Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Word

Don't you love those moments when your heart and mind stumble upon a remarkable piece of truth or begin to understand a previously confusing thought or idea? I just had one of those moments.

One of the many things I learned from listening to Dale Bruner teach is the idea of Jesus being The Word. John 1 says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Here we learn that Jesus is God's Word. For most us (excluding those who believe they can "read" people), we have no idea what someone is actually thinking until they start talking. The person of Jesus Christ is God talking to us, and because of His resurrection, He is still talking. As soon as the Word became flesh, we could know what God thinks through His Word.

Later, in verse 4, John writes: "In him was life, and that life was the light of men." Putting 1 + 1 together, I end up with Jesus = Word = light.

John's decision to use of "In the beginning" to begin his gospel naturally points readers back to Genesis 1, which begins in the same manner: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Then, in verse 3, God begins speaking Creation. What follows the first "God said" phrase? "Let there be light...."

I'm not sure how, but this transforms my understanding of "In him was life, and that life was the light of men." I know it does.

Okay back to my paper. I'd share more thoughts, but I need to get serious about this paper. Also, I'm not sure that I have any more thoughts, at least any that make enough sense to include in this blog.

What do you think?

Monday, April 6, 2009


It's 2:48 PM and I'm wearing two tickets to tonight's game around my neck. You know, the kind of ticket that is 3 times bigger than normal tickets. The kind that come in a plastic holder strung on a lanyard that hangs around your neck. The kind that people in their 50's have framed with their other big-game tickets in their basement next to the pool table. Yeah, that kind.

MSU is asking for everyone to participate in a "white-out" of Ford Field. Appropriate because of the snow, and it's just an MSU tradition for big games. Awesome.

I'm kind of happy it snowed. Obviously it sucks driving, shoveling, and looking for your hat and gloves that you (confidently) put away three weeks ago. But I like the setting it creates for tonight's game. THIS is what the state of Michigan is like right now. THIS is what it's like in the city of Detroit. Yes, the Detroit Public School system is over $300 million in deficit, and yes, they may have to close 50 schools because of that. It's cold and wet and dreary and unpleasant here in Detroit.

If I knew how to convey my excitement for tonight here, I would. I'm excited for the game. I'm excited to be back down there again to cheer for MSU with over 50,000 others. To give our boys a standing ovation whether they win or don't win tonight. To walk the streets before and after the game, proud of what the city did to get ready for this and for Michigan State University and what they did to get there.

So I say bring on the snow. Bring on the Tar Heels. Welcome to Detroit.

And Go Green.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fight, fight, rah team fight!

Never thought I'd ever have a blog post title include the word 'rah' but after yesterday, why not.

My day, by the numbers:

5:35 AM - time my alarm went off
85 - number of apple pies myself and several high schoolers and leaders made for our camp fundraiser!
106 - approximate number of times I thought to myself: "I really don't like Digger Phelps."
2:30 PM - time of departure for Downtown Detroit!
7 - approximate number of miles we walked through downtown checking out Riverwalk, soaking in the sights of Detroit pre-game, and celebrating in the streets after the win!
6 - number of times someone said "do you smell that?" or "what is that smell?"
146 - estimated number of times I said "go green" or "go white."
1 - number of former Spartan standout wide receivers turned pro bowler turned Super Bowl hero turned future jailbird I saw in a hotel lobby and walked right past.
245 - estimated number of high fives given/received.
7 - estimated number of botched high fives with Dilyn Duffey.
2 - large deep dish pizzas ordered at Pizza Papalis after the game.
1 - MSU flags being run through the street.
3 - times the fight song was sang while we ate dinner.
8 - number of UConn fans I actually saw.
67 - total text messages sent and received that were about the game in some fashion.
2 - number of sophomore boys from Grosse Pointe that I saw in Greektown at 10 PM. They're crazy!
1 - number of phone calls I received from friends heading back to East Lansing saying they might have car trouble. Another adventure to add onto the night!
2:35 AM - arrival back home and immediate bedtime.
10.5 - total hours spent in Detroit. It was a great day to be a Detroiter and a Spartan.

People have spent a lot of time talking about what the Spartans' run means to the state of Michigan, and more specifically, to the city of Detroit. I don't think any comments about how uplifting this has been for the city or the temporary relief from so many troubles are a stretch. It was awesome to be down in the city last night, watching thousands of people who would never be there on any other night walk around with friends and be united in purpose. The only worry discussed last night by thousands of people wearing green and white was about how to stop North Carolina on Monday. All the pain and heartache that city has endured was nowhere to be found.

I think the same can be said for me. I've been living and dying with every jumper, every loose ball, and every final buzzer. MSU's run to Detroit has been nothing short of incredible, and I've been hanging on for every moment. It's like I've been living in this little oasis, away from the pain and hurt in my heart, since March Madness started, and I'm almost afraid for Monday to come and go because that means on Tuesday, it's over; back to "normal" life for me again.

I think the most joyful thing about watching the Spartans play is that it seems like they're fighting for more than just an NCAA Championship. They haven't played like this the entire year until now. It's like they're fighting for the state of Michigan, for the city of even feels like they're fighting for me.

Oh, and just for fun - enjoy this :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Encouraging Words

I got home from Young Life on Sunday night around 9:45 and caught the last hour and a half of the Oscars.  I usually don't want them, but that night I felt like watching them was a good choice.  So I did, and I really enjoyed them.  I thought they were really entertaining (although I had to watch the funniest part on YouTube).  But my favorite part was watching and listening to former Oscar award winners speak to each nominee for the Supporting Actor/actress and Lead Actor/actress awards.  Since I work for Young Life and therefore am a not professional film or television actor, I don't really know what it's like to be one; however, I imagine that those personal words shared by their peers (and perhaps in many cases, heroes and role models) will be cherished as much as actually winning the award.  Okay probably not, but I could tell by each nominee's face that hearing those words meant A LOT.  Bravo to whoever thought of that idea.  They figured out how to send everyone home a winner that night.

Take a minute and tell someone why you love them today.  And if you can, take 10 minutes.  I guarantee it'll be among the highlights, if not THE highlight, of that person's day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Lesson from Bob Ross

If you've ever watched "The Joy of Painting" hosted by the late Bob Ross, you'll know what I'm talking about.  If you haven't, check him out here.  My sophomore year, my friends and I would always try to watch his show at 3 in the afternoon before class.  He'd spend 20 minutes creating a beautiful landscape, and then suddenly, and seemingly inexplicably, make some huge mark with his paintbrush in the middle of the canvas.  My friend Tom and I would always yell at the screen as if he could hear us, wondering what in the world he was doing to his painting.  But after a few more minutes, this ugly and unexplained stroke of his brush would turn into a tree, path in the woods, or cabin that made the painting that much better.

Some friends and I were talking about this idea yesterday.  We're aware that God is in control of our lives, and we're even okay with that after years of knowing that we have no idea what we want or need.  We see the picture of our lives that God has been creating and then suddenly...that ugly, pointless, out of left field mark is placed somewhere in our lives.  Then we wonder what in the world God is doing.  And now we're angry and upset, and once again question our trust for our Creator.


The truth is that God knows what He's doing and we don't.  The truth is that He is in control and we are not, and that is actually the best thing that could ever happen.  And the reality is that I need to be reminded of this.  These marks that God makes in our lives shouldn't make us angry and cause us to doubt, but rather remind us that we are loved and in communion with the God of the universe.  How cool?  If we wait long enough, the events and circumstances of our lives that seem random and hurtful will begin to make sense as we view our lives from a bigger perspective.  Obviously this requires a lot of patience and trust, two things that I feel like aren't in my bag right now.  But I know that God is good.  And I know that He loves me.  And I know that those two truths are really all I need to know.

Thanks be to God that He is not done with me yet.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spring is just around the...window sill?

For the last week or so, I've woken up to a group of birds that sit outside my windows and chirp.  I don't really know what they're chirping about...maybe the fact that it's actually been sunny most days lately, or maybe that Lebron put up 52, 11, and 10 last night at Madison Square Garden.  All these chirps make me think that it's spring...that somehow, overnight, winter left and it's now June, which is when "spring" usually hits in Michigan.  But alas, it's currently -2 outside (wind chill).  But at least it's sunny!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

10 random thoughts:

...while waiting at my gate to fly home:

  1. Einstein's bagels are really good.
  2. I think my two carry-ons weigh more than my 48 pound checked bag.
  3. It's a small miracle that my checked bag made weight.
  4. I like the Denver Airport
  5. I like the Denver Airport a lot more when my friends are here.
  6. I bet the nice old people that dress like cowboys and say hi to people have a good life.
  7. Time is a funny concept: two weeks have never gone slower and faster at the same time.
  8. My plane just pulled in.  I wonder if the people arriving in Denver are more excited than the people flying back to Detroit.
  9. I think I've seen more sunshine in Colorado in the last two weeks than I will the rest of winter in Detroit.
  10. Just checked the's cloudy back in Michigan.