Monday, October 15, 2012

May I Direct You To...

Hey everyone! It's been ages since I've posted here. That's mostly because... you ready?... I've been posting over here at

There's no commenting system yet, so if you have some thoughts, catch me on Twitter or Google Plus!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Photos from Our Adventures in Zion National Park

I've been remiss in posting some more photos from last month's adventures in Zion and Bryce National Parks. Below are a number of captioned photos for your perusal. We had an absolute blast! I hope you enjoy these shots.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Utah 2012: Canyons, Arches, & Emerald Pools

We're having a great time down here in Zion NP! I'll write up more detailed posts later, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos from the past few days.

Kolob Canyons. This place was incredible!

This would have made an ideal campsite. Partially because it would have cut our hiking time in half!

We camped here instead (well, this was the view from our campsite). Breathtaking!

The Kolob Arch. It's the second longest natural freestanding arch in the world. And we saw it. Booyah!

Stormy weather rolled in this morning.

The Upper Emerald Pools

The sheer cliffs around the Upper Pools

The quintessential view of Zion Canyon (featuring The Watchman on the left)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Utah 2012: First Day in Zion National Park

Ever since our trip through Utah last year, Jonathan and I have been itching to get back down here. So we did. Chelsea and Mike are along this time and we're down here for about 8 days to hike, backpack, and just enjoy the outdoors. This is a quick update from Zion Lodge (I've got internet!).

We pulled in late around midnight last night, but thankfully we had already reserved a campsite so that wasn't a concern.

Today, we hiked about 10.5 miles up to Observation Point, including a detour into Hidden Canyon. The canyon called for some scrambling and I got to experience the unpleasant feeling of losing my grip on a sandy, slick rock face, and just about sliding off an 8-foot drop-off into a pool of water. Jonathan grabbed me before I fell and Mike was down below to help catch me. Fun times!

Tomorrow, we're planning to head out into the backcountry to hike the West Rim Trail. That will be an overnight trip. We'd appreciate prayers for safety. So far, so good!

I'll type up more detailed reports when I get home. Enjoy a few photos from today below.

Echo Canyon 

View from Observation Point

Hidden Canyon - scramble or be scrambled

Saturday, March 03, 2012

In Which We Brew Heaps of Tea for the Thirsty Masses

Our church hosts a lady's tea every now and then. Since they spend so much of their time cooking and preparing things for the men in their lives, it was determined that the guys should assume the role of waiters.

Two quick things: ladies, you certainly drink a lot of tea! And guys, we're not very good at this whole waiter thing, are we?

I was tasked with overseeing the tea brewing process and making sure that things went smoothly back there in the kitchen. This sounded pretty easy to me. Little did I know... In hindsight, I should have at least taken 5-10 minutes to come up with a strategy, but instead I decided to just show up and wing it.

Here's how it all went down.

I got there 30 minutes before everything was supposed to start, and quickly got debriefed on the situation.

There were 10 tables, each of which seated about 8 people. Each table had 2 – sometimes 3 – teapots. There were 8 waiters, excluding myself, so that meant that two of the guys needed to handle two tables and the rest could serve just one each. So far so good.

There were 6 different varieties of teas, 4 black and 4 herbals, which presented the first difficulty. How were some of the less initiated tea-totaller waiters supposed to remember names like "Black Currant" or "English Breakfast"? They needed tea lists to refer to. Done.

Now here's where it got difficult. Each table had two teapots, remember? Those two teapots had to stay with the table they came from because they were brought by folks who specifically wanted to use their teapots. No mixups allowed.

What would happen when those teapots made their way back to the kitchen and I began taking orders? How was I supposed to know who brought in which pot and which tea(s) their table had requested? I tried to solve this by writing the names of the waiters on a sheet of paper and telling them to jot down their order under their name so I could tell who needed what. That idea quickly disintegrated. I couldn't keep track of what had been brewed and what hadn't. Did Seth get his Earl Gray? Was it Gabe or Ethan who needed the Lemon Ginger?

On top of that, we were brewing loose leaf tea, which meant that we didn't have those handy little labels to identify which tea was which – they all looked exactly the same! I decided to write out labels for each variety and, when each pot was beginning to brew, place them next to the label for the tea they contained. That sort of worked...

To further complicate things, most teas need to be brewed for a specific length of time or they'll become bitter, so I had to try to keep track of how long each pot had been brewing. No easy task. Through it all I was dreaming of an iPad/iPhone app that would help us manage all the details. Surely someone has programmed something like that...

It was a fun, albeit slightly stressful, time. Guys you did a great job! Sure, we're not naturally adept at this kind of thing but it's good to get out there and help the ladies have a nice time. Next time, though, I think we'll need some new strategies!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The "Resume" Matters

How many of you have gone job-hunting before? If you have, you know that most employers are looking for certain baseline requirements — a degree, several years of experience in the field, etc. They will likely advertise a number of “secondary” qualifications too, things like, “ability to work well in a fast-paced environment,” or “able to manage multiple projects at once.”

Companies can’t afford to be naive about who they decide to hire. They have goals and they need the right people to help them achieve those goals. You probably won’t even get an interview unless you meet their minimum requirements. And I think that’s perfectly fair (though regrettable sometimes for folks with fledgling resumes!).

Marriage has “baseline” requirements too. Considered Biblically, marriage is definitely not a “freestyle,” “whatever-suits-you” kind of institution.

With the re-emergence of the practice of courtship in some circles, we have seen, simultaneously, a renewed interest in what the Bible states as requirements for those considering marriage. This is good news! But what that entails may not excite many young men today. Some guys would have preferred things to stay the way they were in their parents' generation.

I think it’s fair to say that all of us, at one time or another, find ourselves wishing that things were a bit “easier” and simpler. Is the resume really that important? Can I almost qualify and still be OK?

When these questions begin to confront you, remind yourself of what we’re talking about; this is marriage, the foundational institution of all society and the closest human relationship in existence. Would you expect something of this magnitude to be easy or have a low barrier-to-entry?

You know the answer. God makes it very clear in Scripture that you must possess certain qualities and abilities to enter marriage. Don’t just acknowledge this fact — embrace it! You have a challenging road ahead, but it’s not impossible with God’s help.

Are you lost, bewildered and without a map? Turn to Titus 1 and read the requirements that Paul lays down for elders (and every Christian man). Read the psalmist’s exhortation to young men in Psalm 119. Consider the portrait of the Proverbs 31 husband (yes, you read that right).

You might also ask yourself the following questions regarding your future family:

  1. What am I doing right now to prepare myself to be my family’s provider?
  2. I must protect them someday. Am I protecting myself right now?
  3. I must be the priest of my home. Do I know the Word? How is my relationship with God today?
  4. I must be the family prophet. Can I instruct, disciple, and discipline? How am I preparing myself for those duties?

Don't think that I'm speaking from a pedestal here. I'm right there beside you guys and I need to hear this as much as you do — probably more.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Factuality of Scripture: Part 1

I recently received a comment from a gentleman named Phineas on my post It Really Happened, which I found interesting and which provided the spark for this series of posts. The factuality of Scripture is an important topic and one that, I fear, Christians consider far too seldom. Here's an excerpt from my post:
We tend to be shortsighted toward the future and toward the past, living in the moment, allowing our sense of identity and place to slip away unchecked. Let’s take some time to consider where we fall in God’s redemptive history. Consider the reality of what He did through Christ’s incarnation — what that event meant for the human race. I must admit that, oftentimes, I take Scripture as a strictly theological resource (it certainly is that!) and forget that it is also intensely historical.

These things actually happened in time and space. Christ was born of Mary, lived a perfect life, suffered, died, and rose again that I might be reconciled with God; what a glorious reality!
In order to give you some additional context for this discussion, here is Phineas' comment:
Do you really expect anyone to take your blog seriously? Okay, except for the band of fundamentalists, who'll likely agree with your every word and take it, pardon the expression, 'as gospel.'

You cite theology as a personal interest. Perhaps so. But that is certainly not what you're doing here. No discerning theologian — and I have known plenty — would ever unequivocally state the contents of the Bible as fact, historic or otherwise. Any reasonable theologian, and even many believers, are wise enough to understand and accept the undercurrents of belief. To wit, belief and fact, and indeed reality, are not synonymous.

I'm not writing to be critical of your belief system. I'm suggesting that you temper your language to reflect actual facts, where they occur. Believe it or not, it will make you a stronger advocate. And it will show wisdom. People respect that, even when they may disagree.

A couple years ago, a friend asked me what time of day Jesus was crucified. After some initial embarrassment that I didn't already know, I did a little research. I answered thusly:

"According to Bible,..."

That's quite a bit different than simply saying: "3 pm. That's a fact."

As hard as it may be to do, you have got to rid yourself of the notion that the Bible 'proves' itself. That is not, by any measure, among the methods we use to constitute proof.

If His indeed is the glory, He won't mind you having enough doubt to make journey to him an authentic one.

Best of luck in that journey.
Come back soon as I begin to deal with his arguments and take a closer look at the factuality of God's Word. We'll be taking a look at the following topics (though not necessarily in this order):
  • Whose Word is it?
  • What is theology?
  • What is belief?
  • What is fact?
  • What is reality?
  • Does the Bible prove itself?
  • What is proof? How can we prove things?
  • Faith and doubt