Thursday, October 22, 2009

My new kick, along with a caution

I'm on a kick.

Personal finances. I find them fascinating. I love learning about budgeting, saving, debt, credit scores, credit card reward programs, on-line savings accounts with great interest rates, and personal finance software.

I have spent hours the last week or so following rabbit trail after rabbit trail through the briar patch that is the internets. It all started with What's Best Next, a blog by the senior director of strategy for Desiring God. The blog is all about how to best manage our lives and businesses, and is written from a christian perspective.

From there, I found This is where I really got going. Mint is an online personal finance service. Think of it as an online, and completely free, Quicken. I signed up this week, and have been playing around with it all week. It's pretty sweet. Check it out.

Through Mint, I found several blogs dealing with personal finances.,, and, along with's own blog. This isn't a ringing endorsement for any of those blogs, but I have at least found all of them interesting to some degree.

This is all interesting to me mainly for one basic reason. I am FRUGAL. Very frugal. I have never been a big spender, love to find ways to save money, enjoy thrift stores and garage sales, drive a car with over 200,000 miles, live in a small apartment with a roommate, demon-possessed cats (at least 2, who knows for sure?), and a 14-foot long sewing machine (that situation really deserves its own post), pay much more than the minimum on my student loans to save on interest, and almost always take the time to pick up pennies.

So there you have it. I'm on a personal finance kick. So where's the caution? I have a few. First, my goal in reading these blogs and using this software is to be more financially wise and independent, and "to make the most of my time, because the days are evil" (see Ephesians 5:15-17). But spending hours reading about personal finance can be a big waste time, and is not the same as implementing what I learn. I need to spend more time doing, and less time looking.

Second, "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs," (1 Timothy 6:10) and "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

I think we should be careful anytime we are dealing with money, even if it is for a seemingly good reason. If all of these blogs and software don't set me free from the constraints of money and allow me to serve the Lord more freely and have more resources and opportunities to be a gracious giver, it's all worthless.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5 reasons I won't wear a Scottie Pippen jersey

I'm going to my first Timberwolves game today. Well, a preseason game anyway. My new friends Mike and JJ got four free tickets in a very sweet spot. They are playing the Bulls, and Mike, from Illinois, is a huge Bulls fan. He offered to lend me his Scottie Pippen jersey.

Not so fast, my friend.

5) Mike would never let me live it down. I'd always be a Bulls fan.
4) Even if I were to pick an NBA team besides the Timberwolves to support, it wouldn't be the Bulls. I'd have to think more about it, but I can think of several teams I'd rather support.
3) I'd rather antagonize Mike.
2) I am a moderate Timberwolves fan. Basketball is a fine sport. It's not my favorite, and I don't closely follow it, but I do like the Timberwolves and follow them fairly closely. They are currently not a good team, but they are rebuilding and have taken some encouraging steps in the past few months. I have no desire to cheer against them.
1) I am from Minnesota, and I support Minnesota sports. Once you cheer against a Minnesota team, there's no going back. Wearing the opposing team's jersey is a one-way street. The only time I will cheer against a Minnesota sports team is when NDSU, my alma mater, plays the Gophers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Self-Reliance Issue

My brother-in-law Andy subscribes to Popular Mechanics, also known as perhaps the most interesting magazine ever. The lastest issue is titled "The Self-Reliance Issue." It's full of articles about disaster proofing your house, living off the grid, building a chicken coop, etc.

One of the articles is titled "The Soul of an Old Machine." It profiles several people who have restored old things such as a gas stove, circular saw, guitar amp, and lawn mower rather than replacing them with new.

I consider myself mildly handy. I can change my oil, build a loft, shingle a roof, change a tire, paint a house. Additionally, I am quite thrifty. I love to not spend money. Reading this issue and particularly that article inspired me to work even harder to be self-reliant. I would like to be more intentional about fixing things myself rather than throwing them away or paying someone else to do it.

Fixing something myself can have at least two important effects. One, I get to feel more manly. Two, I get to save cash. That's what I'm talking about.

The first step? I'm flushing my radiator. As soon as I figure out what to do with the used coolant...

Friday, September 11, 2009


I spoke at camp a little over a month ago (jeez, in some ways it feels like it just happened, in others it feels like ages ago). Laura asked over a week ago how it went. It's long past time for me to answer.

It went really well.

I loved it. Being a camp speaker is really fun. I've wanted to do it for a long time and feel blessed that the Lord saw fit to allow me to fulfill that desire. Speaking to Super Kids, I was convicted going in that I needed to be very basic and share the Gospel in a clear and compelling way. So that's what I did. I never spoke for more than fifteen minutes, I repeated myself often, and I tried to let the Gospel speak for itself. I know that I wasn't perfect, but for my first time speaking in that setting, I felt really good about how it went.

I was very blessed in that this was the most attentive and well-behaved group of Super Kids I have ever seen. I almost never had to tell them to pay attention or be quiet. I've spent enough time at Camp to know that it can be almost impossible to get some groups of Super Kids to focus. Glory be that this was emphatically not the case for the group I was given.

I went to the counselor meeting on Thursday morning (the last day), and the counselors were talking about how the kids had received my messages. One of the female counselors said that one of her campers told her "I understood what Josh said, I've been thinking about it, and I know what I need to do," and then she asked Jesus to be her Savior. I can't think of any possible reaction that could be better for a speaker. That was the best part of the week for me. God is good, and deserves TOTAL credit for that.

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 "For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

In sum, I got paid to hang out at one of my favorite places in the world with some of my favorite people and to tell kids about Jesus. Words can't describe how much I would love to do that a lot more.

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's hard to be me

The best friendships have some of the strangest qualities.

I had lunch today with Guy. As we were discussing life, he sniffed out a mildly shameful secret of mine (this in itself is a great quality in a friend: their ability to figure out what you aren't telling them).

His reaction?

He laughed at me.

Coming from most people, I would have probably been a little hurt by his laughter. He had discovered one of my character flaws and proceeded to laugh at it.

Was I hurt?

Not in the slightest.

His laughter meant "Yeah, you're a fool. You know it as well as I do. But you know me well enough to know that I'm also a fool. I'm still in your corner."

At least that's how I interpreted it. He did apologize, saying he shouldn't have laughed. I told him he can always laugh at me. He said "Likewise."

One of the many reasons I'm also in his corner.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

He returns to the computer abashedly

A) Way too long since I last blogged. Sorry, devoted followers, I have mistreated you. Mea culpa.

B) A plan is in its infancy for a new blog this fall including me and a close friend and fellow blogger. Hopefully more to come soon.

C) I'm speaking at Camp this weekend for Super Kids 4. Pray for me. I need it. I very much want it to go well. Pray that I would speak the Truth clearly and that the kids would have ears to receive it.

I am trusting the promise of Psalm 139:4-5 "Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me." If that's true, and it is, I'm in good hands.

That's all for now, thanks for your prayers and for putting up with my nonexistent blogging.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Gospel, as seen in the Old Testament

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you."

3As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

5The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

11You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Verse 6 has been running through my head recently: "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance."

This is a preposterous statement, and is not born of comfortable prosperity theology. Verse 1 starts with the cry "Preserve me!" Verse 10 demonstrates a confidence that the Lord will not "let your holy one see corruption."

Nevertheless, in the Lord's presence "there is fullness of joy; at [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore." If this is true, and it is, then regardless of circumstance we are able to say that the lines have fallen for us in pleasant places, and that our inheritance is beautiful.

Mark 9:24 "I believe; help my unbelief!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An abortion doctor, Dr. George Tiller, was murdered on Sunday in Wichita, Kansas. Abortion is wrong. Unspeakably wrong. Killing an abortion doctor is also wrong. Al Mohler (president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) wrote an article about his murder, explaining very well why this action was wrong and should be condemned as such. I recommend it.

One thing stood out to me about this event. Tiller was murdered in a church. Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, where he was serving as an usher.

Mohler described Tiller thus: For many years, Dr. George Tiller has represented the horrific reality of the abortion industry in this nation. Infamously known to the pro-life movement in America, Tiller was known as "Tiller the Killer" because of his well-known willingness to perform late-term abortions almost no other doctor in the nation would perform. Because of Dr. George Tiller, Wichita became the destination of choice for women seeking abortions in the late third trimester.

What does it say about that church that a doctor who performed late-term abortions served on Sundays as an usher?

Ephesians 5:11 "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Shakes his fist

I took a dose and a half of cough syrup in an attempt to stem the tide.

My incessant, unproductive hack merely glanced in my direction disapprovingly, insulted that that's the best I can do.

I wish he would treat me with more respect.

Let's see how he likes a steady diet of cough drops.

Monday, May 18, 2009

That was awkward

The other day I made a phone call, and got an automated message. The voice asked me to enter the phone number I was trying to contact. I began to enter the number and accidentally misdialed. I pushed # thinking that would perhaps allow me to start over. Instead, the voice said "thank you."

I think I inadvertently flirted with the automated voice.

I mean, we've crossed paths a few times and she sounds nice and everything, but I barely know her. I hope she didn't get the wrong impression. I'm afraid I'm sending mixed signals.

It's not her, it's me. I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment, and I'd rather keep the relationship professional. That's reasonable, isn't it?

I hope she takes it well. She's always been so polite.

Next time I'll try the * key.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sin and grace in 1 Samuel

I'm reading through 1 Samuel right now, and the following passage from chapter 12 stood out.

1 Samuel 12:19-22
And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." 20And Samuel said to the people, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.

As you can see in verse 19, this is when Israel demands a king. In so doing, they reject God as their king (1 Sam. 8:7). Major sin. THE major sin, as a matter of fact.

One that I repeatedly commit. We all do. In chapter 12, the Israelites finally come to see what it is they have done, and acknowledge that it is sin, so they ask Samuel, who as judge and prophet of Israel is their mediator with God, to pray for them.

Samuel's response is what stood out to me. He doesn't downplay their sin in an attempt to soothe their guilt. "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil." Yeah, you screwed up. You have rejected God.

But then he tells them to go back to doing what is right. "Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart." Pick yourselves up, turn from this evil, and do not do it again. It reminds me of John 8:11, where Jesus forgives the woman caught in adultery, saying "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." So often when we fail, we give up, supposing that there is no use in going on. That's not a valid reaction.

Next Samuel calls a spade a spade. "21And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty." Anything with which we replace God is empty; for the Israelites a human king, for me tv or sleep or comfort or any number of other things, and you know your own replacements. Samuel points out that these empty things cannot profit or deliver. Because they are empty. So don't turn aside after them. Duh. We can be so blind.

Finally, in verse 22 Samuel grounds everything on an infinitely precious truth: "For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself." You can't serve God on your own. You never could. He's chosen you for himself. For his own name's sake.

This passage is such a great picture of how God responds to our sin. Yep, you sinned. Against me. It's bad. Now stop. Don't do it anymore. Serve me instead, with all your heart. Those things with which you are trying to replace me are empty. They're worthless. They have nothing to offer you but death. Even though you deserve it, I'm not going to forsake you. I'm going to keep you. And make you mine. Make you what you can't make yourself. And I'm going to do it for my own glory, because I'm the only one worthy of it.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April is Poetry month

I've never been one to read much poetry. I would like that to change. But I haven't known where to start.

Which is why one of the highlights of my month has been following my friend Eva's blog. Her blogging is great anyway, but this month she's been posting a daily poem, which has been great. Consequently, I'm gaining a smidgen of culture.

You should check the poems out. Tell her Josh sent you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If the question is how long can I go in between posts...

...I guess the answer is three weeks.

I've been both busy and lazy. It's a difficult balance, but I think I manage it pretty well.

I'll try to do better.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A few quick thoughts on the Red River flood

I spent a few days in Fargo this weekend helping out with the flood. Some observations:

1) Both frisbee golf courses are under probably 15 feet of water.
2) Rivers that flow north are less than ideal.
3) I got several free meals for helping in the sandbagging effort. I will do almost anything for a free meal.
4) It's crazy to see how much life is interrupted for a city during an event such as this.
5) I believe that we people of the upper Midwest stack up against anyone when it comes to pulling together when things need to get done.
6) A few thousand people in the Fargodome with ample supplies can make a lot of sandbags really quick.
7) God is sovereign.
8) The last two times I've been up to Fargo: Blizzard and -25 degrees, and biggest flood in history. I need a new vacation spot.

For more on the flood, check out Caleb's blog.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So this is depravity

I've been thinking a lot lately about what Satan says in Job 2. We all know the context of the passage: in chapter 1, Satan is allowed to take all of Job's possessions and his children, yet Job's reaction is "'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong." (1:21-22)

This brings us to chapter 2. God points out Job's response to Satan, and Satan responds. "Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face."

This is coming from Satan, so it shouldn't be a surprise, but this has to be one of the most wicked statements in Scripture. I agree that it is better to lose possessions and retain your health, but Job had lost many servants, and all of his children. What a wicked thing to imply, that a man will sacrifice anything for his own life, even the lives of others. Even the lives of his children.

And God help us, it's true. Better him than me. Most of us wouldn't go so far as to say it, but haven't we all felt it? I have. To my shame, I have. Cancer. Better them than me. Loss of job. Better them than me. Embarrassment, pain, brokenness, failure, poverty. Better them than me.

I should clarify. When something bad happens to someone else, we can be thankful for the blessings we have. Going to a funeral should cause you to give thanks for the people you love. Visiting a friend in the hospital should cause you to value your own health.

I'm talking about the voice that says "If it had to be someone, I'm sure glad it wasn't me."

So this is depravity.

It shouldn't surprise us that this is Satan's point of view. Or that it is the inclination of our hearts.

Rom. 11:33 "Oh, the depths of the riches and widsom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!"

Rom. 5:6-8 "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Skin for skin. Christ's perfect, righteous, holy body for our dirty, worthless, undeserving corpses.

Freed from the curse of self-preservation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Today I'm thankful...

For Psalm 34:19.

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all."

Major or minor, internal or external.

a) knows about our afflictions
b) is not surprised by them
c) delivers us from them.

I could say more, but I think the verse speaks for itself.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Yesterday at church, the sermon text was 1 John 1:5-2:2. The pastor focused on 2:1 "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

The pastor made the observation that Christians often fall into two categories regarding their sin: some take their sin far too lightly, not acknowledging God's holiness and abhorrence of all sin. Others are consumed by their sin, racked by guilt, and unable to accept God's forgiveness through Christ.

1 John 2:1 deals with both sets of believers. The God-inspired words given to John in this epistle are "so that you may not sin." When we encounter the truth of God's word, we are given no room to harbor our sin. And when we do sin, "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Christ's death on the cross for our sin removes all doubt whether we can be forgiven.

So how should we treat sin in our lives? We must take the attitude of Paul, who both acknowledged the gravity of his sin, and the surpassing power of Christ to cleanse us from our iniquity:

Romans 7:24-25 "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

That's fair

I wouldn't describe myself as a person who's overly concerned with his appearance. I own four grey Melrose Pyrotechnics shirts, and I'm wearing one right now for at least the third day in a row.

That being said, I secretly harbor my share of vanity. A few weeks ago it manifested itself. I was getting ready for church, and I looked in the mirror and thought "Hm. Not bad. I just got a haircut, trimmed the beard, this is a stylish sweater. I'm pretty easy on the eyes." I was quite satisfied with myself.

I get to church, find Guy, Cassie, and Kyle, and we find our seats. A few minutes in, Guy leans over and whispers "You've got toothpaste on your face."

Thanks Lord. Humility is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It is what it is

I promised pictures, and I'm a man of my word. Except for those times when I'm not.

Picture 1: "Honestly officer, I only had two beers..."

Picture 2: "That's what they all say. Turn around and put your hands on the car. You have the right to remain silent..."

*Editor's note: Mustache has since been removed, and is now wandering around somewhere with my self-respect.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

February is no more, March just came in like a lamb. Time to see how I did and to start anew.

February goals:

1. begin memorizing Ephesians
Haven't started this one yet. I'm having trouble getting up the nerve.

2. stay on track with fighter verses (so far so good)
So far so good. Hopefully as I get more used to this I can start up Ephesians.

3. clean my room (seriously, it's time)
Half done with this, thus half bold. Bought a shelf, had some help rearranging it, got the computer hooked up (but no internet yet, my tech support/landlord/Andy has run into some difficulties.), and now just need to finish organizing everything. Should be done in a few days.

4. look into opening another savings account
Hasn't happened yet. Maybe with my next pay check.

5. position myself to be 100% ready for mustache march
100% success. Pictures to come.

6. blog 10 times (including this one)
Only got to 8, and two were pretty much throw aways. I overreached a bit there.

7. find out whether I have been accepted at Bethlehem (this one won't take work on my part, but nevertheless)
Found out all right. See previous post.

8. finish reading Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn and at least one other book
Read it, loved it, plan to blog about it. Also read several other books. This went well.

9. continue going to Tuesday morning prayer at Bethlehem
This has gone well also. One of the highlights of my week.

So there you have it. 5 1/2 out of 9. Not terrible, but I can do better.

Goals for March:

1. Keep up with fighter verses (I figure if I succeed with this for one more month, I won't have to explicitly make it a goal again, it will have become habitual enough.)

2. Blog 9 times. The month's a few days longer, I have no reason not to hit that mark.

3. Look into the possibilities of joining a summer softball league, ideally with Bethlehem. (It's been a dream of mine for a number of years, and since I'm not at Camp this summer, it feels like the fullness of time.)

4. Look into joining a disc golf club.

5. Open that savings account, dang it.

6. Hang out with Charles and Sarah and the babies.

7. Read at least 5 nonfiction books (I have them picked out, and they aren't that long, so it's doable.)

8. Read at least 5 chapters of Grudem's Systematic Theology, and come up with a plan to read the rest of it.

9. Make a plan to start paying off student loans.

10. Get my sweatpants back. Guy is the biggest dummy I know.

11. Read 3 books for fun from the library. (Yeah, I have a library card. And a mustache, what do you expect?)

I think that's enough. Thanks for indulging me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Dice

I found out yesterday that I didn't get accepted to Bethlehem Seminary.

It's a bummer. I have no idea what my next step will be.

But God is good. He is sovereign. He doesn't make mistakes. He likes me.

So it's hard to be too upset.

Malachi 3:6
"For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed."

In other news, I watched water boil today, so there's no truth to that myth.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

That rule doesn't apply to me

Guy and I fought over who had the right to blog about this event, and I've given him two days.

You snooze you lose.

I usually sit in the balcony on Sundays when I go to Bethlehem. The ledge on the balcony is about waist high and a foot wide, and makes a very tempting place to rest an item. However, the risk of said item falling off the ledge and onto the sanctuary below is quite high. Common sense dictates that you shouldn't put anything there.

Guy, Cassie, Kyle, and I were sitting in the second row of the balcony. When the sermon began (D.A. Carson spoke, and it was really great by the way), the guy sitting in front of us pulled out his pew bible and followed along with the sermon text. He then proceeded to place his bible on the ledge of the balcony. A few seconds later he bumped it. Luckily, it slipped off towards him, landing near his feet. Guy and I both watched it go. It was traumatic.

Lesson learned, right? If I were in his shoes, I would have thought "Sheesh, that was close. Guess I won't be doing that again."

NOPE. Seconds later the bible was right back where it was. Doesn't this guy know that the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword? One false move and it's going to be death by ESV (thanks to Guy for that line) for whomever is beneath us. Most likely an older widow, a real prayer warrior. The blessed sister won't even know what hit her.

I haven't even gotten to the most ironic and exasperating part of this entire affair. In case the aforementioned common sense fails to prevent people from committing involuntary manslaughter or at least gross criminal negligence, there is a small sign every few feet on the ledge that says something to the effect of

Please do not lean over or place items on ledge.

This guy had placed the bible directly on one of those signs. The rest of the service was touch and go for me. Every time he touched the bible or shifted in his seat, the life of the dear old saint (who was probably on oxygen) innocently sitting beneath us flashed before my eyes. I may have blacked out once or twice.

By the Lord's grace, that bible did not fall. The service ended and the guy put the bible away, oblivious to how near he had come to making the worst mistake of his life. Clearly the Lord has more work for the kind gal sitting peacefully beneath him.

I'll keep her in mind next time I'm tempted to break a rule that I'm prideful enough to presume doesn't apply to me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bands that should tour together for obvious reasons

Uncle Kracker and Kid Rock

Sheryl Crow and The Eagles (the Counting Crows could open as well, but that's a little too obvious)

The Beatles and The Scorpions

Vanilla Ice and James Brown

The Killers and The Police

Guns N Roses and U2 (just because Bono's always talking about peace and stuff)

Milli Vanilli and Ashlee Simpson

Prince and BB King

I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface here. I don't know why I'm not a concert promoter.

Any others?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This must be one of the seven habits of highly effective people

I just went through both of my email accounts and cleaned out my inboxes so that there were zero messages in each, for the first time ever.

Yes, I am bored. Why do you ask?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This is why I'm a raging alcoholic

Apparently my tires are magnetic. In the last year or so I have picked up three nails and one screw. Is it just me, or is that a lot? Seems like a lot.

Just as a heads up, if you are going to put a hole in your tire that needs patching, the best place to do it is Upsala. There it only costs $12 to fix. Gotta love Upsala Motors. If not Upsala, do it in Fargo. Only $16 at OK Tire.

But don't go to the Bridgestone in Brooklyn Center. $30. Lame. And they also do a "courtesy check," which is code for "find as many things as we can with this car that may possibly need work, and see if we can get some saps to go for it." They tried me for over $300 worth to replace two tires and a belt, flush the radiator and transmission, and change the oil. Good one.

On the plus side, I sat and watched Jeopardy in the waiting room.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Save the boobs: a word on semantics

I listen to the radio while at work, and several times a day I hear a commercial for a fund raiser for breast cancer. I think it's the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure or something. Same concept as the Rabies fun run on The Office I think.

Commercials as a rule are annoying, and this one is no exception. The commercial is a series of sound bytes from participants about why they are participating, and how the walk makes a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

One quote in particular just gets me. She says something to the effect that by participating in the event, she and others are uniting to "speak out against breast cancer in the most meaningful way possible."

Clearly all cancer sucks. Breast cancer is no exception. I think these fundraisers are fantastic, and the money raised is crucial to further research in fighting the disease. But you don't "speak out" against breast cancer. You speak out against things with a moral compass, namely people.

For example, you speak out against domestic abuse or abortion. These actions are not ok, and the people who commit them are wrong to do so and must be held accountable. Breast cancer doesn't care what you think of it, it's not a person. It's like condemning a tornado or hurricane. I'm surprised politicians don't do it.

Of course this is not an important issue. I assume that the woman who made the comment (more precisely was likely told to make the comment by the people recording her) more likely meant that this event raises awareness or demonstrates intentionality about finding a cure. But when it comes to "speaking out" against breast cancer, you're preaching to the choir.

In my case, approximately ten times per day.

Stupid radio. I need an IPod.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things that make me nervous-part deux


I am surprised that it ever goes well. Only by the grace of God. Just watching the video I linked to made me so stinking nervous.

They are never a good idea.

Monday, February 2, 2009


New Year's Resolutions are difficult to stick with, so I've decided I'm going to try to break this year up into months in an attempt to make it a little more manageable. You, my blogging audience have the opportunity to monitor my progress as the year progresses.

This February, I hope to

1. begin memorizing Ephesians
2. stay on track with fighter verses (so far so good)
3. clean my room (seriously, it's time)
4. look into opening another savings account
5. position myself to be 100% ready for mustache march
6. blog 10 times (including this one)
7. find out whether I have been accepted at Bethlehem (this one won't take work on my part, but nevertheless)
8. finish reading Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn and at least one other book
9. continue going to Tuesday morning prayer at Bethlehem

I've been sitting here for 5 minutes trying to think of a 10th thing, and I have nothing, so 9 it is.

Wish me luck.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Some might say my willingness to eat food that fell on the floor is gross...

...I consider it evidence of my faith in my sister's ability to keep a clean house.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

One more thought on Bishop Robinson

As usual, John Piper is better at verbalizing an issue than I am.

His language is a little stronger than mine, too.

But I don't think it's out of line.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This honestly upsets me

Al Mohler is the president of Southern Seminary. He's one of the most important evangelicals out there, and uncompromisingly biblical. I really recommend his blog.

The other day, he wrote about Bishop Gene Robinson, who has been chosen by Barack Obama to pray at his inauguration. Bishop Robinson is the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, and openly gay. If you've been following the news surrounding the Episcopal Church at all recently, you know that controversy over homosexuality has racked the denomination. Bishop Robinson has been a major factor: "Controversy over his election has led to a schism in his church and a rupture that threatens to unravel the world-wide Anglican Communion."

In reading Mohler's article, I came across a statement regarding Bishop Robinson's plans for his inaugural prayer that stopped me in my tracks. Mohler quotes an article from the New York Times: Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.

Wow. I hope that you see what he is saying there. Mohler reacts well: "Keep in mind that this man is the Bishop of New Hampshire for the Episcopal Church. He is 'horrified' by the character of previous inaugural prayers as 'specifically and aggressively Christian.'"

Matthew 7:21-23: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

2 Timothy 4:3-4
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

Lord, let me be specifically and aggressively Christian.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A few things to work on

I know I'm a few weeks late, but nevertheless, I have some resolutions. I've already been working on some of these, but as everyone knows, it isn't real unless it's on the blogosphere.

Without further ado, in 2009, I would like to (in no particular order)

Regarding Bible study
1. read 1 gospel per month
2. read the rest of the NT twice
3. read Psalms and Proverbs twice
4. read the rest of the OT once
5. memorize all the fighter verses
6. memorize Ephesians (this one will be the toughest)

Everything else
1. begin attending Bethlehem Seminary (this one's in the Lord's hands)
2. speak at Camp (this one's in Pete and the Lord's hands)
3. become a member at Bethlehem
4. join a small group
5. become a youtube sensation (now accepting ideas)
6. clean and organize my room
7. join a church league softball team
8. come to a better understanding of baptism
9. come to a better understanding of the media and how we as Christians should interact with it
10. bake something
11. present the Gospel
12. play more disc golf
13. build something
14. read at least one book that is on my shelf per month
15. explore the possibility of becoming a contestant on Jeopardy!
16. travel somewhere I've never been.

There's more, but that's what comes to mind now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Short posts upset Guy

That's how I know they are worth it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The good news: My expenses are pretty low right now

The bad news: My income is even lower.

I hate trying to find a job.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Highs and lows from a 366 day, 1 second period in my life

Everyone else is doing it, so I will give it a shot.

A few lows of 2008:

I took out more student loans, putting me more in debt
I said goodbye to some dear friends in Fargo
And Kentucky
I ended the year jobless
I still sin...everyday
I'm still not disciplined
I suck at blogging regularly

Many more highs:

I turned 22,
graduated from NDSU,
was accepted at SBTS,
lived in Kentucky for 5 months,
had my best summer personally at Camp,
got a girlfriend,
preached a few times at my church and felt like I improved each time,
read the entire Bible,
started a blog,
was an usher in one of my best friend's wedding,
spent a weekend at both the Hanson and Brandes cabin,
felt called back to MN,
applied for seminary...again,
drove a lot (I love to drive), and
was showered daily with grace.

I'm sure there are a lot of things I'm missing, but that's off the top of my head.

2008 was good. God was good in 2008.

Monday, January 5, 2009

If some is good, more is better

I went to church three times this weekend. Just because I could. I love one of the churches, and I love people at the other two. I've linked all three, and I encourage you to check them out (but I realize that most of you who read this blog are probably familiar with them).

Saturday night I went to Bethlehem Baptist with Laurel. This was the church I love, and it is where I plan on becoming a member.

Sunday morning I went to Discover Church in Champlin. This is Jess and Andy's church, and I had told them I would go see it (and did in fact want to go anyway). It is a church plant and meets in a theater. That was an interesting experience, and I really enjoyed the sense of ownership and fellowship among the members. Setting up and tearing down a church every week takes a lot of commitment, and they did it joyfully. That's pretty sweet.

Sunday night I went to Corner Church in Downtown Minneapolis. This is Scott Woller's church, and he is one of my favorite people. It's a tiny church that meets in a coffee shop, both of which Scott started as part of his vision to reach the people of downtown with the love of Christ. Very cool.

These three churches are so incredibly different. All three have advantages and their own set of problems. I was blessed in attending all three.

May God glorify himself in each of those churches.