Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vick in the Doghouse

I first saw this image at La Shawn Barber's Corner.

I'm not one to side with Vick, but it seems the hypocrisy of the situation is disturbing. Here is an article by Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN Page 2's Tuesday Morning QB1 talking about how we're all hypocrites for eating meat2. Tim Keown also wrote an interesting blurb about this case in This Weeks List. I link to both of these articles because I think people have lost their heads over this whole Vick case. I know we all like to root for the Underdog3 but I think this is getting a little out of control. As Grant4 over at The G Sides pointed out, there have been several athletes doing things far worse to other people (not dogs) who won't get any jail time at all. Too often we allow the sensation of a story to take it out of it's proper perspective.

I think the part of this story that's hard to take in is all of the horrible things he did to these dogs. I hate dogs and yet could never imagine doing something like that to an animal. It's despicable. But I've yelled at my kids. Earlier this afternoon I poked my two year old girl in the eye while we were having a little shoving match5. I've kicked my dog before in anger6. I guess we've all done things we regret, my question is whether or not Vick regrets what he's done. We'll never know if he laid awake at night feeling remorse about what was happening, or if he was thinking up ways to get a new edge for his dogs the next day.


1- TMQ is a very interesting and informative read, dealing with a wide range of issues not just football. I'd highly recommend you checking it out during the season.
2- He doesn't really go that far, in fact he heartily endorses the eating of meat. He's merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the situation.
3- Although not for the Disney movie, which I've heard isn't very good (interestingly though, yahoo thinks I'll like it). That's him in the red suit and cape by the way.
4- He's Sick of Vick, and who can blame him, but if you're interested in the ramblings of another youth pastor, you should read more of his stuff.
5- She totally deserved it. She's been sporting a little attitude lately, and I thought it was about time to adjust it.
6- But never in love. That's why hate is better and why I can never love my dog, it's too much fun to kick him.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I am on my way to our second ever drama practice. I'm so pumped about this new team. God is really going to use this as a springboard into ministry for several of our students. I can't wait to see everything that God is going to do. Starting something new is really akin to childbirth. There are great struggles, but the joy of seeing new life far outweighs the pain associated with labor. I know I'm speaking from a guys perspective, but I've heard this from the ladies too. Be praying for us as we go through this time, because I know the enemy will try and attack and tear down what God is doing.

During drama practices I always try and play a game to loosen everyone up, and then I have a short bible study and prayer time. Today God has spoken to me that for the drama game everyone needs to try their hand at evangelism, and for the bible study we're going to talk about the game. We may also talk about the importance of purity in the heart of a minister, but we may save that talk for another day. Well, gotta run.


PS: Also pray because we listed our house yesterday, pray for a quick sale!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Quotes about Barry Bonds

"Everytime you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointed back at you..." --- My Mom

"We're a nation of cheaters. We chase wrinkles away with Botox, get our stomachs stapled, our fat suctioned out, our noses resculpted, our teeth whitened, our hair transplanted, our assets filled out with implants. We fudge our taxes, swipe pens from the supply cabinet, take 10 over the speed limit, and scarf down pills and potions for everything from restless leg syndrome to erectile dysfunction. There's very little some of us won't do to get an edge. … But, d--mit, our athletic heroes better not cheat. Does anyone detect a note of hypocrisy in this? Does anyone who reviles Barry Bonds as a cheater admit to even the tiniest flaw in his or her own personal code of ethics?" —MSNBC sports columnist Mike Celizic, in the wake of Bonds' record-breaking (and controversial) home run on Aug. 7

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." ---Jesus Christ, Matthew 7: 1-5

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Mexi-blog pt.10- The finale

We're back home now! After spending 23 hours in a van (including driving 20 miles in 3 hours due to a brushfire in So. California), Tiffanney and I decided that we hadn't driven quite enough and therefore thought it was a good idea to go and see our kids right away. At that point we didn't realize that our 2 and a half hour journey up north would take us 6 hours. By the time our heads hit the pillows that night at my parents house we had been awake for 36 hours and had spent 29 of them in a vehicle, including 9 hours in stop and go traffic.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, mine began with driving back to Disneyland to see if they had sorted through the hundreds of pairs of lost sunglasses to find the ones my wife had lost a day earlier. After being denied once again (it was the third time we'd tried), I returned empty handed to our hotel to begin packing things up and prepping the van to leave. I also took some time to reminisce about the trip that was and compile my thoughts into what would later become this blog that you are reading right now. (Update: That part really was written the day we left, everything else was written 8/14)

Here is a summary of what happened, including a couple of testimonies:
  • Even before we left Tiffanney and I knew this would be a great trip, but it was far above what we imagined. We had a service on Wednesday night that was just incredible. As worship was getting started I felt God telling me that we needed to pray for the pastors(please take a second to do that right now, too) of the church. We called out to God and His response was incredible. God took us and transformed us into vessels to be used by His hands. We were willing and so God poured through us mightily.
  • There was one man who was specifically blessed that night because not only did God heal his knee pain (meaning that he'd be able to work again), but God healed his relationship with his wife and daughter that night too.
  • Tiffanney preached a great word on Thursday night, and again the power of the Spirit fell, this time in the mission church we were at. I know that God is continuing the work down there even right now, and I believe next year we'll see the fruit of it.
  • God stretched us in ways we never thought possible. Whether it was VBS or learning to preach with an interpreter, God used Mexico as an opportunity to bring us out of our shells just a little bit more. Because of this experience and Summer Camp, God has birthed in the hearts of our students the desire to form a drama outreach team. We did our first human video a couple weeks ago and it was incredible.
May God stir in each of us the passion to follow Him in reaching the lost,


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New website

Well, not quite yet, but I'm thinking about changing the look of our church site. I thought I'd open this up for people to comment on what they'd like to see in a church website. You can look at our current website by going to www.oakvilleag.org. We will be exploring some different companies for hosting and trying to find the right fit for our ministry. Certain things are obvious, like announcements or driving directions, but I don't want our site to be just a glorified bulletin (Sephie already does a great job with that). Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Links to church member's sites
  • Pastor blogs
  • Online church directory
  • Church "classifieds"
  • Social networking
  • News Feeds
  • Local weather updates
  • Community events
  • Sermon audio (and someday video)
  • Video announcements
  • Highlighted member profiles
  • Groups for different ministries
  • "Help wanted" section
  • Ministry details
  • Event pictures
  • Message boards for members
  • Online devotions
  • Online Accountability
  • Prayer Request Board
  • Praise Report Board
  • Links to other websites
Well, that's my short list, let's see what you come up with.

Update: To see how the new site might look eventually, click here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Getting ready

Packing is always an interesting experience. We're getting ready to go to Indy for General Council and I'm seriously dragging my feet. It's 11:15 right now and we need to leave here by 3, so I've still got a little time. And the fact is Tiff did ALL of the hard work yesterday. (Side note: There is a story on the news right now about cancelled flights and missed connections, I hope this isn't forshadowing things to come.) Tiff really stepped up and got the whole house clean, along with Melody and Alicia. So all I need to do is throw some clothes in a bag. One thing I hate about packing is this feeling that I'm forgetting something. I always think to myself that I need to make a checklist, but then I never do. Well, I guess I need to get started... (Side note again: It looks like it's raining and 90 degrees right now in Indianapolis, *sigh*)


Monday, August 6, 2007

Picking up the loose ends

As I was looking up some links for my last post I realized that the Mexi-blog #10 is still sitting as an unfinished draft. Hopefully I'll be able to finish this on my trip to Indianapolis this week, because Tiffanney will be sitting right next to me for 9 and a half hours (it's not really, but with the time change and a two hour layover in Denver we leave Washington at 8:30pm and get to Indy at 6:00am. I contrast, we leave Indy at 8:30pm and get home at 11:30pm. The time change messes everything up) while we travel and eventually we'll run out of things to talk about. This blog was intended to sum up everything that happened in Mexico and give some testimonies of the incredible things that God did.

I'll try and post some thoughts on General Council, so if you're not lucky enough to be able to attend, check in here for the latest news. Also there are at least two other blogs leading up to General Council that I've enjoyed reading, Future AG and AG Leadership Change. Check out both of those sites for information leading up to the conference.

Lastly, Tiff and I are looking to sell our rental house up in Stanwood, and we've got a lot of work to do in order to get it ready for sale. I'll let you know how it turns out, it promises to be tons of work and tons of reward once it sells.


My view on the third world

One of my main ministry goals is empowering people. If I can do that, it eventually makes my job easier (read: I can take on other tasks, it doesn't actually free up any of my time). Sometimes I feel like it's just easier to do the job myself. Training people takes time, money and resources that I don't always have readily available. I'm trying to teach 3 people to play instruments right now. I know that if I can train up a bass player and a piano player that I won't have to do either, and yet making the time to get together with these guys has been impossible (on my end, not theirs).

So what's all this have to do with the third world? Well, my view of late has changed considerably (to read more about this, check out The mexi-blog pt 8: A story of God's love). Before Mexico I wanted to ship out all of the illegals, because they were criminals (because they had come here illegally). What I found down there is that the American ideals of being able to work hard and get ahead in life don't apply to the rest of the world. Just because you're willing and able to get a job doesn't mean that you will be payed enough to survive, or that you're guaranteed a job in the first place.

So what can be done about all of this? I love that churches are moving towards becoming more active in social issues. I think it's neat that some of the largest churches in the world are leading the charge towards eliminating poverty and disease. Many churches are supporting missions like they haven't in years. And yet the need seems to be so great.

Standing down there in Mexico the need became very specific. As I looked out over the houses I was overwhelmed by the pain, not for the entire area, but for the individuals in the area. How can I help and what can I do to make a difference, not for everyone, but for one person. An idea that's always been of great interest to me is microfinance. This seems to fit in with my love for (or at least understanding the need for) empowering people. The concept is a pretty simple one. A poor person has some sort of skill (say seamstress) but doing it by hand takes too long to make a profit. A company comes in and loans this lady $500 for her to buy a sowing machine, she starts to sell more and earns enough to repay her loan. If it doesn't work out the company is only out $500, but if it does then they've just changed the life of that entire family, possibly forever.

The problem people seem to run into is when the company is trying to make a profit exploiting people who are poor. Those who's businesses don't work out find themselves not only poor but also in debt, compounding the situation. This only works well when it's run through a non-profit company, because I personally would give to this without expecting money back. World Vision is one non-profit that is trying to aid in this effort. Here are a series of articles on microfinance, also put out by world vision. They state that 97% of their loans are payed back!

This story by the Stanford Social Innovation Review makes the point that while these loans might help those interested in starting a business, what of the 90% of the world that doesn't have the drive to make a small business successful? I guess that's why we need companies like Nike to outsource all their jobs, because to someone in Mexico making $5 per week, making $5 per day is like hitting the jackpot.

Proverbs 19:17
He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward him for what he has done.
Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing,
but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

I guess to sum everything up I'd have to say that it's too bad that those that want to work and make there lives better only end up being squashed whereas those who take advantage of things like Welfare get to sit around all day. If only we could export the lazy and bring in those with a drive to do better. Then America would be a lot better place to live.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

They should just burn it all...

Japan is in the middle of a peculiar problem. There have been reports all over the country of wads of cash showing up in random spots. Sometimes it's in mailboxes, other times it's falling from the sky. Each time the cash is accompanied by a note saying that the recipient should go do good deeds. This seems like a nice thing on the surface, but I think there's something sinister going on. Obviously the person or organization instigating this is trying to cause mass panic on the streets of Japan.

Really the plan is pretty simple. Give people money with the understanding they need to use it to help people, when they've never really done that before. Within a couple of days people are so guilt ridden that they can hardly get out of bed because they have no idea what to do with all of that cash. And the people who spend it on themselves are even worse off, because all they see is people in need, now that the money is gone. And what of the reports of money falling off of buildings and onto bridges? An obvious attempt to cause mass chaos when people come screaming for the money. Traffic grounds to a halt and the infrastructure of Japan collapses.

It's really quite an ingenious idea. It makes me wonder which terrorist organization is pulling it off. This is the perfect plan for terrorizing the Japanese people because they are so honorable and upright. They won't want to offend the giver or take something that's not theirs. That's why in the news article it says that people didn't want to touch the money because it was eerie. If they had sent it here to Oakville they would have caused a riot of people trying to get there hands on it, but then we would have gone out and bought ipods or plasma tv's for ourselves, it wouldn't have had nearly the paralyzing effect that this is having.

Car bombs and such are one thing, but this is a whole new twist on evil. Or maybe I'm just jealous.


Click here for the news article