Carolyn’s Half-Birthday

Today is a very special day: It’s Carolyn’s half-birthday, and that only rolls around once every four years.  She only has one half-birthday for every presidential term and Olympic Games.

Happy half-birthday, Carolyn!

Published in: on February 29, 2008 at 5:29 am  Comments (1)  

Great Quote About Capital Punishment

From the current issue of Christianity Today:

“It’s anti-evangelical to kill people.  Christianity is redemptive.  But you can’t redeem people by extinguishing them.”

– John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute

This seems obvious, yet so many people miss it.  As a white evangelical, it’s embarrassing that white evangelicals are the strongest supporters of the death penalty (with an approval of 74% according to the March 2008 issue of CT).  I honestly don’t understand how we can say that we believe Jesus died to pay for our sins, but other people have to die to pay for their own sins.

Published in: on February 28, 2008 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Hollywood God, the Closing Credits

This Sunday is the last week in our Hollywood God series at CrossWay.  It’s been a lot of fun, but it’ll be kind of nice to catch my breath because the preparation each week has taken a ton of time.  The following Sunday, March 9, we’re beginning a two-week series on family.  Pastor John Coleman from the Gathering Tree is preaching the first message, about parenting.  The following week is about marriage.

Hollywood God has been pretty well received so far.  I had no idea what to expect!  It seems to me that our whole worship service has been kicked up a notch during this series.  I’d love to see that momentum keep growing!  It’s been a real learning experience, that’s for sure.  One thing that’s been a lot of fun is getting to use my training as an English major to dissect each week’s film and discover where it overlaps with our story and the story of Scripture.

Hollywood God 2009 is already tentatively scheduled for the month before Easter.  It’s kind of cool the way the series coincides with the Oscars, which was unintentional.

Published in: on February 28, 2008 at 5:09 am  Comments (2)  

A Heartwarming Amazon Review the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Never thought I’d post a link to an Amazon review of a chef’s hat.  But this is cool.  Click here and scroll down until you get to the Customer Reviews.

Published in: on February 27, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kickin’ Some Knowledge Wikipedia-Style

Even though Wikipedia is not the most reliable source, you sure can find out some interesting stuff there.  Today I found out that Talia Shire, who played Adrian Balboa in the Rocky movies, is the sister of Francis Ford Coppola.

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

First Paintings

Here’s a picture of Carolyn’s first completed painting. She painted it based on a photograph we took last summer at Cataloochee, Tennessee. The painting is actually a lot brighter than this photo shows, but I don’t know how to capture a painting on camera. Anyway, here it is:

And in fairness to my deal with Carolyn, I guess I should also show my first painting. Well, at least part of it. It’s not finished, and the face is nowhere near finished, so I’m not showing the face. Make sure there’s no food or beverage in your mouth, and prepare to laugh heartily:

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 11:03 am  Comments (8)  

Hollywood God: Rocky Balboa–Podcast

Just so ya know, the podcast for “Hollywood God: Rocky Balboa” is now available.  To download it, click on either “CrossWay Church Sermon Podcast” or “CrossWay Podcast on iTunes” on the right side of this page, under “Links to Check Out.”

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stuff from the Past Few Days

Haven’t blogged much lately.  Here’s what’s been going on:

  • Carolyn was away last week for three days and two nights.  She attended a conference in Towson with the other kindergarten teachers, and really enjoyed it.  She said the conference was informative, interesting, and beneficial, but what she talked about most was the food.  They ate at some really good restaurants!  I’m thinking about becoming a kindergarten teacher.  Seriously though, their dining experiences spilled over to my advantage when she came home with an Amish cinnamon roll and some candy fruit slices for her husband.  Sweet!
  • It felt really weird to be home alone at night.  So I watched the first three Rocky movies in one night.  I would’ve watched more if I could find them.  Hey, it actually turned out to be good research.  I’d been studying the movie Rocky Balboa, which is the sixth and final installment in the Rocky saga, and there were numerous thematic elements in it that made a whole lot more sense when placed in the proper context of the entire Rocky story.
  • Yesterday at CrossWay we had a ton of visitors.  Mostly out of town folks who have had some connection with the church, although there was at least one new local family.  It was definitely one of those services where God answered prayer!  We’d been having some problems with the technological stuff, so we got here early to try to work them out.  Even when it was time for the service to start, we weren’t sure how it would go.  But God helped us out, and Josh did a fantastic job in the A/V booth!  Several people commented afterward about how smoothly it went.  When I mentioned that to Josh, he said it’s because they couldn’t see what was actually happening behind the scenes!
  • We had the third week of Hollywood God at church.  The movie we used was Rocky Balboa.  The message of the sermon was the same as the message of the movie, which is summarized by Rocky in a conversation with his son: “It ain’t about how hard you hit.  It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward–how much you can take, and keep moving forward.  That’s how winning is done!”  Many people are living in defeat not because they’ve been beaten, but because they’ve given up.  The Bible encourages us in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 and Hebrews 12:1-3 to focus intently on Jesus so we can go the full 15 rounds.

  • On Saturday we had a church work day.  We had some real troopers come out and work their butts off!  It was only scheduled to last two hours, but most of the people stayed over four hours.  And we got a lot done!  Josh totally overhauled the setup for the music team, and it looks great!
  • After church yesterday we went to Ledo’s with Carolyn’s parents and James & Faith Wenger.  James is the mentor that our conference assigned me, and we’ve been meeting for several months now.  They live in Baltimore but came out here to visit.
  • After lunch we came back to the church to paint.  We’d been painting at Steve & Linda’s house, but our group has grown to include Grace (from church and the Training Station) and Mary-Michele (one of the Training Station teachers).  It’s stunning how talented they are!  I had no idea that Grace even painted, but she brought in a painting she’d done that probably belongs somewhere in the Smithsonian.  I was totally floored.  We painted together for several hours and had a lot of fun together.  Big news: Carolyn finished her first painting!  And she even said I could post a picture of it on here!  Actually, the deal was that I could post her painting if I also posted my Brett Favre painting.  That was an easy deal, especially since I don’t know if the Brett Favre painting will ever be finished (heheheh….).  I just can’t get the face right.  Her painting will appear here soon.
Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Mark His Word

This morning I began a journey through the Book of Daniel in the Bible.  I pulled out a copy of the Bible that I read a couple years ago to see the notes I’d made in Daniel.  There was so much there!  As I read through this Bible, I turned it into my own personal study/devotional Bible.  Quite a few key verses were highlighted, with notes in the margins about what God was saying to me through these passages.  There were also numerous cross-references with other passages, references that would probably not stand out to me at any other time.

I know sometimes people are reluctant to write in their Bible, and I can kind of understand that.  But I can’t bear to think about the valuable insights, derived from my personal time alone with God, that would’ve been lost if I hadn’t written in this Bible.

We never read the Bible the same way twice.  For instance, when I read through this particular copy of the Scriptures, I was in a transitional period in my life.  So that affected how God spoke to me, and it colored my understanding of what I was reading.  There were sermons I’d recently heard and other passages I’d recently read that came to mind as I studied the Bible, so I connected these pieces together.  That’s why we never read the Bible the same way twice.  If we don’t make note of these insights, they’re lost!

My encouragement to you: mark His Word!

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 4:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Hollywood God: Ratatouille (the podcast)

There was a minor glitch in uploading the podcast for Sunday’s installment of Hollywood God: Ratatouille.  Sorry for the delay.  But now it’s up and running, and you can access it using one of the links on the right side of this page.

Published in: on February 19, 2008 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment