Wednesday, May 31, 2006

How Does Something Like This Happen?

A few weeks ago there was a terrible accident just outside of Indianapolis. It involved a semi-truck and a school van carrying a group of college kids and a college faculty member. The accident killed three of the students and the faculty member. One of the students, a girl survived. The girl that survived was in a coma. The other students were had funeral services and were buried.

Here is the sad/crazy part. It turns out that one of the girls they thought was dead is actually a live and the coma. The girl they thought was in the coma is dead. In short, the girl that was buried is the wrong girl. The girl they thought was dead is, in fact, alive. I just read about it on Yahoo. Here is what (Indianapolis Star online) has to say about it.

I've been trying to wrap my brain around this one all night. I'm not sure I understand how something like this can happen. If it had been a movie it would never be believable.

Imagine the heartache and pain the families feel. So, if any of my readers can explain this to me in short, simple sentences feel free.

Here Laura VanRyn's family. She is the girl that was misidentifed as being alive.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Me Mets!

I bought the 1986 World Series on DVD the other day from I got it in the mail yesterday and watched game 6 of the NCLS last night while I drank beer and ate pizza. What fun! I had forgotten two things... how ugly the Astros uni's were and 2. How lucky the Mets were that year.

Speaking of the '86 Mets; remember playing baseball on the Old Skool Nintendo? Little block figures singing funky brown lines for bats? You might of already seen this, maybe. Some guy got creative and recreated one of the craziest plays in baseball... Bill Buckner's flub up in game six of the 1986 World Series using the Nintendo baseball game. I haven't the foggiest as to how he did it, but it really is well done and pretty funny, too. Its down below, I got it from youtube. Its about eight minutes long, but alot of fun.

Being a Mets fan is not very easy, particularly here in the middle of the country when I am surronded by Cubs fans... I have a unrational dislike of the Cubs. I can't stand them. The only time I watch the Cubs on WGN is when they are playing the boys from NY!

Well, game one is awaiting.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some Hoosier So'jers Havin Some Fun

This is great. Read about it this morning in the Indiapolis Star. Had to share it. Click on it and enjoy the good laugh.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fears Around, Grace Abounds

image taken from here.
People:We confess to You and before one another that we have fallen short of Your glory and call to us iin Christ. We have broken Your commands, and left undone works of love that please You and serve others. We have neglected Your Word and prayer, nad ahve failed to trust You at all times and places. For the sake of Christ, forgive us and rew or hears by Your Spirit, that we may delight in Your will and walk in YOur ways, to the glory of Your holy name.

Pastor: God sent His innocent Son into our world to be made sin for us. By His death He forgave the world; and by His resurrection He restores us to newness of life. It is my privilege and delight, to assure that all sins are forgiven in teh name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Put your faith in Him, and receive His lifechanging grace.
(from the bulletin of Calvary Lutheran Church, Saturday 5/6/06

I needed those words last night. I did. I needed them badly. After the confession and absolution I found myself thinking about Cheap Grace and I asked myself if I was doing nothing more than practicing Cheap Grace on myself. Do my words, as I speak them before God, sound hollow to him? James hits the nail on the head when he writes "We all stumble in many ways." (James 3:2) I have a black and blue spiritual big toe from all the stumbling I have done.

Bonhoeffer writes this:
Cheap grace means grace as doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian "concept" of God.... In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace there fore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.... Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can reamin as it was before.

I don't know about all of you, but sometimes I find myself reveling in sin. Bathing in it and ingesting it. Speaking sin, watching sin, actively engaging in sin. I find myself doing this with the quiet thought I am forgiven! I doesn't matter! Paul writes this in Romans 2; "But because of your stubornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgement will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done." (vv 5,6). I know the Jesus was not sacraficed so that I would have an eternally punched ticket to do what I wanted when I wanted.

Didn't our own Martin Luther told us to sin boldly, right? Well, your friends and mine over at Purpose Driven Drinking have this to say about that. In this post Walther's 19th Thesis (XIX) from his work The Proper Distinction Between Law & Gospel is highlighted. So, I got my copy of Law and Gospel and read it.

...ask any person who has all the critereia of a true, living Christian whether he has experienced all the things of which he speaks, and he will asnwer in the affirmative, telling you that, after experience the terror which God sends to a sinner whom He wantes to rescue, he had an experience of the sweetness of God's grace in Christ....Again, he will also telly that, spite of the fact that he knows he has obtained grace, he is frequently seized with fright and anguish at the sight of the Law.
(p. 138).

And I was lead to the following Biblical references that I have read before, highlighted, underlined, and starred... but at a time like this have special signifigance. The first comes from Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 5, verses 1-10):
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

and then this, from Psalm 103:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

So, again, I am reminded that I am forgiven. That I should have no fear of sin and feel comfort in Justification I receive from God through Christ.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Subtle Blessings

I mowed the lawn for the first time this season today. I cleaned out the small shed we have next to our house. I got the oil changed and the tires rotated on my car. I finished reading a book that broke my heart. I didn't need to be remined of the horrible 90 loss season the New York Mets had in 1992. In short, I had a great day.

I quite enjoyed not having to worry about work or school. I had the day off from work and I'm in between semesters at school.

As I write this evening has set in. The sun is slowly falling behind the trees and there is a nice gentle breeze blowing through the open window to my right.

This kind of a day is a blessing. Its a subtle, but powerful one. Sometimes just being able to slow down and enjoy everything is a gift. I think that I forget about the little blessings. They get overshadowed by the tests and temptations of every day life. But these quiet blessings are sometimes the most enjoyable and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


So, Concordia Publishing House has started the marketing campaign for the new Lutheran hymnal, but don't get it mixed up with THE Lutheran Hymnal, aka Ye Olde Standby. No, this one as been given the name of The Lutheran Service Bookm hows that for a title!

A few days ago we got a small booklet that highlighted the new Service Book. Looks like it will be a pretty thing. I'm wondering how many congregations will purchase it. I'm particularly curious as to how many congregations actually really still use pew editions of any hymnal (be it TLH or LW). My church has the whole service contained in the bulletin.

This brings up an interesting thought, too. On 26 April 2006 Aardie wrote
"It's Mine! Leave It Alone! He was writing about a little known day called Intellectual Property Day. Since I am studying Library Science I do have an interest in this topic, too. Towards that back of the booklet detailing the Service Book is a whole page dealing with "liscences." It appeas that CPH has got a computer program that allows pastors to point and click portions of the service to put into their bulletins. You have to buy a liscense for that. It all depends on the size of the congregation. The smaller the congregation, the less the cost.

As I was reading through the booklet I found myself becoming slightly irked. I can't put my finger on it, though. I don't know why I was getting upset. I think maybe it was the slickness of the thing. Maybe its the cost. I think what really got my goat was the last page. The "fundraising" page. I quote:
While the purchase of a new hymnal represents significant expense, it is important to remember that this is long-term investment that will serve the people of God for decades to come. Covering the costs of new humnasl can be accomplished in several ways. Some congregations, for example, will include the costs in their annual budget. In other cases, experience shows that people are often very willing to give humnals in memory or in honor of loved ones. In many cases, careful preparation and a little creative thinking will go a long way toward acquiring and introduction this new worship resource.

I'm not really sure why that paragraph bothers me, but there is, I dunno, a certain amount of "salesmanship" there that I don't appreciate.

I'd be curious to read what all of you think.

Blessings to all

I Got This in the Mail Today

A few months back I saw an advertisement on a bilboard that said something about "get a free Koran" and provided a web address,either that, or I was lead the web address through David's blog-- I really don't remember; but being the curious sort that I am and any time I see the word "free" attached to a book of any kind I get all geeked out, I went to the website, filled in the information requested (name and address) and figured no harm done. I promptly forgot about it until today.

When I got home from work there was a large box wating for me on the kitchen table. The return address said the box was from an organization called CAIR, or Council on American-Islamic Relations. I opened the box. Inside was a magnificent copy of the Koran (Quran). The picture of it is on the left, and here is a description of it. Its a pretty heavy book. It weighs a ton. Has beautiful pages and great Arabic calligraphy reporductions.

The presentation is much like you'd find in a self-study bible, or maybe a parallel Bible. The original script is one corner, a transliteration is another and on ther left side of the page is the English "translation." Enclosed was a short type written page giving me some directions as to the care and keeping of my new Quran. These include reading it with clean hands, not reading near a toilet, or near a wet area, and don't put it on the floor. Bibles should come with such directions.

I think what I find so amazing is that beauty of the book. On it goes for 55 bucks. I got it for free! I'll read it, maybe not all of it, but I'll read some of it. And it will go on my bookshelf. I think it is important to have something like this.