video blog

Here is the link to the Epicenter 08 conference video archive.

Sleeping and the Scriptures

I woke up today rested and refreshed from a good nights sleep. I remember reading an article sometime ago that told what percentage of your life you spend in bed out of the 76.2 years the average person lives. While I don’t remember the figure off the top of my head I know it was high. Out of a 24 hour day between 6 to 8 hours are spent sleeping, that’s nearly 1/4 of your day right there! The article pointed out that it is definitely worth the investment to spend money on a quality mattress and good pillows. The logic is sound, if a good chunk of your life plays out in bed, your quality of life stands to be boosted if you are not sleeping on a lumpy mattress with springs poking put of it. In my opinion a good bed is a better investment than some expensive couch for a formal living room that nobody ever sits in. And what’s the deal with those throw pillows? You know the ones that are beaded or fuzzy, and serve no functional purpose whatsoever, the moment you sit down you have to move them because they scratch you. Yeah–those are real lame but that’s beside the point. As I was waking up thinking about this, the first thing I did was reach out and grab my Bible off the night stand. The one I use for my devotions is a wide-margin NKJV Cambridge that is simply beautiful. It was a gift from a good friend and everything about it is quality. The leather is goatskin and the pages are thick so you can take notes on what you are learning. It has a great center column full of cross references and a substantial concordance in the back. There are two ribbons so you can keep track of where you are reading in two different places at one time. I realized that in our spiritual lives the same principle should be able to be applied, we should be spending so much time in God’s word that we would look at it as a great investment to spend money on a good one. Unfortunately for many people buying a nice Bible would be looked at like I view a stiff and uncomfortable love seat covered in decorational pillows. “Yeah that’s nice but what’s the point? It only will barely get used.” Lots of people break out the Bible to go to church on Sunday and then it get’s put back on the shelf until next week. If that’s the case in your life then you need to realize how much you are missing out. Spurgeon used to say “A bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” That doesn’t mean you should back over your Bible with your car so you can look super spiritual! But you should be in it so much that it gets “broken in “ from use and hopefully you would see the value and need to invest in one that can handle the mileage. Not that an expensive Bible is better than a cheap one, underground churches in China pass around the precious pages of a single tattered Bible and believe me that is awesome in God’s sight. The fact of the matter is however, we do have easy access to the Word and in addition to causing us to be involved in getting the Bible abroad, we should invest in this department personally. Whether you are rich or poor, we all find ways to spend money on the things that are important to us. For some it’s the latest cell phones, for others it’s nice tv’s some take pride in their new snowboard or fabulous golf clubs. We barely bat an eye spending money on our passions whether it is a car or a wardrobe. What I am saying is that we should be as passionate about the Scriptures, they are after all the primary way God communicates to us! I challenge you to invest in a good quality Bible, one that you are excited to open, want to take care of and even better than a mattress, it will certainly increase your quality of life. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg either. Bonded leather can be as durable as genuine and there are cases you can buy to protect a hardcover or soft cover. Get a good one and take care of it. I can guarantee that through it God will return the favor. As it’s been said, “This book will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from this book.”

Psalm 19:7-11
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.

Big news today

If anything could get me out of bed it is the CEO of Starbucks announcing their new bean that is supposedly the best tasting coffee, ever. It is called pike place roast and is a throwback to their first store with the old logo and everything. While I can’t speak for the mermaids’ modesty the coffee is delicious. From now on it will be on tap at every store everyday and will always be fresh. The employees are even wearing shirts that say “fresh” and the name of the new roast on the back. I guess they realized how sweet life is when it’s the fresh life. Maybe we could get a sponsorship out of this. ūüôā Anyhow, It all started today. Do yourself a favor get into a local bucks and try a cup. Rules of engagement: no cream or sugar! None of that frew-frew, she-she stuff, drink it black. Report a comment on what you thought. (oh and all day today it’s free, now you have no excuse not to go.) Cheers.

a meal of verbal proportions

Church was a real treat today. Sundays are always so exciting, the early morning cups of black coffee, reviewing my message notes, and the anticipation of what is to come. I have heard pastors compare sermon preparation and delivery to cooking. There is a lengthy process, slaving over a hot oven err um Bible, adding different illustrations and quotes to give flavor, the presentation is crucial, and you prayerfully consider the order of covering the material. Of course the whole time you are applying the truths you find to your own life, what chef doesn’t taste his own cooking? Then finally the moment of truth comes, you present God’s word for that day to hungry sheep and get to see them enjoy it. We’ll it’s not a perfect analogy but it works. Anyhow I love teaching the Bible, it is hard work but it is the delight of my life to study the scriptures, see cool things and share them with others. One fun thing about fresh life is you never know when someone might snap a cell phone shot. We invite people in the church to document what God is doing through mobile photos. Kind of like everybody is the fresh life paparazzi or something. You can see what shots have been recently taken here. And if you’ve taken one but haven’t sent it there are directions on how to here. And you don’t need to feel excluded if you don’t live near fresh life, send a picture of yourself watching the webcast! Be creative. Both of these photos on the blog were sent in today.

Picking up where we left off

It seems like its been forever since I last taught from the book of John. I began a verse by verse study of this gospel the first Sunday after fresh life began. It has been 14 months going thru it, breaking only for major holidays, guest speakers and umm broken legs. I am so excited to return to our study and finish the last four and a half chapters. It is easily my favorite of the gospels and probably my favorite book in the Bible. When i was in Bible college I studied it for an entire year nonstop on my own because I wanted more than any classes I was studying to really KNOW Jesus. There is nothing wrong with head knowledge but I was more concerned about my heart! Every time I got to the end I went back to the beginning and started over. Still, every new time I study it I am blown away by all that I missed the last time. Gods word is just like that, a bottomless ocean of wealth, yet simple enough that my two year old can understand that Jesus died on the “cwoss.” Tomorrow morning we are looking at the middle portion of chapter 17, the prayer of Jesus, what is really, THE Lords Prayer. Jesus prays for His disciples, regarding what He has communicated to them, for their protection and their sanctification. Don’t miss it! If you want to you can go back to the beginning and catch up on any of the studies through this book here. What’s your favorite book of the Bible? Leave a comment and let me know, make sure to tell why.

Sent from my iPhone

Do you see it?

I know, it may not look like much just some guy sitting at the end of
a bed. But what this picture says to me is progress, pain, and a
whole lot of work. And it is the most my left leg has bent in what
today is now 3 weeks. I have been working at bendinf my knee using a
workout ball 4-5 x a day for two weeks. And at my physical therapist
yeaterday he told me the goal was to get it dangling from the edge,
but it took almost an hour to get there. And it hurt like crazy. He
held my leg straight out and massaged muscles and ligaments lowering
it extremely slowly. It felt tight until 45 degrees but once that
angle was crossed it became excruciating. But in slow increments it
was lowered and lowered, at points I was gritting my teeth and closing
my eyes. Finally he told me to look down and he wasnt holding it
anymore. I was dangling my leg!! That may be one small step for (a)
man but it was a giant leap for Levi-kind! I was honestly suprised by
how happy I was, enough to ask my therapist to take a picture so I
could prove to the world that I was hanging around like a real boy. I
am at a place where this small "baby step" was a big victory. In our
walks with God growth comes thru patience, practice, and pushing
through pain. Sometimes you might feel like you arent making very
much progress, like youll never get through a trial, conquer a sin, or
overcome a fear. But with Christ working in you, it can happen. One
small step at a time and before you know it youll have covered some
serious ground. Whether that means sharing your faith where you were
once too timid, closing the computer when you are tempted or dangling
a broken leg off the edge of a table, every step of faith you take
brings you closer to the goal. Dont grow weary doing good for at the
right time you will see rewards if you dont lose heart. Galatians 6:9

a worship service in a waiting room

I had a physical therapy appointment today, and had about a fifteen¬†minute wait in the lobby before I was called in. ¬†I pulled out my¬†phone and went to on the mobile browser. ¬†The site is great because it automatically formats itself to the small¬†screen and is so easy to navigate to a scripture verse and you can¬†pick from like 50 different versions. ¬†I made my way to Psalm 93 and picked the New Living Translation which is great for times of devotion. ¬†This particular Psalm is a¬†short little chapter exclaiming that in the midst of floods, and wild¬†times the Lord stands firm, He is robed in majesty and can’t be moved. ¬†I love that sitting in a lame waiting room, my soul was strengthened looking¬†at my mobile phone. The power of God’s word is eternal and¬†supernatural, whether you read it while on a pew in a cathedral, hear¬†it read through ipod earphones on a podcast or are reminded of it in your heart¬†while walking down the street it makes no difference. The key isn’t¬†the media delivery vehicle but the power of the message. Those¬†quick minutes transported me to God’s presence and my spiritual tank was topped off. ¬†It got me through the 45 painful minutes of¬†stretching a stiff leg that was soon to come. We should look for¬†more creative avenues to input truth into our souls through out the¬†day. It’s easy to pigeon-hole, spending time with God into just being at church services or at your desk having Bible study. ¬†God is stoked by those, but He wants more. ¬†Live your life remembering God is with you all the time–and act like it!

April 1st is over

I can stand this ruse no longer. I’m sure you are well aware that I will not be moving to Switzerland, but was enjoying the first day of April. Definite kudos go out to Todd for actually finding a picture of robot legs. And I truly thought I was being creative and made something up! Today I woke up wondering about the time honored of mischief and hi jinx being rolled out on April fools day and so did a little digging on Wikipedia. (don’t worry, I won’t be citing any of it on a high school term paper so I think we can allow the source) Turns out it has been going on for a long time and has roots in many different European nations. In Great Britain it used to be called, “hunting the gawk,” which was a reference to the cuckoo bird. In France the holiday used to be the new year before the Gregorian calendar switched it to January 1 and so the old new years became a day for tomfoolery. Usually friends tried to place dead fish on the back of each other. Today it has switched to paper fish kids try and tape on the backs of friends and bakeries sell fish shaped pastries on April 1.
Here are a couple funny April fools jokes from the article.

  • Left Handed Whoppers: In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today, saying that people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out of the right side.[4] Not only did customers order the new burgers, but some specifically requested the “old”, right-handed burger.
  • Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to “reduce the country’s debt” and renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
  • Tower of Pisa: The Dutch television news reported once in the 1950s that the Tower of Pisa had fallen over. Many shocked people contacted the station.

Tragically, much like the boy who cried wolf, real things have been dismissed as a result of this holiday too. The 1 April 1946 Aleutian Island earthquake tsunami that killed 165 people in Hawaii and Alaska resulted in the creation of a tsunami warning system (specifically the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre), established in 1949 for Pacific Ocean countries. The tsunami in question is known in Hawaii as the “April Fools’ Day Tsunami” due to people drowning because of the assumptions that the warnings were an April Fools’ prank.

So what does the Bible say about April Fools Day? Well believe it or not, the book of Proverbs actually explicitly addresses it.
Proverbs 26:18-19 “Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says, ‚ÄúI was only joking.‚ÄĚ
Unfortunately I thought of this verse today and not yesterday! Even though I was just having a little fun, and I am sure very few truly thought I embraced leather pants and a carefree life of yodeling I do genuinely apologize if I deceived you. Have a great April 2nd!

What a day

This morning I got a phonecall from a medical supply company in switzerland that is testing a new product, robo-crutches. I guess they do more of the work for you than regular old crutches. They are looking for femur, tibia, and fibula fracture patients to try out their product. The clinical study will last thru the duration of my time on crutches. (roughly 10 weeks) and I will have to travel overseas to participate. Since I dont want to hassle with moving back and forth I think I will just stay there. This is my chance to be apart of something truly innovative, and who am I to stand in the way of medical progress?  I might even learn to yodel and start wearing leather pants. Goodbye Montana, you have been good to me but the alps and robot assisted walking beckons me. 

Sent from my iPhone