Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cool RJD2 video

Thanks to Relevant Magazine for making me aware of this video. I'm not sure I dig the music that much, but the video is pretty cool!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bailey has a blog

Just an FYI, Stephen Bailey now has a blog. Make sure and check it out a lot, so he will post more often. He's got some good thoughts, but as you'll be able to tell from his first post, he might need a little encouragement to write more.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

20 years later...

I went to Louisiana this past weekend, for the purpose of seeing a good friend get married. I stayed both nights in the town I grew up in, West Monroe. This friend, Adam, and I met 20 years ago, when were 5. We went on to become best friends throughout elementary school. When we were both in 5th grade, our parents' jobs took us away from WM, but we managed to stay in touch a good bit, though we were 500 miles from each other.

I guess I'm writing this because I'm thankful. I'm thankful for friendships such as these that are rooted so deep that distance doesn't really matter in the long run. It's an encouraging reminder, because within the last year, good friends have moved to San Diego, Puerto Rico, China, and Los Angeles. I hope that these thoughts move you to be thankful for your deeper friendships as well.

Here are some of the pictures throughout the years. (Notice I'm always on the left for some reason)
13 years ago
6 years ago
A year and a half ago in Colorado
At the wedding

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I am addicted to comfort.

I just got back from church. I heard my pastor speak on belief vs. conviction using Stephen out of Acts. He talked about how, as he meets with people, most will say they believe in Jesus. But he asks the question, "Is that belief a conviction?" Most will then mutter different excuses, but will ultimately land on that it is not a conviction.

A conviction is something that takes over one's life. It takes over the soul and allows nothing else to stand in its way. I was wresting in my own heart this morning, wondering if my belief in Christ stops there, or is it a conviction? As I'm thinking through it, it gets harder because my pastor moves to the idea of martyrdom. It was obvious in Stephen's life that Jesus Christ was no mere belief, someone he tucked away when He wasn't convenient. He was utterly convinced that He was (and is) Lord and that He satisfies the deepest longings of the soul. He was not going to stop heralding this Truth for mere physical persecution.

So what does this have to do with comfort? Well, I live a life free from much discomfort, much less physical persecution because of my faith. I buckle under the pressure of an awkward conversation, of someone giving me a weird look. And I believe this has happened because I don't suffer enough. I live a life filled with comfort and ease. Even right now, I'm typing on my Apple computer, using wireless internet, in the comfort of a condo in Alpharetta, Georgia. Why do I need God? I have everything I need right? Why do I need to trust him for my needs, when I seemingly have everything??

The truth is, I'm thankful for the blessing of these things. But they often become an idol. And in my heart of hearts, I would give it all up if I could just experience the presence of God like that experienced by many I read about, for instance John Paton.

John Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides in the South Pacific 150 years ago. The island was full of cannibals, and he often was in danger of being killed. This is what he wrote while being hunted one night, as he he took refuge in a tree.
Being entirely at the mercy of such doubtful and vacillating friends, I, though perplexed, felt it best to obey. I climbed into the tree and was left there alone in the bush. The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but of yesterday. I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the Savages. Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe as in the arms of Jesus. Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among those chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Savior's spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship. If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then?

Basically, I'm exhausted with comfort, but my flesh still longs for it. I want to know God more fully, and I know suffering is the main way that is going to happen. So, if your my friend, please speak truth into my life about this reality.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Multiplying Churches

I ran across this poll and article Friday (thanks Arnold and Erik). It's encouraging to read because I attended West Ridge Church (#16) a couple years ago after college. And I attend Perimeter Church (#4) now. Also, I have been keeping with with Redeemer (#1) and Mars Hill (#2) for some time now, listening to both of their pastors whenever I can.

I'm encouraged because it's exciting to be a part of discipleship and multiplication. I feel very privileged to be surrounded by churches that understand the Great Commission to go and make disciples. They aren't focused having the biggest sanctuary to fit the most amount of people. They are focused on building communities that love Jesus Christ and allowing them to be salt and light where they live.

I also thought this post was interesting, because it points out the inaccuracy of believing that Calvinists do not care about evangelism.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Visualizing Egypt

I figured out the picture posting problem. Here's a few of my favorites.

Here I am on a camel. Camels are pretty cool.

Here are the guys from the trip. Good group.

So, they're drinking some amazingly fresh mango juice here. And, as you can see, the orange is the only color showing up. Basically, I figured out a cool feature on my camera, and took pictures like this the rest of the trip.

The Nile, but much cooler than normal.

It doesn't get old. Here are some of the kids we got to play with who live in Garbage city.

Hotel balcony overlooking the Nile.

The rest of the pictures

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reminiscing Egpyt

I'm having trouble posting pictures right now, so just go to my Egypt pictures here if you would like to see them. Now I'll attempt to summarize the trip for you.

Overall, the trip was a great experience. There was not a whole lot of "doing" that is associated with most mission trips. Our main objective in going over was to further relationships with our partner church (Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church) as well as gain first hand knowledge of the influence of Islam in the Arab world. See the Egypt section here for more info on Kasr Church.

After our sight seeing in Cairo, we traveled south to a conference put on by Kasr. That was a very beneficial time. We heard from many speakers about Islam and missions. And there was about a 4 hour period that made the trip for me. In that time we heard from two different people who spoke truth about what Islam is really all about. After hearing from them, I came away realizing more clearly how dark, dangerous, and corrupt Islam really is. We also heard how sharing the Truth with Muslims looks a little different than with people with other worldviews, namely more relationship based and logic driven.

Probably the hardest barrier for the Muslim to overcome is the conjoining of his faith with his ethnicity and culture. To be Arab is to be Muslim and vice versa in their eyes. Once you get past this, the persecution and alienation from their friends and family is terrible. Many will get beaten and/or turned in to the secret police by their own flesh and blood. It's really amazing that Muslims are still turning to Christ even through all of this. And those that do persevere through it all really do seem stronger for it. It seems as though James (1:2-4) and Paul (Rom. 5:3-5) were right. Seeing their courage really challenges me in how I live out my faith here in the States, as an awkward conversation is the most I have to fear. Though I fear it a lot!

We also spent some time in some very poor areas of Cairo. In these places the streets are lined with garbage and the average annual salary per household is $600. The people that live in these areas have never known any different and are not really allowed to leave. They are considered unclean by the Muslims (because they work with pigs). It was a very sad thing to witness.

I might decide to write some more later. Thanks again to all who prayed for me and supported me financially. It was a great experience for me to have. The challenge now is to continue to live with the perspective of global redemption that God has in mind. Join with me in praying for the darkness to be lifted in the Arab world, that the eyes of their hearts would be able to see the Truth and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.