Friday, March 31, 2006

Queen April I

I’ve been trying to come up with a post that would be in the April Fools Day spirit…to no avail. So, instead, here are a few links to some GREAT April Fools PSAs. They will be especially funny to those who are familiar with the cast from NBC’s “The Office.” (Warning: the spots I’ve linked to below are fine, but there is one spot they did that is quite inappropriate; if you decide to search for the entire list of spots, beware.)

Jellybeans
Bears
Meteor
Saltines
Fugitive (this is so me)
Thumb
Short (for all of us “vertically challenged” people)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Who’s On First?

Last week, Andrew Belli posted a link to an audio file of Abbot and Costello’s classic skit, Who’s On First. Check it out—especially if you’ve never seen any of their movies (and “doubly especially” if you have no idea who they are)! I love Abbot and Costello. Their fast-paced exchanges are hilarious.

TANSTAAFL

Anyone familiar with that acronym? I remember learning about the concept in my economics class in high school…at least, I think it was high school. (Home school years and grades kinda run together.) Anyway, regardless of what the experts say, we had a lot of “free lunches” (so to speak) at work in the last couple days. Why? Because the pledge drive for EZ 88.3 was going on. I had three free square meals a day for two glorious days (minus dinner on Tuesday because I leave work early on Tuesdays). Yes, we at the Christian Media Center ate like hobbits. Okay, I usually eat like a hobbit, but the last two days I ate like a hobbit for free!

P.F. Chang’s catered dinner yesterday afternoon. I have yet to visit the restaurant, so it was nice to sample some of the food (which I’ve heard is excellent from, like, a million sources). P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps are indeed quite good. (I had a leftover lettuce wrap for lunch today…and another one for dinner, just a few minutes ago.)

There was also this rather large and weird-tasting stick of butter they had out for the breakfast foods, which I kept using on various bagels and other breads, and it wasn’t until much consumption had taken place that I found out it was cream cheese and not butter. Being allergic to dairy and eating cream cheese don’t always go well together…but the Lord has been merciful because I still feel fine (except for the awareness of my stupidity for mistaking cream cheese for butter).

Who says There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Non-VQers Commit Mischievous Behavior

KNOXVILLE, TN – Cornerstone Church of Knoxville members Jill Brickey, Cap Stewart, and Joanna Holbrook were arrested Sunday afternoon for committing crimes of “mischievous affections” when they used glass chalk to cover 57 cars in the Cornerstone parking lot (all belonging to college students) with random messages.

The college students had taken their annual spring break “Vision Quest” (or VQ) trip to Laguna Beach, Florida. Most of the students rode down in buses, leaving their cars in the church parking lot for safe keeping.

“Safe?” said victim Suzanne Holbrook, sister of Joanna. “Where is ‘safe’ anymore? Not my own church’s parking lot, evidently. I’m not even safe from my own sister! Forget this tripe. I’m moving to Pennsylvania or something. There’s bound to be a good Amish or Mennonite design school up there without all this flagrant sin going on.”

The content of the markings on the college students’ cars ranged from the mundane (DO YOU VQ?) to the rude (GO TEXAS) to the outrageous (EAT MONKEYS). In a particularly creative move, each vehicle in one long row of cars was marked with a large letter, all of which combined to spell out, HEY WELCOME HOME VFC!!! “They even had enough cars to provide spaces between each word,” said Jeremy Bryant, a 35-year-old sophomore at UT. “I am in awe. I mean, not even Chuck Norris could have pulled this off. It would have taken me, like, three years to come up with something this elaborate. I’ll just stick to Jam Skating.”

“This is an unusual crime,” officer Andy Young told reporters Monday morning. “No actual damage was done. This was the lamest attempt at vandalizing I’ve ever seen. Nevertheless, we’ve detained these three individuals for questioning and possible prosecution.

“Their motivation,” he continued, “is still unknown. They claim to have been spurred by a desire to encourage the college students, but I don’t buy it. I mean, they called themselves ‘The K-Town Trio’ and left a ransom note on each car, demanding compensation for the money they spent on their car painting supplies. Pretty brazen, if you ask me.”

The college students returned home early Saturday morning, around 1:30am. When police arrived at the scene of the crime thirty minutes later, they found victim Jeff Moore prostrate on the concrete next to his car, moaning, “Why, God? Why me? I don’t understand!” After regaining his composure, Moore explained, “Vandals had already written JUST MARRIED on my car! But then my own fellow church members augmented the damage by adding VQ BOUND as well. Where is the justice in that?” Friends tried consoling him by offering copies of the book Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, by Jerry Bridges.

Another victim, Jonathan Oldacre, explained through his tears, “I just don’t get why they’d write REAL MEN USE EMOTICONS on my car. I’ve tried explaining to Cap that emoticons are too joyful an expression for godly men. Our church may have certain Charismatic distinctions, but we don’t run around the sanctuary with banners and Shofars every Sunday morning. I thought Cap knew that when he became a member of the church.”

Strangely enough, a few of the victims actually enjoyed the proceedings. “I like being referred to as BOWFLEX BOWMAN,” Matt Bowman told reporters. “Makes me feel masculine. I’m thinking of hiring the K-Town Trio to write on my car every week.”

“Whoever wrote BOO-YA on my car is a stinkin’ genius!” said Holly Ritchhart. “I’ve always wished I had a rubber BOO-YA stamp as a left hand instead of this useless left hand. Now I feel complete!”

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Holbrook, while connected to the car painting fiasco, and helping proofread the ransom note, was not present for the actual event.

“Joanna said she realized she had too much to do that day,” Brickey allegedly said during her interrogation. “She wanted to be there with us, but her schedule was just too full. It took Cap and me about ninety minutes to hit all the cars.” Eager to be released, Holbrook was quick to confirm the story.

Nevertheless, police are still considering charging Holbrook with Conspiracy, and maybe Accomplice to Vandalization. Brickey and Stewart will probably be charged with Conspiracy, Vandalization, and Possession of Non-Harmful Glass Chalk. “I’m not sure why we’re even considering the Possession charge,” officer Young said. “I mean, even if they’re convicted, we aren’t going to do anything about it. You might as well arrest me for habitually smelling my Chap Stick…uh, which I don’t.”

Leslie Bowden, aspiring pastor-in-training and longtime friend of Stewart, was shocked by the incident. “I’ve known Cap to throw paint cans in camp fires, break camp curfew, and swim illegally in camp ponds…but I never thought he was capable of this.”

“I’m pretty impressed,” Laura Luster, CCK staff member said. “A few months ago, several of the girls in Cornerstone’s singles ministry decorated the cars of the single guys. The event involved hitting several cars all over Knoxville in one evening. We were coordinated, stealthy, and proficient. But Cap and Jill hit almost sixty cars in under two hours—in cold weather, no less? I’d give them a medal or something.”

The pastoral team of Cornerstone Church of Knoxville has yet to decide how to reprimand the perpetrators. “We’re still not in full agreement as to the exact nature of these actions,” Mike Plewniak explained to the Knoxville News Sentinel Sunday evening. “Some on the pastoral team think these individuals exhibited a godly desire to serve VFC members through a unique form of encouragement. Others think any kind of vandalism is completely incompatible with sound doctrine. So, depending on how we eventually interpret these actions, our response to these members could go either way. For example, we are either going to excommunicate Cap or invite him to serve as a care group leader. At this point, we’re just not sure.”

“Dag, yo,” said Ryan Mefford, recently engaged CCK member. “I used to live in the ‘hood and I vandalized everything in sight. I left that lifestyle when God saved me. These perps have definitely stepped over the line. No wonder they’re still single.”

Police have yet to determine why Brickey, Stewart, and Holbrook chose to call themselves the “K-Town Trio.” “The ‘Trio’ part might have something to do with the doctrine of the Trinity,” Young mused. “But as far as the ‘K’ goes, we’re baffled,” he added, fingering his “Knoxville Police Department” badge. “Everyone knows ‘Cornerstone’ begins with a ‘C’.”

In related news, Kevin Shipp, also a CCK member, broke into one of the cages at the Knoxville Zoo and was found chewing on the arm of a monkey. When questioned about the ordeal he allegedly said, “God told me to do it in writing…on my car.” Authorities are still investigating the incident.

No one from The Associated Press contributed to this report
© 2006 Stewart D. Caprio

Sin: What’s the Big Deal? (Part 2)

The message this last Sunday by Howard Varnedoe was excellent! Using Hebrews 12:1-2 as his main text, Howard explained what it means to “look to Jesus” each and every day. One truth that hit me harder than it ever has before was this: my greatest problem is my sin. It isn’t my circumstances or trials. It isn’t figuring out what the future holds. It isn’t attempting to overcome a financial or vocational challenge. Sin is my greatest enemy. Is sin killing me or am I killing it?

Here’s a quote to chew on from The Mortification of Sin. John Owen says we are to bring our sin to the gospel

— not [first] for relief, but for farther conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom thou hast pierced, and be in bitterness. Say to thy soul, “What have I done? What love, what mercy, what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit hath chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great salvation? In the meantime, what shall I say to the Lord? Love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation, -- I have despised them all, and esteemed them as a thing of nought, that I might harbour a lust in my heart. Have I obtained a view of God’s fatherly countenance, that I might behold his face and provoke him to his face? Was my soul washed, that room might be made for new defilements? Shall I endeavour to disappoint the end of the death of Christ? Shall I daily grieve that Spirit whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption?” Entertain thy conscience daily with this treaty. See if it can stand before this aggravation of its guilt. If this make it not sink in some measure and melt, I fear thy case is dangerous.

Similarly, Howard exhorted us to go to the cross first to know our sin. As Thomas Watson says in The Doctrine of Repentance (which Howard quoted in his message), “The more bitterness we taste in sin, the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ.” May my sin grow more bitter to me, that I might savor Christ all the more!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sin: What’s the Big Deal?

In being made more aware of my idolatries Sunday, I spent some time meditating on the importance of the doctrine of sin. Why talk about sin so often? Why make such a big deal about it? When all around my soul gives way, should sin really be that high on the mental checklist?

Well, I thought, what is my ultimate goal? Defeating sin isn’t an end, it’s a means to an end, so what is that end? Succinctly put, my created purpose is to glorify God. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). In his Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Henry writes, “In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where express rules are wanting.”

So, does fighting sin distract us from pursuing the glory of God? Quite the opposite, actually. There is really only one obstacle that stands between us and the glory of God, and that is our sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What causes us to fall short of the glory of God? Past hurts? Unfulfilled desires? Adverse circumstances? No, sin causes us to fall short of the glory of God. The world, the flesh and the devil are certainly antagonistic. They war against all that is godly. Their influence should not be minimized. But these three sources of temptation would have no power if not for the presence of sin still dwelling in us (see Romans 7)—what Jerry Bridges likes to call “residual depravity.”

Pursuing the glory of God is my ultimate goal and my ultimate good. Nothing less than God Himself will satisfy my soul. My favorite quote comes from John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” So pursing holiness by putting sin to death—and all by the power of grace alone through faith alone—enables me to glorify God and thereby satisfy my soul. As John Owen puts it*, “The vigour, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.” A few pages later, he says that believers “who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin” (emphasis mine).

As God gives more grace to combat my idolatries, I am also battling with fear, anxiety, and self-pity. In essence, this article—as most posts I write here—is serving as a way for me to preach to myself and remind myself of the eternal truths of Scripture, which will always transcend my subjective and self-absorbed feelings.

* Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers; the Necessity, Nature, and Means of It: with a Resolution of Sundry Cases of Conscience Thereunto Belonging. (First published in 1656—yes, the good old days when book titles were as long as the books themselves.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Idol Factory Meltdown

“When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart…” (Ezekiel 14:4)

“The human heart is a factory of idols...Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” (John Calvin)

[Note: those not familiar with the topic of idolatry might want to check out a sermon by C.J. Mahaney entitled “The Idol Factory." The quotes in the introduction and first section are excellent in explaining the importance of recognizing and destroying idolatry in one’s life, and it will better aid the reader in identifying with what I say in this post.]

The service last Sunday morning included a timely message for me. The theme of the message, taken from Proverbs 18:10-11, was trusting God (what I’ve been studying for a while now) and the conclusion dealt specifically with idolatry. In the recent past, the Lord had been dealing with me on some idols in my heart that were extremely dangerous to the welfare of my soul. By God’s grace, I had been able to recognize my idolatry—where before I hadn’t even been aware that it was sin—and had (I thought) put it to death (or at least left it maimed and dying on the ground). As the sermon this Sunday neared the end, I realized more clearly: yes, these idols were still present; yes, the problem was worse than I originally imagined. The enormity of my sin hit me with the force of a freight train smashing a stray deer to bits. (Ugh. Yuck.)

As the day progressed, I became more and more aware of my sin. To say I felt horrible would be a gross understatement. My trust in God’s faithfulness seemed to have left the building with Elvis.

You know how a cornered animal will oftentimes become vicious? Well, my heart is reacting in similar fashion; it’s not letting go of these long-standing idols without a fight. Though I feel a little better today, the war going on inside me is far from over. Quite frankly, I’m afraid of the pain that lies ahead.

Even so—and it’s an amazing testament to God’s grace that I’m even able to say this—this situation is good. I will never be satisfied with these idols. They are not a strong tower—only God is. The most loving thing God can do for me right now is show me my idolatries and lead me by His grace to destroy them. The result will be an increase in humility and faith, which will glorify God as the all-sufficient refuge that alone can save me. And eternal joy in Christ is infinitely more satisfying than trusting in false securities.

There are several places in the Psalms where the reader is exhorted to trust in God alone. Bill referenced one of these passages in his message on Sunday but I can’t remember which. Anyway, I had recently read Psalm 62 in my devotions, and after Sunday I decided to meditate on and memorize verses 5-8. These verses are proving to be a lifeline.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.

In commenting on a Scriptural passage that deals with idolatry, Matthew Henry writes the following:

Those, and those only, shall find God to their comfort, who seek him with all their heart. Afflictions engage and quicken us to seek God; and, by the grace of God working with them, many are thus brought back to their right mind. When these things are come upon thee, turn to the Lord thy God, for thou seest what comes of turning from him.

God is graciously working in me a greater awareness of His all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving providence—even in the midst of extremely painful mortification of sin.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Vision Quest

I have to agree with Joanna : I’m psyched about what God will be doing this week in the lives of our church’s college students while they’re in Laguna Beach, Florida.

But for those of you who didn’t go, I was able to preview a part of a video some of the VFCers put together for the trip. It involves a mock news program that involves mostly weather-related reports. As you might expect, it’s quite funny. Katie Roach plays a disgruntled weather lady. She gives her two-week's notice right in the middle of her forecast. But the best part is near the end, when the news anchor (Kevin Shipp) starts to wrap things up, only to be knocked out of the way by the weather lady, who gives the following speech to the viewers:

“Listen up you kids out there with your big dreams and your life ahead of you. I’ll tell you something, next time someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up, tell them, ‘Nothing! I don't want to be anything!’ Don’t be a doctor, don’t be an astronaut, don’t be a teacher, and for goodness’ sakes, don’t be a weather lady. Take your art boxes and your soccer balls and your stethoscopes and throw ‘em away! Careers are useless, and they’re vanity and...just...go live under a bridge or something!”

The camera then cuts off and goes to a “bars and tone” screen for several seconds. When we come back to the newsroom, Kevin is fixing his hair. He looks at the camera, apologizes for the technical difficulties, and then Katie comes rushing back on the set, saying, “Technical difficulties?! I'll show you technical difficult—” and then the screen cuts back to bars and tone. Hilarious, I tell ya!

Granted, it’s not as funny when you just read it (their inflections, facial expressions, and hand motions are needed for full effect), but I thought it was great. Each time I watched it, I was in stitches—and I kept watching it over and over again. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you guys…for what it was worth.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Psalm 8:2a

So I got to help watch the kids during care group last night. The newest addition to the group, Maggie Boyle, wouldn’t smile no matter what anyone did. Grownups and children alike failed miserably at inducing any facial merriment.

Being the “baby whisperer” that I am, I swooped in to the rescue. After holding her for a while, I sat down in a chair with her on my lap. Mesmerized by my charm, she cracked a smile—several times. Yes, I saved the day once again.

And then she spit up on my shirt and my hand.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Providence and Nature

I’m at chapter six in Trusting God, a chapter that deals with God’s power over nature. My first thought was to skip it because I didn’t think the chapter would have anything applicable to my current circumstances. I’m glad I rejected my initial impulse. Jerry Bridges talks about how many of us—even those who believe in the complete sovereignty of God—oftentimes fail to recognize His providence when it comes to the weather. We view instances of rain, frost, wind, etc., as unfortunate occurrences of random conditions. How many times have I complained about the weather, obliviously and foolishly ignoring the Sovereign hand behind it?

Mr. Bridges makes a simple yet profound point: not only do we sin when we complain about the weather, but we also forfeit the peace that comes from trusting that God is in control of the weather (see Job 37:3, 6, 10-13; Psalm 147:8, 16-18; Jeremiah 10:13; Amos 4:7). (It’s not just the weather, though; God’s control over nature includes things like physical affliction and childlessness.) Wow! This is one area where my trust in God has been completely lacking…and I didn’t even realize it. Praise God for His intricate and complete control over all His creation!

A Movie Worth Five Stars...er, Tickets

On rare occasions, I make my mother go to the movie theater to watch a film on the big screen. This past weekend was one such occasion, although she wanted to see the movie anyway. After all, when I started praising King Kong after my first viewing—and second, and third, and fourth—she was intrigued. (Yes, having spent so much money on this movie, I now own part of Universal Pictures.)



Well, she liked the movie a lot. In her words, “It’s like Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings and every other movie all put together—and then some!” I have to agree.



It was also fun sitting behind three older women who enjoyed the movie tremendously. Every time something made them jump, they’d nervously laugh after landing back in their seats. In fact, they were laughing through the entire movie (at the right parts, mind you). There’s something special about watching movies with complete strangers and seeing/hearing their reactions…like the one woman up front who screamed bloody murder when a Tyrannosaur attacked Kong from out of nowhere.



Just so you all know: King Kong is at the dollar theater. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it is worth $1.50! This is one of those films that needs to be seen on the big screen. Heck, I could be convinced to go see it yet again....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Deception

I don’t know how many of you like to read fiction, but for me there are few things more delightful than being engrossed in the latest Michael Crichton or Frank Peretti novel. Another great fiction writer is Randy Alcorn. His first novel, Deadline, is outstanding both in storytelling and originality. By “originality” I don’t so much mean his story as I do his use of the English language. Mr. Alcorn avoids clich├ęd phrases that litter the works of other authors. In Deadline, Alcorn also created one of my most favorite characters of all time: Ollie Chandler. Ollie is a detective with a quick and dry-as-the-Sahara wit. Everything that comes out of his mouth is ingeniously hilarious. To borrow a phrase from filmmaking, he steals every scene he’s in.

Anyway, Alcorn’s newest novel, Deception, features Ollie Chandler as the main character. The first chapter of the book is available here and all I can say is…wow. You need to check it out! The storyline looks quite generic (murder mysteries have been done a few times before) but the way he tells the story is amazingly fresh and engaging—not to mention funny. Deception will be released in September. I can’t wait! But then again, I have to.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Getting an Earful

Don’t you hate it when you’re at work (or somewhere else “not home”-ish) and you realize you desperately need a Q-tip? I do. And I need a Q-tip. And I’m not at home.

That reminds me: I used to work with a guy whose personal hygiene wasn’t exactly…hygienic. I once saw him use a key on his key ring to clean out his ears. No joke. It grossed me out.

The Breakfast Bunch

The first part of the workday was fun. I came in to the station smelling food (always a good thing). Bob Bell was cooking eggs on his morning show and he treated me to a tasty omelet. Don’t worry, it was healthy—it had vegetables, no cheese and was cooked without any harmful oils or greases. Then I got to hang out with Todd Agnew and Jason Morant (who were in the studio for an interview). I finally got to ask Todd how he came up with the lyrics for “Grace Like Rain.” (Okay, not really.) Todd likes to cut up…a lot. When someone from Love 89 asked what he was going to play for the concert tonight, he said, “Newsboys songs…from the eighties.” When he talks, he sounds nothing like what he sounds like when he sings. That sentence makes sense…right?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Cross: Our Eternal and Exceeding Joy

Last night, I finished a personal study on the centrality of the gospel as defined in Scripture. I want to be able to more clearly express to my old friends the importance of the cross-centered life. When I started coming to the New Members class at CCK, I know I didn’t understand it at all. I remember hearing one of the guys at the pink house make a reference to the centrality of the gospel and thinking to myself, “What in the world does that mean?”

So, my study was very fruitful. Below are some things I learned/rediscovered/was reminded of:

  • We are to constantly remind ourselves about Jesus Christ. How? By studying the gospel. “Remember Jesus Christ…according to [the] gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8).
  • Because the gospel is the “power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16), we preach it to unbelievers, but it is also something in which the believer currently stands as well (see 1 Corinthians 15:1). God saves unbelievers through the gospel and strengthens believers through the gospel. “God…is able to strengthen you according to [the] gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ” (Romans 16:25, NRSV).
  • Peter explains that those who lack fruit in their lives have forgotten what the gospel has done for them. “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (1 Peter 1:9).
  • Paul calls the Ephesians to remember their condition before conversion (the “bad news”)—that they were hopeless and without God. Why? So they might be more amazed by the good news: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Elsewhere, Paul prays for the Philippian believers—“for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:5). Their fellowship isn’t just initially centered on the gospel—it is continually centered on the gospel; it remains “from the first day until now” focused on the cross.
  • We are to continue steadfast and grounded in the faith. How? By not being “moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Colossians 1:23). Similarly, the writer of Hebrews instructs us to fix our eyes on Christ and meditate on the gospel lest we become weary and lose heart. “[Look] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, [thinking nothing of] the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
  • The cross will not lose its importance even in heaven. Though there are many today who think all memory of earthly events will be erased, the saints in heaven will be very much aware of why they are there. In Revelation 5:9, the four living creatures who surround the throne of God and the twenty-four elders sing a “new song” to the Lamb: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood.” Then, in verse twelve, thousands upon thousands of heaven’s citizens cry out, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain…!” The cross will forever be the centerpiece of history.

I’ve been working on some new radio spots called “drops” (short segments of songs currently being played on the air) and one of them is “Only Grace” by Matthew West. Not a lot of songs in Christian radio are doctrinally sound and gospel-centered, but this is one of them. After meditating on the cross, listening to this song today has been a great encouragement to me. By His grace, God has used it to replenish my joy in Him as I ponder anew the mercy I have received at Christ’s expense. You can hear the song in its entirety at Matthew West’s web site under the “Music” section.

May the grace of God overwhelm you this day—this very minute—as it flows from the inexhaustible fountain of Calvary.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Feast for the Soul

If you have some extra time, and if you haven’t done this already, check out John Piper’s latest sermon,
“I Will Go to God, My Exceeding Joy.” (Piper is taking a hiatus and will not speak at Bethlehem again for five months.) Regardless of where you are in life or what God is teaching you, I believe this article will be of great encouragement.

Oscars, Shmoscars

For the first time in years, I didn’t sit through the Oscar ceremonies. Due to the often-ludicrous nominations, my respect for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has declined with each passing year. In truth, the Oscars are not much more than a highly publicized popularity contest for the Hollywoodonians. I’m tempted to say people from southern California are crazy, but that would mean I am crazy, which I am not. Yes I am. No I’m not. Shut up! Anyway…

I did manage to catch the presentation of Best Original Score—always the highlight of the Oscars for me. Seeing Itzhak Perlman (one of the world’s greatest violinists) perform selections from each of the nominated scores was a real treat. The treat summarily ended, though, when Brokeback Mountain was announced as the winner. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back (yes, lame pun intended); after that, I didn’t want to watch any more.

So, in lieu of a good Oscar awards ceremony, head over to the Cue Awards . They even used a portion of the picture I posted on Leslie’s blog (although it’s just one small part—nothing more than a vague avatar). Okay, so most of you—well, all of you, probably (except maybe Travis)—will find it just as tedious as the Oscars. Sorry. There’s only so much I can do to make the world a better place.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Chinese Food + Mountain Dew = Hiccups

It’s true. After lunch, I went back into the production studio to record a spot with one of our DJs. The moment I took my first sip of Mountain Dew, I started hiccuping. I’m talking gut-busting, body-wracking, lung-convulsing hiccups. It makes it harder to record a voice over when you’re body frequently and spasmodically goes HHHHUUPPT!

Other random news:

  • The carpet at the Christian Media Center is going to be ripped out and replaced this month. We’re moving everything into one big room. Fun! (That’s both serious and sarcastic. It is fun because we keep goofing off while we move stuff, but it’s also not fun because…well, because we have to move stuff.)
  • The Lord led me to a great place on 5th Avenue to get two new (well, used, but new to me) tires for my car. Reasonable Ron’s Used Tires has very reasonable prices (who’d a thunk it?). $16 for a nice used tire sure beats $48 for a brand new one. If you ever need to buy a tire, this is the place to go. They’re lightning fast, too. I was in and out of there in, like, five minutes.
  • Dennis DeShazer, co-creator of Barney the Oh-So-Maddeningly-Awful Dinosaur, has co-created a new children’s CG series: Boz, The Green Bear Next Door. No, I am not kidding. Yes, Boz really is green. And we’re doing a commercial for Boz on Love 89. I think Mr. DeShazer needs to go hunting with Dick Cheney.