My Personality Helix

In keeping with my apparent openness (see upper left green square), I wanted to share with you the results of my personal DNA test. I passed; it appears I do have a personality...phewww.

I think I plan on taking this test again in six months, when I will likely not be doing full-time support raising. I'll post both results then, side by side. That could be interesting. Thanks to Noel Heikkinen for unveiling this to me...not personally, just via his website. I enjoy these things...learning more about who God has made us to be.

You are a great person to interact with—understanding, giving, and trusting—in a word, benevolent. Your imagination, confidence, willingness to explore, and appreciation of beauty make you a creator.


I just wanted to share part of Isaiah 40 with you this morning. It is one of my favorite passages in scripture for two reasons: humility and it closes with a promise. One cannot escape the fact that we have so little control over the workings in our world, yet God has so graciously included us. The end of the text includes a promise to those who would place their hope in him: you will find renewed strength in this life. God has lavished love on us and allows us to be a part of the big story, but remember this:

Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?

Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding? ...

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in...

"To whom will you compare me?

Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

I hope we can defeat the urges within that lead us to want to exchange the glory of God for the glory of man and creation. If you want to seek out wisdom on this topic, I recommend listening to John Piper's series of talks on Romans 12:1-2. You can find them here.

No other name

In remote villages in Indonesia or in the DRC, it is completely understandable that there are still those who have never heard of Jesus Christ. It can be somewhat suprising, however, when we meet those here in the "Christian" West, who have never heard of him. Truth is, that's becoming more and more common in places like America or in the UK. Like this kid in Britain:

"A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word."

The quote was taken from this article (several months old) about the Catholic church and their views on literal interpretation of certain parts of scripture. Worth reading. In my uneducated opinion, they have become a bit too soft on some points regarding the divine inspiration of scripture. Yes, certain parts of scripture are certainly reserved for metaphorical interpretation (e.g. apocalyptic prophecy in Daniel and Revelation), but to say that creation account in Genesis is just a "creation legend" seems to just question the truth of the whole of scripture.

My Superwhatever

Just because I had a Superman cake for my 23rd birthday (thanks to my awesome cake-making machine of a friend, Michelle) and the exact same--yes, 1980s cake molds are still around-- for my 8th birthday doesn't make me an official Superman geek. But, you could say I've enjoyed my share of his movies and tv spin-offs in my day. Yeah, I'll shame myself once again...I'm also a Smallville watcher. And I'll be in line opening week for the latest film about the man of steel, which'll be out in less than two months.

So, where am I heading with all this Superman I was finishing up Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis last week, I got to thinking about his discussion about "my Superwhatever." For Bell, his Superwhatever was being Superpastor at Mars Hill and he realized this while sitting in a storage closet minutes before he was to go out and "save the day" by giving another home run teaching to the thousands attending their weekend gathering. For yours truly, as I read the account of his realization and subsequent awakening to a renewed role as a pastor, I was hit upside the head with my subconscious role as Supersupportraiser. And God's taking me to a renewed place as his son, trying to be faithful with what he's put in my path.

Now, since I have a small audience here, which by and large is well aware of why I am raising support, I don't have to give a monologue here about it (if you're curious, see sidebar). But here's the gist of my realization. Results. Efficiency. Productivity. Successful. These are all words that I would love to use to describe any type of work that I put my hands to. I did get an engineering degree after all :) So, naturally as I transition to raising support in order to be a career missionary, I want to be "successful." (What is success really, but to love God with passion and to love others with compassion?). Without even knowing it, I was one, two, three months into raising support with this thought tucked in the back of my mind, right underneath my medula oblongata somewhere:
I want to complete this task within 5 months, or else I am a failure. That would mean that I did not succeed. The average amount of time it takes to raise full support is 9 to 12 months, so therefore, I have to do it in half of that, because I will not settle for less.

So, there it is. That's was the fuel for my engine. Well, at least part of my fuel. I couldn't let others see that it took me so long to raise support. It is still my primary desire to back in Champaign, Illinois as quickly as possible, but I'm realizing more and more (and God uses stuff like support raising to help me see clearly) that life is about becoming more like Christ and knowing God more intimately rather than being "successful" at something in the eyes of the world or even in the eyes of those who are closest to me. So, if it takes me a year, then I will not see it as a year wasted, but as a season in which I've interacted with God in a unique way that's taken me closer to him.

So, I am not Supersupportraiser...and I don't wear blue tights, either.

...I write this piece, then I find an article at Relevant Magazine that talks about our superhero fix and the call of Jesus...and the author ties in Superman in the end.

By the way, if you haven't read Velvet Elvis, it comes highly me at least (and Fred got me onto it). And let's be honest, the book layout and design is just plain sweet. If you're into aesthetics at least. The subtitle--Repainting the Christian faith--threw me at first, because that sounds near-cultish, but I gave Bell the benefit of the doubt. I'm glad I did. This book ended up being pretty foundational in my continuing journey to try and understand who Jesus Christ is and what his 33 years on earth meant for his contemporaries as well as for our lives today. Reading the book of John with a lot of reflection and also the book of Mark (check out JR's Mark series) have been key for me recently.

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Manuel Uribe, from Mexico, weighs approximately 1200 pounds. You might just have to see it to believe it. In preparation for his surgery, he said, "I'm trying to reduce my weight a bit right now so I can be in the right condition for the operation."

To completely shift gears, I think you should check out the Mocha Club, a division of African Leadership. The team, Jambo 13:16, was started by a friend and our focus is on orphans. Coffee drinker or not, if you have any interest in helping to make a direct impact, a visit to the website will be worth your time. I fall in the "or not" category myself, unless I'm terribly tired then maybe some sugar-packed rocket fuel in the form of a cappacino is nice.. The Mocha Club was initiated by musician (and U of I alumnus) Matt Wertz after a visit to Khayalitsha, part of the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa (I can attest to some of what he experienced there). I won't say any more. You'll have to form an opinion about it yourself.<