Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I did it.  (kinda)

Recently a friend of mine was talking about a website he'd been using to lose weight.  He entered his age, pace of life, weight, and desired goal - and it gives him a calorie intake plan.  He's lost like 30 pounds since January.

Now, he's a few years older than I am.  That kept giving me the excuse of not needing to worry about things like that for now.  But lately I've realized it may be easier to become healthy gradually starting now, than when I'm 100 pounds overweight and over "the hill", or even "a hill" :) .

So I figured I'd give this site a try.  After all, at 200 pounds, I'm definitely in the kind of shape that could use some help.  I began Sunday night by simply entering what I'd eaten throughout that day.  Let's just say I was around 250% of what I needed. :)  And I skipped breakfast that day!

So yesterday I began with the numbers in mind.  1,493 calories was my limit for the day.  And guess what?  I was very close. :)  I was only 142 calories over, and I'll blame Nana's homemade pepperoni pizza for that. :)  But it was worth it.

The most difficult time for me was just after arriving home from work.  That is snack time defined, usually.  That, and just after the kids are in bed.  I think I eat simply to tell my body I'm moving from one part of the day into another.  Maybe I could just change flip flops instead. :)

This is the kind of thing I used to make fun of when I heard other people doing it.  Not because I thought it was silly, but mainly because I never wanted to actually do it.  It's so much easier to go through the day tasting, chewing, swallowing, and becoming full over and over again.  But I suppose we could all use a bit more discipline.  Good thing they weren't measuring calories back when the Talmud was written....:)

Right now the goal is set to help me lose 2 pounds a week.  I'll keep you posted...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Great Tribulation - Revealed.

Ever had this situation happen?  The word "Tribulation" is mentioned, and instantly the people around you begin to categorize themselves according to whether they believe the "rapture" will happen before the "great tribulation", or after it?  One word for those situations = awkward.

How to lovingly respond to people who genuinely want to be a part of what God has in store, but have been misled at some point by a mis-interpretation of scriptures?  I won't focus on the "rapture" in this post, as I have in other places.  Hopefully by now, most of the church realizes the err of that myth, even if it did make for some great fiction sales.

There is more in Revelation 7:14 than some may realize.  The verse in Revelation that has been skewed and twisted to meet all sorts of rapture and dispensationalist (the belief that God's gonna trash all of this, and start over) theology.  7:14 says, "...These (the ones in white robes) are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Generally throughout the New Testament, the form of this word for "Ordeal" that we find is similar to that of  John 16:33, "..In the world you face (persecution)."  We also see it often as "suffering".  Even as "great suffering/affliction".  But the only time this form of "great ordeal" is used, is here in verse 14.  And it does NOT refer to the verses of chapter 8 that follow.  What then, does it refer to?

For that we look at those who have "come out of the great ordeal".  They're a great multitude that no one can count, from EVERY tribe, people, and language.  They're wearing white robes.  Where else have we seen a large group of people in white robes?

Revelation 6:9-11.  The martyrs.  Those who "had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given..."  The "great ordeal" then, becomes an event that crosses many thousands of generations.  A "happening" that was occurring in the days of Moses, through the early Church, and continues today all over the world.  Those who find themselves losing life (perhaps even suffering, collectively becoming a "great suffering") for Gods' sake, become the white robed multitudes we see here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

the grand scale of one

In reading Revelation 5:11-14, we find all of creation focusing on being thankful for the worthiness and existence of the One who is able to open the scroll. The Lamb that was slaughtered, Jesus Christ.

Looking at verses 11 and 12, we find a description of those who are gathered. "..many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands." That's a lot of voices.

And yet, in both verses 11 AND 12, the word for voices is not used. In situations where crowds are gathered, we generally see the word "phonai" or "phonais", referring to the many voices. Even in Luke 23:23, where the crowds are gathered and there were "shouts that he be crucified". They were all shouting with the similar intent, but there were still many voices.

Yet in these verses of Revelation, we find the words "phonen" and "phone" (phone-ay). One voice. Millions upon millions of angels all singing in ONE voice. And the word used to describe that voice? "MEGALE"

This word, which comes from "mega", is used all throughout the New Testament. But the book of the Bible it's found in the most? Revelation. It's used 75 times, in fact. The closest runner up? Acts (possibly Matthew) with 29 times each. This vision that John describes is so mind-blowingly grand, excellent, large, and full of majesty.

And yet, millions upon millions of angels sing their praises in ONE GREAT VOICE. Not simply shouting similar things.  Not just singing "together", or "at the same time".  May we live the song of our life in similar fashion...

May we join that voice and sing,

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom
and might and honor and glory and blessing!"

Friday, April 16, 2010

hockey update, April 16th 2010

Where else can you see an octopus being thrown onto a giant slab of ice in the middle of the Arizona desert?

Tonight marks Game 2 of the "Best of 7" series between the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Detroit Redwings.  Game one was this past Wednesday, and it revealed a series that will be incredible to watch.  And I'm not saying that just because I'm a Wings fan.

Both teams had not been seen as playoff contention material before the Olympic break. But with the return to NHL, both turned up their level of play with incredible speed, winning almost every game they played.  Climbing to the number 4 (PHX) and number 5 (DET) spots, they ended up being nearly perfectly matched for the first round of playoffs.

Heading into Game One, there was a lot of pressure on Detroit's goalie, Jimmy Howard.  Howard was intended to be the backup goalie to veteran Chris Osgood this season.  But especially in the second half of the season, Howard came out strong and earned his position as starting for the playoffs.  But here we are, the heat turned up a notch in a place where Ozzie's played many many times, and Howard seems a little nervous.  Will the Wings continue to start him?  I suppose that depends on his play tonight.

Game one was a physical game right out of the gates.  Phoenix definitely seemed like the over-enthused 7th grader feeling like he has something to prove to the much more seasoned Detroit team.  Dirty hits seemed to be the norm, until the Officials finally had to call several PHX penalties in a row.  Fortunately for them, Bryzgalov (Goalie) was solid during those penalty minutes.  Just wish the same could be said of Howard during ours.  But no doubt he's spent a few of these past 48 hours working on stopping screened shots.

Tonight looks to be another goalie match up, although I'm sure Detroit has been told to increase the physicality of their presence a bit more, but hopefully safely avoiding the penalty box.  They're bringing in Justin Abdelkader from the Griffins to replace Jason Williams, which will certainly help the checking on that line a bit.  Watch for Shane Doan to bring some more hitting power, leading his team and screening pucks.

But this time, we know how they intend to score.  Howard will be on.  9pm CST

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

finding your "so that..."

In the message this past Sunday, we received a reminder that "I" am not the focus of what God is doing.  That's a simple, but powerful message that we must be chewing on more often than we do. 

Our church family is spending the next couple months at least, focusing specifically on Jesus being the focus/center.  Looking at the characteristics and attributes of this Center, and His Father/Spirit.  Especially in times of such a consumerist mindset in the Church, and found even in beautiful moments of salvation - we NEED this sort of re-orienting revival.

The moment where many of us "accepted Jesus in our hearts" may be a good place to start.  Foundational to so much that has gone wrong in our pursuit of Jesus, is why and how this pursuit began.  Churches and Pastors who held strongly to the motto of "get 'em to sign this paper", or "get 'em to come back next week"...assuming the rest would simply work itself out....has led us to churches filled with people completely willing to be a part of what God is doing - but who assume God simply wants to save them and others from hell. 

Check please.

Because that was never, isn't, and won't ever be the primary goal of what God is up to.  Why was the blind man given sight again?  So that he could SEE.  Why was the lame man healed?  So that he could WALK.  Why was Lazarus raised from the grave?  So that he could LIVE.  Why was the early Church given the Spirit of God?  So that they could BE HIS ACTIVE PRESENCE.

God's goal is not simply to make sure we don't end up apart from Him.  God has brought you freedom from sins, offers redemption of what's happened in your past, NEW LIFE for you today, HIS SPIRIT to empower your living, and has begun making ALL THINGS NEW....

..SO THAT....(may our lives fill in this blank)

And may we be inviting others into such living.  As we do this together, we are the Church.  The bride of Christ.  The disorientingly beautiful and infinitely loving force in a world being transformed as the Kingdom of God comes.  May we be found there...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dresses, Dirt, and Worms

I love the way my wife is a mommy.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Church as a disorienting occurance...

Rev 6:12-17 "When he opened the sixth seal..."

Unfortunately there are many who read these verses, and begin to watch for earthquakes. Their eyes are trained to the skies, looking for evidence of the sun becoming black, the moon appearing blood-red, and stars falling from the sky. They watch the world news, and hear of natural disasters with drool hanging off their lips, hoping everything comes crashing down as a sign of Jesus' returning.

Thankfully, these verses contain much more hope and transformational New Life than that. What we read here are words symbolizing a cosmic "upheaval". John is writing to a community by the sea, well aware of how travelers know where they are and where they are going. Navigators use the sun, the moon, the stars, and islands/mountains as landmarks.

John had just finished talking about the faithful who have passed from this fallen world in verses 9-11. Now he moves his focus to those who find themselves living apart from God in a world He is breaking into. And the "breaking into" being discussed here? The presence of God embodied in the Church.

When the Church is faithfully living as the presence of the resurrected Jesus in a broken world, the impact on the world is as noticeable as such cosmic upheavals. From the highest leaders to the lowliest servants, anyone living according to their own natures will continue to lose footing as God's Kingdom becomes realized here and now.

He ends this section with those people crying out to be hidden from the "wrath of God". This is hard for some people to swallow, noting that so much of scripture speaks of God as a "God of Love". To quote Dr.Mulholland, "if we began to walk off the roof of this building, you wouldn't accuse gravity of being retributive or vengeful, but you would surely experience its' wrath."

God's nature is Love, and His Kingdom is one of infinite sacrificial Love. To those who have built up an entire existence against this Love, the Church moves in the world as an extremely disorienting and radical force. Not as a weapon, but as Truth revealing, New Life bringing, Kingdom establishing presence of God.

May we live a bit less self-stabilized this week...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

the fourth rider

In thinking about what has changed in a world that has experienced the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it points us to the forces undone. Believing that much of what we read in Revelation has happened already, or is happening now, it's always made me wonder about this rider that was given "a fourth" of the earth.

In Revelation 6:7, "When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, "Come!" I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed with him; they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and (death), and by the wild animals of the earth."

Honestly, I've not done much studying on the specifics of these symbols in a while. Growing up in the land of "Rapture Readiness" and extremely skewed/blurred vision in regards to this book about Jesus, I was finally freed (thank you Jesus, college, and NT Wright) from those chains.

In listening to Dr.Mulholland from Asbury recently, he talks about this rider and the authority that's been given. Unlike many of the sky-watchers like the site linked above, Dr.Mulholland offers a much more reasonable translation. Throughout scriptures, we hear the phrase "to the third and fourth generations". (Ex. 20:5, Deut. 5:9, 2 Kings 15:12, etc.) It was common to think in terms of generations when it came to family life and blessings. You have a first generation (children), second generation (parents), third generation (grandparents), and fourth generation (great grandparents).

Influenced by this, it wouldn't be a large leap to interpret these words as pointing to death having authority over the 4th generation. It just so happens that most people usually die when they're in that 4th and oldest stage of life, if things like the sword and famine (riders 2 & 3) don't first.

This can be a hard interpretation to swallow, if we view Revelation as a secret time line meant to tell us how the world will come to a close, step by step. But when we read these words as pointing to Jesus, the world He has entered, and what He is accomplishing/He will can be a very healthy thing for our celebration of all it contains.

Yes, God has allowed "death" to have authority over a fourth. But here we see Jesus on a white horse (Rev. 6:2), ahead of the others in the picture. They are following His lead, and in Easter we continue celebrating that Christ goes ahead of us, calling us into New Life!!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Tuesday

Yup, that's's Easter celebratin' time.  So indulge a little bit....

Monday, April 05, 2010

Clashing with Titan theology

This isn't quite a "review", as there are many more people qualified or willing to say what they think about the movie currently in theaters.  I will briefly say I enjoyed the quick nod to Bubo the owl (see the original movie), and much of the great scenery/action scenes.  I also appreciated that there was very little offensive language, and the actors remained clothed....even if the main character wore a skirt through the whole thing.

Some quick background without giving away anything huge in the movie.  The story is of Perseus, who we learn early on is a "demigod", born of Zeus and a woman.  The story goes on from there. 

What I'd want to note from the movie, and from this type of mythology in general, is the picture painted of Zeus and other gods.  Faint glimmers of light as we hear Zeus talk about having created humanity, and desiring their love and prayers. But those glimmers are very faint, as discussion moves to the gods receiving some sort of "power" from those prayers.  Scenes with many gods gathered "above", in view of the clouded world below, choosing how and when to manipulate things in their favor.  Combined with scenes between Zeus and Hades in some sibling rivalry for control of Olympus, etc., and you've got a pretty thin but popular picture of theology today.

Sadly, even within protestantism.  Those who serve God out of fear of his retribution, or because they want to be involved in "defeating" evil in some way on the "winning side".  Automatically attributing every success to God's blessing, and every failure to some sort of defeat.  Morphing God's words about being spiritually prepared to stand firm in His ways into battle cries for being armed to kick some butt for Jesus. (see, "armor of God")

Last weekend, many of the teens in Decatur, IL and their youth workers heard Eric Samuel Timm speak and paint a message about "Repaint Jesus".  We were challenged that this world has many who have been hurt or misled in regard to who God is: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit all included.  We are called as people who are in relationship with Jesus, to go into that world and paint a True picture of the Christ found in Scripture, and the Heart of God.

A God whose very nature is Love.  The Savior man who served humbly, and died on our behalf, revealing a new existence made possible not by brute force or wise tricks, but from the nature of being God.  The Spirit that is less about emotional experiences and miracles to prove divine favor, and more about empowering us to live in that very same nature.  This week especially, as the world knows we have just begun celebrating Easter and New Life together, we go into a world in need of having that Life lived out and offered to them.  May God be with us...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

In honor of "New Life" made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I wanted to post something "different".  Something connected to God making all things new, and involving us.  This past week, I took my older two daughters on a day that has/will become a tradition in the Anderson family - the tradition of helping Jesus wake up the trees so they can start growing leaves once again.  Here is some of our journey...
 Altogether a pretty great day. There were deep valleys where I had to carry both daughters from one side to the other.  The girls loved learning the word "moss", and looking for it throughout our journey.  One highlight included seeing a large butterfly, and as I was pointing it out to the girls, I held out my hand.  It landed on my hand and we got a short close-up with it before it flew away!  Awesome!!!!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday

The people chose to release Barabbas over Jesus. I never understood that fully. Maybe they were just that ticked off at Jesus. He'd promised to be the "Messiah" after all, hadn't he? Where was His power over Rome? Where was their deliverance? He'd given them such hope, and here He is....being made fun of and kicked around. Screw it. Must have been another false messiah. What a jerk. Kill the guy. At least Barabbas is honest about being a bad guy.

Mob mentality takes over. Before they know it, crowds of people are shouting "CRUCIFY HIM!!!". Those who felt just a bit threatened by words they've heard about this man, are all too happy to comply. Those who had put their hope in this false messiah feel vindicated. As he heads to his death, their passion and distaste for him and all who are like him grows. They spit. They mock. How dare this man think he's anyone powerful? How dare this man give them false hopes? Who knows how he did what he did....but it's obvious he's no match for Rome. Kill him for leading us astray.

As the nails pierce his skin, something is happening. Something supernatural. Those nearby notice it, and it ripples through the crowds. This is not a good thing. It is already in motion. Some begin to wonder. As He hangs there, life slowly draining, even Roman soldiers become a bit curious. Who was this man? What feels different about this one?

All of creation mourns. Skies turn dark. Clouds cover the sun. (at least in the movies at this point, which I'm okay with. Similar to the creatures all mourning when Snow White dies, or whatever. Not comparing Jesus to Snow White...but you get it. It would make sense for all of creation to change a bit when the creator God-man dies.) It is finished.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Maundy Thursday

I remember standing in a room where they believe the "last supper" took place. I was about 16 years old, and visiting Israel with a group of adults from our church. Who knows if it was actually the room, or if somewhere an entire descended line continues to laugh for telling early Christians this playroom for children was once used for a final supper with Christ and His disciples. (the ultimate April fools joke?)

In either case, that moment among many of that trip - made Christ physical to me. Reminded me He was more than just a spiritual being, or a concept, or collection of fuzzy stories we tell to put children to sleep or get them to behave. Christ walked this earth. Jesus was. God came in the form of something created. Humble, human, prone to hungers and suffering.

He knew something huge was going to happen. That the next few days would transform all of humanity (history, present, and future), and all of creation through it. So he gathers them all into a room, washes their feet, talks with them about what God is doing, and breaks bread with them - communicating His Love for them the entire time...even to Judas.

May we experience elements of Communion/Eucharist with every bite we chew and swallow. God has/is/will be loving us.