Friday, February 26, 2010

Books change lives for the better

Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts put out a study called, “To Read or Not To Read,” which addresses the issue of declining reading in the overall population of the United States, and makes a number of other interesting observations. Poor reading skills tend to equate with lower pay, lack of or poor employment, and fewer chances for advancement. Poor readers generally don’t read as much as good readers. It is a downward cycle for the poor readers. They don’t read well, so they don’t read much, which means they don’t get the practice they need to improve. Poor readers have lower academic success. Generally speaking, prisoners have worse reading skills than the general population. Also poor readers are less likely to be active in civic life, volunteer less, and vote less than better readers. Being a poor reader definitely brings personal and social disadvantages to the individual and to the society as a whole. “Whether or not people read, and indeed how much and how often they read, affects their lives in crucial ways.”

I think this holds true for the Bible. People who read their Bible tend to live happier, more fulfilled lives…and it affects their lives in crucial ways in this world and for eternity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tiger's apology

Tiger Woods broke his public silence regarding his extramarital affairs by saying he was “sorry” for his irresponsible and selfish behavior. He admitted and apologized for disappointing his fans and causing them pain. “I have a lot to atone for,” he said.

This apology was expected and widely called for. Many have been debating whether or not he owed any explanation or apology to fans. ESPN’s syndicated Mike & Mike in the Morning, took a fascinating angle on why the public wanted Tiger to say he was sorry for his personal failings and indiscretions. Their conversation really got me thinking about celebrity failure and our desire for information.

Here is what Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic had to say:
Greenberg: [The American public] now expects that someone in Tiger Woods’ situation has to open up everything in himself and explain it to the satisfaction of every single person in the world. That’s the world we live in now because so many people chose to do that for their own personal gain. … I keep hearing people say that he needs to apologize. What exactly is he apologizing for? If Tiger Woods walked up to you in the street and said, “Hi Fred, I am sorry” what would you expect him to be saying he’s sorry for?
Golic: Do you think people really want an apology or do they want The National Enquirer stuff.

Greenberg: Here’s what they want: They want Tiger to hold up a picture of each individual woman we’ve seen on the covers of the tabloids and explain what really happened with each one.
Golic: Everybody is saying “apology this, apology that” but what they really want is the dirt. … They want to hear him explain his situation. Was everyone happy when the baseball players got up there in press conferences and said they were sorry [for using steroids]? No, they wanted to hear the details. ... If you get up there and say you’re sorry, the general public will be going, “That’s it? An apology? Give me more than that!”
It seems like our culture hungers and feeds on scandal. I wonder why we feel that we need an apology, or “details”. What drives that in us?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Did you hear about the man who got kicked off the plane?

You might have heard about Kevin Smith, the large man who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight?. If you haven’t, you are missing a real life case-study of how communication works in our culture these days.

Kevin Smith is a screenwriter, film producer, and director, famous for movies like: "Clerks," "Dogma," "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." If you have seen any of these movies, you know where his sense of humor lies. Let’s just say it’s not family friendly. He has developed a loyal following and that following has moved to Twitter where he has nearly 1.7 million followers. When you get to numbers like that you can have genuine power and influence. The questions is, "How is it used?"

The short of it is that Kevin Smith is a large man...and due to a flight change from Oakland to Burbank, Smith was told he had to leave a flight because he did not have two seats to sit in since he apparently cannot meet the single seat standard for Southwest. The end result of this lead to Smith getting on Twitter asking his 1.7 followers to blast Southwest Airlines for its actions.

To me, it is just another example of the speed, comprehensiveness, and influence of the communication media today. Is it a stretch to believe that a biblical message can be spread in a lightning quick manner?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


This last Sunday, I had three phone calls from people asking me if I had seen the front page of the local paper, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Since I don't get the paper, I decided to check it out online (On Monday, I had two copies of the paper left on my desk, just in case...).

As I read the article,(

I found it interesting that this was the lead article, on the front page...clearly indicating to me that the issue of faith, particularly relevant faith, is of upmost interest to people in our community (and around the country). The article talks about the aging churches in Sonoma County (again, this is no different than anywhere else in the country)and how today's generation will not repond to the way we have always done church. The article is about one church that was on the brink of closing. It had 78 members and was dying fast, until the pastor changed the way they did church, changed the name, and started focusing on loving people above anything else. This church has grown to 1000 members in seven years.

I invite you to read the article and to share your thoughts on it...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tim Tebow's Super Bowl Ad...What do you think?

Life is a gift

This morning, I was reflecting on the gift of life we have recieved. I think often we take for granted the moments of our lives, or fail to realize that all moments are key momentss: taking your children to school, kissing your wife good bye, eating lunch with a friend, trying to do a decent day's work, hearing the rain hit against the window...all these moments are key moments because they are an opportunity to remember that God is present...leaving you room to recognize him or not recognize him. Life is a gift. See it for the fathomless mystery that it boredom or excitement, in pain or gladness, no matter what life is a gift.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another thought...

A few years ago, Tom Brady, quarterback of three Super Bowl championships, was quoted in a 60 Minutes interview saying, , “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. I think, ‘God, it’s got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.

I anticipate that in a month or two, the Saints will experience this same dissatisfaction. Why? Is it possible we were created for someting more?

Musings on the Super Bowl

Another Super Bowl Sunday is past. I spent it, like every other year, watching the game with my church friends. Here's what I have noticed about the Super is more than a game, it s become an event, a national holiday. An estimated 150 million people watch the game, which is almost half of the 308+ million people that live in the U.S. It is estimated than about 40% of the people who watch the game are not football fans, they just come because of the Fun, Food (2nd largest day of food consumption in the U.S.), and Fellowship. Hmmm...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Questions I recieved via text on 1.30.10

One: Why is the state of the dead so essential?

---Because this is an area that the devil will increasingly use to deceive people and lead them away from God.

Two: Do those who are alive at the second coming need to be sinless before they are changed in the twinkling of an eye?

---No! Romans 3:10, 1 John 1:8

---Only through Jesus death on the cross and his shed blood can we become sinless. In other words, if we accept his sacrifice we are sinless in his eyes.

Three: Were those who were “translated’ sinless beforehand? (Enoch, Moses, etc…)

---Only through Christ blood on the cross. Although, Christ had not died yet, his death covered their sins in advance. If Jesus had sinned and not been able to die for all, they would have had to come back. I bet I know who they were rooting for. =)

Four: Rahab seems to be mentioned in a positive light when she hid the spies. It seems that when she was mentioned in a negative way in scripture passages: Psalm 89:10, 87:4, Isaiah 30:7. Why is this?

---These two Rahab’s are different, not the same. The Rahab in Joshua 2 is rachab (for a woman), and the Rahab in Psalm 87:10 and other places, is spelled rahah.

---rahah, translated Rahab in English, is employed several times in the Old Testament to designate an evil power, as well as a particular country. It is also translated to storm or assault, or to be proud or arrogant.

---rachab, also translated Rahab in English, is the Rahab that helped the spies.