Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Evidence that speaks for itself. . . . . .

I really don't like that phrase. Evidence doesn't speak for itself. Evidence requires interpretation. I spent this past semester doing ethnography. Towards the beginning we were asked to remove ourselves from the situation, so to speak, and be a completely objective observer. We should assume we know nothing about the situation. That we are a complete outsider and simply describe what we see. We were asked to do this so we could see the complete ridiculous nature of that assumption, that we can take ourselves out of the picture. Part of human existence is interpretation, and we can not live without it. Simply the manner in which evidence is presented is involved in interpretation. What do you show people? Simply choosing what is relevant information and what isn't relevant is interpreting it. Deciding what angle to look at something as opposed to another angle is interpreting it. I understand that its an idiom and they almost never mean what the sentence blatantly seems to. When someone says, "the evidence speaks for itself" they mean that the conclusion they have drawn from interpreting the evidence is what they think everyone will interpret it as. Sometimes people are right, most times they're wrong. Evidence without interpretation is meaningless. Evidence without meaning is purposeless. I wouldn't want to live life without purpose, so I choose to not "let the evidence speak for itself."

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 12 December 2011

Marriage is not commitment.

Whoa, what a statement right? How can I say such a thing? That sounds very postmodern, liberal, and, well. . . . wrong, right? Marriage is something that people are supposed to be devoted to. They don't give up on it. They see it through. Isn't that the definition of commitment? Yes. . . and no. I think the word commitment is too weak.

I was listening to a conversation at CanIL where some friends were talking about marriage and dating. One didn't like the idea of dating because it didn't fit well with marriage in his mind and isn't enough of a commitment. The other made the point that commitment has variable definitions depending on context such as being committed to the downfall of some communist government. When that commitment is fulfilled, then its over. And many people have a similar view of marriage. Marriage is a commitment to love and cherish one another, but what happens when we don't "love" each other anymore? The commitment is not longer valid in many peoples' minds. Thats why I think commitment is too weak, we can throw it away like used trash.

So then what do I say marriage is if it isn't commitment? Well, lets consider what the Bible has to say about it shall we? It calls marriage a covenant. Covenants are much deeper and permanent than commitments. You can't throw a covenant out. It is still there even if we ignore it. When God made a covenant with Abraham he made an arrangement that neither could back out of. God made promises that he upheld regardless of how Abraham acted on his side of the arrangement. In a covenantal marriage, regardless of what your spouse does you honor your side of the agreement, to love, cherish, and be devoted to your spouse. It makes those vows on wedding day more sobering but also more wonderful. They actual mean something. So I seek to be like Christ, like God, who has made covenants and followed through regardless of the transgressions and failures of those he made a covenant with. He has been faithful to his promises and to those he loves, and I am eternally grateful.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I am a simple man

I imagine that such a statement will sound the opposite of true to many who know me. That is simply because I have a complex mind. I am always thinking, and today a class in Ethnography has given me many lifetimes worth of material to think about. It is a class that I both love and hate because of this.

So how can I say I am a simple man? Because of the complexities of thought and reality all around me that is all I am capable of being. I think until exhausted and never come to a concrete conclusion because there is always another angle, another perspective to be considered. There is always something I'm not aware of or some argument that contradicts my perspective, and I have no way to refute it. I look at my life and using the metaphor of a house it is a broken run-down shack in need of repair and attention, but do not have the means to do anything. I say I am a simple man because ultimately I must strip away all the complexities and return to the basics. I can only start with Christ. He is my rock and my salvation, without Him my house would be built on sand and whether I had myself all together or not, that house would fall. So I start there, with one simple fact, one truth that I must construct my life around. What is the greatest commandment? Love God, and the second is like it, Love others. When life gets complex and I realize my incapability of holding it all together, I need to return to my simple roots. Its ultimately all I can do.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


I'm on the Cross Country & Track teams at Trinity Western University. As such there are expenses for the program to run, which is to be expected. Therefore fundraisers are also to be expected. My problem is when those fundraisers require us to do sales. Ultimately in some form or another every fundraiser does sales, but I'd rather be on the service end of things than the sales end of things, its just not in how I was made.

I once had a sales position for a week. It was one of the most awkward things for me ever to do. I sold knives no less! To be sure they really were great knives and believing in a product you're selling is supposed to help right? Not for me. Thats why I quit after a week, I couldn't do it. I can't handle the concept of trying to convince others to give me their money.

Enter me into missionary work. The work itself is almost always service oriented and that suits me just great. But the support has to come from somewhere. Either you are self-supporting with a job or inheritance or some other way like Paul(although to be honest later in his ministry there were times when he was supported by churches as well) or you are supported by others. The problem is what I intend to be doing, namely Bible Translation and related things, will be something that takes up all my time. I won't be able to work in another capacity to support myself and my family. So that only leaves me with asking for help from individual Christians and the Church, which brings me to the same problem I've always had. It is definitely something different than sale proper, but it still has some of those same aspects that make it hard for me, asking other people to give up their money for my benefit. Its a tough one for me to swallow, but I must. This is something I believe in with every fiber of my being. Its not like the knowledge that the knives were good knives, but so much more knowing that I will be a part of God's plan to be glorified among ALL NATIONS. It has a completely different nature to it, so I think I can overcome this apprehension. But it won't be easy. Its a good thing God never promised it would be.

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 22 October 2011


How do you measure the fame of someone? What tools do you use to compare the fame of one person to the next? I was thinking about this not too long ago and thought of people that were Elvis impersonators, or Arnold impersonators. There are some people that are really good at impersonating those famous people, and the more of them there are the more famous a person was. What about Jesus?

Well, using this measure, Jesus was most definitely the most famous person to ever have lived. There are so very many Jesus impersonators. Thousands. Hundreds of Thousands. Millions. And the number keeps growing. But not only that, there are some pretty decent impersonators out there! I've seen some amazing men and women of God in my few years that help to point us toward Christ. That is how amazing He is. Some carpenter(actually, the Greek word could also mean stonemason, which seems to fit better with the parables he tended to use in my mind) from a backwater town called Nazareth, who lived and died while countries rose and fell, politicians controlled the world, and it seemed so easy to miss Him. And yet, He has had the biggest impact on the world we could ever imagine, or rather bigger than we could imagine. Its really truly amazing. In fact, I'm trying to be an impersonator too! Who knew I'd be trying to impersonate a famous person.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Making Plans

This coming weekend is going to be pretty huge for me. And as such I find myself wanting to plan every detail. I never really knew I was that kind of person. I'm generally a laid back person and just go with the flow, but when it comes down to the most important things in my life I find I try to plan for every contingency and make sure everything is okay. Thinking back I see thats what I did when planning for both of my trips to Tanzania. Everything was fairly meticulously categorized and accounted for.

There is a problem though. Everyone with even just a little bit of maturity and experience walking in this world (especially a mature Christian) knows that plans do not pan out. The harder and more meticulously you plan something, the less likely it is to go as you plan it to. And there is a reason for that. When we plan, we are trying to control. We are trying to control circumstances, ourselves, others, life. The problem is that we aren't in control, and every time we try to act like we are we get into huge trouble. Proverbs 16:9 says, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." Its not in our hands.

So then are all the people who don't plan for anything right then? Are we, by planning, just fooling ourselves and trying to usurp God's authority? Should we just let everything fall as it may? I don't think so. There is value in planning. There isn't value in assuming things will go according to plan. If nobody ever planned anything, nothing would ever get done. Look at that proverb again. Does it say anywhere that we shouldn't plan? No, it doesn't. It simply contrasts the plans of man and how things actually turn out. Things turn out according to the Lord's will. Sometimes our plans match up with that, and the closer in line with Him we are, the more likely that is to happen. Sometimes they don't match, and then our plans go astray. It is in those times that things don't go according to plan that our motives and character truly come through. That is when we discover whether we were being wise or foolish in our planning. We'll see how God test's my heart this weekend, and I welcome it either way. Not to mention (wonderfully odd phrase that is, on a side note, have you ever considered saying "Not to mention" and then not mention anything?) the great joy I will receive in spending time with Brenda.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Meanings of Silence

I've written on Silence before. But that was in the context of learning how to be more silent. Today I was worshiping the LORD at church and as His Glory and presence overwhelmed me I started to think. I thought about God's love for us, and His seeming silence from time to time. I thought about my inability in those moments to come up with any way to express my deep gratitude and love for Him. Then I realized that silence too can be an expression of love. Silence is more than simply the absence of something, but can be the presence of Love. Let me explain with a short story.

I talk to Brenda on the phone several times a week. There are moments when the conversation stops and we both sit there in silence. But it is so much more than simply having nothing to say because in those moments I know exactly what she is thinking and I believe she knows what I'm thinking. We both feel and want to express our love for one another, but somehow words are inadequate. Ultimately one or the other of us will break the silence with those words, "I love you." Those moments of silence are not empty but filled with our mutual affection. I know that when I am with her that I could simply sit in her presence completely satisfied to simply stare at her. No words need be exchanged.

And that is how I was feeling towards God this morning. I could not express my deep love for Him, and I didn't need to. He knows the depths of my love, however insignificant compared to His, and is satisfied to look at me in love Himself. I don't need Him to always be speaking as I grow in my maturity and knowledge of Him. He doesn't always have to continually shout His love for me with gifts and blessings, for His silence shouts His great love for me even more inexpressibly than I can imagine.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Of Great Worth

What do you do when you feel like you don't deserve something? Do you try to earn it? Do you accept it? Do you reject it?

I recently talked a little about unworthiness and the inability that we have to earn anything that we receive from the hand of God. It was mostly about trying to break down our egos about ourselves where somehow we had thought we deserved what we received. But there is a pitfall in always pointing this out which is to believe that we are worthless. There is a huge difference between being unworthy and being worthless.

Some people readily acknowledge their unworthiness and constantly berate and belittle themselves and others. It is sad to see this happen because as God's creation we have imbued worth. Not because of anything we can or have done, but because of the one who has made us. In business one has to eventually realize that just about everything is worth something. Some things that we thought would fetch a huge price have less worth than we thought and other things that we thought had little or no worth turn out to have great worth. It comes down to something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. And God has paid for you. He has paid with His Son on the cross. He paid the heaviest price that can ever be paid counterbalancing and overcoming the weight of sin. That is how much you are worth. That is how much God values you. So don't make Christ's sacrifice worthless by rejecting it or worse yet trying to earn it. Because you are worth a lot, and God has gone to great lengths to make sure that you know it.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Unworthy of Stewardship

I opened my hands this morning and realized that God has entrusted into my hands not only tasks, but the lives of others. In particular I think about the heart of my Beloved Brenda. I hold it in my hands. She is submitting herself to my leadership. She is following me. As we grow and figure out what that really means I just think about the responsibility placed in my hands and the ability given to me by her and God. What scares me most I think is that with her heart in my hands I have the ability to crush it. But truth be told, in that respect she has the same ability with my own heart.

But thats just it, when it comes down to it, we're all blubbering idiots. The responsibilities God has placed in our hands are beyond us. We are not worthy of the stewardship we've been entrusted with. With her heart in my hands, I will inevitably cause it damage, hopefully not crush it, but nevertheless I will hurt her. Not to try to justify it in some way by any kind of "I told you it would happen" scenario, but rather the recognition of the fact that I don't know what the heck I'm doing. I can't even be trusted with my own heart. I've caused so much damage even to my own heart that I can't reasonably expect that I won't hurt her as well. But still God has entrusted us with these kinds of things. We are not worthy. We are not capable. And yet He gives us these things. Because He loves us. And He will empower us. When I fail, it is because of my own shortcomings. Oh, but when I succeed! Glory be to God, for it is through Him and His Spirit that success is ever possible, even plausible. For when I relinquish lordship in my own life, these hands cease to be mine and become His. That is when her heart will be safe, nourished, cherished, and strengthened. By giving Him my hands to use as He wills, I no longer fear, but rejoice.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be
Swift and Beautiful for Thee;
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee;
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise;
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Frances R. Havergal "Take My Life and Let It Be"

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Have you ever thought about what we mean when we use the word beauty, or beautiful? What do you mean when you use the word? Without doubt we all mean something slightly different by the word. But at least to some degree we have similar understandings enough for communication to take place. But then we have the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." So there will always be disagreement on what is beautiful.

I tell my girlfriend she is beautiful. But is that something local to my existence, or can beauty ever be something broader than what is in the eye of the beholder? Dictionary.com defines beauty as, "the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest)." I happen to like this definition. With this definition we can understand why some people will find some music beautiful and others would not. There are qualities in everything. Understandably there would be some people that find certain qualities in something pleasing and other qualities displeasing. Its a bit of a ranking system. Sometimes the displeasing qualities override any possible good qualities and the person considers something or someone ugly. On the other hand sometimes people will overlook bad qualities as insignificant if the person or object contains a good quality they esteem very highly. But this still only deals with the individual perspective. Could there be any universal sense of beauty?

The second part of the definition talks about a meaningful design or pattern. I believe in a design and therefore a designer. This brings another aspect of beauty into play. Everything has some inherent beauty in it, though very marred at times, based on its nature as being designed. The beauty inherent in the creator is given to the creation. We were created for a purpose, and the better in line with that purpose we live the more beautiful I believe we become. Which brings me back to Brenda. I find her to be the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. The reason is I can see Christ through her more clearly than I could in anyone else before. Part of that is how I'm getting to know her more closely than any other person. I find her beautiful for many reasons (character, love, appearance, joy, skills, etc.). I don't think anyone else would necessarily agree with me on how beautiful she is, except for possibly her parents and I definitely don't think she's as beautiful yet as God thinks she is. I'll have to come more in line with His perspective with time. But it is because of Him that I am learning to love her in the first place. It is His hand imprinted on her soul that I find so beautiful and I'll be trying to follow His lead on this one.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Supporting Sin

I normally don't like to debate controversial subjects. Furthermore I really dislike taking political stances. But in this case I'll make an exception. I have recently become aware of a California law that has recently passed that would require public school teachers (including charter schools) to include positive discussion of the sexual orientations of transgender, bisexual, and gay Americans in all social science courses. Nothing is allowed to "reflect adversely" on these lifestyles.

Now if you're reading this blog, you either agree that this is a detestable thing or you do not. If you do, then no argument need be made. If you don't agree with me I do not think any argument I could give on a blog would convince you otherwise and would more likely dissociate you from me and my blog. I do not wish that either. So whether you support alternate sexual lifestyles (which the Bible calls sinful and detestable) or not, consider this. This law reflects a minority political social agenda, not education. Furthermore the state will be usurping the rights of parents to teach morality to their children. In Massachusetts there is already a similar law in effect and there are some parents that have actually been put in jail because they disagreed with and protested to the school about what they were teaching their children. Don't believe me? You can find out more information at http://www.stopsb48.com/. If you live in California, please find a petition to sign as this is grossly impeding on the rights of parents, morality, education, and the limited resources and finances of schools. If you do not live in California, please pray and if you know anyone who does live in California, please let them know what is going on. This is an affront to families, morality, Christianity, and God.

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 5 September 2011

A Reactionary God?

How do you view God? Not your intellectual theology about God, but how do you really think and act towards Him? Most of us have an active theology that fits more in line with a reactionary god than the Lord of Hosts and the King of Kings. We tend to think of God sitting and waiting for us to either do something wrong, so he can punish us. Or he's waiting for us to do something right so he can bless us. Its not that God doesn't punish sin or doesn't bless obedience, but there is so much more going on that no person can fully comprehend it all. Think on that for a little bit and see if your life truly fits in with this paradigm or not. Its a hard notion to shake. I think its because in many ways that is how we live ourselves, reacting to our situations.

Life is tough for most of us. Work is hard and relationships can often be even harder. There is so much going on all at once that we hardly ever have any time to do anything proactive. We're stuck in survival mode and when we're surviving all we do is base our decisions on our circumstances. We base our actions on what our felt needs are.

Another reason we tend to think of God this way is because he tends to make us wait. God's timing is never in line with our timing and as such we find ourselves waiting for direction, or provision, or any number of things we're expecting from God. Or he moves things at a pace much faster than we're comfortable with. Its rarely, if ever on track with what we'd like.

Okay, so why then do I not think God is a reactionary God? Because of what he calls us to be and who I've seen Him be in my life as well as in the Bible. I see God taking initiative all over the scriptures. He gets Moses attention to send him to be His representative before Pharaoh. He sent Jesus to die for us and be raised again. Jesus started the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. God anticipates our needs and deals with them, sometimes before we're even aware of the need. But many of the times He'll make us wait. He builds our patience and character through the trying times between our felt need and His provision.

So if God is a proactive God, and we are made in His image, then should we not also be proactive? We should not simply wait for direction, but act on what we know now. Don't worry, if you start to head the wrong direction God will correct you if you are His child. But I know in my life I've learned more about God's will through taking action on what I already know than waiting for the whole plan to be laid out for me. That's all I can do, live day by day seeking His will. There are many things, in fact most things, that I do not yet know, but I know a little and its enough to do something with. So I encourage you to stop thinking about doing something, and do something.

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 27 August 2011


There it is. The topic that every great and small philosopher, poet, musician, pastor, priest, thinker, touches on and elaborates their point of view. It is such a grand topic because it is common among all cultures and people. It is something inherent to our very existence as humanity. But the question is how do we define love? Every person has different ideas about it. Of course many of these ideas overlap, but there is some shade of nuance that makes each person unique. Is love an emotion? A character quality? An action? A virtue? A vice? Something to be used? Something to be cherished? Something to be attained? Something to be given? The list goes on and on.

The topic most often falls upon either romance, that is the intimate relationships between a man and a woman, or in Christian circles the love of God as manifest chiefly through Christ, but also through many different mediums as well.

It would be very easy to continue and write an entire book on these things and many books have been written on the subject. But I'll just point out one thing that I think is relevant that God has begun to reveal and exhibit in my life.

I have recently begun a romantic relationship with a young woman whom I am rapidly falling in love with. And in this sense I am talking about the emotions, attraction, hopes, dreams, etc. I feel towards this woman. But it didn't start out that way. In fact, I had very few emotions concerning her for quite some time except trepidation. But I made a choice. I think love is a choice. Yes, it is actions, the way we treat people, and even emotions. But before any of that can happen a person has to make a choice. The choice is whether to love or not. We make the choice every day when we decide to be kind to our enemies, or to snub the rude driver who just cut us off. I think how we act and how we feel are a result of that choice. So when I made that choice I knew that my actions would fall in line with that choice and the emotions that we so often attribute as love itself would come as well. I've learned that our idea of love can not be dependent on the emotions. Emotions can not be the basis for our love, but must be the natural result of our love. God chose to love us and as a result he sent His Son to be a substitute for our punishment in order to redeem us. It has radically changed all of our existences on a core level. And we are called to love like Christ loved. We need to make a choice, and I've made mine concerning Christ and concerning Brenda. What choice will you make?

For His Glorious Name,

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Have you ever scolded yourself for having any doubt? I know I have. I wonder at it though. Doubt is definitely set in contrast to faith. But how bad is it really? I'm starting to think God takes a little pleasure in overcoming our doubts and fears. In the Gospels Jesus says things like, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." John 20:27 He doesn't just simply tell us to stop doubting, but gives us a good reason to stop doubting. I don't think God is standing in front of a giant score-board keeping track of our faith and knocking us down a peg or two whenever we have some doubts. Remember, Satan likes to put such thoughts in our heads. What matters is what we do with the doubts we have. We can go one of two ways. We can have faith and in spite of our doubts trust in God's unfailing love and mercy. Or we can affirm our doubts and believe them to be true and important. I think Thomas gets a bad rap for that little incident and we all know him as doubting Thomas. I'm sure Peter and John ran to the tomb that morning because they doubted and had to verify it for themselves. I think it is perfectly okay for us to come before our Lord and ask him to show us himself to alleviate our doubts. Sometimes he leaves us to our doubts for a time, but inevitably He will reveal himself. All doubts will be wiped away and in the end only three things will remain, Faith, Hope, and Love. All of them are gifts, and I thank God He has given them all to me.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Summer of 2011

This afternoon I woke up from my nap.

In my mind was a song.

The song was one that has been playing in the fitness center that I work at fairly frequently.

The song's name is Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams.

The strange part was I woke up with a particular lyric altered. In the song there is a line, "Those were the best days of my life." But I woke up to the sound of "Today is the best day of my life" instead in my head. That gave me a lot to think about.

To be sure, life is going really well for me right now. I'm halfway through my grad degree. I'll be heading out onto the mission field after that to serve my Savior and King. I'm talking to an amazing girl from Montana. I can't really think of anything to complain about. So maybe today really is the best day of my life. But what about tomorrow? I think it will be too. Here is what I mean. Every day living in the moment is the best days of our lives. You're either living in the moment, in the past, or in the future. You either appreciate and thank God for today or look back on memories or look forward to future expectations. Not that memories or expectations are bad. They're a necessary part of the human experience. But there is something seriously wrong when we fail to live today to the fullest. There is something inherently superior to the experiences of now over the hopes of the future, or even the memories of the past. Ultimately I think its because the other two aren't livable. You can't live in the past or the future. You can only live now and accept it and live it to the fullest, or you can deny it and lose out on all that God has for us. In this case I think the wisdom of Yoda is appropriate, "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away. . . to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmmm? What he was doing. Hmph."

One of my favorite worship songs is "Better is One Day". This perspective has helped me to look at this song in a different way. The one day can be seen as today. If we spend today in the presence of the Lord, it is better than dwelling on a thousand great days of the past. It is superior to the expectations of a thousand great days in the future. No amount of living elsewhere but the presence of God is worth living. And he expects us to live today. Though his focus was on not worrying, Jesus talked about this issue in Matthew 6. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Verse 34. So I say this to you. Don't dwell on the past or get lost in the future. Enjoy the memories and share them and learn from them. Maintain your hope for the future and continue to pray for God's will to be done in it. But do not do so in sacrifice to living today. Live today to its fullest and enjoy the presence of our Lord each day now and forevermore.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 14 August 2011


What makes you feel significant? We all seek our significance in one way or another. Inherent in our nature is a sense of our purpose and meaning. It is truly tragic when we meet or hear of someone who has lost all sense of significance. They are truly to be pitied, because within all of us is the desire to be recognized as important, as significant. We do it in many different ways. Some of us rely on our achievements, hoping that we will be remembered for the great things we have done. Others look for it in their relationships. That is a complicated one because there are so many ways for relationships to make us feel significant. We can feel significant from our spouses, children, friends, social groups, etc. But what significance do any of these truly hold?

When I think about something such as evolution I realize that if I believed in it I personally could not continue to exist. Everything would become meaningless. I would lose all of my significance and desire to live. Its because I am forced to look at everything in big picture form. I see the whole universe and how small I am compared to it. My actions, my relationships, everything is meaningless in such a grand scale.

Even though I don't believe in evolution, there is still that issue to deal with. With the universe being so big and grand, and having a God who created it and is even bigger and grander, I have to wonder at why my existence is significant. Why am I important at all? Ultimately God doesn't need me. He can do everything he wants to do without me being here. But thats just it, he chooses us. He has chosen me for His kingdom and given me significance. He doesn't need us, but He chooses us. Through His significance as creator of all things, He has imputed His own significance upon us through the cross. Ultimately its not about what we ourselves do or who we know or who we love that gives us significance. It is quite the opposite. It is about what He has done, and that He knows us, and that He loves us that gives us significance, meaning, and importance. So much so that it is impossible for any of us to fully grasp the breadth of it. And I am grateful. And I will worship Him forever.

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 8 August 2011

Great Minds

Today, as I ate lunch, someone said, "Great minds think alike." And I started thinking about that statement. Most of the time my initial thought is, "Great minds think for themselves." But that isn't entirely accurate either as many people who have thought for themselves have led many others astray and done some of the most harm to others. Plus, if you think about it, just because you think the same thought as someone else doesn't mean both your minds are great. If the assertion that similarity of thought equals similarity of greatness is true, which I wouldn't necessarily assert. But even if it is, then that doesn't prove the minds are great, only that they are similar. One might accurately say, "Insane minds think alike," or "Baffled minds think alike" and still follow this paradigm. This eventually leads to the question, "What does a great mind think?" And I think the only satisfying answer is truth. A great mind will neither necessarily think like others nor for themselves, but rather understand and think about truth, namely Christ. A great mind thinks like Jesus. In my understanding, that is what defines a great mind.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 7 August 2011

How to Make a Man Humble

Every time I have the privilege and responsibility of preaching I am humbled. Today I preached at The King's Community Church in Langley, BC. The Pastor is away in Cameroon and a few weeks ago asked me if I could preach this Sunday. I agreed. Whenever I have preached whether it be at my home church in Fairfield, CA or in Tanzania I go into it with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. I go into it knowing that everyone there is hoping to hear some revelation and truth for their lives and I feel like a vessel completely unworthy of delivering something like that. I don't think I could ever be a full-time preacher, i.e. a Pastor. I wouldn't last long. But maybe thats the point? A man who preaches and preaches well should be aware of the weight of his words and that either the Spirit will take over on what he's saying, or he will fail miserably. Though it wouldn't be true of every man, for pride can sometimes be greater than the lesson, but if you have an honest man the easiest way to promote his humility is to have him preach a sermon.

For His Glorious Name,

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Provision for the Flesh

This is something that we have a very hard time with in North America. Not to downplay its hold it has on humanity as a whole, but we've taken this one to an art form. What I mean is our various modes of entertainment. We have TV shows and Video games that allow us to fantasize about the darker parts of our nature. For a while I watched the show Dexter. It was a short while, but in that short time it was more of an obsession. I watched an entire season in less than 2 days. I started having dreams where I was a serial killer. What bothered me the most is that it didn't bother me.

There are tons of other ways we make provision for the flesh. For me playing video games opened all sorts of doors to pornography, violent thoughts, and all sorts of sinful desires that humanity is prone to. I had to give up video games, specifically MMOs that were wreaking havoc in my heart, mind, soul, body, my whole life. But did I truly entirely give them up? In my free time just an hour ago I was playing a small little online game from Kongregate.com called Mastermind where you are an evil mastermind bent on conquering and destroying the Earth. It is a little strategy game, and yet why was I even playing it? I can't give a clear answer to that. Really it just comes down to given in to the passions of the flesh and giving a few inches in an area where I know I should not give any ground. I am thankful to God for the massive progress I've made in these areas, but the battle is not over and each day it is being fought in new ways.

One thing I've noticed is when I begin to connect with Jesus and his will, things like these fade into the background where I don't even understand why I would give them any serious thought. When I am worshiping my King I do not wish I was at home playing some online game. The thought of games or TV shows or anything like that never even enters my mind. Its entirely a non-issue. But its not just about the worship music, but rather connecting on some real level with my Lord which changes from moment to moment. Sometimes I can be listening to the best worship music in the world and be preoccupied with some vulgar thought. Its not about the act itself but in my state of mind and connection with God. If I could give you a formula for how this could happen consistently I would. But there is no such formula. I just pray I can keep my life centered on Christ as much as I can and flee from the areas where I have given provision for the flesh in the past.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Assimilation & Dissimilation

In Phonology (the branch of linguistics concerned with sound patterns) there are processes known as assimilation and dissimilation. Assimilation is the process by which one sound becomes in some way more alike a nearby sound. As a basic example, in English with nasals(m, n, ng) sounds immediately preceding stops(p, b, t, d, k, g) the nasals will assimilate to the same place of articulation of the stop. That is, with p or b, it will be an m, t or d an n, or k and g, ng. Just try saying humgry instead of hungry, or hunble instead of humble. It will feel incredibly awkward to you to say them that way. Dissimilation is similar except in reverse, sounds become less alike in some way usually in order to more easily distinguish them apart. This is most prominent between vowels to help people hear articulation differences that may be difficult to perceive. Appropriately I think, assimilation is far more common than dissimilation. I say that because I see these same kinds of patterns in people, especially myself.

Most people seek to conform to their environments. Though not everyone necessarily wants to completely blend in, most people to a degree want to fit in and be like everyone else. They don't need to stand out and be different for the sake of being distinguishable from others. They are content to ignore and be ignored by the majority of the world's population. They want to be the same, not different. Then there are a few who are different. Maybe not because of some inherent quality but because of their desire to stand out as such. I am one of those people. I encourage in myself those qualities that seem dissimilar from the majority of the population. I do not want to be the same as others. If I have too many people agreeing with my point of view I tend to reevaluate it and examine whether what I think or believe is truly worth holding. I even dress a bit differently. I enjoy activities that are usually uncommon. I stand out in the crowd. I am an introvert that is loud. I am a man who doesn't want to be noticed, but can't allow myself to blend in. Even within this broader category I've labeled here I want to further differentiate myself even from this group. Most of these people I would imagine are content to be different in one or only a few areas that distinguish them from others. In Phonology it is called minimizing features. You only name the fewest number of features that are relevant to sufficiently distinguish a sound or group of sounds from all others. But I am not like this. You would think I'd be content to be the only (fill in the blank with some unique quality, skill, trait, etc.) around or at least in my group of friends, but I am not. I must be different in a myriad of ways. I have to be better, faster, or at least do things in a different way than you do or I feel like I'm copying people. I don't just stop at one or even a few qualities that make me different from others, I keep going. I be as different as I can be without compromising my core beliefs. I don't know if this is the way I was created to be, or if it was some subconscious decision I made, but this is what I'm like. When I came to CanIL it was a rather strange experience for me because in no other place have I ever had so much in common with other people. It has truly turned me into even stranger of a person. The way I dress, talk, interact, everything has become even more eccentric because of my need to dissimilate. And this might become a problem as I go out onto the mission field for Christ. Maybe what I'll need to be is someone who blends in and doesn't make a splash. I like to make a splash too much. Maybe what I'll have to learn is to be drastically different than the Jason I've always been and dissimilate from who I was in the past to be effective for Christ. But I'm not concerned, for I know it is Christ's work, not mine and I am only a tool. I'll just be the best tool I can be. And for now it looks a lot different than all the other tools lying around.

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 18 July 2011

Day of Rest

This morning I really really didn't want to get up. I see this as a problem. I'm a morning person, and even though I normally get up at 5:30, this morning was a really tough one for me. That means I didn't really have all that good of a day of rest. If my day of rest is actually restful, I am always ready to go Monday morning. For me, I'm starting to put some of my personality together in this respect to understanding. Although I am a very gregarious person, I am an introvert. All that really means is that social interaction is a drain for me rather than how I recover. This means staying longer after church to talk, going out for lunch with people, hanging out and fellowshipping, are all energy draining activities for me. And I've been very social recently. Actually, I find it kind of funny that last weekend I felt was more restful than this weekend even though I went on two large hikes on Saturday and Sunday. I still woke up ready to go on Monday. But this weekend where all I did on Sunday was spend time with friends after church, I wanted to lie in bed and never get up. I put this all out there to say I need to spend a little more time on Sundays doing nothing. In our overexerted culture that seems like a terrible waste of time, but if I were to just sit around and think, pray, and spend time in the word I think I would be much better off. We're all different and recover in different ways, so these are only applicable to me, but maybe you also need to figure out how you recover from life best and start implementing a more effective day of Rest.

For His Glorious Name,

Friday, 15 July 2011

Luke Warm Universe

Anyone who has any semblance of education in Physics is familiar with the concept of Heat Death. This is the theory that states the universe has its ultimate end in the balanced state of no thermodynamic free energy. It means nothing can be moving or exerting force. When a body exerts force or uses energy it is taking a set amount of energy available and using it in two ways. Either it is doing some kind of work, or it is released in heat, which is useless energy. Eventually all of the free energy will dissipate based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics, namely the conservation of mass and energy in the universe, and that any system tends toward thermodynamic equilibrium, or entropy. I was thinking about this concept and Revelation as pertains the Laodicean church. I reflected on the current trend towards postmodernity and the general acceptance of all beliefs and ways of life. All of these to me look a lot like a tendency towards heat death in the spiritual realm. Now I'm not going to develop any long analogies or theories, but just want to point out they are oddly similar in many ways. Even our personal lives act in a similar way. If you are a Christian, you likely remember the passion with which you served, loved, worshiped, and followed Christ at the first. Do you still have the full force of that passion? Most don't. I pray every single day for God to give me more passion for Him and His Word, because I know without the infusion of His Spirit, life, and energy I cannot sustain anything. Because in the physical universe we occupy, unless something comes in from the outside and changes us and our situation, we are heading towards a long slow heat death.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


I was running this morning and for the first mile I decided to go barefoot. After that I put on my pair of Vibram FiveFingers. The ones I run in are the Bikila model which got me thinking about the company and their designs and products. Every once in a while there is a new model, sometimes much more different than others, sometimes not quite so much. When the Women's Bikila has an upgrade, it becomes the Women's Bikila LS, but you can still get the original. That started me thinking how in a Western Economy more products equals better company. So instead of simply upgrading the design of a shoe, we end up with more versions of it to give people choices. Because we love choices. I started to despise consumerism in North America and how it plays out in our lives. I think I despise it so much because I see it in myself as well. Even while I was running and thinking negatively about consumerism I was thinking how nice it would be to have a pair of KSO Trek or Treksport. As I realized this I became disgusted with myself. I like to call myself a minimalist in many areas of my life, but the closet near our door is halfway full of my shoes. I've got maybe 3 or 4 pair of running shoes in there, a pair of dress shoes, two pairs of vibrams, a pair of sandals, and who knows what else. I've got almost as many shoes as the average woman. To be fair though, the newest pair of shoes I have are my Bikilas which were a present from my parents for Christmas and after that my KSOs are newest at a year and a half or so. Beyond that all of my shoes are 2 years old or older and I don't intend to be buying shoes anytime soon. But still I think about what I would do if someone offered me another pair of Vibrams and I have to admit I wouldn't turn down the offer. There is a small stronghold of consumerism and materialism in my heart and no matter how hard I try I can't stamp it out. Its a battle only Christ can win within me. My final few thoughts were about a commercial on a local Christian radio station about mobile banking. It describes a family going for a nice walk, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson and their kids. Mrs. Robinson sees a hammock that would be great for Mr. Robinson's birthday coming up. She looks in her checkbook and realizes the account doesn't have enough in it. So she gets on her phone and using her new mobile banking makes a transfer and everyone is happy. It saddens me that our culture is so based on instant gratification, which is a large part of our consumerism. We see what we like and we must have it now, sometimes by whatever means necessary including loans and such to get something really nice for ourselves. God has put something that mitigates this in my own life, running, which has no concept of instant gratification. It is a highly delayed gratification, which I am grateful for. But it is only a mitigator. It is not the solution. My only hope and solution is in Christ who is able to change me and make me new. I'm glad I don't need a new pair of Vibrams, and won't be buying any anytime soon. In fact I think I'll slowly make the transition to complete barefoot running over the next year or so. We'll see.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 3 July 2011


I've recently been giving some thought to various doctrines about Spiritual gifts and gifts in general. We all have a certain attitude towards them. With the Brethren church which my roommate Cheddy attends, they believe in the cessation of gifts, that is no speaking in tongues, prophetic word, dreams, visions, etc. Some churches esteem certain gifts like tongues and even say if you don't speak in tongues you are not truly a Christian (a heavenly tongue, as opposed to the tongues of men). Most are somewhere in between. I grew up in a United Methodist Church and I have somewhat of a skepticism towards some of the spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues. It is something that I have had to keep an eye on, especially at The King's Centre where I attend church here in Canada. It is a church with Pentecostal roots and I often hear people speaking in tongues during worship or prayer. Ultimately my point isn't so much about tongues, but our attitudes towards our own gifts and callings and the gifts and callings of others.

Someone recently said, "Bible Translators are kind of like the rock stars of missionaries." This statement is loaded with the attitudes people and churches hold towards certain gifts and callings. We have certain assumptions about missionaries in general like they're more spiritual and closer to God and so forth than the people who remain behind. I also heard someone recently say, "One of the things people are always surprised about going out onto the mission field. They are expecting the older missionaries to be more spiritual and holy than they are, but then they arrive and find out that they're just people too." Ultimately it comes down to each person has certain assumptions about gifts and callings concerning how well people are being obedient to God. The missionary is almost always considered to be more obedient to God than the person who gives or the person who does prison ministry, or even the lady down the street who watches neighbors kids while they're at work. But obedience to God is not dependent on the task. We are not more spiritual or holy if we are preachers or missionaries than any other gift or calling. What determines obedience is whether we do what we are asked or not. Someone who becomes a missionary but was asked to lead a prayer group during youth group is being disobedient. Likewise, someone who makes coffee for the teachers at a public school each morning before taking their spot at the administration desk is being obedient if that is what they've been asked to do. So all I'm really saying is be aware of your assumptions. Don't assume someone is less spiritual or obedient to God because they aren't doing the "super-spiritual" things we are expecting to see from obedient servants of God.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 23 June 2011


As a linguist I think it is in my job description to be hyper aware of different senses of words. Most words in human languages have nuances of meaning to them depending on their context. Sure, dictionaries are helpful and keep us somewhat all on the same page, but they by no means capture all the senses of words and nuances of meaning. It is because of these different senses that humor is even possible most of the time. When we make a joke we usually use a word, or words that normally has one connotation in a certain context and use it in another context where it doesn't really belong and creates a tension that we generally find humorous. Enough about the theory of humor though and on to what I wanted to talk about.

Hope as we use it commonly is nothing like the hope described in the Bible. Let me put it in context for you. "I hope Jill comes to the party tonight." vs. "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5 Do you see the difference? One is dependent on a fortuitous outcome. If Jill does not come to the party, then your hope is in vain and has disappointed you. Biblical hope does not disappoint. In fact, it is in our sufferings that we hope even more. It is when things are least fortuitous that hope swells. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 it says, "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;" just after talking about the passing away of things that aren't permanent like childishness, prophecies, tongues, etc. meaning that hope will not pass away. Hope is everlasting and something we have because of what Christ has done for us. No circumstance can steal it from us. No enemy can crush it. Our hope in Christ does not disappoint, no not ever.

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 20 June 2011

Tradition and Change

As with most polar opposites we like to classify things, life and people are usually on a continuum. The same is true concerning tradition and change. I don't know about you but when I think about tradition I think about the Catholic church, or even the pharisees in the Bible who hold on to tradition at all costs. But then when I think about change I think of hippies and challenging the status quo. I think that both tradition and change can be good things, but also bad things.

Tradition is something that the Pharisees held so highly that they had esteemed it on the same level as scripture. Often the reason for how upset they got with Jesus was because he didn't follow their traditions. But tradition is not a bad thing inherently. It helps us to pass along culture, teach lessons, and sustain community. Traditions carry meaning. We remember things about our past and value our history because of traditions. Holidays and festivals are one category of tradition that almost everyone observes in varying degrees. In fact, when you think about it, it is impossible for humans to not hold traditions because that would mean living differently all the time, which in a way would be a tradition of its own. Its just in the case when traditions become so important to us that they become a detriment to life and faith, which was the case of the Pharisees. It is in these instances that Change is necessary and desirable.

Change in culture is not an easy thing. People in general do not like to change. It requires the power and motivation of the Lord to create change in individual lives and in cultures. But Change can also be a bad thing. If we start to change things that shouldn't be changed, it because a detriment. If we seek to change the laws of God and say something like one of the ten commandments and say that stealing is no longer wrong, then change is a bad thing. There are certain unalterable truths about God and his character and to attempt to change what he has commanded of us is wrong.

People tend to lean one way or another on this continuum and value tradition over change or vice versa change over tradition. However, I see both qualities in our Lord Jesus who sought to change what was erroneous and contrary to His will, but also upheld the traditions that bring people closer to God. It requires discernment to tell the difference.

For His Glorious Name,

Friday, 17 June 2011


I've been pretty busy the past few days. With that comes the unfortunate (or fortunate depending on perspective) side-effect of having less time to just think. Since I have gotten into the habit of blogging every few days that has become a problem because I have had no new topics to really talk about. That is until I thought about maybe borrowing ideas from others and talking about those. Ahhhh, there we go, what about that topic?! It set me off thinking about creativity and originality.

When you really think about everything we as humans have done, none of it is truly original. What I mean is that there is nothing completely new that did not exist before. Everything we do in terms of creativity is manipulation and change of what already exists. Our ideas and creations are bounded by what God has created already. I'm about to use an old cliche example, but try and think of a new color for the rainbow. Try and come up with an animal that has no relation to or similarity to any known living thing. We can't do it. It is something truly beyond us. We can do amazing things with what is already there, but we can do nothing out of nothing. Just read Ecclesiastes sometime and Solomon will repeat on several occasions, "There is nothing new under the sun." We've made amazing advancements in technology over recent years. But even those completely "novel" ideas that men from hundreds of years ago would completely marvel at are simply manipulation, adaptation, and use of what already exists. We have a greater understanding of the physical universe and so can use it to a greater extent than ever before, but by no means did we come up with anything new. I wonder if we ever would have thought about building planes to fly if God had never created birds. Many of our technologies nowadays are adaptations from the world of animals like velcro and solar power.

When we have to write papers at universities, in light of these things, I find it humorous that we have to cite things as much as we do. Basically if the idea isn't yours and is not original you have to cite your source. I think it would be infinitely better and easier for everyone if we all could just assume that the idea wasn't original to the author to begin with. After all, originality is a quality that I think only God possesses.

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 13 June 2011

Zombie Lord of All

What do you think about when you think about zombies? What are they like? Though zombie movies vary in the traits of zombies (some are fast, some slow), there are certain characteristics that are common. First there is usually an original zombie that starts the epidemic and then it spreads like wildfire. A zombie is someone who was dead and is now alive. A zombie is someone who lacks sense and is obsessed with only one thing (usually brains), a mindless drone. And when I first look at these things I wonder if that is how the world sees Christians. Jesus was the start of it all from where the infection of Christianity spread. He died and then came back to life. That sounds kinda like a zombie to me. People are bitten by other zombies and become Christians who are mindless drones that can't think for themselves (mind you, I'm talking from a worldly perspective). And it has been spreading for millennia now and every attempt to extinguish it has failed utterly. In this way, Jesus might be described as the Zombie Lord of All. That is what I'm sure the world sees when they look at us, but let me tell you what I thought about after that.

In truth, I think its exactly the opposite. I look at the world and I see billions of people who are deceived. There is life out there to be had, but they still walk mindlessly in their sin and death. They are the walking dead, and that is the most basic meaning of a zombie. They are dead and they don't even know it. They go about their days without purpose and insight into the true nature of the universe, themselves, and God. Then we consider Jesus and how he approaches the diseased and walking Dead. He died and defeated death. In truth he created a cure for zombiism which sheds light on purpose and removes the haze of mindlessness. He is in fact the exact opposite of a zombie and is the only way to cure the condition. It all depends on perspective. From the world Jesus will be seen as the cause of zombies, but from the perspective of God, the Church, the Truth, he is the cure for zombies. Just an interesting thought that was much harder to express than I thought it would be.

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Back to Canada

If you are one of the 3 people that read this blog, then just be aware that I won't ALWAYS pester you with my deep thoughts, I also pester you with some of my personal life! With that said, I'm back to Canada and my life there. Wednesday I took off from home with my Mom (who volunteered to come and drive overnight Thursday night so I could sleep because I had meetings starting Friday morning but also plans to spend all day Thursday with my best friend Kyle in Boise, ID). On our way through Auburn we stopped off at the Confluence and I joined Jake for one last run. We decided to do K2 three times. We took off the first one as Jake decided to go for a PR, which he accomplished with an 11:06 split. I don't know exactly where I was because I haven't been wearing my watch on runs lately (intentionally). I always immensely enjoy my painful runs with Jake who is an intense and amazingly talented ultra-runner. He is also a strong believer with a heart for missions, so our conversations on our runs are always encouraging and challenging.

We took off and I drove most of the way to Boise (except for a short stint where my mom stole the driver seat while I was using the restroom and getting a sandwich from Subway). We got to Boise and showed up where Kyle has been housesitting for a couple on their honeymoon. Kyle and I joked around and talked until around 1:30 in the morning. Luckily my mom was tired enough (less than 3 hours of sleep the night before) to sleep through our jesting as I can be very loud when I laugh.

The next day was great to spend with Kyle and Amanda. I helped out at their church's VBS that they were in charge of (their church would be an amazing place to play hide and seek). Kyle and Amanda are heavily involved in that church and are basically the youth ministry leaders. Oh, almost forgot to mention their housemate and friend Jessy who was a fun individual. She works in assisted living homes so has a pretty erratic schedule, but she got to spend most of the day with us. We all five of us went out to a breakfast shop for lunch where Kyle wanted me to try the Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast. It was interesting and tasty. We went back to the house and did various things like letting the 4 dogs out of the house. There were 4 dogs there, 2 cats, 2 bunnies, and 2 donkeys. Kyle and I went to interact with the donkeys. The dominant one, Triumph, is a female that basically wants all the attention that the other one may get. This one isn't all that skiddish and pretty quickly allowed me to pet her and brush her. The other one, Samaria, was much more skiddish and never did let me get close to her. Eventually we got on Triumph and held on to ride her to get her used to the idea. She didn't really like the idea, but after a little while got used to it, or was just tired, not sure which. After we were done with the donkeys we went around town and he showed me a few things like the home they'll be staying in when the owners of the house they're staying in now return, the school he recently graduated from, driving past some park areas, and visited a few minutes with a friend that he knew well and I had met at Kyle and Amanda's wedding. We went back to the house and decided to explore the basement and see if there was anything we could play with. We eventually found some badminton and croquet stuff. After batting around a birdie for a few minutes until it broke we decided to do something more productive. We starting pulling the weeds that were everywhere underneath the hammock they wanted to clear out. We were just buying time since Amanda was at piano lessons (well, actually, lessons about how to give lessons). We went out to dinner after she returned and had a good joking around time. After returning it was time to leave and that was too bad but it was 10 PM and I had a 10AM meeting in Langley with about a 10 hour drive.

So I slept as my mom drove and she dropped herself off at SeaTac Airport. I then continued on northward to Canada, got to my home there and dropped everything off and got ready for the day. Lots of orientation and team building stuff happened. After all of this logistical stuff I went home to meet up with my 3 roommates whom haven't all been together since January. We decided we'd have a good night and went to some friends' place, watched the end of the Canucks game and had dinner (pizza). We returned home and I was as tired as I've been in a very long time. I was out pretty much in seconds upon lying down on my section of the floor. I feel blessed to have these friends and family and my intention is to glorify God through these relationships.

For His Glorious Name,

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Dodging Twitterpation

I like that word, twitterpated. It's from the movie Bambi used to describe how everyone was falling in love in the spring and that everyone eventually falls "victim" to it. I feel like I'm about to head into such a period and I'm a little paranoid. Let me explain. Last summer during Summer @ CanIL I saw at least 3 couples start from the students that were there. There were several skits on "Vowel Harmony" something linguistic but used as a joke counterpart to "eHarmony". I even had professors and staff at some points make intimations and suggestions. The overall expectation is that its okay. And in truth it is, but for some reason it isn't the kind of situation I imagine myself building a relationship with a woman. To be sure, in no other place am I likely to find someone with similar or the exact same goals in life that I have, so maybe if I dodge twitterpation this summer then I'll remain single for the rest of my life. Theres the rub though, I'm okay with that. I'm not even sure that I want to get married someday. God is going to have to speak to me in that area and lead me, because honestly I'm an idiot when it comes to these things, so I generally avoid the subject. Sure I joke about it a lot, but honesty in this area is something I struggle with because I don't want to deal with it. So I find myself heading into a situation I don't particularly like and wonder what might happen this summer. Luckily (this is about the only time I use the word luck!) and ultimately, Christ is in charge, not me. So I'm not too worried about it.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Coming and Going

I wonder how Paul's family reacted when God met him on the road and he became a follower of Christ. Who was he close to? How did his relationships change? When he left to travel and preach the Gospel, what ways did they confirm his calling or seek to divert it? Tomorrow I'll be leaving and heading back to school up in Canada. I'll make a quick stop off in Auburn to run with Jake, then drive to Idaho where my friend Kyle lives with his wife Amanda (also a good friend). Then a quick overnight drive to Seattle to drop off my mom at the airport (she offered to drive overnight so I could sleep) and up to Langley for some meetings at CanIL getting ready for Summer @ CanIL where I'll be TAing this summer. Now that I've set the picture I wonder the things previous and how Paul felt about leaving those he loved. I've always lived with a level of detachment from people and things. Most of my life I suppressed my emotions, and that has left me in a place where for the past few years as a follower of Christ I've been wanting. I've worked hard to understand and stop suppressing my emotions, but its a long road. So when I say I don't miss people when I'm gone from them, its not for lack of deep relationships. I've learned to make those deep relationships with my family and seek every opportunity to spend time with them and have also made deep relationships with people like Jake and Kyle. But I have to admit that I am still deficient in these areas. Maybe that is for a reason, since both times I've been to Tanzania and the time I've spent away from those I love, I have never been homesick. Well, to be honest there was one moment while I was in Tanzania where I saw a young man with Down's Syndrome and for those few moments severely missed my dear sister Dawn. Beyond that though, I've never been homesick. Maybe its because I'm emotionally deficient. Maybe its because I believe and feel like my true home is in the Kingdom of God, so I'm either always in a state of homesickness, or not homesick at all (its hard to say being a uninterrupted continuous state). Maybe it is because I was created to be a voice among the voiceless to bring the Gospel of Christ to those who do not yet know it. Maybe its a combination of all these things. Whatever it may be I doubt I'll ever know for sure, but one thing is sure, I'll be coming and going for the rest of my mortal life here on Earth.

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Gaining Perspective on the Storm

I just got back from a run in the rain. Running in the rain isn't usually much fun (depending on if you're running with some goofy people or not that can change), and I have a bad memory of a race my freshman year in high school that was pouring rain and I was frozen stiff for most of the day. Anyhow I was driving to the Track to get in my morning run and as I went I prayed a simple prayer, "Lord, please take this rain away, or if it is not your will, then show me the lesson or reason for this rain." Well, I got my answer. There is an elderly gentleman from my church that I've been helping out with various projects in and around his home for the past few weeks. When I go over I usually go at 10 AM and stay until around 4 or 5 PM. Today this posed a few problems as I have a 10 mile run I need to get in sometime this afternoon. But I also want to go to church at Bridgeway at 6PM with an hour drive. If you're doing your math like I am, there simply wouldn't have been time to do all three things. When I returned from my very wet run I had a message on my cell phone from Tony telling me that we had to call today off. I guess today's project was outside. The whole point of this story is to emphasize that unpleasant things in our lives, that we analogically call storms sometimes, may have some purpose we don't yet grasp or some positive effect we're not focusing on. For those of you in Northern California getting rained on right now, sorry about that, God sent the rain for me ;).

For His Glorious Name,

Friday, 3 June 2011

Addicted to Creme Soda

I'm sitting in a rocking chair across the room from my napping nephew so my Dad can get a little away time and recover a bit with a can of Shasta creme soda next to me. I've been drinking a lot of these creme sodas the past few days and I can't seem to get enough of them, which is strange. I'm not a soda (pop) kind of person normally. I prefer water or gatorade or some juice or something else. It doesn't have any caffeine either so that can't be the explanation. It must be psychological, which got me thinking back.

Maybe I just really like creme soda, and to a large extent that is true, but there is something else, memories. A few years ago while I attended William Jessup University, I had some amazing time with friends. My time at WJU is pretty much all fond. I don't have any negative memories that I can think of. To clarify, I don't mean there aren't any painful memories, because there definitely were, but nevertheless they were good memories that I cherish. Some of those memories involve a get together a few of us had every Wednesday night for almost a year. My friends Kyle, Mike, Aaron, and I would regularly gather to play Risk (there were some other folk that would also play, but these were the regulars) of various versions (The second version of the original risk, LOTR risk, Risk 2210, and eventually Star Wars Risk). It was one of my favorite times of the week, and Kyle and I started picking up something to drink from the store to share with the guys for the night. If you have any deductive reasoning skills you can guess what it was. We would pick up a 6-pack each of Henry Weinhard's root beer, vanilla creme soda, and my favorite orange creme. It wasn't until I gave it some thought that I had attached such fond memories to the drink, but I realized whether I had known it or not the drinking of the creme soda made me feel good because of those memories. We do that as human beings, attach memories to sights, tastes, sounds, smells, and various sensations. I'm grateful that God has created us this way, otherwise there would be so many wonderful memories that I wouldn't think about without those sensory reminders.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Receiving Gifts

I've still been thinking about the same thing today, and I realized something fairly profound specifically in my relationship with my mother. She likes to get gifts. She likes to be appreciated for the material blessings she gives to others, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is gifts don't mean a whole lot to me. As I've been saying, I'm a minimalist, and material things really don't mean much to me. If you've ever read the book "The Five Love Languages" then you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, I highly recommend you read it, it will help you understand others and yourself much better in terms of how you express and interpret love. I'm a person that feels love best through quality time. The more time I spend with you, the more appreciative of our relationship I am and the more I feel loved. Thats probably why right now I feel very close to my good friend Jake whom I've been running with at least once a week since I came home to California.

Blogs of Note

Okay, this is something that is getting on my nerves. So far every time I look at one of the blogs from Blogs of Note, I am severely disappointed. Many of the blogs have interesting titles, like the one that I just looked at called "What is reality anyway?" I was hoping it would be someone who was interesting and deep, a thinker who ponders reality and other subjects evaluating our existence as human beings. Nope. It was a bunch of pictures of some girls partying and dressing up. It was basically a fashion blog. This has been my experience with just about every Blog of Note that I've seen. So why do I keep looking through them? I don't know. Maybe its because I'm hoping eventually something truly interesting will pop up, but I doubt it. I have a feeling the people who choose the Blogs of Note aren't what I would consider interesting.

Slightly annoyed,

Looking down on "materialistic" folk.

I recently wrote about my personal life choices concerning minimalism, use of money, materialism, etc. I was just thinking about it and I wanted to point out a few pitfalls of following this lifestyle. First and foremost is the temptation to feel better than others because we have "chosen a higher path." Its a bunch of hogwash. Labeling any path as higher or lower requires evaluating them, and I don't believe any human is qualified to do such a thing, only God. So I want to let everyone know, at least for me, that just because I choose not to spend money on nicer things and stick to the basics is not a judgement on your choices. I choose not to do those things because I see them as distractions and the more I allow myself to partake of those blessings the less clearly I can see Christ. So I value minimalism almost to the point of asceticism. Which is another temptation. Someone like me who has chosen a path of minimalism also has a tendency to want to withdraw completely from the world. I know I have from time to time wondered what it would be like to be a monk. I've also considered doing one of those 1 month as a monk opportunities, because then I wouldn't have to deal with the world! But its wrong to withdraw from the world because that is why Christians are still here on Earth rather than taken away from it as soon as they're saved. I would not be fulfilling my purpose in life by running away from the world. So those are the two things I fairly constantly keep in mind, not judging people for their lifestyle choices and not running away from my responsibilities as a Christian. Its a balancing act that is getting easier with time, but I hope it never gets too easy.

For His Glorious Name,

Afterthought: Perhaps my choice of the words "lifestyle choices" wasn't the best choice since those words within our culture carry some other connotations and maybe you thought of them immediately while reading those words. So let me clarify. I am only speaking concerning the use of resources, specifically money, in order to gain material wealth and for lack of a better term, "stuff". I am however not saying I approve of lifestyle choices such as are clearly sinful in the Bible such as homosexuality, murder, thievery, etc.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Without Prejudice?

Well, I'm going to write about a topic I think most people have probably thought about and considered, so its probably not new to you. But I'm a linguist, and one of the things I can't help doing is dissecting words. We don't like prejudice. When someone calls you "prejudiced" you get angry whether the words are true or not because its an insult. When we think of prejudice we think of groups like the KKK or the Nazis. We think of these horrific events in history where some group has oppressed other groups simply for being different and as soon as someone calls another person prejudiced that is what we think of. In today's culture, calling someone prejudiced is tantamount to calling them Hitler. So we end up without convictions and live in realms of double speak and shifting sands. But that is off topic. I want to look at the word itself, prejudice.

I think we can agree that the two basic parts of the word are pre- and judge. Prejudice means to judge someone beforehand (before what is a matter of context and interpretation). Now like any word we can use it in different ways, but I'm just trying to get at where it came from. Most of the time we would mean prejudice is judging someone before really getting to know them, basically assumptions. Only that these are assumptions deemed inappropriate and often evil. But when you really think about it making prejudgements (even character ones) and assumptions is what makes life manageable. We can't wait everytime we meet a new person or situation to fully understand it before we interacting with it, we must engage first and then learn. We make loads of assumptions all the time. I assume the person working at the store down the street speaks English. I assume the person in approaching the stop sign to my right after me obeys the same road rules as me. I assume basic etiquette is shared with all the people that are waiting in line at the bank. Its usually when our assumptions and expectations are violated that we tend to get annoyed or even angry, but we have to make these assumptions to even get by in this world. It is just that some assumptions are bad, and some are good. I wouldn't presume to tell you which are which since society is in a terribly befuddled place these days as concerns that particular notion. However, just be aware that there is no such thing as a person without prejudice or assumptions.

For His Glorious Name,

Monday, 30 May 2011

God isn't fair.

As always I must clarify. Most, if not all words have more than one sense. First I want to clarify what I don't mean, which is "God isn't just." We often equate the concepts of fairness and justice. Though I don't have any particular problem with this, its the other, I think more common, sense that causes problems because we start to use it trying to carry the weight of Justice, but really it is something else. This sense contains roughly the qualities of equality and even distribution of various things (resources, time, attention, etc.). This sense of the word fair is running rampant through our culture wreaking all kinds of havoc in my opinion, because it is rooted in a basic human vice, Jealousy.

Jesus told a parable about this very thing in Matthew 20:1-16. If you recall it is the story of the master of a household who went out and hired some people in the morning promising a day's wages. He again went out at different times of the day and hired more people even up until the last hour of the day. When he paid them, he paid them all the same. The workers who worked all day basically said, "Hey, thats not fair!" Their accusation of fairness was not based on Justice, but rather on Jealousy as they felt entitled to more if they worked more, when in truth they received exactly what they were promised and agreed upon. It would have been unjust if the master of the house had paid them less than agreed. In these situations I think of a spoiled jealous kid who is angry with his parents about his new bike because the kid down the street has a new bike that is shinier and has a bell on it. How can we see the Jealousy there and yet not within ourselves when we feel wronged in such a way, when in truth our idea of fair is not just.

I started to think about this and realize this when I did something much like this kid and these workers. This summer I will be working as a TA for Phonological Analysis during the summer @ CanIL and I am blessed. However, I also had applied for a TA position for this coming fall. I was not accepted to a position for the fall and noticed that some of my friends and fellow students had received a position who had already received TA positions more than once during our time there whereas my first TA position is this summer. As I started to feel cheated and that it wasn't fair God revealed to me the poison in my veins as Jealousy. My idea of fairness wasn't based on justice or any noble quality, but rather the fit I was throwing over the boy down the street's new bike. You see, with Jealousy often comes the sentiment of entitlement, that somehow we ought to have the same or better. If God has blessed another in such and such a way, He should also bless me in that way! After I realized this error in my heart and mind it quickly abated as falsehood never lasts long in the light of truth.

I've looked around online at people's arguments biblically concerning fairness and without exception so far every time a verse they use is examined it is used in the sense of justice, impartiality, or righteousness. This is simply not the more common way we seem to use the word and concept of fair in our society. I also think it in some places has wormed its way into our theology as some people see a God who would predestine people for heaven and hell as unfair. Maybe theres something wrong with our idea of fair instead of something wrong with the doctrine of predestination?

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 28 May 2011


I love simplicity. I love going back to the basics. When life gets complex, I return to the foundation, Christ. When my theology gets out of hand and my theories become frayed at the edges, I cut off the all the excess and return to the Source. Maybe its because of how complex my mind can be that I value simplicity so much. The simplicity of going out for a run and communing with nature and God is one of the most effective means to quiet my restless mind, heart, and soul. Maybe that explains some of my life choices.

One might describe me as a minimalist. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm anti-materialistic, at least not in the way ancient philosophers might have asserted. I'm the kind of guy who doesn't value money very highly. I use it to meet my basic needs for which it can provide (only a few of my basic needs, the others of which money has no bearing) food, clothing, and shelter. I feel no need to seek a career that will give me loads of money. I don't even feel like seeking a career that would provide any money at all. I like to serve people with no monetary benefit to myself. I don't like to accumulate property. If it were up to me, anything beyond my immediate needs I would rather give away most of the time (my books are one apparent exception, but I tend to lend them out and sometimes not get them back, so not really). I like to go hiking and spend time with friends, things that take no money. I like to run in my Vibrams because they are closer to my bare feet than a regular pair of shoes and maybe someday I really will run truly barefoot. All of this to illustrate something that I believe that affects me in all these ways, that nothing truly belongs to me. Everything I see around me, my clothes, food, trinkets, books, air, and even my own body are not mine. I am simply a steward of these things that I call "mine." I suppose thats why I don't care how much money I have or what I eat. I could eat high class food just as well as I eat rice and beans. I could live indefinitely off of whatever God gives me because I don't worry about how He uses what belongs to Him, including my self.

I've been thinking about this recently and realizing some of the repercussions of this belief and this lifestyle. One is that it dramatically reduces my desire for and ability to get married and have children some day. Don't get me wrong, I sometimes long for such things, but there are some difficulties. On the one hand these lifestyle choices will make the transition to the mission field, wherever that may be, an easier one as I can adapt to basically any condition. However, it also means I would have trouble providing for a family. Maybe I'm not supposed to and rely on God. But I have to admit there would be tension there between my minimalist attitudes and my family. To be sure it probably wouldn't be possible with any woman that didn't share most if not all of these views to begin with. I don't know about you, but women like that are exceptionally rare, at least among those I've met. I'm not particularly worried about it though. I don't think its really up to me anyhow.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Why choose Bible Translation?

As you may or may not know, I am currently in the process of training to become a Bible Translator and linguistic consultant in order to see the Gospel and Kingdom of God spread through all cultures. Its a fairly uncommon field in comparison to what most people do. The task rarely even pops up on the radars of most people, even Christians. So its understandable that I often get the question, "Why Bible Translation?" The motives for this question are varied and vast as some are genuinely curious while others seek to convince you of some other path or to justify their own choices. I can not speak for others choices or paths, only my own. So usually when asked this question I give the steps and ways God has spoken to me specifically in leading me down this path. However, this personal testimony today is more along the lines of my perspective on some of the other choices I might have made instead and mainly concerns an event where I realized that God has made me for something a little less common.

I attend a church called Bridgeway Christian Church when I can. I find it to be a place that God has spoken to me clearly and a place where people genuinely seek to glorify and serve God with their lives. So please do not interpret this as any kind of criticism of the church. However, one weekend the church, instead of having a normal service we had stations set aside to do various acts of service. It was a project to put together boxes and supplies for the homeless and the task was very great indeed considering how much was done. I appreciate the service the church was giving to the community as well as the motivation for people to become involved in their communities. However as the busyness of the task was progressing I stood back and began to think and pray. There were more than a thousand people in that large warehouse-like room packing boxes, folding clothes, praying for people, etc. I saw them lining up to have a chance to help out when it hit me. I saw the great disparity. While in Tanzania I saw thousands of people line up to receive 15 minutes with a doctor and receive some basic medical care and here people were lining up to have a chance to serve. That is when I realized that I wasn't made to do what everyone else was doing. I wasn't made to remain in places of relative comfort and line up alongside many others to do the tasks that we have too many people doing already. I need to be in a place where the harvest is great and the workers are few. I need a place where if I left there would be noone to replace me. I had a professor in my undergrad share something with me once saying,

"Twenty-five years ago I was trying to find the balance between current ministry responsibilities (I was the youth minister at my home church) and the desire to go into missions. It was difficult to think about leaving the church and ministry I had known for several years and the kids I loved. I realized, however, on a trip to the Philippines that if I resigned from my ministry at the church there would be many people lining up to take the job. With the mission ministry, however, no one was lining up for that one."

I don't begrudge those whose callings are not the same as mine. Just like people have different spiritual gifts, people have different callings and paths their lives must take. I do not look down upon the person whose spiritual gift is giving rather than service, teaching, etc. I just can't stay here when God has clearly shown me to go somewhere else. And Bible Translation is where I see the greatest need amongst the unreached peoples of our world.

For His Glorious Name,

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Humility is a subject of great interest to Christians and philosophers (which by definition Christians should be since we are indeed interested in the wisdom of God and loving God who is wisdom, thus Christian, philosopher, and Theophilus should be rather synonymous) alike. Even writing about the subject I find myself at odds to presume wisdom on the subject being a fallen man with a propensity towards pride, the antithesis of humility. But I will offer my thoughts anyhow. Entire books have been written on the subject, and a full treatise on the subject will never be offered by humanity, but I do think that I may have a perspective on it that few have considered. Maybe it is that I have gleaned this perspective from those wiser than I somewhere in the past, or from God more directly, but either way I do not claim the idea as my own. I simply want to approach humility in terms of perspective, mainly self-perspective.

Many people in practice see humility and self-degradation as more or less synonymous. It is because humanity is fallen, so humility requires us to recognize our weaknesses, failures, and inabilities to meet that standard set forth by Christ and fulfill our calling as ambassadors of God. A humble man admits his mistakes while a prideful man denies them. Few of us stop there however. We begin to degrade ourselves and deny those things that aren't mistakes and admit things that we haven't erred in because we think by doing so we are being humble. We have bought into the lie that the lower we make ourselves, the more humble we are. After all, isn't humility one of the highest virtues we espouse in Christendom? But heres the rub, when we begin to degrade what God has made as less than it is (for that is what we are, creations of God), then we insult the maker and therefore are not glorifying God but rather degrading His character. By the very fact that we are created in the image of God we carry innate quality and worth, not of ourselves, but because of the one who has made us. We have the worth that God has imputed to us through creating us and furthermore by the price he paid for us on the cross. After all, something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it right? Therefore we are of infinite worth because of the infinite price paid by Jesus for us. We need to keep this in perspective in our view of humility. I think the proper way to approach humility is to have an accurate view of ourselves. Humility admits faults, but also does not deny the truth of our worth. Jesus, while on Earth, did not ever deny who he was. He became man, yes, which is a role or position lower than He really is. And we are called to do likewise, but he never claimed to be something he wasn't nor did he ever deny his nature, worth, purpose, and mission. Likewise we must not deny our nature (which is both fallen and created in the image of God), worth, purpose, and mission namely to glorify God. Ultimately it is a matter of perspective. Men have many different perspectives, all of which are inaccurate to varying degrees. So what does a humility that seeks to have an accurate view of ourselves, others, creation, and God require of us? It requires that we come to know God's perspective and align ourselves ever closer to it. This means admitting our faults, sins, mistakes, or any other way you want to label our misgivings, and acting accordingly. It requires admitting our worth, purpose, and mission as God perceives and acting accordingly. It also means having God's perspective in regards to our roles and positions. God's hierarchy is different from man's. In man's perspective a servant is among the lowest positions, but in God's hierarchy the servant becomes first. We are almost all familiar with the verse, "But many who are first will be last, and the last first." So then, as I see it, the key to humility is seeing the world and ourselves through God's eyes, then we will see clearly and show true humility.

Before I sign off I'd like to present a little conundrum I find myself in. As I seek to glorify God I want to decrease as He increases in others lives. But there is a natural correlation between how well known God is and how well known a person who is His ambassador among men. You see, I wish I could be remembered only in the sense that I brought Christ along with me (though to be theologically accurate, it is I who tag along with Christ) and introduced people to their Savior, but beyond that people wouldn't really remember me. I imagine two men sitting outside a rural home on someplace like Africa having a conversation like this: Man 1: "Hey, can you remember the name of that fella that introduced us to Jesus?" Man 2: ". . . .No, not really, but I'm sure glad he did." I need nothing more to be remembered of me through history. But if thats really how it goes down in the future I would be angry with myself because I would have only been in their lives for a short time for them to easily forget and therefore have a poor witness. Furthermore the larger the impact a person has on peoples' lives, the more they are remembered. So although I wish I wouldn't be remembered so that only Christ was, ultimately for Him to be remembered I must be too. Not that this whole scenario is even plausible. These are just some thoughts that go through my head sometimes when I ponder humility.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 19 May 2011

How does one Run for God?

I've been giving this question some thought recently, especially today. I went for a great run with my good friend Jake for a few repeats up K2. As always, we talked about many things even as we ran up this monster. Just a side note, this man is an incredibly strong runner and is putting in over 30 summits of this monster hill k2 this week. Thats insane, but then again both runners of his calibre and Christians alike (which he is both) are often considered insane by the teeming masses. Anyhow, I was going to leave this subject for tomorrow or maybe Saturday to write about, but two things happened that influenced me to write now. First as I sat at the table with my father and sister playing cards I talked a little about Jake and the running we get to do together whenever I'm in the area. In short he asked me this very question on how Jake integrates his faith with what he is doing, namely running as he is a sponsored runner by New Balance of Roseville. The second was Jake's recent blog which inclined me to write my own thoughts! To be honest I couldn't decide where to put this, on my other blog or on this one since it is a synthesis of the two areas of my thoughts, which is actually part of the topic! Let us move on to what I actually want to talk about, faith and running.

North Americans have a nasty habit of compartmentalizing life. Work is separate from home life which is separate from going out with friends to the bar which is separate from sports which is different from Church, and the list goes on. We often don't like parts of our lives to bleed over into other parts as things tend to get messy when they do. Its because we are living inconsistent lives. But if we try to live a unified life that is consistent throughout then we inevitably, for believers and ultimately anyone of any faith, must deal with the issue of living for God in all areas of our lives. I just want to focus on one, running. At first glance there doesn't seem to really be any way to integrate the two, after all what does running have to do with God? More than initially meets the eye.

A life of faith is not lived in a bubble. True faith requires interaction on a horizontal line between the believer and other human beings as well as in a vertical way between the believer and God. As such faith is based on relationships. After all, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40. This is the basis for authentic faith. So then you might ask, "What running have to do with relationships?" Everything. Ask anyone who is a runner why they started running, and if you dig deep enough the reason is always because of another person. It may be a crush they had on someone in high school or a hero they had growing up. Like me it may have been because of their parents, or even if they're doing it to stay in shape or become more healthy it is because of what others have said about their health or some other influence outside themselves. Noone starts running from a purely inward motivation. More than that, running is a social sport more than people realize. There is a camaraderie between runners to the point where I can meet someone completely new and have an instant connection to that person and hold a great conversation because we share this trait. This camaraderie moves to the point that in most cases I am willing to listen, at length, to whatever a runner has to say even when I strongly disagree. I assume it is likewise with most runners. I also run the best when running with others rather than by myself. I run by myself to keep me ready for the times when I run with others. My point is that running is social and relational far more than people generally realize, and relationships are the foundation for faith and for expressing the character and glory of God to those who do not yet know him.

There is another aspect to this which is that running is a gift. Our bodies are gifts from God and each person's body is different with different innate abilities and different levels of those abilities. Each is a gift. When we receive a gift we have two basic choices, use the gift or don't use it. I think we can all agree that not using a gift that has been given is a waste and dishonorable to the giver of that gift (think about it, you don't tell your relatives you don't particularly care for greeting cards because of the disrespect it shows towards them). When we use the gift we can either use it for ourselves or use it for someone else. For others is more noble I think most would agree, though most people use their gifts and abilities for themselves more often. However, I think the noblest is to use the gift for and in the name of the one who gave the gift and giving credit to the giver. In short it means glorifying God and acknowledging His sovereignty in the giving of your gifts. If you want to see how this can practically play out in a person's life I recommend watching the movie, "Chariots of Fire."

There is one final area I would like to address while I'm at it, namely the subject of character. A follower seeks to be more like the one they follow. Inevitably that means a follower of Jesus will grow ever more like in character to Jesus. This is done is so many different ways as God guides us through life. However, running can be a very effective tool for building many character qualities in us from Jesus our Lord. Running builds endurance, long-suffering, perseverance, discipline, delayed gratification, determination, reverence, humility, confidence, and a great many more as well. No wonder Paul compared life to running a race. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24 "I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain." Galatians 2:2 "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?" Galatians 5:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7. Then there is in Hebrews 12:1-3 which some believe that Paul also wrote though we cannot be certain, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." This metaphor would seem to be some evidence towards that assertion, but that is an entirely different subject! The metaphor is well enough established in the Bible because there is in fact a strong connection between running and faith. There are also strong connections between all the areas of our lives and faith, if you have the eyes to see it.

For His Glorious Name,