. While at Southern Seminary I emailed a key seminary leader about something a professor told me in a conversation. It was an email questioning whether the different SBTS schools were heading in different directions. Within a week I found myself in a meeting with three professors including a dean of one of the schools. I thought I must have said something wrong and was in trouble, but they simply wanted some info from me and to convey the unity of the schools at SBTS. None of it ended up being a big deal, but it freaked me out a bit. Now the prof in question is a friend and it all was nothing to really sweat over. Go figure.
I mentioned before that Dr. Al Mohler needed prayer during surgery. He was recovering but is experiencing problems. Please pray...
Dr. Mohler's health has sustained a setback. Over the past 36 hours Dr. Mohler has suffered from unrelenting pain. This unusual degree of pain signaled concern for the attending physicians and prompted additional tests this afternoon. In the past hour these tests have revealed that Dr. Mohler is suffering from pulmonary emboli in both lungs. His condition is quite serious and he has been moved to the intensive care unit of Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, KY for immediate treatment. Please make this a matter of urgent prayer. Thank you once again for your concern and support during these days.
Time for a roundup of random stuff.
1. I've started a Bible study series at our church based on Kris Lundgaard's book, The Enemy Within (@ Monergism). Lundgaard's book is based on two of John Owen's works on sin. I read it a few years ago and rereading it for this series. Very helpful book. Justin Taylor points to some of Lundgaard's audio messages on The Enemy Within.
2. Watched the movie Click with my wife yesterday. It was moderately funny. Best part of the movie is what Adam Sandler does to David Hasselhoff (there's a bad word here, so don't watch if you can't handle it).
3. Speaking of video, the Smiling Addiction video is great. It's an original piece (including original music) by Crossroads Community Church in GA. I think Joe Thorn first pointed me to this.
4. It looks like Paradox, a music venue at Mars Hill Seattle but not run by Mars Hill, is no more. This article doesn't really give Mars Hill's perspective in a good light, but the news was worth mentioning.
5. Have you taken a trip on Line Rider yet? Throw on a scarf and go!
7. Tim Keller wants to help you know how to "Work." Great sermon. Keller provides Dorothy Sayers' definition of the biblical doctrine of work: "Work is the gracious expression of creative energy in the service of others." Other TK Resources.
The US population is about to hit 300,000,000. Um...yippie, I guess?
With the timely death of my other blog (Missional Baptist Blog), I have been rethinking how to use Reformissionary. I have some new ideas and I'm excited about the road forward from here. You may not notice much change, but my planning and posting here will be more strategic and intentional (even if I'm the only one who notices).
Maybe this is a good time to thank all the readers of Reformissionary. The first few years have been a ton of fun, and I've probably learned more than any of my readers. But I still think the best is to come. Stick around.
Yeah buddy. Darrin Patrick's Reform & Resurge talk is now online: "The Life and Death of the Missonal Leader." Powerful.
A couple of weeks ago I was able to meet Jon, the Baptist. Jon (Whitehead) and his wife Aryn (sorry it's a camera phone image) were planning to come to Chicagoland for his sister's graduation from Wheaton College, so he sent me an email hoping we might be able to meet up. We knew it would be tight since we were leaving for Seattle that day, but it was well worth the time to grab a Caribou Coffee meeting on the way out.
Jon and Aryn are from
Texas Kansas City, where Jon is a lawyer. He had some good thoughts on the future of the SBC (let's just say that he recommends a lot of Ex-lax and throne time, the porcelain one...okay, not really...but that would have been wise...and funny). And like me, Jon married way above his head.
Head over to Jon's blog and check out his thoughts. Good guy.
We made it home. I'm busy finishing my sermon for tomorrow. See all our Seattle and trip pics. I'll recount our crazy travel issues from Friday when I have some time. Enjoy the Lord's Day.
We ate breakfast this morning at Cafe Minnie's. Omelets the size of your head. Sheesh. Then we took a trip to the top of the Space Needle. Beautiful day, beautiful view.
Click on the pictures for a larger version, and take a peek at my other Seattle pics.
Reform & Resurge begins in the morning. Hopefully we can meet up with a few of you tonight. We are in the Holiday Inn, Room 204. Give our room a call, or email me.
We left Bloomington, IL this morning at 7:06am, flew to Chicago O'Hare. Then took off at 8:35am for Seattle and arrived at about 11am. A couple from our church, Mike and Gail, were already here and picked us up. We went directly to Pike Place Market and watched them toss some fish around. What a cool place, tons of fruit and vegetables for sale, a bunch of cafes and restaurants. We ate at the place where Tom Hanks ate in Sleepless in Seattle. I had shrimp cakes. Yeah buddy. Good stuff.
Then we checked in at the Holiday Inn and took a short break. Refreshed, we went to Sonic Boom music store (through the recommendation of some of my blog readers). What a great store. Found a couple of CD's I've been looking for and couldn't find in my neighborhood. Then we went to the 5pm service at Mars Hill Church. It was great. Maybe more on that another time. Dinner at P.F. Changs, which rocked as usual. I also got a few pics along the way. I'll try to get a few of those up tomorrow.
It's been a very, very long day and I'm exhausted. Nighty nite.
Here I am with my mocha (and my wife's drink) in front of the original Starbucks in Seattle. We arrived on the plane today for the Reform & Resurge conference which begins on Tuesday. Now, on our way to worship at Mars Hill Church. Woohoo!
Web Sudoku: I'm addicted.
WorldMapper: A new way of seeing the world.
It's Jerry Time: Great videos...well, you need to watch it to understand. Very cool.
King of the Hill and the Megachurch: A must see, hilarious and true.
It's Lonely Here: The photography of Christopher Wilson. I found him after buying the Band of Horses CD (which is fantastic) and seeing three pictures of his included in the CD packaging.
Looper: Photoblog of Devyn, who lives and captures the Loop in Chicago
Da Bulls: Oh yeah baby. They will still lose, but this makes it fun.
We're home after a very long day of driving. I have many new pictures from the trip, though most are more art focused than "moments to remember." God's grace sent us to the Louisville P.F. Changs for lunch. My parents bought us pizza for dinner as we stopped through Pontiac, IL to retrieve our cat (Calvin). It was an exhausting day after an exhausting week, but we are so encouraged by what God has done to us and through us on this great trip.
Having a great trip to OBI in the Kentucky "sticks." God is doing some great things as I preach. Students are responding to the Gospel. I'm tired, physically and emotionally, but the words keep coming. Awesome stuff. I should be home and posting again on Friday. Here's a pic just outside the front door of where we are staying.
Michael Spencer (the iMonk) is a great host. I'm at his house right now on his wi-fi. If you read his online stuff, he's everything you think he will be. Well, all but the Kentucky twang. Actually he has presented me with a very prestigious award. I'm honored.
In other news...
Dan at Eucatastrophe has some Keller quotes.
The next two weeks are shaping up to be very busy for me.
A week from today I start speaking at Oneida Baptist Institute's "Commitment Week." This is the boarding school in Kentucky where Michael Spencer (iMonk) is campus minister. I will be speaking six times on the theme "Love & Sacrifice." Preparing six messages for 3 1/2 days is a bit overwhelming, but I'm totally into it and pumped about it. The music will be led by Matthew Smith who is with Indelible Grace. Pretty cool, eh?
Our family of six is taking a rental van and road tripping it. We think we will try to stay the night in Lexington, KY Saturday night so we can spend some time hanging with friends on late Saturday afternoon and evening. (If you are in the area and want to connect, or buy us dinner, email me.) Then Sunday through Wednesday I will be speaking at OBI to a bunch of middle and high schoolers, as well as OBI teacher and employees, about Jesus. It's going to be a great trip. If this comes to mind, please pray for the students and for me as I prepare.
Oh, and by the way, I pulled an April Fool's joke on my wife yesterday. I created a new email addy, internetmonk (at) gmail.com, and sent her a message from "Michael Spencer" saying that our arrangements for housing at OBI have fallen through and that there is no place for our family to stay now, so she and the kids will probably have to stay home. She bought it. Sorry honey! I love you!
Preaching against culture is like preaching against someone’s house. It’s just were they live.
>> You can "steal" several weeks of Bob Hyatt's slides for Sunday morning Powerpoint. Nice resource.
>> Some of you need a good discussion board on Christians and the arts, and thankfully IAM in NYC now has a discussion board. It's pretty new, but could be a great board with a few more active posters. If you are into writing, painting, photography, sculpting, whatever, then check it out. But it could also be very valuable for any Christian learning about the arts.
>> Molten Meditation is an interesting idea, and pretty well done.
Last night Joe Thorn and I were able to go out to dinner with each other, and more importantly our hot wives. It was a pretty expensive place, but we were able to handle about half of the bill with a gift certificate. Wow, it was good. We talked for about 3 1/2 hours. I hope everyone has friends you like to be with for long dinners and conversation. "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God." Ecclesiastes 2:24
I've been thinking for a while about posting mini-reviews of some of Tim Keller's articles and sermons that are available online. Then I can link each mini-review to the article/sermon on my Tim Keller Resource page. I want to do this 1. Because I want to keep wrestling with his ideas, and 2. Because I want to continue to help others find Keller's stuff. Might be fun. We'll see if I get anywhere with the idea.
Yesterday I broke my pinky toe on my left foot. Second time I've done that. I keep forgetting to walk around door-jams. Now I'm in a good deal of pain and will be for at least a few weeks. Bummer. You know 1 Corinthians 12 is so much easier to understand when you lose use of your little toe. You realize how even the smallest parts of the body are so crucial.
A few weeks ago our 5 year old was running through the house (he sometimes calls himself "Dash" from The Incredibles) and ran into the vacuum. It's pretty normal for our kids to crash and burn as they run through the house. But he was obviously in some pain. So I grabbed him up and put him on my bed. He was bleeding pretty bad and he basically sliced the whole tip off one of his toes. The tip was dangling and I looked at Molly and said, "I think it's going to fall off." My son heard and responded with all seriousness and blubbering, "OH, I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!!" I think he takes 1 Corinthians 12 even more seriously than me.
Our cat was declawed this past Monday. We got him back Wednesday, and he reopened a toe wound (sheesh, what's going on with toes in our house). So he had to go back to the vet for a day and a half to keep him from reopening more wounds.
Two days ago I went to the doctor for the second time in 5 weeks because I've had a cough going on 4 months now. About 4 days a week I cough hard enough to give myself a massive headache. I've been on antibiotics and Claritin, now I'm on an asthma inhaler. I don't think it's working, but still have almost two weeks left to see if it has an effect. The doctor also had me go in for a chest x-ray at the hospital. I'll hear back about that soon, I suppose. What a week.
Amos Lee's self-titled CD is amazing. I'll probably post more on it someday.
My wife made orange chicken for lunch today with a chopped salad (I LOVE chopped salads) with some sort of orange vinaigrette dressing and it rocked like a hurricane. Dang, she is awesome.
Okay, that's enough.
Mike Noakes tagged me.
4 Jobs I Have Had in My Life:
Landscaper > I love shoveling thousands of pounds of decorative rock next to houses. No, not really.
Dental Technician > I created (through my cat-like speed and reflexes) dental appliances like crowns, bridges, and orthodontic retainers.
Loading Dock Grunt > I worked for Tex-Pack, which was the worlds most evil shipping company. I worked in the Fort Worth branch where the owner weighed over 400 lbs, the manager of the facility weighed so much that he maxed out the freight scale which I think went up to 500-600 lbs or so, and a shift manager who was a self-professed hater of seminary students, which I was at the time.
International Student Minister (University of Louisville and University of Kentucky) > I was basically a "faith" supported missionary to international students for 3 years, and I was able to pray with a Chinese student who trusted Christ at a prayer meeting on 9/11/01.
4 Goals You Set for This Year:
Seek God more
Make out with my wife more
Read with my kids more
Mountain bike more
4 Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
Tommy Boy > "It's called reading! Top to bottom, left to right... a group of words
together is called a sentence. Take Tylenol for any headaches... Midol
for any cramps."
Shaun of the Dead > "If you get cornered...[hits himself on head with cricket bat]...bash 'em in the head, that seems to work. Ow."
Training Day > "You're a long way from Starbuck's homey."
Good Will Hunting > "My boy's wicked smart."
4 Places I Have Lived:
4 TV Shows I Love To Watch:
I don't watch much TV, not even the news. But four are required.
24 > this should be a given for anyone with a pulse, the only show I must watch
American Idol > it's fun, and my wife enjoys it and so I enjoy it with her
American Chopper > if you are a guy, you like it. I don't like schedule watching it, but when I see it on, it's a must see.
Beauty and the Geek > man, I'm sorry. But I have to admit there's something redemptive about this show, and it's funny. Forgive me.
4 Places You Have Been On Vacation:
Charleston > We introduced our kids to the ocean.
Phoenix > I was able to go all expenses paid to the rainiest three days in the history of Phoenix for a golf trip. It both rocked and sucked.
Stoughton, WI > We rented a cabin on a lake with nothing to do but enjoy our family. It was great.
4 Websites You Visit Daily:
4 Of My Favorite Foods:
Orange Peel Shrimp and Lettuce Wraps from P.F. Chang's
My wife's spaghetti (homemade sauce)
Chips and salsa from Chili's
The Vito (#5, no tomato, add Dijon) from Jimmy John's
4 Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
Somewhere alone with my wife.
Anywhere: playing with my kids.
Sipping a Grande-Skim-3 Pump-No Whip-Extra Hot-Mocha from Starbucks
Talking about Jesus with someone who doesn't know Him
There aren't too many places to be on Groundhog Day, but I happen to live in one of them. I'm in Woodstock, Illinois where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed (and yes, it was filmed almost completely in Woodstock). We have all sorts of events in town around Groundhog Day, but of course the centerpiece is when Woodstock Willie emerges from his fake stump and pronounces his forecast for the duration of winter.
Punxsutawney Phil, the more notable rodent, saw his shadow and predicted more winter. But Woodstock Willie (who doesn't appear to have his own web presence) was more optimistic, to the delight of hundreds of onlookers this morning. I had a nice chat with the glorified squirrel after the fact, and told him that he would be roadkill if he is just pulling our chain. He assured me that his trick knee was in fact indicating the end of winter. We'll see.
Here are some pictures I took of our Groundhog Day festivities with my daughter.
I love being home. It's home, for crying out loud. Christmas is a good time with family, but I look forward to getting the house back to normal and moving on.
Over the past week we have received news that the first man I ever discipled, a good guy in Colorado, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It's looking like only months left for him. We also found out just today that my wife's former boss in Colorado recently lost his wife in incredible circumstances. They are both near our age and also have four kids. She was climbing a mountain with a friend in CO, got separated from her climbing partner somehow, and went missing. It was a massive search for her and she has yet to be found. She went missing in September.
Over Christmas at my parent's house we were able to visit four very old relatives, my Great Aunt, my Grandmother (mom's side) and Grandparents (father's side). The aging process is taking a large toll on them and we always try to see them never knowing when it will be the last time.
So we have found some reasons to think about our own mortality this Christmas, which is always a good thing. We are also praying for friends and family with renewed vigor.
We got a few nice presents, but the kids really made out like villains. It was a good time at my parent's house, good food, and I got to watch cable TV (a treat for me).
We will be out of pocket and I don't know when I will post again. Hopefully before New Year's. I'm preaching tomorrow morning and then we are off to be with family. Enjoy your Christmas celebrations.
I feel like saying something. I'm not sure why. So I'll say this...If I were to take a picture of my day at this moment, here's what would be written in a long caption.
"At 2:49pm Steve was drinking Coke with a generous amount of lime juice, listening to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, working on his sermon on John 2:1-11, coughing from a bad cold, and watching the first flakes fall in the first significant snow storm of the winter."
As of this post my stats tell me this site has been viewed 100,104 times. Thanks to all who read, and especially to those who interact with ideas of truth and culture here.
It looks like hit #100,000 was someone who came to my site from a yahoo email to my video sermon post and then went to my homepage. If that was you, then you've won lifetime access to the beautiful Joe Thorn Buddha bobble-head. Enjoy!
Scot McKnight (Jesus Creed) invited me to come this Monday to North Park University (Chicago), where he is a professor, to hear Dr. Donald Hagner lecture and then eat dinner with them as well as some NPU professors.
I showed up a little early for an absolutely riveting discussion on divorce (link shows short video) between Scot, Don, and Kermit Zarley (a former pro golfer who has funded the lecture series). Then Dr. Hagner delivered part one of his lecture series on "A Positive Theology of Judaism from the New Testament." Interesting and provocative. Learn more about the lecture series here, and here's Scot's short post on it.
It was an enjoyable day: I learned some new things, met some good people, and ate some great Italian food at Via Veneto.
I'm always intrigued by the hits I get from people doing Google searches. Not because they find my site by searching for weird things, though that happens, but because I get so many hits from Google. I probably get well over 100 a day.
I also think it's curious to find out when I'm the #1 Google hit for something. For example this post made me the #1 for "Kevin Ezell." I'm the #1 hit for "David Gray Ain't No Love" because of this post. This here post makes me the #1 hit for "SBTS alcohol." And I'm the #1 Google hit for "Starbucks the way I see it" because of this post.