Monday, December 07, 2009

Down with consumerism! Buy this to find out how!

So here's part of a promotional email I got promoting the "Advent Conspiracy". I think the point is great- "spend less money, give more presence." Their promos are real slick too. However, I can't help but relish the irony of this. "Fed up with consumerism"- what like, email advertisement blasts? Links to "buy now"?

"Spend less"...except for buying this small group DVD of course. C'mon guys.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Losin with Loggy

My boy Loggy put this together for his contribution to the church staff "white elephant" Christmas party. Enjoy.

Losin' With Loggy from Michael Logsdon on Vimeo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mustoe's Representing

My Aunt and Uncles house was featured on the front page of the Moberly paper last week in a story about images of Thanksgiving around Moberly. I'll be there this Wed-Saturday. Very, very excited to see the fam.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


A little wedding day mcdonalds, why not.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Death of Twitter

I realize the irony in talking about twitter on your blog. Full disclosure: I use twitter, I like it. If you want to see my defense of it, I'll make some parenthetical comments at the end.

But no matter what you think about twitter, the following link could be a sign of its impending doom:

Christian Chirp

Hey kids! Tired of tweeting with all those dirty "secular people"!? Now there's "the Christian alternative to twitter!!!"

If parents are ruining social media like facebook, what happens when the Christians get a hold of it?

Oh man, where to start.

First the practical, then the theological. Even if a "christian twitter alternative" was a defensible concept (which its not) there is no way that this thing will be technologically nor aesthetically comparable to If you're not going to offer a viable alternative, don't at all. Imitations are never good. Take for example, the "soft fleece blanket with sleeves" or this knock-off iPhone or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or Scientology. Clearly, originality and authenticity are often linked to quality.

From a theological perspective, this is a microcosm of a massive problem within Christianity. Lets stop and ask, why do we need "christian alternatives" to anything? What is wrong with people who are Christians, just using what everyone is already using? What is this need to form a lamer and anemic version of popular things? There's a phrase Christians love to use, adopted from the Book of John chapter 17 that goes "in the world but not of the world" meaning Christians are to be present in the world and responding to it's needs without adopting the values and practices of that same world. If you've been around long enough, you sort of roll your eyes when someone says that just because you've heard the trite phrase so many times. However, my cynicism is another blog post altogether. What "Christian chirp" is symptomatic of is the withdrawal of Christians from mainstream America; a tepid faith that only seeks to culturally shield instead of courageously redeem.

Look, I listen to Z107.7. I understand why folks don't want their kids to hear some of that stuff. Lets take for example Britney Spears' latest single "3" which is ironically number 8 on the charts. That is a raunchy song, I would be somewhat embarrassed to listen to it in the same car as my Dad, and I'm a grown man. There are some things in there I'm not even sure I've heard of.

But merely sticking our head in the sand and getting our kids to listen to Barlow Girl instead of Britney isn't going to keep them from confronting cultural issues.

So the concept of "Christan alternatives" is a retreat and imitate approach which I believe does a disservice not only to the Christians trying to salvage their crumbling cultural strongholds, but more importantly it robs the world by continuing to reinforce the cultural concept that Christians are haughty prudes who don't want to have anything to do with anyone except their own kind.

My Dad would tell me "not to major in the minors" and "to develop several subjects on which I have no opinion." Which is good advice, some might wonder why a little website would incite such a rant. The problem is not the basically insignificant URL which will inevitably fail and fold. No, the problem is what this website represents within the faith I love and devote my life to, and the problem I have attempted to describe above is very, very significant.

(On twitter: I have found several practical uses for twitter. While on trips with kids we can keep parents and those who weren't able to come a glimpse into whats going on in real time. I have become aware of events and opportunities that without twitter I wouldn't have heard about. Its an easy way to pass along photos to family, and several of my family members are on it, which is a neat way to stay connected. However, the idea that twitter could be some cultural boon through which "the gospel is advanced" I seriously doubt.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Rise Up

Today the Westboro Baptist Church folks came to protest outside of Marquette High School. Marquette is not far from where I live, and plenty of students from church attend there.

At first, WBC didn't register with me. Then someone let me know some of their infamous activities: "God Hates Fags" signs and protesting at soldiers funerals.

Oh ya, that rings a bell.

I'm not really going to get into how insane these folks are. Do a google search and see for yourself, I don't even want to link their site here. Actually, I didn't even see the WBC folks, there were on the other side of a very, very busy intersection.

What I did see at Marquette this morning were over 200 students who had gathered for a "silent protest" around the flagpole. The police did an excellent job of designating spots for different groups of protestors, and the school administrators should be commended for their support of the students' well organized and well attended counter-demonstration.

I was talking with my buddy Adam about this whole thing, and these people are so sensational ( producing or designed to produce a startling effect, strong reaction, intense interest, etc.) their whole bit is demanding attention. The funny thing is if news crews weren't there (like they were today) and counter-protesters weren't also present, and people didn't blog about it (oops) then these seriously warped people would go away. They continue to exist because we give them the response they are trying to illicit.

Truthfully, in my heart, I'm trying to figure out how much of my attending was motivated by the possibility of a show. Hopefully not. I had images of 1960's riots in my mind. However today was not a frenzied melee: no riot gear, no tear gas, no fire hoses.

Westboro Baptist hate was not being reciprocated with hate. Yes, there was still a reaction, these people were still getting attention. But I saw a group of students organize/mobilize quickly (largely through facebook) and behave with sophistication, restraint, and sincerity.

It was good to see that so many students cared enough to show up and demonstrate their opposition of Westboro's values in our community. Now the trick will be to carry the same attitude of unity inside the school.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rough Week in Missouri Sports

Cards- swept.
Rams + Chiefs- not a win between them.
Mizzou- loss.
The Killer Beards- loss.

A buddy of mine and I debate often whether sports are a worthwhile thing to spend your time on or not (watching, not playing). Can it go too far? Should I be embarrassed that whether my fantasy football team wins or loses affects my mood the next two days?

For me, sports are a means to an end. Every Monday my buddies get together to watch the football game, and hang out. (In fact, this week we recorded a slate of podcasts at halftime, so those should be up soon.)

Its a time to kick back and not think about anything important. To me, that can be time well spent. What say you- sports: too frivolous a thing to care about?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

World Communion Sunday

Hey there, I know its been a long time.

Here's a message I gave today, world communion Sunday. Enjoy?

Everyone loves standardized testing right? You go in the classroom and time seems to stand still before an endless ocean of bubbles to properly fill in. True story, in Cape Girardeau my sophomore year of high school we all had to take the military standardized test called the “ASVAB”. I asked one of the teachers if this would count towards any of our grades. When she responded “no’ I knew exactly what to do.

For the next 3 hours, I had a great time. I randomly filled in all the bubbles, sometimes even choosing to make little pictures with them. When I got my results back, I was proud to be in the lowest 1% of this great nation. I thought I was hilarious until I found out that is the test score the military will use to place me in the case of a draft. Yikes.

Anyway, back to the beginning of those dreaded tests for us. You know all that stuff you fill out: name, gender, age, ethnicity. These are all examples of categories we’ve made for people, things we’ve all agreed somehow matter, and are used as additional data in your score assessment. I started thinking about what other things we use to put people into categories. Mac/PC. Republican/Democrat, Stoner/Skater, Geek/Nerd. I’m told there are differences between a geek and a nerd. From what I understand, being a geek can be kind of cool? I don’t know, someone explain that to me later. Theres cheerleader/pom girl. Band kid/Orchestra kid. Honor roll student/ISS student. Most of these things are based on appearance or affiliation. Think of it this way, let me name a store at the mall; and what kind of person comes to mind: Hollister. Sears. Abercrombie. Hot Topic. Justice. Do you get an image in your head of “what kind of people” shop there?

So what these companies have done, is gotten us to associate value and social characteristics with their products. We think “these types of kids” shop at Hollister and “those types of kids” shop at Abercrombie. Did you know that Hollister was founded by Abercrombie & Fitch? Whichever one you associate with doesn’t matter to the execs, cause they’re getting paid both ways. See, we love to create all these categories for people. We even do it with our faith. Are you Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran? Or maybe you’re Free Methodist, Southern Baptist, USA Presbyterian, or Missouri Synod Lutheran? Or maybe you’re “non-denominational” which ironically, is an attempt to get away from categories but has only resulted in another category.

Not only do we have all these denominations, but we’ve got theological divisions too. We’ve got fundamentalists and revisionists. We’ve got evangelicals and emergents. When it comes to women’s role in the church we’ve got complimentarians and egalitarians. When it comes to predestination we can be Calvinist or Armenian. Some of this might be over some of ya’lls heads. But we do it right here to. When it comes to worship: are you a traditional person, or a contemporary person?

Well friends, today is world communion Sunday. Today, we remember that Jesus was not a Band kid or a Methodist or a traditional worship type person; and he certainly wasn’t a white American. Its good for us to be reminded of that. Today we realize that you don’t have to “be” anything to bow at the feet of Jesus. Today churches from all over the world will celebrate the meal he gave us to remember him by. Today we stand before God, and we let all of our stupid categories go. Because in Christ, there are no categories; check this out: Galatians 3: 27-28 “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

One of the ways we remember that we’re all doing this thing together is through communion. Some have special rules, some do it with little cups, some do it with delicious Kings Hawaiian bread, but at its core- communion is communion. Even that word, communion- something we do together, something we as Christians have “in common” with Christians all over the world, down through the centuries. That to me is a beautiful thing; that communion has been celebrated by Jesus himself, that we celebrate it today, 2,000 years after this night we read about, to remember Jesus.

Now I know I talked about how there are no categories, and its still true. The day I become more of a Methodist than a Christian is the day somebody needs to dropkick me. However, one of the reasons I am a Methodist is because of our beliefs about communion. You don’t have to take a class or sign up beforehand or be a member of this church or have washed your hands a special way. We don’t have to have it in some special cup or use a special type of bread or juice. Methodists believe that all people are welcome because its God’s table, not ours.

There’s a lot of confusion about communion. Again, a lot of us get hung up on all the rules. I could say a whole lot about this subject, and there are entire classes devoted to communion if you go to seminary. Communion is an experience that we have together, that goes three ways. It goes backwards, by remembering what Christ did for us on the cross, as he put it- his blood being shed for many. It makes a difference now, as we recognize Christ’s continued presence with us in reality. It also looks forward, anticipating God’s work on Earth in the future, and in the age to come. All this happens through bread and cup; something we can physically participate in. In this sort of weird way, we believe that Christ makes himself known to us in a special way during communion. I can’t explain it. Some of you guys may just go up there and be glad the bread tastes good, and not feel especially tingly or emotional or feel anything really. What I would say to you, is try focusing on who Jesus was, is, and will be. There’s an old saying called “the mystery of Faith”: “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.” Think about that as you’re chewing this bread and juice.

Think about communion as a meal. How fitting that Jesus left us a meal to remember him by. Many would say it’s a shame we’ve turned communion into such a ritual, because in the early church it truly was a meal. Like, you would walk away full! They’d celebrate communion like we would celebrate a birthday or Thanksgiving. To me, that’s a beautiful picture. Not only because I love food, but I think about how much I love it when my whole family is gathered together for a meal. That feeling I have, that feeling I hope you get sometime in the next couple months, to me is a sneak preview of heaven. The pages of Revelation say at the end of times there is going to be a big family feast. Communion is a mini-version of that feast, until the day comes. Our church can be united with Churches all over the world, and throughout the millennium with the celebration of this meal.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Today I successfully traded my Kramer poster for a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper.

Craigslist is changing the world.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


"To the divine providence it has seemed good to prepare in the world
to come for the righteous good things, which the unrighteous shall not
enjoy; and for the wicked evil things, by which the good shall not be
tormented. But as for the good things of this life, and it's ills, God
has willed that these things should be common to both; that we might
not too eagerly covet the things which wicked men are seen equally to
enjoy, nor shrink with an unseemly fear from the ills which even good
men suffer."


Sent from my phone

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009

My first Craigslist listing

If you're interested let me know!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


That's right, I slid home in a casual kickball game. Don't test me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Taking the ferrie to Illinois for peach picking and Fast Eddie's

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009


A very special groomsman gift

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Can Now Die In Peace

Goi all out

I was excited because the hat fit!

Happy anniversary indeed

We got buttons at the gate! SO MAGICAL!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Nashville

LP field where the titans play and "the batman building" to keep with
the super hero theme.

In Metropolis IL

Monday, July 13, 2009


Tomorrow Sarah and I leave for Florida! My boy Loggy is getting married on Saturday so we're traveling south to celebrate with him, stay with some friends, and Thursday celebrate our anniversary at THE MAGIC KINGDOM! Many pictures will be following I'm sure.

In the meantime, check out the spankin new Podcast: "So, what do you wanna talk about?" with special guest Adam Caldwell. This week we talk to Loggy about his upcoming marriage, the history of the lazy-susan, the dillemma of the sonic drive-in, and dude's with ponytails.

If you want to know more about Loggy, check out he and Susan's wedding blog.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Fajita Fail

They neglected to bring Sarah one crucial component of her meal...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Man Test Answers

I know you've been waiting, so here they are. Leave a comment for any answer you'd like to dispute.

1. Since roughly 2000 has been a string of “super hero movies”, some more successful than others. Name 5 Bonus point if you can also name the actor/actress who played the hero. *various answers*

2. The St. Louis Cardinals recently acquired third basemen Mark Derosa. Name his previous team: *Cleveland Indians*

3. One of your friends discovers something in the fridge that stinks, almost to the
point of causing vomiting. He offers you a sniff. Do you:
a. Scream “you’re crazy!” and run out of the room
b. Walk over to whatever is causing the stench and inhale deeply
c. Start crying
d. Pretend to sniff and fake a reaction, but you were really holding your breath

4. Albert Pujols is a perennial contender for the “triple crown”. Name those three offensive categories: *RBI, HR, AVG*

5. How often would you say you use the word “dude” on a daily basis?
a. Never
b. Accidentally, sometimes
c. Ocassionally/Socially
d. Dude, all the time!

6. Which of these would you rather eat?
a. Double cheese burger, onion rings, ice cold carbonated beverage
b. A lovely House Salad
c. Whatever Mommy is fixing for dinner
d. Pizza that is cold/left out on the counter/been sitting in a car for a day

7. What is the most appropriate Father’s day gift?
a. a tie
b. gift card to dad’s favorite restaurant
c. fishing pole
d. signing the card that Mom got

8. There are *5* lugnuts on a 17inch tire.

9. In 2009 White Castle is celebrating its ____ anniversary
a. 50th
b. 29th
c. 88th
d. 75th

10. Complete: “*5* Guys Burgers and Fries”

11. If you had $2.50 how many QT 32oz drinks could you afford? (not including tax) *5*

12. Which of these would you want to drive most?
a. 2003 Gold Chevy Malibu
b. 1962 Camarro
c. 2008 H2 Hummer
d. 2001Chyrsler Seabring Convertible

13. Mel Gibson played what Scottish national in the movie “Braveheart”:
*William Wallace*

14. What does “PTI” stand for? *Pardon the Interruption*

15. In what year did the AFL and NFL merge? *1970*

16. 1 point for every Bruce Willis movie you can name:

17. What was the name of Rocky’s opponent in Rocky I? *Apollo Creed*

18. How many championships has Phil Jackson won as an NBA coach? *10*

19. Darth Vader means “Dark Father” in what language? *German*

20. Who played the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Disneys “Toy Story”? *Tim Allen*

True or False, please circle one:

Terminator 3 was directed by James Cameron: True/False

Apple was originally founded by Larry Jobs: True/False

When faced with public flatulence the only option is to “hold it”: True/False

The darker the rind of an avocado the more ripe it is: True/False

Chevy offers 7 cars with 30+MPG: True/False

Starboard is the nautical term that refers to the left side of the vessel: True/False

Viscosity refers to he degree to which a fluid resists flow
under an applied force: True/False

Choose the most Manly:
Reading or Lighting stuff on fire

Root Beer or Pomegranite Limeade from Red Robin

Joe Jonas or Nick Jonas *neither! subtract points if you circled one*

Steven Seagall or Wesley Snipes (This was a tough one, but we went with Snipes because for a while he not only starred in fugative movies, HE WAS AN ACTUAL FUGITIVE from the US Government)

Gladiator or 300

Spiderman or Batman

Bottled Water or Hose Water

Powerwashing something or Showering

Using hair conditioner or Going to a tanning salon

Soccer or Knitting *also neither*

Yes or No?
Ketchup on steaks Y/N

Nickelback Y/N

“footlong” food items Y/N

Popped Collars Y/N

Miley Cyrus ringtone Y/N

Butter on movie popcorn Y/N

Congregating outside Chesterfield Mall on Friday nights Y/N

Meat garnished with other meat: ex chicken cordon blue or chili dogs Y/N

VW Bugs Y/N

Pedicures Y/N

Eating wings with a fork Y/N

When playing rock paper scissors, going on “shoot”
instead of just rock/paper scissors Y/N

“reduced fat” cookies Y/N

Bubble Baths Y/N

Blood baths Y/N

Chess Y/N

My Little Ponies Y/N

Sarah’s Cafe Y/N

Free refills Y/N

V8 Engines Y/N

V8 Splash Y/N

Online Banking Y/N

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great couple weeks

So these last two weeks have been fantastic. My sister got married June 20th. Sarah and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary June 21st. I also had the privilege of preaching that Sunday. If you want you can check it out in audio podcast form here or video podcast form here (links will open up iTunes).

So after being in Kansas City for the better part of a week, we turned right back around and took 17 middle school kids to Kansas City for a mission trip.

Here is our group as we left.

We painted and helped move lots of stuff at Broadway UMC. They made lunch for us both days, which was awesome. The people were so appreciative and Waldo is a cool part of town.

We also worked at ReStartInc an interfaith Ministry to homeless persons. It was very impactful and we helped fold some sheets and cleaned apartments/emergency shelters. To see all the things they have going on there is amazing, and to know all the needs that are around there is crushing.

Being a St. Louis boy I do have some experience on the West side, so we sampled some KC culture: BBQ and lunch at the plaza fountain:

The last night was a peak experience in ministry. It is so cool when the lights come on for the kids. While we were at Restart they were still being very much like middle schoolers- giggling, agitating each other, and seemingly oblivious to the realities that were literally surrounding them. But later that night it was clear that the trip had made an impact, and that the students really did have their hearts broken by what they saw. I likened the situation to what happens in 5th grade when they break up your class into boys and girls and the gym coach came in and taught us boys about sex, anatomy, etc. You don't quite know how to deal with it, so you just try and laugh it off. Same thing when we were at ReStart. Its hard to cope with where you find yourself. But time to process made a huge difference.

THEN we get back to church on Saturday, and after worship on Sunday we hosted a luncheon with Burmese refugees. It was amazing. A friend here at church immigrated from Burma in 1980 and within the last couple years has really seen a huge increase in refugees from Burma and surrounding countries coming to the St. Louis area. So our church is working to assist these folks in many ways, and the coolest part is its not just about meeting physical needs, but we have some real relationships being built. Here's a pic from my phone from the luncheon:

As much as I complain about church signs or many, many other things about church, I was very proud to be a part of my church this week.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Sermon Series on Sunday

I'll be preaching on the Prodigal Son this week, after my sister gets married!

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Addition

Someone donated a pinball machine to church!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


All my sheltered Christian kids, holla back!

Bernard Gets "Fixed" : (

Todays the day. He also recently got a haircut.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Sign of the times

Alrighty! If you know me very well, you know that one of my favorite rant topics is church signs. Well imagine my delight when I saw this baby. A Methodist Church not far from my own and not much more than a stones throw away from where I live:
"One Destination, Many Paths."

What exactly does that mean?

Before I appear to be cannibalizing, I'll try and give these good folks the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps that means that God draws us to himself through different circumstances in our lives. Maybe they mean in the grand story of redemptive history that we all take different paths to reconciliation and redemption back to God. Maybe thats what they mean. Maybe someone thought it sounded vaguely wise/sagelike and intriguing enough to be noticed so they put it up there. Maybe whoever is in charge of changing the sign just flipped the page in their book of stuff to put on the church sign and they had all the letters so it worked. Shoot, its still better than "This church is prayer conditioned".

"One Destination, many paths." Universalist garbage. I would hope that this sign would upset the Muslim, the Jew, the Christian, the Hindu, the scientologist, the Mormon, and the whoever else all the same.

Why would you undermine your own existence so much? You're a CHURCH for God's sake! (literally!) Why would you say that it doesn't matter, because its all the same? What a self-defeating thing to say. Why not just put "Come join us for worship on Sunday. Or not. Whatever! Just do something." After all, many paths lead to the same destination.

What really kills me is that Methodism is so willy nilly that there's room for this line of thinking. I find it insulting that a church within my denomination would have this slogan representing their church. I'm not saying my church is perfect, but it is a Christian church. So here we have two United Methodist Churches. Are we really United at all if under different leadership there can be such a divergence of theology?

A famous John Wesley quote is: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity"

What could be more essential to a Church than agreement there's something particularly important and distinct about the Christian Church in the first place? Doesn't the church's worship of Jesus matter? Doesn't the church's foundation of Jesus Christ as its head matter?

Why would you ever want to be a part of something that by its own admission, doesn't matter?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mr. Pujols

He got new intro music, lame.

It's a rough life.

Here's where I'm sitting at the Cardinal game tonight, it's not easy
being me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pops Pizza: Comfort food and comfortable familiarity

Today I went to my a buddy from high schools wedding in Cape Girardeau, about 2 hours south of where I live. It was a wonderful ceremony, but thats really not what I'm going to talk about. So, Matt and Tasha, I love you and congratulations!

After the wedding I met my old Young Life director (who's now a Pastor at a church in Cape, he also officiated the wedding) at perhaps my all-time hands-down favorite restaurant on the planet: Pops Pizza. The place is like a time warp. Pretty much EXACTLY how I remember it from high school. We enjoyed off-campus lunch privileges and with a $5 pizza buffet + drink Pops was (and still is) unbeatable.

The thing about Pops is that its actually a bit dingy. I'm so spoiled in my suburban West-County ivory tower if I went there for the first time today, I might have thought it was a little gross. But what makes Pops so great is that it remains unchanged.

C.S. Lewis talks about what I'm trying to get at in "The Four Loves" with familiarity comes affection. Even something that initially strikes us as unpleasant can with time and consistency become charming. Comfort brings affection. We grow to love the familiar. So the pizza place of questionable quality (certainly questionable caloric content, and if I say that you KNOW its bad) with its smeared sneeze guard and sticky tablecloths becomes a thing of beauty. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Last year my church built a new facility. During the moving process when people would get nostalgic about the old building I would try to keep from rolling my eyes. Maybe its a little sad that I'm comparing how I feel about a pizza place to how others feel about their place of worship for so many years, but I have to say I can sympathize a little bit.

In his book "Intuitive Leadership" Tim Keel talks about what happens when God's people get sentimental and rely to much on the past. Talking about the Israeli/Philistine battles in 1 Samuel:
"...what Israel does in their moment of crisis is revert to their past...Israel could have said 'this was the pattern of God's activity in the past. Based on that, how do we discern what to do now?' But in the confusion and pain of their environment, Israel looks to her glorious past. Implicit in this move is an assumption that because God operated in such a manner in the past, he will do so again...The reality is that God's activity in the past can become a stumbling block in the present. When we refuse to engage the environment as it is before us now, we become prone to sentimentality, going through the motions, employing totems, and spouting meaningless God talk..."
So in conclusion, Pops Pizza is a great place to visit but after a fierce inner debate not a place to oft' return. Likewise, Christians need to always be monitoring our mission, our motivations, and our methods so that we don't become so sentimental that we're detrimental to God's work in the world while we sit undistrubed in our monuments of nostalgia.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Youth MiniStarz

Grandma Betsy

Many friends already know, but Grandma passed away May 19th in Kirksville. She had suffered a stroke. She lived a long, full 84 years, loved and was loved by many. She had lived in Edina pretty much her whole life and was still in the same house that they had bought in 1954! She was honored at her funeral, and I am so glad my whole family was there to grieve and go through all of that week together.

I thought I'd just put up these photos. The top one is very special. It was given to a family member only two weeks ago! It was from someone who went to high school and Grandma and was on the softball team with her. So the top one is of Grandma when she was 16. The bottom one is of Sarah, Grandma, and I at Christmastime. My Uncle told me it was one of her best days in a long time. We will always treasure our last Christmas all together. Grandma, we love you and will miss you dearly. I will close as my Dad did in a prayer at her bedside: Jesus, we reluctantly but willfully commend her into your care.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wii Bowling Tourney @ Youth

Youth Group + Retirees + Wii=Awesome!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Watch the video, then GO HERE to vote for her!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Cold wife

Our heat cut out, luckily our landlord is her cool and on thief way.
In the meantime since our home is 53• Sarah is warming her hands by
the steam from the dishwasher drying cycle.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

From Houston: Before

Just getting around to posting some pics from our workcamp over spring break. Here's the main part of the graveyard when we arrived.

From Houston: After

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Fasting

As with many things, if its good enough for Jesus its good enough for me. Fasting is a denial of self to focus on God. Giving up food, something we need, helps us to concentrate on something we need even more; the grace of God. Jesus was quoting the Old Testament when he said “Man does not live on bread alone but by every word of God.” Fasting reminds us of what we need the most.

There are several things about fasting that can be tricky. Jesus warns us elsewhere to not appear pitiful while fasting to get attention. We also shouldn’t use that time we would normally eat to be super-productive either. Many religions fast. Lots of people don’t eat simply to shed calories. What differentiates fasting from merely skipping meals is what you do instead- connecting with the Living God. Check out this quote from Thomas Merton…
"The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; it is hearing with the spirit, with your whole being. The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another, but the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence, it demands the emptiness of the faculties, and when the faculties are empty, then your whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind. Fasting of the heart empties the faculties, frees you from limitations and from preoccupations."

Now, as someone who loves more than his share of food fasting can be tough. Part of it for me is surrendering the privileges I enjoy of being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it, and how much I want of it. A privilege that works to my disadvantage. I’m attached to food, not only for nutrition but for enjoyment, and often for social purposes as well. Fasting detaches me from my need and allows me to focus on God. This purposeful disruption is an ancient discipline and something that countless saints have utilized in their walk with God.

So, what do you think? Do you fast?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This never gets old

I have lots of stuff to talk about, but right now I'm at church getting ready for youth group. This ad will always be funny to me:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ol' Bessie rides again

My trusty workcamp hat: 5 workcamps, including two trips over the
border. Smelled like it too until Sarah made me wash it.

That's My Girl!!!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First day on the job site

Here in Houston...

A survey of our first day at work: Matt finds an old bottle of booze, Dan finds a skull, Cody (our native Texan) shows us what flesh-eating plants to avoid, and zombies attack. It was a pretty full day

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I'm currently in Houston TX on a workcamp with High School students. Right now everyone else is asleep. I am not. My airmatress slowly deflated.

Upon unwrapping and after initial inflating we discovered a hole. No big deal, patched it up, I'll inflate it before bed. Bedtime arrives. Airmatress inflated. I then discover a 2nd hole, which I taped ferociously to no avail.

So, I decided to blog before bed.

The greatest thing about workcamp is it defies people's expectations. Jesus did that a lot, that was the focus of our devotion this evening.

In our world, you work to get paid. You don't pay money to go work. The latter is precisely what we're doing. I love that.

We start at our worksite tomorrow, check for mobile updates.

Our host church has been awesome. Tonight we even had a true-Texan crawfish boil!

Ok, I'm off to try and make my way to an empty couch. Peace, and sleep well!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Houston here we come

Good weather starting Monday!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sweat Shop

30+ kids showed up to make blankets, making me feel like I'm running a
Kathy Lee Gifford child labor operation

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

5 Guys: Doin how they do

So, maybe its bad that my past three posts have involved food...

But a new place opened up around here, with another on the way. It's called "5 Guys Burgers and Fries". The food was really good. But what I really enjoyed was the menu:

They sell burgers. They sell fries. (now, they also have hot dogs, and I think a grilled cheese for kids or something)

But the menu is simple. That is what they do. Check out one of the FAQ from their website:
Q: Does Five Guys plan to add any menu items (i.e. milkshakes, chili, etc.)

A: Five Guys does not currently have plans to add any items to our menu. We follow the philosophy of focusing on a few items, and serving them to the best of our ability. If we were to add to our menu, then you can guarantee that we would only do so if we could serve the highest quality product possible. For example, there are a lot of great milkshakes out there, and at this point we think that others are doing it better than we could!
I find this very refreshing. 5 Guys does their thing. They're not trying all sorts of new stuff. McDonalds is not a coffeehouse. Taco Bell is not where I want to get a smoothie. Pizza Hut is not where I want to get dessert, or pasta. Dominos is a pizza place, not a sandwich place.

5 Guys is a burger place, thats what they do. They're not trying to offer everything thats trendy or cut into their competitions niche.

I'm normally not a "taking something from the business world and applying it to life" sort of guy. But this really got me thinking: As a person, how much time and energy do you spend trying to be someone else, instead of just doing what you do best?

Monday, February 23, 2009


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stuff that is awesome

Genghis Grill. Build your own Mongolian Bar-b-que. New location opened in Ellisville, and one coming in Kansas City! The place is ridiculous. Pick your meat. Pick your veggies. Pick your sauce. Enjoy. They give it to you in these cool bowls, and I always make mine too hot but still so good when it hits your lips!

Barnes and Nobles Website. Curious to see if they had a book in stock, you can check right from the site. Then, you can reserve it. Within ten minutes I got an email saying it was behind the counter for me. Drove to the bookstore on the way to a meeting, picked it up. Bam!

Kitchen Tables. Sarah and I recently got a small little one, after replacing the one someone generously gave me. Unfortunately that table never was screwed down, so it was a balancing act. Now we can eat meals like real people and actually talk.

Speaking of tables...

The Open Table. Recently I've had a string of conversations with people really wanting to investigate more about God. About the same time I read about the open table on Don Miller's blog. Now, I totally have drank Miller's kool aid just so everyone knows. But I normally don't go ga-ga over curriculum. But this seems to be really good. Got the book and the DVD set, and plan on having some get together's using this stuff.

The Return of the Prodigal Son. By Henri Nouwen. Almost done with it. This is my first Nouwen book, and its really good. We'll be using some of his exploration for a youth retreat in September.

Danny Gokey. He's humble, he's got a heart wrenching story, he's a great singer, he's a church music director, and he rocks the glasses. Plus, factor in the blonde highlights, the last name "gokey", and he's still cool? Danny, a hero lies in you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Burning Questions: Do only those who believe in Jesus go to heaven? Or can non-Christians be saved? Part 2


In the last post on the subject (longer ago than I wish) I discussed how an "exclusive" approach to faith is not necessarily bad in and of itself.

So now the question: Does everybody besides Christians go to hell?

Most of you might know what I'm going to come with next: Jesus seems fairly emphatic that no one comes to the Father except through him. Posts like this sort of make me cringe, and so do all the times when Jesus talks about Hell in the New Testament.

*Possible Cop-Out Alert* I guess my answer to the above question, is "I hope not, and I'm glad its not up to me"

I will say this: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are not the same thing as Christianity. To say that all paths lead to God is, to me, insulting to all parties involved. I don't see how any one really thinks that- Buddha and Jesus do not claim the same things. So the Buddhist and the Christian should take issue to that popular statement, or some picture about blind men and elephants.

I will say this: Jesus speaks explicitly about lots of people who think they know him, but don't. I find this terrifying. Jesus also speaks of very religious people happy to get attention but not really caring about other people. I think there is a lot of Christians out there who will be disappointed that Hell didn't have a few more places reserved.

The duty of the Christian is to love. Sometimes that love might mean talking to somebody about their beliefs, and what they think of ultimate destiny. Other times that same love might compel you to be patient with someone; knowing that some discussions could wreck a trust that's been built. I will refer you to Penn's video below, where he asks: "How much do you have to hate somebody NOT to proselytize them?"

At any rate, I believe this conversation can take place in any relationship where there is mutual respect and trust. It's when those things aren't present, in my experience, that emotions escalate and love deteriorates.

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


So my Dad's got this story he told me one time. Someone just randomly came in his office and said they had $300 they'd like to donate to whatever Dad thought the church needed. They didn't have some specific place, just had the prompting to bring it in.

Two hours later, a desperate family comes to Dad at the end of their rope, in need of...$300.


I'm trying to get him to send me the story in more detail, because I think it is so neat. I would love to compile stories of times we've had encounters with God, when just absolutely crazy things have happened.

So if you've got one, please send it to me! I'd love to put it up on here, or even somehow compile these into a book for my coffee table or something.

adam (dot) mustoe (at) gmail (dot com)



They are "remaking" the Karate Kid.

Check out more: here, here, and hear it straight from Daniel himself representing here.

Lets see, here's a list of my favorite childhood movie franchises:
-Star Wars
-Indiana Jones
-Karate Kid


This is unconfirmed, but I'm pretty sure I was the first in North America to purchase the Karate Kid boxed set when it came out; I was at Wal-Mart at midnight, shocked by the lack of fanfare. I thought I was a big fan, until my co-worker Chris came in with the soundtrack today (impressive), and told me about this remake.

The Karate Kid does not fit into the trend of "recasting" series ala Batman/Star Trek. It was a magical moment in time that cannot just be pillaged by some jerk producers looking to pimp Will Smith's kid.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Burning Questions: Do only those who believe in Jesus go to heaven? Or can non-Christians be saved? Part 1

This is another in our series of questions people ask, and its a doozy. We talked about this on Sunday and again on Wednesday. I'll try and break this up, because I know most people don't like reading long blog posts.

Here's the thing. In our culture, where most Americans take a "buffet" approach to religion; one of the most reprehensible traits is to be "closed minded" or "exclusive". By responding "no" to the question of "non-Christians going to heaven" most folks would react as if you had just used a racial slur.

If you watched the inauguration speech, you know that our country has changed/is changing, its different than most generations have always viewed it. President Obama referred to our "patchwork" society of many different races and faiths. I think this is cool, so don't hear me saying its not. At the school where my wife works they had a "passport night" where different families with different heritages set up booths about their country and the kids go around visiting the different booths- eating the food, making a craft, checking out the traditional garb, and getting their "passport" stamped. It was incredible. There was a ton of people there and from all over the world...all going to this school in suburban St. Louis MISSOURI. Missouri, a bastion of anglo-culture (you may know my stance on Branson being the white-people's Mecca) can be an extremely diverse place if you start to really look around.

Anyways, my point is that in our society to be seen as "exclusive" is one of the worst ways to be viewed. That's what makes this question so rough. "Are you going to be so arrogant as to claim that Christianity has a monopoly on truth?" So we champion diversity in our American ethos, but how else does that play out existentially? Is exclusivity really a hateful thing? I would argue that it is not, and in fact can be a very loving thing.

Our most important relationships are all exclusive. Thats what makes marriage so special. You are saying "I am not concerned with what else is out there, I choose you." Another way of putting that might be, "Sarah, you have a monopoly on my love, attention, and care." It's not up for grabs. In this sense, love is exclusive; because love is particular.

When Sarah and I were looking at dogs, we went to the mall (mistake I know, kind of sad, and definitely overpriced). Did you know that a lot of these mall pet stores have like, replacement policies? In other words, if your puppy gets sick and dies within 30 days don't worry, they'll replace it for free! Oh ya, try that one with your 10 year old: "Here Tommy, Scooter the puppy you've loved for a month died, but look, here's a new one thats just as good!" No man, its not just having a puppy that the kid loves, he loved that particular puppy that he named Scooter.

SO, idea of the day: exclusivity is not universally synonymous with hate/evil/wrong/bad.

Pot calling the kettle black, after the pot injected the kettle with performance inhancing drugs

Just read this story about Mark McGwire's brother; who's trying to get a book published about Mark's steroid use. Jay McGwire, the attempting author is estranged from Mark and says this:
My bringing the truth to surface about Mark is out of love. I want Mark to live in truth to see the light, to come to repentance so he can live in freedom -- which is the only way to live.
What a crock. Homeboy just wants to make a buck, and nobody's biting.

What is the deal with all these "whistleblowers"? Jose Conseco, Brian McNamme, Kirk Rodomski, and now Jay McGwire. These dudes come off like they think what they're doing is noble; but they are implicit in the whole process! How are you going to try and put these guys in a negative light for using steroids when YOU WERE THE ONE WHO PUT THE NEEDLE IN? Where were your principals then?
So lame.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Bernard

I'll try not to be the guy who always talks about his dog...But I couldn't resist: