Google glasses…really?

Google glasses…really?

Not sure if you’ve seen this yet but when I saw it in the newspaper last week, my first thought was: If this actually becomes popular, I am moving to a remote village across the world and living in a hut.

I mean seriously folks, what positive contribution to life would these possibly give us?  Besides Google making some fat cash off of them of course.  It is time (actually it’s well beyond time) that we pause and consider if all these new fandangled technological advances are really advances at all, or if they are just unnecessary wastes of money that more than likely do us more harm than good.  (Raise your hand if you want to be more addicted to your work and personal email and Facebook messages!)

Click here if you haven’t heard about Google’s prototype idea to make glasses that essentially are a cell phone / computer screen that you always see as you go throughout your day.  At least the good news is many others, like me, see these as a great reason to make fun of people that would actually use these:


One thing is for sure, it is going to be a lot more expensive to get punched in the face.


Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized, Wisecracks


Tags: , , , ,

Drinking Decaf for Jesus…

On a day when two people have already told me it’s 99 cent day at Biggby (and it’s only 9:30am), I am reminded once more that I’ve given up caffeine for Lent.  This brings up two topics I find interesting: Lent and caffeine. First, Lent.

I grew up Baptist and had no clue what Lent was.  I remember at my public high school asking my Catholic friends why they could only eat fish for lunch (or is it only fish on Fridays?  I don’t remember…), and I remember them telling me it was because they are Catholic.  No mention of Jesus; no mention of why.  I’m not saying this is the reaction of all Catholics, but for that period of my life, these were the only Catholics I conversed with.  So to me, Lent was something religious that Catholics did and I was glad I didn’t have to do it, because I didn’t even like fish very much.  Except fish sticks.  Those have always been good. 

I observed Lent for the first time last year when I gave up dessert.  I realized that the point of Lent is the same as that of other types of fasting, and that is to focus our attention on Christ’s sacrifice for us, and when we sacrifice something (food, dessert, coffee, etc.), it is a physical reminder for us to think about Christ.  I often forget about Christ throughout my daily routine, and while a large part of me does not enjoy fasting (and I don’t do it very often), when I do do it, it is helpful in drawing my attention to God.  What is unique about Lent is it specifically draws our attention to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the Lenten season builds up to Good Friday and eventually Easter, the ultimate celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  So there you go: I like Lent.  I think people should observe it because they want to and not because they have to.  And no, my Baptist friends, the Bible does not say we need to observe Lent and no one is saying it does.  Breathe.  It’s just a helpful thing to do.

So why was I dumb enough to give up caffeine this year for Lent?  Because my wife suggested it.  Sitting in a Biggby on Ash Wednesday evening, with honestly no intent to give anything up for Lent this year, my wife suggested I give up caffeine.  She is not a caffeine drinker and has noticed how my coffee consumption has increased over the years, up to around 3 mugs a day at this point.  So, like I’ve learned is typically best with my wife, I agreed to what she said.  Part of my reason for agreeing was the guinea pig factor, wanting to test what this would do to my body.  I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 21 and working my first real job as a youth pastor.  I made it all through college being able to stay awake and alert just fine on my own, and have noticed myself being continually fatigued, even with my 3 cups of coffee each day.  I’ve heard that coffee, like ChapStick, conditions your body to need it so once you start, you can’t stop!

The first week was highlighted by me falling asleep whenever I’d go to pray during my lunch break.  I didn’t have any headaches, just could not stay awake.  And yes, I get enough sleep at night.  Also, I made the decision (and some of you will, and already have, call me a cheater for this) that I would “celebrate the Sunday resurrection” by allowing myself to drink coffee on Sunday mornings before my sermon.  My brother Patrick says this is okay.  He said so on Facebook.

The second week was highlighted by me getting really close to making coffee on several occasions when I was having a terrible time motivating myself to work.  My line of thought was, “I’m not actually Catholic…I don’t have to fast…Jesus will understand.”  But I made it through!  Still feeling super groggy.

The third week, this week, is the first time I have felt refreshed in a long time.  This entire experiment I have wondered if I will kick the habit altogether when I’m finished with Lent, and this week is the first time I’ve thought it could be a real possibility.

It does make me wonder if we drink too much caffeine.  Any thoughts?

I’ve heard coffee called “The Christian Crack” in jest by a Christian former drug addict.

I’ve heard the pastor of a well-known church go off on a rant about drinking too much caffeine is sinful.  It was surprising.  I wonder what they serve in their lobby, ginger ale?

A Christian friend of mine told me that caffeine is the one drug we are allowed to do by law and by God so he’s going to enjoy it for all it’s worth, since he can’t do any of the others.

Funny stuff.  Closing thoughts:

Decaf is disgusting.  It got me through my first 2 weeks.  Yes it has <1% caffeine in it, get over it.

I know coffee has antioxidants in it.  Yes, keep telling yourself it is just like eating broccoli.

I have nothing against people drinking coffee, I am simply making observations about life.

Coffee is delicious.  I love the taste and smell of it.  I hear the same thing from people about their cigarettes.

1 Comment

Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Theology, Wisecracks


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Video Game Overload

Video Game Overload

With video games on my brain as I anxiously await my original NES to come in the mail (which I recently purchased on Ebay) I ran into this online ad for Sony’s newest product, the PS VITA, and was struck by their slogan:  “Never Stop Playing”.

This immediately brought flashbacks of skipping class my freshman year at Cornerstone to play Madden 2002  on PS2.  We’d have 4 guys in the same season, all controlling a team within the same division, so if you were the last guy to play your game for that week of the season (the other guys couldn’t play their next game until you played your game), it was all but assured that the door would be barricaded and you would play that game, rather than attend class.  And no, it never did take that much coercion.  Though we had tons of fun that semester, my low GPA reflected what video gaming can do to your reality.  I had to give up gaming in the 2nd semester (much easier since it wasn’t football season) and pull a 3.9 GPA in order to bring up my cumulative GPA to the necessary balance to keep my academic scholarship (and thus, to afford / stay in school).

A related flashback is my Slovakian friend Juraj (pronounced “Yer-Eye”) from the CU cross country and track team lecturing me about how playing video games was a waste of time and a waste of my life.  Juraj was a pre-med student at CU and is one of the single hardest workers I’ve ever met.  Of course I told Juraj he needed to lighten up and video games are no big deal.

As video games have gotten better and better, as well as more and more accessible, one does have to wonder where it all is headed… or at least one should.  Should we really “Never Stop Playing” as Sony tells us to?  I’m definitely not saying that video games in an of themselves are bad, evil, or wrong, but I do believe that “everything in moderation” definitely applies here.  Video games are getting so realistic and addicting that it’s quite possible for a person to live their entire life inside of a game, and in reality, have no life at all.

I think this also applies to the constant upgrades in cell phones, tablets, etc. (all of which, conveniently, you can play video games on as well of course).  Just because you can invent something better, doesn’t mean you necessarily need to.  And just because something is “better”, doesn’t mean it’s going to make your life a hill of beans better than it currently is.  In fact, I’d argue than in many cases it makes it worse.

I haven’t played my PS2 in over two years — Juraj would be proud.  I realized if I stopped buying the newest Madden game, I’d eventually stop playing altogether.  It’s like what I instruct my wife: if you buy donuts, I will eat donuts, so don’t buy donuts.  I think it was the empty gut feeling I’d get after playing Madden one more time (I will never get that hour of my life back)… as well as the realization that every “new and improved” version that came out really wasn’t much improved from the previous version and that at this point in video gaming there really isn’t much new under the sun.  And that is exactly why it’s time to go back to the roots.  To Ninja Gaiden, Metroid, and Castlevania.  To Blades of Steel, Double Dribble, and Excitebike.  Yes NES, you can’t come soon enough.  Looking forward to playing games that are meant to be fun, not meant to replace your reality.


Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Good Post for Valentine’s Day

I found this video a few days ago and thought it fitting to share on Valentine’s Day:

I blogged on marriage a few months ago and posted a sermon I did on the difficulties of marriage as Jen and I shared difficulties in our own marriage in a Sunday morning sermon.  I think anytime we can be reminded that true romantic love is a choice/commitment, not a feeling, it is needed…And that it is selfless, not selfish, it is needed.  And that God demonstrated that selfless commitment by choosing to offer his love to you and to me through his death on the cross, which I’m sure didn’t feel very good.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Crossroads’ new worship leader…

1.  I started laughing histerically

2.  I almost had to stop it mid way through, but I pressed on

3.  The frosting on the cake are his comments at the beginning about how good he is

And I’ll answer the question you are bound to ask:  Yes, we are recruiting this guy to come to Crossroads to be our worship leader.

And yes, there is a small part of me that wonders if this is staged because how could anyone be this talented?… maybe someone from North Carolina can help me out?


Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Wisecracks


Tags: , , ,

An Ode to My Dead Civic

An Ode to My Dead Civic

I’m not exactly sure what an ode is.  My Mac’s dashboard dictionary tells me an ode is a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter.
• historical – a poem meant to be sung.

So while I’m sure this isn’t an ode, it sounds like if you sing it, it will become one.  So please sing along with me:

Oh to my poor little Civic,

I will miss you so.

I owned you for 6 years,

and you took me everywhere I wanted to go.

You died with 258,256 miles,

that sure is a lot.

I only paid $1100 for you,

a bargain is what I got.

Sure you didn’t have A/C,

and the windshield had two giants cracks. (the rhyming is too hard, I hope you enjoyed it)

You had rust galore,

and even a hole in the hood.

A broken axle was your dying blow,

And no I’m not paying another 500 bucks to fix you again.

You were a great car,

but your 42 MPG are only a memory.

More like 25 MPG, plus tons of extra oil.

Your time had finally come,

and you surely will be missed.

It feels like a I lost a pet.

A goldfish.

You will always be in my heart.

And since I got 200 bucks for you for scraps,

like an organ donor,

your spirit will live on as they give your parts out to other cars.

Sing it out: (with vigor)






It’s okay to cry.


Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Wisecracks


Tags: , , , , ,

Religion Stinks, volume 2

So I did a post a couple days ago called “Religion Stinks“.  The post was a little commentary + teaser for the sermon I recently did on Galatians 1, which I’ll often do following a sermon.  I was going to title my blog post “Let Jesus Tell You Who Jesus Is”, which was the title of my sermon, but at the last minute, I decided to change the title to “Religion Stinks” because I thought that title might make a non-Christian interested in reading something a pastor wrote, and since what I wrote was intended for people who are not Christians, I went with that title.

My main point from first blog post, as well as my 1/8/12 sermon: (quoting my blog post) My point is simple: People should not look to religious people/leaders for their example of Christianity, they should look to Jesus.

I get this from Galatians 1:11-12  I (Paul) want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

Paul is saying: do not follow a gospel/a “Jesus” that someone made up, follow the true Jesus, and I know who this true Jesus is because I met him in person!  He is telling us: Let Jesus be what defines Christianity to you, not any man (or group).  I see the opposite of this happening all the time, where people see big haired televangelists, or legalistic churches they grew up in, or another pastor or priest molesting children or having an affair, or they point to the Crusades and the Inquisitions “done in the name of Jesus” where tons of people were slaughtered, or whatever it may be, and they point the finger at Jesus and they say “You stink” (or some paraphrase of that).  Actual real people who are not Christians say these types of things to me very often, and it saddens me, and it’s what is happening in Galatians 1, and Jesus is awesome, and really isn’t responsible for the mess we have made “in his name”, yet he gets blamed for it by non-Christians, so I did a sermon on what’s in the Bible about this and I wrote a blog on it.

I also included a video of a guy doing spoken word poetry, talking about a similar subject.

Now the controversy begins.

What I’ve realized in reading several good-hearted rebuttals is that we are defining the word “religion” differently.  Please pause to understand me on this.

I am purposefully not using the standard definition of the word religion, and neither is the guy in the video.  What I’m surprised by is that even though this other definition is fairly well-explained in the video (and in my first blog), people are glossing over that explanation and are sticking with the standard definition of the word.  Here’s what I mean:

In the video, he says right up front that the definition of “religion” he is using is: “following some rules” and “self-righteousness”.  So for those of you that are upset by the video, I’d encourage you to re-watch it and whenever he says the word “religion”, swap it out for the phrase “following some rules” or the word “legalism”.  I assure you if you do this you’ll have a different take on the video.  I did something similar in my blog post, as I pointed out that the “type” (definition) of religion Jesus was so angry about is the hypocritical religion that is simply following a bunch of rules and being self-righteous about it (thinking that following these rules will earn God’s approval / salvation).

(side note: I don’t endorse/agree with every single thing in the entire video.  That’s not the point.  I don’t think you need to agree with every single point in a Christian book, video, sermon, etc. for it to have value / be helpful / challenge you / make you think / be celebrated at face value without having to bring up & dissect every point you disagree with)

What Christians need to understand is that when we use a word, like “religion”, we may have one definition in our heads, but non-Christians are using a very different definition of the same word.  The same thing happens with the word “Evangelical”.  I was talking to a man on an airplane once and he was against all Evangelicals because of something someone in the Republican party said about a political issue.  When he hears “Evangelical”, he doesn’t think of what most Christians think of or identity with, he thinks of a political view regarding an issue that had nothing to do with Evangelicalism. So I’m careful to label myself an Evangelical, because of the baggage of this word.  Am I Evangelical in the standard definition of the word?  Yes.  Would I use different words to describe this because the word “Evangelical” means something very different to non-Christians?  Yes.

We have to speak the language of our culture to reach our culture, otherwise we are wondering why Spanish speaking people aren’t receiving the message we are delivering in French.  I read parts of the Kevin DeYoung article that several people sent me, which was his critique of the spoken word poetry video.  Again, I think if Kevin subbed in the words “following some rules” or the word “legalism” for when the video said “religion”, he wouldn’t have had the issues with it that he wrote so extensively about.

I think we’d all admit that self-righteousness, legalism, and following empty rules is not the true Gospel of Jesus.  That it stinks.  Well, this is what non-Christians see when they think of religion, which is why I’m using this word in that context.  And so we’d point these people to the true Jesus, to grace, to the Jesus that Paul is writing so passionately about in Galatians.  A Jesus that is not a Jesus of following the religious rules (and you can’t argue against that… Jesus did not come to get us to merely follow a list of rules, that IS what he came to abolish, because that IS what the religious leaders where teaching and it IS what got so furious about, e.g. the Matthew 23 quotes from my previous post), but a Jesus who is all about the loving surrender of our heart to him, within a loving relationship made possible through his forgiveness.

On its own, all religion is a hollow shell of religious behavior.  You can be a religious Buddhist, a religious Hindu, a religious Muslim, a religious Jew, a religious Pharisee, a religious Catholic, a religious Protestant, and the list goes on.  Religion is an empty shell that can have any number of things poured inside of it, good or bad.  The problem is if Jesus’ transformational grace isn’t what’s inside of it, you are left with either empty rituals of going through the motions or a genuine passionate effort to try to appease God and/or earn God’s favor.  God rails on these very things in Isaiah 1:11-17, which if you paraphrase the Old Testament religious practices to modern day Church practices (e.g. Sunday services, meetings, preaching, singing, etc.), it’s pretty convicting/scary!

Is. 1:11      “The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the LORD.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;      I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
Is. 1:12     When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
Is. 1:13      Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.     New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.
Is. 1:14      Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
my soul hates.      They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
Is. 1:15   When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.     Your hands are full of blood;
Is. 1:16         wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!  Stop doing wrong,
Is. 1:17         learn to do right!     Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

Hopefully the point being made here is pretty simple: God doesn’t care about our religious practices if our hearts are far from him, he isn’t impressed.  Jon Foreman, from the band Switchfoot, has a song called “Instead of a Show” which in many ways paraphrases Isaiah 1:11-17, and similar passages, in an attempt to get us to stop and ask if we have our religious priorities in the right place, or if we are merely “doing religion”.  Isaiah 1 begs the question, what does God really care about? and the answer is pretty obvious that it is not religious rituals or “following some rules”:

Now is loving the poor, keeping a tight reign on your tongue, loving others, and daily living for Christ, also considered “religion”?  Yes of course, as James 1:26-27 clearly tell us: James 1:26   If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

But even in this passage itself, James is warning against hypocritical religion (what our culture simply calls “religion” now) and he is clearly pointing out that there is such a thing as bad religion.

In conclusion, I’m trying to show to Christians that the word “religion” has incredible baggage in our culture, that the Bible warns over and over against religious that is void of Jesus’ grace, and that sadly our culture has come to define religion as this very thing = legalistic, self-righteous, rule following.  While I suppose it’s ok to defend the original definition of religion, I’ve given up on that and simply stopped using the word to describe myself.  If someone says I am religious, rather than talk about the shell that is my “religious behaviors”, which is difficult for people to know the motivation behind, I’d much rather talk about the content of why I do anything and everything, and that is the resurrected Jesus Christ, who loves me, has forgiven me of my sins, and is the King of my life.  In whom I do nothing out of religious obligation but everything out of relational love and connection.  And to me, that is much more compelling.

Maybe I shouldn’t have used “Religion Stinks” as a blanket statement, but I did it to get people reading and to get people thinking.  And once you see the definition for religion that I’m using, I hope you’ll agree.

So, because I think it got lost a little bit last time, I’ll say it again:  People should not look to religious people/leaders for their example of Christianity, they should look to Jesus.

Christians, yes the Bible calls us (2 Cor. 5:20) Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us., and it says (Heb. 13:7)    Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. and Paul says (1Cor. 11:1)   Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.  And (as I said in my sermon, which is attached to my previous post) we do need to abide by these commands and take them as a huge challenge to us, especially those of us in leadership, but we would be as wrong as can be if we think we are the 100% correct portrayal of Jesus, and if the world sees us they see they’ve seen a pure example of Jesus to base their entire faith off of.  While we should try to be the example of Christianity, I am not going to tell a non-Christian, “Look at my life and you’ll see exactly who Jesus is”, no I will open the Bible and show them the true Jesus in the Scriptures, as I know I will fail epically in being able to do this my the example of my life alone.  While it’s our goal to live Christ-like and hopefully we are someone people can follow after, we should all confess our sins and shortcomings and point people to the true Jesus, which is exactly what Paul does in Galatians 1:11-12 and 2:16.

So if you’ve ever wondered who Jesus really is, let Jesus tell you who Jesus is, it’s only fair.  Curious?  Read his biography, the book of John.


Posted by on January 17, 2012 in My Thoughts on My Sermons


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: