Friday, April 27, 2007
I can't believe that it has already been a year. My anniversary of being a normal adult contributing to society has come quickly. I'm just about 24 years old. That's crazy. I remember back when I was still a teenager in college and I was working with people in their mid-20s. I really looked up to them. I thought that it would be so long until I was their age... and now here I am. Time is a very strange concept. I wonder what it is like not being encapsulated by time. I think that's what I'm gonna ask the big man upstairs when I kick the bucket.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I was daydreaming while traveling 40 mph down the road. I know, I know, not a smart thing to do, but hey, sometimes it just happens. I wouldn't recommend anyone try it.
I started to veer to the left, towards oncoming traffic... but was shaken back into reality with good vibrations. I felt the little bumps that they put on the double-yellow lines in the middle of the street. My car began to vibrate and as I remembered to stay in my lane, another car zipped by me within inches. I would like to meet the inventor of those bumps and shake that person's hand.
This ordeal reminded me of a saying that I don't know if I've heard before... and if I haven't then I am just making it up right now:
"If it weren't for the little bumps in life, you'd be facing oncoming traffic."
So there you go. Meditate on that. :-) Appreciate the little pains in life if they help you keep focus on avoiding the big pains you might face in the future.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Random videos that I find interesting, fun to watch, or just plain weird.
Christmas candle burning fast. [taken Christmas 2004]
I'll post photos, new and old, that I have taken.
Normal day kayaking... my dad walking on water. [taken summer of 2005]
Lake Union. [taken summer of 2005]
Fremont Bridge. [taken summer of 2005]
Thursday, April 19, 2007
<---- Do you ever wonder what it's for? Well I have talked to a handful of friends, and many of them don't know what Subscribing to a Feed means. I know that sometimes all of this new internet language seems overwhelming at times, but don't you worry! ... I will explain.
That little orange icon, as well as other icons...
...notify you of a "feed" on a website that updates frequently.
For example, I update my blog at least once a week. Instead of coming to my blog every day of the week to check and see if I've posted something new, you can actually be notified when I update my site with your subscription. This is done with a feedreader.
A feedreader (for example, the one I use is Google Reader) is like an inbox for your subscriptions. You get new "mail" in your feedreader whenever your subscriptions are updated! Right now, I'm currently subscribed to a bunch of different sites:
- CNN.com news updates
- Cleveland Indians news updates
- Lots of blogs... personal and public ones
- Church news/blogs
- Howstuffworks.com updates
And I don't have to go to any of the sites to read any of the information! I can just go to the feedreader, and it sends me all of the new information that they publish on their sites! It's like an inbox for my favorite websites!
This is a great tool that I recommend for everyone.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I often feel like I'm safe, but then something like this happens. How safe are we really? There are people out in the world who do stuff like this. But they are all around us. It just happened two weeks ago here on the University of Washington campus. A professor was a victim of a murder-suicide, likely because of a relationship problem or something. This kind of thing happens all of the time.
What does God think about it? I'm sure He is both angry and sad at the same time. Angry that we humans are so self-centered. Sad that His children are killing their brothers and sisters.
The interesting thing is that this happens all the time. Murder, suicide, hatred, selfishness... it's all sin.
How can we live comfortably in a world full of sin?
Schools are supposed to be safe places for learning and developing as an individual, but then we realize that we aren't safe at all. People all around us have the choice, the ability to destroy that which we hold so dear to us in our lives. Even complete strangers.
So again, I wonder...
How can we live comfortably in a world full of sin?
I have to admit that I can't live comfortably in it. I can't be comfortable with the fact that wherever I go... to the store, to a university, to a sports game, to work ...I am never completely safe. How can anyone be comfortable with that?
I can try my best to make the world a better place, I can work at improving kids' lives and families to love each other more, especially since this guy who murdered everybody at Virgina Tech was called a "loner." Sometimes I think, what if I grew up with that guy, what if I was able to befriend him and hang out with him and give him the community and friendship that he needed in order to feel loved?
How can anyone be comfortable with knowing that all around the world every day there are people being murdered, people murdering, people dying, people being killed, all for no reason at all. I am not comfortable with that.
But what does comfort me is my identity in Christ. It comforts me to know that I have a hope for a life after this one, which is void of sin.
But what do I do until I die and start my life with Christ? What am I supposed to do here on Earth? Again, the answer is in my identity in Christ. I am supposed to be joined in community with other believers and transform peoples' lives, one person at a time. In any type of community, people feel comforted. And in a quality, Christ-centered community, people feel eternally comforted.
I don't know anything about that guy who murdered all those people, so I can't really say anything about him. My heart just goes out to him. The loner.
How many loners do we know in our own life? People who are starved for community, starved for wanting to be loved, and starved to feel a part of something bigger than themselves? I know plenty of them. And I want to help. Because a quality, Christ-centered community is what we were designed for.
Photo taken from CNN.com
Friday, April 13, 2007
Directed by Michael Apted
Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce
I saw this movie in the theater last month, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting it to be a little boring and religious, but it opened up my eyes to something else completely different.
First of all, this movie wasn't about the guy who wrote the song. It's about a politician who is fighting to stop slave-trading ships from doing their horrible business. Now, he did happen to know the guy who wrote "Amazing Grace," and he also had a good singing voice and sang the song in the movie a couple times, but that wasn't the point.
The point of the movie was how much William Wilberforce used his gift of using politics for God's glory. He stayed strong to his belief about stopping slave-trading ships from sailing, even when the opposition seemed too strong. So often we give up when the going gets tough. So often we break down when doing the right thing gets too hard.
The best thing I got from the movie was that it provides an interesting glimpse into history. I grew up bored with history classes and stuff that happened in the past. I was always interested in the future, with science, my future career, my future family, etc. But this really helped me understand how important history is and how many mistakes we have made as humans. It's very important to look at our past so that we can best make decisions in the future.
4 out of 5 stars.
Image taken from IMDb.com
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Photo taken from Indians.com
Monday, April 9, 2007
Unselfish acts are very difficult to find because it is true that we are all selfish. That's part of being human. Gotta look out for number 1, and Survival of the fittest are sayings that come to my mind. No matter how hard I think about it, I can't think of a good deed that I can do that is completely void of benefiting myself in any way.
At the Easter service yesterday, Pastor Mark mentioned something that is along the same line. He talked specifically about the disciples who were eye-witnesses to Jesus after he raised from death, and how they built the church from that point on. He mentioned that it’s very unlikely that the disciples were lying about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection because they were facing persecution, even death, for their beliefs at that point in time. When most people lie about something, they do it so they can benefit themselves. Persecution and death don’t seem like great benefits if they were really lying about it.
Furthermore, if Jesus was lying about telling people that He was God and that believing Him was the only way to enter the Kingdom of God, then it would be pretty stupid because He knew full well that death by crucifixion was going to happen. Again, most people lie in order to benefit themselves in some way, but Jesus knew that if He lied then there really were no benefits at all. So why would He lie?
So is there really such thing as a selfless good deed? Well in the case of Jesus’ disciples, their benefit was the hope of living with Jesus in Heaven. Does that mean that their acts were selfish? The only selfless good deed I can think of is Jesus’ life. He never did anything selfish. Everything Jesus did was to please God the Father. And He was still crucified.
I know that the most logical thing to follow this is a debate of what altruism really is. But my point is not to focus on the debate, but instead on how we can be more like Jesus. It's true that not all good deeds are selfless, which is a problem sometimes. However, doing our best to please God is what He wants from us all of the time, and that should be our goal.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
A few things I found:
- "After Jesus" on April 7th and 8th, 8 & 11pm E.T.
- Collins: Why this scientist believes in God
- Are humans hard-wired for faith?
- 'Porn & Pancakes' fights X-rated addictions
- Commentary: What would Jesus really do?
Now, I have not read or listened to all of these reports in their entirety, but I just wanted to bring up something that I have noticed. It seems to me that the media dances around this question of "What is a Christian?" I don't think they are really trying to answer the question meaningfully. I think they should change the question to "Who are the most interesting Christians out there and how can we report on them to get people to watch our show and go to our website?"
I'm not saying that all of the articles and reports they publish are biased or wrong, it's just that they often focus on what Christians believe about politics, abortion, music, global warming, etc. I like news that focuses on the important stuff that Christians believe.
My church is made up of a wide variety of types of people. And we are growing fast. How do we stay unified with around 6,000 in attendance at 3 different campuses now? Well it's certainly not just because we are Christians. There are so many churches break up and split apart because of arguments, disagreeing beliefs, etc. So how come we haven't?
When it comes to doctrine, culture, preferences, traditions, lifestyles, politics, behavior, etc., Mars Hill Church takes a “closed-hand/open-hand” approach. The closed hand hangs onto the non-negotiable tenants of Christian orthodoxy: sin is the problem, Jesus is the answer, the Bible is true, and Hell is hot.
The open hand, however, allows room for differences when it comes to secondary matters; we liberally allow freedom for conscience and wisdom to guide where the Bible is silent. The open hand fosters unity among the diversity of expressions found in the Mars Hill congregation: Democrats and Republicans, soccer moms and indie rockers, carnivores and vegans, trendy bohemians and Microsoft nerds.
Hence, Mars Hill Church is in favor of good beer (in moderation), great sex (in marriage), and even tattoos (Jesus has one). But our goal must always be love and concern for our friends so that we don’t enjoy our freedom at the expense of their faith.
In this way, we are seeking to simultaneously heed the Bible’s commands to have sound doctrine (1Timothy 4:16; Titus 1:9, 2:1), to love our Christian brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:7-21), and to avoid unnecessary divisions (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 12:25; Titus 3:10). [Source]
I'm proud that we can say that Jesus is the senior pastor of our church. A church isn't a building. It's a group of people. And if that group of people disagrees and fights about secondary beliefs that aren't the real ones that are supposed to be uniting Christians together, then they are forgetting about pleasing God. They are forgetting about what He did for us on the cross. Fighting about non-issues throws that all away.
The two main issues that Christians should be focusing on are 1) Loving God, and 2) Loving others. Jesus said so.
It's nice that the media hypes up Easter weekend by publishing a bunch of Christian-related stuff, but it all seems like fluff to me. I like stuff that really means something. Let's get to the real issues in life.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
And I am exhausted. I never knew that a quality relationship with a woman would be so hard.
I am trying to be the man that God wants me to be. I am continually trying to learn how to lead my future wife, but I keep screwing up. I keep being so prideful. I always (unintentionally) think that there is nothing about myself that I need to improve, and of course I'm always finding the faults in her. Why do I keep doing that? Am I not being open minded enough? Am I not seeing things from her perspective? Or God's perspective?
Oh yeah... God's perspective! I forgot about that. Oh crap... So often I forget about God. My purpose on this planet is to spend my life pleasing Jesus. He saved my life!
God created me. I disobey Him. I deserve death. Jesus died in my place. Now, I gave my life up to serve Him. For the rest of my life. Every day. I am His servant.
When I think about people who are servants or slaves, I think about someone with no life. I think about someone whose life is dedicated to pleasing the person in charge. So... am I doing that? No way. I am so selfish! I focus on so many other things: baseball, work, Jen, paying bills, saving money, listening to music, cooking, eating, sleeping, and blah blah blah ... how much of it do I earnestly do with the purpose of pleasing Jesus in the process?
One year later, I am having more fights with Jen, I'm disagreeing with her more, I'm frustrated with our relationship more often, I feel like we aren't communicating well, I just don't feel like it's working.
Here's the problem: I have been depending on myself and on her in order to try and make our relationship happy.
The truth is that relationships are NOT always happy! They are NOT always enjoyable! ESPECIALLY when I'm depending on two sinners to make everything better. When I lean on Jen, she's not always going to hold me up. When Jen leans on me, I'm not always going to hold her up. That's because we aren't perfect. There's nothing we can do about that. We can always keep trying and trying and trying to be perfect and not fail each other, but it's not going to happen! That's why Jesus MUST be the one that we both lean on in order to make the relationship work. If we both lean on someone who IS perfect and someone who will NEVER fail us, then when we both hurt each other, we'll both have Jesus there to support us.
We are complete not when we are living to please ourselves, but when we live to please Jesus. By pleasing Jesus, we are more patient, disciplined, gentle, kind, strong, and lovable. When we have our priorities straight, we are then able to dive into an intimate relationship with another sinner.
I love Jen so much. I want the best for her. I want her to have a fiance that loves her the same way that Jesus loves the church. But I can't give that to her. I'm not good enough for her. I'm not perfect.
I know what I need to do now. When I do my best to please Jesus, then both Jesus and Jen are pleased. That's my #1 priority. Every day.