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There’s Power in Them Thar Words!

“You’re fired.”

When Donald Trump utters those now infamous words on The Celebrity Apprentice, there’s something more going on than public, celebrity humiliation. A new reality is being created.

With his words, Donald Trump is literally changing reality, right before our eyes. Someone goes from being “employed” to “unemployed” because of two spoken words.This is the basic premise of the Speech-Act Theory: Our words can shape reality.


Join the Deviant Team

Wouldn’t you like to be a deviant to?

For your consideration: A fellow Dream Year participant, jerry Miner, is absolutely killing it with his Dream Year project Gifts of Water. The concept is very simple: Give $10 and one person gets clean drinking water. For awhile. Get more people to join your team and, consequently, more people will get clean drinking water.


What All Christians Need to Know Before Their Next Concert

Whenever I see people at a Christian concert or conference make the “Satan” sign, I wonder to myself, “Do they know what that means? Or maybe they’re from Texas?”

Either way, here’s a chart that decodes the thumb-index-finger-pinkie sign, once and for all. If you don’t know, now you know. (And maybe you’ll think twice before flashing the “fingers” at the next TobyMac concert.)

Hey Jude

I recently read through the book of Jude and, let me tell you, I’m exhausted! I’m just glad I didn’t read it using the Amplified Bible or it may have taken two pages and who knows how long to read!

But seriously, Jude offers a simple letter with two themes:

1. Take a sad song
2. Make it better

Yes, you read that right. How could a music geek like me not make a reference to the Beatles when writing about the book of Jude?

But I digress.
Take a Sad Song

Jude’s main point in his letter to the believers around him was this: beware of false teachers. But not just in general. Jude asserts that false teachers and “some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives.” (1:4 NLT) Sound like anyone you know? Many people in our churches have some really messed up understandings of biblical theology. And, to make it worse, some churches and pastors even preach and teach this incorrect doctrine. Here’s how Jude describes these people:

When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness…These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

It’s a sad song, indeed. We have strayed away from the Gospel and all that it contains about the sacrifices that were made by the early Christians so that they could live according to the example of Christ. Being a Christ follower isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t footloose and fancy free!
Make It Better

So, how do we take this sad song and make it better? Jude tells us in the second half of his letter.
1. Build each other up.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

We are tasked with the responsibility to pray for each other and to keep each other safe. We must live in community with one another, and be aware of correct doctrine, so that we are able to warn each other and correct each other when the time comes. How can we do this? Join a small group, go to a bible study, spend time in the word, spend time in prayer. First and foremost, though, is find a church that embraces these things and sets the example for living in Christian community. This is the model of the first church.
2. Show Mercy

You must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

Mercy. Even to those who have “wormed their way” into your churches, and only intend to satisfy their own desires and agendas. Even those who live by false doctrine and rediculous theology. Show mercy to those people, and, most importantly, help them realize the error in their ways. However, do so lovingly, but also cautiously. I read Jude’s advice as being a warning against getting wrapped up in the same things yourself. If we start publicly criticizing everyone who doesn’t believe our “correct doctrine,” aren’t we making ourselves out to be just as bad as they are? Bottom line: hate the sin, but love the sinner.

Hey Jude! Don’t make it bad! Take a sad song, and make it better!

Naaaa naa naa nanana naaaaa, nanana naaaaa, hey Jude!

Everybody sing!

Merry Christmas from

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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(Don’t) Show Me the Money! Show Me the Atmosphere!


I have a gift certificate for $5 to a local coffee shop. It’s literally money waiting to be spent. I’ve had it for two months now and I still haven’t gone it to get my free coffee.


It’s simple: I don’t like the shop as much as the other ones I go to; the ones where I pay to get coffee. The gift certificate is to a shop that serves better coffee than the ones I frequent. But I would rather pay for coffee and sit in an atmosphere that I like than sit in an atmosphere I don’t like and receive free coffee. How’s that for logic?

Coffee, for the most part, is coffee. Atmosphere is not quite as simple. Atmosphere takes a little more work. Anyone can brew a decent cup of joe; not everyone can create a place where I feel welcomed, invited, and comfortable..

List-O-Mania! Christmas Eve Edition


We’ll do things a little differently for this Christmas Eve edition of the List-O-Mania. Here’s a “list” of things that I’m hoping to get for this Christmas and for 2009. Here we go (in no particular order)!

A mug warmer: There’s nothing worse than cold coffee. I like my java juice to be borderline scalding, so a nice little mug warmer will keep this dude’s coffee bubbling ’til the last drop.

The release of my loans: When I started seminary in 2006, I took out some loans. Turns out, you have to pay those things back. My wife and I are working on paying off all our debt, 2009 could be the year we nail everything down. Once we pay in full, they give us a letter saying we can have our firstborn child back.

Copy/Paste, group text message option, pic messaging for the iPhone: For such an advanced device, the iPhone has some features that are glaringly missing. iPhone users know what I’m talking about. Maybe Steven will have a change of heart and give us what we want.

Logos for Mac: Apparently this program is like having thousands of years of biblical scholarship at your beck and call. It’s like a butler made up of Scripture. *Bell rings* “Come, Jeeves – tell me what the context was for Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. And prepare my coach, while you’re at it!”

A stage: I was in bed reading Scripture one night and I was hit with the distinct need to pray for a stage from which to communicate from. I believe the Lord has given me something of his heart to share and he wanted me to boldly ask for a stage from which to communicate it from. Preaching at Immersion, this beautiful blog, and my Juice faith blog are great starts, but I can’t help but think there’s something more. That’s my prayer.

What about you? What are you wishing for? Hoping for? What’s on your list?.

List-O-Mania V.4


Biggest surprise: Biggest surprise was the level of traffic is seeing! A few posts really threw us over the top (all election and Obama-related, oddly enough): “Is Obama the First Postmodern President?” and, “Can You Vote for Obama?” Great discussion on both posts. I’ll even be using some of the comments in my sermon this week at Immersion!

Favorite new song: I’ve had LCD Soundsystem’s “Someone Great” on repeat for the past week (link opens in iTunes). I feel like you should do everything in robot-like fashion when you listen to this song. It’s great.

Seminary: I’m gutting out the last few weeks of my classes. Greek is really starting to take a turn for the worse. Not grade-wise, comprehension-wise. I know it’s important for me to learn this ancient language, but sheesh! Beef jerky isn’t as dry as this class is at times. Also trying to figure out how to graduate by Fall 2009. My advisors think I’m insane.

Most excited about: Seeing where this blog goes. It’s fast becoming a favorite hobby of mine and one of my blogs even won an award! I’m excited about the future of this blog because of the awesome content you all provide. Insightful comments, joining in the election liveblogging discussion, and telling your friends about – this couldn’t happen without you. The Church is in a massive (and exciting) change right now and I think platforms like this will help usher in a new direction. Decentralization baby!

Favorite new Twitter-er: There’s two this week: @BeImmersed and @d_eickelberg. Immersion is the ministry I’m on staff with and we just hooked up the Twitter to the Immersion blog. Follow along and read some amazing posts by some amazing young adults who have something to say. Dave (@d_eickelberg) just started up a great blog “Someone Has To Say It”. And he is. Follow him on Twitter and give his blog a little love.

Are you a list person? Type A, perhaps? If you like things organized in list-like fashion, check out the List-O-Mania archives for more listed commentary on culture, theology, and life.


List-O-Mania V.2


Biggest surprise: People actually read this blog. Sometimes you type, type, type and wonder (along with Pink Floyd), “is anybody out there?” Traffic to the site has increased nearly 200% with’s nomination for an Iowa Web Award and listing on the RSS aggregator website, Huzzah!

Favorite new song: “Once In a Lifetime” (link opens in iTunes) by the Talking Heads. It’s so wonderfully bizarre and was featured in the trailer for the new George W. Bush “bio-mock-umentary”, “W”.

What I’m reading: My courses have me neck-deep in The Book of Concord and The Augsburg Confession. I’m also reading Emotionally Healthy Church, The Emotionally Healthy Manager, and Churched by Matthew Paul Turner ( will be part of the “Churched: Blog Tour” later this month.)

Seminary: I’m trying to figure out how I can get done earlier. Right now, I’m slated to graduate May of 2010. This, simultaneously, seems like forever and like it’s right around the corner. It’s a good thing I’m Lutheran, otherwise the paradox might kill me. This quarter I’m taking three classes, which has been a real challenge, but something I’m finding I can manage. Of course, if anybody out there feels like sponsoring my seminary education, this is a moot point. Got an extra $30,000 laying around?

Most excited about: This week, we’ll be broadcasting the Immersion sermon live at We tried it out last week and it worked beautifully. I’m not quite sure how many people actually watched, but we had good feedback all around. So we’ll keep doing it. Mark your calendar: This Thursday. 8:15pm CST. Sermon series: What Does the Bible Really Say About… Topic: Sex. Holla!

Favorite new Twitter-er: Ran into @jameseliason at a wedding I was a part of over the weekend. We went to high school together, but I had no idea he was behind,, and Ambitious, I like that.


They’re All Going To Laugh At You!


I’d like to officially invite all of you to the “Immersion 10/10 Challenge”.

For those who don’t know, I’m on staff with Immersion (link opens in iTunes) – a 20s and 30s ministry in West Des Moines, IA. We meet on Thursday nights at Lutheran Church of Hope. 7:37pm. Worship Center.

At any rate, next week we’re asking everyone to bring 10 people to the 10/9 service. (We’re calling it 10/10 because on the Jewish calendar, the next day begins at sundown. Booyah!)

I’d like you to be one of my 10. Would you consider coming? Besides if you don’t, that little boy will seriously come laugh at you. Consider yourself warned.


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