Friday, May 30, 2008

Addiction: Can Jesus Overcome Addiction?

Addiction is a popular buzz-word in our culture. Maybe because of popular psychology. Maybe because of a prevalence of artificial and and natural chemicals that we are now able to introduce to our bodies. Maybe because of the prevalence of pornographic entertainment. Are these "outside factors" the source of our addictions? Or is it something deep within us?

Interestingly enough, the Bible actually speaks to the phenomenon of addiction. The Apostle Paul chooses to use the metaphor of slavery to deal with our addictions. In Romans 6 and 7, Paul discusses the power that sin holds over every one of us. And he also discloses that the power and sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient to break that bond that sin holds on us. So, why then, do we continue to hear so much about addiction to sinful desires from those who would call upon Jesus as a savior and friend?

Because these Christians are choosing to believe popular cultural psychology and medicine over the truth of the Bible. The Bible says that when you choose to follow Jesus, you receive freedom from your addictions by the power of His Spirit. I simply find the language that Paul uses inconsistent with our present day language and understanding of temptation, sin, and addictions. This doesn't mean that I can simply explain and define the nature of addiction, but it does mean that I see a certain disconnect between how Paul would explain it and how many modern day theologians would explain it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paradigm Shift

A paradigm shift occurs when you suddenly find yourself standing in unfamiliar territory. When the culture around you has moved and you failed to move with it. Though often, you've deluded yourself into thinking that it hasn't shifted at all. But this is exactly that, a delusion.

Christians are notoriously well known for ignoring paradigm shifts. Their resolutely faithful adherence to writings that are thousands of years old causes them to mistakenly forget that those writings themselves are timeless and concrete despite the shifting culture around them. The scriptures haven't changed, but neither do they demonize the shifting of the culture around them. Rather, the scriptures teach that one must manage to live "in the world" while avoiding being corrupted by its selfish influences.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Does Ministry Fuel Addictive Behavior?

Here is an article by Sally Morganthaler, written last year. Sally is usually known for her take on "Emerging Worship", but in this article, she divulges the story of the downfall of her own husband from his ministry.

Does Ministry Fuel Addictive Behavior?

Here is an excerpt:

"Entrepreneurial church wisdom is that pastors must be visionaries, risk-takers, and innovators, as well as spiritual guides. They are expected to be top-of-the-heap speakers as well, their stage skills honed to the highest cultural standards.

Realistically, very few pastors are cut out for this kind of leadership.

The average pastor may be at his best as teacher, coach, or theological guide. He might shine as a catalyst: a convener of collaborative vision and process; a facilitator of deep community. If he tends toward the empathetic and intuitive, he may excel as a nurturer, counselor, wound-dresser, or heart-holder.

But he is not megachurch material.

Still, he makes the trek each year to the mecca-church of his choice. He takes copious notes in workshops, hoping to find the secret passage to "church success." He leaves these multi-million-dollar facilities with eyes big as saucers, telling himself that he, too, if he tries hard enough, can take his church of 90 or 200 and make it a 2,000-attendee destination point.

And what if he doesn't have the assertive, sole-visionary style? He'll learn it. He'll even fake it. He'll become someone else, invalidate and dismiss his own gifts, his own unique, God-given leadership style and strengths and passions, all in order to emulate the large church pastor he's admired from afar."

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tim Ferris on Spritual Death

"I have quit three jobs and been fired from all the rest. Getting fired, despite sometimes coming as a surprise and leaving you scrambling to recover, is often a Godsend: Someone else makes the decision for you, and it's impossible to sit in the wrong job for the rest of your life. Most people aren't lucky enough to get fired, and they die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years."

- Tim Ferris, The Four-Hour Work-Week

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Craig Groeschel on Accountability

"I have an intricate system of checks and balances. A while ago, my mentor and accountability partner had an affair, and he stepped down from ministry. A few years later when I started, he asked to come and work for me, and I had him sit on the bench for a year. Well, he ended up stealing money from the offering as an usher. I confronted him on it, and he killed himself. It rattled my world. I saw what sin could do.

Today, my life is set up so it would be very hard to fail—not because I plan on failing, but because I plan on not failing. My Internet access is monitored. I have no access to the finances here. My salary is set by lay people. I haven’t been alone with a woman besides my wife in I don’t know how long. I never travel anywhere alone. Every moment of my day is kept accountable by someone." -
Craig Groeschel, pastor of

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Empire Strikes Barack

I'm not into politics, but if videos like this were the norm, maybe I would be.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Mom: a mother's day post

I'd say that my mom is a role model for me, but that wouldn't be terribly accurate. I find that I don't need to "model" myself after my mother at all, we're too much alike for me to even bother.

What aspects of my personality come from my mother, you may ask?

  • Quiet introspection.

  • Flippancy. No stress. Everything rolls off our backs like water on a duck.

  • A mellow, content attitude for just about everything.

  • A willingness to talk openly about just about anything (even sex - that one really bugs my wife.)

  • Slow, cautious, defensive driving.

  • Frugality.

  • The ability to utilize/eat 100% of the leftovers in the refrigerator (or freezer).

  • A healthy appreciation for The Andy Griffith Show, Yentl, and a slew of "black and white" television shows and movies.

  • The "shock" of gray hair that's presently coming in at the front of my head (my mom had one in the same spot.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Evolution of Radio

Terrestrial Radio - When you've got no other choice, you've got no other choice. Hey, at least terrestrial radio is free. But it's value, thanks to companies like Clear Channel, has definitely fallen over the years. Clear Channel answers to the almighty dollar and radio programming has suffered because of it. I'm reminded of this most often by bands like the Foo Fighters, Daughtry, and Nickelback - bands that I would probably dig if the radio didn't drive them right down into the ground by overplaying them.

Satellite Radio - You've got two choices: Sirius and XM. Of course, they're about to merge and you'll be left with no choice (the almighty dollar strikes again). Also, you've got more than a hundred stations available, but someone is still programming those stations. I get really annoyed by the channel names in Satellite Radio - like Squizz, Fred, Ethel, and Boneyard. Would it kill them to give the channels names that are actually descriptive rather than cute and meaningless. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT YOU'LL HAVE TO PAY NOT ONLY FOR THE SATELLITE RADIOS THEMSELVES BUT A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION AS WELL? I'm sorry if I don't get too excited about paying to listen to Fred and Ethel.

The iPod Solution - You can plug your MP3 player into just about any radio these days - in your car and in your home. You can make an endless variety of playlists only hampered by the size of your music catalog. I, myself, have a pretty big music catalog and I've spent time putting together some decent playlists. But it still doesn't quite replace the experience of radio programming. There are no surprises when you're listening to your own catalog. Not to mention that you'll drop a dime on the music as well as the music player.

Enter Pandora - I've built about a dozen stations on Pandora - with names like 80's Rock, Metal, 80's Pop, and Blues. Pandora takes my input and expands upon it with music that is either unfamiliar to me or just music that I would have never thought of adding (this is its great advantage over the iPod). If I don't like a song, I can simply skip it and go to the next song (this is its great advantage over satellite radio). Pandora continually "tweaks" the station based on my input. If the mood strikes me, I can actually combine stations for a mega mix station (like 80's Pop/80's Rock/Old Skool Hip Hop). Have I mentioned that Pandora is FREE?

Here is the only drawback I've found with Pandora - I have not yet figured out how to get it in the car. Some entrepreneurial computer genius out there needs to figure this one out. Pandora streams to AT&T and Sprint phones, unfortunately, I don't have either. Sooner or later, they're going to have to figure out how to stream it to a car. When they do, I'll be first in line.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Iron Man is the shiznittlesnipsambam!!!

I've never read an Iron Man comic book. I know nothing about Iron Man. I'm not a fanboy. I went to see Iron Man last night, opening night, with little expectations. I liked what Jon Favreau did with Elf, so I was interested in how he might handle this movie.

IRON MAN WAS AWESOME. From start to finish.

I think it was about two hours long. Jon Favreau knocked it right out of the ballpark. It was gritty and real and yet, still managed a PG-13 rating.

Robert Downey Jr. was perfect for the role, can't say that I've ever really "liked" him in a movie before.

The soundtrack was straight heavy metal from beginning to end (by now, you all know about my penchant for metal).

Seriously, this was the best blockbuster movie that I've seen in a long time, probably since the LOTR trilogy.

BTW, stick around past the credits for the last scene with Samuel Jackson....

Friday, May 2, 2008

Deal Alert: Scruby's BBQ

Places that claim to have the best ribs and places that claim to have the best wings abound everywhere. For baby back ribs, we've got two favorites - Damon's (which is 15 miles away) and Scruby's (much closer). For the past couple years we've been dropping $32 every few months on a couple full racks of ribs at Scrubys.

Last Sunday, I noticed a coupon in the back of the Local Section of the Sun Sentinel (the coupon is actually there every week: $9.99 for a full rack of baby back ribs, plus choice of potato, plus coleslaw, plus the best BBQ baked beans ever, plus two big onion rings, plus one piece of garlic toast. Smokes! That is a killer deal. All that grub for 20 bucks? We'll be hitting that place more than once every few months from now on.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Dip - Knowing When to Quit

I saw this book on a couple of reading lists, and the sub-title grabbed me, "A little book that teaches you when to quit." Honestly, I didn't expect the book to be so short and small. It took me about 20 minutes to read it, and I think it took Seth Godin about 30 minutes to write it. If I were you, I wouldn't bother. If you want to read a small, short book, try "Everything I ever needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten" or something of that nature.

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