(PHOTO from Dh VanZan T)

Genesis 34.

The short of it. Jacob had a daughter named Dinah. Genesis 34 begins at the point where Dinah is of child-bearing age. (What that age is, I don’t know but since this is the Old Testament, I’m sure the age would make us vomit.) Apparently, Dinah goes out to visit the woman of the land. I am assuming while the men are out shaving goats and castrating sheep or themselves.

Two verses into the chapter I was introduced to a man named Shechem. I picture Shechem to be one of those guys in a TV show based in Miami; someone who is rich, powerful, and can “acquire” any woman he wants. According to the verse, he “violated” her. I don’t think there was an issue with whether or not Dinah consented to the consummation. I believe an issue arose because the two were not married. Verse three states that Shechem was stricken with her and threw down some Shakespearian rhymes in her ear.

Shechem didn’t know Dinah had a whole mess of brothers. Jacob learned of the details involving Dinah’s 21st century affair and wanted to avoid sharing the gossip with his sons. He knew his sons would surely break out there slings and rocks and kill Shechem. But the boys found out regardless. I’m sure this was the talk of the pasture.

Shechem’s father, Hamor, intervened and told Jacob of his sons love for Dinah. Obviously no one was more disgraced than Jacob, whose name would be defiled by his daughters actions. Hamor wanted to do some swapping. So he proposed a plan to give Jacob’s crew the daughters of the Hamor clan in return for the daughters of the Jacob clan. So, Jacob thought about it. After rubbing his chin and petting his goat, he began to barter with Hamor. Jacob agreed to Hamor’s offer, only on the condition that all the men of Hamor’s clan would get circumcised. Yeah, that’s right, circumcised. Fully grown men jumped at the chance to indulge in the women of Jacobs family, even though they had to hack at their members. After 3 days, all the men from the Hamor clan had been circumcised. (I wonder if they had someone whose vocation was the circumciser?)

But it was all a plan of revenge. Once all the men were a little lighter and hunched over, Jacobs sons, Simeon and Levi, went Kill Bill on the men with swords, killing them all. But Simeon and Levi weren’t finished with their revenge. They looted their possessions, took their livestock, and captured their woman and children. (You know you’re messing with a bad mofo when he waits to kill you until after you circumcise yourself and then steals your donkey.)

Jacob started stressing because he feared other clans would hear of these events and attack him. Simeon and Levi replied in a Clint Eastwood voice, “Should he (Shechem) have treated our sister like a prostitute!?!”

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(PHOTO from TBWB photos)

I have been asked all sorts of things concerning my family living in Costa Rica as missionaries. One of the more entertaining questions has been, “What if your daughter wants to marry a local?”. The answer is simple. “Have you read Genesis chapter 29?” It states that seed carrying boys who desire to marry a missionaries daughter must serve the daughters father for 7 years. (That is how long Jacob served Rachel’s father before being allowed to marry her and then her father pulled a fast one and gave Jacob Leah instead of Rachel.) And if that doesn’t work, I am bigger than the average Tico. And if that doesn’t work, I am sure I will have access to a dog kennel a gun and a shovel and or a car.

Please pray for my daughter.

(PHOTO from Libby Loo)

Think ‘I’m a gonna’ try something new. I have lots of questions. Mainly because I’m rebellious. That’s OK, Jesus loves me more than you (Seriously sarcastic.), so no sweat. I know I won’t get much, if any response, but I’m just going to throw the questions out there for all of the interweb.

Why is Christianity content? Because we’re forgiven? Is it because we are taught to be positive? Because being content is accepted?

“I can do all things through Christ…” – looks nice on the fridge.

“As for me and my house…” – makes sense to hang on the front door.

(PHOTO from red twolips)

Worship –

It’s a loaded word. At least for me, worship is hard to define. I believe I should must, take my opinions and self out of the picture when I attempt to define worship. Naturally, I want to throw music, communion, prayer, tithing, and all the things that take place in a typical church service into the definition. And these are all good things. All acts of worship. But these things are a “no-brainer”, at least in my mind. These things are our duty. It’s like being at an event and when the national anthem is sung, you take your hat off and put your hand over your heart (Especially since everyone else is doing it). Well, at least those who believe in the idea of America.

I have heard many “famous” worship leaders state that true worship is done 90% or more of the time outside the safety of church walls.

So I ask myself, “How can I know that I am worshiping?”

I remember Abraham. Abraham was told he was going to be blessed. He was rich. He had a hot wife. Seriously, his wife was smokin’. Read the story. His wife Sarah wanted to have a son with Abram. Abram had children with other woman and Sara wanted a child of their own. Eventually, God told them that they would have a son, even though Sarah had passed her “fertile” years. So, they waited. God kept his word and gave them a son, Isaac.

Then God wanted to prove Abraham’s love for God. So God told Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. I still can’t imagine. But I don’t see anywhere that Abraham questioned God. I don’t see that Abraham even stalled. I have to believe that Abraham had all sorts of thoughts rolling through his mind though. “Sarah will hate me forever if I do this.” “I will be charged for murder.” Yet, Abraham went through with God’s plan. He went through with the plan all the way up to the point where the blade was raised above Isaac’s head. (Can you imagine the sheer fear in Isaac’s eyes?)  God told Abraham to, “Stop!” Then God provided a lamb for both Abraham and Isaac to sacrifice together.

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. -Oswald Chambers

This goes against my “defense is the best offense” theory. I think we are playing defense with our worship. We focus on us. We want to protect ourselves.  Our desire is to be pleased with worship. Our desire is to please others with how we worship. We play defense by emphasizing our duties. We have a list and on this is list we have written, I don’t do “this” sin, I go to church, I sing, I clap, I fast, I give, I pray, I partake…I play defense. Playing defense is safe. (It’s easy for the terrorist to rant and rave in a cave but why doesn’t he do this in a NRA meeting?)

Offensive worship is totally different. To sum it up, I would describe it as, doing something that you don’t want to do but God wants you to do. Offensive worship is uncomfortable. Offensive worship involves God and then you. Not the other way around. Worship must always begin with God. If it doesn’t then the act is not worshiping, its self serving. I believe we will sin less once we worship more.

If that Oswald Chambers quote is true, then how do we worship God?

I’m not much of a golfer anymore due to my shallow pockets. I found this Par 3 and thought I would share it. A round of golf at this course runs around $70. But if you want a chance to play this hole, get ready to drop over a grand for the helicopter ride to the summit. Get your money back and then some, when you ace this hole. A million dollar prize awaits the first person to hole it.

Mr. Driscoll sent out a question through his Facebook feed yesterday. He asked, “Could Jesus have sinned?” I don’t think this can be answered and Mark alluded to that fact. That’s what I like about Driscoll. Even though I know Mark has an opinion. There are a lot of theology/human bible theories out there that simply can’t be proven. But, I have always been fascinated by this question that Mark asked. Yes, I may be wasting my time but hey, I’m thinking about Jesus (How do you influx J-e-s’us through typed words?).

-I want to think that Jesus could have sinned. Likewise, I want to think that He couldn’t.
-He is 100% God.
-He is 100% Man.
-You do the math and that is one 200% bad motha. He was the perfect man. He is the perfect God.
-I find it more amazing that He didn’t sin, especially if He could have sinned.
-Jesus was tempted. Why would he be tempted if He couldn’t sin? (Maybe satan didn’t know Christ was unable to sin.)
-Jesus suffered.
-If Jesus was God, and God can do whatever He wants, then technically… (I just looked up for lightning.)
-Thermostatically, sin is feasible through any corridor that blood can be shifted from one benefactor to a further beneficiary. Isaiah 28:17; Hebrews 2:11. (I made that up. All of it.)
– If sin is uncontrollable, then someone should dope us all up.
-If anyone had the ability to control defeat sin, it was the 200% bad motha.
-Jesus needed sleep. Jesus needed food. He was 100% human.
-Why did Jesus need God’s help?
-I get it, “If Jesus could have sinned while he was on earth, then that would mean He could still sin.”
-Why did Jesus pray? Was He just talking to Himself?
-I don’t THINK that being human means one has the ability to sin or WILL sin. (In heaven we will be human but unable to sin.) I think because of the curse, after Adam sinned, the rest of mankind was cursed into sin nature. This is why God bypassed Joseph and impregnated Mary with the son of God. So, Jesus had the ability to sin just as Adam did?? Adam could have avoided sin. Jesus did avoid sin.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Enough of this, I don’t know what I think now. I guess it technically doesn’t matter. Jesus DIDN’T sin. But a thought came to mind. I think I may know “why” Jesus didn’t sin. Jesus devoted His entire life to God’s purpose. He NEVER took His heart, mind, or soul away from God. Even for a second! Jesus lived WAS the Great Commandment. Jesus loved God and He loved people. Always! (Because he would NEVER stop loving God or loving people, He could have never sinned.) We sin because for even the slightest moment, we stop loving God and stop loving people. Jesus was grounded in God’s word. Jesus knew the law like the back of His hand. Heck, He wrote the law. Jesus came to break the law, sort of. He came to give us the ability to obey the law by providing the power, through Him, to not break the law.

In a way, I feel like I am sinning because I am trying to answer this silly question. I am focusing on the question instead of focusing on how I can avoid sinning. That’s the difference between Christ and I, other than the fact the He is God. He was the Great Commandment 24/7. I stop to take TV, internet, book, theology, and potty breaks. My so called “Christian” life has banker hours. Therefore, I sin.

Let’s not focus on this question anymore until we can answer the question, “Can God make a rock big enough that even He cannot move?”

(PHOTO from Chris Lopez)

I may be addicted to working out. Not the running part (Actually, I hate the running part.) but the lifting weights part. I am amazed how much lifting weights relieves my stress and anxiety. I need some form of aggression release and weight lifting is it.

And for the record, I’m not one of those guys who stand in front of the mirror and do curls for 45 minutes. Since I know you’re curious, I do a modified version of this workout regimen. The exercises I do are not enjoyable. Squats, military presses, and dead lifts all in the same sequence forces you to focus (Sometimes throw up).

I have been known to hold in my anger, sadness, and grief until there is nowhere for it to go but out. And pushing my body to do things that it doesn’t want to do, I find euphoric. For that 45-60 minutes, nothing else matters.

But what I anticipate the most is the day after a workout. The next day, almost exactly 24 hours later, I hope to be sore. I mean like beat up sore.  The soreness is like my new caffeine. My crack (not buttocks although it hurts too). The soreness is proof. Proof, that I worked out legitimately. If I am not sore the next day, than I make the workout more difficult by adding weight or repetitions.

Eventually, I get stronger.

In the same manner, I am attempting to approach God and the Bible. I want my conversation with God leaving me sore. I need to know that I could have done better yesterday. I want the bible to make me realize that I need God more. I need to know that I don’t know enough.

If following these interactions I am the same as before they started, then I didn’t push myself hard enough. So I pray longer. I pray more honestly. I listen as intently as possible. And I realize God is greater. I read deeper. I read until I get kicked in the gut. I read until I notice that I suck. And I realize God is greater.

Eventually, I get stronger.

(PHOTO from LugoLounge)

I try to stay positive. I really do. But what good does cold weather accomplish? I think cold weather is Gods way of proving He is in control. This is God speaking to Job, Job 38:22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?

People, I’m talking about Kansas cold weather. I think God is punishing Kansas for hating Missouri and for calling that river “Our-Kansas River” instead of Arkansas River. This dry, wind chill cold, is not avoidable. My skin itches. My feet sweat. What’s up with that? I hate heaters too. Does that make any sense? The warm, dry, and dusty smelling heater air aids in drying my skin. And you are out of your gourd if you think I am going to rub lotion on my body. I ain’t a sissy. I can hardly stand putting shampoo in my hair. I don’t think I’m old enough to use Gold Bond powder either. I don’t like to wear coats. It’s my optimistic way of saying, “See, I don’t need a coat (as my teeth chatter).”

Costa Rica, I hear you. I’ll be there as soon as possible.

(PHOTO from chrome_redneck)

The book of Job is amazing. To be honest, I had to reread the majority of it. Here is what I learned, so far.

1. Job was not perfect. (Meaning at some point in his life he sinned (I’m assuming). Throughout this trial, he didn’t)

2. God does not always punish sin (Well, all sin is punished by death but all sin is not punished immediately).

3. God does not always reward faithfulness (Immediately.).

4. Job questioned God. (Who wouldn’t in light of Job’s circumstances?)

5. Job never blamed God. (Job just wanted to know, “Whats’up with this God?”)

6. God has ALL control. (We can’t explain, understand it, or describe it. Even though we try.)

I don’t know about you but I loved grasping number 2 and 3. Will I always find comfort in those statements? Probably not. It amazes me how much Christendom is wrapped up in these statements, incorrectly. I ain’t gonna lie and say that I have never wanted somebody who has blatantly sinned, to be punished by God. I’m also lying when I say I have never asked God to bless me because I have been “faithful.”

When will we get that? When will I get that? [That] being the stuff (wants, desires, possessions, dare I say-prayers) we acquire on the earth will never matter. None of it. Want to test your own faith? Ask yourself these two questions.  Will you and I remain faithful when other people’s sin (Any/every sin that affects us directly or indirectly.) is NOT punished? Will we remain faithful when our faithfulness is NOT rewarded (Here on earth.)?

(PHOTO from Polina Sergeeva)

The book of Job has messed with my mind. Whenever I think about Job, as in the man with the weird name, I think about all the crap he lived through, yet he remained intent to worship God. Job suffered physically. Like with a full body blister. And all because God allowed this to happen. What? Why would God do this? God said this about Job, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” And God said this to Satan. Satan was, I’m assuming, trying prove that He was as powerful as God.

Then Satan replied to God in Dog the Bounter Hunter like fashoin. “Skin on skin. Mano-y-mano.” Well, he didn’t say mano-y-mano but he did say, “Skin for skin! A man will give all he has for his own life.”

So, I’m questioning:

  1. Can I be like Job? 
  2. Can I go “skin on skin” with Satan?

Sin sucks. Sin is nasty. Sin has caused to world to get worse and worse. (I’m no theologian but I don’t see that the world has gotten any better. Yes, Jesus came but He only offered the chance to be pardoned. I don’t think Christ came to make the world a “better” place. Christ came to give mankind an opportunity to have a relationship with God.) Even when this relationship begins, that sucky sin is still prevalent. Sin is always a possibility. It’s always [there]. Sin is always the easy way. It’s usually the more accepted way too.

The answer to sin is death. Death is the only way an individual will stop sinning completely. Until we die, we will be affected by sin, either directly or indirectly. The best I can do  is to attempt to NOT sin. (Attempting to put these thoughts down is scary. Because I want to disagree with what I feel is the truth.) (It’s as if me head and heart agree but my heart is hesitant.) I want to be able to say that I am good. I will never say that I am not a sinner but I’m sure I will let you know when I do something good. But the effing sin is always there. Haunting me. I know God has forgiven me. I know it! People, including myself, don’t want to hear that they are “bad”. All I can say is, try to prove it.

Can I be like Job? I believe so. At least through the power of Christ, I can avoid sinning. Well, for a short period of time anyway (Hopefully it’s easier for you.). When I’m bloody and broken, I can always get back up and go another round.

Can I go “skin on skin” with Satan? I would love to have some Gladiator/Braveheart/John McClain in Die Hard moment with Satan. But the skin on skin encounter Job had with Satan, didn’t include any retaliation from Job. Job didn’t swing a sword, axe, or shoot a 9mm at Satan. Job trusted God. I don’t think you got that. Job trusted God! The most pain inflicting thing Job could have done to Satan was trusting God. So can I go skin on skin with Satan? Yes. Can I trust God? We’ll see. 

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since the world was coming to an end in Y2K. Now were debating on how we will refer to 2010. Will it be O 10? Or two-thousand-ten? Or twenty-ten? I don’t know. I’m still preparing my bucket list for 2012.

2010 is going to be one of the greatest years of my life. Here are my goals slash plans for 2010.

  1. Be a greater husband.
  2. Be a greater father.
  3. Move to Costa Rica.
  4. Fast for an extended period of time.
  5. Read the bible chronologically.
  6. Run a half marathon.
  7. Pray like a nun, minus the repetition.
  8. Get that picture at the top of this page tattooed down my arm.
  9. Write a book.
  10. Sin less.

(PHOTO from Ross_G)

Yes, I said it. I’m a wussie. I mean we are talking about food people. You call me a wussie and you will get to experience what it will be like if I go without food for 21 days. I promise it won’t be pretty.

Just thinking about not eating for a day scares me. “Nope! Not me. I can’t do it.”

So I start poking around the internet and the bible. All the while, I’m hoping I find that fasting isn’t for everyone. But as I’m poking (I don’t know either.) I realize the answers I’m searching for aren’t answers to the question “Why should I fast?” No sir. I want to know “How?”.

I’m like an old man when comes to eating. My body does not let me forget. I work my ass off in the gym just so I can eat whatever I want. Oh my God, no coffee?!? No beer? No pizza? No fajitas? No grilled cheese? No cigars? Um, this fast officially ends tomorrow (These are thoughts that are going through my head.). So as I’m poking the interweb, I’m looking for tips and tricks. Like…How do you handle 21 days of water or juice? I see disaster. I predict a four-letter word. RUNS! What do I do at 9:30am when I have had no coffee (I’m sure I could be covert about it. What coffee?) and no breakfast? How do I keep from going medieval on the snack machine? And then the dreaded going to bed hunger! Someone will have to lock up the Fruit Loops. Cause at 2:00am, I will be hiding under the kitchen table pounding down the loops like a chipmunk.

And then I notice that I’m missing the point. Fasting isn’t a feat to accomplish. Fasting is an act of being totally dependent on the provider. I may or may not attempt to fast this new year. If I do fast, it’s between me and Him. Is there such thing as a 18 hour fast?

One thing I want to be better at in 2010 is being a great parent. I feel I suck at parenting at the moment. Parenting, I’m gathering, is a lot like a marriage relationship. It doesn’t matter how many books someone reads about marriage or parenting, it will always take practice, patience, and determination. I love both. Being married and a parent that is.

As a dad, I am great at the fun stuff. The sharing gummie worms at the movies. The tickling and laughing. The fixing ouchies. The making hot dogs. The saying “yes” to getting ice cream. But the parenting part, I suck at. My daughter is 2.5 and is starting to test what I thought I knew about being a father. Yes, my daughter has me wrapped around her finger. And in a way, I’m proud of that. I never, ever, wanted to have daughter (God, I can’t imagine the torment I will put her through when she is at “that” age.). But now, I would love every baby we make to be a girl. I know, I know, she is just fitting the part of the terrible twos or threes but I guess in this era, we label her as “sassy”. Sassy isn’t a good thing. It’s cute most of the time but it’s not a good thing. Then she is sweet. Like unbelievably sweet. Caring for our ouchies. Running to get an ice pack for momma at a moments notice. She is amazing. I swear to Dr. Dre, she can freestyle to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle, Old McDonald, and Baa Baa Black Sheep. But, there is always a but. I see her, what I honestly have to label, sin. I DON’T want to do this. But when I acknowledge that what I label as sassiness, is actually a sin, then I believe I am on the right track. Sin is ugly but it must always be approached honestly. I’m amazed at how beautiful and intimate the moment is when my daughter understands she has done wrong.

Yup, it’s true! I now believe. Kids do as their parents do.

(PHOTO from TheBusyBrain)

Genesis 7:7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground,9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah.

I wonder why unclean animals were allowed on the Ark? I guess after God’s reaction to the fall of man, the possibilty of deleting the opportunity to sin didn’t matter. God could have allowed only clean animals to survive with the ark. I’m glad he allowed pigs to jump aboard because I like hot dogs.

My book review of Primal by Mark Batterson.

Primal is, “A quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity.”

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment. – Mark Batterson

This book is the ‘how’ as in the how to live the Great Commandment.

Mark must be a really smart guy because he brings in some really quirky yet perfect analogies to bring the reader along on this quest. Analogies from science to history, with a touch of his personal life, bring the purpose to the forefront with perfect timing.

How would I describe the book itself?

Well, do you remember that alter call? You know, that time when you went down to the front of a church, stage, tent, kitchen, or bed room, and you fell on your knees? You fell to your knees because you knew you were complicating your faith either with sin or with insignificant events. This desire to change came out of nowhere but you knew you had lost your purpose – Your desire to be great at the Great Commandment.

This is what happened to me when I read the book. So maybe this is a warning. If you are comfortable with your faith maybe you should head towards the “Feel Good” section of a book store, but if you have a desire to love God, this book is for you.

(Thanks for the free book WaterBrook Multnomah and Mark Batterson. Sorry if that last statement maybe caused some to pass on the book.)

Put this on your “books to read” list for 2010. But I would read Primal first, because it’s as good as, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.