Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

#7 Living Out Luke 6:31

Luke 6:31

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

Many of you probably know this as "The Golden Rule." This summer when I first introduced this verse to the kids, that is exactly what they referred to it as. This little saying has found its way into the schools where the Bible and God are supposedly not allowed. Of course, Scripture is not prohibited from the school system, but many times people become uncomfortable with the idea of Biblical texts being found in a school. Anyways, despite all of that, many teachers still teach their students "The Golden Rule" in hopes that they will take this message to heart and treat others well.

So why is it that so many know this one verse of Scripture and teach others to follow this commandment? At times it could be for selfish reasons; in fact this verse is often misquoted. People want others to treat them right. They do not want to endure the brunt of someone's attacks, and so they quote this verse hoping that that person will change their actions. At other times people use this verse as excuse to hurt someone who has hurt them. They think that if that person treats me badly, then they must want to be treated wrong as well.

But this is not what the verse means or how we should interpret it. This verse does not give us an excuse to hurt others. Instead of looking at someone else's actions, we should look at our own. Instead of treating someone based on their actions, we should treat them based on Jesus' actions. We know how Jesus would act and how He would treat others, so we need to mimic His actions so that we can become more like Him.

This commandment is one that we hear all the time, but as I said, we many times selfishly misinterpret it. Remember that you would not want to be hurt by others; therefore, you should not hurt others. This is such a basic idea, and it seems so easy. But if you think of how you act throughout any given day you might just find that it was one of the hardest commandments to keep in life. So make it a point today to live out "The Golden Rule."


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chase Race #3

I keep waiting for that #24 to find his way to victory lane. All season long, Jeff Gordon has seemed to be off for some reason. He has not had the momentum or the consistency that he has shown in previous years. So as I wait to see if today's race at Kansas could be the one, here are some things about NASCAR that you should know if you have ever said that "NASCAR is not a real sport."

Now do not take this seriously. I am not harping at anyone, because there are other sports that I question why people sit and watch (like baseball). So I understand that NASCAR is just not fun to watch for some people. But consider some of the following:
  • Drivers have to be physically strong. Cars are going around 200mph (sometimes faster), and if the driver is not physically strong, they will not be able to handle the car on the track.
  • Also, the tracks are all different. Tracks range form half a mile in length to over two miles. There are short tracks, speedways, super speedways, and road courses. Drivers have to be mentally prepared as to what track they are racing on to know the grooves, banking, and speeds.
  • The cars are also very demanding. These new cars are a little bigger, and drivers are still trying to figure them out. Crews work on the cars throughout the week, trying to get them to be just right for the race. There are many small adjustments that have to be made that become crucial at race time.
  • Pit strategy also plays a big role in the race. If the pit crew messes up the pit stop or if the wrong adjustment is made, the next set of laps could be detrimental. However, if they make the right adjustment or make a quicker stop than others, they could pass several cars just by taking the pit stop.

NASCAR is a team sport, and it takes drivers and pit crews working together. If they are not in tune with each other, then the victories will not come. Of course, there is sometimes a little bit of luck that plays into the race as well. Wrecks will happen, and sometimes a driver will be caught up in a wreck that they did not start. But all in all, it takes good drivers and good crews to produce race winning and even championship success.

So who knows what will happen today at Kansas. As I sit here typing, Kyle Busch is have his 3rd straight week of mechanical problems. This really hinders his hopes of a championship run. On the flip side, Jimmie Johnson is remaining consistent, keeping his lock on the points lead. But then there are drivers such as Jeff Gordon who needs to produce a consistent run today hoping that others have problems. By doing so, Gordon could find himself right back in the championship hunt. Lots of factors affect the race, and when it comes time to win a championship those factors become drastically more important.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Lifestories from Lifesong

I read this book 2 years ago, and since then Casting Crowns has released yet another CD full of wonderful songs and amazing messages. But this book recounts their first 2 CDs and where those 21 songs came from.
Each chapter is dedicated to one of their songs. In the chapters you will find the background behind the song: where Mark Hall or one of the other writers came up with the idea or what events in life inspired the lyrics. Also, there are e-mails and letters sent in from fans that describe the impacts that these songs have had on ordinary people. Mark Hall then explains the message that he was trying to convey through the song, hoping the reader/listener will see the Biblical point embedded in the song. Finally, there are some questions at the end of each chapter encouraging readers to go deeper into Scripture, applying the lyrics (but more importantly the Scripture) to their everyday life.
Casting Crowns has been known for their powerful lyrics since their first single about 4 or 5 years ago. Their songs seem to touch people in a very special way. They are not cheesy lyrics, but they are powerful and thought provoking. They challenge listeners to think about their life, and lead us to the life God would have us to live. This book is a great supplement for what they have accomplished through their music.
I encourage you to go and check this one out. It is a great walk through some modern music. It can help you think about the practical aspects of your spiritual walk that you may have never considered before. Maybe you are not hearing those crying out for help. Maybe you are the body that is not reaching out to he lost and hurting. Maybe you have found yourself stuck in the middle. Whatever the case may be, Casting Crowns challenges us to change our lives so that others will see Christ in us. We are the body, and we should be reaching out to the lost no matter the cost.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GO Week 2008

Psalm 86:9-10

All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.

GO Week has been going on this week at Union, and we are all getting to know various organizations around the community that we can work in as a ministry to others. There are all kinds of ways to get involved in Jackson. But also, organizations from across the world have made their way to campus this week to show us international opportunities. So there are plenty of ways for us to get involved, and many are sharing those options with us this week.

Another aspect of GO Week are the GO trips. This year Union in sponsoring 17 different trips all across the world. Please pray for the students who will be involved on these trips. I, myself, plan to get involved in one of the trips as well. Many of you know that I participated in GO Paris 2 years ago, and my trip to Providence, Rhode Island was cancelled last year. So I am looking forward to another opportunity to serve God during Spring Break this year. I do not know where I am going yet, and I have not yet narrowed down my selections. But before Fall Break, we will all know what trip we will be going on this school year.

We will be going to places such as Europe (Germany, Romania), Africa (Kenya, N. Africa), Asia (undisclosed locations), Central and South America (Guatemala, Honduras), and the United States (Boston, Providence, Nashville). The list goes on and on. Please pray for every student filling out an application. Pray that we will mark the trips that we feel God leading us toward. And then pray for those in Campus Ministries who will be deciding which trip we will be placed on. Pray that God will be in all of the decisions and that we will all get placed on the right trip.

It will be a busy year, and I expect God to do some great things.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Going Green at Union

So when we came back to campus this semester, we realized that many things have changed. I have already mentioned much of this in previous posts. We have many new buildings and lots of remodeling work done all across our campus. And yes, Union is fully functional again. But we soon found out that it was not just the buildings that have changed around here. The moment we entered the cafeteria (formerly Coburn) we realized more change was beginning.

Our trays that we used to get our food were tied up with a sign talking about our "carbon footprint." It was a little weird, and some of us did not know what to think of it. Our habit was to walk in, go to the buffet section, grab a tray, and then get some food. But instead, we had to go straight to the food bars to get food. At first, this seemed wrong. No longer could we get our main course, a drink, and a salad/dessert all at once. We realized we would have to make 2 trips now. So needless to say, some people were not happy. But then as we sat at our tables, we learned the whole story.

On each table was a sign explaining how much money and energy we are saving by going "trayless." We cut out about 500 gallons of water per student by doing this. Also it cuts down each student's wasted food by 20-30%. That means they can prepare less food and not use as much water, soap, and electricity to wash our trays. We realized that this was actually a very positive step in Union's goal of "Going Green."

About a week later, our napkins changed as well. Each napkin has "This product was made of 100% recycled materials" printed on it. So now we are using recycled napkins, which is another great step. Also, we have a cardboard recycling bin on campus, and paper recycling bins are coming later in the semester.

Now I have always understood the importance of recycling, but I have never jumped on board with the idea and actually participated to a great extent. This semester, all of us are getting a great opportunity to help our environment. After all, we are to be good stewards of all God has given us. He gave humans the order to take care of all that is in the world. It is our responsibility to keep this planet well-managed. And by doing simple tasks such as recycling our goods or reducing water and energy consumption, we can make a huge difference. We are being taught some valuable lessons this semester.

So I encourage you to find those small ways in which you can help our world. I am not trying to give you the typical recycling speech. But I am asking that you consider what you can do. If you are at a school or university, consider the "trayless" idea for the cafeteria. Or if you are at home, find ways to recycle all that trash that you go through on a daily basis. There are lots of ways that we can help this world; find yours, and get involved.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

#6 Acting Right with Proverbs 20:11

Proverbs 20:11

Even a child makes himself known by his actions,
by whether his conduct is pure and upright.

This verse speaks of children, but it is a truth that we can apply to all of our lives. Now this summer, when the kids were learning what this verse meant, I applied it to specific situations that they would understand. So consider some of the examples from childhood.

First we discussed what conduct meant. Well not many of them knew until I told them that they got a conduct grade on their report cards each six weeks. They finally realized what that meant. So I told them that people, especially their teachers, knew how they acted based on their conduct. If they behaved and listened in class, people saw them with good conduct, and if they misbehaved, then teachers were always warned of who the trouble makers were.

Also, we had some discipline problems this summer, mainly with fighting and noise. Also our classroom was right above the preschool department (where people enter the daycare). I told them that those downstairs could hear us when we were loud (whether they are misbehaving or I am yelling trying to get their attention). I told them that the parents that came in would view them as bad misbehaving children just by hearing them act up. But if they heard low voices from upstairs they would think that the kids were behaving well and having fun.

In both instances, the children were judged based on the way that they acted. And we are judged on the same basis. When we are out in public, people are watching. Think of people that you may have judged. You base your judgements on the way that they have acted. You determine whether they are a "good" person or not. So just like we sometimes judge others, they do the same to us.

Now as Christians, we should be displaying good conduct at all times. People are watching, and many times they are waiting for us to mess up. So no matter where you are, work, school, out in public, make sure that you are acting according to God's Word. Do not let your witness suffer because you choose to disobey God's commands. It is easy to ruin and lose a reputation. It is much harder to gain respect back.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


So taking a break from Dekker, here is Monster by Frank Peretti. If I remember correctly, this is the newest novel by Peretti, but it is 2-3 years old now. I read this when it first came out, and I have to be honest... I do not remember a lot of the plot off the top of my head.

From what I do remember, this was a fairly good book. And I do remember liking it. But it was not one of those novels that just blew me away and had me wondering and guessing constantly out of suspense. Now this book is about some people who get lost in the woods and are attacked by this "monster." And the point of the books is trying to track this mysterious being down. But that is a complicated process.

Although, this is not one of my all time favorite books, I did like one aspect Peretti and the publishers threw into it. After each chapter there is a map of the forest that the characters are searching through. Now I enjoy creating my own scene in my mind when I am reading, but I found it hard to picture this forest and remember where all the main plot events occurred. So the maps that were provided helped me keep in mind where each "clue" was found and other important information. It kept things in perspective for me. That is pretty much the highlight of the book.

Now do not get me wrong, I think this is a great book, but there is a lot of guessing. You will constantly be trying to figure out what is going on. But I do not see this as a "good" thing. I think that a lot of the guessing is out of confusion and not suspense. So if you like good mysterious novels, you may really enjoy this book. And if you are a fan of Peretti, I feel that you would enjoy this book as well. It all comes down to what your tastes are, and of course mine are probably different than yours. So this is not necessarily a negative review. I would probably give it 3 out of 5 stars.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thank You for 100 Posts

Well this is technically post 101. But the previous 100 posts were only possible because of my readers. Thanks to all of you who have read this blog and/or commented on some of the posts. Knowing that I have readers out there has kept me posting.

About 5 months ago I started this blog so that close friends and family could keep up with what was going on in my life. Now, people that I have never met are commenting on some of the posts. Thanks to you as well!

I said that the main reason for developing this blog was because I forget to e-mail people, which is still true. But also, it was a great way to keep you updated with what was going on here at Union. Now 5 months later, our rebuilding process is nearing completion. But that does not mean that the blog will end. Over the past 5 months, I have added new sections to the blog such as Biblical Reflections, Sports, Music, Videos, and much more. Plus, I have tried to stay on top of posting book reviews frequently, which was another of my main reasons for developing this blog. Now there are plenty of avenues from which I can write.

So I will continue to post just like always. There will be another book review coming in the near future, along with part 6 of the series that I have been working on that looks back at the verses I learned at Christian Wee Learn this summer. So there is still much to come. Thanks again for reading this blog. Have a great day!


33 Miles - One Life to Love

33 Miles is not a band that I have heard much from, but what I have heard has been great! This, their 2nd CD, came out Tuesday, and the title song is amazing! I have not yet purchased the CD, but "One Life to Love" has been on the radio for several weeks now. It is a great reminder of how we only have one life here on this earth, and we must make sure that we are living life to its fullest. Sometimes, the decisions we make can never be reversed, and we are stuck with the consequences. We must remember that we sometimes only get once chance. So before I go much further, take a look at these lyrics:
One Life to Love:
He never thought he cared so much about the minute hand
Until he started praying for a second chance
If he could only do it all again
And trade the long nights that he spent behind his desk
For all he missed
He tells his wife I wish that this moment in this room
Was not me dying but just spending a little time with you
Chorus: You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don’t wanna miss
One day when it’s all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love
She never thought she cared so much about those little hands
That held on tight the day she left till she was scared to death
Sitting all alone on a hotel bed, the end of the road
The sun has set on her big plans to feel young again
She picks up the phone, dials a number, hears that little voice
That’s haunted every single mile since she made that choice
You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don’t wanna miss
One day when it’s all said and done I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love
In both situations, these fictional characters made decisions that could not be reversed. For the man, he had spent so much time at work that he neglected his family duties. He missed out on the nights that he could have spent with his wife and kids. So there on his deathbed, instead of just staying up talking with his wife, he found himself only wishing that he could. The woman in the second verse has walked out on her own children. She had her "own plans," and it seems as if that did not include a family or children. So she left and went on her own way. But something kept her wondering if what she did was right. She was "haunted every single mile," and she realized that by talking to that "little voice" one night.
Both people came to the realization that they had messed up, but by the time this came to their mind, it was too late. there was not much they could do to mend the relationships or fix things. Time moves on, and we cannot go back and change our lives. We must remember that those decisions we have made in the past cannot be changed either. We have to move on. But that does not mean that all is lost. Until we find ourselves facing death, we still have time to get our life turned around. We do not have to be like the man on his deathbed regretting his life. If there is something that you wish you had not of done, you can change right now. God is waiting, and He wants you to come to Him, giving your life to Him. Remember, you only get 1 life. We only have 1 chance to make the most of this life. Do not waste it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Greek - Ελληνις

So I have begun a whole new adventure this semester. I am starting a journey in the Greek language, and I have already encountered the first problem. I have been in Greek class for about a week now, and at first things went well. But now that we are starting the translating, it is beginning to get a little harder. So why am I telling you this?

I have come to realize that translating the Bible was no easy task. I think a lot of times we have some misconceptions that some men sat down and translated each word, and that it all fell into place easily for them. Well, I will just tell you that that is far from the truth! All I have learned are a few vocab words and how to translate and identify different types of nouns. But that is complicating enough. When you look at a Greek sentence, the words are just there. There is no certain order that any of the words go in. You have to figure out which one is the subject, verb, and direct object based on the spelling. For example, subjects and direct objects end with different letters, and that clues you in on the word's function.

I do not want to get too technical with you, but I am trying to say that it really is a lot more complicated than I expected. I took French, and that language has a word order to its sentences much like English. But Greek is a lot different. So my point is that it was a lot of work for these men to sit down and translate the Bible for us. They had to really concentrate and piece each word together to make the language make sense. They did not just read each word in order and put an English parallel beside it. They had to manipulate the words, unscramble the sentence, and try to figure out the meaning as a whole.

I thank God for giving us men to be dedicated enough to work hard at this task so that we can have an English translation of the Bible (a lot more so now than i did a few weeks ago). But one more thing, this is also why there are so many different translations. Dr. Van Neste said that each word in Greek, when translated, produces an idea, not necessarily a word. For instance the Greek word for angel can also mean messenger. So sometimes there are debates over what the author meant with their word choice. And this produces different English translations of the same text.

Now you are probably lost in this blog post, and you may not even care. But I am just saying that God is amazing that he would give the gift of translation to men so that people of every language could read His Word. Thank God for the men who translated the Hebrew and Greek texts into English!

By the way, that Greek word in the title means Greek or the Greek language. I just thought I would throw that out there.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The Skin of this World

I am on a Ted Dekker kick right now, and since my last 3 reviews were about this huge series that Dekker has written, I thought I would continue it once more with another one of those books. Skin is an exciting, stand alone that does not make a lot of since until the end. And when you read the last page, you will still probably say "What?"

Now you are thinking, "Why would I want to read a book that I would never understand?" Well here is why. First off, this book can be read alone. You do not have to read the Circle Trilogy or the Paradise Novels to understand what is going on in this book. You can crack open the first page and enjoy a good read. Now there are many connections that are more fleshed out in some of his other works, but again, you do not have to know that stuff to enjoy this book.

It starts off with a typical Ted Dekker scene of some random killer on the loose. Eventually several of the characters begin to cross paths, and they find themselves in the middle of this killer's game. He offers them several "tasks" or "challenges," and if they fail, he will go on another killing rampage. So they begin trying to figure out how they can prevent him from causing more mayhem and chaos, but every time they start interfering, the world begins changing before their very eyes. They are literally lost and confused until they make their way back to the building the killer had them all in. Now I am sure that all sounds weird to you, and you may not know what to think of it. But that is the best summary I can come up with without giving much of the plot away.

Dekker puts in his typical twist at the end of the book. And he does resolve much of the confusion and questions that arise throughout the novel. But in typical Dekker fashion, he blows you away with the last few pages. And I am serious when I say that you will be wanting more by the end of this book. This book is set up for what could be a sequel, although he has never hinted at such an attempt. And I do not know if there would be enough story to do another novel. But just trust me on this, you will not know what to do with the ending of this one.

I encourage you to read this as part of the larger series because there is so much more in Skin if you do. But at the same time, many people do not want to commit to reading several books. So if you are looking for a good stand alone novel from Ted Dekker, this one would probably please you. Either way, try out Skin.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

#5 Learning from Proverbs 8:33

Proverbs 8:33

Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.

How often do you find yourself refusing to listen to someone's instructions? That is probably a daily occurrence for most of us. We hear people give us specific instructions on a daily basis, but we seem to ignore them or pass it off immediately. Whether it is parents, teachers, or friends, we tell them we will get to it later, but somehow we always forget to do it. Instead of acting immediately, we put it off, procrastinate, and find ourselves ignoring the instructions of a close friend or family member.

This verse tell us not to neglect the instructions when we hear them. And if you think about it, this is a very helpful statement. If we would just do what we are told right away, then we would never have to worry about forgetting to do it later. The job would get done, and no one would be upset. But sadly, that is not the case for most of us. So look at that little word "wise." The verse tells us to "be wise."
  • Being wise is saying "sure I will get that done right away" instead of telling someone that you will do it later.
  • Being wise is listening to the counsel of an elder and learning from their instructions.
  • Being wise is changing your lifestyle to reflect the instructions that you have received from others.

There is a lot packed into this tiny verse. And this verse can apply to a variety of situations. But basically, when you hear the instruction from another person, act upon it. That means if they are giving you advice in life, listen well and take their word. If they are asking for help or for you to complete a certain task, get busy and work hard. "Do not neglect" the instructions that come from others. Most of the time, they are only trying to help you in life.

Now I say all of this and you are probably wondering about those who lead people down the wrong path. Well, you have to use your wisdom in those situations. You have to determine whether that is a person that you should be going to for counsel in the first place. Go to God and let Him give you direction in life. By doing so, He will place the right people in your path as you travel through life.


Friday, September 12, 2008

A New Day at Union

Today we had Fall Convocation and Dorm Dedication here at Union. We began in the chapel with our normal ceremonies of honoring those who have helped in the past and welcoming in new faculty and students. Instead of an address from our president Dr. David S. Dockery, he retold the story of the last 7 months that we all know so well. From the chapel, we moved to the dorms and had a Dorm Dedication Ceremony, dedicating the 15 new dorms to God. Afterwards, we were given the opportunity to see the newest addition to campus, the February 5th tornado memorial. Here are pictures of that below:

(Above) The centerpiece of the memorial.

(Above) The first of the 4 inscriptions surrounding our school crest.

(Above) Inscription 2

(Above) Inscription 3

(Above) Inscription 4

(Above) Desuner Hall is where I began my college career here at Union. I lived in that building for 3 semesters.

(Above) I lived in this building for a whole 7 days! This is the building I was in the night of tornado.

This memorial is surrounded by these squares. 2 sides consist of the names of all 14 dorms that were destroyed in the tornado. The other 2 sides list around 200 donors who gave significant amounts of money for our rebuilding process. Thanks to all the donors who helped us out in this time of need so that we could have dorms back on campus as we began the Fall Semester. This memorial will forever show what used to be Union. But as Dr. Dockery said this morning, this is a "New Day" for Union University.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Well one consistent thing about life is that there is always hardship and tribulation. Someone is always going through a rough time. You may not have anything burdensome upon you right now, but there are many who do. So let's continue to remember those who are hurting around us and bring those requests to the Lord.

If you have been watching the news, you may have noticed that Hurricane Ike is set to make landfall sometime this weekend on the coast of Texas. Like the hurricanes that have come before it, remember those who will be displaced by this storm. Many are being evacuated even now, leaving their homes and businesses behind hoping to return there soon. But for many, they may never see those buildings again, and believe me that is hard to deal with. When what you know is wiped out before you, it can be hard to get through. So remember those people as they prepare for this natural disaster. And pray that God weakens the storm prior to its landfall. Gustav weakened greatly a few weeks ago and did not cause near as much damage as was expected. Pray that God can do the same with Ike.

Also, remember those tomorrow who will be dealing with anniversary of September 11th. It has almost been 7 years since that horrible day, and I am sure that it brings back those same emotions to the family members who lost loved ones. Pray for them and ask the Lord to remind them that He is always with them through the good days and the bad. Pray that tomorrow will be a day of remembrance for their family members and not a day of mourning.

I found out tonight that a friend here at Union lost her brother 2 weeks ago in a car accident. We were at church tonight, and she was crying at the end of the service. When I asked her what was wrong, she filled me in on what happened 2 weeks ago. Please pray that God will comfort her in this difficult time. I do not know what she is going through personally, but I can only imagine. I have lost grandparents and remember how hard that was. This is probably worse being a sibling. Pray that she will continue to depend on God for her strength through the coming days.

Finally, praise God that our semester has gotten off to a great start! Campus is still under the rebuilding phase, but we are moving along quickly. Construction continues on our 15th dorm, and the sod is beginning to take root and turn green. They have almost finished laying the sod, and we also have a monument going up for the old dorms. Campus looks great, but continue to pray for the construction process. Both the last dorm and the commons building are set to be up and ready by the beginning of next Fall. Pray that construction moves along quickly as it has for the past 7 months.

God is mighty and powerful. He can do all things. Go to Him with your requests, and always depend on His strength in your life.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Packers 1-0

What a great start to the NFL season! The Packers played the Vikings last night and won 24-19. Aaron Rodgers made his NFL debut as the Packers starting quarterback. In his first full game, Rodgers showed out as a new star for the Packers. He was dead on with many of his passes, and he made several great runs throughout the game. He had one pass touchdown and he even rushed one into the end zone on his own. He had the opportunity to make his own Lambeau Leap. All in all, it was a great start for the young quarterback stepping out from behind the great Brett Favre.

Last night showed the NFL that Rodgers was ready to be a starting quarterback. The Packers made the right decision in giving him a shot at the starting position and not bringing Favre back. This decision has been in question for months now, but last night sealed the deal. Now, the Packers have a new quarterback, a new era, and 1 more win! No one knew how Rodgers would perform in his first game, but Rodgers answered those questions quickly. And now they are questioning whether last night was just a "good" game by a "good" quarterback or if he really is the real deal. So once again, no one knows how he will perform in the weeks to come, but my opinion is that the Packers have found their quarterback, and Rodgers will lead us on to victory after victory.

Now turning aside from football, NASCAR is entering the championship races. The Chase is on, and in 10 races a new champion will be crowned. Sunday, drivers continued to seal their places in the Chase, and now the field is set for the 12 drivers who will make a run for the championship. Kyle Busch leads the way with Carl Edwards right behind. But none of the 12 drivers should be counted out as the season continues Sunday in New Hampshire. 1 mistake can ruin a drivers hopes at winning the championship. In years past, all Chase contenders have had that 1 drastic mistake, once again leveling the playing field. So it is safe to say that every driver will be given 1 "bad" race. And more than likely they still have a shot at recovering from it. But they cannot bet on that, because if there is a driver who can remain consistent throughout the next 10 races with no mistakes, they will be the new champion.

Race 1 at New Hampshire will begin Sunday afternoon, and the first test for the best in NASCAR will begin once again. Tune in and see who will win Sunday and who will already find themselves out of contention. And do not forget Week 2 of the NFL. The NFL has a new look this season with the Colts' loss and Tom Brady's absence. The excitement will only build as the season progresses.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where Am I?

I am back at Union University, and it looks completely different! We have not been able to be on this side of campus for over 7 months, but now everything is rebuilt and a new semester has begun. We moved in yesterday, and I am still trying to find a place for everything in my room. That is partly because our rooms are slightly bigger with the new dorms. With movable furniture, each bedroom can be personalized, and that has allowed me to change mine up a bit. For instance, the chest comes in 2 pieces, which can fit under the bed. This allowed me to have room for a bookcase of my own in my room. Also, our main room is huge! It is bigger than I had expected. Also, we now have 2 bathrooms as opposed to 1. And the kitchen includes a microwave and washer/dryer unit, both of which we did not have in the old dorms.

I took the picture above by standing just outside my room. That is the view I have when I leave my room each day. This is the Watters Quad. I currently live in Watters 3, and we still do not know what the building names will be yet. But the view that we have now is amazing. In both Deusner and Adams all I saw was the next building just a few feet away. Now we have a quad, and it is great!

Last night we had our season opener in soccer as well. We played Rust College (I have no idea who they are), and we won 17-0. Remember, this is soccer! Our soccer guys dominated last night, and it was a great game.

Tonight is the Howdy Party, welcoming all students back for the Fall '08 semester. Classes start tomorrow morning. It is an exciting semester already, but I cannot help and ask, where am I? This is not the Union that we all knew. But despite all the changes (and name changes to some of our buildings), it is still Union, and I am glad to be back. We are all starting fresh in a new place, and I cannot wait to see what God is going to do at Union this semester!

So here are a few pictures of campus:

(Above) My bedroom, well part of it.

(Below) Our main room with a lot of furniture.

(Below) The SUB with new carpet and newly painted walls.

So Union is different in many ways. But a new semester is now upon us, and many of our traditional activities will go on as always. As I said, the Howdy Party is tonight, and soccer has now started. I will keep you updated.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jesus Messiah

I don't know if you have heard the new CD by Chris Tomlin yet or not. I bought just a few days ago, and have listened through it many times now. There are many good songs, and they have a powerful message throughout. There is one song in particular that you might recognize. That is "Jesus Messiah," and it has been on Christian radio for the past couple of months. It is a typical Tomlin song with a powerful message.
Here are the lyrics:
He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing Love so amazing
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all
His body the bread
His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn
Love so amazing Love so amazing, yeah
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all
All our hope is in You
All our hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world
Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

Just by reading the lyrics, the song comes across as a basic message. And really that is all this song is. It talks about Jesus and what He has done for us. It shows how the Gospel really is that simple. Many times we make Christianity more complicated than it ought to be. And that leads others to thinking that there is more to do than just accept Jesus into their life. They expect some manual labor or chores in order to get to Heaven. But we know, as Christians, that the Gospel really is that simple. There is not a lot I can even say about this song because it so self-explanatory. Read and think about the lyrics, and do not make the Gospel more complicated than it should be.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sinner - The Final Showdown

What an amazing end to this part of the series! Let me recap what this series consists of first, then I will get into the review for this book. This whole storyline began with Black, Red, and, White. This was known as the Circle Trilogy. From there Dekker surprised his readers with some amazing connections to a new novel that came to be known as Showdown. This is where we first met the man known as Black in the small town of Paradise. House stood alone, but introduced a new villain, White. After that, we were taken back to Paradise in Saint, and another "showdown" commenced. Next was Skin, another standalone that introduced Red. But that just skimmed the surface as we looked at the "skin" of this world. Dekker then took a new avenue, going back to the world of the Circle Trilogy. Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, and Chaos took us from the world of Thomas of Hunter to the world of Johnny Drake. Many questions were answered, and a new showdown was on the rise. All that brings us to Sinner, where the final showdown took place. Now there are still 3 novels to go before the explosive end and beginning arrives for this series. Lunatic and Elyon will finish out The Lost Books Series. These six books spell out C.I.R.C.L.E. Then, next September, Dekker will finish it off with Green. Dekker says that it will end the story and take us back to the beginning. I cannot wait to see what else Dekker brings to this circular story.
But this post is about Sinner. So what happened? Well just as Saint was about one of the recurring characters of Showdown, Sinner looks at two more. Billy and Darcy make a stunning reappearance 13 years after the failed "Project Showdown" came to an end. They have their own lives that they tend to, but that is all about to change. They realize they have some amazing powers, powers they had given to themselves 13 years earlier in the basement of that old monastery in Paradise, Colorado. Johnny had already discovered his, and now it was time for Billy and Darcy to find theirs. From there the story continued like it always had. It seemed as if Billy and Darcy were "good," but just like always they used their powers for evil. In the end, it became Johnny vs. Billy and Darcy. The showdown was back, and the sides had not changed. Who would win? And what tricks did they have for each other? Well I have only one word. Black. Black came back for a stunning and explosive final Showdown. But there is so much more to the plot of this story. I do not want to go into it because I could give so much away. But I do encourage you to go out and pick this book up. Read all of these novels, and you will be addicted just like I am.
Now there is one more element to this story that I want to tell you about. The novel deals with America's dreadful future. A future where Christianity will be outlawed. Christians will probably be shunned one day, more so than they are now. It could become illegal to practice Christianity, just like it was for the early church. And Dekker takes us to a world where that fear is a reality. The Constitution is changed, and Christians have a choice to make. They can either become "tolerant" and go along with the government or they stand as the true light and shine out to the world. Johnny Drake leads a group of 3000 people in the small town of Paradise, Colorado, to do that very thing. That is what sparks the final showdown.
This is not your typical end times novel. Dekker has never crossed into this genre of literature. This is not a Left Behind book or a Joel Rosenberg political thriller. This is a typical Dekker novel, equipped with all the good plot twists. He keeps you guessing til the very end. He does bring in the prospect of an extremely tolerant America to the storyline, but he does it very well. That future is a real possibility. Listen to the message of this novel. We are the light, and we are the ones that can stand against the "Blacks" of this world. We are God's light that shines out into the darkness!
This is an exciting novel, pick it up and enjoy! If you have any questions about what order to read the books in, let me know. There are several possibilities. I have one way that I would read them, but there are many ways.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

#4 Praying Psalm 19:14

Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

I probably know this verse better than any of the others that we discussed this summer. That is mainly because this is the 1 verse I heard over and over again. But now that I have come to our 4th verse of the summer, I began looking at the rest of the psalm. And there is more to this psalm than verse 14.

It starts off by declaring God's glory. Everything in creation declares His glory. He is the Creator of all things, and one can see His beauty just by looking at creation. Many times people ask how we know that God is real. A simple answer to that question is creation. It is so perfect, and everything works together just like clock work. God planned it out perfectly, and just as we are dependent on the environment, the earth is dependent on the solar system. And that is placed in our galaxy, which is one of millions or billions. Creation is so big, but despite its size, everything works together in an orderly manner. Only God is strong enough and big enough to create and control His vast creation. Furthermore, if we fail to praise Him and give Him the glory that He deserves, even the rocks will cry out.

The psalm then moves to God's Law. In verses 7-9 there are 6 different terms describing God's Word: law, testimony, precepts, commandments, fear, and rules. His Word lives forever, guides people in life, encourages us in life, and sends down the correct path of obedience to Him.

God's Word is a lamp for our lives. It shows us where we need to go and what we need to do. Now we all know that God does not just spell out our future in Scripture. People are always searching for "God's Will." But it is a good instruction booklet that can lead us in the right direction. We must stay close to Him and remain in His Word. If we do that, we will discover His will and plans for our life. But obedience also keeps away from consequences. Sin is the biggest problem that will creep up into our life. And sin is simply disobedience to God's laws and commands. By using His Word to guide us in life, we can refrain from sin and live holy before Him.

All of this leads us to verse 14. And this verse sums it all up. "May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart." All that we do in life should "be acceptable in" His "sight." Meaning we should always follow His commands so that He will be pleased. And we can do all of this by depending on Him. He is our rock, the one who our life is founded on. He is also the one who redeemed us of our sins. Therefore we should be willing to live for Him daily, giving Him our lives. It is the least we can do for Him since He gave His life for us.

There is a lot to this psalm, and this post may seem scattered. But verse 14 really sums it all up. So what do I want you to get from all of this? Our life is founded on Christ, our Rock who redeemed us from all of our sins. Therefore, we should live for Him daily, following His commands. If we do not give glory to Him through our lives, then His creation will. We are His created beings created to bring Him glory. We must learn to do that through our life.