find out what is going on inside my head. i know it is a little scary, but you will be safe. i promise.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


i am moving my blog. i have found a new home at in addition to a blog, this is a website for my whole family. it is pretty sparce, right now, but i hope to be building it over the next few days. this is a project for the entire family. i hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Learning From Our Mistakes

the local university holds an annual scholarship fundraiser. it is the million dollar hole-in-one challenge. i have a friend at church who qualified for the final round. he did not win, but he qualified. that is still an accomplishment. he was telling me today about his performance in that final round. it was held at one of the premier courses in the area. the pin (that is the cool way to say the flag, which of course signifies where the actual hole is) was about 150 yards out. there was a light breeze. my friend spent several minutes deciding which club to use. it was close between his 5-iron and his 6-iron. he could hit an easy 5-iron or a solid 6-iron. he chose the 6. he wishes he had chosen the 5 and the easy, fluid swing. instead, he chose the 6-iron and had to swing a full-powered swing. he told me that he has a tendency to tighten the grip with his left hand too much. he kept telling himself to relax his hand. he was doing well. as he made his back swing, right before he began his down swing, he felt himself tighten the grip with his left hand. this caused his swing path to go from the outside in and his ball went further left than he intended.

is this not how we so often live our lives? from the beginning, we know we are making the wrong decision. we could stop and change, but we don't. we keep telling ourselves that if "i just make some minor adjustments" i can make this work. but we don't. we stay with the decisions we have make and we don't make the changes we should and our lives land somewhere left of where we intended. then we have to live with the consequences. we will have the opportunity to swing again, but this moment has passed, never to return. and we live with the regret of the mistake.

god forgives us and our account with him is settled. but in this world, we bear the scars of the mistakes we make. do we learn from them? do we use our experiences to teach others to avoid the same mistakes? what has god used in your life to allow you to teach others?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Laminin" email and

i am sure many of you have seen the email that is circulating about laminin. i have received it at least three times. (thanks sean, for one of those!) the writer of the email tells of being on the treadmill watching a message from louie giglio and being completely blown away by the description of and picture of laminin proteins.

this morning, i was reading my weekly email from i love this laminin email was the topic of one of their new articles. the article even includes this video:

as a side note: in the video, giglio refers to being near the end of their tour in tyler, texas, when he was told about laminins. i was at that concert. i am not the molecular biologist.

the crux of the story is that laminins are the proteins that hold the different cells of our bodies together. they are like the glue that keeps us from falling apart. this is a reminder of colossians 1:15-17: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (emphasis mine; english standard version)

oh, yeah. i almost forgot. this is a scientific diagram of a laminin protein:

to me, and probably to you, this looks quite a bit like a cross. when i see this i have thoughts that go something like: "wow! before you created adam, you knew that it would be through the cross of jesus that that our very lives would be held together. and you represented it in our very cell structure! you are an amazing god!"

when snopes saw this, they said: (my response in italics)

1. the structure of laminin antedates by many thousands of years traditional christian accounts of the life of jesus. i know. that is one of the wonderful things about this. god knew from before the beginning that the cross of christ would be our hope and salvation.

2. a cross-like shape is a very simple structure that is commonly found in elements created naturally or accidentally. which one is this, natural or accidental? if it is natural, god designed it that way from the beginning. if it is accidental, how is that possible. this is the protein that holds us together. this is an accident? that is another post.

3. it is uncertain whether the form of the original crucifixion device was a stake, a t-shape, or the familiar cross of modern christian iconography. does it matter? god knew we would recognize the cross as a symbol or reminder of who jesus us and what he did for us. god chose to place this representation into our very cells.

4. one could find the shape of laminin to be reminiscent of a variety of common symbols aside from the cross. some viewers say it reminds them more of a caduceus. (the caduceus is the symbol for modern medicine.

this symbol is taken from the old testament story of the children of israel wandering in the wilderness. in numbers 21, god sent serpents to punish the people. when the repented of their sin, god had moses craft a bronze serpent and put it up on a pole. when the people looked on the bronze serpent, they were healed. jesus referenced when he was talking with nicodemus in john 3. jesus was looking ahead to his own death on the cross when he said, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." (english standard version) the caduceus represents, at its very core, the healing at the cross.

i am glad that has put this on their website. i am alright with them trying to discount the symbolism. they have put a video greater than six minutes long describing that our god is the creator and savior of the universe. they have put up a number of illustrations that god is our designer. they have put this before a larger audience than you or i likely ever could.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Being Good and Angry (4)

6. Unresolved Anger Puts Distance Between Us and God.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (v. 30)

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit lives in you. But when you allow anger to build up in your life it repels the influence of the Spirit. Your anger is keeping Him from working fully in your life.

Imagine it this way – Let's say someone is teaching you to play the piano. You start off with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy and make some real progress in a short period of time. Then after a few months you get distracted, you stop practicing and you forget why you started playing in the first place. Your teacher begins to notice that your playing is suffering and he asks you, “Are you sure you want to play the piano?” You say, “Yes”, but over the next few weeks you continue to ignore what you have learned. How long do you think your teacher is going to invest into you when you fail to practice what you have learned? The answer is not very long.

Well the Holy Spirit works in a similar way. When we fail to put into practice the things the Spirit is teaching us, the Spirit takes a step back in our lives. His voice becomes silent and His influence less evident. Unresolved anger blocks the impact of the Spirit in our lives. Anger limits how God can use us and keeps us from becoming the person God designed us to be.

Summary: Anger is a normal emotion. God designed anger for a good purpose – anger serves as a warning light, a warning light that must be resolved. When anger is not resolved it can result in doing things we normally would not do, saying things we normally would not say and broken fellowship with God.

Now that we have looked at anger more closely, I want to share with you three ways you can learn to avoid the negatives and experience the benefits of good anger. Let me share with you three ways to be Good and Angry.

The only way you will know if anger is a problem in your life is to stop and do a self exam. Doctors recommend that we examine ourselves physically to detect any abnormalities before they become a problem. Likewise God wants us to examine ourselves spiritually to detect any feelings of bitterness or unresolved anger before they become a habit.

Ask yourself: "How do I express my anger?"

Psychologists have identified four basic ways that we learn to express anger:

1. Maniac (exploder)
A famous golfer was out on the links instructing his son when some reporters came up to him. The reporters began to ask the young boy some questions about his father’s game. One reporter ask, “What has your father taught you when you hit your ball into the rough?” The boy was hesitant to answer the question so his father said to him, “Go ahead Son! Show them exactly what I do when I hit the ball into the trees?” The boy looked again at his father then suddenly took his club and threw it into the water.

You see his father was an exploder. When things didn’t go his way he would over react and take his aggression out on whatever was in front of him. Some of us are exploders.

2. Mute (imploder)
This is the person who is determined never to get angey. Instead of expressing healthy anger he/she bottles it up inside and pretends as if nothing ever bothers him. Someone once said, "When I learned to swallow my anger, I later realized my stomach kept count." Some of us are imploders.

3. Martyr (inflictor)
Like Eyore, this is a person who is excellent at throwing pity parties. They secretly enjoy being disappointed and feel uncomfortable when things are going well. Their anger is repressed and later manifests itself as depression.

4. Manipulator (exploiter)
This is the passive aggressive personality. Like Lee Iacocca when he was fired from Ford said, “I don’t get mad, I just get even.”

When it comes to anger, this is what kind of person you are. But what kind of person do you want to be? When you have an vision of the kind of person you want to become, you will be more motivated to make the necessary changes. You will have a better idea of what needs to change when you know where your character is headed.

Secondly once you identify how you express anger…

When you find yourself in a situation that could cause you to loose your temper ask these three questions:

1. Why am I angry? Sometime the reason is not obvious but lies deep below the surface. Anger is not always the root problem but a symptom of a bigger problem. When little issues cause you to over react you might be dealing with residual anger. The pain and frustration of past events could be causing you to become angry over petty issues. At this point it is important to seek the guidance of a trained counselor, someone who can help you get to the core issue and encourage you to go to Christ for healing.

2. Is it worth getting angry about? Not everything that bothers you is worth expressing. It is important that you learn to pick your battles carefully.What do I really want out of this encounter?

3. When you think through it logically, where do you want the situation to go? I love email. I think email is great. When I get frustrated with someone or a situation I sit down and write an email describing the problem and the solution. Then I save it in my, “To be sent folder.” I leave it there and read it the next day. 9 times out of 10 I never send the email. Sometimes just writing things down and coming back to them the next day is all the resolution you need. Sometimes anger won’t bring about the result we are hoping for.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
(vs. 31-32)

When you are sick or have a virus the first thing you do is try to get rid of it. You might drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest or take medications that will combat the effects. Paul is saying when you harbor anger inside do everything you can to get rid of it. Like a virus it wants to gain supremacy over your life but you need to do all you can to replace your anger with something more powerful. What is the one thing that will help you get rid of your anger?


Learn to FORGIVE.

Forgiveness releases the person who has hurt you and gives the pain to God. Forgiving is not forgetting but it is letting go of the pain caused by another person or an event. Forgiveness is not a "one-time event". If you are going to effectively resist the bitterness that can so easily build up in your life, it has to be a daily exercise. This is part of taking up your cross daily to follow Jesus.

When one of my children commits an offense against his brother, the offended one tends to get angry and retaliate. Then they both get into trouble. The offended one then (usually) gets upset at me because he also got into trouble. I try to reinforce the idea that it is acceptable to become angry at his brother. It is not acceptable to seek vengeance. You see, he has neither the power nor authority for that. When he asks what he should do, I tell him to bring that offense to me or his mother. We do have the power and authority to handle the situation. This is what our own response should be. We should take our offense to God. Only He has the power and authority to truly handle the situation. And you can be assured He will treat it with both justice and mercy. This is the real benefit of forgiveness. Letting God handle your offense releases you from the pain and bitterness that most likely will grow if you do not.

How can you learn to replace anger with forgiveness?
1. Believe that anger is a rational choice! People can provoke you to become angry but only you can stay angry. Anger in the end is a choice you have made.

2. Look to the Holy Spirit to empower you. Confess to God that you have not expressed you anger in healthy ways. List the different events where you allowed the situation to be out of control and ask God to forgive you. When you have agreed with God about where you need to change the Holy Spirit will become a strong force in your life for change.

3. Remember, Jesus forgave you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Being Good and Angry (3)

4. Unresolved Anger is an Open Invitation for Evil.

and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (vs. 27-28)

That word "opportunity" literally means place or foothold.

When anger gets a foothold in your life, you are more susceptible to doing things you would not normally do – even stealing. Paul is addressing a real problem that was happening in his churches. Because the people were angry with each other they stopped caring and started stealing. Anger caused them to loose their concern for the community and start focusing instead on themselves.

Unresolved anger causes us to ask the question: "What is best for me?" Anger makes us more aware of what we want and less concerned about what is right or best for others.

A man of quick temper acts foolishly. (Proverbs 14:17)

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. (Proverbs 29:22)

You might remember the story of Cain and Able. Cain became angry at Able because God valued Able’s offering above Cain’s. When God noticed the anger that was building in Cain’s heart God warned him in Genesis 4:

The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." (Genesis 4:6-7)

Instead of listening to God Cain allowed his anger to get the best of Him and it resulted in the death of his brother. I imagine Cain’s first thought was not to kill his brother. It was only after anger took control that he did what he normally would not do. Unresolved anger turned a bitter Cain into a killer.

A very similar event happened in the life of Alexander the Great. Though Alexander literally conquered the world he was unable to control his anger. Alexander had a friend and a general in his army named Cletus. On one occasion Cletus became drunk and ridiculed the emperor in front of his men. Blinded by his anger Alexander snatched a spear and threw it at Cletus. Though he had intended to scare him the spear took the life of his childhood friend. As a result Alexander was overcome with guilt and attempted to take his own life. History records that Alexander fell into a deep depression, and that he lay in bed for days calling for his friend.

One historian writing about this event said, “Alexander the Great conquered many countries, but he failed miserably to conquer his own self.”

When anger gets a hold on your life you are prone to doing things you will later regret.

5. Unresolved Anger is Lethal When Molded Into Words.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (v. 29)

Quick and careless words cause more damage to people than any other known force in the world. When we allow unresolved anger to build within us it will eventually explode into harmful words.

Every year many people are killed all over the world by unexploded bombs. I recently read that hundreds of pounds of explosives are recovered every year in France alone. Many of these bombs were dropped in WW I and II and are now turning up all across Europe. They fell harmlessly from the sky but over the years their contents have sat exposed to the elements. With time and corrosion they have become more and more dangerous, any slight movement could set them off.

There are many people who are like those aging bombs. When anger lingers in the human heart any small problem can set it off, resulting in lethal words. These are words that destroy relationships and damage lives.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Being Good and Angry (2)

2. Anger is a Warning Light Built in by God.

Be angry and do not sin (v. 26a)

We can get into trouble when we ignore the signs of anger. When we ignore the warning lights that lead to anger we can find ourselves in a place we never intended to be.

If you drive a vehicle that was built in the last number of years, you will notice that there are warning lights for just about any conceivable issue. There are warning lights for temperature, oil pressure, seatbelts, and low fuel level. Let's not forget the mysterious check engine light, which could mean absolutely anything. Some even have warning lights for low air pressure in your tires. If you ignore the warning lights, you do so at your own peril.

Now maybe you are better than I am when it comes to responding to warning lights, but:
How well do you respond to anger?
How well do you anticipate the things that cause anger?
How well do you keep your anger from getting out of control?

God designed anger to be like a flashing light yellow light – to say to us: "proceed with caution, be aware, know that trouble could be near." So when the light comes on – don’t ignore it. Don’t think it will just go away.

3. Anger Must be Resolved.

do not let the sun go down on your anger. (v.26b)

Anger can be a healthy emotion but it is not designed to be a permanent emotion. When Jesus became angry in the temple and turned over the tables of the money changers, He did not remain angry. After the event He didn’t dwell on what happened, He didn’t allow His anger with the people to impact His love for people.Look at how Matthew records the events in chapter 21:

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you make it a den of robbers." And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. (Matthew 21:12-14)

Notice the words: IN THE TEMPLE. Jesus anger did not keep him from showing mercy. When your anger is God-centered rather than self-centered, you can still treat those around you as they should be treated.

I don’t know about you but when I get angry I have a hard time letting go. When I get angry my anger generally gets the best of me, it can ruin an entire day. Anger can cause me to become a person I don’t want to be; it can cause me to say things I didn’t want to say.

I read the results of a study that demonstrates the effects of anger. The researchers found that anger causes the average female’s blood pressure to rise 6 points and the average male’s blood pressure to rise 14 points. It also indicated that unresolved anger is the number one cause for psychological depression. The point is, when we get angry, anger takes control.

But when Jesus became angry He remained the same person, He did not loose control. His anger did not have a negative impact on His character or cause Him to say the wrong things. He went from anger to mercy in the same day. His anger was motivated by His love for people and never became a vehicle for harboring resentment. Anger must be resolved.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Being Good and Angry (1)

today at church, i was a substitute teacher in my sunday school class. i taught about anger from ephesians 4:26-32. over the next few days, i will post my teaching notes as a series here. i hope you enjoy them. unless noted otherwise, all scripture passages are taken from the english standard version.

Being Good and Angry

As a kid in the early '70's, one of the TV shows I liked to watch was the, "The Incredible Hulk." The main character was a scientist named Dr. David Banner. Most of the time, he was a nice guy. But when he become angry he would repeat those famous words, “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I am angry.” And if the person ignored his warning, right before your eyes he would transform into Lou Ferrigno, this big green monster.

The whole series was built around Dr. Banner's search for a cure. Dr. Banner didn’t like what anger did to him and he did all he could to prevent it from happening.

The message many got from the series is that anger is always bad, anger will turn a normal person into a monster. Anger will turn you into someone you don’t want to be. As a result the best way of dealing with anger is to never express it, because anger is so volatile the best way to manage anger is to repress it. And that is how many people deal with anger today.

However, in Ephesians 4, God gives us a different way of looking at anger. Instead of dismissing anger as evil, Paul tells us that anger can be a good and healthy emotion. Anger itself is not wrong; it is the reasons and motivations for our anger that cause us to loose control.

Ephesians 4:26-4:32 ESV
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

I would like for us to talk about six ways to look at anger. The first three are descriptions of anger and the last three describe what happens when anger takes control.

1. Anger is a Normal Emotion.

Be angry and do not sin (v. 26a)
In your anger do not sin (NIV)
Be angry BUT do not sin (RSV)
Be ye angry, AND sin not (KJV)

This is one of those passages that no matter how you slice it and dice it, I comes out about the same. The point I want us to get is it is possible to be angry and not sin. Anger, in and of itself, is not bad, God created anger for a good purpose – with good intentions.

You might remember the story of Jesus entering the temple. When Jesus saw what the religious leaders had done to corrupt the temple, Jesus became angry. His anger was not directed at hurting people but at the wrong things they had done in God’s name. Jesus was angry because the people had violated God and His anger was an expression of God’s anger. Jesus demonstrates that it is possible to be angry and not sin. There is such a thing as good anger or godly anger.

The question we need to ask is this: What did Jesus do that allowed Him to express His anger in healthy ways?

The answer is found in His FOCUS. Jesus never allowed His emotions or pain to take His focus off of God and onto himself. Jesus was able to keep God as His first priority even when He was angry. Our problem is we seldom become angry for the right reasons or motives. Human anger tends to be self-motivated rather than God-motivated. We become angry when someone does something that hurts or offends us. Human anger is generally a weapon we use to defend our pride.

Anger is like a fire. If the fire is controlled, it can be helpful and productive but if the fire gets out of control it can be harmful and deadly. Anger is the same way! Though anger is a natural emotion, we must be careful how we use it because it can have devastating effects.

Aristotle said it this way, “Anybody can become angry… But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - this is not within everybody’s power….”

In other words anger is a normal emotion, but we must be very careful how we express it.

i will post the next couple of points soon.

House For Sale

in case any of you are interested, our house is for sale. if you know of anyone looking for a home in tyler, let them know. we are not leaving the area, we just want to move more closer to school for the boys and for me. it will also put us closer to church and more of our friends. a big deal is that we want something with four bedrooms. if you want more information about our house, you can check out the links below:

School Days

last thursday evening, i had the opportunity to attend a program presented by the kindergarten through second grade students where my children attend. my two youngest were in the program. i was able to record portions of the program. below is a clip that has my middle son doing a square dance.

this one has my youngest son. he looks so excited to be participating.