Saturday, July 26, 2008


I don't have much to say, but these two quotes really hit me. I'm discovering I can't do what I want to do so very badly. When it comes down to it, all I can do is give up. I'm pretty sure that goes against my nature, but my nature is no source of truth. Right now, in my life, I'm only sure of one thing. Pretty much everything else is up in the air in some way, shape, or form. But I know that I NEED GOD. Not in a cute Sunday School kind of way, but in a way that is real. I need to know the God I claim to love. 

This is from a blog I really like and read very sporadically.

"I suppose that's the place you reach at some point. All your plans fail. All your attempts to yank yourself up by the bootstraps fail. The rules fail. The ritual fails. People fail. You fail yourself.


In the end, you're 24, you're almost (almost) accepting the freefall...But you can't quite muster the guts to let go of the fraying rope and latch on to the only one who can save you now.

I have a confession. I am mortified of the mundane. Mortified. The most frightening thing in the world to me is that I might live my whole life having done nothing for the Kingdom of God.

There. I said it. It's out, for all to see, to hear, to read.

I fear failing my Master.

And yet he keeps walking, and I keep plodding (slowly) after. Because, really, whom have I in heaven besides him, and by what other name shall I be called?

As Peter said, "Lord, where else would we go?"

I don't have a lot of faith. I can't really say I know how to pray. It isn't really anyone's fault but mine, I suppose.

All I know is for the last two years, since I asked him to teach me, he's said simply:

Cease striving. Why do you kick against the goads?

A question for which I have no answer.

And so, with Luther, I say, "I am yours. Save me."

And in answer, our Lord replies...

I have you now. And I will not let you go. "

And this reminded me of this other quote from Phil Vischer I had been thinking about not too long ago.

"God was enough for the martyrs facing lions and fire - even when the lions and fire won. And God is enough for you. But you can't discover the truth of that statement while you're still clutching at your dreams. You need to let them go. Let yourself fall. Give up. As terrifying as it sounds, you'll discover that falling feels a lot like floating. And falling into God's arms - relying solely on His power and His will for your life - that's where the fun starts. That's where you'll find the "abundant life" Jesus promised - the abundant life that doesn't look anything like evangelical overload. The impact God has planned for us doesn't occur when we're pursuing impact. It occurs when we're pursuing God."

Wow. God, change me. Do with me what you will, but don't leave me like I am. I can't change that and I can't stand it. Make me Yours.

Sources, respectively. and Vischer, Phil. Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006. pg 250-251

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My Facebook status currently reads: Lauren is in love...with macs, photoshop, and the vision of Phil Vischer and JellyTelly. See

The new header is the result of joyous time playing around with Photoshop while watching the Rangers beat the White Sox. But I'm really excited about what Phil Vischer (the guy who started VeggieTales) is working on right now.

After the bankruptcy of Big Idea and VeggieTales, and the collapse of Phil's dream, he realized that he had made his company more about him than God. He had lost sight of the original call. With the wisdom that only comes from failure and restoration, he writes a great book called Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story about God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables.

Anyways, he's doing a new thing now that is much needed and quite brilliant. With his new organization, Jelly Fish Labs - through which he's published two children's books and made several hilarious short mock news casts with a puppet named Buck Denver - he's creating an online Christian TV network for kids. He takes the premise that media influence is increasing in kids' lives even as Christians are producing less Christian kids media, and Vischer decides to do something about it. The average kid watches 22 hours of TV a week, and this might be countered by an hour of Sunday School. The worldviews of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel are basically raising a whole generation. 

Using clever storytelling, puppets, 2D and 3D animation, and live action, along with plenty of silliness that kids crave and hilarious wit that keeps adults engaged, Vischer proposes an online network called JellyTelly, which will combine short clips and new characters, the best of current Christian kids media, and the work of emerging young Christian film students and animators. What excites me most is not just the vision to give an alternative to families for entertainment or help teach kids Biblical values while partnering with churches to correlate curriculum, but that JellyTelly is also committed to training a new generation of young people to impact the media. No, the subscription online network with a pay-what-you-can policy will not be immediately challenging the likes of Disney or Viacom, but they will be creating a new generation of Christian storytellers, well trained and able to affect the arts and a generation of young children and families who know to expect better than either of the horrible quality Christian media or the indoctrinating trash of big television. 

PLEASE visit,, and ESPECIALLY for more information. 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mid-Summer Classics

This week saw the 79th Midsummer Classic All-Star game, held in historic Yankee Stadium for the final time. As the most loyal fan of my Texas Rangers, I would like to point out that five time All-Star and Rangers' captain Michael Young had the game winning RBI. Josh Hamiliton smashed the previous record in the Home Run Derby, once again using the opportunity of a national audience to boldly proclaim how God has redeemed and transformed his life. I was proud and grateful to be a hometown Rangers fan.

I'm about at the midway point in my summer, so I thought I would evaluate. The main goals I have are to rehabiliate my leg, read a lot of books, and rest and prep for the coming hectic year. I've been careful to rest and help my leg, which has led to less activity in other areas. I haven't read as many books as I would have liked by now, but I've been steadily working on that in the past week especially.

In late May I made the goal of reading at least twenty (20) non-fiction information books this summer, and I put together a list of some 20+ that I wanted to read. They aren't in any particular order, and I really tried to mix history, science, philosophy, and theology. Here you go:

John Adams by David McCullough
Living as if Heaven Matters by David Shibley
Healing by Francis MacNutt
Politically Incorrect Guide (PIG) English/American Lit by Kantor
PIG American History by Woods
PIG The South by Johnston
PIG Science by Bethell
PIG Islam and Crusades by Spencer
PIG Global Warming/ Environmentalism by Horner
Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton
Sound Reinforcement Handbook by Davis and Jones
How Then Shall We Live? by Francis Schaeffer
The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer
God Is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer
The Christian In Armor by Gurnall
Ten Books That Screwed Up The World by Benjamin Wiker
The Book That Transforms Nations by Loren Cunningham
The Call by Os Guiness
The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis
Love the Lord With All Your Mind by JP Moreland
A Really Inconvenient Truth by Iain Murray
Let The Nations Be Glad by John Piper
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Driven By Eternity by John Bevere

So I've completed one on the list, am in process of two more, and have read a couple others not originally listed: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (an fascinating look at the New Age philosophy directly influencing much of the media today, including Bill Moyers and George Lucas), Culture Shift by Albert Mohler (a book of essays on various issues today) and What's The Difference? by John Piper (a short, insightful look at biblical manhood and womanhood).

I've got a lot of reading to do!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Glorious Fourth

“It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Day’s Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” John Adams, July 1776

I have a lot of mixed emotions about holidays. July 4th, Easter, Christmas, you name it. (Of course, my feelings are not so mixed regarding Hallmark Days like Valentine's.) It seems our culture has an uncanny ability to take a good event with deep original meaning and turn it into something worthless. Sometimes my inability to see past cute reindeer, bouncy bunnies, and fun picnics ruin the whole thing, even the parts that are good and noble.

I had fun today. Family, friends, food, fun, fireworks (and a little bit of alliteration). But it seems to me that most of it was really missing the point.

During the fireworks, I couldn't help but think that this generation of Americans is extremely unique. The deep bass sound of rockets and explosions bring mental images of beauty and fun, not terror. Pick any other nation in the world - from troubled eastern Europe to the Middle East to Asia, Africa, or the drug wars of Latin America - and the sound we know as fireworks is known as death, war, and destruction.

Go back two or three hundred years on our own American soil. A blinding flash of light is the last thing a soldiers sees before burning schrapnel tears apart his flesh. Boom! Earth and rock fly upward as fortifications are slowly deconstructed, volley by volley. Rat-a-tat-tat! The steady sound of the drum draws men forward into battle, over the bodies of fallen comrades as they face the flash of enemy fire and artillery. On the sea, the great kaboom leaves a gaping hole in the hull, ushering churning water in to take possession of the vessel commissioned to fight for freedom. Just miles away, the dreadful boom of cannon brings fear to women and children, left to wonder if the day's battle will bring the death of husband, father, brother, cousin, or friend.

Now, a distance bang draws eager children to the windows, and begins a contest to locate the pretty colors first. A star! A ring! A sizzling sparkler! Yet none tell of the horror of war, nor the struggle for freedom.

July 4, 1776 was not a day of celebration. It was a day of solemn commitment, when men determined a course of liberty or death. The signers pledged "their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," because they knew "if they did not hang together, they would all hang separately."

We've lost that solemness because we have never had to fight to defend it on our shores. But that is all the more reason that the Fourth should be a day to fast and remember and repent, rather than recklessly celebrate that of which we do not know the cost.

Yes, we should celebrate, but we must not ever forget why we may.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cultural Perceptions

A couple of events in the last day or so has made me think about cultural expectations and perceptions.

Earlier this evening, I was talking with a friend who just returned from Asia. While on a flight in Asia (Taiwan to Korea, maybe?), she noted the UNICEF promo video they played. The reference to "starving children on the other side of the world" caught her attention, since Americans normally think of "starving children on the other side of the world" as being from Asia. I suppose for Asians "the other side of the world" could also be Africa, or Latin America (Haiti comes to mind), but I found the reference of "other side of the world" interesting. Rather than face the fact we all have problems and people who desperately need help in our own backyards, we put a spin on it and make the problem seem far, far away - "on the other side of the world."

The past couple of days, I've been babysitting a three-year-old, which has been an experience in of itself. She was fascinated with my cell phone, wanting to look at it, the pictures on it, and play pretend with it. Today I brought her a really old cell phone of mine that doesn't even turn on anymore. I was much more confident to let her play pretend with an old brick she could throw around with no harm done.

Throughout the day, she would take it out of her pocket and make "calls" to her parents and friends. But what really caught my attention was her "texting." She would pull it out, punch the keys for several moments, then put it back in her pocket. A minute later, she would pull it out again, look at it, and then punch the keys again. I was amazed that at three years old, she had mastered the concept which comprises the extent of some people's communication. Technology has radically changed our world in the past two decades. When I was three, cell phones barely existed. Now, little children -even toddlers- know how to operate them. While technology offers many benefits, we may yet see negatives outweigh the blessings.

This three-year-old also liked to look at my phone. My default background is a picture of my brother and my guy cousins at a baseball game. While looking at the background, she asked a question that through me off guard. "Is this your boyfriend?" "No, that's my brother, and that's my cousin." I assume that the other girls who have babysit her have pictures of their boyfriends on their phones. But I found it pretty ridiculous that a three-year-old has an cultural expectation of boyfriends and dating and all that great stuff.

Kids soak up the culture they're surrounded by, and often reflect this back in statements and actions that can be surprising. I think it's crazy the things three year olds know and expect because they've been taught by their culture.