Saturday, December 6, 2008

"We write this to make our joy complete."

Here in Honors, Ryan just started a Hall Bible Study, and we're going through the book of First John. John writes in 1:3-4:
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
Ryan asked, what does that mean--making our joy complete? And that got me thinking.

John walked and talked with Jesus for three years during his ministry. ("That which... we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched...," verse 1.) He knows this eternal life, "which was with the Father and has appeared to us." He has fellowship with the Father and, even though he's now ascended, his son Jesus Christ. It excites him! This is real, this is eternal life, and he wants them to know it too!

When I'm excited about something, it's even better when I find someone else who's excited about it too. When I see an awesome movie, I love to see it again with people who haven't seen it before, in the hope that they'll enjoy it as much as I do. Now we both enjoy it, and we fellowship in it--this enjoyment is something we share. Few people will go to a theater alone, no matter how awesome the movie is. When I see a hilarious YouTube video, I show it to my family and friends. There's a very real sense in which my joy in something is complete with I can rejoice in it with others.

I think that's what John means when he says, "We write this to make our joy complete." He has fellowship with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ. He wants us, reading this, to have it too. May we have the same desire for others, that our joy may be complete!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The love of God more than all

C.S. Lewis, in the preface to his book "The Problem of Pain":

"I must add, too, that the only purpose of the book is to solve the intellectual problem raised by suffering; for the far higher task of teaching fortitude and patience I was never fool enough to suppose myself qualified, nor have I anything to offer my readers except my conviction that when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trust and Obey

Quick thought that Jim Wilson shared with me after Soma last Tuesday:

"'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.'" Matthew 28:18-20

We're not to teach commands; we're to teach obedience to his commands.

We're to teach and practice loving Jesus--which is obedience! (John 14:23--"Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.'")

Friday, November 7, 2008


"But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ...." Phil 3:20

This is a delightful video that makes me think of heaven--

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama on Abortion

Upon request from my folks, here the note that triggered 33-comments-and-counting on Facebook. I'll be honest, my intention for posting it was to let my pro-life friends know that Obama is not a pro-life dude by any stretch of imagination.


Note: this is not meant to start a debate on abortion. My intent with this note is to show what this candidate stands for.

This is directly from his website. I encourage you to read it. (FYI, the Freedom of Choice Act--which Obama has promised to sign as president-- would override practically all federal, state, and local restrictions on abortion.)

"Chicago, IL -- Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement on the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

"Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it's never been more important to protect a woman's right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women's health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women's fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.

"Throughout my career, I've been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president."


Monday, October 6, 2008

Without Complaining or Arguing, Shining like Stars (Phil Pt 4)

Notes of Philippians 2:12-18, updated as I'm working on them.

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my presence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me."

This is marvelous.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

To Walk in Grace

Great song. I love how it the focus turns from my faith at the beginning to God's grace. That's where we are alive and without fear.

"Tip of my Heart" by Bebo Norman

It's on the tip of my heart /
The words to say /
There's an angry world pressed against my back /
And at every turn I keep looking back /

And I know you promise me / Love through eternity /
So why can't I just hold on?
I wanna laugh / I wanna be set free /
and let You hold all that my soul has deep inside of me
But I don't know where to start /
It's on the tip of my heart

So won't you take my hand / Cuz I'm sinkin in /
To this life I've made, but don't understand /
The clock moves so slowly / And time goes so fast /
In this whirlwind world that will never last
This love you've given me / It's not just make-believe /
Help me to just hold on

I wanna live / I wanna love /
But I'm afraid my simple faith will never be enough /
I wanna laugh / I wanna be set free /
and let You hold all that my soul has deep inside of me
But I don't know where to start /
It's on the tip of my heart

You've opened the skies / Opened my eyes /
All my fears you've scattered away /
So I walk in grace / cuz I've seen your face /
And you are all that matters to me

So I'm gunna live / I'm gunna love /
I'm not afraid because your grace will always be enough /
I'm gunna laugh / I'm gunna be set free
And let you hold all that my soul has deep inside of me /
And you've shown me where to start /
It's on the tip of my heart

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where I spent the summer

Some pictures from my summer residence in beautiful Coeur d'Alene Idaho. Well, that's where I worked, but these are from nearby Post Falls Idaho where I spent the second half of the summer with Luke (first half over in Rathdrum ID--didn't take pictures though). I need to carry my camera around with me more, because photos bring back great memories:

No jumping. Luke and I did that off smaller cliffs down river a couple miles (except off rocks).

Biking up the hills

Overlooking Post Falls

This was in my backyard. For real.

Definitely a beautiful place to spend a summer. Good times.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Unity through Humility: Philippians Part 3

Study Notes on Philippians 2:1-11. Looked up lots of Greek this week.

I decided to separate the notes from the questions, which will mean less page-flipping for me during the small group time.


"Lord I don't know where all this is going /
Or how it all works out /
Lead me to peace that is past understanding /
a peace beyond all doubt"

Great song by the Newsboys.

The next section in Philippians is amazing!

Been looking at Logos Bible Software Bible Study Edition, which looks like a really great tool. For just Bibles, has it all (great site). What appeals to me about Logos is the built in concordance, cross-references, lexicons, Bible Dictionaries, maps, commentaries, and more. Right now my Soma Prep involves 4 Bibles open (NIV, ESV, NASB, and the pocket Gideon NKJV), for the NLT version, the free E-Sword Bible Study software for Strong's Numbers referencing the original words, the lexicon for definitions of those words and to see other uses in Scripture (of course for a serious word study you want to cross-reference the original word, not the English word!), and maybe some commentaries. Logos puts that all in one place. Granted I still really like bound books, hence the multiple physical bibles, but I think I'd use Logos a lot. It's just a little pricy.

I'm so grateful to have a lighter class load this semester to have more time for all this good stuff. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Philippians - Part 2

Chapter 1, verses 12 through the end, here we go! Here are my notes for anyone who may be interested, and please do let me know if you have any comments, especially if you find anything wrong or iffy. (Much of this came from great discussion with Neil, Josh, Joe, Peter K, Liam, and Dan.)

Will we be so passionate about Christ that trials-—far from deterring us-—only make us bolder witnesses and draw us closer to Him?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin and Down's Syndrome

This is a really cool story about a family with a child with Down's Syndrome that met McCain and Palin:

Sarah Palin, of course, has a baby with Down's Syndrome that her family loves to death. And speaking of whom, McCain's choice of Palin was simply brilliant. It's turned me (and millions of other conservatives) from "I guess I'll vote for McCain" to an enthusiastic McCain-Palin supporter. I had resigned to the fact that McCain could no way beat Obama (who's a great guy but probably the most liberal candidate ever nominated by the Democrats, and least experienced too), and now McCain is ahead in the polls for the first time. Maybe Rudy Guiliani's super great speech helped with that too. (Although Sarah Palin's speech steals the show.)

Today there's an opinion article in the Evergreen that Palin's decision to "keep her child" was purely political. My response was something to the effect of "!?!?!?!?!!?!!?!?!!!" (Just ask my roommate.) The idea that people even would consider not "keeping a child" is absolutely appalling to me, although it happens all the time with Down's children. But to suggest that she didn't have an abortion because it was politically expedient is nonsense. She didn't have an abortion because it goes against every thing she believes. And that helps explain why I'm a huge fan of Palin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Philippians - Part 1

I've been having a blast making notes on Philippians. I got to put principles of hermeneutics (Bible interpretation--took a class from Pastor Doug last year on it) into action: things like word studies, analyizing thought structure, understanding the context... good stuff. You gain an appreciation for how rich and full scripture is.

Tonight I gave an introduction at Soma and then when we split into groups, I went through the material here with my group. This being the first time we've done this, I have a good idea where things need to be adjusted for next time. I certainly have a lot to learn about homiletics--how to teach Scripture. Although our main focus with the small groups is lots of discussion and interaction, the group leaders still put homiletics into action. (We follow an inductive Bible study method, focusing on three types of questions: What does it say? What does it mean? How does it apply to me?) Hearing other people's perspectives is wonderfully encouraging. I'm excited to prepare for next week.

If you're interested, my notes are posted here: Philippians 1:1-11. By all means, if you see anything wrong or questionable, please let me know!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Why I support John McCain

Please don't hate me for this, and if you disagree with me, we can still be friends, ok?

He wasn't my first choice, and there are things I don't like about him, but here's why I plan to vote for this guy over the other one (named Barack Obama. Maybe you've heard of him.) From John McCain's issues website, these are the quotes that make me say, "Right on!!"

"Overturning Roe v. Wade. John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat. However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion..."

Protecting Marriage. As president, John McCain would nominate judges who understand that the role of the Court is not to subvert the rights of the people by legislating from the bench. Critical to Constitutional balance is ensuring that, where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts must not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question. The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation."

"Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology. Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases - hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles. For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. ...As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos."

"Expanding Domestic Oil And Natural Gas Exploration And Production. The current federal moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf stands in the way of energy exploration and production. John McCain believes it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use... We have trillions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves in the U.S. at a time we are exporting hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas to buy energy. This is the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind. We should keep more of our dollars here in the U.S., lessen our foreign dependency, increase our domestic supplies, and reduce our trade deficit - 41% of which is due to oil imports."

Investing In Clean, Alternative Sources Of Energy. ... John McCain Will Put His Administration On Track To Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030 With The Ultimate Goal Of Eventually Constructing 100 New Plants. Nuclear power is a proven, zero-emission source of energy, and it is time we recommit to advancing our use of nuclear power. Currently, nuclear power produces 20% of our power, but the U.S. has not started construction on a new nuclear power plant in over 30 years.... "

"Seal the Pork Barrel. Among the most glaring abuses in Washington is the willful setting aside of taxpayer dollars for the pet projects of special interests, often through last minute additions to appropriations bills. Pork barrel spending is an insult to taxpayers, a waste of public resources, and an abdication of our leaders' responsibility to be good and honorable stewards of the public treasury, for the benefit of all Americans, not just a few."

"America's Space Program. 'Let us now embark upon this great journey into the stars to find whatever may await us.'"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

C++ Looping Beauty

(TODO: categorize posts)

/* This is for any programming folks out there! For the record, I realize that very few people reading this will understand more than 2% of this. So I won't be offended if you stop reading right here. I promise. Sometimes I'll write about programming in non-programming lingo, but this is very lingo-infested. */

Every Tuesday at Chief Architect we developers have a development talk (consisting of c++ libraries or Chief program architecture or design patters) over lunch (consisting of Qdoba, Pizza Hut, or a local deli). Earlier this summer, one of our developers gave a talk on high-level coding practices in C++, and made a couple shocking statement in particular.

1) Don't write loops.
2) Don't write conditionals

Loops and conditionals, of course, are two fundamental control structues and the buildling blocks of all computer programs since the 1960s or so. So of course it's not really possible to avoid them, and the shocking claims are better rewritten as follows:

1) Favor standard algorithms over manual loops.
2) Use polymorphism instead of conditionals.

Rule #1-- in C++, this often means using the for_each standard algorithm with functors. Suppose you have a list of images that you want to generate thumbnails of. The manual method, and the first that comes to mind for most programmers, looks something ilke this:

// Method #1
for (int i=0; i < images.size(), ++i) {
Bitmap thumb = shrinkImage(images[i]);

This works fine, but has at least one major downside. Suppose your "images" container is a list, which is good because you can add and remove from lists in constant time. However, to access the i'th element of a list, you have to traverse through each element in the list from the beginning to element i--no big deal if you're at say element 5, big problem if you're at element 10,000. So--under the hood--the first time through the loop you just grab element 0; the second time, you step over #0 to get #1; the third time, you step over #0 and #1 to get #2; the hundredth time, you step over #0 and #1 and all the way to #98 to get #99. (This is the same whether you're in C++ or Java or C# or Lisp or Basic or whatever, whenever you're working with a linked list data type.) Now, in C++ you can use iterators to solve this really quick:

// Method #2
for (list::iterator i = images.begin(); i != images.end(); ++i) {
Bitmap thumb = copyAndShrink(*i);

This time, by dereferencing the iterator (*i) you can work with items of the list as you're walking through it, which is phemonenally faster than before. But this is still a manual loop, and Rule #1 is about avoiding manual loops, like so:

// Method #3
void generateThumbnail(Bitmap& image)
Bitmap thumb = copyAndShrink(image);
std::for_each(images.begin(), images.end(), generateThumbnail)

THIS is what the rule's all about. Put your looping code into its own function or function object--functor (see example below). Why? For one thing, in Method #2, you had to worry about what kind of iterator you're using, which in that case was a list iterator. When you're using for_each, you can change your "images" datatype from a list to a vector to a raw array to a deque, or any container with a .begin() and a .end() method, without having to change your loop a bit.

This guideline doesn't just apply to for_each (which means, do something to each item in a container). The C++ Standard Template Library has a whole slew of functions that can replace manual loops: find, find_if, remove, remove_if, reverse, etc etc. These functions are written by people whose entire job is to make the most efficient algorithm mathematicaly possible, for whatever kind of iterator you're working with (which means whatever kind of container you're working with). And this is why it's better to use a library function rather than a loop whenever possible.

Now if you've actually understood all this, and unless you've used the STL a lot, you're probably thinking that there's no way this can replace ALL loop cases--which is (for pratical purposes) true. But it works well for a heck of a lot more cases than I originally thought. For instance, suppose your thumbnail loop needs to make thumbnail objects and place them in another collection, say a list. That is, you want to do this:

// Manual loop (a C++ vector is a commonly used container, not a vector like in physics)
vector images = loadImages();
vector thumbnails;
for(vector::iterator i = images.begin(); i != images.end(); ++i) {
Bitmap thumb = copyAndShrink(*i);

In this case, you can't just write an ordinary to do what you want in the loop, because the function will know nothing about the vector "thumbnails." Soooo you can make a function object--functor--and pass it a reference to thumbnails in its constructor. Then you "call" this function object just like you would an ordinary function, with operator() like so.

// Super cool and effecient loop
class LoadThumbnails : std::unary_function // necessary to use in a STL loop for typedefs
LoadThumbnails(vector& thumbsList) : mThumbsList(thumbsList) {}
void operator()(Bitmap& bmp)
Bitmap thumb = copyAndShrink(bmp);
vector& mThumbsList;
vector images = loadImages();
vector thumbnails;
std::for_each(images.begin(), images.end(), LoadThumbnails(thumbnails));

I'll talk about Rule #2 later. But I'll leave with just a couple quick observations (this is so much fun). (I know, I'm a nerd.) First, in the manual loops I used ++i instead of i++, because the pre-increment is one processor cycle faster than post-increment. (Post-increment copies the stored value, increments the stored value, and returns the copied value. Pre-increment increments the stored value and returns the stored value.) Second, these collections of Bitmaps should really just store pointers to bitmaps, because bitmaps are large and you don't want to keep copying them around in memory (which STL containers will do). If you're in a garbage-collected language like Java or C# then you're always got pointers. In C++ you have to keep track of who owns the memory to know who's responsible for deleting it... OR you could use a fancy smart pointer (like a boost::shared_ptr) which manages the memory by keeping a reference count, and every time its destructor is hit, it decrements the reference count, and when the reference count hits zero, voila! Deallocate the memory.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Had a great mini-vacation with my family in Kellogg, Idaho at Silver Mountain. (Random fact, the speed limit is 75 mph out there--I've never seen a speed limit greater than 70. I guess I need to get further inland more often.) We took lots of great pictures on my family's new camera, which is unfortunately by understandably with them and not with me, so maybe I'll make a facebook album from them next time I'm home. Which will occur, God willing, in four weeks, during the few days between when my job ends and the semester begins.


I'm not a big fan of Facebook Applications in general, but I put on these two a few weeks back and recommend them:

If you love music (so virtually everyone): "Currently Listening To." It shows the name, artist, and album cover of whatever CD you're currently listening to. This is one of the features I loved about Xanga back in the day.

If you love to read: "Currently Reading." Likewise, this just shows the book name, title, and cover of whatever you're reading. I love the simplicity of it. I don't have to sketch out all the books I've ever read, the books I own, the books I want to read, etc etc (there are more popular library applications out there for that), but this is just what I'm reading right now. It takes about 5 seconds. Both this and the listening to application work with a simple query, and this has picked up even the more obscure books I've tried.

I'm currently listening to Bebo Norman's greatest hits CD, which is amazing (he's got a duet with Rich Mullins, who died over 10 years ago), and reading the autobiography of Jonathan Goforth, a missionary to China after the turn of the century, who emphasized Revival by the work of the Holy Spirit through people who pray continually. Goforth--isn't that a wonderful name for a missionary??

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Majesty Come Down

I couldn't resist. I broke down and played my favorite two songs from Bebo Norman's Christmas CD, "From the Realms of Glory": Angels Interlude and Born to Die.

And the angels filled the sky /
All of heaven wondered why /
Why the King would choose to be /
Be a baby born to die

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Living as Witnesses

“‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” Acts 1:8

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience….” 1 Peter 3:15-16

“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.” 2 Timothy 1:8

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see you good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Mathew 5:16

The Problem:

The problem is twofold. First, college Christians too often do not live in that shining light—walking in the Spirit, filled with joy and peace, serving others in humility. As a result, unbelievers have no good works to see and praise God about.

Second, college Christians too rarely share the gospel with other people. There are several reasons for this. (1) We don’t care. When our hearts should break for lost souls, headed for hell, we often respond in casual indifference—focusing on our own business rather than caring for others. This selfishness is clearly sin, and we must repent of it. (2) We are afraid of rejection, or that others will think of us as strange. By valuing the opinion of people over the opinion of God, and by valuing their opinion over their lost souls, we sin and need to repent. (3) We shy away because we don’t feel confident enough to explain and defend the gospel. We must take Scripture's command seriously to always be prepared. Even so, we can’t cite a lack of readiness as an excuse when the Spirit prompts us to share. We’re called to be “witnesses”—a witness is simply someone who shares what he has seen (witnessed) Christ do in his or her life. We must confess our excuses as sin and repent, depending on the Spirit to the give us words to say and on Spirit to turn hearts from darkness to light.

Many Christians have a different problem. They do share the gospel, but they become discouraged because few respond. They can even feel responsible for the condemnation of those around them. These Christians need to remember that only God can open their eyes—Jesus declared, “I shall lose none of all that he (the Father) has given me” (John 6:39)—and to continue to faithfully speak the good news as the Spirit leads.

Monday, July 7, 2008

On Earth as it is in Heaven

"This, then, is how you should pray:

'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily break.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'"

Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:14-15


One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.

David, Psalm 62:11-12


Jon Foreman wrote a breathtakingly beautiful song from these two verses in "Your Love is Strong," Track 5 in his Spring album. These verses are what's so amazing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Line Style Editor

I'm just finishing up a project at Chief Architect, the small software company (also the name of their flagship product) where I'm working this summer. It's been a wonderful experience working here--the work day flies by, so I figure that's a good sign--and having a blast in design and programming. My recent project has been a line style editor:

What's a line style? If you draw a line in Microsoft Word, you can choose a set of line styles like dashed and dotted, but you can't customize them or anything. Chief Architect is a CAD (Computer Aided Design) tool tailored for home design, and a fundamental CAD tool is lines. Engineers and architects want a whole array of line styles (dash dot dash, dash dot dot, little-dash long-dash little-dash dot, dot dot dot dot little-dash dot, water line, power line, A/C, etc etc). My little editor here allows you to edit and create them from scratch. Anyways, I've had fun with it. Under the hood it's over 1000 lines of code. Didn't take long to get the basics working--it did take long to get all the intricate details and making it compatible throughout the system.

As I'm writing this, there's lighting flashing and thunder cracking all around me here in Post Falls ID. Sometime I'll have to take a picture the falls, which is literally across the street from Luke's and my place.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Instead of a Show

Last weekend I downloaded Jon Foreman's delightful album entitled Summer. (Jon Foreman is the lead singer of Switchfoot.) This completes four six-track EPs named after the four seasons, and I highly recommend all four. His songs from Scripture are amazing.

On Fall he has a song entitled "Equally Skilled" from Micah 7. Winter contains the song "White as Show" based on Psalm 51. In Spring he sings the Lord's Prayer in a song called "Your Love is String"--this is probably my favorite of the whole set. And Summer contains just about the most beautiful acoustic melody on one of the most beautiful Psalms, Psalm 23. The song's called "The House of God, Forever." Maybe I'll write a post on each one with the passage from the Bible they're so great.

Summer has another intriguing song based on Isaiah 1 called "Instead of a Show," targeted at us Christians who are prone to go throughout he motions of religion and miss the whole point: "you sing right along with the band / you shine up your shoes for services / but there's blood on your hands / you turned your back on the homeless / and the ones that don't fit in your plan / quit playing religion games / there's blood on your hands. Instead let there be a flood of justice, an endless precession of righteous living, living... "

The passage in Isaiah shows God's heart in this matter. He's not impressed by empty ceremony; he hates it. He wants me and you to live in the glorious light of goodness and righteousness that He gives:


From Isaiah 1:13-18 (NIV), the Lord speaking to his people in ancient Israel.

"Stop brining me meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations--
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
my soul hates.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
Your hands are full of blood: wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed,
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord.
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;
Though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mark Driscoll on Preaching Scripture

"I believe preaching through books of the Bible is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, it is important for Christians to learn all of Scripture and not just topics. Second, its is important for Christians to learn how to study a book of the Bible and how God inspired it to be organized and interconnected. Third, with so many new believers and non-Christians visiting Mars Hill, it is important that we teach in a way that allows them to follow along without getting lost as they try to jump around in the Bibles. Foruth, because all Scripture is God-breathed and for our benefit, there is not a page of Scripture that is not helpful to our faith, so we should examine it all. Fifth, going through books of the Bible forces us to examine a tough and controversial issues that we may otherwise ignore. Sixth, because our people easily connect with narrative teaching styles, a biblical and narrative teaching of the Bible most easily connects with their learning style as long as the Bible is presented as one universal story with Jesus as the hero."

Confessinos of a Reformission Rev., p 95.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Do you know when you discover something cool, or interesting, or profound, or funny - and you think it's worth sharing with other people? But you're afraid that you might forget it before it gets anywhere?

That's why I started this little site in a stroke of inspiriation (ha). To put share-worthy thoughts out there before I forget, and if no one reads them, that's okay, because at least by writing them I won't forget. Then I can share these interesting tidbits with people in person when they can't escape by pressing the little "x" button in their browser.

What kind of tidbits? Probably things to do with God, theology, Church, programming, Spanish, music, running...