Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Solace Arts Photography: updated site

Recently I mentioned that my friends Emily and Kolby were updating their photography website. Well their hard work has resulted in creating a beautiful new website design. Check out their new Solace Arts Photography website.

Solace Arts Photography also has a new logo, as seen here. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need quality photography work, then please check them out. A great married couple who love working together.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Resurgence Conference

Recently my mind has been boggled in regards to what I want to be when I grow up. Several people have told me I would make a good pastor, many have supported my pursuits towards counseling, and recently I have had thoughts about becoming a teacher after some talks with my wife. I just don't know yet.

Our upcoming move to Portland is a large obstacle in my path, but once we settle down in the Beaver State around the end of March, hopefully my view of the future will become relatively clear.

As for now, I am especially curious about where God might be leading me within the church. I have considered combining two of my desires and become a counseling pastor. After looking into the programs at Western Seminary and George Fox, there really wasn't anything that hit me very hard. I still haven't understood yet where exactly God wants me to go.

Sometimes when we don't know what God wants us to do, we just need to keep having faith that as long as we keep pursuing a desire to serve Him, then He'll guide us through big life-decisions.

One way that I am trying to get a better understanding of where He might be leading me is by attending the upcoming National Resurgence Conference here in Seattle at the end of February. I don't know what to expect. I've never been to a conference like this before. There is supposed to be an Acts 29 Network Church Planting Bootcamp there too, which should be helpful to get a better understanding of what is involved with seriously becoming a pastor.

The conference, titled Text and Context, will focus on understanding the Bible in context and applying it to today's culture. There will be wonderful teachers there, such as John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Jim Gilmore, and CJ Mahaney. Here is a trailer:

You can find more videos clips here.

I'm excited to learn more about God's Word through these great teachers. I am hoping to take lessons learned from this event and apply it directly to my life, whatever that may be in the future. It's essential that I use Scripture in my life no matter what.

Anyone else planning to go?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Finished Reading My Dad's Book and...

Social pressures can really affect a person's attitude, behavior, or belief of a certain something. This often happens with opinions on works of art or literature that a family member shows another. I know many parents get crappy drawings or finger paintings from their kids and because they love their kid they think they'll be the next Picasso.

Well I'm sure it's likely that the reviews of my dad's books are not completely well-balanced and probably somewhat biased. I like to recognize the fact that I am aware of this bias because hopefully you'll understand that I try to look at this objectively and attempt to look past my awkward position of social confinement.

That being said, I think that The Sanctuary, recently written by my dad (Gary Riedl), was wonderful. It was creative, well researched, and most importantly it kept my attention. Fiction books, in my mind, are categorized within two groups: 1) They hold my attention, or 2) They are boring and worth throwing across the room. The Sanctuary held my attention as good as any Michael Crichton or Robin Cook novel.

The Sanctuary is the second book of his Tuball series, following Tuball The Lost City. I read the first book years ago and I helped him with the first few drafts, so I never actually read the final product. I should sit down and do that one of these days. However, the great thing about these books is that you don't necessarily need to read them in order. He designed it so that you could just pick up the sequel and start reading without feeling lost.

The series is focused on a teenager named Shem, the son of Noah. It's historical fiction about Shem's youthful adventures with his uncle to and from the city of Tuball. The books feature dual story lines, one in the past and one in present day. As we read through the story of Shem and his travels to unknown cities, we also make discoveries in the present day on archaeological pursuits with Dr. Witherspoon and his graduate student, Jamal.

There is so much that I appreciate about this book. It's got it all... adventure, action, romance, inner character struggle, realistic conflict, conversation, and even some theological debate. It's a book that you don't just read and enjoy, but it additionally makes you think and ponder life once you put it down.

Now, to be fair, my dad still is a new writer. He does make mistakes. I found some errors here and there and notified him of them, but he is very appreciative of the feedback. He has such a great passion and vision for where he wants to go with his writing that he would love to be able to do it full time for the rest of his life. And I think that he could do it, too. He has great writing skills and ideas that will only propel him further into the depth of writing. I'm serious when I say that after reading certain chapters, I closed the book and thought to myself, Wow, my dad is a really great writer! I am so excited to keep reading!

So, there you go. Take what you want from my little overview. Highly recommended. I can get you a signed copy, too. ;-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Early Bird vs. Night Owl

I like to get up early. I am an early bird. After my morning shower, I'm wide awake... ready to start a new day. I actually dislike sleep. Sure, I know it's important to rest my body, and I do. But I would much rather be up and about getting stuff done. I like to be productive.

My wife does not like to get up early. She loves sleep. She sleeps in and waits until the very last minute to get ready in the morning. I still don't know how she does it... she wields her blow drier like a sidearm from a holster. She likes to relax and make sure her body is super-rejuvenated.

The problem is obvious. Conflict is unavoidable.

The first few months of our marriage, I nagged her about getting up early with me so we could spend time together in the morning before we go to work. I annoyed the heck out of her. We got into arguments about what time I expected her to get up and why she wasn't respecting me because she didn't do what I expected.

I ended up realizing that it was my own fault that we got into the arguments. I was the one sinning. Not her. I was being prideful because I was thinking about what I wanted more than what she wanted. I didn't stop to think about why she gets up so late. I didn't stop to think about why she enjoys sleeping.

I didn't stop to think. I do that a lot. It's not good.

I repented of my sin to God and to her and was given grace. I have learned to think about her more in the mornings instead of myself. I have learned that she gets up much quicker when I kiss her repeatedly on the forehead. She gets up much quicker when I do that. Funny how she responds better to love than to sin.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wii Are Distracted

We were very surprised to open up a Wii on Christmas Day a few weeks ago. My generous new in-laws shocked us with this amazing new video game system that both of us were excited to play with (although I was a bit more giddy than she was). Jen and I are both very thankful for this wonderful gift, especially because it's a fun thing to do when we have people over to our home to visit.

However, I must admit that video games are very distracting.

There are two reasons that I haven't bought a video game system since my Nintendo 64 in high school:
  1. It's expensive.
  2. It's time-consuming.
Reason 1 is out the window thanks to my new family, but I'm definitely going to have to work on Reason 2 by learning how to use my time wisely. How do I do that? How can I be more organized about the priorities in my life?

Answer: A Priority List.

It's important to keep track of your priority list (you have one even if you don't know it). Whatever it is that you do with yourself is a priority. It could be playing video games, spending quality time with your spouse, reading a book, watching tv, blogging, taking out the trash, knitting, cooking, eating ... these are all priorities. What we do with our day determines our priority list.

The good news is that we get to choose what we do with our day. I choose to love my wife. I choose to play video games. I choose to read. How I live my life is up to me.

So even though the Wii is fun, there are many other priorities I must invest time into. I don't want to become an old man wishing that I spent more time loving my wife or learning and growing instead of playing too much Wii.

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