Friday, December 25, 2009

Golby Wedding

Recently I had the honor of shooting the wedding of two of my friends, Aaron and Katie (Brobeck) Golby. It was such a privilege to be asked to document such an important day for them. I am so excited to see what God will do in and through their marriage.

Congratulations, Aaron and Katie!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Season's Grievances

I'm sick and tired of all this politically correct "we'll say 'happy holidays' just in case some whiner is miffed because we don't know what he or she believes" crap. That's what it is. It's crap. I'm sick of department stores, restaurants, school choir programs and, well, just about everything being forced into a generic "Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays but by absolutely no means Merry Christmas" way of operating.

I have several issues with all of this, some of which I will begin to address.

1) Whininess=suckiness. For some reason, America is terrified of whiny people. CEOs to superintendents are afraid- and not because someone may be offended, but because they don't want to see any negative publicity coming from the mouth of a thin-skinned, thick-headed moron. Why do we give so much significance to the views of these people, who I argue are really the insensitive ones?

2) Why should someone be offended by my wishing them a Merry Christmas? If someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, whatever- who cares? I don't celebrate those things, but "Hey, thanks for wishing me happiness."

3) The First Amendment is on my side, so a big, fat, "na na na na na, get over yourselves" to the whiners.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Now, store/restaurant/business policies are certainly different than a Congress-created law, so they REALLY don't have anything to worry about. They'll never lose a lawsuit brought against them for wishing someone a Merry Christmas.

School programs, yes, are a different story. As public institutions, legally they do have to be more careful. An arm of the government cannot establish a religion. For example's sake, I'll use a school choir concert; all the time you hear about school concerts being so watered down that they sing "Chicken Fat" instead of "Jingle Bells." No, not kidding. Now, students should not be forced to sing songs that they have religious differences with. I cannot expect a muslim student to want to sing about Jesus Christ any more than I would want to sing about Mohammed. But think about all the times there must have been when content has been censored even though there wasn't even an issue. Furthermore, the way the First Amendment is written, we are given a positive freedom- that is, we have a freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. In this country, no matter what your faith is, you have the right to practice it freely. Unfortunately, because some people are oversensitive, Christmas is becoming taboo and we don't get to exercise our faith freely.

Thankfully, we can have peace knowing that one day we'll all really understand what it means that God came to earth as a baby to bring salvation to all who call on Him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reflecting on our blessing

In Luke 24, just before Jesus ascends into heaven, it says that He was blessing the Eleven apostles and those with them, promising to send them the Holy Spirit.

Luke also wrote the book of Acts and gives more detail of what Jesus said in this blessing. Acts 1:8 says "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

It is a blessing to be a witness to all people, to the ends of the earth. This is to be understood differently than a commandment. Instead of saying just "Do this," Jesus is saying "You get to do this. This is a privilege, a blessing."

We are blessed as members of the body of Christ. We were bought with blood and are now blessed to be witnesses to Christ.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A fun bathroom

The Dead Schembechlers have a song titled "I Peed in Ann Arbor's Water Supply."

Using the bathroom at Quaker Steak & Lube in Mentor, Ohio was reminiscent of that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I might be a marketing genius

A couple months ago I wrote a post about what I thought was an embarrassing example of grasping for words while I was filmed for a commercial for Best of Athens Rentals has turned out to be an excellent marketing line.

I said that it was a "pure joy" to rent from Best of Athens.

Look at McDonald's new line:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The inconvenience of a life

I recently saw a video from a CNN interview with a businesswoman from Wisconsin. She, on September 21st, tweeted "I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a f***ed-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin."

If the tweet wasn't troubling enough, the interview was even worse.

Rick Sanchez, of CNN asked the woman "Have you no shame?!?" and asked why she felt it was a good idea to "air her dirty laundry" like that. She began talking about her miscarriage and said that 75% of women have miscarriages, so it's really a part of the female experience. I'm not sure why she went to her miscarriage as her dirty laundry, but a miscarriage is not something to be ashamed of. It's something to be mournful of, but not ashamed.

As the interview continued, I became even more perplexed. A question revealed that the woman is a mother of two- and I believe that she loves her kids. In between the two kids she had a miscarriage and said "It was really terrible. I was very sad because I wanted another kid." She used to value the life of a human being- when it was convenient for her.

When it was convenient for her. This is where it really gets me. She was relieved to have a miscarriage this time because she didn't want to have to drive down to Chicago to have an abortion. It would be an inconvenience to end her pregnancy and the life of her unborn child. A human life was an inconvenience to her.

Can you imagine if we took similar action to what this woman presumably would have done every time a human being inconvenienced us? This side of the womb that's called murder.

She said she has had an abortion before and that it was very difficult physically, emotionally and on her relationships, yet she takes it so lightly that she would do it again. She said it's hard because there is a desire to keep the baby, but blames that on hormones. Rick Sanchez countered that with asking if maybe she thought those hormones were "God's way of telling you 'this is yours and you shouldn't give it up.'"

Right on with that one, Rick. Of course it is! We are made in God's image and feelings like that prove it! If He uses hormones to influence those feelings, He made us that way and what is that to us?!? That woman's baby was a person, made in the image of God and God wants us to feel that.

It's something to mourn when a miscarriage happens; it's something to hate an abortion when it is performed. (Note: Hate the abortion, not the abort-er.) My heart breaks for this woman, and all women who don't want to deal with the inconvenience of a pregnancy and choose to end the life of their children. I can't imagine what it will be like on the day when she and so many others are really awakened to the evil of abortion. I can't imagine that heartache.

But the good news is there is a God who will have compassion on these babies, when their moms consider them inconveniences and throw them away. The Mark Driscoll video below is, I think, pretty powerful. He shares this good news toward the end of the clip.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to fail an exam with dignity

I usually ignore e-mail forwards, but this one was too good. There have been so many times that I have been stumped on a quiz and tried to come up with something as clever as some of these. In eighth grade history there was a question about "Where did (something) happen?" I said JC Penney and I'm pretty sure I got credit. Sometimes it pays to be completely random.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

How many points do you get for 'Engagement?'

One of my housemates got engaged this fall and I was honored to take some engagement photos for him and his bride-to-be. The two of them like to go to Donkey Coffee and Espresso and play Scrabble. Of all the photos I took that day, this is my favorite.

Wishing you the best, Austin and Audrey!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And the World Spins Madly On

I went home for a visit last weekend and I was met with a very clear realization that my childhood is over. It's done, gone and relegated to memories and photographs. This realization did not come because I feel like I'm an adult, not because I'm a senior in college, but because quite literally my childhood is disappearing as half of Painesville is being torn down.

Painesville City Schools is almost done with the construction of all new schools, which in a few months will mean the demolition of every school I've ever gone to.

Hobart Pre-School: Gone.
Lathrop Elementary: Gone.
Hobart Middle School: Gone.
Harvey High School: Will be gone in the next few months.

TriPoint Medical Center opens 19 days from now. It will be a beautiful facility and I imagine the medical care will improve as well, but it means the demolition of Lake East Hospital in Downtown Painesville. I was born at Lake East (I don't remember that, but it is among the more significant moments in my life). My dad worked there when I was born and in my younger years I remember eating grilled cheese and chocolate milkshakes from the place in the lobby and watching the helicopter take off with my dad.

This is all in the name of progress. Lake East Hospital is not an especially attractive building, neither was Hobart Middle School. Painesville is in need of a face lift in a lot of ways. It's just a shame that progress means I'll never be able to take my kids to see these places where I grew up.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pure joy in rentals

This morning my housemates and I filmed a promotional commercial for Best of Athens Rentals. It will be shown at the Ohio vs. UConn football game this Saturday. I had a hard time verbalizing what I wanted to say when the camera was rolling- good thing I'm not a PR major or anything... Oh, wait. I wound up saying something along the lines that it has been a "pure joy" to live in our Best of Athens Rentals house.



A pure joy? Really, Ty? Who says that about the house they rent? Apparently I do when I'm fumbling for words.

I did get a couple cool frames from our trip to The Convo to film. This is my housemate Joe. I couldn't resist the generous lighting. I think even a point-and-shoot would have made a pretty decent frame.

My new wide-angle lens has been fun to play with and helped to get a fair shot of the hall of fame in The Convo.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lance Armstrong in Athens

Lance Armstrong rode into Athens yesterday to finish his part of Pelotonia '09, a bike ride to benefit The James Cancer Center at Ohio State University. Lance didn't stay long, he finished the ride, got in an SUV and split, but the day wasn't a wash.

Aside from seeing a 7-time Tour de France winner, my buddies and I got recruited to help with some set-up and were given some SWEET tee-shirts. The shirt alone would have gotten me there, that's how sweet it is. I go nuts for free shirts.

I was really hoping to get a good shot of Lance. Thankfully, the last frame I shot was pretty decent.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pure joy in Christ

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.
[Isaiah 25:8]

What a joy it is to be in Christ! The Lord's power is limitless, greater even than the grave. It is IMPOSSIBLE for death to keep its hold of Him (Acts 2:24). Through Christ, and only through Christ, is the the sting of death conquered. It is only through Christ that we, the perishable can be clothed with the imperishable, mortals clothed with immortality. It is in Christ alone that we can boast over death, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55). It is in this hope that we gain endurance as we suffer with Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3), that we can consider it pure joy whenever we face trials (James 1:2) and that we are free to count everything as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8).

There will be a day when THE SOVEREIGN LORD HIMSELF will wipe away the tears from all faces and remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. The God of the universe, the One who is true, is faithful to us. If we are in Christ, our Father in heaven, our dad, will make all things right in a way we have never experienced. Consider it pure joy to be in Christ, my friends.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When I look at the stars...

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
[Psalm 19:1-4]

Isn't that something...

The heavens- the stars, the planets, the moons, every galaxy, the entire universe, all DECLARES the glory of God. There are no hints nor subtleties. The heavens themselves proclaim the glory of God.

No speech nor language, no culture, no people is hidden from the heavens. In all the earth the glory of God is seen! People who have never heard the name of Jesus have heard, seen, experienced the glory of God. He will be known in all the world.

Creation shouts of God. Take the time to stop and listen, and join in with the heavens.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Zealous for Jealous

I don't normally like to publish posts that are solely other peoples' words. Usually I will pull quotes and reflect on what I've read. But, I was reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer the other day and was really struck by a passage that he quoted from Bishop J.C. Ryle's Practical Religion. This is what Ryle said, as quoted by Packer:

"Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature- which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer when he is converted- but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others that they alone deserve to be called 'zealous' men...
"A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies- whether he has health, or whether he has sickness- whether he is rich, or whether he is poor- whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offence- whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish- whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise- whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame- for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God's glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it- he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh and pray.... If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill. If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of 'zeal' in religion."

It is my prayer that each day I am more zealous for God and that you too are "swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ministry Update

I will be sending this letter via U.S. Mail, but thought I'd share it here as well.
July 2009 Update Letter

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Freedom takes interdependence sometimes

This morning I was at my cousin's church for the baptism of her 2-month-old son and 7 or 8-year-old step-son. I wish I had taken better notes on the sermon because I enjoyed it very much. While I'm not sure the pastor meant for it to be about global missions, it kinda was.

The two points I remember most clearly were these:

1) Freedom does not always mean independence. Negative freedom is that freedom in which we are more isolationists and are, in essence, free from others. Positive freedom actually requires a great deal of interdependence. In this way, we are free do do what we need to do, what we've been called to do because of the help of other people.

One of the most daunting things about any form of full-time ministry for me is support raising, in which you rely on God's provision through other people to support you and your dependents financially in your ministry. Needing supporters is not a limit on freedom, though. In fact, those supporters increase the freedom to do what God has called you or me to do. "No man is an island," right?

2) The pastor talked about the change Jesus brought in shifting from temple piety to an outward focused ministry. Temple piety was the idea that the people had to go to the temple if they wanted to learn about God. Priests had it in their heads that they had the knowledge, but rather than taking that to people, the people should go to them. Jesus did things a little differently. He recruited a "street team," if you will, to take the message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins to the people, out from the comfortable confines of the temple.

Jesus, after he was resurrected instructed us in this:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
[Matthew 28:18-20]

This is a two-part command. First, "go." Unlike the priests who waited for people to come to them, Jesus says to "go." Second, make disciples of all nations. All nations. ALL nations. The fact is, by our staying put there are some entire nations of people who will never hear the message of Christ and be instructed on how to cultivate a relationship with Him.

It takes the freedom that comes from interdependence to go and make disciples of all nations and keep fighting against temple piety the way Jesus did. Still, as necessary as support from other people is, Jesus Himself promised that He would be with us "to the very end of the age." You can't beat that support.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The shadow proves the sunshine

Listening to "The Shadow Proves the Sunshine" by Switchfoot. Wise words, those are. At first listen I just dismissed it as being some happy, fluff song. Then I thought about those words and how they relate to God's glory and promise of His plans for each of us. The shadows in our lives are no fun, but our longing for sunshine is proof that we were not created to live in darkness but to be children of light. No one is satisfied with constantly living in shadow and that is a testament to the inherent knowledge that there is better offered to us. Not everyone knows what that better offer is, but it remains, bought and paid for in full, freely offered to us in the blood of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

True Life: I'm a 35er/Cribs

DISCLAIMER: This one is mostly for Mom, Dad and Carrie because they're the ones who have heard the most about my room and will not see it for a while. Still, all are welcome to look.

I'm really enjoying this whole living off campus business. I went grocery shopping today, for myself, and felt very grown up. Finally, right? The following are pictures of my room. I love it and wish I could spend more time there, but painting houses for Best of Athens Rentals takes a lot of hours out of my day. Making enough money that I'll be able to save some though, which is nice and necessary.

Monday, June 15, 2009

God’s glory will go to no one else

The God of everything: Alpha, Omega; beginning and end. Creator of all things, most of which we cannot even understand. Father, Abba, SAVIOR. All glory is owed to God, but still sometimes we try to take some of it for ourselves…

The thing is, NOTHING and NO ONE is more worthy of glory than God and what’s more, NOTHING will receive more glory than God.

Isaiah 13 talks about the day of the Lord, when God’s wrath would be poured out on Babylon. It doesn’t paint a comfortable picture. Lots of freaky nature stuff going on, people being impaled. Terror, mayhem, destruction on a sinful people.

Isaiah 14 contrasts this as it is prophesied that “the Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and settle them in their own land.” The people of Israel, God’s chosen, will be set.

Verses 3 and 4 say “On the day the Lord gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:…”
And literally a long taunt is spelled out to rub into the kings face that he has been cut down and defeated. It’s really one of the most intense taunts I’ve ever seen. Worse even than the heartbreaking “Start the buses” when your high school basketball team is about to have their tournament run cut off.

Verses 13-15 say “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountains. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.”

See, the king even referred to God as “Most High,” but clearly did not revere Him as such- he wanted to be equal to Him. Still, no one will receive the Glory owed to God. The king did not have a right view of God and was summarily dishonored, mocked and destroyed.

So was Jesus.

But Jesus IS God, so clearly He has the right view of God. This did not happen to Jesus because He was sinful. He wasn’t. At all. Jesus was dishonored, mocked and destroyed FOR US, because we, like the king, sin. We give glory to all sorts of things ahead of God, be it our flesh, our hearts, our own righteousness, the list goes on. We sin. But God, overflowing with goodness and mercy, extends grace our direction through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Some questions I’m asking myself:
-In what ways am I not submitting to God?
-Are there things that I think I can handle or do better than God?
-What does that say about my view of God?

Friday, June 12, 2009

West Virginia, cheap beer and minor league ball

Last night I had the honor and privilege of going to Charleston, W. Va. for a West Virginia Power baseball game. The Power is the 'A' affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was Buck Night at Appalachian Power Park, which meant that tickets, hotdogs and drinks (beer included) went for a dollar each.

West Virginia, low-level professional baseball and cheap brewskies make for an entertaining evening, I promise.

The evening, in which we celebrated Nick's "Day of Jubilee," was hallmarked by plastic horns that almost everyone except our group bought. Several times throughout the evening I heard "This horn cost me three beers!" These plastic instruments were used in a variety of ways, but the two most amusing ways were when a guy bonged a beer with one and when another guy blew the horn right in the ear of the pitchen warming up in the bullpen with each toss.

The highlight of the evening, for me at least, was the national anthem. It was played by a pudgy rocker on an electric guitar who began and ended by walking around behind home plate with a hand in the air "rock saluting" the crowd of 300 people. As you can see, we all got a kick out of it.

4 hours total in the car, 2 hour rain delay. Well worth it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh, Cleveland...

Should I care this much about the Cavs? Probably not. Why am I so emotionally involved in a situation that I have absolutely zero control over? Some SERIOUS emotional boundaries have been crossed in my relationship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And for what? I had some serious dreams for our future! I was ready to commit to a long-lasting post-season relationship with some rings awaiting us and now I feel those dreams have been whimsically handed off to this Orlando.

I was talking with a friend from Cincinnati tonight who said that he kind of hopes the Cavs lose because Cleveland fans are so obnoxious. I think we are the way we are because we have come SO CLOSE over the past 15 years and each time seen our dreams shattered. He argued that even that is better than not having any hope for a championship in years, but I disagree. I will count this as the fourth time since the Indians were in the World Series in '95 that I have believed I had a perfect match- one that would last, only to be left at the altar (metaphorically speaking).

Right now it feels like someone dipped my heart in a vat of boiling tears, while someone else was hitting me in the grief bone with a frozen sledgehammer. Never has a team to which I have pledged my allegiance gone all the way and it's starting to hurt. It's getting a little unbearable. For some reason, Cleveland is seemingly incapable of winning a championship. I am calling the Cavs goners. I hope they prove me wrong, really, I do- but I'm not counting on it. Instead, I will resign to worrisome thoughts of next year and dismay that Lebron may well leave Cleveland as a free agent having never delivered a championship to a city that groans with each passing season.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

If nothing else, love Jesus.

"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."
[Colossians 3:9-11]

This should have tremendous implications on how we relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are new creations in Christ, we are made in the image of God, Christ is all and Christ is in all. If Christ is in all who call on His name, how can we not love our brothers and sisters in Him? And yet sometimes we struggle with that. I know I do.

Paul is writing this letter to Christians and is telling them how they should relate to each other. We who have Christ in us are of one body. Since Christ is in all of us, even if we are having a hard time loving each other, we should still be able to love them for the fact that Christ is in them. Our love for Christ should manifest itself in love for others.

I don't know about you, but I need to pray for some help with this.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dean of Students addresses Palmerfest

This is from an e-mail sent out by OU Dean of Students, Ryan Lombardi. Lombardi was present at an information meeting held a couple weeks ago about Palmerfest where student residents of Palmer Street heard from Athens and OU officials about what would and would not be tolerated at Palmerfest. Apparently the meeting did not have the desired effect.

Dear Ohio University Students,

I write today to address the issues that led to the deterioration of Palmerfest this past weekend. I was disappointed to hear about some of the behavior that occurred. Setting fires in the street, throwing projectiles at other attendees and law enforcement, and overturning a vehicle are unacceptable, no matter the circumstance. I realize that it was not all OU students who did this, and that not all OU students who were at Palmerfest were participating in the negative behavior that I've mentioned. Nonetheless, as a member of our community, it is not okay to stand by and let this type of destruction occur. It is all of our responsibility to respect the community in which we live and honor the integrity of our institution.

The university and local community have accepted responsible and appropriate behavior during the spring fests for many years. The behavior that occurred this weekend does not fall into that category. Whether you are a current student, the friend of one, or just an out-of-town visitor, Ohio University does not condone this type of behavior and you will be held accountable for your actions.

I am most bothered to have to write this note to you today because I know that for every one student who engaged in destructive behavior this weekend there are hundreds doing great things at our university. For those of you who share my concern, I challenge you to not accept such actions again. Let's get back on track and finish this year on a positive note.

Ryan Lombardi
Dean of Students

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You acted like jerks. Thanks for proving them right.

I was less than surprised to hear about the happenings of Palmerfest '09 here in Athens, Ohio. What is yearly a day for mass alcohol consumption got way out of hand as thousands of OU students lived up to our less than stellar reputation.

Color me old fashioned, but I'm disgusted by what went on. Setting fires like a bunch of mindless slugs… Assaulting police officers and horses with beer bottles and cans…

Some people will complain about the use of force by Athens and OU Police; I think they would have been justified to use a whole lot more. This was not a case of civil disobedience, or even protest. It was a case of irresponsible, reckless consumption of alcohol gone terribly wrong. There’s a pretty awesome video on YouTube of a mounted officer plowing into a drunken antagonizer.

My heart hurts for how lost so many on this campus clearly are. As deplorable as the events of Palmerfest ’09 were, sin is sin and it shows just how much we all need God’s grace.

The Post's coverage of Palmerfest.

Friday, May 8, 2009

He is praying for me

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” —Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Hebrews 7:25: Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Be encouraged, Jesus Christ- GOD HIMSELF is praying for you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Until we don't want to work it out do we part.

Marriage in the United States is in bad shape, according to recent reports by Focus on the Family.

The information, which was released in September 2008, stated that while divorce rates have leveled off and even slightly decreased over the last few years, statistics still show that between 40 and 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. A similar report, released by the US Census bureau, showed that one in two marriages will fail and that the United States has among the highest divorce rates globally.

The median age for men to get married is 27.4 years of age, with women marrying slightly younger on average at 25.6 years of age. Typically, divorce happens within the first 8 years of marriage. There is also a trend in the United States for people to get married later in life. While 33.8 percent of the population is married between the age of 20 and 34, the married population balloons to 63.7 percent in the 35 to 44 year age range. This means that couples who marry younger and divorce around the eight-year average will likely end their marriage before the 35 to 44 year olds even get married.

Ron Edmondson, a pastor at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tenn. says one reason the divorce rate is so high is a general lack of knowledge about marriage, a problem that has always been there. “I share this story all the time, but both my boys have more training to drive than is usual for somebody to be trained to enter into marriage,” he said.

Edmondson said that there are very few solid marriages for couples to learn from any more. This is partly because we have become more mobile and therefore geographically scattered. As people move further away from family, they need to have people with strong marriages to walk along with younger couples, especially in the early, often difficult years, Edmondson said.

He also said that the general cultural acceptance and increasing ease of divorce from a legal standpoint combined with a decreasingly loyal population are contributing factors to such high divorce rates.

Edmondson believes churches should shoulder the responsibility of reducing cases of divorce, and said this needs to begin with good pre-marital counseling. “Churches rarely have anything available. You’re doing good if you get an hour or two of your pastor’s time,” he said. Churches also have to start teaching about healthy marriages, he said. “I don’t think we need to sugar-coat the issues. We need to deal with real problems. Marriage is tough…so we need to address the reality of what’s going on in our society."

Finally, Edmondson said problems in marriage need to be de-stigmatized, encouraging people to work things out. “It’s easier to walk away than to get help,” he said.

Idolatry is stupid.

Psalm 135:15-18 says:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes but they cannot see; they have ears but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

We become like what we worship. The people described here create these idols to worship, but idols are worthless. They hold no power other than what we give them. The idols are ineffective and the Psalm states that by worshiping idols, we too will become ineffective. Idols are not beings. We cannot have relationship with an idol. Not only is idol worship against the second commandment, it's just plain ridiculous! Aside from the fact that there is one true God whom we should worship, there is absolutely no point in worshiping a stupid, little, powerless, impersonal idol.

And yet we do.

We have all, at some point, elevated "things" higher than the God of the universe. Of course, they are only higher than God according to us, because He is in fact above and before all things.

See, though, the thing about God is that he won't compete with whatever trivialities we idolize.

Twice in Isaiah 2 (vv. 11, 17), it is prophesied that the arrogance and pride of man will be brought low and humbled. Each time this statement is followed with this:

...the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

Isaiah 2:18 goes on to say:

...the idols will totally disappear.

Idols are stupid, worthless things that will disappear. There is one true and everlasting God. Who is really worthy of our lives?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April showers bring fire and brimstone

'Tis the season...

The swine flu has been getting people fired up across the world. Some here at Ohio University have found another reason to freak out- the open-air preachers!

They come every spring, yelling about hellfire, homosexuality, drunkenness and fornication (among a host of other sins) and commanding repentance. Every spring they are met with students yelling right back at them.

I'm convinced that a lot of the people who stop to listen to these guys are searching only for an argument. They fire questions at him with no interest in an answer. They are more concerned with making noise. The thing is, no matter how much either side yells at the other, no one's mind is getting changed. The "sinners," as the preachers less than affectionately call them, are put on the defensive and will not react with repentance and the preachers, if they have an authentic faith in Christ, will not be swayed from their beliefs.

True, Christ is being preached, but I seriously question the effectiveness of their evangelism. "You watch Hollywood movies, you're going to Hell" is probably not the best way to lead people to a saving faith in Christ. I'm just sayin'...

Something that gets me is that even when these guys preach about grace, they sound so angry. How can you be angry when you're talking about grace?!?

Colossians 4:5-7 says, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your words be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

Salt is used to season food, to make it taste better, right? I think these guys could use their salt much more effectively.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not afraid to die.

Hebrews 2:14,15 "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."

Talk about freedom in Christ! We're all going to die, but we don't have to be afraid of that. In fact, when we do have fear, we're allowing Satan to exercise his power. Christ is above all things (nihilist deceivers like Satan included) and conquered death to bring the possibility of eternal life.

Mark Driscoll pointed out that for those in Christ, what we experience in this life is as bad as it will EVER be. After we die it only gets better. Conversely, those who have not received Christ should be terrified of death- because apart from Christ this life is as good as it gets, and it gets A LOT worse when you die.

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." [1 John 5:11,12]

Monday, March 30, 2009

God is WAY bigger than the Holiday Inn

Yes. I know it's been more than three months. But I'm back, hopefully more frequently.

We just had Spring Break and I went with around 90 other people from Ohio University Campus Crusade for Christ to Panama City Beach, FL for the Big Break '09 Conference. It. Was. Awesome. Not only were some amazing relationships built, God taught us a TON.

We spent the days doing evangelism on the beach in a variety of methods; we used surveys, photos and even iPods to draw people into spiritual conversations. We also heard from Roger Hershey in our main meetings. He gave some awesome insight into what it is to be a Warrior for Christ- I may post about that later.

Cool story from sharing on the beach:

The Holiday Inn does not like us to go onto their part of the beach and share the Gospel. As such, we had to "go stealth" whenever we did venture onto their sand. On Wednesday I went out with a freshman guy and a freshman girl. Despite their limited experience with initiative evangelism they were up for the challenge of "going stealth" and infiltrating the Holiday Inn's grounds with the message of Christ.

We approached a couple sitting on towels and struck up a conversation with them, the conversation transitioned to the Gospel and one of them (we'll call him Guy) prayed to receieve Christ! Even though I could not use any materials in my sharing with him, Guy was tracking with me the whole time and when I asked him if he wanted to pray to receive Christ he said "Absolutely!" After I said "Amen" I looked up and he was sitting their smiling. "That's a great prayer! I feel so good right now- you need to tell other people about this!" YES!!!!

It was so awesome to see that even without materials to lead us we had the Holy Spirit to guide the conversation and understanding Guy came to.

God is so much bigger than the Holiday Inn.

In total 4,661 conversations were initiated 2,088 heard the Gospel and 262 people prayed to receive Christ.

Praise God!