Skip to content

Stabbed in the heartland

Posted by Tim: 04/03/2009 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003939

The heartland of America just got butchered today as the Iowa Supreme Court failed to demonstrate enough backbone to protect the traditional definition of marriage.

As a Christian and as an American that loves this country, I am very disappointed by this decision. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 19:4-6 that marriage was created by God to be between one man and one woman for life. To violate that runs counter to the very nature of humanity and the very will of God. Such a move will not go on without dire consequences to individuals and to our nation (see Romans 1).

I liken this decision to shooting a big ol' hole in the bottom of our boat... right alongside ones created by such things as no fault divorce laws. This hole, though, was done with a shotgun instead of a 22.

Now, this boat is large, so it will take awhile to sink. But make no mistake, the water is rising.

My brother, a lawyer in DM, said this about the decision to strike down the homosexual marriage ban:

We’ll have to see how it shakes out, but right now I think there will be a significant rush to Iowa to get married before the legislature does something about it.

God help us all... and pray for America (see I Tim. 2). Our nation as we have known and loved it for nearly 233 years, is sinking even faster.

Thumbing the nose at 40 days of Life

Posted by Tim: 03/09/2009 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003935

During the national 40 days for Life campaign, President Obama removes restrictions on tax payers funding embryonic stem cell research. Tony Perkins of The Family Research Council wrote a great column about this development. I attached a part of it below.

Also, a guest speaker at Stonebrook, medical doctor Tommy Mitchell, spoke on this issue. You can listen to it here (it's the message at the bottom).

God help us.


For eight years, President George Bush proudly displayed in the Oval Office a bust of Sir Winston Churchill on loan from Great Britain. As a gesture of goodwill, the British government offered to let President Obama keep the statue during his term as a symbol of our longstanding friendship. Obama declined, shipping the bust back to England--and with it, the reminder of Churchill's great wisdom. It was he who warned that if evil prevails "all that we have known and cared for will sink into a new Dark Age, made more the lights of perverted science."

Today, that "perverted science" took root in America in a powerful new way, as President Obama tore down the wall between the federal government and embryonic stem cell experiments. By executive order, he took the first step in overturning the restrictions on taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research. His decision will allow government agencies to use federal money to encourage experiments on innocent human life, abolishing a ban that Bush put in place in 2001.

Obama's decision puts the government in a business which is not only unethical but also medically unnecessary. As recently as last week, researchers announced that they had successfully turned ethically created cells into the neurons that break down in Parkinson's disease. The week before, scientists produced evidence that they had treated Parkinson's in a patient with his own adult stem cells. Almost daily, researchers are celebrating new breakthroughs without compromising a single human life. Over 70 diseases and conditions have already been treated through adult stem cells, helping patients overcome everything from juvenile diabetes to heart disease. There is a common misconception that ESC research hasn't yielded these same results because it's not legal. It is. Only federal funding has been restricted. Private, commercial, and even state ESC experiments continue to no avail. That's why the ESC community is so desperate for federal funding. Many of the private ESC financiers see the method as an expensive failure. Even Dr. James Thomson, who first grew human ESC in 1998, has pulled his resources from embryos and invested in induced pluripotent (or iPS) cells, because, apart from the satisfying the moral dilemma, these cells are easier and cheaper to reproduce.

While the Obama administration and its supporters claim to be on the cutting-edge of science, the new President is pursing old technology. And thanks to the latest stimulus package, he will have at least $8 billion to do so. In a clever political move, Obama put the money in place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during the second "bailout," then moved ahead with rescinding Bush's restrictions. As he stated today, it will be up to NIH to decide in the next 120 days on the guidelines for ESC research.

Reflections on Ash/ Lent & Life

Posted by Tim: 02/25/2009 :: Tim's thoughts :: 8 comments on 003934

So I just came back from my first Ash Wednesday service at a Great Commission Church. I didn't think I'd ever see the day.

Ever since my salvation, I was set free from guilt and legalism and have not succumbed to mindless ritual or religious obligation since. It's been good.

As you can tell, I came to the service with mixed emotions. I wasn't looking forward to being reminded of sins that God says "I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17). Yet I was looking forward to some quiet reflection and prayer after a rather stressful day/ week/ life. It was good, but God gave me an unexpected bonus.

I came thinking about the 40 days for Life campaign and how I was suppose to give a plug for that. Yet, this too gave me mixed emotions.

I have been burdened by the plight of the unborn and the deep wounding abortion causes on women for years. As a college kid in the 80's, I organized and led an annual Pro-Life march during the anniversary of Roe-v-Wade. I have always been challenged by God's admonition in Prov. 24:11-12 and Jesus' mission of life, not death.

But I feel that Christians in general, and "evangelicals" in particular, have been seriously beat down in this issue. The media has beat believers into submission by reporting everything we do to rescue the unborn as being "against abortion", "anti-choice", "opposed to women's rights", and so on. Since we don't want to be known for "what we are against" and since we naturally want people to like us, we do little to nothing to stop the greatest atrocity in human history.

So, with all these emotions flying around, I stepped up to the stage to speak and all my rehearsed lines were immediately replaced with a confession of our national sin. Following in the line of the great prophets of the OT who identified with and decried the sin of Israel and the nations around it (including child sacrifice- Ezekiel 23:39), I felt compelled to do the same.

Now, I no where came close to the passion and conviction that these prophets did, but it certainly caught me off guard and placed on my heart a deeper burden for the unborn and a greater appreciation for Christ's salvation. For as I identify with the sin of my nation... its adultery, its profanity, its child sacrifice... the redeeming power of Christ's blood becomes all that more awesome... in the truest sense of the word... to me.

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

Can you be good without God?

Posted by Tim: 11/12/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 8 comments on 003923

The American Humanist Association's Christmas(?) campaign "Why believe in god? Just be good for goodness sake." is hitting the news hard even before the ads have been made placed on DC buses. They are following in the footsteps of their overseas equivalent, the British Humanist Association, that ran a similar campaign saying, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

Besides being extremely insensitive and intolerant of the faith of many, these campaigns raise some interesting questions. Can a society or an individual be good without God? Does believing there is no God relieve someone of worry? I think these questions would make for a great dorm discussion... oh how I long for those days. ...

Sorry, short daydream there. These questions remind me of Jesus' response when he was addressed as "good" in Luke 18:

And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

And Jesus answered him by deflecting the adjective of good to God alone saying:
And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

Then what does he do? He quotes some of the 10 Commandments written by the very finger of God as the standard and definition of good:
"You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'"

Even though the ruler thought of himself as good, Jesus quickly corrected him by exposing his love for wealth over God.
The message is clear. You cannot separate the Christian ethic from Christ. You cannot maintain a standard of good without God. (I strongly recommend the movie: Time Changer which really nails this point). Currently, western societies are reaping the benefits of Christianity and are under the delusion that they can maintain such civilized societies without God. But if you take away Christ and the church, it will only be a matter of time before you take away a universal sense of good and the world will turn to unbridled selfishness. The Scripture predicts this in 2 Timothy 3:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Pray for atheists and pray for America. Speaking of such, I thought I'd throw this in for prayer (not that it's any surprise):

We now know that Obama will sign Executive Orders immediately to force taxpayer funding of overseas abortions AND to reverse the Bush policy limiting tax funding for embryonic stem cell research! Article here.

The leading abortion rights organizations in America say they are confident that Barack Obama will push for the full abortion agenda, including the Freedom of Choice Act, comprehensive sex ed and “reproductive rights” that include “affordable" birth control. Read the article here.

Obama's nation does not seem to include anyone deemed as unexpected or unwanted. Those are the ones the church has historically loved and rescued. Christians, prepare yourselves to lay down your lives like never before.

The election is over... now what?

Posted by Tim: 11/05/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003922

Now that the election is over and Barack Obama and many like-minded democrats have won seats in congress, what ought a Christian to do?

The same thing if John McCain had won.
Pray for Obama and for all governing officials. I Tim. 2:1-2
Submit to our governing authorities. Rom. 13:1
And honor our president-elect (don't bash him or make fun of him). I Peter 2:17

Also, though, we must always be mindful that our true king is the King of kings and we must submit to and honor Jesus Christ above all others. We must continue to do what is right and loving by zealously protecting the life of the unborn, exposing sin as destructive and an offense to the Creator (including the pc protected LGBT sexual behaviors), and we must continue to speak His name that the lost may be saved.

Doing such things may very soon become a hate crime in our country resulting in fines and imprisonment for faithful Christians, especially Christian leaders whom they will target. So we must be courageous as we face the days ahead... and wise... because we may be entering an era where good is called evil and evil good.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20

Thee issue

Posted by Tim: 11/03/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003921

The Christian ethic of love (I Cor. 13, Galatians 5:22-23, I John 3:16-20) is no more poignant than when it comes to protecting the life of the innocent, the defenseless, the rejected. If a person has the means to demonstrate such love, it is his/ her duty to do so.
Christians throughout the ages have suffered much to show love to such as these... discarded babies, escaping slaves, condemned Jews.
Now it is our turn. Now is the time for everyone who has the power to do so to protect such unwanted life... the life of the unborn. And to anyone whom much influence has been given, much is required.
If the most powerful leader of the most powerful nation on earth will not take a stand and draw a line in the sand for the right of the unborn to live, then such a leader has failed the test of love... such a leader has failed the test to lead.

Sizing up the candidates from a biblical perspective

Posted by Tim: 10/13/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003919

It came up as a point of contention in my "Vote with your brain" blog of the depth and sincerity of Obama's Christian faith over McCain's as evidenced by how much Obama talks about it versus how little McCain does.

There are several warning flags that must be raised before ever stepping on something as personal as ones faith.

First, we MUST make sure that we are not judging by mere appearances but make a right judgment. Jesus himself taught us to do this after people were reacting over things he said (or wasn't saying) (John 7). Let's make sure we don't make the same mistake by reacting to a sound bites here or there... but then how does one make a right judgment? Keep reading...

Secondly, we MUST be a wise as serpents, yet as innocent as doves. Jesus taught this in Matthew 10 when commissioning his disciples to go out into the world and influence it for good rather than be influenced by it. "Beware of men", Jesus said, and we need to heed those words now more than ever. We must not be naive and think that what we are hearing via the media outlets is an accurate rendering of the truth.

Reporters are people too with motives and biases that shade their perception of the facts. Long before this political season came along, surveys indicated that the media is heavily slanted in a liberal direction. We need to be wise enough to keep that in mind when listening to what they are saying/ reporting, especially with anything that touches on religion and politics. To not do so sets you up to be deceived.

Lastly, we MUST remember that we will know them by their fruit far more than by their rhetoric. Jesus said that we will be able to recognize false prophets by the fruit of their lives (Matthew 7). What do their actions say? When you look at Obama's and McCain's track record, anyone with eyes to see will realize that they are polar opposites. As such, it should not be hard for the discerning Christian to identify who is bearing the fruit of a Christian via their political positions and decisions and who is not.

There are 3 big tamales that help me separate the wheat from the chaff.
1. Pro-life vs pro-choice.
Jesus is for life (John 10:10). Heck, He is life (John 14:6). Can anyone in their right mind imagine Jesus endorsing the termination of an unwanted pregnancy or terminating the life of an "unwanted child". Jesus beckoned children to come to him and said that we should be like them (Matthew 19).
The verbal and voting record of McCain is FAR MORE pro-life than Obama's. In fact, Obama repeatedly voted against partial birth abortion and spoke against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Now McCain may not be as pro-life as they come, but he is far more protective of innocent unborn lives and the women who carry them than Obama is.

2. Pro-family/ marriage vs pro-homosexual.
Jesus is pro-family and pro-marriage (Mark 10:1-9). Heck, he created marriage and family, and defined it as between one man and one woman. He knows humanity. He knows how we are made and how we work. And he designed us to experience the most out of life in the context of a loving, providing family with a mom and a dad. Do we even need to argue this?
Again, the verbal and voting record of McCain is FAR MORE pro-family and pro-traditional marriage than Obama's. In fact, Obama opposes DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which undermines the most fundamental institution of any society on earth. McCain has been stalwart in defending and protecting parental rights and the institution of traditional marriage.

3. Freedom of speech (even unpopular speech) vs hate crimes/ suppression of speech.

Now, no one can say that Jesus was a pc kind of guy. He said his fair share of volatile things (John 6), but always in the name of truth and never to defame another person's name. In I Timothy 2, we are instructed by Paul to pray for a government that leaves Christians alone so that we can live out our faith without government intrusion which included spreading the gospel message that we are sinners in need of a Savior.

That message, in particular the sinner part, would be considered a hate crime and subject to fines and imprisonment if homosexuality is listed as a sin to repent and turn from. Obama voted to create the hate crimes prevention act which included sexual orientation. McCain has sought to protect American citizens to express their conscience and convictions without interference from the government. Since this issue so directly affects the gospel itself, it may be the issue that affects America more than any other.

Now, if you find my reporting of the candidates positions/ record suspect, feel free to check it for yourself. Google it or go to this website that has done the work for you. Barack Obama here... and John McCain here.

There are other issues out there: the war, poverty, the economy, but I picked 3 that I feel Jesus and the Scriptures provide a clear lens by which we can examine the fruit of one's life by. Life, Family, and Freedom. Can we conclude by this that Obama is not a Christian and McCain is. I wouldn't go that far. But it does clearly indicate, that McCain's fruit is in line with the teachings of Jesus, while Obama's fruit is not in keeping with the teachings of Jesus and will yield a harvest of unrighteousness in our land. And the Scriptures are clear...

"When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;
but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding." Proverbs 28:12

Vote with your brain

Posted by Tim: 09/28/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 8 comments on 003918

So... we've all been hearing the rhetoric: change, reform, hope, country first, ect...

But what do Barack Hussein Obama and John Sidney McCain III really believe and really stand for? Because we all know that once the election is over, what these guys really believe in is the direction they will lead the nation in regardless of any campaign promises or tag lines they rode into Washington on.

We'll, I recommend you give this voter issue guide a look for starters. If you have any questions on the accuracy or the basis for the position they are given in this card, drop me a comment or an e-mail.

Thoughts on the heart

Posted by Tim: 08/13/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003907

I have so much I could share about the Decorah church plant trip I was on a few weeks back, the Parent Teen Leadership Conference a week after that, or the vacation to the Creation Museum last week, but reading an old Daylights entry is what I feel compelled to pass along for now. It's from an April 13 entry by Bill Young.

Spiritual Heart Diagnosis

If your words are harsh... you have an angry heart.
If your words are negative... you have a fearful heart.
If your words are overactive... you have an unsettled heart.
If your words are boasting... you have an insecure heart.
If your words are filthy... you have an impure heart.
If your words are critical.... you have a bitter heart.
If your words are encouraging... you have a happy heart.
If your words are gentle... you have a loving heart.
If your words are truthful... you have an honest heart.

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" II Cor. 13:5

Prince Caspian review

Posted by Tim: 05/21/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 003879

So Kristen and I sneaked out of the house with Nina a few days back to catch the latest movie in the Chronicles of Narnia series "Prince Caspian".
Out of 5 stars, I would give it a 4.5. It was a fabulous movie heightened by my own awareness of the deeper subplots and symbolism gained from reading the book. But even without the book, it was a great movie. I strongly urge everyone to see it.

Even more so, though, I urge everyone to read (or listen) to the Chronicles of Narnia books. At face value, the books are incredibly creative, exiting, and enjoyable. But when we track with the Christian symbolism in these tales, you will find your soul being drawn toward a deeper understanding and appreciation of the heart and mind of God and your own faith journey.

The movie touches on it, but dialog with Aslan in the books are inspirational. Read the books. See the movie.

Confessions of a pastor-man

Posted by Tim: 05/19/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003877

So, I really did not want to go to last night's (Sunday 5/18) prayer meeting. Yeah, I know we call it Deeper, but we all know that it's a prayer meeting... and I didn't want to go.

My body was physically strained from a scout campout where we climbed cliff faces at Backbone State Park. You know something, climbing uses muscles that you haven't used since you were a kid climbing trees. It was fun... but it was painful.

So I was tired physically, and I emotionally was tired at the thought of another jam-packed week of meeting needs, preparing two messages, answering an onslaught of e-mail, and on and on.

But I'm a pastor-man so "I have to go". It's my job. I'm supposed to be into this stuff. And my kids are watching me... noting my choices... following my example. I needed to go. So I went.

How many times must I fight through my flesh and die to myself to discover how sweet it is to be in the presence of God and His people. I don't know, but I learned the lesson again last night. Deeper lived up to its name. It was deep.

It was a rough start, though, since the worship was with newer songs that I didn't have memorized yet... plus I had an attitude. After that, though, we dug into Ephesians 2 and discussed all that God has done to rescue us. We then broke bread (had communion) and gave thanks.

We also reflected on Acts 24:16 about having a clear conscience before man and God, and quietly gave our burdened hearts and minds over to Him. It was good to talk to God about my own faith struggles... like wanting to blow off a "prayer meeting".

But let me cut to the quick. Deeper really became rich for me as we shared with each other what we've seen God doing in our midst. Oh my, I just didn't know. I just didn't know how "on the move" God was.

It started with Jason Dietzenbach sharing that he and Eryn just an hour ago introduced a guy, Dan, to Jesus Christ! We erupted into clapping upon hearing such great news of the advancement of the Kingdom into another life.

Then Gail Colbert shared that her daughter, Kayli, led her other daughter, McKenzie, to faith in Christ yesterday!

Then Annette shared that Moriah Harris led a teenager who was coming to Youth group, Megan, to Christ two weeks ago!

Then Bob Hibbing shared about leading a Sudanese man, Dak (?), into a prayer to receive Christ! He also praised God for the ever growing International church at Stonebrook hitting a record attendance. And it just went on and on!!

And praying for each other at the end of the time didn't consist of healing my grandmother's ingrown toenail, either. We entrusted to God the impact that many of our efforts to touch people's lives in Ames this summer would have... and for 3 saints to experience safety and be a light for Christ as they go overseas to Japan, Turkey, and Germany.

It was a good night. May I never doubt again.

It's time to get eXpelled.

Posted by Tim: 04/18/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 6 comments on 003864

Today is the opening day of a movie that has gotten more criticism and praise by people who have never seen it than any movie in history. Have you stopped to wonder why that is? Why have you, even, had an inclination toward condoning or condemning the movie before you've even seen it?

I was first directed toward the website last year and at first was a little turned off by the facetious nature of the website. I personally don't like it when people make fun of Darwinism (evolution) and, even more so, Darwinists (evolutionists). I don't see the conduct as winning any friends or arguments.

But, after seeing who was behind the movie (Ben Stein), and knowing his own blend of comedy and intellectualism, I tried to get past that and discover what the movie is really trying to say. According to the website and those who have seen sneak previews of the film, the movie does a powerful job of exposing a deliberate effort to suppress intellectual freedom in academia by refusing to publish papers/ documentaries that point to an Intelligent Designer as a casual agent, to denying tenure to professors who hold to such perspectives, to outright firing scientists who express serious concerns about the veracity of Darwinism (macro-evolution exclusively, the molecules to man scenario).

I myself, while taking geology at ISU, took heat for believing in Creation. While serving as the geology club president, I had our Veishea display represent the various views of origins. In the biblical view, I included scientific support for the Genesis model. As soon as the grad students and professors saw it, I was criticized for creating it and told to remove the display. My scientific evidence was not questioned, just the context and conclusion I reached via them.

For those not in the sciences or for those who have accepted Darwinism (neo or otherwise), you may find this notion of suppression of thought to be exaggerated or outright fallacious. But for those science students or scientists who are drawing conclusions contrary to orthodox evolution, it's all too real.

I strongly encourage everyone to see Expelled- No Intelligence Allowed for themselves and judge it by the actual content of the movie. In case you haven't heard, Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez (ISU astronomy professor who was denied tenure for holding to Intelligent Design) is featured in the film and will be answering questions at the Varsity II theater in Ames after the 7:30pm showing today (Friday).

Happy Resurrection Sunday

Posted by Tim: 03/23/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 003850

I will call this day Easter out of ease and necessity to communicate to people, but I prefer to call it Resurrection

Sunday. This is what WikiAnswers says about Easter:
The English name, "Easter", and the German, "Ostern", derive from the name of Germanic Goddess of the Dawn (thus, of spring, as the dawn of the year) - called �aster, �astre, and �ostre, in various dialects of Old English. In England, the annual festive time in her honor was in the "Month of Easter", equivalent to April. The Venerable Bede, an 8th Century English Christian monk wrote in Latin:

"Eosturmonath, qui nunc paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a dea illorum quae Eostre vocabatur et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit."

Which means: "Eastermonth, which is now interpreted as the paschal month, was formerly named after the goddess Eostre, and has given its name to the festival."

Whereas Resurrection Sunday is a day of rejoicing. A day when people around the world remember that Christ came to fulfill all the prophesies of His life, His death, His burial and His resurrection in order to make us free! It's the day He defeated death and came back to life in a glorified body.

Pastor Brad shared a tremendous message on this historic event at Stonebrook. Give it a listen!

What's so good about Good Friday?

Posted by Tim: 03/21/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003848

"It was good for us." That's been the answer floating around our house these past few days. It was extremely painful and difficult for Jesus, but amazingly good and wonderful for us. As Nina put it this morning, "It's when Jesus died on our sins for the cross. ... did I say that right?"

Some quick research on the web reveals some of the rationale for calling the day that Jesus was crucified "Good Friday". One succinct and relatively thorough sites was Rev. Ken Collins website which said,

Calling the day of the Crucifixion ‘Good’ Friday is a designation that is peculiar to the English language. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The Kar part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word care in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, it is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned. They thought all was lost.

I’ve read that the word good used to have a secondary meaning of holy, but I can’t trace that back in my etymological dictionary. There are a number of cases in set phrases where the words God and good got switched around because of their similarity. One case was the phrase God be with you, which today is just good-bye. So perhaps Good Friday was originally God’s Friday. But I think we call it Good Friday because, in pious retrospect, all that tragedy brought about the greatest good there could be.

I can see virtue in either terminology. If we call it Mourning Friday, as in German, we are facing reality head on, taking up the cross if you will, fully conscious that the Christian walk is seldom a walk in the park. But if we call it Good Friday, as in English, we are confessing the Christian hope that no tragedy—not even death—can overwhelm God’s providence, love, and grace. Either way seems fine to me!

And I agree. Thank you Lord Jesus for dieing for me.

Have a blessed Maundy Thursday!

Posted by Tim: 03/20/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003846

To help my family experience the most of Holy Week, I did a little research on this peculiar day. I found the info on to be very helpful and enlightening and convicting as to what Maundy means and why this day is honored. Read below:

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week (the Thursday before Easter). It was the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, sharing a meal with them which we call the Last Supper.

In those days it was usual for a servant to wash the guests feet on arrival. On this occasion there was no servant present and none of the disciples volunteered to do the menial task. Instead, Jesus got up and washed his disciples feet, giving them an object lesson in humility and service.

In some churches priests carry out a ceremonial washing of the feet of twelve men on Maundy Thursday as a commemoration of Christ's act.

In Britain it is still customary for the sovereign to give 'Maundy Money' to a number of male and female pensioners - one man and one woman for each year of the sovereign's age. The money is contained in two purses: one red and one white. The white purse contains specially minted coins - one for each year of the sovereign's life. The red purse now also contains money, in lieu of gifts which used to be offered to the poor. Up to the time of James II the sovereign also washed the feet of selected poor men.

The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin for 'command' (mandatum). It refers to the command given by Jesus at the Last Supper, that his disciples should love one another.

Advance and Retreat

Posted by Tim: 03/05/2008 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003838

God tells us via Paul to the Ephesians, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Iowans need to go on the advance right now and expose an immediate effort to redefine (destroy) the institution of marriage. I received the following e-mail from a dear friend:

Family and Friends: Please and/or e-mail your State senator and ask them to support the Rule 42 petition. Please read on.

As you may be aware, the Republican-led drive to get the marriage amendment out of State House committee failed yesterday. Some feel there may yet be a chance in the State Senate. I feel extremely burdened, spiritually, on this matter. Frankly, It's bothering me enough that its affecting my ability to focus on the Job this morning.

I cannot stomach an open floodgate of homosexual couples coming into this state to get "married", and then going to other states to demand marriage reciprocity.

He then included this information from organizers of the effort to allow a democratic vote on a marriage amendment issue and not let a judicial oligarchy decide for us.

Because of the thousands of calls and emails you have sent your legislators, they are starting to understand how important this issue is to Iowans. We have had several Democratic Senators sign the "RULE 42 PETITION." This petition only needs 26 signatures and it will automatically force the bill out of committee and to the floor for a vote. Senators Black and Hancock have signed this (both Democrats). This issue is not necessarily divided down party lines, so please call your senator and let them know that you would like them to sign the petition.

Call these senators at 515-281-3371 and leave a message simply asking them to please sign the "RULE 42 PETITION." I just did. We have until Thursday, March 6!
Senators to call: Staci Appel - Daryl Beall - Eugene Fraise - Keith Kreiman - Rich Olive - Tom Rielly - Joe Seng - Brian Shoenjahn - Frank Wood.
Rich Olive is a state senator for Story county.

Also, Mike Gronstal 515-281-3901, Pat Murphy 515-281-3221 head the committee that the marriage amendment process is stalled in.

After taking a stand for the good of all people (even the homosexual though they do not understand that), I encourage you to retreat with me to the peaceful and joyful confines of Zeke's to hear Derek Webb in concert. He is truly a fantastic musician originally from the band Caedmon's Call. His music is characterized by his vulnerability and authenticity.
It will be a great place to be reminded that the ultimate hope for mankind is in Christ alone.

I had a dream

Posted by Tim: 10/18/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 003805

Three nights back I had a dream that I have not forgotten. I typically don't have dreams that I remember... or are worth remembering... but this one I don't think I will ever forget.

I was with several people in an observation booth overlooking the Grand Canyon. I remember looking out the window at the canyon filled with excitement to be there seeing and experiencing it.
Alongside a cliff face not but 20 feet from the window was a rock climber. I noticed him, but I was too busy enjoying myself to really notice anything more than that.
I remember in my dream mingling and talking with the people with me and occasionally glancing out at the canyon and the climber. Then I literally felt myself move from a position of self concern to a concern for the climber. It was weird. I actually felt it... my heart and mind turn from a me orientation to an others orientation.

I looked again at the climber. He was still there. Unmoved. Looking up for a handhold. Looking down for a foothold. Apparently he was finding none, because he hadn't moved an inch since the first time I saw him.
This time, I noticed a horrid look of desperation on his face. I can still see it as I type this. Fear and desperation. I noticed another look on his face too... it looked like hopelessness. Like he had grown too tired to hold on.
I knew right then that he was in trouble. He needed help. He was stuck on that cliff face and needed help now! But I noticed him too late.

I watched him slip and fall. I saw the horror on his face as he fell the immense distance to the bottom of the canyon.

I saw him hit the bottom. He landed in a small pool of water that had collected near the Colorado River. I saw a guy at the bottom rush over to where he hit, but there was no helping him now.

Then I woke up and the dream has been on my mind ever since.

Who is your shepherd?

Posted by Tim: 10/11/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003802

I remember, years ago, talking to a college friend who brought up the teaching he heard at church on Sunday the week before. He talked about some of the thoughts shared and how he was trying to incorporate it into his life. I still remember it, because I remember being shocked by it.

Why was this so shocking to me? Well, it was late in the week... a Thursday or a Friday... and he still remembered the teaching and was thinking about!! I, on the other hand, had forgotten about the teaching shortly after I had exited the building and hadn't given it a second thought. I was impressed by this guy's humility, and by his eagerness to, well, to follow.

Ever since that time, I've pondered the default attitude of so many Christians, myself included, to go to church on Sunday to consume whatever is being offered. Wow me with the music. Impress me with the message. Did I enjoy myself? Did I get something out of it? If not, their bad. Maybe I should go somewhere else? This is the mindset of a consumer looking for "a good deal" at church.

Contrast this with the heart of a follower, or, as the Scriptures like to put it, a sheep. We are to be sheep who listen to the shepherd's voice (John 10:1-18, especially verse 4 and 16). When I go to church ready to listen and respond to the shepherd's voice, I respond differently. I come wanting to be led into worship and praise. I listen intently to the message and I take notes so as not to miss the shepherds voice. I spend the week seeking to follow the shepherd by implementing his directions into my life.

Sounds almost cultic, doesn't it? Almost like a guy is a mindless robot. Actually, it takes more thoughtful intentionality to listen, remember, and follow than it does to walk out the door and forget about it. What I've always loved about the Bereans is that after hearing Paul speak they didn't study the Scriptures to see what they thought was right, or wherever they happened to be at in their one year through the Torah plan, but "to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11) They were sheep looking into where Paul was trying to lead them. And, as you see in verse 12, "many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men." They followed the shepherd.

I've been redoubling my efforts to follow my shepherd(s) lately. I've resumed the habit of taking notes on the message knowing full well that I will forget my shepherd's voice if I don't. I then put it on my desk and review it over the course of the week. If there are practical steps recommended, I hang them up next to my computer to remind me to do it.

As I've done this, I've come to realize how meaty these messages are. I realize how I don't really "get" a lot of what is communicated the first time I hear it. I didn't truly understand the shepherd's voice. I've also discovered how far I fall short in obeying what the shepherd says. Instead of following him into green pastures, I overgraze on my own ruminations or, worse yet, I wander into desert lands... and then blame the shepherd for it. :-)

The series on Galatians that we're doing at Stonebrook is just now starting to sink in. I'm starting to feel the pressure of a performance mentality lift and enjoy God's grace and acceptance more. Not just on the psychological level, but on an emotional level. I'm feeling the liberty of the "grace of Christ" (1:6). I'm seeing Christ "clearly portrayed as crucified" (3:1). I'm connecting with the "promise of the Spirit" within me (3: 14).

And guys, it's good stuff! And at this time of my life, I've never needed it more. It's like the Shepherd knew exactly what pasture I needed to go to. I'm glad I'm following Him for a change.

Powerful Truth

Posted by Tim: 10/02/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003796

Not sure how many really caught Dave's message last weekend, but it's still reverberating in my soul. I think he took my charge two weeks ago that "the gospel can help you with that" and gave it some clarification and practical application.

For those who missed it, Dave covered Galatians 2:11-21 in our series over the book of Galatians. After explaining some hard to understand verses in the section, he camped on verse 20 which is one of my life verses. It says,

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."

Dave made the statement, "A man on a cross faces in only one direction. There's no turning back."... or something like that. Then he posed a question,

"Why do people gravitate back to the law and good works as a requirement for salvation?"

This is where he really nailed it. Dave said what none of us want to hear and, I'm sure, none of us want to believe. He said the reason why we so readily turn to our own efforts for sanctification is because "we don't want to admit that we are horrible rebels, deserve hell, and are without hope of reform." We all feel like there is some amount of worthiness in us and if we just walk in that enough we will earn some degree of righteousness.

Listen to what is said in a Galatians study that was made available to the lifegroup leaders:

"...we are not acceptable to God because we actually become righteous. We become actually righteous because we are acceptable to God."
That's why in Christ we are free! By his amazing grace, he has accepted us just as you are... NO CHANGE REQUIRED! As we embrace that, we are then free to "act in line with the truth of the gospel" (2:14) without it being a law or some kind of obligation. And we are also free to look at our "issues" without fear of disapproval or judgment. We have already been justified, so no worries!

This truth is really hitting home for me right now as I personally struggle with my own weaknesses and failings. Criticisms of my teaching (explicit and implicit), questions about my leadership ability, and my personal sorrow over events with the Linden team and the Swinton's going off staff have not just run off my back. I'm thinking, "Maybe I'm not as effective in campus ministry as I had hoped and dreamed."

I think sometimes people think pastors are rocks and they can step on them and over them without worrying about it. Sometimes I've thought that of myself... silencing my fears and sorrows for the sake of the gospel. I'm now seeing God's grace more clearly. I'm allowing myself to see that God loves and justified "a wretch like me". It's not so bad to look inside through the lens of God's grace. In fact, it's kinda freeing.

memories of fall retreats gone by...

Posted by Tim: 09/20/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003790

With the 2007 Encounter Retreat coming up this weekend, I've been finding myself thinking a lot about fall retreats that have left an indelible mark on my life.
For sure my first retreat has left the deepest impression. It was at a High School in Ankeny. It was a huge crowd. I think it was the only time that I personally heard Jim McCotter speak. Dennis Clark spoke as well. We went through the book of Ephesians and I still remember key points that they made! I got baptized afterward in Saylorville Lake. I'll never forget it.

I remember nearly freezing to death at a camp in St. Joseph's, MO. I rode down there with Michael Riley as it was his first retreat. The Ft. Collins, CO group was there and they were going through a growth surge. While take a picture of their whole group, we dumped buckets of water on them. Too much fun.

Dan McGuire and I have this thing going on that at every retreat we go on a long walk and talk about life and the Lord. Retreats are great for going deeper with people that you otherwise only brush shoulders with. My times with Dan have become precious to me.

Once Michael Riley got involved in set up and the Lone Strangers matured as a band, it seemed like the retreats got a dose of steroids. I will never forget the worship times we had at the Sunstream Retreat Center with all the lights and sound. Incredible times!

Lately I've gotten into the habit of collecting some of the local wildlife and bringing it home to my kids. Critters like a snake, a walking stick, a preying mantis, those huge millipedes at Sunstream, and frogs from Hidden Acres. The kids love them. We just let the frog loose at Ada Hayden Park a few weeks back.

I think the stand out memory of them all is the baptisms at the very end of the retreat. Sometimes just a few, sometimes 20 or more. Sometimes with Christians recommitting their faith to Christ, sometimes brand new believers who just got saved at the retreat. Regardless, the physical picture of changed lives is what the fall retreats are all about. The old life being transformed into the new. I can't wait to see it again this weekend!

You got memories burning in your mind from fall retreats gone by? I'd love to hear them.

Dr. D. James Kennedy passes into eternity

Posted by Tim: 09/05/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003784

Even though I'm not a Presbyterian, even though I'm not related to him or have ever met him, I mourn for our loss of a great man of God, Dr. D. James Kennedy.
I have greatly appreciated and personally benefited from many of his endeavors such as the books "What if Jesus had never been born" and "What if the Bible had never been written". Along with apologetics like that, Dr. Kennedy was involved in multiple efforts to expose the intellectual and societal dangers of Darwinism (evolution). Also, much of his work in the political sphere to advance religious freedom (especially for Christians) and humanitarian concerns (via advancing moral conservatism) has been a real inspiration to me. ... And I haven't even mentioned his huge contribution in rallying the church to be a witness with his Evangelism Explosion program!

I think overall that his life helped me to be a man who walks by faith, courage and conviction. We need more like him. May I be one of them.

My view on the war in Iraq

Posted by Tim: 07/17/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003750

I got an e-mail letter from Senator Tom Harkin telling me how he was going to be speaking on the senate floor during an "all night" session tonight to change the course of the war in Iraq. He said he was going to be reading letters by Iowans who are "overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq".

I guess I just had to speak my mind:

Senator Harkin,

I just read your e-mail about the debate on the floor tonight regarding the war in Iraq.
I want to let you know that I have a brother and a nephew in the armed forces currently serving in Kuwait. I also have several personal friends serving or about to serve in Iraq. Lastly, a good friend of mine lost his father-in-law last year during hostile action in Iraq.

Like so many Americans, this war is close to home for me, so let me be unequivocally clear: I support our nation's president and the war on terrorism through the current action in Iraq.

Why? Because recent terrorist attacks in Europe and attempts here in America demonstrate that if we were not fighting Islamic terrorism in Iraq, we would be fighting it right here. At least in Iraq we can shoot back!

Please stop trying to terminate the fighting prematurely and, as a result, bring terrorism home.

Thank you,
Tim Borseth
Ames, IA

I think I'm in heaven

Posted by Tim: 06/08/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003710

Okay... so my idea of heaven might not be universally embraced, but I am having/ about to have the time of my life. What's going on? Well let me tell you!

First, Thursday night I had a thoroughly enjoyable time sharing with the Alive group in Des Moines the philosophical and scientific history for the ancient ages interpretation of geologic features. I don't know about the Alive students, but I had a blast talking about the Niagara Falls, radiometric dating, and my latest fossil find: a rather large cephalopod (it looks like the pic on the left). You can hear Dave Bovenmyer's message (the biblical case for a young earth) and my message (a scientific case for a young earth) here.

Second, and most exciting, I and my 3 oldest kids (Rex, Nina, and Wayne) will be spending a week excavating a dinosaur fossil in a remote region of South Dakota. This whole opportunity is fruit of Nate Korynta who just had to have me join him on the Adventure Safaris dinosaur dig. So with Nate's help, I will be leaving early Sunday morning and will be out in the field for the first time since the late 80's when I was a geology student at ISU.

To say the least, I'm rather pumped. Pray for our trip and our time out there. The sun will be intense and there's rattlers out in them parts. Pray especially that Wayne will handle it all well. Oh, and definitely pray for Kristen as she is home "alone" with the 3 younger ones.

The error of denying Dr. Gonzalez tenure

Posted by Tim: 05/16/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 12 comments on 003686

There is little doubt that Dr. Geoffroy, president of Iowa State University, already regrets his decision to deny Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez his tenure and will hopefully do as much damage control as he can by rescinding that decision.

From what I understand of the man, his qualifications, and his published research, he meets or exceeds the standards for tenure. So why he was denied tenure in the first place remains suspicious. Many believe it is because he is a proponent of Intelligent Design theory and is a fellow of The Discovery Institute. If this is the case, then President Geoffrey and any other accomplices in this decision should feel a deep sense of remorse for betraying the public's confidence as guardians of academic freedom at Iowa State University.

To grant Dr. Gonzalez tenure is the right thing to do for the following reasons:
As an adherent of Intelligent Design theory, Dr. Gonzalez brings a scientific and philosophical perspective that will greatly enhance the diversity of thought at ISU. While a student in geology at Iowa State, I vacillated between many different origin theories because I found evolution intellectually unsatisfying. Whenever I questioned evolution, as I did in my Paleontology class, I was chided and viewed critically. I would have loved to have had a professor at Iowa State who I felt the freedom to question the established dogma of evolution, but I knew of none. I have later found out that there are many, but they are intimidated to speak out about it.

Also, rescinding this decision will set Iowa State apart as a leader in academic freedom that refuses to muzzle new and unique ideas no matter how unpopular they might be. The idea of tenure, as I understand it, is to give scientists the freedom to explore new and unusual theories without interruption by outside forces. To silence Dr. Gonzalez could be tantamount to silencing Galileo Galilei. Hmmm... I guess the church steeples have been replaced with ivory towers.

Lastly, Dr. Gonzalez has achieved a level of popularity among mainstream America through his book and video, The Privileged Planet, which would continue to draw attention to Iowa State and attract those who are not afraid to think outside the box. Iowa State and our country need those kinds of revolutionary thinkers. True advances in science and technology are built on them.

I encourage you to make a gracious appeal to President Geoffrey to rescind the decision to deny Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez his tenure.

Has your faith been tested?

Posted by Tim: 04/10/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003653

I don't know how many of you know this, but at one time Stonebrook raised up a pastor who then fell so ill that he could no longer serve in that capacity. He has been homebound in misery and pain for over 20 years! His name is Michael Stohlmeyer.
His wife, Maureen, alerted me to the fact that Michael had done an interview with John Piper's Desiring God ministry. They are now posting his interviews in a series of podcasts on a website entitled Don't Waste Your Life.
I watched Mike's interview and it really spoke to me, especially his comment that, of the benefits of deep suffering is that it does show you if your faith is real or not.

It's Easter- so let me make a few things clear

Posted by Tim: 04/03/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 7 comments on 003644

So I was undergoing the pleasant experience of having more stitches pulled out of my gums, as my orthodontist rambled on and on. Knowing that I am a pastor, he made several comments thinking, I'm sure, that he was being a pleasant conversationalist and I would appreciate them. I didn't. Here they are and my reaction to them:

He said, "this is going to be a busy weekend for you."

Actually, this weekend is not much different than any other weekend as far as workload is concerned. The resurrection isn't just a once a year celebration for believers, but a constant party as our lives are being transformed by the power of our risen Lord. And for me, every weekend is important (um, busy?) because I gather with my church every weekend... and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

He said something like, "I guess your congregation will appreciate not having as long of a sermon since you're still recovering."

You know, this might be true since we don't turn in scorecards from people rating their reaction to the content and duration of each message. I certainly get a lot more favorable comments from the community crowd than the campus crowd, but I'm told that there are other reasons for that than appreciation. But I will say this, we get flooded with a philosophy of life from the moment we wake to the moment we hit the pillow 7 days a week. The world (meaning the world system, a pervasive materialistic/ hedonistic view of life), the flesh (meaning our natural desires taken to unnatural extremes), and the devil (meaning the real person of Satan and his demonic horde) are relentlessly preaching at you. And we will sit for hours and take it in.
All I ask is for about 40 minutes one day a week... or twice a week if you're a faithful Rocker... to offer a biblical counter point. Is that too unreasonable or intolerable?

Then he said, referring to God, "maybe the big man... or woman... upstairs will yadda yadda ".

Okay, the context is you're talking to a pastor about Easter which is connected with the celebration of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Christians follow this guy believing him to be the Son of God, the savior of the world. In all 4 gospels, Jesus called God either His Father or our Father about 275 times. So if there is any gender to appropriately ascribe to God, according to Jesus, it's "the big man". Case closed.

Lastly he said, "Have fun (or good luck) hunting for Easter eggs."

Sigh... by this time I was experiencing psychological pain on top of physical pain. Easter and Easter eggs, in particular, were "...a sacred symbol among the Babylonians. They believed an old fable about an egg of wondrous size which was supposed to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates River. From this marvelous egg - according to the ancient story - the Goddess Astarte (Easter) [Semiramis], was hatched. And so the egg came to symbolize the Goddess Easter." (Ralph Woodrow in his book Babylon Mystery Religion)
Historically, easter eggs have nothing to do with Christianity, and, as a Christian pastor, has little to do with me.

There I feel better now. Have a tremendous Resurrection Sunday!! He is alive!! Jesus has risen from the dead!!

Wisdom teeth, the Bible, and the future

Posted by Tim: 03/28/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 003638

So I had my wisdom teeth pulled on Monday which was about as much fun as a sharp stick in the eye. After a day of R-n-R, I've just been dealing with soreness and lethargy. You see, the drugs they prescribed for me to decrease the pain make me feel like numb all over.
So this morning, after talking through support raising efforts with our future staffers (Nate, Holly, and Luke (in absentia)), I turned to read the Bible, but felt more like sleeping. So I wondered to myself, "Self, surely there is some on-line audio versions of the Bible." A quick google took me to where I could select the specific book and chapter of any book of the Bible and instantly listen to a very clear reading of the Word by Max McLean. It was a blessing to my weary soul.
After listening to Proverbs 28 (the Proverb of the day), a thought stood out to me that was twice repeated in that chapter. It said, "When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding." (Prov. 28:12... see also 28:28).
As many of you know, I follow the tide of politics in our land and have become very concerned with the way the liberal ideology of the Democratic party is taking our country. I'm not talking about economics or international policy here. I'm talking about fundamental American freedoms like the freedom of speech to say that homosexuality is harmful and is a sin... or that I don't want my tax money to support human clone and kill research... or to speak my mind without being required to balance that with the opposite viewpoint. I'm not making these things up. All of these laws are being passed at the state and national level and our governor is eager to sign them into law.
The other pastors of Stonebrook and I had a sober discussion yesterday about the very real possibility for any one of us to end up in jail if we preach on such clear biblical issues such as: homosexuality, spanking, creation, abortion, and women's roles. I just read that a daughter was taken by force from the home of a German couple because they were homeschooling her. And know this, so far, what happens in Europe eventually finds it's way here.
So we talked about the need for stronger equipping in biblical apologetics for the saints... but I think we will also need to prepare the saints to suffer for their faith. Jesus warned us that even the elect will be tempted to be deceived, if that were possible (Mark 13:22).

A tribute to more than just one life

Posted by Tim: 02/14/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 003596

Piper of the rapper group "Flipsyde" sings a powerful song of the effects of abortion on a dad. The lyrics are filled with a sincerety and sorrow that are rare. Give it a listen. It's called "Happy make a wish".

Superbowl Memories

Posted by Tim: 02/04/2007 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003579

Not to take away from The Lone Strangers debut on the airwaves, but I after hearing some disparaging words about football in general and the Superbowl specifically, I thought I'd share some of the reasons why I so enjoy the Superbowl by way of some of my cherished memories of the game.

- I remember my fellowship team hanging out of a house off campus (I was a student at the time) and enjoying life and each other as the Cowboys romped the Bills.

- I remember the entire student group comfortably fitting in Pat Sokoll's basement and watching the Nick Bal cheer his precious Cowboys to yet another romping of the Bills.

- I remember the entire student group filling the basement of Hunt St. house and roaring in laughter over the frogs croaking Bud- Weis- Er.

- I remember watching the game at Stonebrook Community Church on the big screen (which is illegal I've now found out). This game stands out not only because I got to eat lots of chili out of the deal, but because with a thrilling last minute kickoff return for a touchdown at the tail end of the game, I won the coveted Youth Group football trophy for picking the right victor and the right score. I still get choked up just thinking about it.

- I remember drilling a hole through my floor to run the cable to two separate rooms for the big game. This game was particularly memorable because Kurt Warner (whom I've met, whose signature I have on a football, and who stood as a inspiration and role model for the Christian faith) won a thrilling football game and gave all the glory to God.

- I also remember one particular play when John Elway, through sheer courage and determination made a spectacular play to make a first down. His bold move inspired his team so dramatically that you could see it, and the Broncos ended up taking over the game and bringing home the trophy.

That's just a few of the things that stand out to me. So if you were observant, you will have picked up a few of the things that make the Superbowl a great game and a great event. Play hard!

P.S. If any local is looking for a fun place to watch the game today, PLEASE join me at Scott and Kathy Hanson's place starting around 5pm.

The Nativity Story review

Posted by Tim: 12/14/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003537

I must confess that I am a softy when it comes to movies that portray faith, courage, and sacrifice. So my review of the movie, The Nativity Story, is heavily biased. Deal with it.

I believe I first began to emotionally lose it when Zechariah entered the temple to burn incense to the Lord. Just knowing what was about to happen cracked my tough male exterior. And so I didn't fare any better when the angel appeared to Mary, or when she visited Elizabeth, and by the time Jesus was born in a stable (actually a hole in a rock)... well, I don't need to say any more. Just go see the movie! It will enrich your Christmas experience!

Now... the biblical literalist in me did cause me some chagrin in a few places during the movie. They just had to reinforce some erroneous traditions of the Christmas story by having three wise men visit Jesus (actually there were three gifts not necessarily three wise men… and they were actually Magi). And they missed a great opportunity to fill the sky with "a great company of heavenly host" praising the birth of Christ to the shepherds. And yes, the magi just had to show up on the night of Jesus' birth (the Magi showed up at a "house" (Matt. 2:11) not a "manger" (Luke 2:7). The Greek words are altogether different.)

But hey, when Hollywood puts out a movie that affirms the Christian faith, I will not only grant leniency I will support it with my money and my endorsement. Again, see this movie!

How to not lose your Christmas to the world.

Posted by Tim: 12/04/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003526

In the past few weeks, I've witnessed a very troubling sight. Several times while talking about Christmas or the traditions thereof, Christians have vocalized animosity for the holiday, claiming that materialism, stress, or secularism has robbed us of the true meaning of the holiday.
While I admit that our society is making every effort to minimize the message of the Christmas holiday, you don't have to let that rob you of your Christmas. You can still enjoy Christmas... love it even... recapture those childhood memories of fascination and wonder. Believe it or not, you can still choose to celebrate Christmas any way you wish to. How? Well, here are a few ideas:

1. I know it's a shame when department stores use "Seasons Greetings", but you can still say "Merry Christmas" to as many people as you want. No one will arrest you.
2. I know it's a sad statement of our priorities when stores prevent the Salvation Army from ringing their bells for the poor, but you can give to the poor and needy anyway. Might I suggest Angel Tree, for instance.
3. Yes, buying gifts for every Tom, Dick, and Suzy can get stressful and expensive, but how about you stop thinking of yourself when you go shopping. If Dr. Gary Chapman is right, gift giving is one of the 5 love languages... and I think it just might be one of the more popular ones. So don't get gifts out of obligation, get them out of love. When you view the buying of gifts as an expression of love for the one you have in mind, you might just find the activity a bit more joy-filled. Praying for the person as you shop is another idea- God might even give you insight on what to get for the person.
4. And there's Santa, his 8 tiny reindeer and all that jazz. He might replace Jesus in some peoples minds, but he does not have to in yours. You can still remember and celebrate the reason for the season no matter what others focus on.

I recall how the Jews have been exiled, persecuted, scattered, and in every way oppressed and yet they have maintained their time honored traditions. How did they keep them over all these years? They did not let society dictate who they were and how they were to think. They were God's chosen people, a nation set apart for His purposes. That would not change no matter what the world said or did.
Now it's our turn, as a royal priesthood... a people of His own possession, to hold onto this holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ- the Righteous One. ...the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:1c, 2)

Merry Christmas everyone!

The Aftermath

Posted by Tim: 11/09/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 003495

A good site where you can easily find the national and local election results is here. Click on Iowa to see what happened in our state.

A real good summary of all the results of the ballot initiatives can be found here. It's presented from a conservative Christian perspective, but I believe you will find that the reporting is accurate.

My general thoughts on the outcome of this election are the same as if everything went red (republican) instead of blue (democrat).
1) I rejoice that the hope for the world is not tied up in politics. Now, don't get me wrong, a government can either help or hinder the spread the hope of the world (the gospel), but not even the gates of hell will prevent the advance of the church. So again, I rejoice!
2) Now that the election is over, I will honor and obey my elected officials to the extent that I can. If they ever ask or require me to violate the laws of God, though, I will have to decline to acquiesce their request... regardless of the cost.

Be filled with faith, hope and love today, but especially love!

I'm on my way to vote

Posted by Tim: 11/07/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003485

Just about to head out the door to cast my ballot. If you didn't get my e-mail about the importance of being involved in the electoral process and how to discern who to vote for, you can read an abridged version below:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
The moment I neglect my civic responsibility, more than that my Christian duty, to engage in electing worthy men and women into office is the moment I give evil the right of way to seize and destroy this country. People’s lives are affected by whether I make an informed vote or not. Love for others demands that I do something.
Our founding fathers held strong convictions that participating in the electoral process was a privilege and a duty that every God-fearing citizen should be a part of. They felt this way, in part, because of the directives found in Scripture to pray for and obey governing authorities that commend what is right and punish the evildoer (see Romans 13 and I Tim. 2:1-7)

So, out of a love and concern for people, I urge you to vote today. If you need help on how to cast your ballot, here's three things to consider:

1) Pray.
Do we not serve a God who exists and who richly rewards those who seek Him? Let’s demonstrate that we have greater faith in Christ than we do in our government by praying first.

2) Get Educated.
In our day, we primarily have a two party system: democrat and republican. Very few candidates deviate from their party’s political platform. A vote for a candidate is a vote for their party’s philosophical, financial, and moral agenda. There’s no way around it. So here are a couple of links where you can see what position a candidate of a particular party will take and how his or her vote will inevitably fall:

This link follows the history of party platforms over the years focusing on key issues of interest to Christians.

This link summarizes and compare the current party platforms for the 2 major parties.

This link compares the positions of the two candidates running for the Iowa governor position.

Lastly, in our day, many judges legislate from the bench as much as, if not even more than, they interpret the law. Therefore, voting for judges that don’t see their role as activists and are more constructionist in their beliefs will help keep our country “of the people by the people for the people”. This link will help you know how some of the judges view their role and responsibility.

3) Vote by faith and conviction.
Go to this site to find your local voting location.

God bless America.

It's a love/ hate thing

Posted by Tim: 10/31/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 003472

When I was a kid, I loved it. I watched monster/ horror movies as often as I could (which wasn't very often... I even petitioned the 3 major networks to get them to show them more often). I would spend goobers of time making costumes (I made a cool Frankenstein mask out of paper mache once). I got skilled at carving pumpkins (even won a contest once).

Then I became a Christian.

As a believer, I didn't need anyone to educate me to the fact that Halloween celebrates things that are contrary to the things of Christ. Halloween focuses on fear, wickedness, evil, violence and such. Not the kind of things you find listed among the fruit of the Spirit.
Also, early in my walk, I heard testimonies of a former Satanist about the kinds of things they did during Halloween. Their rituals, sacrifices, and such were not something I wanted to even tacitly endorse. As I learned more about the roots and symbolism of Halloween, I scrapped the thing altogether, except for an occasional Harvest or Costume party as an outreach event.

Then I had kids.

It didn't take my kids long to figure out that Halloween meant dressing up and getting candy (both of which are big hits with kids). And over the years, their innocent enthusiasm for Halloween began to break me down. So as I type up this blog my kids are out trick or treating.
Am I spineless? Did I sell out to the Devil? Not quite. You see, my kids reverse Trick or Treat (or, in other words, "Trick we're treating!"). You see, Satan loves to take what is good and make it bad. So I decided to take what is bad and make it good. My kids don't dress up as devils or evil monsters. They are kings, and princesses... and Jedi masters (sigh). And they give instead of take (or trade as the case may be).

So Happy (reverse) Halloween... it's the season of giving!

Lions eat people... and there is a God.

Posted by Tim: 06/05/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 003260

Believe it or not, an article reports that a man sought to prove or demonstrate the existence of God by walking up to a wild lion at a zoo in Kiev. The results were predictable.

I guess he know has his answer. He now knows for sure that there is a God. As for the rest of us, we now know that lions still eat people... and that there is still a god.

You see, this troubled man's test of God�s existence was relatively flawed (to put it mildly):
1) You would need to know that this particular test (walking up to a man-eating lion and not get eaten) would accurately reveal the information you're looking for (God exists). Any conclusions reached from this experiment would only be as credible as if I tested for spontaneous generation by leaving meat laying around to see if anything living comes out of it. What? It does!
2) If by �god� he is referring to the Judeo/ Christian/ Muslim concept of god, then he would need to take note of the verse that says, �do not put the Lord your God to the test� which is the Scripture Jesus invoked when Satan wanted him to jump off the temple and yet be protected from harm by angels (Deut. 6:16 and Matt. 4:5-7). The similarities between this situation the one reported in the article are uncanny.
3) The Bible makes it clear that ever since the fall (sin entering the world), there is hostility between man and the natural world (Gen. 3:17-18). Therefore, lions are used throughout Scripture to rip and tear people to pieces (eg. Dan. 6:24, Psalm 7:2).
4) God tells of a future day when peace will be restored among all of creation, including lions (Isaiah 11:6-9). And guess what? That day is not now.

Sigh� blind faith was never what God called us to. He gave us a mind for a reason. To do just that, reason (Isaiah 1:18)� couple that with faith and your golden.

P.S. Ironically enough, this guy deserves a Darwin award.

3 Things

Posted by Tim: 05/29/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003243

1. One thing I did to honor Memorial Day was watch the movie "To End All Wars".
I HIGHLY recommend it! It isn't the most action packed movie you'll ever see, but nevertheless it's a movie that I won't soon forget. It's based on the actual life experiences of Allied soldiers captured by the Japanese during WWII. The blurb says it's about the prisoners being "forced to build a railroad through the Burmese jungle". Don't believe it. Though, that did happen, the movie was more about the contrast being Christianity and Bushido.
Although not every caricature of Christianity or Bushido in the movie is one that I would agree with, the core distinctions of Christian love and sacrifice for others verses the Bushido code of personal honor and loyalty really stands out. Get it� watch it� think about it!

2. Can I just remind us all that God�s Word is true and, as such, it brings life and freedom to those who live by it?
I just heard of yet another casualty of war (I speak of the very real spiritual war that few of us Christians really believe we're in and some of us even get tired of hearing about). A dear Christian friend of Kristen and mine fell into adultery� and now there�s blood everywhere.
What does Psalm 119 say to us?

Psalm 119:9-11 (NIV)
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

3. Wayne has his heart catheterization this Wednesday (5/31). Please be in prayer for him. He needs to be healthy for this to go through and right now the whole house (except for Wayne and Savana at this point) has recently had or is currently suffering from significant nausea and diarrhea. Yeah, it's not a pretty sight.
So, please pray for this kid�s health, a successful surgery, and a speedy recovery. You can read more about this particular procedure here.

UPDATE: Wayne got the bug and upchucked several times last night. We called the doc about his condition and after some deliberation they decided to cancel it.
But it gets worse, this is the docs last week working at UIHC and there is no one else in the state that does this procedure. So, barring a miracle (which I have no intention on my end of barring) the hole in Wayne's heart is there stay. Keep praying.

In Memoriam

Posted by Tim: 05/27/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 003239

For those who know me, you know that I am deeply moved by the courage and sacrifice of those who have fought and died for the freedom that we now enjoy in this country.

Having tasted this freedom, I, along with countless other Americans, feel a righteous indignation whenever someone else is denied of it. (I have carried this love for freedom into my walk with Christ. I long for others to experience "freedom in Christ" more than almost any other feeling I have.)

It is a boast that I have that my family has had 3 brothers and 1 sister serve in the armed forces. One of my brothers, Joe (US Marines), has sent me several e-mails encouraging me to remember our fallen soldiers on this Memorial Day weekend. Joe wrote:

...while the war's in Afghanistan, Iraq, and anywhere American troops are is vital to maintaining our freedom, the vets of yesterday paved the road that got us here.

As I remember, I wanted to encourage you to do the same.

I guess I got some explaining to do

Posted by Tim: 05/02/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 6 comments on 003207

So, you might be wondering what's up with the Band of Brothers banner on my website. Do I have jar head envy? Am I nothing but a military freak? Would I rather be a army general than a church pastor?

Well, no. Not really. The banner is a concept I asked Matt to create for me� well, except it�s on steroids. It's a little bit larger than life than what I had in mind.

But the reason I wanted something that hinted at soldiering and war is because I believe I'm in one.

I believe that my flesh, the world system, and the devil and his demonic realm are all real combatants against the Spirit of truth and love that resides within me. (I Peter 5: 8-9; I John 2: 15-17)

I believe that this war is "not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6: 12)

I believe the work of God has many similarities to the work of a soldier- we follow the orders of our benevolent commanding officer, we suffer for the sake of others, and we carry out these orders with good faith in the one who orders them. (II Tim. 2: 3-4; Luke 7: 8-9).

And I believe that I will be included in the "armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure� following him on white horses." (Rev. 19:14)

Now, do I view the church solely from this lens? Please. I also embrace the church as the body of Christ (the physical manifestation of Christ on planet earth) and as a family (complete with spiritual moms and dads, brothers and sisters).

So to complete the picture, I see a loving family taking the hill for Christ our King with each member doing his or her part without complaining or arguing (Phil. 2:14). It�s a vision of the church that I will strive to complete �with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.� (Col. 1: 29) May He find me worthy of such a task.

One thing and other thoughts

Posted by Tim: 02/04/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 003083

The Rock Men's Night was a sweet time. As usual, a good crowd showed up and Pat Blair's work to make it happen paid off. Good job Pat and thanks for serving us in that way!

Pat Sokoll's thoughts were challenging as usual. I've been thinking of the simplicity yet unquestionable importance on knowing and holding on to that "one thing" that makes your life worth living. I've had the Rich Mullins song "My One Thing" dancing around in my head ever since.
Pat's thoughts come amazingly in line with the thoughts I shared at The Friday Night Rock last week (Something Worth Dying For). I said something to the extent that:

I want to do something great with my life. Something worth doing, worth living for. Something worth remembering, worth dieing for. And for me that comes to life as I�m fighting for a cause that�s so great that I�m expendable. If I were to die doing my part, I would have died accomplishing something that was worth my life.
That cause is the same as Pat's. There's lots of ways to say it, but basically it's "to know Christ and to make Him known". I believe it's what we are made to live for, and I believe that when we pass on into eternity we will know without question that it's worth dying for.
Jesus wasn't kidding when he said:
�Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.� Jesus (Matthew 10:39)
Now, Jesus is either lying to us here or he's telling the truth. If we believe that he's telling the truth, then why don't we believe it? Why don't we live that way?
To put some handles to Christ's words, I said:
What I mean and what Jesus means by losing your life is living it for other people. A life worth dying for is a life lived for others so that they might live.
Laying down our lives for others is what Jesus did and He said, "Come, follow me." According to Jesus, that's where life is found, folks. It's not in running after all you can get or want in life. It's in giving all you got away.
Now, we so don't like that idea that we're quick to object with the extremes: What about balance?! What about some me time?! What about rest and sleep for crying out loud?!
Please. Give me a break. It is intuitive that in order to serve others you have to make sure your well rested, well fed, even well educated. Let's not get reactionary. Those things are necessary to exist and you will do them no matter what I say. The question is what are you doing with your strength, what are you doing with your abilities, what are you doing with you time? The answer to those questions will answer what you are really living for.

Hard to accept? Don't I know it. But it's not my idea. Jesus said it first.
I believe it all boils down to this:

If you want to have something worth living for, you�ve got to die for it.

More on End of the Spear

Posted by Tim: 01/24/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 003066

In case you are wondering how the movie did on its opening weekend debut, here are the results:

Weekend Box Office Actuals (U.S.) Jan 20 - 22 weekend:

1 Underworld: Evolution Screen Gems- $26,857,181
2 Hoodwinked- $10,409,378
3 Glory Road- $8,769,735
4 Last Holiday- $8,711,606
5 Brokeback Mountain- $7,430,942
6 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- $6,236,570
7 Fun With Dick and Jane- $5,751,700
8 End of the Spear- $4,281,388
9 Hostel- $4,246,471
10 King Kong- $4,222,560

Here's an interesting quote I just read about the missionaries and their impact on the world:
The importance of the killing of the missionaries, in God's providence, is difficult to overstate. It is arguably the single greatest God-inspired missionary-recruiting vision-capturing story in the history of the church. In terms of its impact on tens of thousands of missionaries, and on the lives of millions of non-missionaries, other than the death of William Borden of Yale in Egypt, and the Boxer martyrs in China, and a handful of other events, it's difficult to come up with anything in the post-apostolic era that even begins to compare to it. And in terms of actual numbers of missionaries on the field because of it, I don't think there's ever been anything of its magnitude. The story of Steve Saint and Mincaye (and his Waodani tribe, formerly called the Aucas) and their heart-touching relationship is the message of redemption and reconciliation our culture desperately needs to hear.

Investing in Eternity,
Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspective Ministries

End of the Spear review

Posted by Tim: 01/22/2006 :: Tim's thoughts :: 5 comments on 003059

I just came back from seeing the movie End of the Spear. I will admit that I was in tears multiple times throughout the movie (when no one was looking, of course). Overall, I'd give this movie 4 stars (out of 5). I'd like to share some thoughts I've been having as of late about this film.

First of all, I am partial to this genre of film. Sacrificial love and unselfish heroism speaks to the deepest part of my values and ideals. And all the more if the depiction of such virtues is actually based on a real person and real events. So this film, based on the actual lives of 5 missionaries who were speared to death while attempting to reach the Waodani Indians and of their wives and children (and Nate�s sister, Rachel) who carried on the work after their deaths, captures the essence of the kind of life I want to live� the kind of life I�m called to live as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, this film will hit you a lot harder if you know the story behind it. I strongly recommend reading �Through Gates of Splendor� and �DAYUMA� or, for an abridged version, listen to the last two teachings (Want More?) I gave at the Rock. This will do for you what the film didn�t- take you inside the very thoughts and lives of these men and women. If I had made the film, I would have made it 3 hours long and taken you inside the heart and mind of the Elliots, Flemings, McCullys, Saints, and Youderians. The film itself took the fascinating approach of taking you inside the struggle in Mincayani�s (a Waodoni Indian) life, and I deeply appreciate that perspective. By the way, I have real life footage of Mincayani and Steve Saint along with a lot of other documentary stuff if anyone is interested in showing it at a lifegroup or something. This film brings up a ton of things to talk about: the heart of a missionary, courage and sacrifice, love and forgiveness, changed lives, ect�

Lastly, I�d like to comment on some of the negative press the film has gotten. Actually, it grieves me that Christians can be so judgmental and, dare I say it, intolerant. Some have come out against this film because it doesn�t lay out a point by point theology of salvation and offer an alter call at the end. Actually there are films made like that, they�re called Billy Graham Evangelistic Films and, according the cinematic standards, no one goes to them! Besides, a movie isn�t a medium that �tells� the gospel as much as it is that �shows� the gospel. Telling the gospel is for real life and blood believers to do.
The other source of attack has been on the fact that Chad Allen (who played Nate and Steve Saint) is a homosexual. Sigh� I�ll have to admit, at first I was disappointed that a fervent homosexual is playing the part of an evangelical, Bible-believing Christian. But then I wondered to myself, �How many movies have I gotten excited about and told my friends to see that involve actors who are fornicators, adulterers, drug users, and the like?" And more than that, Nate Saint gave his life to reach the hated untouchables of the Amazon jungle. Building a bridge to the often hated untouchables in our concrete jungle seems appropriate for a film about the Saint's lives. From what I've read, Chad was personally deeply affected by making this film and working with a Christian cast and crew. I would not at all be surprised if many of those in the homosexual community go to see this movie because one of their own stars in it.

Paul said of Epaphroditus, �Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ�� Phil. 2: 29, 30a
This film does just that. Unlike most movies that hit the big screen, it portrays Christians in a way that is attractive to the faith and honoring to those who hold it. In a world that is demonizing believers as bigoted imbeciles, it�s refreshing to see a film that shows how Christians rescued a people group from the edge of extinction with an unbelievable amount of love and forgiveness. I strongly encourage that you go and see this movie and others like it.

Reflections on Narnia

Posted by Tim: 12/19/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 003022

Okay... so this is a sorely late entry about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Get over it and let's get on with it.

I've seen the movie twice and both times I was a blithering idiot multiple times throughout the movie. It wasn't that surprised by what was going on or what was going to happen next. I'm quite familiar with the storyline. Rather it was because I knew so much about the realities behind the symbolism that I was an emotional basketcase.

Here's a few of the scenes that got me bad:
- When Lucy first discovered the room with the wardrobe. I'll admit, the deep thundering music helped, but mostly it was because I "knew" what lie behind the wardrobe cloaked in mystery. Just like I "know" of another land called Paradise, but so much of it is cloaked to me at this time.
- The witch reflected Satan's deception, cruelty, and heartlessness excellently. When she said, "I'm not interested in prisoners. Kill them all." I heard Satan say that about people I care about and it sent shivers down my spine.
- When Aslan was mocked, shaven, and killed how could anyone not see the willing, sacrificial death of Christ for traitors like us. I was a mess during that scene.
- Any of the images of loyalty and courage speak to the innermost parts of my being. When Orieus charged back into battle to rescue Peter. When Peter charged at the witch to get revenge for Edmond's apparent death. And when Aslan charged at the Witch as she was about to slay Peter. I believe chivalry is one of the noblest virtues and embraces one of the standout characteristics of God... and ought to be in God's people.
- Lastly, um, crying girls. Every time Lucy cried at the horror of betrayal or death... somebody get me a tissue.

I very much enjoyed the film and highly recommend it!

Dare I say it... Merry Christmas!

Posted by Tim: 12/09/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 003013

I'm in the midst of preparing what could be the most controversial message of my career... yes, even more than the Religion and Politics message. What could possibly be more controversial than religion and politics? Well, you already know that it's the vile word "Christmas".
A lot of my thoughts on Christmas are still in the percolator getting ready to be served up this Sunday at Stonebrook Community Church (shameless plug!). But some preliminary thoughts are that this paranoia over the Christmas season being offensive is based on very little smoke.
I mean, let's be real. There are very few people that are genuinely offended by this season. In reality, their problem is much larger than Christmas. Their problem is with God and Christianity. With that being the case, are we to go the direction of France and completely censor all expression of faith from the public? Well, that is exactly what this very vocal minority want. They want to make America into a completely secular state.
Now, if America had been founded as a atheistic or secular state, I would have no problem with this, but it wasn't. Our heritage... the founding principles and fabric of our government and society... are distinctly Christian. The loss of these values in the public sectors (government and business) will (actually already is) mark the undoing of our country as we know and love it.
Bill O'Reilly of The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel said,

"There is an anti-Christian bias in this country, and it is more on display at Christmas season than any other time."

I've only heard about this book "The War on Christmas" by John Gibson on the O'Reilly Factor, but it seems to be a scary read of what's brought this holiday that has historically united our country in goodwill to dividing our country in hostility.

I plan on speaking not just about what things are, but what we should be doing about it. What thoughts do you have concerning this war on Christians... I mean Christmas?

misery yet hope

Posted by Tim: 07/08/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 002655

What a fallen world we live in. The weight of the sin and selfishness on this planet really came crashing in on me yesterday.

I was grieving over the murder of the 5 year old Iowa girl, Evelyn Miller, when I came home to Kristen, my wife, telling me about the bombs that went off in London (killing what, 50 people now, and wounding 700 others!). Then I was told about the family in Idaho that was murdered and the little 8 year old girl who witnessed it as well as her 9 year old brother's molestation and murder by the same man... and that brought forth the news about an 8 year old girl in Florida that was raped and found buried alive in a landfill... All of which has happened this summer!

My initial reaction to this is, "STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF!!"

But what would that do? That would leave sex offenders brutilizing another generation of sex offenders, terrorists randomly killing, the blind leading the blind, and on it goes. No, I can't get off. This is when I, as a follower of Jesus Christ, am needed here the most. This is when Christians filled with love and compassion can extended help and hope to a broken world.

Get a load of what the 8 year old Florida girl said when she was found, still alive, under large cement slabs...
"She stated that she wanted a pastor to pray with her so she could thank God for saving her life," Lisa Taylor, the godmother, told CNN.

May we imitate her child-like faith in the midst of the madness.

(sorry no links to all of this stuff, i haven't the time to do it... google will get you there, though)

I shook the man's hand

Posted by Tim: 06/11/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 002595

In case you didn't catch the article in the Iowa State Daily a few days back, Guillermo Gonzalez (Iowa State assistant professor in astronomy and physics) is going to have a film based on his book The Privileged Planet shown at The Smithsonian Institute.
I met this man last semester and chatted briefly with him about his work and mine. He's your typical deep thinker who is more verbose in his articles then he is in real life.
His book and film expound on how the earth seems to be situated in the cosmos at such an location as to enhance every possibility of discovery. He feels that this is not by chance but by intelligent design or purpose.
Now, before you start thinking that The Smithsonian is wising up to creationist theory, you need to realize that once they realized that this film didn't please their Darwinist supporters, they pulled out and ran. But hey, at least it's making its splash in the blog world. Try googleing "The Privileged Planet and Smithsonian"... ooooh baby!

Christian suffering

Posted by Tim: 06/09/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 0 comments on 002593

At the Rock's BBQ/Bible study last night on Acts 5 and 6, we talked a lot about suffering as a direct result of professing the Christian faith. While it is very true that in America we have yet to begin to suffer for His name, it is clear to any alert reader that it has definitely begun.
In an ever growing list of persecution, here we have a kid who was prevented from reading his Bible during recess.
It's a sad commentary that those who trumpet diversity and tolerance are the ones who failing to practice it.

The dark side is a path...

Posted by Tim: 06/06/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 002585 many abilities thought to be unnatural.

My friends. After spending hours upon hours answering and sending hundreds of e-mails, my emotions got the best of me. I was filled with fear and anger. I had to find a greater power to handle all the pressure. And so... I turned to the dark side.
I urge you to join me. You don't know the power of the dark side. It will give you focus to answer e-mails and some say you may even have the power to get a real life.


What's the bigger hit? Star Wars or Celebration Sunday

Posted by Tim: 05/24/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 002546

Okay... so it's a lame way of passing on a few thoughts regarding two big events that have occurred in my life recently.

First Star Wars III: I have now been to the opening showing of two box office hits: The Passion and Star Wars III. Not only was the mood of the crowd completely different for each, but so was the major themes of each movie. The former culminated in good conquering evil, while the latter ended with evil conquering good; the former was based on fact while the latter was based on fiction... science fiction, that is.
It's important that we remember these distinctions lest we subtly adopt some of the errant philosophies trumpeted in Star Wars. I especially wanted to flag the phrase that "Only siths deal in absolutes!" Whether this is an intended slam on Pres. Bush or not, I could care less. What I do care about is that it captures the sentiment of relativism and black lists those who hold to absolutes as evil and the enemy. Now let me think... who believes in absolutes? Hmmm...

On the other side of life, the side that exists and is real, we had a Sunday of all Sundays at Stonebrook Community Church. It was a true celebration of the power of prayer, the work of God, and the joys of unity. Last Sunday marked the culmination of The Ezekiel Project and the believers of Stonebrook Community Church showed their loyalty and support of the gospel by giving what they had to the Kingdom. God was pleased by their faith. If I was to compare my experience on Sunday morning (5/22) to Thursday morning (5/19, 12:01am), last Sunday completely blew it away!

I left that morning thinking that if every Sunday was like that people would view church a whole lot differently. But let�s face it; life is not an action packed series of mountain top experiences. Life is more the daily decisions to walk by faith in good days and bad knowing that some day their will be cause to celebrate. I got a taste of it last Sunday, and I know that if I keep stepping out in faith I will have them again.
So my ultimate hope is not in another Star Wars movie or mountain top high, it's in seeing the God of absolutes do miracles in real time and space. Bring it on!

Trying and Failing... I heard that somewhere before

Posted by Tim: 04/18/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 6 comments on 002418

In the spirit of Romans 14, I have tried to "accept the one who is weak in faith"... I have tried to not "judge the servant of another"... but this morning took the cake.

It's my day off. It's early in the morning and I'm relaxing in bed with warm sun rays striking the blankets. When all of the sudden, this god-awful sound of pollutes my room. What is that thing? I said unto myself. It was country music! It wasn't event the country rock stuff which is sometimes tolerable... it was the outright country country music.
It came from the room of a certain someone who lives in an apartment in our house. Her identity is to remain hidden due to the unspeakable nature of this crime.
I tried to ignore it. I really did. I tried the pillow over the ears trick. But it just wouldn't stop! It was horrible.

But what's worse. This wasn't the first time it has happened. Not only has A.F. contaminated my otherwise serene home with country "music" before, but a time or two some "Rockers" had gathered at my place to hang or play cards and what do they put in the stereo?? Country music!
I'm trembling here. The mere recollection of it causes nausea and cramps. Whatever happened to good ol' Rock n' Roll? Come on? Aren't you guys young and crazy? Where's the sweet sounds of a screaming guitar or drums pounding out a rhythm that you could move your feet to (and I don't mean in a line or a square)?

I guess the winds of change have swept past me. Rock is out... country is (I can't say it... sorry). I'm going to have to find a corner of the world with my walkman, my rock, and my old head bandana.

It's true: Old rockers never die, they just lose their hearing.

Dinosaur blood

Posted by Tim: 04/07/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 6 comments on 002371

Well, folks, it was bound to happen sooner or later if the creation account of origins is true. If life on this planet is in the order of thousands rather than millions of years old, then evidence would pop up that would consistently point to that fact.
Indeed, it has been for quite some time, but mainstream science will not permit interpretations that counter the entrenched theory of evolution.
The latest "Well would you look at that!" is the discovery of soft tissue and blood in a T-Rex thigh bone.
Here's a couple links if you would like to read about it:
From a pro-creation news source.
From a pro-evolution news source.

If you would like to read more about these kinds of finds. You can read about mummified (not petrified) dinosaur remains,
at this link.

There is so much resting on the theory of evolution that I doubt it will ever been shaken from its pedestal. But there is a solid body of evidence that can give the creationist the peace of mind that their position has substantial merit.

Terri Schiavo- bigger than life!

Posted by Tim: 03/30/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 002345

I've been asked or included in several discussions lately about the Terri Schiavo situation. If you are not aware of what is going on with that, go to and read their timeline. It will give you a good sense of what's been happening.

The question I get asked the most is what my (or the Bible's) view on all of this is. The question is typically followed up by what they consider to be justifiable reasons to allow Terri to die such as: the Bible doesn't address using artificial means to keep a person alive (or aren�t we playing God by keeping her alive), she's in a vegetative state so what's the point in keeping her alive (she�s technically dead anyhow), or how can we impose our values into someone else's business (the government and the media should keep their noses out of it).

While I appreciate the sincerity behind these questions, they all miss the point. The point is, �Who are we?�. Yes, you heard me right. Who are you, Christian? Rather than weighing the opinions of man or the complications that modern medical technology bring to the table, consider who you are and let that lead you to the position you need to take with the Schiavo case or for any matter of life and death.

If you are a Christian, the Bible paints a pretty clear picture of the kind of people we ought to be:
We take care of the hopeless and the helpless:
2 Samuel 9:3 The king asked, �Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God�s kindness?� Ziba answered the king, �There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.�

Luke 14:13-14 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.�

As followers of Christ, His example to us is obvious:
Matthew 15:30-31 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Luke 13:11-13 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, �Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.�
Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

If the Bible is clear about anything� if the history of Christianity demonstrates anything, it shows that Christians help the defenseless, the helpless, the forgotten and the discarded. That is what we do. We imitate Christ, by laying down our lives for people who don't "deserve" it.

Notice that in the verses above that if it brings praise and glory to God when we love and serve the unwanted in society, what happens if we disregard that responsibility?

Though I would typically never recommend reading this journal due to its extreme liberal bias, I can't help but appreciate a guy that talks sense regardless of what side of the political fence he is on. Here�s a liberal atheist " standing up for Terri Schiavo" � while (some of) my Christian friends, having forgotten who they are, argue the details.

God help us. God help Terri.

Two good things in life.

Posted by Tim: 02/05/2005 :: Tim's thoughts :: 2 comments on 002111

When life gets so busy that you're in over your head, I've found that you must simplify things in order to keep your sanity. Two great pleasures that I've recently discovered are:

1) On warm winter days, go for a drive, crank down your windows (or open your sunroof) and crank up Lone Strangers "Trying and Failing". It is so sweet to blast the street with their stuff.

2) On cold winter nights, grab a C.S. Lewis book and a cup of hot chocolate in your new Rock mug from Cafe Press. Folks, it just doesn't get any better than this.

Influence pop culture

Posted by Tim: 12/06/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 6 comments on 001257

For anyone who wants to be a salt and light to our society and has an opinion on current movies, TV shows, actors, and musicians, go to the People's Choice Awards website and vote for your favorites.
You might want to keep in mind what kind of movie themes and role models would be positive examples to showcase to our world. I was actually pretty excited about voting for The Passion of the Christ, since I heard it wouldn't be allowed to be an option for the movie of the year catagory because it was done in a foreign language.
Have fun!

Fighting the right enemy

Posted by Tim: 11/19/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 001216

So I don't know how many of you have been tracking with this, but I have been keeping a casual record of every time those values voters (in other words, conservative Christians) are discussed by the mainstream media.
My attention was first caught by the rather innocuous comments made the day after the election. The surprise, amazement, and puzzled looks of the commentators was interesting to note.
Then came the onslaught of criticism, attack, and outright ridicule:
1) A voice on public radio was implying Christians were hypocritical to vote for Bush because "Jesus was the greatest pacifist that ever lived" and yet "more people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason". That latter thought, by the way, is categorically not true.
2) The New York Times ran a commentary by Garry Wills where he said, �Can a people that believes more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution still be called an Enlightened nation?�. He then compares conservative Christians to the radical fundamentalists of Muslim countries. He predicted that �moral zealots� will �give some cause for dismay even to non-fundamentalist Republicans. Jihads are scary things.�
3) CNN, which I catch parts of on a daily basis, ran a full length documentary on these Christians who stole the election. They contrasted a Christian home-school family (interviewing their 10 - 12 year old fiery red-head) with a pastor who resigned from the Southern Baptist Conference. The key themes exposed were Christians "intolerance", "exclusivisity", and "dangerous and divisive beliefs".

The thought I've been taking away from all this bombardment of the Christian faith is that we need to not add to the ridicule and harassment of those who are trying to live out the Christian faith. It's such an odd thing that while the world is firing its assault on us, we join them by shooting at our own kind. The world is getting increasingly hostile to our faith, friends. As Christians, we need to watch each other's backs, not shoot each other in the back. We need to believe the best of each other, and not join in the criticisms and accusations of other believer�s sincerity or motives.
Let's aim our weapon, truth and love, at the real problem: a world ensnared by the evil one. We have shown what our unity can do with a divisive election. Now let's show what it can do for a lost world.

A real answer to prayer

Posted by Tim: 11/16/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 001203

Can God speak to us in clear uncertain terms? Does God answer our prayers in real and tangible ways? I know I can say yes through many personal examples, but read this amazing documented case of recent answered prayer. It's really good!

Living and dieing

Posted by Tim: 11/08/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 001172

Tomorrow (11/9) Matt Heerema, Michael Riley and I will be flying to Orlando Florida for an Emerging Leaders Gathering. I'm so looking forward to hanging with these guys, hearing from Godly leaders on how to advance the Kingdom, and, of course, catching some rays.
For awhile, someone else will be doing all the work and I get to relax and soak it in. It'll be the good life.

So here I am the day before tomorrow. I've received several e-mails about a disgruntled family ready to leave the church (not because of me this time), an e-mail about how I am forcing my will upon the Rock and people feel like I don't listen to them and don't care about their opinions, and I just had an unexpected meeting with a woman suffering from severe depression. AND IT'S MY DAY OFF FOR CRYING OUT LOUD (you should see what an actual work day looks like).

As they say, life is hard, but it's harder when you're a leader. I didn't realize how hard it would be to die to yourself... a life where you give your life away. You just lay it down for others in love and obedience to Christ. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if your own teammates wouldn't kick you when you're down.

Oh well, time moves on... Orlando tomorrow and soon after that HEAVEN!

The church awoke

Posted by Tim: 11/05/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 001162

The election is over and the results are in... well, almost. Iowa is still trying to figure out just how many more votes Bush got over Kerry, but the end result is the same.
Much has been said about what to make of the election results. Peggy Noonan said it well by enumerating that George W. Bush is "the first incumbent president to increase his majority in both the Senate and the House and to increase his own vote (by over 3.5 million)... [he's] the first president to win more than 50% of the popular vote since 1988� [he] received more than 59 million votes, breaking Ronald Reagan's old record of 54.5 million�. [and] Mr. Bush increased his personal percentages in almost every state in the union."

This was clearly a historic election. But what Noonan didn't elaborate on was Bush's real ace in the hole... the evangelical Christian church. Other commentators have noted this claiming that it was the Christian Church that sealed this election for W.
Advancements of the immoral minority woke up this sleeping giant. The push to embrace the homosexual agenda, the attack on traditional marriage, the activist courts preventing abortion restrictions like partial-birth and state marriage amendments shocked the church out of the pews and into the polls.
The church spoke and the nation, indeed the world, heard our voice.
I'm proud of the church today. Lines were clearly drawn in this election. Each party made no apologies about what they stood for and what they were advocating. Each candidate's heart and character were clear to anyone who was willing to investigate each man�s fruit. For anyone still questioning Bush's faith and integrity, I encourage you to watch this video called Inner Strength:

But since my hope is not in politics, my joy will not be complete unless the body of Christ continues to make noise wherever lives are on the line. I fear that this election could simply be a trip to the refrigerator for the church. They got what they wanted and now they'll go back to bed. I hope not. I hope that the church will realize that their God is strong and their mission is clear: �remember the poor�, �rescue those being led away to death", "make disciples of all the nations".
If the church stays awake and changes the world, I will rejoice and be proud of her all of my days.

...with all your mind

Posted by Tim: 09/30/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 1 comments on 001056

"The Christian intellectual is here to serve a Name, not to make one."
Moreland, J.P., 1997. Love your God with all Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

I was born-again, raised, and have lived my entire Christian life in an intellectual environment (Iowa State University). I have grown to enjoy the challenges that such a place poses to the Christian faith. While obtaining my degree in geology, I wrestled with questions about God and the Bible practically everyday. This wrestling and the answers I discovered along the way have helped ground me in the faith and give me a confidence that I otherwise wouldn't have.

But no matter how much I learn and know about science, the Bible and faith, I refuse to lead with such things or seek to be known for such. I (and the other pastors) have often times been criticized for not having more "meat" in our Sunday morning messages (like you can accomplish much in a half hour time slot) or not being very deep overall. But we are not interested in tickling ears or making people think highly of us for your depth of insight.
Maturity and true wisdom is found in love, humility, and obedience. We will speak and lead people into those things. We want to raise up men and women who will make a name for Jesus and not for themselves or for Stonebrook.
So often we get our value system all screwed up. May God humble us to take hold of being a fool in the eyes of man rather than a fool in the eyes of God.

Pastor's Commentary II

Posted by Tim: 09/24/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 9 comments on 001035

Without question, last week's testimony by Mike Boyd was powerful. If you didn't get a chance to hear it, download it now and give it a listen.
There is nothing like changed lives to boost your faith and give you hope. Wow, if God can change him, then he can change me! Strangely though, the visible response at Stonebrook was not that way.
After a clear offer to receive pastoral prayer for healing and power to the entire church body, only 6 people had the guts to come forward (4 during the first service; 2 during the second). Now, since I knew that there were several more that could really benefit from being humble and seeking help (and only God knows how many I didn't know of), it was a little discouraging and concerning to see people stay in their seats.
This was far more the case in the second service than the first, because the second service had 60 more people yet only 2 sought out prayer.
It's been a long running discussion among the pastors and others as why the second service is so far less responsive than the first. Compared to the older, earlier service, the singing seems far less enthusiastic, jokes get hardly a snicker, and it's like pulling teeth to get any audience participation.
We have looked into our own effectiveness at teaching, the generational gap, the insecurities of youth (since the second service is primarily Rockers and young marrieds) and have gained some insight but no sure answers.
Maybe you have some thoughts as to why the second service is so languid? I'd hate to see such a potentially powerful series miss the mark if it can in any way be avoided.

Pastor's Commentary

Posted by Tim: 09/18/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 001003

I actually wanted to start this early in the week, but what a week this week has been. It has been nothing but phenomenal to have Tom Short here these past three days, but it has left me tired and very behind. Oh well, I have a perfect vacation coming up soon... HEAVEN!

What I plan on doing for quite some time is make commentary on Stonebrook Community Church's series "The Cross". No matter how long a Sunday morning message is I never can say all that I originally was planning on saying. So I plan on sharing an abbreviated form of it here, as well as some insider thoughts.

I knew last week's message, "The Cross: A Primer" was going to be difficult. Not because of the material, necessarily, but because of the intended audience. Most Christians that engage in church life for any reasonable length of time develop a condition that I call "pastor block". It's this amazing ability to hear a sermon and yet not really think about it or internalize it. It's the "everybody's challenge is nobody's challenge" idea taken to another level.

Anyway, this "pastor block" phenomenon hits its peak whenever a Christian realizes that the gospel is being shared. As soon as that's detected, the brain shuts down, the eyes glaze over, and they think, "this is not for me".

There lies my problem... the gospel I was sharing last Sunday was primarily intended to hit the believer (though I hoped that the unbeliever would catch it as well). To prevent "pastor block" (or at least minimize it), I took the approach of answering questions about the cross that should be obvious to all Christians, but apparently are not. The question "Why did Jesus have to die on a cross" for example, has been brought to my attention time and again for over 20 years as a question that Christians can not intelligently, biblically answer.

So it was an academic approach. After the first service, I noticed something: My motivator was, well, not very motivational. My call to take notes appeared to be taken seriously by about 1/4 of the audience... and most of them were young people (God bless them!).

After talking with Brad, he suggested I include an emotional motivator as well. He suggested I comment on how a cross-centered life radically increases the quality of your life. Joy, power, peace, forgiveness... stuff like that.

So I made that change, and issued my call to take notes. The response was far more encouraging, but at the same time I was far more sensitive to "pastor block" so I simply called a spade a spade and warned people not to go there. I suspect it was a little surprising for people to hear that, but that was the point. Shock people out of their mental lethargy and think at church for a change.

This coming Sunday should be different. The whole thing is a story. An autobiography on how the cross is not a 2000 year ago historical curiosity, but a powerful living reality that changed a man's life. Since a pastor won't be speaking, everyone's mental alertness should maintain a relatively conscious level. :- )

I feel good!

Posted by Tim: 09/13/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 000986

Well, what can I say? Week one of fantasy football has come and gone and both of my teams conquered their foe. Let me humbly give you some highlights.

The Ragamuffin team:
McNabb nabbed some big numbers this week. Can we say 30?!
Put his numbers with D. Davis of Houston (15 pts) and the rest was padding.

The Timanators:
This team put together what I call... the triple threat. D. Davis (again!), C. Portis, I. Bruce combined for a crippling 50 points. Every team will tremble when they face this formidable combination.

Now, I won't brag too much. I will wait until next week's result before I start working on my championship speech. But I suspect it's only a matter of time.

Life is good.

What kind of guys go to the Rock?

Posted by Tim: 08/18/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 8 comments on 000237

I don't know what to say anymore. I tried to lead by example, but it just doesn't seem to be catching on. I'm talking about the proper role and place of sports in a man's life.

At the Rock, getting some guys together to play some basketball is like pulling teeth. Now I admit that I'm not the most available guy to pick up a game at the spur of the moment either. But at least I can brag about days gone by. The guys at the Rock don't even do that.

Or how about some football. Dan Lennander, God bless his soul, pulls together a fantasy football league and how many have signed up after 3 weeks of heavy promotion? Six! That's it. Out of some 50ish guys we can fire up only six to do some fantasy play. It's embarrassing.

What are guys doing with their time these days? You might say, "Can you say Halo?" But no! Michael Riley, whose name will go down in history, has pulled off multiple LAN parties and we get excited if we hit a peak of 25. It's just not right.

Maybe everyone is just too busy going to meetings. Well, I can understand that. It's a right of passage that every Rocker must pass through to enlightenment. But I'm just not gonna take it anymore. I'm freeing up my evenings even if it kills me (and it just might because that means I have to wake up before 8am for meetings now!). But I say a man has to put his foot down somewhere and get his priorities straight. After time with God... are you ready for some football?!!

Note: If the spirit of conviction has come over you after reading this powerful blog, click here to sign up for The Rock's fantasy football league. And God bless you.

Top 10

Posted by Tim: 08/04/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 5 comments on 000209

I just got back to Ames today since my summer long adventure in Chicago... and I'm feeling goooood! Why? Well, let me give you the top 10 reasons why I'm glad to be back in Iowa.
10. I can fill up my gas tank for less than $40.
9. Two words: No tolls.
8. Four minutes in Ames does what 40 minutes does in Chicago.
7. Three words: No traffic jams.
6. I'm not just 1 in 10 million.
5. I can actually take more than 4 steps without running into something.
4. No bad jokes, puns or Hawiian shirts.
3. Ahhh, the sound of silence.
2. Everything is so... green.
1. There's no place like home.

Exposing "Sokollisms"

Posted by Tim: 06/28/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 13 comments on 000089

So there I was, enjoying a bite of pizza during the first day of the pastor/staff conference. It was like a family reunion. People were calling out to old friends by name, hugging was happening everywhere, everyone was smiling... the usual fare at a Great Commission event.
When suddenly Pat and Cindy Sokoll (Mars Hill church planters) showed up. After the greetings, Cindy said, "Wow. I've only had 2 pizzas this entire year."
That was it... I snapped. How could this be? I hear these claims of extreme sacrifice and amazing self-denial from the Sokolls often, but I wonder if it is humanly possible.
Well let's find out. Let's put our collective memories together and make a list of these bizarre claims that I call "Sokollisms". Allow me to start:
1) I go out to eat (or have pizza) only once or twice a year and even then only out to McDonalds.
2) I always drive the speedlimit even if it means I'll be late to catching a flight to the Bahamas.
3) I take 2 minute showers in freezing cold water just because I can.
4) If I loan something out, I never expect it back again... ever.

I know there's more. Let's expose these "Sokollisms" once and for all.

The voice of experience

Posted by Tim: 06/18/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 4 comments on 000073

So there I was, hanging out at Glen Arbor Community Church about a half an hour early (I know... this would never happen in Ames) when I got into a conversation with Ernie.
Ernie was an 83 year old man that was sharp witted and loved the Lord. His words weren't filled with theory and speculation about life. He had lived it and God had given him wisdom along the way to understand it.
He was sharing with me how he handled the Great Depression. He wanted to be a machinist and refused to let the dried up job market rob him of his dignity. He relentlessly pursued his dream until he finally landed a job as an apprentice and worked his way up from there.
He then told me a story of one fella who would drive up to different factories with his truck where he had rigged an operational oven in the back. All morning he would bake apple pies right outside the building, so that when lunch break hit the workers would walk out into a wall of the irresistible smells of fresh baked apple pies. I'm salivating just thinking about it.
Ernie said that the Great Depression has also been called the "Era of Innovation". It proved the old adage true that necessity is the mother of invention.

I walked away wondering how innovative Christians are with the gospel. We sure do a "good job" of copying the world and putting our own sanctified twist on it. Just think about all the T-shirts that mimic product slogans. Cute, but they all lack true innovation. That type of creativity that is born out of necessity and an understanding of the times that were in. The kind of stuff that gives birth to a whole new church movement like John Wesley's Methodism and its circuit riders or (on another spectrum) C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and it's intricate symbolism and scripting.
"It's rare", I'm told, "Very few people are gifted like that." Maybe so. But maybe it's because we just don't think it's very necessary.

SALT in your eye

Posted by Tim: 06/02/2004 :: Tim's thoughts :: 3 comments on 000052

No matter how much a guy plans to pull off the perfect event something always goes God's way. You see, I have a hard time saying things are going "wrong", because so much has happened to affirm God's involvement in this effort. I've got to recognize that He is sovereign over the difficulties as well as the blessings. Otherwise, I'm believing in a genie God rather than a genuine God.
A genie God is one where all the good things are attributed to Him and he is only interested in giving us candy and toys. A genuine God is one who both blesses and afflicts his chosen ones, and He is the one who decides to do what when.
The Scriptures are clear that "the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son". (Heb. 12:6) We feel like we must explain such verses away, but biblical history won't allow us to. We see too much hardship in the lives of Joseph, Job, and Jeremiah (note: don't name your kids with a "J"... it makes life all the harder for them).

Feeling small Feeling vertigoAt SALT, the hard realities of life are becoming undeniable for those in our crew who have yet to find jobs. About 5 or 6 are still on the hunt. Pray for them. Pray that they would learn to trust Him even though it looks like they are going to drown. (see Mark 4:35-41) And as long as your talking, ask Him to provide jobs for these precious saints. Like any Father, he'll spank us if he has too, but he would much rather bless us.