Thursday, October 23, 2008

Starting over

so i'm going to get this blog going again.  i had a blog with my good buddy kyle at but it has been out of commission for a while, so until further notice, i'll be blogging here again.  i also changed the name.  "refined thoughts" had some value as a name, but i think it's kind of lame.  i'm running a course right now in Portsmouth NH called "The authentic spirituality" and i like that as a title for my blog.  i like it because i am on a journey to love and know God more day by day and to learn how to love the people all around me as well.  Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" and i am doing what i can to follow him on this journey. 
anyway, it's nice to be back, bloggers.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

understanding ephesians

i think that lots of times, people do not understand the context of what they are reading in the bible. the personalize the message of each book, not realizing that each book in the bible was written by a person to a person (or group of people) that existed in a specific time and place. Christians also believe that while it was a word from one man to others, that message was inspired by God and can be applied today, in our lives and churches. we must first understand what God was saying to those people before we can understand or begin to understand how God wants to apply that eternal truth to our lives. consider paul's letter to the ephesians. below i'll describe what the city of ephesus was like. consider the context to which paul was writing when you read that book.

Ephesus was located on the eastern coast of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). It was a leading Roman city at the time, along with Rome, Corinth, Antioch and Alexandria, but is now uninhabited. The city was located on a harbor that was essential to make it an economic power and had about 250,000 inhabitants. There was a long road that led to the harbor that was about 11m wide and was lined with marble pillars to welcome visitors,

One of the most important aspects of Ephesus was its worship of the fertility goddess Artemis (Diana). The amazing temple that was built for worshippers was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, until the Goths destroyed it in 263. There was open prostitution in the temple. The temple and Artemis-worship actually generated much of the economic robustness of the city. Each April, there was a festival for Artemis where about one million people descended on the city. Artemis was not the only attraction, though. The city was full of amazing architecture. There was the stadium that seated 25,000 people (the mob scene of Acts 19), as well as the Library of Celcus. While Artemis worship dominated the religious scene in Ephesus, there was also a very strong presence of those involved in the magical arts. There was such a magical arts presence in the city that books written on the subject were often referred to as “Ephesian Writings.”

this letter, as were all parts of scripture, were written to people who lived in time and space. we must first understand what God was saying to them before we can understand how God wants to apply that eternal truth to our lives.

Monday, February 26, 2007

have you seen the devil?

have you ever had a boss like meryl streep in the devil wears prada? demanding, unthankful, clearly unhappy, driven, perfectionist? you've probably not seen anything quite as extreme as she is in this movie, but you may have had an experience or two.

i remember working in a cafe where my boss was very demanding. it drove me to perfectionism and insanity. at first, i did everything i could to live up to the crazy standards he would impose and do my best to deal with his unfriendliness. i got on well for a few...days...and then i was nearly at the end of my rope. by the grace of God, i never did quit and worked under him for 1.5 years before he moved on. i remember one time being so mad at him for being unappreciated that i walked into the walk in freezer and just screamed out a prayer to God for about a minute. sound doesn't travel well out of there so i yelled as loud as i could. at the end of it, i did walk out cooled off!

mark driscoll often talks about how media and advertisers believe more in hell than some christians. i think this is true. here is an example of work hell. no matter how hard the girl worked, she was never good enough. she couldn't live up to the standards set for her and for much of the movie she was miserable. every viewer identifies to some degree with her position. funny, while her salvation was in freedom from the oppression of this horrible boss, Jesus offers salvation from the oppression of the devil, who the bible calls the "king of this world."

Saturday, February 24, 2007


whether democrat or republican, here is a funny clip of george w. i guess i didn't realize he was happy to make fun of himself for some things. one of the guys in this clip is the real took me a while to figure that out!
at a time when everyone is a cut-throat politician who either hates bush or loves him, this is a clever act. isn't it good to see a guy not take himself too seriously? thanks to mike kelly for this link.

Why this blog is called "refined thoughts"

(this was one of my first posts, back in december, and i'm just re-posting it so that you guys know what my title means.) It's a funny name, isn't it? My thoughts are not very "refined" in the traditional sense, so why did I call it refined thoughts? Well, it is because these thoughts are in the process of being refined. That's one of the points of a blog, right? To bounce ideas, concepts and visions off of others so that our thoughts and lives can be refined? Well, that is the purpose of this blog, anyway. Along those lines, please consider my writing and respond. Be angry, appreciative, devisive, or any other emotion. Let my thoughts refine yours as you refine mine along the way.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Obedience = Moralism?

have you ever met that guy that tells you faith in Christ is a bunch of do's and don'ts? you MUST not dress that way. you MUST not listen to that music. you MUST read so many chapters in your bible every day. you MUST be republican. you MUST not hang out in those places. you MUST give this much money every week to your church.

is that obedience to Christ? NO. Jesus doesn't come to us with a list of "do's" and "don't do's". Walking with God is so much more than that. Walking with God is an adventure beyond all comparison. to walk with the Creator of the universe! to abide in His unending love and be the object of his great mercy while spreading the good news of His love to the ends of the earth. to hear His soft voice in your heart and to respond - whether is sharing your faith or serving your neighbor. to seek His face all your days, when the sun is shining and in the dark night of the soul. to trust in Him and walk in FAITH no matter what you see in the natural. to trust in the things that are unseen because you know the things that are seen are just passing away anyway. to offer up a heart of love and worship and then to let your heart overflow into a journey with Jesus. that is obedience to Christ.

this hit me between the eyes at a prayer meeting last night. God is not calling His people to some sort of moralistic lifestyle, but rather to throw off all the encumbrances of life and the sin that so easily entangles so that we can run this great race with Jesus. if you are trusting in Jesus, He did away with all your sin on the cross. penalty paid for. now He wants to run with you. are you bold enough to say yes? it will be a wild ride...

Monday, February 19, 2007


wow. if i were this guy, i would never get into a fight - what an easy target! i got an email with a bunch of these pictures of cool and unique piercings and i thought i'd share my favorite. have you ever seen anything like this? are you the guy in this photo? let me know if you have.