Over the river and through the woods...

Kari and I leave Saturday for two weeks in Israel. It's a trip we've been looking forward to for nearly six months. We'll be traveling with Gene Getz, the Pastor Emeritus here at Fellowship, and a couple of families from the Dallas area. It's truly the opportunity of a lifetime.

We were worried for some time that my health wasn't going to allow us to go, but God has been good and answered our prayers. Our prayer all along has been that God would heal me miraculously - to the point that even our doctors were amazed. Last Friday, my doctor bragged and bragged about the progress I've made, "beyond what I could have asked or imagined." Those are his words, not mine. Seems like I've read those words before...

We're excited to walk in the dust of a land that has thousands of years of history. We'll walk in the storied field where David had his showdown with Goliath. We'll stand on the mountain where Elijah asked the prophets of Baal whether their god might be too busy in the john to answer their prayers, and we'll walk through the Garden of Gethsemane. I've heard I'll never read my Bible the same way again, and certainly hope that's true. We couldn't be more excited.

My mom and grandmother, on the other hand, couldn't be less enthused. I keep trying to persuade them that it's okay - if something goes down in Israel it's only a local flight to heaven. Somehow they don't share my perspective.

While you're pining away in the absence of a blog, look for me on this wailing wall webcam. I'll try not to make a fool of myself, but we'll be there one day. If you know me, you know I'll be the guy wearing orange.


I don't know where I am!

Airports are the best places to meet some of the most interesting people on the planet. I always enjoy trips that require me to fly because I'm always surprised by something (or someone) that I see. It's a ripoff if you ask me - a hundred years ago people only had to pay a nickel to watch a freak show. Today you have to buy a plane ticket. Stupid inflation.

Last weekeend, Kari and I flew to Charleston, South Carolina to visit my baby brother. At the time we booked our flights, there was no direct flight to Charleston from Dallas, so I got to enjoy people watching at 3 of America's finest airports. With the exception of one lady who didn't seem to realize she was breast feeding her baby in the middle of a teeming mass of people, and two teenage girls traveling alone who reminded me why we are never having daughters, I was fairly disappointed with the number of weird things I saw in Dallas, Charlotte, and Charleston. It certainly wasn't worth the $1000 freak show ticket.

I did, however, have one rather sad encounter with a lady at the gate for our flight out of Charlotte.

A very pretty old lady, probably in her nineties, was wheeled to the gate by a sky cap, and promptly left by herself. The sky cap didn't give her further instructions or even a "thank you." She just wheeled the lady to the gate and left her. In hindsight, I think the sky cap probably realized she wouldn't be getting a tip from this elderly lady, and was ready to move to someone who would be a little more gratuitous.

Obviously confused, the elderly lady started looking around. Panicked, she looked at me and exclaimed "I don't know where I am."

I was tongue-tied. I didn't want to give her too much information, thus insulting her ("You're in a wheelchair honey."), but I didn't want to give her too little information and leave her still confused ("You're on the planet earth. Time to come back"). So, I opted for the middle-ground. "We're in Charlotte, North Carolina ma'am."

"No," she said, "I know where I am. I don't know where I'm going."

I persuaded her to show me her boarding pass so we could figure it out, and recognized that she was headed to Charleston, South Carolina on the same flight I was waiting for.

"No," she said again, "I know where I'm going. I just don't know how to get there."

With the help of another passenger who recognized the lady from an earlier flight, we got this poor woman calmed down and on the flight to Charleston where she was to attend the weddings of two of her grandsons.

Now, I realize that this poor woman was probably dealing with some senility issues coupled with the pressure of being in crowded airports all day. But as I sat down on the plane, I realized how common her quandry was to all of us. No, we're not often stranded and confused in airports, but don't we ask the same questions every day? Aren't the three statements she articulated the three things that cause uncertainty in our own lives?

Where am I? Where am I going? How am I going to get there?

Those questions are so simple, and yet they're at the heart of almost every dilemma we face today. In some sense, our spiritual life, occupational life, family life, and every other aspect of our lives demand that we consider each of these questions.

Try it out. Think about a decision you have to make today. See if it can't be answered by considering the answers to the 3 questions the woman in the Charlotte airport posed at me. You might be amazed.

You know what they say... "Out of the mouth of senile old women..."


I got an ipod for Christmas last year, and finally got around to installing everything a month or so ago. I've subscribed to a couple of podcasts already, but am interested in who else you guys recommend. I've got John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, and the Catalyst Podcast.

Who am I missing?


The multi-site church philosophy has taken a turn for the cyber.

It started with the ability to have my church and my pastor in my neighborhood via various campuses throughout town. Now, I can have my church and my pastor in my room as I watch my church and my pastor in my underwear.

Like them or not, Lifechurch.tv is one of the most innovative churches in America. They're on the cutting edge of the use of technology in the worship service, and have recently launched their newest idea. Why go to church? Bring church to you.

Now, I feel the need to explain that I think these guys have hearts that genuinely seek to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who wouldn't ordinarily hear them. But I think this is a genuinely bad idea.

"Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

While I applaud the desire for creativity and innovation within the Christian culture, I fear an internet campus is a short-sighted and incomplete concept of church.

Internet church is a great concept for taking the gospel to people who would not normally step into a church building - either because of preconceived notions or because of governmental restrictions. But reaching others with the gospel is only a portion of what the church is supposed to be about. Service, encouragement, accountability, and discipleship are left with gaping holes.

Sometimes you just need people with skin on. Internet church doesn't provide it.

Hannahisms Part Deux

Someone confronted me yesterday on the fact that I haven't posted in a while. Cut me some slack... it's the end of the semester, which means two things: First, my brain is so chock full of unoriginal information that I couldn't come up with an original thought to post if I tried. Secondly, Hebrew is hard. I just walked out of an exam where the whole test demanded that I translate one of the minor prophets. Suffice it to say that Jonah wasn't the only person struggling to stay above sea level.

I'll be back around once I purge some of the material from my brain and get the opportunity to think clearly again. But for now, here are a few more Hannahisms. For the full story on Hannahisms, see my first post on Hannahisms here.

1. If God speaks to you outside the Bible, it's private conversation - stop telling me about it and keep it to yourself.

2. You can only be direct in peoples' lives to the point that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love them.

3. The difference between philosophy and theology is that one has reason, the other has verses.

4. A saint is not a person without problems. A saint is a person who doesn't allow his problems to abort his ministry.

5. If you have a system that answers all the questions, you have a man made system and left God out.

6. You can preach a weak gospel and get converts. But weak converts attract wolves.

7. If God is not doing something, I'm going to rest, because He will start doing something soon and I want to be awake. It isn't my job to manufacture something for God.

8. I'm sick and tired of sermons that give me five ways to be a better husband. Preach Christ and in the depths of His forgiveness I'll love my wife.

9. Why do we read books? Before you can find your prince, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.

10. I can't dance. I'm an exegete. When everyone else is moving, I'm trying to discern what the meaning of "right" is, and everyone leaves me behind.