Friday, August 29, 2008

Share the Well

This is Keyling Hernandez Martinez. She is 11 and lives in Nicaragua. She loves to play with dolls. i have been her World Vision sponsor for two years. And i have yet to write her. To communicate with her other than a monthly stipend for two years. i've intended to write her for 2 years. There are even several drafts of letters to her sitting in my desk, but they've never been sent.

Because that's usually what my intentions come down to.


But i want it to change. And i want you to hold me accountable.

i want to make a difference. Even if it's simply a letter saying hey to a little girl i've never met.

i wish i had millions of dollars to "make it rain" for people so they could feed their kids and have clean water and not live in alleys and get an education.

But i don't.

However, i do have a lot more than i need. i can make a difference. Even in the little things. Even in my intentions.

So can you.

What have you intended to do that you haven't done yet? Sponsor a child? Adopt a highway? Volunteer somewhere? Encourage a friend who's down? Find a church? Say hey to your co-worker?

Our intentions don't define who we are. Our actions do. And God acting in us to love a broken world will define who we are and to whom we belong.

Do something. While you're at it, check out World Vision or Compassion International or BloodWaterMission to see what's going on around the world to join in on.

And say a prayer for Keyling. Cause you can.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trip Through Your Wires

I am not always proud of my Southern Baptist heritage. And when I read this, I kinda lost more hope.

They don't really want servant hearts; they want ultra-Baptists. And based on #'s 4, 5, 9 and my feelings on 10, I don't qualify. I can't decide if that's bad or not.

Southern Baptists made me sad today...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Today in Blog

For some, this man is simply a pundit.

For some, he is annoying.

Others say he has the moves of a jellyfish and the spine of a lobster.

I say, he may need to be my baby-daddy:

I loves me some Stephen T. Colbert. Mmmm....
"And that's The Word."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hellfire & Brimstone

I think I'm bothered by something. And I don't know if I should be bothered or if it's the way things are and I need to just move on.

The other day I was discussing with someone some ideas about preaching out of Joel and Jonah. He asked me to look over some verses and get back to him with my thoughts. Two questions were raised and, really each deserves a post of it's own, but I'll try to condense it. He wondered how he would preach out of the prophets based on all the judgment going on in the prophecy; it's hard for congregations to listen to judgment sermons and not get lost is what I imagine he meant by that. He also asked why people would want to hear a sermon based on Jonah or Joel - other than people who want to just because it's in the Bible.

That's why.

And this is what bothers me.

I believe that as Christians grow in their maturity, in their faith, in their relationship with the Lord and with fellow believers, they should want to read the Bible because it's the Bible. Do we always? No. I was a Bible major for 4 years and there were days I had to read something and I simply wouldn't. Cause I just didn't want to. Some parts of the Bible are as entertaining as getting your teeth cleaned, listening to smooth jazz, driving through Kansas. I know this.

But we should want to. Not because of some legalistic reasoning or because we have to get "right" with God, to improve "our walk." It's the Word of God. It's awesome. I can't even begin to describe how utterly cool I think the Bible is, both from a spiritual and literary perspective.

I think the biggest reason people DON'T want to read their Bibles or study the Word is because they don't know how to. They haven't been given the opportunity to realize how cool it is.

When was the last time you heard a sermon preached on one of the minor prophets? Joel, Amos, Hosea, Malachi, Habbakuk, etc? I know people who don't even know that those are books in the Bible! Because they haven't been introduced. And I can think of very few people who are going to try and do it on their own. Because we are removed from their time and their language and their culture. However, that barrier doesn't make it any less applicable for us today. God's word is living and breathing, and it cuts across time and distance and language to reach us today.

If we choose not to preach and teach parts of Scripture that are difficult or hard to understand, we are going to miss out on telling people about the awesome God we serve.

So often people color God as distant and mean and destructive and cold. This is based on the little they know of the God of the OT. He's not a Gandalf-type God with a flowing beard and a robe who listens to angels play their harps. Nor is He is mean and judgmental God who waits to throw lightening bolts on people when they sin.

The God of the OT and of today is love and joy and restoration and comfort and longing and desire and mercy. He will do anything it takes for people to understand who He and what He longs to be for them. Locusts didn't work, exile didn't work. He even sent Himself in the form of a man to die on a cross for the people He loved. Does that sound like an vindictive or mean god? I don't think it does. His judgment is part and parcel of His great mercy (which is a post for another day). We can't skip over these difficult parts of scripture just because they aren't as "applicable" as Paul.

I think we don't give the people in our congregations enough credit when we think that they can't handle learning new things or things that are hard. Whether they are new Christians or "grew up in the church", people have brains. They are able to hear a word from the Lord, especially if it's HIS word.

This isn't a slam against pastors or teachers or preachers or churches or even my friend. This is just my heart saying that it's vital that we present the whole truth, every aspect of God's character to our churches. I long for people to read the Bible and get drawn into the love story. Because that's what it is.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Low

Wow... it's sad that this purple pen is the highlight of my work day....

What's the lamest part of your day?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chomping at the Bit

I love figures of speech (FIG's, if you will). And this one is my new favorite expression. Mostly because I feel like I am doing just that. Although, in doing so, I'm metaphorically a horse. Which may or may not be a great thing...
At any rate....

Have you ever been in a place where you feel...purposeless? I don't even know if that's a real word, but that's how I feel.
I file.
I play online.
I go to bed.
I file.
I play online.
I go to bed.
Over and over and over and over and over......

I complain about not having time that's "my own", but honestly, I don't know what I'd do if I had that time. I have nothing to work on. No papers to write, nothing to prepare for, no agenda to keep.

So, I live "chomping at the bit", pining for a project or a purpose. (That was lot of 'p's...) I read tons of books with nowhere to file that information. And if I write papers without a class behind it, I just look like a dork.

And it wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't already been feeling this for over a year now.

God, don't You have a plan? Isn't there something I could be doing? If there is, can You please show me? Cause I'm tired of resting. I'm ready to rock the casbah. Let's kick this pig!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Challenge

“It is wrong to assume that on the one hand there is a word, or a truth, and on the other hand there is a community existing as two separate entities, and that it would then be the task of the preacher to take this word, to manipulate and enliven it, in order to bring it within and apply it to the community. Rather, the Word moves along this path of its own accord. The preacher should and can do nothing more than be a servant of this movement inherent in the Word itself, and refrain from placing obstacles in its path.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship (Bonhoeffer Works Vol. 4; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), pp. 227-28.

Bonhoeffer here is discussing the role of the preacher specifically, but couldn't we also draw the parallel for everyone? I may not be a preacher, but I want my life, in all capacities, to be a servant of God & to the Word of God. As Bonhoeffer suggests, let's strive to remove the obstacles that would hinder the Word from reaching people.

I don't know what this looks like, but I'll be thinking about it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beach Madness!

Yesterday was so gorgeous that Mom, Midge and I decided it would be a sin to stay inside.
So we hit Redondo Beach!
Rachael was a bit more excited than the rest of us...
Hangin' at the beach
Truth be told, I'm not a HUGE fan of sand, but it was nice to wiggle my toes in the warm beach.
Posers.... =)
That's how I feel about THAT!
I love this picture.

Sunset over Washington.... lovely.

How do YOU celebrate beautiful days?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Did Anyone Else See This Last Night?!

During the Olympic coverage last night, Bob Costas and some chick I didn't know began talking about the endangered Giant Panda. China is known for having the only panda reserve in the world for the Giant Panda and has been doing millions and millions of dollars in research to "up" the population.

This newslady went to the Wolong Panda Reserve in southeast China and met with the owner/proprietor/main research guy. One of the things they discussed was the breeding techniques that have been cultivated to produce more giant pandas. There are exercises to keep them strong and healthy, new diets, watching their mating rituals to know more about them. But the one that captured my attention:


Yep. I couldn't find the link from last night, but here is a backdated article from MSNBC, talking about the "baby boom."

What the Deuce?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today brought to you by the letter: M !

My primary task at work is to make these

look like this:

Pretty. Standard. Nice.

Then, I get to file them all on 6 rows of this:

All. Day. Long.

And those were just the "M"s...
After a while, this is me:

But at least, I make pretty pictures when bored in staff meetings:
It kinda makes me miss this job.
10 am.... Is it Friday yet???

Monday, August 11, 2008

Flavor of the Week. Err...Month

One of the blogs I subscribe to has a "flava" of the month to highlight some of the awesome blogs he reads. So, because it's Monday and filing has turned off my brain, I'm going to do that. Granted, I think only 4 of you read this, but I'll still bring out the "flava" and give a shout-out to the people that make my work day go by faster.


Whittaker Woman - This is the blog of Heather Whittaker, a mom who lives in the ATL. I don't know her from Adam or Eve, so yes, I feel creepy reading her blog, about her kids and whatnot. However, there is so much love and authenticity there that it I just know, creepy or not, I'm not going to stop reading. I've told her and I think we're cool. But anyway, it's fun and creative. Check it out.

Ragamuffin Soul - Carlos Whittaker is on staff at Buckhead Church in ATL. His blog is a crazy mess of creativity & chaotic awesomeness. Again, it's the authenticity coupled to the random that's kept me hooked to reading it. He's married to Whittaker Woman and it's neat to see the love that is there, even on the webpages.

DBW3 - Dr. Ben Witherington is a professor of New Testament as Asbury Seminary. I first heard of him when he came to SBU in 2006 as a guest lecturer and it was not love at first hearing. But, over time, reading his work has matured my reading lens on Scripture. It's crazy how prolific he is. If you like the NT (and you can't say you don't b/c it's Jesus!), you should check out this blog.

The Prodigal Jon - Jon Acuff has a plethora of blogs and sadly, yes, I subscribe to all of them. Stuff Christians Like is a sarcastic and brilliant look at the Christian sub-culture we live in. If you work in a cubicle, don't read this; you'll look dumb trying to not laugh out loud. Very funny. I thank my roomie often for turning me onto it. 97secondswithgod is a daily devotional-esque walk through the Bible. He's just finished Genesis and is starting into Exodus. It's not expository in nature, but it's good. Really, really good. He has other ones, so you just need to go read them. But I will say that The Prodigal Jon is my favorite. Easily.

These are just the "big kids" of the blogging world (at least the minute part of it that I read). Next month there will be more.

Who do you read consistently? Do you read to pass the time or is the highlight of your day? =)

And yes, I just learned how to link. I feel cool. =)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Greatest Week of the Summer!

Most of you know that nothing thrills me more than a great shark story. If I'm watching a shark movie or show, I don't really pay attention to what else is going on around me.

So in honor of the greatest week of the summer, here are some fun shark factoids!

The whale shark is the largest shark in the ocean. According to the Discovery Channel, it has yet to be weighed, but they estimate an average weight to be 13 tons, with an average length around 50 ft.

This breed of shark is its own superhero! The rough sagre shark is said to emit a green luminescent light from it's belly. It is found in the Atlantic Ocean waters and is also called the "great lanternshark." Or, if it was a comicly-named shark, "Green Lantern Shark!" =)

Though not the largest or aggressive of the shark breeds, the blue shark is known for its ability to travel long distances because of its body shape and style. Also, they mature very quickly, becoming sexually active at 5 years old.... Babies makin' babies. It's a dang shame.

The lemon shark is aptly named for it's yellow-browned tinged coloring which helps to camouflage it on the sandy ocean floors.
Fun fact: Negaprion brevirostris literally means “the shark with the smooth teeth and the short snout.”

This obvious shark is a nomadic creature, finding the coral reefs a happy home. The hammerhead shark has few enemies, but will eat almost anything. Interestingly enough, the hammerhead will eat stingrays, who also have relatively few enemies. I think the hammerheads are taking revenge on Steve Irwin's untimely death...
It's true, I love the Great White. The deep-sea predator is feared and admired by all. There is no denying the power of this mighty sea creature, even though it is not the largest or most fierce fish.
The Great White Shark has a bite with the power of 1 ton/sq. inch. For their large and seemingly bulky bodies, they are deft and capable hunters, able to leap out of the water to catch their prey. Studies have shown that Great Whites only attack humans that look like their other prey (seals, sea lions, fish...), not as a menacing act of death.
I love sharks. I'm sad that this week is over, but rest assured, I will keep up on my fish facts and be ready for next year!
(All information here was gleaned from I'd hate to get in trouble for plagerizing...)