Dave’s Strange and Unusual World

May 1, 2008

I’m All Booked Up

Filed under: Religion — dangrdave @ 5:49 pm

Well, I’ve been continuing in my development group at church, reading through and discussing many things with a great group of guys. Just to recap where I’m at and what I’m doing, I’ll list the four books that I’ve either finished or that I’m currently going through.

First, I’m still going through the One Year Bible (the English Standard Version versus the English Automatic Version); I’m now reading through the book of Judges on the Old Testament side and I think I’m into the book of John on the New Testament side. I say “I think” because I’ve fallen a few days behind on my reading. Anyway, the Old Testament stories are really amazing to read and I’m glad that I’m taking such an insightful journey.

A theme that I continue to notice, because, as those of you who read my blog know, I am really into understanding the past in order to understand the present and the future, is the theme of the people of Israel being warned against not teaching “these things” to their children. All throughout the desert, the Israelites would erect monuments of remembrance so that their children would not be ignorant of the things that God had done for them. Moses and Aaron both admonished the people of Israel to observe the days of remembrance so that the children, who had not seen the miracles in the desert, would know of the Lord and His awesome deeds.

We just finished reading Bill Hybel’s book Who You Are When No One’s Looking, which is an easy read, but which presents a lot of information that isn’t really too deep. The book is pretty much about having character, discipline, and imitating Jesus’ kind of love in different situations.

Now, we’re reading Robert E. Coleman’s Master Plan of Evangelism, which isn’t really about what you’d think the title suggests. I thought this book was going to tell me that I needed to start knocking on people’s doors like a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the book looks at Jesus’ actual plan of evangelism, which is quite different. The book looks at how Jesus selected a few men to be his disciples and how, even when ministering to the crowds, he devoted himself to teaching and training these backwoods men. Jesus spent his entire three year ministry imparting himself into a group of men who, ultimately, came to change the world.

The point that the book really tries to make is that the church fails many times when its focus is on converting people over building relationships. I know that I’ve been involved in churches before where I was just a number and I didn’t have the relationships that are so necessary to fully develop and mature my faith; however, I’m now in such a great environment at Milestone, where relationships are seen in a whole ‘nother light. In Milestone, men and women are being taught and discipled in such a way that they can place their faith into action and disciple and mentor other believers. What a disservice we do when we bring someone into a church and we don’t take the time to make sure that they are discipled and given a chance to truly serve and get involved in the things that are going on.

In my spare time, what little of it I happen to find, I am reading The Confessions of Saint Augustine, which is another great book that is really opening my eyes. This book is about the life and conversion of a man who considered himself smart in the world. Augustine was a philosopher and a teacher of rhetoric who had a praying mother and a desire to find the truth. As Augustine learned more from the different philosophers, he found that their answers never seemed to lead him to the truth. He finally began hearing the scriptures and God spent a lot of time working on him, tearing him away from the things of the world. One of the most interesting glimpses of his life takes place in a garden where Augustine is seen wrestling with a decision to abandon the things of the world (fame, etc.) and to cling to God alone.

Currently, I’m reading through one of the books in The Confessions entitled Philosophy of Memory, which is amazing to say the least. Augustine talks about the memory and brings up the point that somewhere in our memory we all know what the truth is (the happy life) and that the truth is what we all ultimately desire. As soon as I have an opportunity, I’ll put one of my favorite quotes that Augustine makes on this philosophy.

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March 28, 2008

Creationism: It’s Evolving Into An Intelligent Debate

Filed under: Religion — dangrdave @ 12:44 pm

Just a reminder, in case you aren’t aware, Ben Stein’s new docu-movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” will be out in theaters on April 18. I’ve seen a trailer for this, and it looks like it will be a very interesting and thought-provoking journey into a relevant debate. Whether you believe in creationism or in evolution, I think that this movie will explore the side of the issue that normally gets dismissed without a serious inquiry. I personally believe in creationism, as, is said in the Bible, the whole of creation truly reflects the glory and majesty of God. I believe that the sun, the moon and the stars, along with the mountains and the seas could only have been created by the design of an awesome God. And, I believe that man indeed was created in the image of an awe-inspiring, benevolent God…not in the image of a baboon.  We humans do tend to sometimes monkey around a bit, but, despite our flaws, we were created by God. However, so that I don’t receive negative replies to this posting, I will admit of a certain degree of evolution. In one extreme instance of evolution, we can see that, from a few small bogs on the east coast, simple, single-celled organisms slowly began their evolution into IRS tax agents. Speaking of which, remember to file your taxes or flee the country by the 15th – that’s three days before the release of Expelled!

March 22, 2008

Resurrection Weekend

Filed under: Religion — dangrdave @ 8:19 pm

I’m off for the Resurrection Weekend.  I hope that each of you had a good Good Friday and that you enjoy your fried rabbit on Sunday.  This weekend is an awesome time to remember how Jesus made a way for you and me to be able to approach God.  He became the ultimate and last sacrifice.  Rabbits are cool, especially with a side of potatoes and a white wine (recommended by a sommelier friend), but the real story this weekend is the salvation of mankind.  So, before you run off on Monday to buy your half-priced, stale chocolates, take a moment to remember what this weekend is really about.

March 16, 2008

Hears to Ear

Filed under: Religion — dangrdave @ 4:46 pm

Well, last night’s message at Milestone was about having “ears to hear.”  As you may remember, last week’s message was about eyes to see, so this is the second part in the “Who is this Man” series before we have our Resurrection Sunday message, entitled “The Cross” – see the advert below.  According to the message, having eyes to see is about being able to recognize Jesus and our need for him, while having ears to hear is about obedience to Jesus’ message, leading to radically changed life.  The text around which the message centered was Matthew 13.  You can hear Pastor Jeff’s message by clicking here (if the link moves, then check out the Milestone media archive here).  Also, remember, Milestone has Saturday evening services regularly; so, if you are looking for a cool place to worship and hear the Word, you are always welcome!

The Cross Advert

March 11, 2008

By the Numbers

Filed under: Religion — dangrdave @ 2:28 am

I’m taking a small group men’s class at Milestone and we are currently reading some books, one of which is the One Year Bible. Currently, I’m working my way through Numbers, which is a pretty no-nonsense book. As I was reading tonight, I was particularly drawn to three events that made me think a bit. First, at one point, Moses feels pretty much like the weight of all of the people of Israel is on him; God, in awesome fashion, allows about seventy men to share in Moses’ burden. To me, this helped me to see that God does care when we feel overwhelmed. I think this goes back to the whole idea of community and Christians “doing life together.” I think that God places other Christians in our lives to help shoulder the load, by offering us encouragement and by being there in our disappointments and our joys. The job isn’t a one-way street, though. We also need to be there for others, just as they are there for us. We need to be willing to recognize when our friends are overwhelmed, and we need to step up to the plate and be there for them. I know that I need to continue to surround myself with good Godly friends, because that is really part of God’s plan for a healthy lifestyle. A second thing that really stood out to me was when Aaron and Miriam grumbled against Moses for doing something that didn’t necessarily meet with their approval; they thought they could do just as good of a job leading as Moses was doing. God came down and settled the dispute pretty definitively. God said something to the effect that, while He may speak to many people in dreams, He speaks to Moses face-to-face. I know that I’ve been guilty sometimes of grumbling against authority, but I was reminded that, in all areas of life, but especially in our churches, our job is to ensure that we are right with God before we go grumbling about our leadership. It’s sort of like the old “check the plank in your own eye” idea. Sure, our leaders need to be Godly and open, and they definitely need to be of excellent character; however, God put those individuals in their positions for a purpose…and, I’m pretty sure that He knows better than we do about these sort of things. As long as we watch ourselves, God will take care of the faults of others. And if there is someone in leadership who is in the wrong, God will bring that to light and will deal with that situation in a much more effective way than we ever could by stirring up dissension. The third point of interest that caught my attention was the story wherein the twelve spies returned from the promised land. This story probably gets the most attention in Numbers, but it really makes me wonder how much I do trust in God to do what He says He can. Instead of relying on God, despite the facts, ten of the spies gave a negative report and basically ended up dying of a disease pretty darn quick. The people, because they believed the ten over the two, were told that they would all die in the wilderness. The children would have to suffer by walking around in circles for forty years, waiting for their parents to die, before they could go in and take the land. I think that I personally need to do a much better job of trusting God to do what He says He will, because I believe that my doubts and my trepidations about God’s plan can have consequences for me and for my children (sorry, none on the way as of yet!). Now, thankfully, there is an abundance of grace out there, but trust is still a very important aspect in any Christian’s life. I’ve done a lot of things my own way, and they don’t always turn out the best; I’ve done a lot of things God’s way, and I am always amazed. I am really enjoying the book of Numbers, so I hope to add any other interesting nuggets of wisdom that stand out, as I find them; however, as I mentioned, it is a One Year Bible, so I have plenty of time (approximately 8 months and 20 days).

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