Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: How To Use Lift for iPhone as a Spiritual Aid

[Source: Shutterstock]
One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from the book of Hebrews. It reads, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (12:11) Nobody enjoys discipline because, by definition, it goes against our natural inclinations. This proves to be true whether we're talking about working out more or reading our Bible. Because of the way the central nervous system is wired, habit formation is one of the most difficult things for the brain to develop. We don't want to change. But according to Scripture, on the other side of discipline is freedom, blessing, peace, and joy.

This being resolution season and all, it seems like everyone's trying to develop new habits right now. Just drive by your local gym if you don't believe me. But starting is easy. It's the sticking-with-it part that we tend to find impossible. How do you keep from giving up after a week? Well, here's a little trick I've been using lately that might help with that.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Old Spice Jesus

True story, I have a shameless love for these videos. I realize they're, like, years old at this point, but whatever. Old Spice has my business as long as Isaiah Mustafa keeps dressing up in that glorious towel. Fickle? Maybe. Ok, definitely. But it's so much fun that I honestly don't care.

This morning, I asked myself the question that has been keeping the entire Western world up at night since this video debuted: what would these commercials sound like if they aired in first-century Palestine? What if Jesus decided to borrow Isaiah Mustafa's glorious towel (thereby making it a Glorious Towel?) and used it to make his own sales pitch for following him?

I imagine it would have sounded a little like this.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Music vs. Noise

[Source: jonboy!]

I love writing in a busy place. I can't figure out why exactly, but I think it has something to do with the way it makes me feel invisible. Like right now, I'm sitting in Starbucks at my favorite table, typing away with my headphones on. In the last hour, probably twenty or thirty people have walked in, ordered their coffee, chatted with a friend, and walked out without ever acknowledging my presence. It's like I'm hiding out in plain sight. It's a weirdly safe feeling, but something about it keeps me dialed in to my writing. It's like background noise, only in this case it's visual noise rather than audible.

I've been thinking quite a bit about noise this morning. Most often, when we think of noise, we are thinking of unorganized, audible sounds, like pots clanking together or anything by Lana Del Ray. The operative word here is unorganized. Random pots clanking produces a purposeless, meaningless sound. It's something that ultimately doesn't mean anything. In a word, it's forgettable. Now contrast this with a symphony. A symphony also involves banging things together, but it's organized and moves to a very specific tempo. It's purposeful sound, sound in a direction. Symphonies impact people; noise is easily ignored. Nobody gets moved to tears by listening to their dishwasher.

This principle applies to more than just music, too. When you take stock of everything that makes up your life today, which does it resemble more, a symphony or noise? What's your direction, your aim? What are you trying to say? If your life was a song, would people have it on their iPod? Would anyone say it meant something to them?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why Everyone Hates LeBron

[Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty-Images]

Let’s get this out of the way right now: I am no fan of LeBron James. I’m not a hater, but I’m definitely not a supporter, either. If you watch NBA basketball, you know it’s fun to root against the Heat because they’re stacked and do stuff like this, and if I fall on any side with the guy, it’s that I’ll usually root against him in favor of an underdog, like I did with the Mavericks in the Finals last year (WE ARE ALL NOWITZNESSES). But I certainly don’t hate the guy.

Recently, there’s been a bit more LBJ hate going around than usual, probably in light of his passing up a chance to take the last shot twice in one week, despite his having an MVP-caliber season. A bunch of people have been publishing “Why does everybody hate LeBron?” articles, in which their authors appear to be baffled as to why so much hate for such a young, talented player. And people who ask questions like this are baffling to me, because in my estimation, this is an easy one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Remember, O Man, That You Are Dust

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. Unless you’re a zealously devout Catholic, chances are your idea of Lent is either

A) the past tense of the word “lend,”

B) your grandma yelling at you for forgetting you’re not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, or

C) the stuff you find in you pants pockets.

And that's understandable. The liturgical calendar isn’t exactly the sexiest thing in the world (nobody’s going to confuse it for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar), and nobody really talks about it much outside of the Catholic church. But it's also a shame. Everybody pays attention to Easter, you can't fully understand Easter without also understanding Lent. And just as Advent points us to Christmas, Lent prepares us for the passion of Holy Week and the joy of Easter Morning.

The purpose of lent is not to become super-holy by fasting from your vice of choice. The purpose of lent is to remember. To remember that Easter is not primarily about fluorescent colors and chocolate bunnies. To remember that life is not mostly a story about me. To remember that “we are dust, and to dust we shall return.’ Lent is about actively reminding myself that what Jesus did on the cross matters to me on a daily basis, to the extent that I'm going out of my way to remove things that distract me from the heaviness of that truth. Ultimately, Lent is about getting my eyes off me and fixing them on Jesus.

With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind during Lent this year.

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