Apr 30, 2013

Cats Are EVIL!

During a message recently I remarked about the evilness of cats. Of course the cat owners come out of the woodwork to defend their beloved pets. The truth is that I do not hate cats but there is a powerful lesson we can learn from them.

Cats are probably more like people than we give them credit for. Think about it for a moment. They do not like to be told what to do. They do not want to come when they are called unless there is something in it for them. In fact if a cat could talk they would let us in on a dirty little secret: they are the master and we are their servants.

This is precisely how we act as humans toward our creator. We want to live our way all the time unless of course we need something. When a family member has cancer, we need to pass a test, or we are looking for a new job then we begin to talk to God as if we have been best friends the whole time.

On the other hand dogs will stay by their master no matter what. A dog trusts his master even when his master mistreats him. A dog models unconditional love and trust. We can learn a lot about who we can be with Christ's help from a dog. The only difference is that although a dog trusts even the untrustworthy master, God can always be trusted.

Let God remove your inner cat so you can embrace your inner dog!

Oct 30, 2012


       Disney has been buying up the rights to creative properties for a while now. They have bought: The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Muppets, Power Rangers, Marvel, and now STAR WARS!

        I will admit that I was sceptical when Marvel was purchased, but The Avengers put my mind at ease as Disney crafted the greatest Super Hero movie ever. Now Lucasfilm has been bought and an Episode 7, 8, and 9 are coming down the pipeline starting in 2015. As a fanboy I am more excited than you can possibly imagine.

        I think this has been brewing for a while due to the recent move up dates of the 3D releases of Episode 2 and 3. I believe that the potential of more episodes was the bait needed by Lucas to snag 4.05 billion dollars for his beloved empire.

        We have until 2015 to speculate on what storyline will be for Episode 7, but until then all we can do is dream. I would personally like to see them use the same technology they used with Tron to make the older actors digitally younger through computer graphics and body doubles.  If anyone could afford to do it well it is Disney.

        I am looking forward to many great years to come as a fan. My kids absolutely love Star Wars, especially the newer stuff and at this rate so will my grandkids.

Sep 11, 2012

911 Eleven Years Later. Are We Better Off?

I can still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that the first tower of the World Trade Center had been hit. I remember the gut wrenching feeling I had when I saw another airplane crash into the second tower. I remember the uncertainty of not knowing what would be next as reports of other unaccounted for aircraft came in.

Out of all of the things I remember feeling the strongest emotion was anger. I wanted justice! I was somewhat relieved When President Bush told us that we knew who the terrorists were. They were the Taliban who were in charge of Afghanistan.

The mission should have been simple, right? Go in and topple their regime. We should cripple their infrastructure. The solution we heard was different though.

We heard that we would start a war on terror. That we would not rest or tire until every terrorist on the planet is brought to justice. I was confused by this use of logic. Logic that says someone tripped me so I will trip everyone who has ever tripped someone. However, I was just angry enough to be glad we were doing something.

After all, these terrorists were restricting their own people's freedoms, torturing people, and attacking others nations unprovoked. And then something switched. The terrorists got what they wanted. We began to live in fear. Fear that they would somehow get us.

Even though we are more likely to die from almost anything other than a terrorist attack we altered our lives and let go of our freedoms. We are invasively searched at airports by the TSA. No warrant or probable cause is required. The Patriot act allows our government to spy on its own citizens without a warrant.

The NDAA bill goes even further. Now our government can indefinitely detain, incarcerate, and even use lethal force on us without ANY due process of law whatsoever. No lawyers, no phone calls, just martial law type justice.

And what crime will we find out that our loved ones are guilty of if they are killed or detained? None. It is a matter of national security. So in other words you could be an actual terrorist or someone that a higher up just wants to silence.

So where are we eleven years later?  Now we are the ones restricting our own people's freedoms, torturing people, and attacking others nations unprovoked.

On this anniversary of 911, I am thankful that President Bush lead us to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. I am grateful that President Obama gave the order to go after Bin Laden. I mourn with our nation for those we loss and I also mourn for what we have lost.

From the halls of history Benjamin Franklin reminds us that "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."

Jul 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers Have Identical Plots

Let me start off by saying that the victims and families of the Colorado shootings are in my prayers. I decided to wait until today to do a review of The Dark Knight Rises because I could not bring myself to even think about the actual movie.

Earlier today though as I pondered what I had seen I realized that the plot was VERY similar to that of The Avengers. So I am going to show all of the similarities between the two movies rather than doing a review. Although they have VERY different tones the have essentially the same plots.

SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW!!! You have been warned!

Bane has a serious problem with our Free Society
Loki actually says he wants to free us from freedom

Both villains get caught on purpose

Both villains escape from custody while on an aircraft.

Both villains capture a scientist and make them work for them.

Loki scatters our heroes: Thor falls to earth in a steel trap, Hulk falls to Earth, Colson is killed, Black Widow is shaken etc.
Bane scatters the heroes: Bruce is in a pit, The police are trapped under ground, Gordon is in the hospital, Catwoman is shaken and conflicted ect.

Both movies have a female in skin tight outfit with serious fighting skills and NO super powers. Who both miraculously only want their records wiped clean.

Arguably the main hero of both films is Iron Man and Batman. Two billionaire playboys with No powers and serious gadgetry.

Bane unleashes an army on the city by breaking all of the inmates out of the Asylum, while Loki brings an army to earth called the Chitauri.

We do not get to know any characters of either disposable armies.

Both sets of heroes rally together to face the evil armies.

Loki and Bane both have characters working for them that switch back to the good side by the end.

Jim Gordon and Nick Fury both have a secret that they have chosen not to share with the other good guys that eventually gets out causing doubts in their leadership. Both are revelations are overlooked for the greater good.

Both groups of heroes aren't fully assembled until one of them arrives on a motorcycle.
Banner in The Avengers and Catwoman using the Batcycle to free the police force in The Dark Knight Rises.

Police and heroes work together to take on the armies in both films.

During the battle Batman goes toe to toe with Bane
Iron Man goes toe to toe with Loki
Neither of these two can defeat their foe as the Hulk and Catwoman step up respectfully to finish the jobs.

Both Bruce and Tony have been working on clean energy solutions and their technology is hijacked by both villains.

Both have a new flying toy. Tony has a flying suit that can attach using autopilot and Bruce has an aircraft that can use autopilot as well.

Bruce's technology became a nuclear bomb that he had to fly out of the city before it exploded and he almost died.
Iron Man had to fly a nuclear bomb out city before it exploded and he almost died.

We find out that Thanos and Talia Al Ghul were really pulling the strings behind Loki and Bane respectively.

Our heroes scatter at the end but not before sitting down to eat in a deli in both films. (In Avengers after the credits).

The John Blake character is the only enigma in the comparison charts, but as there are rumors of Bucky returning in the next Captain America the Robin angle may soon be rectified.

Did I miss any?

Jul 12, 2012

When your children change your phone settings...

Recently I needed to get a hold of my wife and couldn't. Every single time I called her phone my cell asked for my password. When I entered my password it went straight to voicemail.

Needless to say I was perplexed. I turned off my phone and turned it back on again. Nothing! I tried calling from the office phone and my personal cell phone rang. I was thoroughly confused.

A little later Debbie texted me. Apparently texts could still come through.

It turns out that my children had been playing with Debbie's phone. They had forwarded all of her calls to me.

There are times when prayer can seem like this. We can pray and pray but feel like our prayers do not make it past the ceiling.

Try to remember that external circumstances can make us feel alone, but we never are. And the texts still come through. Rely on God's word during these tough times to show you the way.

Jul 4, 2012

Thoughts on this July 4th

Today is the birthday of our basic freedoms.

Freedom of speech - eroding through bills such as the hate crimes bill that polices thought.

Freedom of the press- stifled by naming everything an interest of national security

Freedom of religion-which was to keep the government out of the church not to offer tax exemption and threaten to take it away at every turn.

The right to bear arms- originally to secure a free nation. The people are now hopelessly outgunned if the nation becomes tyrannical.

The freedom that ensures that no one can be denied liberty without due process: there are several bills since the Patriot Act that reduce this right to a joke.

If you give up a little liberty to gain security you deserve neither and will lose both-Benjamin Franklin.

Happy birthday America. You are still free...for the moment.

Jul 3, 2012

Andy Griffith dies at 86

My wife and I visited Mount Airy, NC this year during our 10 year anniversary. I had know idea at the time that both George Lindsay (Goober) and Andy Griffith would pass away this year.

The Andy Griffith show has been my favorite television show my entire life. Sure there have been times where I felt like another show was my favorite but they all passed with each show passing.

Examples of these shows include MacGuiver, Full House, King of the Hill, and 24. Only Andy Griffith and Everybody Loves Raymond have endured for me.

My heart goes out to the entire Griffith family. My family was already planning on attending Mayberry Days in Mount Airy this fall. Now the experience will be even more emotional.

We will miss Andy for both his role as Sheriff Taylor and as Ben Matlock. And my hope and prayer is to see him again.

Jun 22, 2012

India Entry 2

Written 4 days ago. We have little Wi-Fi access.

As I write this I am sitting on a bus for a 12-17 hr bus ride that is looking more like 17 by the moment.

We were following some very narrow 2 lane roads through the mountains when we encountered delay.

By delay I mean complete gridlock. Many of the trucks around 3am decided to stop to sleep. No one in India seemed annoyed by this at all and we have been sitting for 3&1/2 hrs.

We are definitely in culture shock. We are a push a button and get your need met society that abhors inconvenience.

Being still is a lost practice. Well maybe not as lost as I thought.

Jun 18, 2012

Team India is headed out!

Well we have prepared, read, watched Slumdog Millionaire (or at least I did), and eaten India food.

We gathered this morning for prayer and loaded up. After all the shots, passport and Visa fun, and fundraising we are ready. Well ready as we can be.

We really would appreciate your prayers as we go through customs today. We will not arrive until tomorrow.

We are almost at the airport now. Excitement and apprehension are swirling with in us as the battle between faith and fear pushes us toward reliance on a good and loving God.

I will be posting again when I can.

Jun 12, 2012

Christians and Politics. Taboo?

This is the first time I have ever responded to a commenter (especially an anonymous one) with a whole post. I feel it is warranted based on the fact that my motives and character are called into question (the Bible calls this judging). I regularly get into civil debates with atheists through my blog who are less attacking.

The original post and the full comment I am referring to are HERE.

Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name),

You have called my post political as if that is somehow sneaky and underhanded. I will draw your attention to the tabs at the top of my blog. I have a political tab and the post Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer is on it. 

It is also on the 20/20 Hindsight tab where I say upfront: The purpose of this series is to show God's hand of providence in the lives of people throughout history. Sometimes God works His good through a person, sometimes He does it in spite of that person, and sometimes their lives merely teach us a lesson.

None of this is underhanded. I am completely transparent and as this is called Randumblog I am not pigeonholed into one area. The reason all of the posts have Christian undertones is because Christ is the center of my life (see About page).

I digress. There seems to be an overwhelming lack of understanding about what Christians/pastors are "allowed" or "should say" when it come to politics. This mainly stems from the separation of church and state which is not in the constitution. 

The constitution actually bars the federal government from establishing religion or prohibiting it. But you sir/mam (this is why it helps to use your name) have brought up the fact that I admire the constitution or am proud of my country as a negative thing for a Christian to have.

I couldn't disagree more. And since you said there is NOTHING in the bible to support anything I have written I will draw your attention to a few verses. 

Romans 13:1  Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Paul is talking to believers in Rome. You know, the place where Christians were routinely thrown to lions. Now lets examine our "powers that be". We are a contitutionally limited republic. That means that the constitution is the power that be.

Our constitution allows us to participate in the process, and bars the elected officials from operating outside of its jurisdiction. To realize this is to recognize that Abraham Lincoln was operating outside of the power given to him by the constitution.

Despite his violation of Romans 13, God worked through him to free the slaves (which could have been done through legal means as I pointed out in my post). Here is the direct quote from my post: But in hindsight God worked through a bloody mess of our own making to set people free.

Now as to your assertion that -- 
"This logic applied to the rest of the world says that we should in no way come to the aid of those suffering in other countries, because in doing so we would be imposing on that countries sovereignty. Therefore genocide is acceptable."

You seem to be saying that our government should stop bad things from happening while at the same time saying-- "
"...Instead it speaks loudly to a god of a political system - a human construct that is flawed and is NOT God. It is worship of nation, of constitution, of political idealism. This is not God, and throughout the bible and history, those who worshiped their nation over God have never fared well."

My friend, God has placed the church here as His change agent. This is what I am trying to say. Slavery would have ended anyway. But you have given God attributes that the Bible does not--
"This post in no way speaks to a God who is love, a God who would work to end suffering, to hear the cry of those oppressed and free us from the bondage of sin."

You have made a God who is only loving if He steps in to end suffering. Suffering exists because of sin. He sent Jesus to cure the root problem, but this side of heaven there will ALWAYS be suffering. Would a God who's goal is to end world hunger say, "the poor you will always have with you." No because He heals spiritual hunger.

As to the slavery issue. You cited Moses as a reason that God always opposes slavery and genocide. Are you aware that Abraham had slaves when God called him and was never commanded to let them go? Are you aware that Saul was punished for not destroying every last man, woman, child and baby of the Amalakites?

In the New testament Paul speaks specifically to slaves and their masters: 

Ephesians 6:5-9 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Slavery is used as a picture of our relationship with Christ as well as marriage is. "We are not our own, we are bought with a price." These are recurring scriptural themes.

American slave owners reached all new lows in their violation of Ephesians 6. Historically we know of many brutalities that were done against the slaves. These issues were not the only cause the Civil War, but God used it anyway to end this oppressive system.

Remember you can't have your cake and eat it too. On one hand you want Christians to stay in church and out of conversations about government and in another breath you want us to advocate to play global cop around the world. 

Whatever the case, God has blessed us and we have a big responsibility. We can wield it in the wrong way and cease to exist like other nations, or work within the rule of law. 

One last thing. You said about my post--
"Applied to history, this logic says Hitler's holocaust was a sad necessity because as chancellor of his country, he had the sovereign right to do whatever he wanted to his own citizens."

I would say that according to you the Christians in Rome should have revolted. Hitler was taken down legally by countries he and the axis powers attacked. I believe God used the allies to do this and that He even unwittingly used Hitler himself (see my 1st post in this series on Hitler).

Thank you for your comment. Let's not let opinion divide His church as I believe it is both of our goals to see people come to Him.

Jun 11, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer. Really?

20/20 Hindsight

Obituary Entry 4: Abraham Lincoln

Every Monday I look into the life of someone from the past and see how God worked. Today I want to talk about President Lincoln. Even with a new "biography" of his life hitting theaters, I believe something can be learned.

When I saw the posters and trailor for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer I couldn't believe it. Then I heard that the author also wrote Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Now it all makes since.

The funny thing is that Lincoln's life was already exciting. He was president during the bloodiest time in American history, freed the slaves, and was assassinated. Honest Abe doesn't need to hunt vampires to be remembered fondly by history.

I believe God works through people and sometimes in spite of them. In Abraham Lincoln's case I know that God worked, but I'm not sure if it was through or in spite of.

For starters every president swears to uphold the constitution which does not give the federal government the power to "preserve the union" or "free the slaves." It does give states any powers not specifically given to the federal government. This means they can secede or even have slaves.

The constitutional way would be for the Northern states to have allowed the south to leave over the many grievances that they had. Congress could have also defined personhood and then everyone of all ethnicities would be covered under the Bill of Rights (making the slaves free).

Regardless of his ability to lead or follow the constitution some good things came out of Lincoln's legacy. I still believe that all of the bloodshed was unwarrented and that the states should have been allowed to secede. But in hindsight God worked through a bloody mess of our own making to set people free.

Anyway you slice it freedom is a good thing. Lincoln took us one step closer towards freedom and equality. And to think he did it without have to slay any vampires.

View other 20/20 Hindsight posts  

Response to Anonymous commenter is Here

Jun 9, 2012

An Update on Luke's Neck Injury

We were in the E.R. Until midnight last night. It is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (not going to the E.R., having my child injured). And a neck injury is no joking matter.

It began with us simply shopping at Lowes for some parts to our playground. We were outside in lawn and garden looking at fencing options. Kids are prone to stepping inside clothing racks at stores, balancing on anything that looks like a beam, or climbing anything with a grip. This was far simpler than that.

Lowes has shelving units that hold different items. In front of each shelf it two eye hooks and a 1/4 inch metal cable spanning the distance loosely. The manager told me they are strong enough to keep any products from falling out and landing on their customers.

I had just walked around the aisle to look at something else when Luke (my six year old) stepped onto a shelf. The shelf was only about a foot off of the ground. I guess it looked inviting since the items normally displayed there were out of stock.

My son stepped up followed by his sister. Seconds later Debbie (my wife) told them to get down. Leia stepped down just fine because of her height, but Luke jumped. When he did his neck hit the cable and he was suspended for a couple of seconds before his head slammed back into the shelving.

He started wheezing trying to breath and Debbie yelled "Nate!" I ran to where they were and scooped him up. His neck was covered with surface abrasions and getting deeper red by the minute.

When we arrived at the hospital they surprisingly got us in quickly. They determined that he needed a CAT scan and fitted him with an IV. Which he did not like one bit.

Right before my pastor's family came to take our daughter, Leia walked over to Luke and started praying. This was so awesome since Luke had asked me to ask people on Facebook and Twitter to pray and even wanted me to put a picture on so they would know what to pray for.

When a throat surgeon came to talk with us, our hearts sank. Then he let us know he was off duty but wanted to see the results. It turns out that there is no internal damage although his neck looks like it has road rash.

I learned a little more yesterday of what God must go through as a father. He has clearly warned us to stay away from certain things that are destructive. Yet, when we choose them anyway and get hurt He has compassion. After all He sent His son to give His life for us, because we have messed up.

The justice side of me wants to say, "See son thats why we don't climb on things. If I've told you once..." However the love of a father for his son ALWAYS overides my lecturing side and I end up taking him into my arms.

He is taking it easy today and I found myself giving him a toy that was supposed to be a birthday gift. Did he earn it? No, but that is what grace and love are all about. I'm still teaching my son, but my Heavenly Father is still teaching me.

Thank you for all of the prayers. Please continue praying for a fast healing. I will be reading any comments to Luke as I have done with Facebook and Twitter. It really makes him smile.