Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: March 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006

The full circle of The Gospel

I never want my blog to come across as a venue for a judgmental attitude, but it seems a rather odd thing, or perhaps sad is the better word, that believers in the church today are not only uninterested in the reality of sin and judgment, but that we see it as an unnecessary topic of discussion or preaching. I have my theories as to why this appears to be growing theme among churches, and at the top of the list are what people seem to be considering the most "successful" churches. Of course, the success of church is completely determined by how many people they have in a worship service and how large the physical structure of a church is, everyone knows that. Content has very little to do with it.

My sarcasm aside, what most people are getting these days is one half of the Gospel message. They receive the meek, gentle, welcoming, healing, providing, sustaining Jesus who is ready to serve their needs whenever the time is right for the believer. What they aren't receiving is the other half of the Gospel, that needs to come before what I have just mentioned. The problem causing, sin convicting, revolutionary Jesus who is willing to forgive your sin, but not willing to let you get a free pass from recognizing your sin. Matthew 10:34 has Jesus speaking and telling those listening that "I did not come to bring peace, but I have brought a sword."

In virtually every encounter Jesus has with those whom he speaks, he eventually makes them realize the condition of their lives. . .that they are hopelessly lost in sin and there is nothing they can do about it. Even if they have read The Purpose Driven Life. Jesus repeatedly asks people to do things He knows perfectly well they can't do, and he does this to point out their sin to them. In John 4, Jesus asks the Samaritan woman to go get her husband, knowing full well that she did not have one. It kind of destroys the evangelical cliche that "Christ will never ask you to do anything you can't do." His honest confrontation forced her to admit her condition, and then Jesus takes over for her. That is where the gentle, meek and welcoming Jesus is such a relief. Only after we have acknowledged our inability to handle our condition of sin on our own.

So, in order for the reader of the text to complete the full circle of the Gospel, an awareness of sin, death and our own inability to do anything about it must continue to be a theme for the day. Sure, my church could double it's size if we would conveniently leave those things out. Heck, maybe we would even purchase the Gaylord Entertainment Center for our church services. But the Kingdom surely would shrink.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Beast Receives Some Recognition. . .

From a pastor? While most pastors would scoff at the idea of a minister enjoying horror films, Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer has said "well done" to The Beast, and I appreciate it. In case you haven't noticed, I have only two links to other blogs on my site, one of which is The Burr in the Burgh, Pastor Scott's blog. (the other is from a friend of my brother, who I had the pleasure of playing the arcade game "Narc" while he was in college at UT.)

Anyway, I have noticed a continual theme of Pastor Scott's which I identify heavily with. That is the notion that the Bible is somehow a handbook of morality and nothing more. He has on more than one occasion pointed out the error of this kind of thinking, and it has been quite helpful. So, check him out when you get a chance.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Disciple Now 2006 Video

One of the more famous Baptist traditions with the youth world are the Disciple Now weekends. The concept is a weekend of discipleship that takes place right in the students hometown. Members from the church volunteer for their houses to be "host homes." Both the girls and the guys have a host home where they spend the night and do their Bible studies from. Then, throughout the weekend, both the girls and the guys will come together for activities, meals, etc. There is a leader for the guys and a leader for the girls, usually people who are outside the normal leadership of the youth group.

Anyway, the D-Now for this year with my youth group was a smashing success, the best I have ever been a part of. If you are interested, take a look at the video recap I put together of this years D-Now.

Click Here For D-Now Video

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Downright Spooky Bush Impersonation

Andi and I watched this video last night and it is almost creepy. The humor of what he is saying, which is funny, takes second place to the incredible hand motions and facial expressions. I have never seen a better impersonation. To watch it, click below.

Click Here To Watch Bush

Monday, March 20, 2006

One of the funniest pictures I have seen. . .

Yesterday was youth Sunday at our church. What that means is that the students lead the morning worship and teach Sunday School. I have kind of a problem with the idea that youth Sunday can bring with it, which is that one day out of the year they actually do something in worship. Our students are active every single week at Grace, but it is an act of heresy if I do not have the official youth Sunday, so we did. And it was tremendous, the students boldly entered into worship and genuinely led our people into an offering to God.

After the worship service, three of my guys and I decided we were going to "celebrate" the worship service by walking down the busiest street in Springfield dressed as you will see in the picture below. Although this is beyond silly, it is things like this that are important to students, to see their leader also having fun. Click the link below to see the picture. Myself and 3 high school students after youth Sunday getting ready to take on the town of Springfield.

Click Here To View Picture.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Beast Reviews Saw II

As a big fan of the original film, I pretty much expected the 2nd entry to be what most sequels are. . .less than good. I was encouraged by family members to see the film, so after 6 straight hours of laser quest with Rexwilder, I figured it was pretty much the perfect time to watch it. So, we did, along with my sister and brother-in-law.

The first 5 minutes of the film were incredible. I was excited that perhaps I was going to be presented with the same intriguing and nail-biting scenarios as in the previous movie. But, it was just a teaser to get us into the main story, which was a disappointment. But first, here are the good things about the film.

1. People who you don't really like are being killed one by one in a house in which they are trapped. Anytime you have crappy characters who are meeting their demise one at a time, with about 15 minutes in between each death, means that you have at least a decent movie. It takes me back to all the great Friday the 13th films.

2. Tobin Bell is convincing as Jigsaw. I remember him from The Quick and the Dead as Dog Kelly.

3. The end of film actually helps the overall viewing experience. Usually, the end of a film is the problem. I rather enjoyed the end of Saw II.

Here are the problems:

1. The lead detective is an idiot. Usually in these kind of films you have a witty, intelligent villain who is going one on one with an equally matched hero. In this film, you get the impression that any 'ol bad guy could have outwitted him. He doesn't pay attention to the most obvious clues given to him by Jigsaw. Remember in "The Silence of the Lambs" when Lector told Starling to "look deep within yourself." She then later said that his comment seemed "too hokey" and she realized he was talking about the "your self storage" in Baltimore. If Jigsaw would have tried something like that, our Saw II detective would have just punched a wall and yelled. He is a failure as a dad, a failure as a cop and in the long run, an easy target for Jigsaw. There is not much sympathy with the viewer.

2. I just couldn't get into the story. I don't know why exactly, but the characters weren't really compelling to me and I just didn't find myself interested.

Overall, it was better than your average horror film, but does not nearly live up to the originality of the first movie. Of course, Hollywood had to make another one because the first made big $$. I believe a Saw III is in production. Oh boy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

When Faith Isn't Enough

Most of my life is lived on faith. Faith that God will do what He has promised. Faith that troubles and heartache are forming me into the image of Christ. Faith that it all makes perfect sense to God, as confused as I may be. I am a big believer in child-like faith.

But there is a critical area in the life of the Christian where faith is not enough, and it is becoming more of a mandatory need for believers to understand this foundational aspect of their faith.

I am talking about why we believe the Bible to be accurate.

So how would you respond? Assuming that you are a Christian and place your faith in the Christ of the New Testament, why do you believe what you read in those sacred pages? For most Christians, the answer is simple. They believe because they were raised to believe. Due to their parents, or whomever took them to church, the Bible has just always been a part of life, so why wouldn't they believe it?

Or, we believe because we have faith that the Bible is true. This is the answer that makes us sound spiritually mature. Our abounding faith in the good book is what makes it true. Sorry, but in this aspect of our Christian walk, faith isn't good enough.

I was reading a story about a evangelist who was leading a 3 day seminar with senior high school students. On the first day he asked the class, "why is the bible true?" No one could give an answer. The 2nd day of class, a student busted in the room and said "I know the answer!" The evangelist asked him why the Bible was true to which the student proudly responded, "it's true because I believe it!"

In an society where the idea of truth just being whatever you believe or whatever fits for you, the Christian is forced today to broaden our minds. If faith alone, or belief alone made the Bible true, then without question the Kuran would be true. Muslims have incredible faith in their holy book. Or, the book of Mormon would be true because of the faith of the members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You may be thinking that I am undermining the importance of faith in the Christian life. As Paul would say, "may it never be so!" Although it is true that our faith does not make the Bible historically accurate, it is absolutely true that only a life of faith will be able to live the message presented in the Bible. Placing our faith in Christ as the only way to the Father. Faith when health, success and popularity are on the decline. Faith in the providential hand of God. Oh yes, living the truth takes enormous faith.

So, I challenge you to understand why the Bible is true and accurate, beyond just because you believe it. I have included one of my favorite books below that is a relatively easy read and that answers the question, not exhaustively, but with certainty for the layperson. There are, of course, more detailed books for those who wish to take it to another level.

The Ever Loving Truth by Voddie Baucham
To purchase, click here.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dangermouse DVD Release

I was extremely pleased when I noticed the season 1 and 2 box sets of Dangermouse at Best Buy the other day. This is, by far, the greatest cartoon of all time. It's one of those things that is hard to pinpoint, but when you combine the scripts, stories, animation, voices and atmosphere, you can't beat it.

**Warning** Do NOT confuse this with Mighty Mouse. I discovered Dangermouse in the 4th grade on Nickelodeon. I was hooked from the first episode. Very few people can say they have seen, or even heard of this cartoon. Trust me, it doesn't get better than this.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Laser Quest and Hallo are back!

Codename: Hallo
Age: 30
Height: 5'11"
Playing style: "worm" style, good one on one player

Hallo is coming out of an 11 year retirement from Laser Quest to once again strap on the pack and go to battle. Joining forces with long time fellow quester Rexwilder and Diver, Hallo approaches the game rusty, out of practice and out of shape, but determined to quickly re-gain what has been lost. There was once a day, back in 1995, when the name Hallo meant something to the laser quest members. Basically, it meant that if you were in the game with Hallo, you would lose. That simple. But today is a different story. Hallo knows he is no longer the favorite, feared, or even remembered. There is work to be done.

The Mission:
Hallo, Rexwilder and Diver have decided to try out for the Nashville Laser Quest team. The top 9 players who make the team will be traveling to Richmond, VA for the regional tournament. Can these guys make the team after being away from the game for so long? It would be quite an accomplishment, but only time will tell. . . . .