Monday, July 30, 2007

Training Camp opens!!!

The Seahawks are back at it. Training Camp is officially underway and I am so pumped for the coming season. I even started openly asking my wife for Madden 2008 for my birthday (August 26th) and I watched a recap of the Patriots 2004 season, plus a little arena football yesterday. We (yes I refer to myself as part of the Seahawks - 12th man baby!!!) are looking very, VERY, VERY strong on paper. I've been watching news stories and reading articles on this years team, and it may be the best ever. Our defense seems to have been shored up, now if only the offense can stay healthy we may be looking at another Super Bowl run.

One of the things I love about football is all of the analogies you can draw from it. I'm sure we'll run through a bunch of them during the season. I just had a weird thought though. I'm big into fantasy football (you can view or join my league here) and my weird thought has to do with it. For some reason I was imagining Peter and Paul up in Heaven when the Earth League Fantasy Draft comes around. I'm not sure what stats they'd use to determine a person's value, but maybe there would be points earned for witnessing, time spent in prayer, overcoming temptations, things like that. I'm sure that the first draft pick would be some little old lady in Argentina who's been praying non-stop for 74 years. And then it would probably be the guy who gave up his great business to help orphans in Malaysia or something. I think the guys we consider to be spiritual giants probably would be second or third round draft picks, because they've got to be doing something right, otherwise God wouldn't have put them in the position they're in. I don't think that seeing a million people making one time decisions for Christ would be weighted as heavily as seeing one person saved and walking with them until they are strengthened in the Lord. What would you look for in someone on your spiritual fantasy team?


For more information on the Seahawks training camp, check out some of these links:
The Seahawks homepage
Seahawks blogs
The Seahawks Insider

Friday, July 27, 2007

How pure is your water?

What's in your bottled water? Is it pure, clean refreshing water bottled from an artesian spring? Or is it merely tap water that has been put into a fancy package and marked up? Pepsi is looking to clear up the confusion in their Aquafina line of bottled water by putting the words "Public Water Source" on all their bottles. Yep, that's right, it's tap water. For years now I've sworn to people that Aquafina was the very best type of bottled water, because of it's taste. But now I know it's merely average, just like the water I get at my house or maybe worse. I have a friend who works at the Pepsi bottling plant in Olympia. I've been to Olympia hundreds of times, and the water there always has a funny taste to it. Who knows what's in the water supply!

It reminds me of the Pharisees, because everyone thought they were so great, and yet Jesus called them out for being "full of greed and self-indulgence (Matt 23:25)". And that was Jesus being nice to them. In verse 26 He says this: "Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

The word of God is compared several times to clean, pure water (Ephesians 5:26, Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 3:21) but like the Pharisees if your cup is dirty then it doesn't matter how clean the water is, the drink is coming out muddy.

Sure Aquafina is tap water, but I'll still end up buying it because it's convenient and it quenches my thirst. Plus the bottles are clean, which is something that God is still working in me.


For more on the Aquafina story, click here. Also here is an interesting video about the effects of bottled water on the environment.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

God's Masterpiece

It takes a special eye to recognize art. I'm amazed by people who can look at a bunch of trash thrown together and talk about it's genious. No, I'm sorry, it's not genious it's junk, and the whole thing is starting to smell a little. Most of the time an artist has a statement to make. Take the old Norman Rockwell paintings, they are interesting snapshots of a time gone by. Now look at Picasso and tell me what he was trying to say (I don't see anything there, but then I'm the guy who never saw the hidden images no matter how hard I tried.)

There was a story on the news two nights ago about an artist with something to say. He painted a box to look like a candy cane and put a speaker in the top, and then looped phrases like "You are special" or "You are a born leader and people flock to you" or "you are way better than Joe, you should've got that promotion". Okay, so I made that last one up, but you get the idea. The "artist" designed this white and red rectangle to make the point that people are too full of themselves and was hoping that this would be a critique of our culture's narcissism (I agree with him, everyone's too busy looking at themselves to look at me). Instead, people love to walk by it as it spits out compliments, not unlike how we all like to get a fortune cookie after a meal at a Chinese Restaurant. Rather than waking people up to the fact that we're all full of ourselves, he's lulled them to sleep with the chanting rhythm of his words. You can view the rest of the story here.

In Ephesians 2:10 it says that we are God's masterpiece. YOU are His very finest creation. He wants you to be perfect. He painted you to show His glory and to accomplish "good works He planned out for us in advance". Verses 6-7 provide a little more insight into why you were developed. God says that He raised us up "so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of His favor and kindness towards us". Like any other artist, God has a statement to make with the art that is you, are you sending the right message?


Friday, July 6, 2007

The Mexi-blog pt.9- Why there was no part 7

I’m tired of safe Christianity. Why are we content to merely attend church every week? Where have we gotten this idea that going to church and paying our tithe is all there is to being like Jesus? Jesus was a radical! He challenged everything that people knew about God and all of their bizarre social customs. Jesus changed things. He made things happen. I want to be like Jesus. It’s interesting to me that Jesus only once or twice encourages His followers to pray. He just assumes that they will be doing that. He knows that if you want to live a full life like He has for you, then you’ve got to rely on God.

Going on a Missions trip allows us to experience the overcoming life. For two weeks you do nothing but rely on God. You pray, you study and you share about Jesus. Your talk is centered around God. Your thoughts are focused on Him. You absorb yourself completely in learning to hear His voice and trying to see His will accomplished. Everything is about God. And that’s part of what makes mission trips so great is that you can leave normal life behind and focus on reaching people for Jesus.

Missions Trips are like a little Christian incubator, where people can experience the Christian life in a mostly safe way that encourages growth and gives everything you need to survive. Not just survive, but thrive. We get so few opportunities to experience a Christ-following lifestyle like this. I can't think of any other times off the top of my head where we can be completely sold out to God and have a hundred other people urging us on. Think about it like this: When was the last time you saw a blind boy in the grocery store and walked over to him, believing that God would heal him? And yet there we stood on the front yard of the mission (I say yard to indicate location, not to imply that there was any grass present, which there wasn't) praying our hearts out and trusting in God to bring healing. We didn't see that boy healed that day, but I know that God began a work in his life.

What you just read will probably be the introduction to my sermon on Sunday. If you're in the area you should come check it out. If not I will post a link to the audio once we get it up on the internet (it usually takes about a week).

BTW: If you're wondering why there was no post #7, I started to write it and then my power died, but being the good little site that blogger is it saved the 8 words that I had already written. When I got up the next day, I saw that the next post was #8, so I started from there. I didn't realize until today that I had made that mistake.