Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Anyone looking for visual verification of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics just needs to peek inside the bedroom of an 8 year old boy. I tried to get something out of his closet early this morning and darn near killed myself.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Monday Already?

What a quick weekend!

First things first. Joe's surgery went very well and he's up and walking around. Quintuple bypass surgery and they already have the poor guy hiking! Thanks so much for prayers. God was really looking out for him and his whole family.

Saturday morning was the first day of the boy's baseball season. Unfortunately, they accidentally put my 8 year old on a team of 6/7 year olds. His first liner up the middle almost took a kid's head off. The kid wasn't really paying attention though, so it may not have even bothered him. James is really hitting well and we had our first really good catch before the game. I'm learning that if I throw/pitch the ball on a line, he's much better at catching/hitting it. Time to stop treating him like a little kid with my lobs. They are supposed to move him up to the 8-10 year old league next week. We'll see how that goes. I think it could be great for him to have to be with older kids for a change.

Saturday afternoon the DirecTV was installed and I finally know the wonder that is the MLB Network.

We had good friends for dinner that night. Worshiped and learned on Sunday morning. Tried to do some homework in the afternoon but got caught up in Tiger's charge to victory at Bay Hill. Honestly, I don't know why anything he does surprises me anymore. And then it was off to the Rock & Worship Road Show!

Last night we heard Addison Road, 10th Avenue North, Hawk Nelson, Jeremy Camp, and Mercy Me perform. I'm a big Jeremy Camp fan and he was truly great...the words he said as much as the songs he sang. But Mercy Me stood out among the rest and really led some great worship. I don't mind being entertained at a Christian concert. These are great musicians using their gifts to the best of their ability and singing songs that are about something worthwhile. But I relished the chance to lift my voice along with 13000 others in praise. Mercy Me provided that.

James went and had a great time too. We're all a little tired today (and Open House is tonight...urghhhhh), but it was well worth it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

4 In A Row

During last night's excellent class on Luke, this oddity occurred: On Jim's right sat Richard, an A's fan...Jim is, of course, a Rangers fan (bless his loyal heart)...I loves me some Angels...and to my left sat a girl in a Mariners shirt. We confirmed after class that she was, in fact, a fan and not just wearing the shirt because of that beautiful (blecch) Mariners logo. So there it was, the entire AL West represented by us four seminary students. I'm sure I don't need to point out that there are NO Mariners, Rangers, or Athletics in Luke...but there are plenty of angels. For the record.

(Let me just nip this in the bud: fishermen are not mariners, temple police are not rangers, and no amount of hiking, running, or tree-climbing qualifies in my estimation as athletics.)

The class got even better at the break when my friend and former student, Vanna, joined us. Vanna is an incredibly hard-working guy with an intense love for Christ and a desire to lead gang members away from sin and into the loving arms of the Father. He is also a reminder to me not to complain too much. In addition to his 8-5 job and his work with his church's youth group, Vanna is taking 3 (!) classes. Of course, he's much younger than I. I had Vanna in my math class as a 7th and 8th grader almost 20 years ago. So to hear him yelling at the professor from the back of the classroom last night brought a tremendous mixture of deja vu and joy.

There were a number of AHA! moments last night. I'll share one of them. Much of Luke is spent with Jesus leading his disciples to Jerusalem. He knew the fate that awaited him there, but he had "set his face" because that's where his work needed to be done. One of the first things Jesus did upon arriving was to cleanse the temple. Now in all likelihood, the temple didn't stay clean all that long. The moneychangers returned shortly and life went on as usual. But the act was symbolic. Jesus had teaching to do in the temple and before he could do it, the place had to be cleansed. I think the more we know about Judaism, the more we can appreciate all of these wonderful things that Jesus did while on Earth.

One more thing for today. My friend and brother, Joe, is having heart bypass surgery today. If you'd lift him up after reading this, it would mean a lot to his family...and to me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Ummm...it's almost April.

That's a good thing. April is one of my favorite months. The weather turns nice. There's usually a Spring Break in there somewhere. And, of course, baseball begins!

But is this year passing for anyone else as quickly as it is for me?

I finished both commentaries for my Luke class and now have to begin thinking about my 15-page paper. But it's my Biblical Interpretation class that is taking a lot of time. As ever, I'm truly enjoying the work. But there's a lot of it and it requires a great deal of concentration...at least it does for me. So I find that every now and then I look up and another week or two has gone by.

We were able to slow down this past weekend a little bit and enjoy the beach as a family. I even got the requisite sunburn. James had an absolute blast. He dug a large hole and then ran down to the ocean to jump waves. This became his new favorite thing. That's good news for Daddy because it means his boy is finally ready to boogie board with him. I'm hoping that happens this Summer.

It's probably a sign of my increasing age that my favorite part of the trip was the cajun pan-seared salmon I had at the Pierside on Saturday.

But now it's back to work. I'm afraid to look up. It might be May!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bad Dad

The weather has been beautiful lately, highs in the low-to-mid 70's...the kind of days where I hate being cooped up in a classroom.

This morning before work, James asked if he could wear shorts to school. I told him that the mornings were still too chilly for shorts and he'd need long pants and a tee shirt with a jacket or sweatshirt until the day warmed up. He commented that other kids were wearing shorts already. I retorted that I wasn't overly concerned with what other kids were wearing. He started to say something else and I cut him off and told him that arguments were a lousy way to start the day. He stormed off to his bedroom and sighed loudly while I ate my Froot Loops. When I stopped in his room to hug him before leaving, he was still wearing just his tighty whities, staring wistfully at his closet. He was acting like he couldn't decide what to wear, but I was pretty sure he was waiting for his mom to wake up so he could ask her if he could wear shorts.

I gave him a hug, kissed his cheek, and told him to put some clothes on. No shorts.

On the drive to school I remembered that it was his birthday.

Now I'm not saying I would have let him get his way, but I was very sorry that our morning got sidetracked and I had forgotten to wish him a Happy Birthday. Naturally, I called as soon as I got to school (no bluetooth yet, alas) and sang birthday wishes to him by speakerphone along with his mom.

Happy 8th, dude. I'll make it up to you by driving you to Pismo for some Splash clam chowder tonight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

God In My iPod

The "Road Mix" in my iPod contains about 1000 songs. Less than a tenth of them are "Christian music" as my tastes run more towards Coldplay and Eric Clapton, especially while I'm driving. It's a very rare day that I don't hear at least one Clapton tune on the way to work.

A couple of days ago, just before I left the house for the day, Lisa's alarm was going off and the radio was playing "I Can Only Imagine." I love that song and I thought about queuing it up as I started the car. I decided instead to just let the mix run and set my mind on things above while it played. The first two songs were the Newsboys' version of "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin. Then, as I headed east and the sun rose gloriously over the distant ridge of mountains, Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love" came on. Bending the words to His purpose, God revealed the brilliant splendor of His infinite love for me...accompanied by matchless guitar riffs.

Pure Heaven.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Gift From My Dad

My dad was a great student of the Word. He was neither Pastor nor Preacher, but he often taught Bible classes and was constantly studying. He had a large library of books, some of which he never really used but just bought because, well, you just never know. And besides, they were on sale and looked interesting.

When he died over 20 years ago, I got the books. (They were "my third." Only my family will get that.) Some I immediately devoured, some I put away for later, some I stored. Recently, in "The Big Book Move of 2008," I went through everything and added some to my growing theological library. Seminary requires a whole different kind of book, so I put some in the bookshelf that were more resource than reading.

My Biblical Interpretation assignment over the past few weeks has been a word study. We have gone through a lengthy and detailed process of chasing down the meaning of one particular word from a text that we are spending the semester studying. It is tedious, but not without rewards. The fifth step of the five-step process is to verify your findings in an approved text. The only text that is available online did not include my word and I was forced back to the syllabus to find another one. I figured I'd spend some time in the Theological Library at the seminary one day after class checking to see if all my work on this word had paid off.

"But wait!" thought I. "I may as well check my bookcase first. One never knows."

No. One never does. There it was, on the third shelf. The Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon, one of four approved sources of verification. What in the world my dad wanted with such a book I have no idea. But the thought that he bought it...just in case...did cross my mind.

Thanks, Dad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

As In Heaven, So On Earth

There's a line in the middle of the Lord's Prayer...if you say it the way it was written, it brings the purpose of the prayer in better focus. It goes like this:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
as in Heaven, so on Earth.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one."

Now I may not have that exactly right, but one thing becomes very clear here. The focus of the prayer shifts from Heaven to Earth.

Divine Jesus teaches about the kingdom. Human Jesus knows our needs. He left behind his Spirit to help us pray, even as he sits at God's right hand in Heaven.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


One of the things I really enjoy about our new preaching minister is the fact that he closes each service with a benediction. We leave every Sunday with a doxology, a charge to go, to serve, to love. Besides the nice feeling of closure it brings, there is a sense of purpose...as though we go as one, a community called to do God's work.

Even though I am years away, it's impossible for me not to think about the things I would like to do as a minister some day. This has always been one and it's nice to be a part of it already.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Senior Ditch Day

Yes, I seem to be missing some students today.

I was SO out of the loop when I was in high school. I rarely knew when anything was happening. And it went beyond the cool parties and senior ditch day. I didn't know when Prom was, fer cryin' out loud!

This is not to say I never ditched. I'll never forget a classic moment in my English class. One of my classmates who didn't care for me too much (I know, hard to believe) ratted me out. He said, "Hey, Thurman was at the movies Friday." The teacher asked, "How do you know?" And this brainiac replied, "I saw hi--, um, I...er..." Yeah. Genius.

Hint to all you high schooler's out there: If you're a C student, never rat out the A student.

Ah well, my classes are much quieter today.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Thought Per Day: 3/1 - 3/7

Sunday: I turned in (and got back!) my first assignment for Biblical Interpretation. So far so good. My next goal is to do a word study of "silent," especially in terms of Paul's instruction that women should remain silent. Should be interesting.

Monday: No new assignments for Bib. Interp. means more time to spend on my Luke class this week. I've gotten approval for my Major Project so I've started thinking in terms of that. In a nutshell, I am going to write about some of the women on whom Luke focuses and include a lesson plan for a class on each. The emphasis will be on one major theme, Jesus' inclusion of the marginalized, and one minor theme that will be specific to each woman. I'll share more on that as it develops.

Tuesday: The computer guy is coming over to tell me (hopefully) why my desktop keeps shutting down at incredibly inopportune moments. Stop yelling "Mac!" at me. I can't afford anything new right now.

Wednesday: LOST! 2nd best show ever? I feel a bloglist coming on.

Thursday: Jim and I sit with our backs to the clock at the seminary. We're amazed when it's already breaktime...and when class is over. Time flies when you're learning Biblical truths you never knew.

Friday: I sold my original Watchmen comics to fund my trip in 2000 to the East Coast. It was worth it, but I daresay I could get more for them now. I never thought it was possible to make a movie out of the graphic novel which Time Magazine rated as one of the top 100 books since 1923. We'll find out this weekend.

Saturday: Sleep?

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