I'm off for Southern California. I'm going to see my brother Ben and check out a worship conference called "more than music". I'm looking forward to it, I'll have a full report on my return. Until then CLICK HERE to read Riana's story which was inspired by my post "How to win friends, and influence people"! Then CLICK HERE, and HERE to read good stuff that was inspired by my post "Tell me all your thoughts on God..."
grace and peace... jimmy
Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ rejoice! We now have our own bank! Our plan to completely avoid non-christians (heathen) is almost complete. It durn near blessed my socks off when I saw an ad for “
You've been washed by the blood of the Lamb, why shouldn't your money?!?!? Call today and recieve a FREE gift, your choice of a "Purpose Driven Wallet", or "Prayers of Jabez" imitation leather checkbook cover. Don’t get too excited yet, check the section on “who can join” to make sure you qualify. Most, but not all, major denomination’s members may apply (protestant only please), so check the list and sign up today! If you are interested click on "Contact Us".
Remember... we answer e-mail, God answers "knee mail"!
Lord bless ya'
I just read this great quote from Dale Carnegie:
“You’ll accomplish more in the next two months developing a sincere interest in two people than you’ll accomplish in the next two years trying to get two people interested in you.”
What would happen if we lived our lives like that? What would happen if we let our spirituality be an influence in a natural organic way rather than trying to get people interested in our ideas? What if we showed less concern about getting the "right angle" to share our faith, and showed more genuine concern about the people around us? What about churches? What if we took all the resources that were dedicated to making our church the most attractive option to the spiritual consumer and rerouted that time, energy, and money towards sincere needs in our community?
What would that look like?
This guy was walking down fourth street in downtown today. He looks like a sparkly silver alien cowboy. The freaks per capita numbers around here are way out of wack.
If you look really hard you can see Katie steering the truck while I hold the camera out the window.
Who knew that burning man was being held in Santa Rosa this year?!?
Liesl is a worship leader in town and she offered to loan me a book on worship renewal, I took her up on it but never had the time to read past the preface. But in that preface was one of the best definitions of worship that I’ve ever read. I had to return the book to her but I got on amazon.com and bought the book for myself. I may actually read it someday, but until then I’ll just keep reading the preface over and over. Here it is:
“On a Mother’s Day many years ago, my brother and I decided to celebrate the occasion by surprising our parents with breakfast in bed. We were just kids, thoroughly inexperienced in the cooking arts, but how hard could it be to scramble eggs, fry bacon, and crack open a can of ready made biscuits? We knocked on their bedroom door and entered with two glasses of orange juice, a freshly picked rose, the Sunday paper, and a cheery greeting: ‘HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!’ We told them just to stay in bed, relax, and read the paper. Breakfast was on the way.
They played along amiably with the game, remaining serenely in bed thumbing through the paper and ignoring the sounds from the kitchen of glass shattering and grease fires being extinguished. In due course my brother and I marched triumphantly into their room bearing steaming plates of ten minute eggs, carbonized bacon, and biscuits that would challenge an apprentice stonemason.
It was, our parents said as they wolfed it down, the most delicious breakfast they had ever eaten. Love, evidently, is a wonderful spice.
We need to remind ourselves that even when Christian worship is at its best, it is much like that Mother’s Day breakfast. It is always the work of amateurs, people who do this for love, kids in the kitchen overcooking the prayers, half-baking the sermons, and crashing and stumbling through the responses on the way to an act of adoration.
The moment of truth in worship is when we emerge from the smoke, and grease filled kitchen with our little trays and enter with adoration into the presence of God. There we will find that God transforms our meager loaves and fishes into a feast of joy and welcomes us as children truly at home. Then, anxious and troubled though our lives may be, we take leave of our earthbound senses. Confident that we, so often lost in the bewilderments of life, have been found at last by the One to whom we finally belong, we become lost again, this time lost in wonder, love, and praise.”
Today bells rang and white smoke came from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel indicating the election of a new pope. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of
CLICK HERE for a firsthand account from St. Peters square by Fr. Peter in Rome.
The rituals and traditions that the cardinals follow in the election process have been very fascinating to me. I heard an interesting story about the “conclave” the other day. The conclave is the area in which the cardinals are sequestered. This papal election took only two days but in the past some elections have gone much longer which is why they now have a “conclave”.
Conclave is from the Latin words:
Cum = “with”
Clavis = “key”
In the year 1271 the election that ended with the choice of Gregory X at Viterbo had lasted over two years and nine months. Because of the cardinal’s inability to come to a conclusion on the new pope the local authorities locked up the cardinals “with key” so that they would make up their minds and get on with it. Apparently after waiting for word from within the conclave for over two and a half years the people of Viterbo decided that they would up the ante and really force the cardinals’ hand. The townspeople TORE THE ROOF off of the conclave exposing the cardinals to the elements. Evidently this did the trick and the cardinals quickly came to a decision.
I have this great image in my head of all the cardinals in their red capes chanting, “Hell no, we won’t go…..”
Have you ever thought that you could do no wrong and then you fell on your face? This picture made me laugh so hard. You know this guy just thought he was TOO COOL!! He had the camera lined up, his friends all in the boat, thinking as soon as these pictures came out and word got out about what a stud he was he’d have to beat the chicks away with a stick.
Then this happened…
I had a really embarrassing moment early on in my music career that I thought of instantly when I saw this picture. I was learning more and more about playing and singing and was getting ready for my first big show. It was for a youth group rally. I was so stoked to play and I was especially excited since this was my first chance to sing lead and unleash my considerable talent on the world’s ears!! I have to say that I did a pretty killer job. The 400-500 kid’s in attendance gave uproarious applause to let me know how truly great I was.
I slowly walked across the stage at the end of the night, waving that rock n’ roll wave, and nodding my head as if to say, “that’s right, I do rock, don’t I?!?!?” Then, with ALL EYES ON ME, I tripped on a microphone cable and fell down 5 or 6 stairs to the floor of the auditorium. The laughter was almost as loud as the applause.
Have you ever had one of those moments?
Each day, about 74 people receive an organ transplant.
Unfortunately 17 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs.
The month of April is National Donate Life Month, a time to raise public awareness of the critical need for organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donation. If you haven’t thought about being a donor, or haven’t told anyone about your desire to be a donor, please do it now, and CLICK HERE to download a donor card.
Let me introduce you to my friend Nick.
On Halloween 2002, Nick was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). PPH is a form of pulmonary hypertension (PH). PH is a rare blood vessel disorder of the lung in which the pressure in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs) rises above normal levels and may become life threatening. PH starts when the small vessels that supply blood to the lungs constrict, or tighten up. It is more difficult for blood to get through to the lungs, and the heart must pump harder to overcome the resistance. As time passes, scarring (or fibrosis) of the vessels makes them stiffer and thicker, and some may be completely blocked. The extra stress causes the heart to enlarge and become less flexible. Less and less blood is able to flow out of the heart, through the lungs, and into the body, and more and more symptoms start to show.
This is the original post. Check out the comment from Jay (Kaelyn's Daddy) for the update.
Original post date 1-30-05
I spent the afternoon at UCSF children’s hospital today.
My friends Jay and Amy have a precious daughter named Kaelyn. She was born with several heart defects. The doctors said that the opportune time to perform the procedure to correct these deficiencies was when Kaelyn reached six months of age. Kaelyn got to six months last week. On Monday she had pre-op, on Tuesday they opened her tiny little chest and performed a four and a half hour open heart surgery. She has had a slight complication meaning that she needs to stay there for another week. All things considered she is doing well.
It was weird walking through the halls of the hospital and seeing all the tiny babies that were so fragile and needed such close attention just to keep them alive. The baby in the bed next to Kaelyn couldn’t have weighed more than five or six pounds. I asked about him. “Oh he’s three months old. He’s doing really well. They think he might get to go home tomorrow.” That’s amazing to me. This kid was barely past half the size of either of my kid’s birth weight and he was three months old!!!
I heard lots of stories of other kids that were receiving critical care. There was one baby that had been delivered a few days ago with only half of a heart. Jay and Amy said all the doctors went crazy and ran to the operating room. We don’t know how it turned out.
Stuff like that freaks out a father. Makes me sad, makes me wish there was something I could do to help. All I can do is pray I guess.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so complex! Your workmanship is marvelous, and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!”
God was there when Kaelyn was knit together in her mother’s womb. He didn’t just miss that one valve, or overlook that hole in her heart did he? He knew what was going on right?
Why does stuff like this happen?
My son Malachi doesn’t know my name. He can’t say Dad, Daddy or Jimmy. He calls me Mommy or Spongebob. This, of course pisses me off to no end! He can say Spongebob but not Daddy?
I was having a conversation with Thomas the other day about creation and evolution and the myriad of theories out there and that made me think of Malachi. First let me fill you in on our conversation. We were talking about the biblical, and non-biblical theories of creation and the talk turned to salvation. Thomas asked me if I thought that it was a pre-requisite to believe in God as creator in order to obtain salvation. He said that he was leaning towards a yes answer. His thought was that if you stripped the act of creation away from God you basically stripped him of all power, and if he couldn’t create by the power of mere words then why was he worth worshipping. My answer was no. I don’t believe that God would withhold the gift of salvation if we believed something erroneously. I’m not saying that the theory of evolution is erroneous, and I’m not saying that the literal seven day theory is erroneous.
I wasn’t there, I don’t know.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you held a belief about God’s role “in the beginning” that was false. Do you think that God would withhold salvation from you for having a wrong belief?
This made me think about a book I read several years ago called “Eternity in their hearts”. It’s the story of missionaries that went to areas that had never seen a white man or heard the name of Jesus. Some of the cultures didn’t even have a written tradition, and they passed on their legacy to their children through storytelling. In almost all of the cultures these missionaries visited there was some form of a creation story with a godlike father figure. Also, in almost all of these cultures there were stories of redemptive sacrifice that somehow saved the tribe.
The point was that even though they had never heard the name of Jesus, they knew the story, and they were believers in the “God of creation”, and in the “Redeemer” who had saved their tribes. So, back to Malachi. Malachi doesn’t know my name. He doesn’t have a full understanding of what I do. His young mind is not fully capable of comprehending all that I am, and all that I do.
My question is this… Even with his flawed understanding of who I am does that diminish our relationship? Does that make the father-son relationship any less real, or any less meaningful?
Re: “ranking of sins”. To what degree would you say that the “ranking of sins” is a construct of society? For example, in Saudi Arabia they have religious police that regulate modesty. They walk the streets and look for women that have their wrists, or ankles, uncovered. To our western minds this seems ludicrous, but to them it ranks pretty high on the list of sins. How about language? When Jesus walked the earth words like “fuck”, or “shit” would have meant nothing, but to call someone a dog was the worst insult you could hurl at them.
Words have the power that you give them. It’s all about the cultural setting. While some sins are certainly less palatable to us I don’t know that one is more or less sinful than another. The scripture that comes to mind is when Jesus talks about lusting after a woman in your heart in Matthew 5.27-28. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” It seems to me that, in essence, Jesus is saying that sin is sin. I think the danger of ranking sins is that we start to feel self righteous if we can avoid some of the “bigger” sins. Another scripture comes to mind. Isaiah 64.6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” This verse kills me, it’s basically saying that even at our most righteous we are still like filthy rags. So it all comes down to grace. The thing that upsets me though is that it seems like some of us feel like we are more entitled to grace than others, because when we sin, we try to stick to the fairly “low level” sins. As long as we’re not as bad as the other guy we’ll be OK. We need to stop pointing the finger at others and look within. We need to be as accepting and loving as Jesus is with us.
Let him without sin cast the first stone.
“First Stone” painting courtesy of Jamie Wells