Five popular sayings that are total Crap.

I’m mostly neutral toward Pintrest. It seems like a good place for people (mostly women) to get ideas (mostly crafts and recipes.) One thing I cannot stand is these cutesy photos with some popular cliché – that get repinned to my facebook feed. Most of the time these sayings are false, even if they sound nice.

I Heart Accuracy

1) “Follow your heart” –

OMGoodness. This is a slightly more appealing way of saying “If it feels good, do it.” That simply is not a good life plan. People who “follow their heart” will wind up disappointed with life because they lived it entirely for themselves. Don’t follow your heart, follow the heart of Jesus.

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2) “Life/The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways” –

Life doesn’t WORK. Neither life nor the Universe are sentient entities. Life is a gift given by our Creator who does work in mysterious ways. The Universe is the place that He created. This is a bastardized scripture verse and aside from the fact that it doesn’t make sense; it’s like saying “cheese” or “the table”  works in mysterious ways. People say this when they’re afraid of sounding crazy for saying “God.” If you believe God is doing something, say so, but the universe isn’t working for or against you.

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3) “Everything Happens for a Reason” –

no where in scripture are we told that everything happens for a specific spiritual reason. We are told that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord – but that isn’t the same thing. Don’t kid yourself by trying to assign transcendental meaning to every little thing that happens. Sure, maybe you missed that plane because God didn’t want you to make it to your brother’s wedding – or maybe you missed it because you were irresponsible.

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4) “God made you perfect” –

again, this is one of those hallmark-type sayings that people use to excuse shortcomings. God did make you the way he intended, but you were conceived in a world that is fallen. That means from the moment God began to knit you together, there began a war in your life. God is on one side and the forces of darkness in this world are all on the other. Because of this war, you’re going to have challenges, some won’t be your fault and you can choose whether you’re going to be a victim about it or whether you can overcome it. God loves you just the way you are, but that doesn’t mean he want’s you to be satisfied with the way you are. The Christian life is about constant growth. Growth is change.

fair warning this video has some salty language

http://www.hulu.com/watch/319318

5) “You can do anything” –

I have railed against this saying in previous posts because I believe that it results in an entitled attitude. I don’t care what your parents, teachers, professors, youth pastors or preachers told you. On your own you can’t do just anything. You CAN do anything THROUGH CHRIST – who isn’t a genie, but a reigning King in our lives. If he commands it and it seems impossible, then remember that through him you can do anything. If your plans are for you, however, there are no guarantees.

Three really cool devices to make your home awesome (Videos)

Here are a few devices that can save you time and even money.

The Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest is a company started by Tony Fadell, one of the designers of the original iPod. You may think “It’s a thermostat. Why would I need a fancier thermostat?” But this thing is truly amazing. Even at the $250 price point the company says you’ll make back the money on energy savings in less than two years and every year after that you can expect energy savings of $100-$150.

The way it works is simple: Any time you adjust the air, leave your house, or return it memorizes it and uses that to make a schedule for your heating and air. After a while it will automatically keep your schedule and make sure that energy is being saved. If you make changes, it will change with you. You can make adjustments to it with your phone from anywhere. It’s pretty darn cool.

Lockitron: Keyless Entry for your house

The first wifi locks from lockitron were released a year ago, and now they’re looking to create something even better. Now before you get all worried about hackers breaking into your wifi lock you should know that Lockitron uses the same level of security that banks use on the internet to protect your information. Lockitron’s latest product hasn’t been released yet, but they’re available at an introductory price of $150, which is pretty good IMHO.

If you have an iPhone then the Lockitron will recognize your phone’s unique UDID via bluetooth. When you walk up to your door it unlocks, when you walk away from your door it locks back. If you have a friend that needs to get into your house while your’e away then just have them text you when they need to be let in and you can unlock the door. I think it’s down right nifty.

Philips Hue Connected Lightbulbs

Most everyone knows by this time that CFL Light Bulbs save lots of energy. But they also contain dangerous mercury and studies have shown that the wavelength of light they put off can cause headaches and even depression. The answer is LED lighting, which until now hasn’t been readily available to the consumer. If you cut down your energy consumption already with CFLs then you can reduce your power bill even more by switching to LEDs. Philips has released a set of LED lights that are connected wirelessly to your home network. So in addition to saving power when they’re on these lights can automatically shut off, dim, brighten, and even change colors throughout the day according to your schedule.

In addition each bulb can generate tons of different colors including color schemes designed to promote relaxation, concentration, or vision for when you’re reading. The lights can be networked together to work in chorus. They can also be turned on and off from anywhere with the iOS app that also allows color mixing. These bulbs also use 1/10 the energy of traditional light bulbs. The drawback is the price. At $200 for the starter kit (that includes a measly three bulbs and the wireless bridge) and $60 for every bulb after that you won’t be replacing every bulb at once, but as they’re projected to last 8-10 years and save money on your power bill, you might find that they’re not a bad investment plus they’re just plain neato.

A few Thoughts on Les Mis

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Here’s what you need to know first:

– First you need to know that I’m a pretty big fan of the stage musical, which I first saw live when I was only 11. It was performed by a broadway touring group at the Johnny Mercer theater in Savannah GA. I’ve seen it live one more time since and have seen the PBS broadcast of the 25th anniversary numerous times. I have been a fan for most of the past two decades.

– I’m also a big fan of the 1998 film adaption starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush. No, it’s not the musical, but to me it caught the essence of the story in a beautifully acted and wonderfully shot film.

What I liked:

– As for the 2012 film: The performances by the actors were excellent, especially due to the fact that the music was being captured live on the set at the time of the shooting: something that is almost never been done for a movie musical. As a result the performance controlled the pace of the music, not the other way around. This resulted in some really powerful moments.

– I love the story of Les Mis more than any adaptation of it, so as long as any given adaptation stays true to the story I will like ultimately.  As this edition stayed entirely true to the story, I accept it into the pantheon of interpretations there have been of this musical. I especially love that they didn’t skimp on the Gospel message which is clearly contained in the plot.

– Casting. Hugh Jackman was a great Valjean and… well I could go down the list. If you could get used to Russell Crowe’s singing style then there wasn’t really a weak one in the bunch and most of them were very good.

What disappointed me:

– The cinematography. The movie looked beautiful, but it lacked a great deal of variety in the way it was shot. I’m sure that because they were recording the singing live the director wanted to emphasize the resulting performances, so every solo is done almost entirely in close up. This succeeds in showing all the nuance and skill the actors had, but doesn’t take full advantage of the medium.  There are few establishing shots that give you the scope of a scene at it’s beginning. Only at the big finish do we see where we are and by that time the scene is over. They also do little to explore the space. In this sense they might have well have been a stage show. Almost all the solos take place within a space of ten square feet. There’s no walking around an entire huge space or passing from location to location – something that you can only do on film. Randomly they would have these very awesome crane shots that  were almost distracting as they seemed so out of place in what was a lot of stationary camera work. Also there are several really random uses of canted angle that seemed very out of place. A couple of times I thought “Is this building supposed to leaning?”

– There were also shots where they had chosen the musical performance over perfection. In the scene where Valjean is buying Cosette’s freedom you can catch her looking right into the camera for a few seconds while Thenardier grabs her and begins to haggle. There are also a few shots where you can tell that the Steadicam rig bumped into something mid-movement and the frame shakes randomly. This is perhaps most noticeable during the scene after the Bishop frees Valjean; when Jackman is circumambulating (again within his ten square feet) the bishop’s chapel.

But, at the end of the day…

I loved it, even if there were some thing I didn’t like about it. It’s such an incredibly powerful story, heavy with theological themes – especially surrounding grace. I would really recommend seeing it – it will tug at your heartstrings, and if you don’t find yourself crying by the ending then you might be an evil robot sent to destroy us. Just a heads up.

The Millennial Generation: An Introduction

I’m a member of gen Y, the Millennial generation, the mosaic generation, the screenagers. There are many varying ideas of what ages Gen Y consists of, but I believe that it ranges from those born in 1982 up to those born in 2000. Those people now aged about 12-30. Here are a few facts about us.

  • The Millennial Generation is the one that famously scored lower on math and science than almost all developed countries yet when asked how they thought they’d done they ranked the highest in confidence.The following clip is from the documentary Waiting for Superman.

  • But, as a result we’re generally positive. Because we’re so stupidly confidant we often do things that were thought too difficult by others because we’re too stupid to know they’re impossible.
  • We’re also not resigned to the world ending soon, because we know that if it doesn’t we’re stuck with it after the other generations are gone. That’s why we want to be good stewards and recycle. We don’t want to be living in trash heaps in our retirement.
  • We’re high maintenance, but it’s not totally our fault – it’s the way we’ve been conditioned. Most of our parents were extremely affirming. In a science fair or archery tournament we didn’t have to achieve anything, yet we’d get a ribbon just for participating. We’d play video games and after 2-40 hours we’d save the world. We’re used to instant gratification and lots of positive feedback. We need affirmation.

  • But we’re also high productivity. Mellinials are highly perfectionistic, but also efficient with time. Daniel Pink, an expert in the field of human motivation, says that this is why, despite our age, gen Y is starting at higher power positions than that which many members of gen X are still working.
  • Entitled. In a survey that’s the number one word that’s used to describe us by our employers when we first got into the work force and it is incredibly true. It’s what I hate most about my generation.

    sorry Varuca Salt, you can’t have the whole world right now.
  • We’re suckers for social Justice. Talk about rescuing orphans from sex-trafficking or feeding the poor an you have our attention. As a group we largely believe (incorrectly) that we’re the first generation to care about the poor, the widows and orphans. We do want the world to be a better place and haven’t given up on it yet (as we believe our parents have.)
  • “Fassionate” Is the term used by Dr. Tim Elmore to describe mellinials. It reflects Gen Y’s desire to be fashionably compassionate – that’s why organizations like TOMS, Charity Water and Warby Parker are popular with mellinials. Because they’re good causes that also make you look good by participating in them. Superficial? Absolutely. Admirable? Somewhat. Hey at least we want to appear to care about others.
Woah. Check out the altruism on her.
  • We’re more family oriented than the past two generations. Every year US high school graduates take an exit survey that has an array of questions. On of the questions is “who is your hero?” We were the first generation to not select “a celebrity” as our most common answer, but rather we said that our parents are our heroes. I know I did.
  • We are generally restless and impatient. We need stimulus. This is often times improperly diagnosed as ADD. I call it having a hungry brain and a drive to act.
  • We’re good at processing large amounts of information. Because we were born in the information age. Information is like air to us. Consider this:

 In 1985, the year I was born, it was estimated that the world contained the equivalent of 2.64 billion gigabytes of information. That includes all print, audio and video media that was in either digital or analog form. In 2007 it was estimated that the world contained just short of 300 billion gigabytes of information. If you think that’s crazy, get this: in 2010 the amount of information in the world reached over 1 trillion gigabytes or over 1 zetabyte. What’s even more insane is that in 2011 alone we generated 1.8 zetabytes of information. That means we generated more information in 2011 than in the previous 3,000 years of human history, a rate that is only expected to increase as the years go by.

  • But often we don’t keep information we process we pass it on or we save it some place for when we want to sound smart later. We think in sound-bytes and text messages. We like edible little quotes, not long lectures.
  • We are ‘spiritual’ but not religious. Despite the fact that we are notoriously unchurched, only 23% actually consider themselves atheists. More than 50% pray before a meal an a third discuss spiritual issues regularly. Organized religion isn’t preferable, having become disillusioned with large institutions of any kind; the government, political parties, education, etc. This was famously outlined in this controversial video (with which I largely disagree) the best response to which can be found at this blog.

  • We came of age in the worst job market in recent memory. In a well-written article, Jesse Rosen responds to criticisms toward gen Y written in a New York Times article reminding the authors that we may not seem as adventurous only because we’re practical; we don’t have money and we aren’t going to go into debt. The subtext of the article is “go ahead, go to italy we’re going to be here at home trying to figure out how to save the world.”
  • We’re the most visually sophisticated generation to date. Far more than previous generations. We have access to more photos, video and artwork than any generation before us. In fifteen seconds I can have any popular painting or photo as the desktop of my Macbook.
thanks google!
  • The result is that we’re not easy to impress and that content has become king. 20 years ago someone with a TV station had a unique position of being the only one with a channel into people’s homes. Now anyone can create a youtube channel. This last year all major broadcast networks took a hit in ratings. Every major motion picture studio has released at least one “guaranteed hit” that flopped miserably. The media that wins has nothing to do with the money it costs or the channel through which it came – it has to do with content. This goofy video took 1 night to shoot and will get more views by the end of next week than Disney’s John Carter did. It’s because this video is an original idea executed in a funny way and John Carter was weird and unrelatable.

  •  Some sociologists call us the boomerang generation, or the peter pan generation – they say that we’ve refused many rights of passages that other generations embraced as a result of not wanting to accept adulthood. Most notable is how the younger half (the ones in high school now) aren’t pining for their drivers licenses as they can interact with their friends digitally just as well. This was outlined by Shaputis Kathleen in her book, The Crowded Nest Syndrome.
  • Other sociologists call us that next “Greatest Generation.”  William Strauss and Neil Howe have written two books Millennials Rising and The Fourth Turning the latter of which identifies four cycles in which generations move, the last being the time of crisis from which a great generation rises.

So yeah.

I have no concluding grand thought save for this: don’t count us out – we’re worth your time and who knows, maybe God is going to use us to save the world.

The more you say “I don’t care what people think” The less I believe you.

I’ve seen an increase in the number of  “I don’t give a s___ what people think of me” posts out on the blogosphere lately. I remember this being a popular phrase when I was in high school so I was a little upset when I saw that ‘adults’ (or adult-age-people) were posting it.

A few issues with the “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me” statement.

  • At it’s core this is a statement about communication: it’s saying “I don’t care what I’m communicating to everyone around me.”
  • It’s not true. If it were true you wouldn’t say it, because you wouldn’t care whether anyone thought you cared. Me thinks Joan Jett doth protest to much.
  • It’s a selfish and arrogant thing to say. Think about the implications; “No one can give me any advice that can improve me.” or “No one’s opinion deserves my consideration.”
  • There are people who truly don’t care and they are called sociopaths. These people have a mental malady that makes them chronically selfish which usually makes life more difficult for them in the long run.
  • Caring what other people think isn’t the same thing as allowing them to determine everything about you. It doesn’t mean you’re dependent on that person to determine who you are. It just means you want to know if they understand you; if they get you. And yes sometimes it can mean that their opinion means a lot to you, but not always.
  • Yes you can care too much what everyone thinks, but ironically you’re probably someone who cares too much if you’re the kind of person who regularly uses this phrase.
  • Often times “Not Caring” actually means counter-dependence – it means that all you want to do is the opposite of what others want you to do – which is still dependence, just inverted.
  • If you’re a christian, believe it or not, even Jesus cared about what other people thought about him; In Mark 8 he asks his disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Not so that he could adjust to what they wanted him to be, but rather because he wanted to make sure they were getting it. He cared what they thought for their sake, not his.

To say that you care what people think about you doesn’t mean that you’re malleable or that you’re always self-conscious. It means that you’re conscious of what you’re communicating to others. It doesn’t mean that you’re willing to adjust the message. It does mean that you’re willing to adjust the means of communication. It doesn’t mean you’re a conformist. It does mean that you’re willing to appropriate the tools necessary to get your message across to everyone.

Tomorrow Television Will Change Forever.

A couple of years ago I wrote an entry about the future of TV. One of the major players in the prediction is the Apple TV. A device that is currently a separate box with WiFi and an HDMI connector for TVs. The catalyst of this proposed future is a device and or TV that simplifies the process of developing apps, monetizes it, and rolls it out in an ecosystem that works for the US.

Most of the major networks have an app for iPad and iPhone already whereby you can watch all the most recent episodes of their current shows. If only there was a way to access the same content on demand on TV in an similar fashion while still being able to stream live events live when the time arrives.

a mock-up of Apple's new TV set

Tomorrow is Apple’s annual Word Wide Developers Conference. At the conference Apple is rumored to announce an updated line of Mac computers and an upgraded operating system for their mobile devices. Mac rumors, a website that tracks patents and leaked news, got wind of the fact that Apple will be announcing a new operating system for their apple TV device, which will presumably be the same operating system that’s used on their fabled TV set, rumored to hit the market sometime this year. Steve Jobs’ supposed final revelation was in regards to this device. Shortly before his death, Jobs talked about the new TV with his biographer, saying that he “Finally cracked it.”

We stand on the cusp of an enormous change to the way we receive television. Tomorrow at WWDC Apple will be announcing that developers can now write apps for their upcoming TV Set. What this means is that NBC, ABC, CBS, TNT, TBS, Fox and most importantly – Disney will all be able to create apps for your TV that allow you to interact with their content as they see fit. If they want a world premiere to run live – it will. If they want to make it available for a week after it showed – they can. If you want to email a friend and have them pull up a clip of a TV show right to their TV set and watch it – shebang.

Other cool features like Skype on your TV and the ability to send video messages to friends are possible as well. Advantages like being able to have a live video chat while watching a live event are also feasible. Re-airing classic shows and movies with video commentary or live chat with the stars and creators. Imagine being able to watch something on your iPhone or iPad, pause it and then resume it in full HD on your TV.

And of course let’s not forget the gaming potential. Developers can write games that can be downloaded right to your TV. Using a bluetooth or WiFi connection you can use your iPod as a touch screen controller. You can use voice activation to command the action. You can use your existing Apple game center profile to connect with friends and play co-op games. Oops! Did Apple just merge the computer and console gaming industries – I think they did.

Perhaps most intriguing in this brave new world of TV is the fact that hierarchy will soon be gone. Much like the recording industry has become obsolete in the post-modern era of internet-based marketing and delivery, soon everyone can develop an app that can deliver TV content to the world. Youtube stars and non-profits can create a an app that can sit along side your ESPN app so you can receive new content from them the same way.

When it comes to mainstream content, thought Disney is going to be the Key. I wasn’t joking earlier when I said they were most important. Disney owns the station that most men would pay a premium to have – ESPN. They also own ABC, Disney, Disney XD, ABC Family, ESPNU, 2, 3, Classic Deportes and all associated radio stations and print media. This could be a big outlet for them so long as they can monetize it. And if there is one thing that Apple is good at – it’s making money. Plus Disney and Apple are intertwined as Apple owns the majority stock in Pixar and Pixar and Disney merged a few years back.

After that comes Time Warner and News Corp. Once CNN and Fox News are on board, all of the most watched stations currently only available on cable and satellite will be available through Apple TV. Though, I feel confident that regardless of whether they make the transition cable news stations are going to see a sharp decline over the next few years as most people under 40 get their news from social media. If they don’t adapt it’s entirely likely that CNN and Fox News could both die a slow death over the next ten years.

The biggest opponent to this change is Comcast which is about as big and evil as a media corporation gets. They’ve been under investigation by the FCC constantly for questionable network neutrality, data throttling and for their efforts to block any a la carte offerings by cable stations. Unfortunately Comcast owns 51% of NBC. The fact that NBC is the lead steak holder in Hulu.com is an encouragement, but Comcast is currently the biggest cable/internet company in the States. They might try to hold out in an effort to keep cable as king. If they withhold NBC’s content that would create a large gap in the programming. Even worse if they throw their digital weight around as such to make it harder for people to use their network to access on-demand content. (They’re already suspect of such in regards to Netflix.)

At the same time NBC has been in fourth among the major broadcast networks for several years now. And all of the broadcast stations have been in decline of viewership despite over all TV viewership being on the rise. They’ll all have to follow the audience if they hope to stay relevant. It’s questionable whether stations of any kind will be needed in this new form of TV. Studios could skip the middleman and present their content right to the audience. The structure remains to be seen, but undoubtedly there will be those who adapt and those who don’t survive.

Microsoft already announced their plans to open the Xbox platform to developers in hopes of creating a similar experience – so there is competition which will drive prices down and quality up.

Believe me when I say tomorrow marks the beginning of the end for traditional television, and the dawn of something way cooler.

A life without God

Westboro baptist church is, as you may know, an organization that claims to be a Christian church located in Topeka Kansas. I say ‘claims’ because their actions clearly show that there are large portions of the Bible that they ignore. WBC is best known for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers and people who were openly gay. They often sport extremely hateful slogans that have no Biblical foundation and they teach their children to do the same. In the past ten years I’ve seen this church shown on national TV at least four times and I don’t even watch the news very much. It’s likely that they’ve shown up on TV much much more.

What is the significance of this? Westboro Baptist Church reports its membership at 40. The church that has probably appeared on national news more than any other single church has just 40 members.

I work at a church with seven thousand members. In my four years here we’ve made national news zero times. We’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands of people in need and we’ve seen people being healed of addictions and marriages being saved. We’ve seen people called to go work in other countries and poor neighborhoods. We’ve seen miracles take place and yet we haven’t made national news mainly because it’s not as interesting as hearing about a group of 40 really hateful people. But also because that’s not the way Christianity is depicted in the media.

In TV, film, news, books and popular music Christians are almost always shown to be ‘fundamentalists,’ ‘bigots,’ and ‘extremists.’ When statistically the average church-goer is more likely to be a nominal Christian who doesn’t know enough about their own faith to have strong thoughts on any controversial subject. That’s a problem unto itself, but it is not the one being depicted – instead we’re shown as unstable and hateful.

I haven’t heard any news stories about Mama Maggie Gobran who is living in the slums of Cairo, Egypt and working with the children there. Even Bono’s foundation to feed helpless children has gotten far less press than Sean Penn’s humanitarian efforts – the main difference between to two is their worldview. (It certainly isn’t their ability to get drunk and start fights, as they are both equally talented in that measure.) I haven’t heard a news story about Katie Davis who graduated from high school and immediately went to africa to work with diseased, disabled and otherwise less fortunate children. I don’t hear about the fact that Christianity is being persecuted more violently around the world than any other religion and that every day Christians in countries like Iran, Ethiopia and China put their lives on the line by witnessing to the truth of the Gospel. Because it’s more convenient and easy to place us all in the same box – along with these 40 hateful people.

It’s easy to take a cheap shot at Atheism and point out that almost all of the most terrible dictators have been proud Atheists. Joseph Stalin wanted to get rid of religion in the Soviet Union. Mussolini and Mao Tse-Tung wanted the same for their countries. All three were genuine monsters – killing their own people and anyone who would oppose them. At the same time one can bring up the crusades and the inquisition in relation to Christianity. So instead of basing an argument on unbalanced political leadership I’d like to look at more contemporary leadership right here in the old US of A.

In 1963 Madalyn Murray O’Hair won the landmark court case that removed prayer from public schools. It’s pretty interesting to look at the state of the public education system since then, but that’s another blog entry. O’Hair fought for her son’s right to not have the Bible read nor prayers prayed around him. Her son’s name is William Murray and he’s written a book about his life. You see, he’s a Baptist pastor now and his book entitled My life without God is all about the way his mother tried to raise her children to hate God. Aside from seeing that prayer was removed from schools Madalyn Murray O’Hair is perhaps best known as the founder of American Atheists – an organization that seeks to advance the cause of Atheism – rallying people to the cause of believing in – well, nothing.

O’Hair stole, she cheated, she lied. She broke the law on numerous occasions. She never paid taxes. She abused her children emotionally, manipulating them into unhealthy lifestyles. She and her children (and later grand children) were all morbidly obese. She believed in living ‘high off the hog.’ There wasn’t a charitable bone in her body. Before they were killed, O’Hair, Her Son Jon and William’s Daughter Robin (her granddaughter) all lived together and never separated. Jon never married – he never left his mother’s side. Robin, like her grandmother took to a decadent lifestyle and became severely overweight. None of them ever spoke to William who had become a Christian. When he first told them, they ridiculed him and called him a traitor.

O’Hair was proud of her lawless lifestyle and said she believed that the only law should be ‘do what thou will.’ She hired unrepentant convicted felons who were known for their violent crimes. She claimed that she supported their lifestyle. Ultimately this is what led to her death. A former employee kidnapped her, her son and granddaughter. All three of them were brutally murdered by one of her fellow Atheists.

William Murray said

My mother was an evil person … Not for removing prayer from America’s schools … No … She was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company.

This happened all within my lifetime and yet I don’t remember hearing about it. Maybe you did, but I didn’t.

I say all this because these aren’t some obscure people on the outskirts of the Atheist movement. These were the leaders – and yet it is the Christians that are depicted as foolish and hate filled. When I encounter this kind of hate I get angry. Then I get sad. Then I get energized to show the world the love of Christ.

In reality the difference between the Christian life and a life without God is quite simple.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:18-23

 

Quotes: Memorial Day

Being thankful to live in the US has become increasingly ‘uncool’ within my lifetime.

As a result, too often people of my generation take for granted the hard work and sacrifice that was made so that the United States could be the great nation that it is. The phrases have all become so cliched and mis-used that any words that might remind of those sacrifices and the cost of freedom almost all ring meaningless. I found a few thoughts that I believe would be good to share in recognition of those who have died that I might live in this great country and be free to worship my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

Consider these and thank God for the men and women who gave their lives for us to live.

Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism? ~Henry Ward Beecher

Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells
A nobler history than pillared piles,
Or the eternal pyramids.
~James Gates Percival

Is’t death to fall for Freedom’s right?
He’s dead alone who lacks her light!
~Thomas Campbell

 It is not cool to act as if America is the greatest country in the world, but the fact is it still is. Granted this is a really really messed up world, but there is nothing wrong with thanking God for the freedom we celebrate here. There is nothing wrong with defending those God-given freedoms and there is nothing wrong with praying that God will continue to bless our nation. These are all Biblical principals. So though it be exceedingly uncool and markedly cliché, I thank God that I was born in the USA.

Less TV more Water.

I love watching TV, but to be honest TV is terrible for you.

  • According to the New York Times. A recent study found that happy people have several things in common: They go to church, they socialize, they read print media. But the only thing that they do less of is watch TV.
  • A well known study in the 70s told us much about TV’s effects. A town in British Columbia first introduced TV to its population in 1973. Several sociologists heard about it and decided to study the effects. In short they found that health declined, test scores dropped and perhaps most alarmingly, aggressiveness saw a sharp rise.
  • Studies have found that people who watch TV think the world is a much more violent place than it is. When surveyed, people who watch several hours of TV a day overestimated the number of violent crimes that occur in their town on a regular basis.
  • Surprise, surprise – Several studies found startling and undeniable link between amount of TV watched and depression. (Incidentally exercise has the opposite effect)
  • According to Kidshealth.org Kids who watch four hours of TV or more are more likely to be poorly behaved, overweight and make poor life choices.

I don’t drink enough water, but water is really good for you.

  • A recent study showed that drinking a full glass of water before every meal can help you lose weight.
  • Your brain is 90% water – ergo the more you drink water the more you think clearly. It also has shown to improve mood so drinking water will improve the quality and productivity of your day.
  • Water is the single best skin care product. Drinking enough water every day can replenish skin tissues and help skin maintain its elasticity.
  • Water aids in all major body systems, especially digestion. It can even relieve headaches.
  • Water improves you over all health and immunity. If you want to avoid anything from the flu to a sprained ankle, from cramps to cancer – a tall glass of water at every meal does wonders to bolster your immune system and speed up healing.
  • It is abundant, inexpensive, easy to get, and free of calories.

 

10 Things this single guy has learned about marriage.

Over the past month I got to interview 18 couples about what it is that makes their marriage strong. I asked them lots of questions. I asked if there was anything they wished they had known before they were married. I asked them about things they do together that keep their relationship strong. I asked them what habits they have that help maintain their marriage. Some couples had been through illness, some couples had been through divorces, some couples met when they were kids others didn’t get together until they were adults. We talked about their mission as a couple. We talked about how they met. We talked about the advice they’d give to new couples. We talked about what they would say to a couple who’s considering divorce. I edited these interviews down to six videos totaling to about 27 minutes.

I tried my best to capture the thoughts of these people in the videos but it’s not possible to capture five hours worth of interviews in less than half an hour. So here is a summary of my findings in simple terms.

[list]
[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]As with everything else in life ITS NOT ABOUT YOU. If you get married just to get something, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re always looking out for the needs of the other then you’ll be far happier than if you were only concerned with your own needs. What happens is reciprocity; when you empty yourself out the other person can’t help but give of themselves.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]As with everything else in life ITS NOT ABOUT YOU. If you get married just to get something, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re always looking out for the needs of the other then you’ll be far happier than if you were only concerned with your own needs. What happens is reciprocity; when you empty yourself out the other person can’t help but give of themselves.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Apparently married sex gets awesome after 40. I had two couples tell me this. No joke. One man said “Sweet Moses – it’s insane.”[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Several people said it’s more important to like your spouse than to love them. All of these people were women. I think that’s because when women think ‘love’ they think romance. They simply recognize that the romantic part of love isn’t the most important part. Endearing companionship is a more important aspect of love than romance. Romance is very important, but it’s not where you’ll live most of the time.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Your spouse is no replacement for God. You can’t place that kind of faith in a person.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Most people start by saying “We don’t have the perfect marriage.” That seems silly. The perfect marriage doesn’t exist. So don’t try to fool anyone – your marriage is just as imperfect as the next guy’s. You have fights, you may have even had some serious issues, but that’s okay. Don’t hold your marriage as an Idol.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Most people start by saying “We don’t have the perfect marriage.” That seems silly. The perfect marriage doesn’t exist. So don’t try to fool anyone – your marriage is just as imperfect as the next guy’s. You have fights, you may have even had some serious issues, but that’s okay. Don’t hold your marriage as an Idol.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Divorce is terrible. It effects the people getting divorced far more than they expect it to, but it also effects everyone around them. There is no exaggeration for the destructive power that divorce has. It is not worth it. It is most definitely not a ‘reset’ button for you life. You cannot get married, get divorced and just ‘go back’ to the way things were.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Several women said that they were surprised to find out that they can’t change their husband. This sounds obvious, but don’t marry someone you don’t like, because while they can change, you can’t change them. It’s the Holy Spirit’s Job to change people. It’s your job to love them.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Several women said that they were surprised to find out that they can’t change their husband. This sounds obvious, but don’t marry someone you don’t like, because while they can change, you can’t change them. It’s the Holy Spirit’s Job to change people. It’s your job to love them.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]Marriage is really hard sometimes. Really really hard. But it is worth it.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]We’re not big enough to fix all of our problems on our own. Counseling isn’t for broken marriages it’s for marriages that don’t want to break.[/list_item]

[list_item icon=”fa-home(Check Font awesomes for Icon Class Names)” color=”#ffd600″]It only gets better. The couples that had been married 40-60+ years all said that marriage only gets better as time goes by.[/list_item]