Monthly Archives: December 2010

Holidays are for DAWGS!

“Holidays are for DAWGS!” (Great line, Amanda.)

Congratulations to the University of Washington Huskies Football team, champions of the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. As the announcers kept reminding everyone, the Huskies came back from “the depths of an 0-12 season two years ago” and “the wreckage of the Tyrone Willingham era.” Not only that, but they avenged an embarrassing shellacking from the Nebraska Cornhuskers back in September.

Kudos to the defense, who proved they could stop the run. Kudos to Nick Holt, who proved he can coach defense and justified his high salary. Kudos to Steve Sarkisian, who proved he can coach smash-mouth football, and in the process silenced those who doubted and second-guessed whether he was head coach material when the Dawgs stumbled in the middle of the season. Congratulations and Thanks to Jake Locker, who helped turn around a downtrodden program, restored glory to Montlake, and went out a winner.

The new year seems bright indeed for the Dawgs of Montlake. The program is back to respectability and relevance. Dawg fans can start wearing purple again, without having to apologize or say it’s for the basketball team.


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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in Seattle, Sports


30 Years – photo version

Over the past 30 years, Carol and I have traveled

from  to ,

and from  to  .

As Indiana Jones once said, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” It’s been a great ride. What does God have in store for us in the next 30?

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Posted by on December 28, 2010 in Family & Friends, Photos


30 Years

30 years ago today, Carol and I stood before “God and these assembled witnesses” and pledged our love to one another and said, “I do.” The pastor pronounced us “man and wife.” Who knew what God had in store for us?

Over the years, we have had multiple opportunities for communication, conflict resolution, compassion, ministry, service, and forgiveness. We have seen and experienced God’s grace and answers to prayers on numerous occasions. God has sent us enough challenges to cause us to grow, enough difficulties to keep us humble, enough trials to keep us dependent on his power, and enough love to share with those around us. Our love and commitment to one another has grown and deepened. God gave us three children who helped us grow up as much as we helped them grow up. God has and continues to be good to us.

And now, three children, one cat, two hamsters, three churches, two educational degrees, four apartments, four houses, five cross-country moves, numerous friends and acquaintances, several states, and a handful of foreign countries later, our family of five will gather tonight at Daniel’s Broiler to celebrate 30 years of God’s goodness and grace.

Happy Anniversary to my wife, companion, lover, and best friend. Let’s see what God has in store for us next. May the next 30 years be even better!

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Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Family & Friends, Marriage


Are you possessed?

“…one of the most powerful reasons we don’t totally surrender our lives to Christ is that we don’t want to sacrifice the things we possess; they have begun to possess us. These things can include our jobs, our material assets, our money, our communities, and our friends–even our families. We cling to them, often out of a desire for security, comfort, and happiness, even though we know in our hearts that we can only find real happiness by serving the Lord. Consequently, our things become idols.”

Richard Stearns, in The Hole in our Gospel: What does God expect of us? The answer that changed my life and might just change the world

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Posted by on December 24, 2010 in Books, Quotes


Have we trivialized true religion?

As I read the opening paragraphs in an article in the travel section, I have to confess that I cringed. “An Orlando theme park of biblical proportions: Holy Land Experience aims to feel a world away in the town of Mickey Mouse” begins with the following statements,

In Orlando, America’s thrill ride capital, one theme park is making a killing–twice each day, except Sundays.

At midday and again before the doors close for the evening, visitors to Holy Land Experience gather to watch a graphic reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Wearing a tattered robe and a blood-spattered face, a man portraying Christ lugs a cross on his back through a lifelike “Jerusalem Street Market” as packs of tourist in sunglasses scurry to snap photos. Mickey Mouse, this ain’t.


After reading the article, I had several reactions, none of which were all that positive. One reaction was to think, No wonder the world doesn’t take Christianity seriously when we act like religious hucksters. We put “Jesus” on everything from T-shirts to frisbees. Now, we have created an amusement park.

A second reaction was to equate the Holy Land Experience with a spiritual flu shot. People typically get a flu shot so that they don’t get the flu. You are inoculated with enough of the disease to prevent you from getting the real disease. The danger of visiting a religious amusement park is to think you’ve had a religious experience. One minister who visited the park said he felt “the consuming presence of God.” I confess I’ve had a similar experience in watching the JESUS film. But I cannot substitute a movie or an afternoon at an amusement park with actually spending time with God in his Word and in prayer. I’d be concerned that visiting the Holy Land Experience would be like eating cookies before dinner. It will take away my appetite for more nutritious fare.

A third reaction was to be reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy about what to expect in the last days. Paul wrote the following warning in 2 Timothy 3:1-5,

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (emphasis mine)

I may be old-fashioned and narrow-minded, but a religious amusement park seems to fit into the “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” category.

I love amusement parks. I would love to visit the Holy Land. But the idea of combining the two makes me cringe. It feels like one more example of “Jesus Junk.” It feels trivial and tacky.

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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in News stories, Travel


When did “evangelical” become a dirty word?

When did being “an evangelical” become a liability? When did having convictions become a bad thing? When did believing in a creator be enough to disqualify someone from a job offer?

That seems to be the case at the University of Kentucky. Martin Gaskell has sued the University of Kentucky for religious discrimination. He contends that his views about his Christian faith and questions about the theory of evolution kept him from an appointment as the director of a new student observatory at the University of Kentucky three years ago.

Gaskell apparently rose to the top of the applicants and was considered “breathtakingly above the other applicants.” However, some on the search committee worried his Christian faith could conflict with his duties as a scientist, calling him “something close to a creationist” and “potentially evangelical.”

If the quotes are true, then it’s ok to believe in evolution but not to believe in creation. It’s ok to believe there is no God but it’s not ok to believe that God exists. It’s ok to have faith but it’s not ok to tell people what you believe.  I may be simple-minded, but that sure sounds like a double standard to me.

It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.


Posted by on December 22, 2010 in News stories


Restoring Kingdom Builders

An old friend, Jim Meyer, has started a new blog aimed at ministering to pastors and church leaders who have experienced signficant opposition in their ministries, been kicked to the curb by their supporters, and/or been forced out of their churches. Jim and his wife, Kim, experienced that type of pain firsthand, so they know what they are talking about. Having gone through that experience myself, I look forward to what they have to say. Check out Jim’s blog at Restoring Kingdom Builders.

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Ministry