Monday Evening Quarterback

•October 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hey it’s a very brief nightime edition of the Quarterback.  Yesterday our church celebrated the Reformation.  What that means is that we remember what God did through a guy named Martin Luther back in the 1500’s.  It was so clear this year that we don’t do this to celebrate Martin Luther, but what God did through him. Through Luther, God got His church back on track.  So instead of never knowing if you are saved and whether you could do enough to earn a spot in heaven, you can know that God loves you because He sent Jesus to die and rise for you.  Jesus and His sacrifice is our confidence, not church attendence or earning enough merit badges.  For me – this focus on Jesus and His finished work on the cross to save me from my sins is what being part of the Lutheran tribe is all about.

I met Luther!

•October 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

300px-Martin_Luther_by_Lucas_Cranach_der_ÄltereI met Luther!  No, not that Luther but a Lutheran named Luther, how’s about that.  It was so cool, the family and I were in Brown County Indiana this past week for a two day deal and we met this farmer named Luther.  Luther is in his 70s and was selling pumpkins by the side of the road.  We stopped, bought some pumpkins and got to talking.  Seems he’s a Lutheran too.  His pastor is a retired pastor we have met before who runs to Book Loft, bookstore in nearby Nashville (no not that Nashville) – the Indiana Nashville.  We had just talked to his pastor like an hour before and it was cool to talk with the great man of God and spend a few moments with him.  I thought, hey, this is what life should be like – bumping into amazing people and hearing their stories.  God has so many cool ways of encouraging us – for me and my family it was Luther and pastor Berg!

New Thrice Rules!

•October 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Go out and pick up the new Thrice record – great stuff.  I am lovin’ the disc – big time.   Standout track for me in “In Exile” which I think draws from the perspective of our time here on Earth as Gods people and how the New Heavens and Earth inspire us.  What a perspective – thanks guys for the reminder! Here are the lyrics – even better set to music – especially the chorus.  Its one of those good times to have something buzzing around in your head!     “My heart is filled with songs of forever –
Of a city that endures, where all is made new.”

I am an exile – a sojourner; A citizen of some other place.
All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror,
But I know one day I’ll see face to face.

I am a nomad – a wanderer; I have nowhere to lay my head down.
There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on.
I’m not settling for this unsettling town.

My heart is filled with songs of forever –
Of a city that endures, where all is made new.
I know I don’t belong here; I’ll never
Call this place my home, I’m just passing through.

I am a pilgrim – a voyager; I won’t rest until my lips touch the shore –
Of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived,
Where there’ll be no pain or tears anymore.

My heart is filled with songs of forever –
Of a city that endures, where all is made new.
I know I don’t belong here; I’ll never
Call this place my home, I’m just passing through.

Monday Morning Quarterback – Oct 19-2009

•October 19, 2009 • Leave a Comment

become a pro dad_t_ntIts Monday morning and time for another installment of the Monday Morning Quarterback!  This is where I comment on something that happening on Sunday while at church – sorry no ball scores here!  What struck me this week had to do with Communion.  It is such an amazing thing to behold all these families kneeling together even after they deal with some real struggles.  I know we say that the Lord’s Supper brings people together and has a way of healing.  It really hit home for me yesterday.  It was so very clear to me (for once) that God really does take care of things that do a number on families and their relationships.  Life has a way of beating us up and yet we can gather and focus on Gods love in Jesus and the wholeness His life brings us.  The life gives us goes from theory to lifesupport in a huge way.  I am grateful to God for continually opening the eyes of this punk kid from Jersey and making me see that He is real.

One Scary Sermon Series!

•October 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

does evil exist_t_nvYes it’s time for a new 3 week sermon series at St Pete’s!  This time around it’s gonna be scary.  Not zombie scary, not vampire scary, not Barry Manilow scary – way scarier (my apologies to any Manilow fans that wandered onto this – the guy makes me nervous – I know, it’s my problem – but hey this is my blog – sorry for the outburst)!  The series is gonna check out whats going on with this whole evil thing.  What is evil?  Does evil exist?  When can we consider someone or something evil?  It seems like Halloween is getting popular and looking evil seems to be the cool thing.  Evil is big – until we get hurt by it – then it’s gotstogo (new word by the way – excellent!).  So come on out and check it out in person or at http://www.stpeterportage.com starting next week for the audio.  There is also a link on the webpage to our itunes deal so you can subscribe and get the ranting on a regular basis.  I’ll leave you with this question: does evil dwell in our hearts or only in the hearts of the truly “bad” folks (assuming, of course that you have the moral fiber of our buddy Ned Flanders)?  Is there evil inside me that I need to deal with at the foot of the Cross?  What say you – give me some good sermon stuff ok!

New Music Onslaught!

•October 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Thrice-BeggarsMan, has this been a great couple of weeks for new music.  New stuff from so many bands I love!  I want to take a few posts to sort of review some of them.  I’ll actually be ranting about totally incredible some of the releases are and that’s OK.  First up is the mighty THRICE record called “Beggars.  As I read the lyrics – by the way I’m a huge word geek and spend hours checking out the words of songs and memorizing the liner notes as whatnot – and the theme seems to be the brokeness of mankind.  Dustin Kensrue says the name of the record comes from theologian Martin Luthers last words that we are all beggars.  Kensrue said that this has stuck in his mind for a bunch of years and has the idea has come out in this project.  I am a huge fan of Luther and Thrice – both tend to put ideas out there that stay with you.  Kensrue has a way of weaving Biblical images into a song and really make you think.  He does some of this on “Beggars”.

My fav track is “The Great Exchange” (another Luther thing – he used this phrase to talk about Jesus death), where Dustin takes the image of his captain saving him. I know, I know – I’m a Christian and I read that into the words.  Can’t help it but that’s what hits me – here are the lyrics:

I thought I must be dead or dreaming,
When my captain – still battered, betrayed –
Pulled me up, laid me over the beam he’d clung to,
Breathed his last, and sank under the waves.

Your body is a bridge across an endless sea.
Your body is a bridge across an endless sea.

That last part is awesome.  The other standout is the title track where Dustin comes the to same conclusion about life that Luther did: its all grace and we are all beggars – we have what only God could give to us.

Musically the record has a real groove kinda feel (that’s how the band describes it). It’s pretty heavy, but a bit different from the feel of some of the earlier records.  There is some really cool guitar stuff that, along with the lyrics, make the record for me.  This is a great record – go out and pick it up!

Monday Morning Quarterback – Sept 28, 2009

•September 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

become a pro dad_t_ntIt’s back – a bit late – no biggie – its thee Monday Morning Quarterback!  Just as a reminder from last year – this is a sort of weekly installment that talks about something that happened on Sunday morning.  Sorry, it’s not about football – although that may come up – its about church and what it looks like from the front.  This weeks deal comes from Youth Confirmation yesterday.  We are learning about the Ten Commandments and it dawned on me that our view of God will determine our view of the Commandments.  If you think of God  like a cranky old man who likes to yell and catch you doing things wrong with the intent to punish you, then the Ten Commandments are most likely harse rules.  If you see God as loving, tough and just, then the Ten Commandments will show you the absolutely BEST way to life.  The Commandments were meant to be a way of life – not some checklist to see if I am in Gods favor or not.  How do you see the Ten Commandments?