Tuesday, April 29, 2008


A compilation of some questions floating about in my mind and the minds of others:

1. What happens to "good" people who don't believe in Jesus when they die?
2. By the way, what is prayer anyway?
3. Why do we get so nervous about praying out loud?
4. Why?
5. What are we searching for?
6. Does any of this make sense?
7. Do you know what is disturbing you?
8. What is it like when you pray alone?
9. God changing me from the inside out, you know?
10. Am I going crazy?
11. Will you B the remedy?
12. Could this be pointing to something bigger?
13. But is that what I really need?
14. Am I missing a message?
15. Doesn't make sense, does it?
16. So what?
17. Is it okay for Christians to believe in evolution?
18. Would you say that you struggle with this co-existence [science and Christianity] on a daily basis?
19. Do the Jews believe in a second coming?
20. God, what do you want with me?

Certainly a lot to think about, isn't it?



Monday, April 28, 2008

Sprinkle your life with salt??

Okay, there is this language , this religious language.

(Please note: I often use this same language - as I scanned through some posts, it stuck out in a couple of places. I'm not sure about the aroma language, for example.)

Anyway, as I read this sign by the side of the road, I had to laugh:

What am I supposed to do, get some salt and sprinkle it on my head?

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Please help to get the word out. Forward link to your friends and family! Whether you can share food, time, thoughts, or prayers, you matter when it comes to this project.

Windy Ride

Yesterday, I rode bike out to the farm. I have ridden bike to the farm multiple time, but yesterday was different. It was windy! Wow, it was windy! I downshifted all the way to 4th and 5th gear (our of 24) just to creep forward. The wind was actually trying to force the bike perpendicular to the road. It buffeted the bike and roared past my ears.

The wind resistance was almost overwhelming.

Yet, I kept pedaling. I could have easily turned around and glided back to the farm and asked for a ride back to town.

While straining forward, some words from Philippians came to mind: "press on toward the goal." This was a powerful reminder that even when the winds have other plans, I need to keep pressing on toward the goal.

What are those winds? Here a few that I struggle with everyday.





What's the goal?

Well, yesterday, it was quite simply to get home.

From Philippians, "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back" (3:12-14, Message).

P.S. What is bubbleitis? Well, I'm pretty sure it is an invented word. From http://www.m-w.com/, bubble is "something that lacks firmness, solidity, or reality" (2a). Something ending in -itis is a "disease or inflammation." Bubbleitis, at least for me, is this disease of staying in or escaping to my comfort zone - a place that lacks firmness or reality.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Few Follow-Ups

I have mentioned or wrote about David Kinnaman's book unChristian several times now. This book provides an incredible glimpse into the minds of sixteen to twenty-nine-year-olds and their perceptions of Christianity. In some ways, it is really disheartening. However, it also provides a huge challenge. In fact, it is impossible to change or improve without first recognizing a problem exists. The books also challenges a person to imagine a different world filled with a more Christian Christianity. Jonalyn Fincher imagines, "Christians will cultivate an understanding of art, science, business, engineering, architecture, and medicine because we know that our work tells the world more what God is like" (241).

In follow-up to the Mercy post, I had to laugh again at God's sense of humor when I read last night, "We'd rather dwell on how far we've come than how far we have to go" (Tiegreen, C. Walk with God. 113). This really hit home.

Finally, on my bike ride this evening, I came across a huge number of cars lining the streets - kind of like you would expect to see at a football game, a wedding, or a massive party. The cars stretched out from the funeral home. Earlier this week, the high school lost one of its own in a car accident. While I didn't know this student, it was apparent that many did in this tremendous outpouring of presence. I couldn't help but wonder how a young guy could be snatched way from his school, his friends, his family in one tragic moment. Why?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Recently, I had a very interesting conversation with a friend about evolution. We started out discussing science and Christianity. Ultimately, he asked, "It is okay for Christians to believe in evolution?"

We discussed this for quite some time and came to a conclusion:


It is getting a bit late and I'm tired - not sure tonight is the right night to go into more details of the conversation. However, as I thought about this question for another couple of days, a few others questions came to my mind.

Why is this such a touchy topic?

Why are people put in situations where they either have to ask or answer this question (or a derivation of this question) anyway?

Does evolution have anything to do with Jesus - and more specifically - Jesus' message of love?

How would belief in evolution prevent the existence of Jesus?

Do arguments over evolution, creation, and intelligent design obscure real issues - issues like hunger and AIDS? Would efforts be better placed than into vehemence over science curriculum?

Unfortunately, I don't have any experience in philosophy and this probably slides into the philosophical realm pretty rapidly. But I can't help but think about these questions and if there is actually some other underlying issue regarding this topic.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mercy v Judgment

Awhile back, I wrote about having a temper. Indeed, I have been known to be pretty explosive at work from time to time. Several months ago, I really started to feel convicted about this and began a long process of simmering down. Actually, one of my coworkers recently commented about significant improvement in this area. (Enter pride.) So of course, I start thinking about how awesome of a job I had done at improving my temperament. (Right Todd, go ahead and keep telling yourself that.) You can probably see where this is going. Yesterday, I totally mis-read a situation and it escalated into a pretty ugly duel of words. I immediately apologized to one of the observers and approached the "opponent" this morning to ask for forgiveness.

Last night, I open up my devotional (just purchased on Saturday) and turn to April 21. The title for the day is Mercy's Victory. I'm thinking, God, this has to be some kind of bad joke. The featured verse is James 2:13, "Mercy triumphs over judgment!" God, help me to let mercy triumph over indignation. Let mercy triumph over outrage. Let mercy triump over judgment.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Final Thought

This is a follow-up to A Great Quote. Please check out Don's comment in response to this quote. It is off-the-chain cool. In addition, I met this guy, Timothy, (see 1 & 2 Timothy) this past week while on the plane. He has this mentor guy named Paul who has an interesting insight into labels.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst" (1 Timothy 1:15, NIV, my italics).

From the Message:
"Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One."

Too often, I race down the slippery slide of seeing the faults of others. Yet, Paul really shakes things up in saying that he was the worst sinner. If I could walk around and say this, it would certainly adjust the lenses through which I view other people.



A Wise Young Man

As part of the Aroma series, I'd like to include something shared by a local student last night. Some of the high school senior guys took part in the Lion King competition/fundraiser. During the interview segment, the host asked one of the guys if he had a character trait that could use improvement. The student said that he talks a lot and it would probably be a good idea to do some more listening.


Wow, it has already been several days since the last post so I'm going to share a few today. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to El Paso. The trip was thought-provoking on many levels. The intent of the trip was to share some exciting information about copper with our colleagues and associates in El Paso. Ironically, I learned much more during this trip than they probably learned from the meetings.

I work for a great company that has grown significantly over the last decade. One consequence of this growth is that it has has evolved from a local company to a company with presence throughout the nation at various production and distribution facilities. While we are all part of one family, each location has its own unique role within the company. They each also have their own unique subculture. While visiting the El Paso facility, I realized how much I had become part of the Bremen subculture. Yet, stepping out the familiar subculture and engaging a different subculture opened my imagination to wondrous possibilities right here in Bremen. "Escaping" my subculture even influenced other people around me.

This experienced raised many questions and I will share some of them.

"To what other subcultures do I belong?"

"Do I need to 'escape' any of these - even if for a few minutes - to gain perspective?"

"When I become engrossed in any one of these subcultures, do I exclude others?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Great Quote

I had the opportunity to do some reading today and continued working through unChristian. These last few chapters have really rocked my thoughts and there will be more to come in regards to this. In the Judgmental chapter, Mike Foster shares, "Porn stars or preachers, gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, it doesn't mean a rip to God. We are all his children, and we are all in need of this stunningly beautiful thing called grace."

Monday, April 14, 2008

What is this?

The student ministry folks were over a few nights ago. I was glancing back through the pictures and came across this one. Note to self: in the future, do not leave camera unattended!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Diminutive in Stature but Bountiful in Spirit

This post is the second in a series entitled the Aroma of Christ. First, however, I wanted to share an observation from someone who looked at the picture in The Visionary post: the lights form crosses. These coupled with the rainbow (see last picture in linked post) certainly offer some poignant visual symbols of God's presence. It takes my breath away.

About ten months ago, another event took my breath away. Our family experienced an incredible loss with the death of Grandma. At Grandma’s visitation, we quickly grasped the impact that this diminutive woman had on the lives of people in our local community. However, in the midst of this time of immense sorrow, I observed the tears of a little girl.

These tears will remain permanently etched in my mind. In some ways, these tears were further evidence of sorrow, but upon reflection, they also offered evidence of hope, life, love, and renewal. Perhaps the tears of this little girl most poignantly captured Grandma's bountiful spirit. We learned that this little girl used to go sit by Grandma in church. In fact, unbeknownst to our family, this little girl also called Grandma, Grandma. The tears she shed at the visitation, funeral, and cemetery certainly were such profound evidence of Grandma's loving spirit and a legacy that will carry on through the years.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Visionary

Many thought Pedrito (2nd from right) was a crazy man. Over 10 years ago, he had a dream. He dreamt that the people of his community would have their own church. After having having this vision, Pedrito managed to purchase some land and construct four pillars. However, this bold step taxed his financial resources and construction remained limited for the next few years. In fact, he almost lost the land due to the slow progress. However, Pedrito persisted and continued the construction as money became available. Nearly a decade later, he stands a the door to the completed church. In fact, it sounds like the church is nearing capacity as children and adults meet in the church to worship the Creator.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Aroma of Christ

I've bee thinking about putting together a short series of posts for a few weeks. In fact, I wrote the introduction for a series on Sunday, published it, and then deleted it. Earlier this evening, I had a few minutes to glance back through some of my scribbles in Eugene Peterson's The Message// Remix: Pause. A few passages stood out. Ironically, these were particularly relevant to about 50% of the original plan for a series.

I continue to work through David Kinnaman's book, unChristian. To be quite honest, it has left me in a bit of funk. Note, funk has several definitions. See http://www.m-w.com/. One of the definitions is "a strong offensive smell." While this is not specifically the type of funk that I am experiencing, it kinds of adds to the overall funkiness of the last few days. I have thought about the times that I have been unChristian towards other people. I think about the times that I still am unChristian towards other people. This is like being an offensive odor that makes people turn their heads and gasp for air. (I have been known to share some literally offensive odor from time to time as well, but fortunately, this usually ends being a bit more humorous than not.)

Rather than being offensive odors, we are called to be the aroma of Christ. "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing" (2 Corinthians 2:15, The Message).

However, we are not just called to be the aroma of Christ. Check out some of these other descriptions from the Message.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." (Matthew 5:13)

"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world." (Matthew 5:14)

Wow, my senses are tingling.

So, in the next of couple posts, you will meet a few special people. These people, in their own everyday lives, are the aroma, seasoning, and light that provide a bridge to God's presence.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I needed to do some driving last week and over the weekend and had the Beatles playing. A few weeks ago, a friend from work said to get the 1 cd. I've listened to it over and over again and this is what was in while I was driving.

My favorite is probably Let It Be (I really like the organ sound that comes out from time to time) followed closely by Eleanor Rigby.

Why do the lyrics seem to resonate even today?

Sunday, April 6, 2008


It's official! A new blog enters the blog-o-sphere.

Please, please, take a minute to check out btheremedy.com.

See Trent's post, It's Live, for further information.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Real World

Wow, the first quarter of 2008 has passed. Where does the time go? Thankfully, we have had some sunshine to start off April.

A couple of the employees at Subway shared some comments this week. They are both students. One is a junior and one a senior. The junior is interested in going into graphic design and has already visited 6 colleges. He is ready to take a deep dive into pursuing scholarships. The senior will graduate from a local high school in a few short weeks. He is hoping to take classes at a local community college and continue working.

(A sidebar: The employees at Subway are some of the most friendly people I know. They rock.)

Two distinctly different paths to this mythical thing called "The Real World."

We will soon be entering into an interesting season of the year. Starting in early May, colleges and high schools around our nation will conduct graduation and commencement ceremonies. A common phrase that these students will have to endure hearing over and over (and over) again is "The Real World."

It might sound something like “After you graduate, you will have to enter the real world.”

A good friend shared some thoughts about "The Real World" this week. His thoughts and observations certainly forced me to pause and contemplate this concept for a few moments.

What is this thing called "The Real World?"

Is it something like that great show on MTV having the same name?

Is it something like the stats that David Kinnaman shared in his book?

Is it striving to find that perfect 9-5 job?

Is it using money from that perfect job to build a fortress (a.k.a home) filled with treasure?

Are fear, grief, sadness, bills, uncertainty, pain, loneliness, doubts, and [fill in the blank] part of this world?

What is "The Real World?"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dominican Republic

Jim, Jan, Steve, and Amy left for the Dominican Republic today. Here are some pictures from the trip in July 2007. A group is meeting in anticipation of a trip in January 2009.

First service at the church in Hato Mayor

Sunday School at the Marmolejos home

Special delivery: baseballs and gloves to the kids at Reuben's

Pedrito, a man with a dream

A rainbow over the dream

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Okay, just want to take a few minutes to recap.

Easter Dinner

1 T-Abode
4 Card Tables
7 Rounds of Corn-hole (a few in the snow)
25 People
lots of food
great time
3 Handsome Brothers??

Kudos to Justin for his brilliant response to "Mystery Substance". It put my lame attempt at incorporating chemistry to shame. Way to go!! More to come on "Mystery Substance" in a second.

Anonymous shared interesting questions in response to Buster and Mosaic Generations.

"Reading these quotes, I was forced to ask myself: Am I closing myself off from the rest of the world, sheltering myself in this tiny bubble? Is it better to be on the outside looking in, or the inside looking out?"

Does anyone have anything to offer in response to these questions?

Back to "Mystery Substance." Okay, so here's the deal. When the mystery substance ran out at a gathering on Saturday night, I was a little disappointed. There is just something so wonderful about that mystery substance. (I'm exaggerating a bit, but stick with me.) I started thinking about all the [crap] that I "feed" myself that ends up leaving me disappointed, sad, angry... you get the idea. I try to fill voids or a VOID with other stuff that leads to only limited, fleeting satisfaction. (By the way, this is the other part of the answer to the question "Why? ". Also, for a great look into this issue in the context of human sexuality, read Rob Bell's book Sex. God.")

There is another "Mystery Substance."

Living Water

Jim shared this verse from Jeremiah the other night.

"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13, NIV)

Too often, I forsake God and try to dig my own cisterns. They are like sieves (see The Message) and end up leaking all over the place. I end up thirsty again. Can you relate?

So back to Living Water:

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don't really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don't let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me. (John 6:35-38, The Message)

Thirsts no more?

Until Later,