Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top 10 Riedlblog Posts in 2007

I've had a lot of fun this year as it's been my first full year of blogging. I've learned many things since jumping into the blogosphere. I'm looking forward to a very interesting 2008 as I have many more life experiences on the way: Moving back to Oregon with my wife, finding a new job, a new apartment, new friends, old friends, a new church community, and much more.

In the spirit of looking over the past year and looking to the future, here's the Top 10 list of my favorite posts I have written in 2007:
  1. An Old Dude Touched My Privates - Mar 7
  2. I Won The Lottery!!! - May 4
  3. Hemorrhoids - Jun 11
  4. Honeymoons are Unfair - Jun 18
  5. Happy Fertilization Day! - Jun 28
  6. Husbands Love, Wives Respect - Jul 10
  7. Through A Tunnel: Hold Your Breath! - Sep 3
  8. Tough Choice: Sex or Baseball? Part 1, 2, 3 - Sep 27-Oct 4
  9. Last Thoughts From Single Life - Oct 18
  10. Snow! - Dec 1

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas Rat

We went down to Portland for the weekend to celebrate Christmas a few days early. Unfortunately we had to work today, so we didn't get to have a 4-day Christmas weekend.

My family rented Ratatouille and we all watched it on Saturday. It's a great movie. Pixar rocks my socks off. So much quality work is produced by that company.

Anyway, the end of the movie was brilliant. I won't spoil the ending for those of you who haven't seen it, but I do want to hash over the theme of the movie, "Anyone can cook."

Anyone can cook? Even a rat? Well, that's what one of the messages of the movie taught the audience: we shouldn't discriminate against others and give everyone an equal opportunity. Very true.

I also found another message in the movie. Here is a quote from a character in the movie who talks about greatness (this particular example is referring to the artistry of cooking):

"Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's [restaurant], who is...nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more."

This character is talking about Rémy the rat. Greatness? A rat? That seems pretty far-fetched, right? Well it's not too far from the truth.

Who can you think of who is greater than anyone else? Jesus. He was perfect. And he also came from humble origins, just as Rémy the rat had in the movie. Jesus' mother was a teenage girl and his adopted father was a construction worker. And she gave birth to him in a cave with animals because the hotels in the town were all full. They had to lay the newborn somewhere, so they put some hay in a feeding trough for Jesus to nap in. Can you imagine much more humble origins than those?

And now we still celebrate God's humble entrance into the world. He came in this way because he wanted us to understand that Jesus didn't have to be born into a wealthy or prestigious family. He was born as a humble servant. This is what our humble God does.

Images from and

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Video Games, Alcohol, or Something Else?

This story is so sad... click to read the CNN article.

It is about a 17-year old male and a 16-year old female who were babysitting her 7-year old sister while their mom was at work. The older one was drunk playing video games and the two girls were wrestling. Eventually the teens starting attempting moves from Mortal Kombat on the little girl. They kept beating her until she stopped breathing. The two unsuccessfully attempted to revive her themselves until they eventually called the mother and 911. The girl died at the hospital.

This could have been prevented.

Sometimes we must look at sad stories like this and learn from them. We must look at our own lives and figure out what we are doing that may cause pain like this in our future. We must think about our legacy. We must plan ahead.

I am excited to be a daddy some day. I am looking forward to spending time with my kids, watching them grow and develop into adults. However, I must remember that these kids won't grow up on their own. I will need to love, discipline, teach, and encourage my kids. I will need to be involved.

I don't know all the details of this particular family's issues, but I am pretty sure that the fault shouldn't be put on the video games or the alcohol. The problems lie in the heart of the family.

All families deal with sin problems in their lives. Thankfully, we are not expected to be the solution to the problem. Jesus has already come to the earth, lived the perfect life that we could not live, and has died for us as a sacrifice. God has given us saving grace through Jesus, but also empowering grace through the Holy Spirit. We have God's power to make the necessary changes in our lives to better glorify Him. We must stop being selfish. We must stop ignoring that which is obviously our fault. We must begin to own up to our problems and seek the solution for our hearts.

When was the last time we thought about our family legacy? How often do we think about how we will raise our kids? If we continue focusing only on ourselves instead of others, especially our kids, then why would we expect anything but another sad story?

Image from

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Big Surprise, Research Shows Women Are Better Suited for Pregnancy than Men

I just read a CNN article about the differences between women and men. The article cites new research that shows how women's backs are better suited for carrying and balancing weight during pregnancy than men's backs.

From the article:
Scientists think they have figured out why pregnant women don't lose their balance and topple over despite ever-growing weight upfront.

Evolution provided slight differences from men in women's lower back and hip joints, allowing them to adjust their center of gravity, new research shows.

When the researchers looked back at fossil records of human ancestors, including the oldest spines that go back 2 million years to our predecessor, Australopithecus, they found a male without the lower-back changes and a female with them.
Now, maybe the article just happened to leave out the scientists' actual reasons for basing this new discovery on evolution. But if not, then this is ridiculous because the researchers could have just found a slight difference between the anatomy of men and women and then point to evolution as the cause.

We all know that God could have easily created women with a differently shaped lower lumbar vertebra than men's. We all know that God could have easily created women with a key hip joint 14% larger than men's. We all know that God would have put some thought into the fact that women would be carrying a baby.

I like to think that an amazing discovery such as this points to God's power and ingenuity rather than "survival of the fittest."

Related article: Original Nature news article

Photo from

Cookies and Bark

Following in my sister's footsteps in the kitchen and the fact that it's pretty much a social expectation at work, I signed up to bring treats to work on Monday. Jen and I made scrumptious goodies... and the secret ingredient: Candy Canes!

Jen offered to make everything, but I wanted to help too. So we decided that she would make the Candy Cane Snowball cookies and I would make the Peppermint Bark.

They were a success! Lots of compliments at work. However, there were a lot more compliments for her cookies than for my bark.

After work I told Jen the news that she had received more praise from my co-workers than I had, and she replied, "You think everything is a competition, don't you?"

Yep. Pretty much!

I guess even making fun treats like this tests my humility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

War of Words

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles
by Paul David Tripp

Ever have a hard time communicating with people? Ever try to argue your point to someone, only to have it end in hurt feelings? Ever break down and give up when trying to explain something to someone? Everyone has experienced communication problems in one way or another. It might be with a husband, wife, child, parent, friend, enemy, roommate, co-worker, or even a stranger. You can't live in this world without communicating with others.

I highly recommend this book. Paul David Tripp does a fantastic job getting to the heart of our problems with talking with one another. He outlines what the problem is and how to change. Basically, the solution is the Gospel. The only way to change how we talk to one another is by getting to the root of the problem, which occurs in our hearts.

Here is an excerpt from the end of the book:
The damage can be seen in our offices, kitchens, family rooms, and cars, but the battle isn't really fought there. Battles of the tongue are really battles of the heart. What controls the heart will control the tongue. The tongue can set "the whole course of life on fire," or it can be used to "give grace to the ones who hear." It can viciously tear down or lovingly build up. It can condemn or give life. It can greet sin with love and forgiveness or with hatred and revenge. It can submit to the lordship of Christ or live under the control of the passions and desires of the sinful nature. It can pursue a lifestyle of ministry or a lifestyle of self-love, manipulating others to meet personal desires and expectations. It can be a fount of truth or a polluted stream of falsehood. It can create peace or cause war. It can curse or it can praise.

In it all, the tongue will serve the master to which the heart is already committed. It is time for us to submit to the Lord's claim on our tongues as our King and Redeemer. More than ever before, we need to be committed to speak for him.
As we do, we will learn to choose words of truth, love, restraint, grace, and forgiveness, even in the face of provocation. We will get excited about the grandeur of our calling as children of God. It is amazing that God would choose us to be members of his family! It is beyond amazing that he would call us to be his ambassadors, to represent him on earth, to communicate his loving appeal to a world enslaved to self.

The war of words is only won when God rules our hearts so that we gladly and consistently speak for him. May God help us, so that this world of evil will be transformed into a world of redemptive good.
This book has been especially helpful in my life, since I have come to realize that the words that come across to my wife are actually unloving and unlike Christ. In my heart, I am often stubborn and always want to prove to her that I am right and she is wrong. I am not humble. I am not sacrificial. I want to win. I want her to lose. That's what my hard heart's desire is.

But Jesus gives me his power through the Holy Spirit within me to understand that, and to continually soften my heart. I want to please God with my talk because of what he has done for me. He replaces my heart's desire to be the best with a new desire to serve. A new desire to be an ambassador representing Christ in my life and in my marriage.

I really got a lot out of this book, especially with his Scripture references and understanding them more in context. Paul David Tripp is also very honest and funny, and reveals much sin in his life and how Jesus has changed and is sanctifying his heart too. Go check it out.

Image from

Friday, December 7, 2007

What A Funny World

I was listening to the radio this morning, and some dude was giving "holiday season advice" about being thankful for what we have and to not be focused on just the things that we want.

I thought to myself, hmm that sounds familiar. And then I realized that he was basically giving advice straight from the Bible. And yet, if he had tacked on a Bible verse at the end of his comments, then tons of people would be up in arms about him trying to brainwash us or something.

Anyway, I just think it's funny (and sad) how often people gladly accept general statements that are true unless a controversial tag (like the Bible) is attached to it. Humans are funny creatures.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Why I Love Living in the City

I don't really know how I found this article. Often I surf the web and can't even remember how I got from point A to point B.

Anyway, I read this great Seattle PI article about my church, Mars Hill Church, and how we recently bought a nightclub in downtown Seattle (more details here). We will be renovating it and turning it into one of our newest campuses in early 2008.

The article is obviously written by a pro-religion Seattlite, which is relatively unusual for an article in the PI. I was very encouraged by reading this. I am excited about what Mars Hill is doing in this city. There are so many confused people out there, even those that are arrogant and blind to their blindness.

And then I read the comments section. Check it out. The Seattlites speak out. Just when I was being encouraged, I remembered how hated we are in the city. I realized how hated Jesus is in the city. I realized how wrong people in the city are (about some things).

But my heart went out for these people. Not in an arrogant, "I've got it all figured out and you need my help" kind of way, but in a compassionate way. I can obviously see their anger, hate, and rejection of the stereotypical "church" coming into "their" space. And I can see their need for peace.

I love living in the city because you can't ignore the people. When you have an opinion, there are always people who want to shoot it down. I love that. It forces me to think critically about what I believe. It forces me to know what I believe.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


It snowed today in Seattle! Thankfully on a Saturday instead of a weekday. I've noticed that one of the main differences between kids and adults is their opinion of snow. I always remember when I used to wish it snowed every day. Now, as an adult, it sucks when I have to drive through the snow (very dangerous in Seattle) and go to work in the snow (instead of playing in it).

As Jen and I were warm and cozy in our apartment and watching the fluffy white goodness fall outside, I was reading through the book of Luke. I love this book because he was a physician, which also translated into the way he wrote: orderly, chronological, and conclusive. I appreciate that, so I enjoy it.

The funny thing is that I stumbled upon an appropriate passage for reading in the snow: Luke 12:49-59. It actually talks about dark clouds and the weather! Hmm... coincidence?

Jesus talks about how ridiculous it is for us to hear the Gospel and not understand that we should be getting prepared for. He is preaching to them (and to us) and we should know that one day God will judge us and ask us how we used our lives to please Him. Jesus relates this to the weather by telling us:
"When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming,' and so it turns out. ...You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?"

Isn't it interesting that we see a rain cloud (or today, a snow cloud!) coming and we prepare by putting on a warm coat, scarf, pants, and boots. Likewise, we must see the signs that God has put in front of us and prepare the same way.

First picture I took of my cute wife walking in the snow, and the second picture she took from last year's storm in Seattle.