Sunday, December 28, 2008

a few things i'm loving right now

here are a few things i'm loving right now (this is no particular order and is not an exhaustive, extensive list... notice, i said "a few' things... rather it is serving as an easy way to blog about a few random things in one concise entry).

1. having been able to spend the last 13 days with family.

2. getting to see friends this week.  for example, i will be leaving in the morning to head to houston where i'll be hanging out with melanie and richard.  

3. google reader -  this lets me check to see if any of the blogs i read have been updated, in one place.  it's amazing, and saves me so much time.  read this for more information on google reader and this to find out why i hang out in the blogging world.

4.  google maps - even though i got a GPS for Christmas, i still want the paper copies to make sure i don't get led astray.  

Saturday, December 27, 2008

a christmas story

every year on Christmas day, my little brother and i insist on watching the 'a christmas story' marathon on TBS.  i do not remember how this tradition started... or when it started... i just know that we fervently insist on the continuation of it each year.  the marathon starts at 8 pm on Christmas Eve and continues for a straight 24 hours.  even though we can quote just about every word in the movie, we still find ourselves laughing continually and glued to the TV.  this year, we actually got to watch it in HD on my parent's 52" flat screen and surround sound.  the glowing leg lamp - chinese turkey - "fa ra ra ra ra," - shoot your eye out - goodness was just as enjoyable this year as it's ever been. 

tonight, after going out to dinner, we decided to see if we could take advantage of some after Christmas sales.  while doing some browsing at barnes and noble, i spotted an 'a christmas story' monopoly game.  i, of course, grabbed it and walked very briskly to where my brother was standing to show him my find, he agreed that we HAD to buy it... so we did... and played it tonight.   
each part of the board represented a part of the movie.  the game pieces were: a bitten bar of soap, broken glasses, the 'leg lamp,' ralphie in his bunny costume, the family car with a Christmas tree on it and the 'fragile lamp leg crate.'  

while i enjoy playing monopoly, i continue to realize that it takes way too long.  in fact, i've actually never finished a game.  this time, we even tried playing the 'speed version,' and we still sat there forever.  we always give up and quit after spending hours diligently  plotting  the real-estate demise of everyone else.  it's fun... but not fun enough to keep our attention for more than 3 hours.

what about you, have you ever finished a game of monopoly?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

a very merry christmas

i hope that your christmas has been as blessed as mine.  i've been able to spend some extended time with my family during the holidays, and next week i will start the trek back home... with some stops to see some great friends on the way.  

here's a quick glimpse into some of the gifts i received from my family:


top chef cookbook

a new look for a new year

i'm trying out a new look.  i figured with a new year about to begin, i'd get a head start on a few changes i've been wanting to make.

if you know me well, you understand why england has been given a distinct place here.  if you don't and are curious why, check out these past blogs: oxford 1, oxford 2, oxford 3 and oxford 4.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

saint nicholas

every day i read a blog or two (or 12).  i love reading about people's lives, what's going on, things they've learned, and so on.  this is one way for me to get to see God at work.  i love reading about what God has done/is doing in someone's life.  many of the blogs i frequent are of people i know and love, while others i have either stumbled upon or have visited upon someone's recommendation. 

this morning as i was pursuing my twitter page (if you do not know about twitter, visit this previous blog), i saw that mark driscoll had written a blog about saint nicholas, and with it being Christmas Eve... i thought i'd repost it for you to read.

Saint Nicholas by Mark Driscoll
The larger-than-life myths surrounding Santa Claus actually emanate from the very real person of Saint Nicholas. It is difficult to know the exact details of his life with certainty, as the ancient records are sparse, but the various pieces can be put together as a mosaic of his life.

Who was Saint Nick?
Nicholas was born in the third century in Patara, a village in what is now Turkey. He was born into an affluent family, but his parents died tragically when he was quite young. His parents had raised him to be a devout Christian, which led him to spend his great inheritance on helping the poor, especially children. He was known to frequently give gifts to children, sometimes even hanging socks filled with treats and gifts.

Perhaps his most famous act of kindness was helping three sisters. Because their family was too poor to pay for their wedding dowry, three young Christian women were facing a life of prostitution until Nicholas paid their dowry, thereby saving them from a horrible life of sexual slavery.

Nicholas grew to be a well-loved Christian leader and was eventually voted the Bishop of Myra, a port city that the apostle Paul had previously visited (Acts 27:5-6). Nicholas reportedly also traveled to the legendary Council of Nicea, where he helped defend the deity of Jesus Christ in AD 325.

Following his death on December 6, 343, he was canonized as a Saint. The anniversary of his death became the St. Nicholas holiday when gifts were given in his memory. He remained a very popular saint among Catholic and Orthodox Christians, with some 2,000 churches named after him. The holiday in his honor eventually merged with Christmas as they were celebrated within weeks of one another.

Reformation Controversy
During the Reformation, however, Nicholas fell out of favor with Protestants, who did not approve of canonizing certain people as saints and venerating them with holidays. His holiday was not celebrated in any Protestant country except Holland, where his legend as Sinterklass lived on. In Germany, Martin Luther replaced him with the Christ child as the object of holiday celebration, or, in German, Christkindl. Over time, the celebration of the Christ child was simply pronounced Kriss Kingle and oddly became just another name for Santa Claus.

Santa Myths
The legends about Santa Claus are most likely a compilation of other folklore. For example, there was a myth in Nicholas’ day that a demon was entering people's homes to terrorize children and that Nicholas cast it out of a home. This myth may explain why it was eventually believed that he came down people's chimneys.

Also, there was a Siberian myth (near the North Pole) that a holy man, or shaman, entered people's homes through their chimneys to leave them mushrooms as gifts. According to the legend, he would hang them in front of the fire to dry. Reindeer would reportedly eat them and become intoxicated. This may have started the myth that the reindeer could fly, as it was believed that the shaman could also fly. This myth may have merged with the Santa Claus myth and if so, explains him traveling from the North Pole to come down the chimney and leave presents on the mantle over the fireplace before flying away with reindeer.

These stories of Santa Claus were first brought to America by Dutch immigrants. In the early 20th century, stores began having Santa Claus present for children during the Christmas season. Children also began sending letters to the North Pole as the legends surrounding an otherwise simple Christian man grew.

At the Resurgence, we keep the center of Christmas focused on Jesus; it’s probably what Nicholas would have wanted.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

i am second

if you aren't familiar with the website,, you need to remedy that.  here is a great description of the website that i found:

“I Am Second” is an amazing new resource that shares testimonies of famous actors, musicians, sporting figures, businessmen and other individuals. It is a place where you can share your story and connect with people if you have struggles of any kind. This is a great cultural tool for someone that does not know Christ. You will see some familiar faces such as Jason Castro from American Idol, Joe Gibbs, Brian Welch from Korn, and many others.

check it out.  your spirit will be stirred.  i promise.  you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the only reason i like opera

i'm not a typical fan of opera music... but i am a fan of my brother, jeff.  this kid can sing.  i invite you to check out this amazing gift God has given him, so when you have a chance go visit his video page.  

i'm including a video of him from the Ballad of Baby Doe put on at OCU.  enjoy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

my little brother told me about this website,, which is a site where you can go to watch TV shows you might have missed.  check it out if you have a chance.  i'm a fan of bravo's top chef, so i was excited to see that it was on this website.  

here's the latest top chef episode (from this past wed).  check it out.  you'll be a fan too.

death by ministry

when God called me to ministry as a teenager, i had no idea what He was getting me into.  i struggled with self-doubt.  knowing i wasn't good enough to be used by Him, and wondered how long it would be until God figured that out too.  i've grown to realize that God's ability to use me... lies totally in what He is doing around me and my willingness to be obedient to what He has placed before me.  

honestly, this past year has been extremely difficult for me ministry wise.  i won't go into the details here, for multiple reasons, but there have been days when i've asked myself if i will be able to handle another day "on the job."  this past semester, i found myself in a group of BSM staffers participating in  working on spiritual disciplines and growth.  this past week we all sat together and discussed our journey.  here are some of the things we all have in common:
  1. we seldom (if ever) take a Sabbath.
  2. our schedules are crazy and hectic.
  3. we all have dealt with feeling overwhelmed.
  4. when we are overwhelmed, taking care of ourselves is the first thing to go.
our conversations have been on my mind the rest of this week.  in the midst of my scheduled free time, i have been thinking/praying through what i need to do differently so that i can be more effective for the tasks God gives me.  as i've read and searched online in the blog-world, here are some things that i've found worthy of sharing.
the burnout rate of ministers astounds me.  being in vocational ministry myself, i have been forced to think about the importance of taking care of myself (physically/emotionally/spiritually) before i can adequately do the ministry that God has given me.  i have realized that some of the stress of my life is my fault.  for example, i let technology rule my day, even my free time.  so i'm making some changes.  i've made a big decision, honestly one that i'm not sure how long will last, i've canceled my internet and satellite at my house.  i am committing to not answering my email/phone while i'm resting/spending time with people/taking a day off.  i want to see the impact these changes will have in my life.

here are some statistics gathered by mark driscoll, pastor at mars hill church (found here), and while i'm not a pastor... i believe they display a drastic problem today in how vocational ministers do ministry:
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
here is a video clip from part of driscoll's "death by ministry" series.

click here to view another blog that has part of this series.

God created a weekly Sabbath.  am i so arrogant to think that God needs me 7 days a week to do what He needs to do?  i'm realizing, if we don't make observing Sabbath a practiced spiritual discipline, God will make it happen for you.   

what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a grown-up birthday

i am spending the majority of my christmas vacation in corpus christi with my family. i arrived last night (12/16) around 8 PM... just in time to celebrate my birthday with my parents. they took me to a japanese hibachi grill for dinner and then we came home and i got to open my gifts. i must admit, that after i opened and examined my "loot" i realized that i am truly an adult. my age, 28 just in case you are wondering, has nothing to do with this realization... it was the items on my birthday/christmas list. here's what i asked for and received:

a new 8" skillet
a cargo tray for my car.

Monday, December 8, 2008

my crazy travels

within the next month, i will travel at least 1,472 miles across texas.  here's my itinerary:

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