Wednesday, November 26, 2008

24: Redemption

So, I thought I would blog briefly on 24: Redemption, which aired this past Sunday night. I enjoyed watching it at the Musical Staffords on Monday afternoon (we have Growth Group on Sunday night). The Musical Staffords have a 50-inch HD Plasma, so it was an enjoyable viewing experience.
Not surprisingly, I really liked the 2-hour special. I thought it was a good story, and it was certainly a great bridge to set up Day 7. I was actually surprised that it took place in real time. That may sound funny, but I thought it would take place over a 24-hour period, instead of in 2 hours of real time. I thought it worked, though. Racing against the clock to get those kids safely to the embassy. I saw it coming a mile away (as most probably did) that Jack would need to give himself up in order to get the kids through. Good stuff, though.
I loved Carl, Jack's friend. He was a great character. I was bummed that he died, but it was certainly a great and sacrificial death. Jack, however, lives another day to continue his sacrificial life.

Theology of 24
So, just a thought on lessons that come out of 24. It is interesting that, in seasons past, Jack was part of the system (working for CTU or DOD). He worked within the system, and he struggled with being limited by the system as he tried to help people.
Jack is now out of the system. He is working for himself. But what does he do? He sheds all the worst of the system, in that he shed everything that would limit him from helping and saving others. So, instead of shedding the limitations of the system in order to serve and help himself, he sheds the system so that he can be more free to help and serve others.
The story that comes to my mind is when Jesus was healing on the Sabbath. "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath? To save a life?" Jesus' point was that the Law was never meant to limit people from doing good. Freedom from the Law, which was brought about by Jesus, is for the purpose of allowing us to be more free to love one another.
How are we working within the system? Do we want to shed rules and limitations because they bug us? Or do we want to shed rules and social norms so that we can more fully pour ourselves out in behalf of others?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Theology of a 4 Year-Old

So, last night and this morning I had some interesting conversations with Matthew, our four year-old. Last night for his bedtime story, I read to him about Jesus walking on the water. At the end of the story, the disciples worshiped Him, saying, "Surely You are the Son of God."

This led into Matt asking who God was if Jesus was His Son.
Ever try to explain the Trinity to a 4-year old? Let me just say that my explanation began with, "Well, Matt, this will be confusing."
This morning I was reading to Matt about the creation of the world. Let me relay how the conversation went:

"Do you know what God created after the animals?"


"God created man in His image."

"But didn't He first create some cages?"

"Cages? Why?"

"For the animals. Like in a zoo."

"Well, Matt. This was before Adam and Eve sinned, so the animals weren't scary at all. They could go up and pet the lions."

"Wow!" (he really liked that)

"But after Adam and Eve sinned, the whole world went wrong. And now some of the animals are scary and we have to be careful."

"But one day God is going to make a new earth and we can pet the lions again." (I am serious; he said that!)

"That's right, Matt. And when God does that, no one will get hurt, or sick, or sad."


"And do you know the best part of the new earth?"


"God is going to come and live on it with us."

"Ahhhh!!!" (this was not an expression of fear, but of great wonder and excitement).

Karina and I have prayed a lot that God will draw the hearts of Matt and Jack toward Him. We continue to pray, but it was so exciting to see God drawing Matt in the last couple of days.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You Know You Are a 24 Fan if. . .

10. You only check your PDA in the bathroom.

9. You root for George Mason in the NCAA tournament becuase he once saved L.A.

8. You remember who people like Kyle Singer, Jamie Farrell, and Paul Raines are. Anyone?

7. You tear up when you hear the name Edgar.

6. You find yourself dissatisfied with any show that lingers on instead of wrapping up loose ends.

5. You introduce your home videos by saying, "The following took place between. . ."

4. You tell your secretary to "patch" people through when they call.

3. You think it is okay for the government to torture prisoners and to tap our phones, as long as Jack Bauer personally oversees the operation.

2. You stand and salute every time an All State commercial comes on.

And, finally, you know you are a 24 fan if. . .

1. You name your son after Jack Bauer.

Looking forward to November 23rd.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday to Matthew James

So, today is my son Matthew's fourth birthday. Four years ago, Karina and I nervously and excitedly drove to the hospital to await the birth of our firstborn. Later that day we broke into tears when we saw a little baby boy enter into the world.
As all of you who are parents know, our lives have never been the same. Whether it was late night feedings (I'll give Karina most of the credit on that), potty training (some of you remember that adventure), or watching Matt learn to walk, talk, and read, our lives have been now oriented toward caring for this gift of God. Now Matt is a big brother, and seems to be loving the role.
Here are some notes about Matt's early life:
When he was a baby, he loved looking out the window to the "outside world." His eyes would get big and he would be captivated.
He learned how to give high fives and fist-bumps at an early age. That was fun.
He absolutely hated baths. Actually, it was not so much the baths that he hates. It was getting out. He would let loose with screams when we would take him out of the tub. That was not the most fun we ever had.
He made memorable faces, including Whistler and Robo-Chomps.

On Monday we had Matt's birthday party with a few of his friends. It was nice to see Matt enjoy a birthday party. All I remember about his first birthday was that he was tired and needed a nap, and yet we all kept him up so that we could watch him try to open presents that he didn't care about. This time he got to play with friends whose names he actually knows, and open presents that he actually understands. If you know Matt, you know tht he is stoked about his art supplies and games. He is already hard at work using them up.
We are so thankful to be Matt's parents. I know that all kids are special, but Matt has such a deep place in our hearts. It is amazing to see him growing in a genuine consideration for others. It is great also to see his love for learning and his desire to be with people. Most of all, I think it is a privilege to see how he views life. Explaining the truths of the gospel to a child is wonderful, and hearing his sincere questions is stretching. It is powerful to watch him as he learns about forgiveness, love, and eternity. The other day he was talking about how we get sick because we sinned, but that one day God will make a new earth.
What an amazing gift to be such a big part of the life of another being who is created in God's image. Happy Birthday, Matt. I love being your dad.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Advent Conspiracy

So, I still think that the most important thing for me to blog about right now is Advent Conspiracy. We announced it at church this weekend, and it was exciting to see how many people came to the table in the foyer to get information. It was also fun to get to talk to people and to hear their desire to make Christmas more meaningful and more Christ-centered.
On top of this, I absolutely loved our time with our Growth Group Sunday night. I sure hope that the members of our Growth Group enjoy our time half as much as I do. We talked about the true Christmas story and came up with ideas about how we can partake in it as individuals, families, and as a group. I am excited to see where it goes.
If you are looking for a resource on how to enter into the story in a greater way, check out this site: It has ideas for meaningful gifts, for giving, and for traditions. Really worthwhile.

That's all I got for you. Maybe later I will blog about the Lakers or Eli Stone or the fact that we have a new President elect.
Maybe, but no promises (I know you are all holding your breath).

Monday, November 03, 2008

After Much Consideration, I am Pushing All My Support toward. . .Advent Conspiracy

So, I know that many of you have heard of Advent Conspiracy, but I would guess that some of you have not. Advent Conspiracy is a movement amongst churches in the U.S. to enter into the true Christmas story instead of getting caught in the consumerism and commercialism that dominates Christmas in our culture. The concept is simple:
1. Worship Fully. Put the focus on Jesus, instead of on presents, decorations, and the normal Christmas stress.
2. Spend Less. Reject the consumerism. When it comes down to it, most presents that we give to one another do not have lasting impact on God's kingdom. So, don't get caught in it.
3. Give More. Give relationally instead of simply financially. Find creative (and inexpensive) ways to give of yourself, just as Jesus did.
4. Love All. Give what would have been spent on gifts to those who are most needy and marginalized. This could include both people overseas and people in the local community.
2 Corinthians 8:9 says this:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He came poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

This is the Christmas story. Christ was rich, but He became poor for our sakes. We are invited to enter into this story.
Karina and I are excited to more intentionally enter into this story this year with our family and our church. We are excited to be stretched and challenged. We are excited about being more purposeful in doing Christmas in such a way that it reflects the true Christmas story to Matt and Jack. And we are excited to spend less so that we can give to those who are truly in need. So that we can follow Christ so that we could become poor, so that others through our poverty might become rich.

Check out if you are interested in info on Advent Conspiracy. There are great videos and resources there.