Friday, August 28, 2009

Football Time 2009

Ok so I looked over my picks from last year(champions and what not) for NCAA and Pro and discovered Im not real good a predictions but they are fun so I am going for them again. Since I'm an unabashed SEC homer I will only predict the SEC and the overall NCAA Champion. This year I think there are probably 5 teams that could end up in the NCAA Championship game(not necessarly the best 5 teams mind you).

SEC East - Florida
SEC West - Ole Miss
SEC Champion - Ole Miss

NCAA Championship - Texas vs USC

My Vols will be improved on the field but still lose 5 going 7-5 this year but being very competitive in every game.

AFC East - Patriots
West - Chargers
South - Colts
North - Steelers
Wild Card - Titans
Wild Card - Ravens
Champion - Colts

NFC East - Eagles
West - Cardinals
South - Falcons
North - Bears
Wild Card - Vikings
Wild Card - Seahawks
Champion - Bears

Super Bowl - Colts in the rematch!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ever lost an arguement...

....? A number of months back I was hit with a statement by Daniel Montgomery. I don't recall the context but I know it was in regards to the Old Testament(probably in the first 5 books) as that is what we as a church are walking through this year.

"If you have never lost an argument, Your aren't teachable"

I am still chewing on all the implications of this statement but it has been kicking my butt for sometime as I am not one to lose an argument. I will argue a point to the death to not be wrong. I don't know why i do that but it is obviously something I need to change and I have been working on. Have you ever lost an argument?

Legalism and Christian Liberty

...This post should probably be titled "Legalism vs Christian Liberty" but you can decide for yourself what you think. I have spent a great deal of time in the recent years "re-programming" my heart and mind from my early days in the church. I have spent a lot of my years in the church(I don't use "C"hurch because this is a building not the group of people though some crossover does occur) with the understanding that if I didn't hold steadfast to the "Spiritual Disciplines" and the "Rules" that I wasn't a good Christian. I lived with guilt, fear, and disappointment that I couldn't seem to be good enough.

I became a Christian in 10th grade. After becoming a Christian I was mentored by many people at my local church. One of them basically handed me a list of scriptures and said, "Read and Study". I did read and study and the more I did the more legalistic and judgmental I became. I began to see scripture as a black and white book of rules instead of a living document. Before you jump out of your chair I'm not saying that the meaning of scripture changes but merely that it is not a list of hard fast rules. I became about the rules, they gave me clarity, they gave me power, they gave me control, and they boxed in God to something I could wrap my mind around.

The Change
A couple of years ago I was in a class with a group of men the the church Crystal and I attended at the time. As we discussed the divinity of God a man by the name of Todd, as he so often had the ability to do, laid me out with this statement, "God is God, I am Todd." Now this simple, yet to the point, statement set into motion something in me that has led me to where I am today. No matter how many rules I put in place, no matter how much time I spend in studying theology, no matter how big a box I put God in I am NEVER going to understand everything in this world and the box I place around God will never be big enough. If I did understand everything then I would be God and well we know that to be false.

The Deliverance
Through a series of events God led Crystal and I to Sojourn. We are so thankful for the family of believers that God has placed us with. I have grown more in the past 2 and a half years than in a long time. When the teaching is brought forward I learn, when the community gathers I grow, when conviction is placed at my feet I seem to see it more and I am more repentant than I have been in a long LONG time. Why one might ask? Liberty is the answer! One Sunday Daniel(our teaching pastor) was preaching about Israel wandering in the desert for 40 years because of their unfaithfulness. I had heard this story before but something brought it to new light. Israel wandered because they didn't believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Instead they boxed him in and suffered for it.

Liberty vs Legalism
I spent a long time chewing on this and discovered this concept applies across the board. Legalism is a box! Legalism is our way of Not believing God is who He says He is. We made him in a list of easy to understand rules and we suffer because of it. Legalism is our way of not believing He will do what He says He will do. We made the things He can do in to a list that we pray asking him to do. Legalism is our way of believing he has not done what He said he has done. We have said the bible doesn't understand our modern culture so these rules have to be in place to help us in this day and time and we suffer for it. Where does liberty come in you might ask. Liberty is the opposite of Legalism. Liberty frees you to see that it isn't about the rule but it is about God. Take the use of "foul" language. In a Legalistic sense swearing is considered something a believer doesn't do. You don't ask questions you just don't do it. Ask why! The journey of the Christian faith is partially filled with asking why. God is big enough for you to ask why but also ask why about the "rules". I'm not saying I walk around cussing like a sailor BUT if I do say a cuss word it isn't something that I feel guilty about or worry that God will look down on me unfavorably because I did. Christ came to free us from our own guilt. We took something as glorious as the 10 commandments which were to help lead to God and made them the 10 commandments of guilt. Christ helped us to see it isn't about the "rules" but about the relationship.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Update and Short Review

I am a lazy blogger so I am going to roll two post in to one about my current reading.

After my last review of the book Unchristian I was challenged with a few things that I want to put out. I made a statement that the things posed in the book as problems aren't anything people don't already know. I was challenged in that that the problems wouldn't be problems if people knew them. The truth of the manner I think is we have our heads in the ground(me included) to the problems facing the church today and that is why this book was so shattering for so many people. It made people take their head out of the ground and see that the church does have a problem with addressing our views concerning Homosexuality and our Political involvement.

Since that last review I have finished reading a book my brother-in-law challenged me to read called "Calvinism:A Southern Baptist Dialog". I was unsure about reading this book but I am glad I did. A few points of interest I would put out about this book.

- I really appreciated the general tone of this book. It was very cooperative in nature and really seemed to try bridge the gap in regards to the issue of Calvinism in the SBC. With exception of two authors(one on each side of the debate) This was the general tone.

- The two articles that spoke to the heart of the problem are the two I just referenced in the previous point. They are heated, conflicting, and seemed to be down right un-cooperative in nature. Both articles carried the tone of "I am right, Our church is right, everyone else is wrong". It isn't as simple a issue as these two chapters made it to be which was quite disappointing

- Nothing in the book really shifted my feelings about Calvinism really. It was good to understand that history and context of the issue. I would say the most shattering thing to me was the number of strands of Calvinism and the fact that most SBC Calvinist aren't true John Calvin Calvinist. One illustrations of this is Calvin's belief that Evil could have had no other source that God, and Calvin's belief of salvation was also deeply rooted in his belief about infant baptism. Neither of these things SBC Calvinist believe(if you want the paragraph that this is spoke too I will be happy to find page numbers to give to you).

- Moleism is quite interesting. Im not saying I am believe it but since one article of the book was about it I am going to study more about it at a later time. My brother-in-law basically said it is a form of Armenian-ism. I will study this eventually.

- The two points I got hung up on in the book are these. 1) if SBC calvinist believe God is sovereign over EVERYTHING then explain the fall. Did God cause Adam to fall? 2) How can one believe that God selects who is saved how is that not selecting who isn't(ie double predestination as many referred too). Hyper-calvinist believe in double predestination but most SBC calvinist do not. I simply don't understand that.(that is not me asking for a 5 page dissertation on it but I welcome a short comment).

- I LIKED THIS BOOK AND WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE. I know that is worth about 2cents and a cup of coffee but from someone who would not affirm all 5 points of SBC calvinism I think that is a good thing. Everyone on both sides so work to cooperate better without letting this become a dividing issue.

Ok to wrap up this post I am going to say that due to some changes in life I am going to have to put my reading plan on hold. I have been given an opportunity to further myself professionally and that is going to require alot of reading and study which means no time for outside reading that I had be doing. I would be happy to post about my studies in IT but I figure discussing Network security combined with VLAN's and MS server 2003 would be boring so this will be my last book review of this year more than likely.

**disclaimer - I have not read calvin's institutes so I cannot speak to ANYTHING in them. I am only speaking to the book and the things wrote about it in the book. If you have a problem with something I wrote then you will need to take it up with the author of the particular article in the book because that is where I got my information from and at this time it is all I have and probably will have to go on for the foreseeable future.**

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

OO high school...

....So it is 5:50am EST and Im up watching a little TV and checking around on Facebook. Early morning is my time and sometimes I like to read on a book or sometimes I search the web for news but today I spent a little time facebooking. I came across alot of photos from my 10 year high school class reunion. Looks like alot of my former classmates had a great time!

Well I did not really have a "big ol" time at my 10 year class reunion. I honestly can't really tell you why I went. Crystal and I stayed about 45 minutes then went to get some dinner as we had babysitting for the night and really just enjoyed being just the two of us. Now I will say it was nice to see a few people from my high school class(Micah good to see you, Kevin wow alot of memories we caught up on, Seth, Candice Im sure I will see you again before 10 years is up) BUT 9 out of 10 people I had not talked to since probably before graduation. Now this is not a "give brandon sympathy" post because quite frankly Im not sure my feelings are hurt. See I didn't have a lot of close friends in Athens High School. I had a very few people from my high school I have actually kept up with. That isn't a knock at anyone of my class as I was just different! I wasn't one of the popular guys, I wasn't a jock, and I wasn't really that smart. I would classify myself as fairly level headed. I was a swimmer and swimming took up all my time. Most of my friends where in Huntsville with my swim club. I actually ended up being the only person in my high school that swam. i went to High School state meet as the only representative of AHS my senior year. So I was considered an odd duck. I had nappy green hair and I smelled of chlorine all the time so I wasn't someone the ladies really went after either.

But I do have one little thing that was quite weird and quite annoying. As Crystal and I started to head to put our drinks in the trash can and leave I was pulled aside by one particular person with whom I had not talked to since BEFORE we graduated. We didn't really talk in high school, we didn't have any classes togethor, matter of fact and I can't tell you we even had a meaningful conversation in all out years of school together. Well said person pulled me aside and seemed really interested in my life now. A little funny. Now I tried my best to be nice but it really was just fake and I am fairly confident in saying said person was putting on a good show too as I don't really think either of REALLY cared about what the other was doing. The problem with this situation wasn't that it happened but that it was pretty much what happened all night long or at least the 45 minutes we stayed.

So why this post. It isn't a piss-and-moan session that I promise and let me tell you why. I turned out pretty good. I have an aweseome God, I went to college on a swimming scholarship, meet the girl of my dreams, got a good job, a home, a dog, and a handsome baby boy! Those of you that know me and have actually kept up with me since high school know that I am glad you are part of my life and I would not be where I am today with out your impact on my life in some form fashion or manner. If you are EVER in Louisville please don't hesitate to let me know as I would love to take you out and enjoy an evening together. Those of you I haven't however lets not be fake. You don't really care what happened to me nor do I care what happened to you and all of that is ok! AHS the 10 year reunion wasn't something I REALLY enjoyed(no fault of the planner at all as she worked REALLY HARD to make this a great night and seems that alot of people really enjoyed it) and I am pretty sure 20 year...well i won't be there.