Monday, February 28, 2005

Wedding plans and whatever else comes to mind

I spent today with my special lady (Banana) looking at things and places for wedding receptions. We drove to every possible place near Lake Minnetonka, and a few others in the Wayzata area. We visited with DJ's, floral people, place setting people and tons other. I did get some really tasty cake, which was a nice bonus. While there is a ton of choices to make, I feel pretty good about the whole process. Banana on the other hand is starting to sweat the details. I think I complicated the process by sharing that some of my relatives are struggling with the time of year we have tenatively set for our wedding (between Christmas and New Years 05) because of weather related travel issues that time of the year. I think we can make it work, but we're going to be doing a good bit of praying for great winter weather that week.

It is absolutely astounding the costs associated with a wedding. I fully believe that weddings are a once-in-a-life experience, but man are they costly. What a racket the wedding industry has set up for themselves. I think if Satan were in buisness in the USA, he probably runs a facility rental and catering service.....

I've been doing a lot of reading on Hudson Taylor lately, for a paper I will be writing over the next few weeks. What an astounding man of faith. His legacy is in China Inland Mission (now known as O.M.F), but the thing that impresses me the most was his dependance on God.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Andromeda and hoping for a new job

I have been slowly building a collection of the Sci-fi series Andromeda. The series is written by Gene Roddenberry, who also wrote the original Star Treks. I love this series. I have only been able to catch a show here and there over the past few years, but now that I am able to see more of them and see the character development and story lines I am very impressed with the depth. I had been previously impressed, but nowhere near this level. I don't suppose this is a series of DVD's I'll watch all too frequently, but every year or so they will make a fantastic watch.

I have an application in at the school for a job which would be an enormous blessing. I need to get together my cover letter and tidy up my resume. I believe I have a good shot at the position, but will be in prayer for it. I have discussed it with my fiancee, and we both think that it would be the best possible scenereo. We've been trying to figure out where to live once we are married, and the other detail that go along with that, and this job (IF I get it) would help sort a lot of those for us. I'm excited at the opportunity, and would love to be an employee of Bethel. I guess technically I am an employee of Bethel, in that I am a Teaching Assistant for the preaching department of the Seminary.

I have been bogged down writing papers lately. I am always amazed at how prolific some bloggers are. I don't know how they find the time. Perhaps I'm just busier than average. Perhaps getting every thought and moment of my life archived is less important to me than actually living said life.

Sunday I ate at Uno's Pizzeria in Edina near the Galleria. This was the third or fouth time I've eaten there, and every time I leave wondering if there is a better pizza anywhere on the planet. My mouth says no, but I'll reserve final judgment until I get to Chicago and can sample a few other fine pizza's. I think the key is the pastry-like crust, but there is something else beyond that that I am not sure I can identify. Whatever it is, it's incredibly yummy (technical term) and undoubtedly not good for you. Both are the key components to a good pizza. I've had Sven and Ole's, Pizza Luce's, Cosetta's, various wood roasted piazzas and my mouth is always wanting Uno's. It's worth the drive. It's not cheap, but it's soo worth it!


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Plays and Church Discipline

This past Friday I had the fortune of attending the play "Brooklyn Bridge" at the Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis. The play was outstanding in it's acting, well written, and all around a ton of fun. I only wish I had seen it sooner so I could have reccommended it to more people. There are only two weeks left if you want to see it, and I highly suggest you do!

It is interesting how liberal theater companies tend to be. Last night I attended a cabaret put on by theater employees (and family members) for theater employees (and family). We were exposed to homosexuality as being acceptable, Buddhism, Atheism, New Age philosophy, Post-modernism, and a few other things I've probably forgotten. It seemed that the four of us likely were the only ones who do not embrace flaming liberalism. I always wonder if my "W '04" bumper sticker will still be on my vehicle after I park in their parking ramp, though so far, it hasn't been touched. It is interesting how far left most of the employees there tend to be, and how they all have chosen that as their career path. I wish there were more groups like Triple Espresso giving voice to something else. I know they are out there, people like Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble from Theater for the Thirsty. I think unfortunately, for many years the Christian church has put this type of entertainment on the back burner. Clearly, just a few hundred years ago many plays were inspired by the Christian faith, or at least based on Christian values. Those seem to be fewer and fewer these days. I must admit though, the people performing were talented, and I did generally enjoy myself, even if I am unwilling to embrace many of the underlying messages the performances contained.

My church is working through Matthew 18 in learning how to lovingly discipline within the body of Christ. While this has been a painful and eye-opening process for many, I think it is clearly the best for all involved. Far too many churches refuse to keep their membership accountable to God's Word. Small things become large things, and it blows up in everyone's faces. I think I could spend hours writing about how NOT to do church, but I'll save that for some future time or for a book. Suffice it to say that I believe churches need to have a good understanding of Matthew 18 and then need to be willing to follow through with it.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Great conference and sickness

Monday the 31st of January I attended a conference put on by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womenhood at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The experience was fantastic. The day started with a couple of worship songs "Here I am to Worship" by Tim Hughes, and "In Christ Alone" by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty (popularized by Newsboys). Hearing 400+ men and 50 or so women in a small room (Rm. 208) sing their hearts out to God was incredibly powerful. Goose-bump inspiring. There is something about people openly singing to God's glory that really moves me.

The first presenter of the day was Dr. Wayne Grudem. I spent the summer of '03 reading his Systematic Theology, so I had become familiar with his style and brillance as a theologian. Dr. Grudem's presentation was "Manhood and Womanhood in Creation and Marriage". He spent quite a bit of time in Genesis examining men and women and how God created us. Some key thoughts from his presentation are: 1) The idea that we (men and women) are different by design is one of the key issues of our day. 2) Men and Women are equal in value and dignity. 3) Men and women have different roles in marriage as part of the created order. 4) The need for men to provide positive leadership, provision, love and protection to their marriage and family. 5) Some common Egalitarian objections and his answer to those objections. Dr. Grudem's presentation was rock solid, well thought out, well presented. Everything I expected from him. Academic yet understandable.

The second presenter was someone who I had not previously heard of, C.J. Mahaney. I think Mahaney stole the show, though that is just my opinion. Mahaney started the Sovereign Grace Ministry and was a senior pastor for 27 years. Mahaney's presentation was on "A Pastoral Call to Faithfulness." There were tidbits throughout his message that were solid gold. Beginning to end he was hilarious, while being very Bible based and very serious. He has a fabulous presentation style, and I only hope to someday have half of his ability. His message had two main parts, personal application and pastoral application (with about 70% being on pastoral application). Some tidbits I picked up: 1) We need to clarify, cultivate and celebrate the proper values. 2) Godly character, careful scholarship, and courage. 3) Our teaching is only as effective as our demonstration. 4) Ideas for cultivation of growth as a husband. 5) Practices employed by Covenant Life Church to develop husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers. 6) The need for accountability groups because we can never truely assess ourselves. We have blindspots. 7) Preaching tip: consider is there any way I can reveal to the church my weakness in this message? Perhaps how I have been challenged in the past or in prep for the message in this area of my life. By doing this, we humble ourselves and it gives people hope and something to identify with, and cultivates trust. 8) Personal insight is usually the product of community.

Sovereign Grace Churches are somewhat unique in that the are both charismatic and reformed in their doctrine/theology. I find this combination quite attractive. As does my fiancee. I have never attended one of their churches, but I have added it to my list of churches to visit.

I did also buy two new books at the conference. The first being Dr. Grudem's newest book "Evangelical and Feminism & Biblical Truth." The second book I purchased was written by Carolyn Mahaney "Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother." I may or may not read the second before I give it to my fiancee.

The past couple of days I have been quite sick. I left work Tuesday night feeling fine, and on the way home I developed a cough. I dismissed this a being the particulate in the air, as we were having a stretch of very dirty air days in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area. By the time I woke up on Wednesday morning I was miserable. Coughing and tasting blood, intense body aches, pressure in head, runny nose, phlegm (yellowish), fever etc. I spent the day primarily sleeping. Today (Thursday) I woke up still feeling ill, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I slept really rotton last night though. I have felt progressively better throughout today, though I still didn't feel good enough to go to work tonight. I figured my possibly being infectious, coughing frequently, and having poor sense of balance because of this illness as being a bad combination for the food service industry. I really could use the cash, but I'll make due. I am supposed to spend the evening with my fiancee tomorrow night, and then work all day on Saturday, so I am really hoping for another significant improvement over night.