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» Posted By Hojun4 On May 9, 2006 @ 12:35 am

The elusive new bird

The beak looks like that of the woodpecker family…

My guess is that it is either a “Red-Shafted” Northern Flicker or perhaps a Gilded Flicker.

» Posted By Hojun4 On December 16, 2005 @ 1:06 am

nature preserve updates

Looks like you’ve got yourself a regular animal playground there.

When it freezes, the birds can ice-skate… 😉

» Posted By Hojun4 On December 16, 2005 @ 1:10 am

Bright lights, big city.

That’s wild running into Shannon like that! Who does he fly for now?

» Posted By Hojun4 On December 16, 2005 @ 12:35 am

What is Christianity?

I was at a Bible study at church on Nov. 8th…I was holding the cap from a water bottle (20 oz. water bottle with a screw-on cap like a Pepsi or Dr. Pepper) in my left hand. I raised my hand to wipe my mouth (with the back of my hand) and a friend of mine made a joke. I inhaled and the bottle cap lodged right in middle of my trachea. No air for a while until the second person who tried the heimlich was successful — the cap hit the back of my tongue and I inhaled (hadn’t breathed in a while) and it got stuck again. So, I swallowed it (OUCH!) and it lodged on the food side of the esophagus — got to ride in two ambulances, go to two hospitals, had LOTS of morphine (WORST pain I have ever felt!), and 16 hours later, it was removed from my esophagus. For every moment during that time, I was afraid that the cap would flip over and block the airway again and it was too low to do a trach…

As a result, I had a very different perspective when I turned 30 a couple of weeks ago…

Folks, don’t try this at home… 😉

» Posted By Hojun4 On December 8, 2005 @ 5:20 pm

I don’t think that all altar calls are bad, but I will have to say that a great many that I have seen are nothing more than emotional appeals. But, if God is calling someone, they will hear — in spite of the preaching.

My biggest beef with the altar call is the term “altar” itself. If we still need an altar, then Christ’s sacrifice was not enough. Christ’s sacrifice did away with the need for any altar.

I don’t understand the idea that the front of the church is more holy than anywhere else. We worship in spirit and truth and our God has never been hampered by location.

Perhaps the front of the church / walking there, etc. becomes more of a psychological step which assists people in coming to a decision and making it public. But, I cannot find explicit scriptural basis for such practices. But, neither can I find scriptural references for “Sunday School” either. So, that does not make either inherently bad in and of themselves.

I don’t understand the “new” need to oversimplify things — perhaps it is a reaction to the church’s past history of over-complicating issues. We come to God with a child-like faith, but we should not stay there (else Paul is wasting his time when he chastises the Corinthians for being unable to chew “solid food”).

It seems to me that we need to find some balance between being “Bereans” and searching, analyzing, and studying the Scripture and allowing ourselves to feel / experience emotion in worship. And since when is worship just singing? Studying, praying, preaching, discipling, obeying, and living holy lives are all elements / acts of worship.

One of the most troubling experiences in my life was when I went to a U2 concert on my 25th birthday. I was less than 50 feet from the stage and they played most of my favorite songs. Upon leaving, I felt this emotional high like I had never felt before — it literally lasted for about a month. I really started to question whether emotional high was necessarily an indicator of God’s presence or absence.

When I recently almost choked to death, I felt a peace that transcended any emotional high I had ever felt and I certainly was not enjoying myself! I just realized that this could be the end of my time on earth and the only thing that could save me from eternity in hell was God’s presence in my life which was provided by the sacrifice of Christ…

» Posted By Hojun4 On December 8, 2005 @ 2:11 am

Salvation is merely a part of Christianity — perhaps the foundation if you will.

I look at salvation as being a three part process:
1) Justification
2) Sanctification
3) Glorifiation

Justification being the act of placing our faith in Christ (relying wholly on Him as our means of redemption / reconciliation with God). We are fully justified at the moment in which we are awakened by the Holy Spirit and indwelt by the Spirit of God — meaning we are no longer objects of wrath, but have been given right standing with God through Christ. Sanctification is the process by which we wage war against the fleshly, corrupted nature of our humanity — progressively compelled to holiness by the discipline of God and the refinement by trials. The last step, glorification, is the ultimate healing and escape of the mortal flesh, the sin nature, etc. upon death. There are arguments to be made as to how this happens / when, but ultimately we will be glorified (by that I mean completely freed from the shackles of this life and sin) and given new bodies…

I am NOT a fan of the “walk-the-aisle” view of salvation or of altar-calls in general. The root of the practice stems from Finney — a man who has unfortunately become the author of much of modern evangelical technique (“salvation” by emotional appeal). Finney did not believe in the substitutionary atonement of Christ (and thus embraced a works-based idea of salvation) which had been and still is considered heresy. But, this is another issue…

As far as what seperates Christianity from Islam, Buddhism, etc. is the fact that true Christianity is relying upon our right standing with God in Christ to redeem us. Our works, even if motivated / flowing out of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through us, do not save us. If that were true, then we could argue that we are capable of saving ourselves and thus negating Christ’s sacrifice. True Christianity, in my opinion, is far more difficult for us to see / put into practice because it is the progressive dying of self for the purpose / hope of Christ becoming more alive.

» Posted By Hojun4 On December 3, 2005 @ 12:36 am

Flaming Lips and the Search for Manhood


Once again, its late at night, on a weekend (potentially a date night) and I am reading your site during a short break at work…I think Webster’s just updated their entries for “pathetic” and “corporate lackey” — wait, that would add validity for what I am doing, so maybe they won’t…

Anyway, I have to agree with your assertion that these are great lyrics, but we will have to agree to disagree that these guys have a good sound (at least on this song). I listened to it three times and liked it a little better each time. I would still call it “pop”, but I wouldn’t call it trite. But, then again, we have seldom agreed on music. Let me drop a dime and talk with my good buddy Bono and see if he and The Edge can’t trick this up a bit 😉

I saw the “starlight and sunbeams” as a reference to the relentless and seemingly accelerating passage of time — but I am mulling your assessment…

I like the tie-in with the Proverbs…the song reminded me a great deal of Eccesiastes (my favorite book of the Bible — I find it extremely encouraging, oddly enough) — and as far as the “test” mentioned in the song I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

» Posted By Hojun4 On October 8, 2005 @ 11:25 pm

Projector update!

Actually, I am stuck at work…

» Posted By Hojun4 On October 7, 2005 @ 8:05 pm

I am blogging from my cell phone — I had a few free minutes between dates this evening :mrgreen:

» Posted By Hojun4 On October 7, 2005 @ 8:04 pm

Band of Brothers…

Maybe that’s a bit much for one sitting 😉

» Posted By Hojun4 On October 7, 2005 @ 7:49 pm

Singleness: disease or identity?

I can’t help but wonder if in our inherently self-absorbed state, we tend to take the wrong perspective on our identities as a whole.

Perhaps the key to our identity is not our singleness or marriedness at all — and neither is God’s purpose thwarted or magnified by either state. Both states offer benefits and shackles to spiritual growth.

Rather, our identity should be who we are in Christ. By that, I mean concentrating on what it means for us to be indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit — simultaneously justified and progressively sanctified — in any situation.

I think that we (I) get so bogged down and looking at life as an experiential / existential view and trying to fathom, through that experience, an infinite God, that I forget that I don’t have to understand the whys and wherefores of life (not that it is inherently wrong, mind you) — I forget that, as one of Christ’s sheep, my circumstances in life are at best secondary.

Don’t misunderstand me — we are physical beings and that stage of existence is essential in our walk with God — but our status (single, married, healthy, sick, poor, rich, etc.) is not who we are in Christ. Rather, our identity is in the spirit of sonship, by which we are enabled to cry “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15-17).

I shouldn’t be consumed with being a fuller “John” — I should be consumed with being less “John” and more Christlike…each day pursuing holiness and dying to self and not analyzing the self…I would think that the dividends in any relationship, be it parallel or vertical, would be greatly increased.

Okay…now I just have to remember this tomorrow 😉

» Posted By Hojun4 On October 6, 2005 @ 6:22 pm

Home brew stir fry!


That looks pretty tasty. Did you eat it on a whole wheat bun? 😛

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 30, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

Insert Girlfriend Here

I read Sacred Marriage a couple of years ago and found it very profound — even as a single person…it certainly changed my perspective of marriage (I think to a much healthier view). I would not have read it on my own, but one of two single people in a small church, I was sequestered with the married folks…

Rob just doesn’t like me 🙁

:mrgreen: 😛

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 29, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

I never said that companionship or marriage was bad. However, scripture says via Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians that it is better for a person to be alone in Christ. Regardless of what I feel, I have to wrestle with that fact.

Scripture never forbids marriage and it never calls it a bad thing. Scriptures such as Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 31:10-31 praise a godly wife.

I think that what Paul is saying is that a single believer, has many advantages over a married believer.

For example:

Believer “A” is single.

Believer “B” is married.

They are each faithful and dedicated members of the same doctrinally sound, Bible believing church. The church decides to send 12 people to assist in rebuilding a church destroyed by hurricane Katrina. “A” only has to be cleared by his employer. “B” has to make sure that his family will be taken care of and while working in the damaged area, will have a divided interest (as he should).

I would argue that God spared Jeremiah a great deal of pain by keeping him single. Preaching against Israel, warning Israel, and then watching Israel be destroyed as a single man was probably much simpler than had Jeremiah been married.

I don’t mean to say that marriage is bad. I am simply saying that singleness and marriage have advantages and disadvantages for the believer.

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 29, 2005 @ 4:29 pm

I appreciate your comments, Lynda, but I don’t understand the scripture reference in your post. I promise that my intent is not to be antagonistic…

However, that verse, seems to be making a more universal, theological statement about God — specifically that God, who initiated salvation and is continually sanctifying the believer, will be faithful to continue / carry that work to its fruition.

Believe me when I say that I find that verse very encouraging, but I don’t know how it can apply to marriage or singleness…

Are you saying that God’s continuation / promise of completion of work could involve marriage? Or that either way (singleness / marriage), God is going to continue working in a believer’s life — and that regardless of our lot, we know that God is not going to abandon us.

As far as desire is concerned, I think that we need to be careful when we attribute our wants to God. I don’t think that anyone here would ever blame a sinful action on God. However, simply because a desire is innate, does not mean it is a holy desire (consider James 1:13-15). We must be on guard against the evil which lurks within and the sinful nature against which we, as believers in Christ, struggle. It is certainly not beyond the Holy Spirit to change our desires and reshape us / conform us to God’s purpose and will.

Paul specifically states that it is better for believers NOT to marry. Scripture never says that marriage is bad, but it does say that the believer who is single has advantages over the married believer (1 Corinthians 7 — esp. vv. 31-35).

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 29, 2005 @ 3:44 pm

I thought you were saying that the initial choice to be together / get married / love one another kept them together.

I agree with the assertion that the commitment must be mutual and daily in order for the relationship to exist.

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 28, 2005 @ 5:56 pm

In response to Rob’s questions:

I am not convinced that God wants singleness for me — I am simply saying that perhaps that is the case and I have not “figured it out” yet. Maybe that is God’s will and I just don’t like it.

I don’t know. Can we judge our own motives (a la Jer. 17:9)? The desire for a mate is certainly not, in and of itself, sinful. Could it not also be culturally influenced? Perhaps my desire is a combination of internal desire, external influence, etc.

All I was trying to say is that maybe singleness (at this stage of my life) is a gift — just as marriage, at another stage is a gift. I think there is something about human nature to want what we don’t have…

I think that the fact that both people choose each other at some point forms a commitment between them, but I disagree that that is what ultimately keeps them together. People change, reality sets in, etc. What started out as a choice between both people is not a guarantee of happiness. Regardless of the relationship, it takes work and dedication from both parties. I know a lot of people who “chose” each other at some point and “chose” to part company at another. I don’t see how simply choosing each other is a guarantee. I will agree that it is important!

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 28, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

What makes us special in God’s eyes and what makes us special in the eyes of another person are not nearly the same things. God’s delight in His people is in seeing Himself — His presence, His Glory, His Holiness — at work in His servant.

What makes us special in a person’s eyes are typically rather fleeting things:
1) physical appearance
2) personality / psychological makeup
3) interests, etc.
4) common ideological views

We then tack onto these qualities with “they are a also a Christian”. A person who is seeking after God’s own heart may be a broken, shy, withered shell — where all that may be left is God’s gracious presence and a person trying to make sense of / put together the pieces. Is that attractive?

Also, this notion of marriage as the key to happiness is not Biblical. I’m NOT saying that God wants us to be miserably married, but if we are unsatisfied with being single, why would we be satisfied with being married? Maybe my problem is not that I am alone or lonely — maybe God’s best for me is to keep me in that lonely place because that is when I rely on Him the most. God’s purposes for marriage, for life, for tragedy, for blessings, (which I find are often very difficult to distinguish) etc. may be totally different from my 21st century, post-modern, romantic, pseudo-Christian ideals.

As far as there being only “one person” for us is more a romantic notion than it is Biblical. What I mean is that I don’t know how you would make a scriptural case for “there is a person created only for you”. But, the flip side of that is that I can’t argue (from Scripture) that God didn’t create person specifically for me.

I have been told time and time again that I am attractive, a strong Christian, and that I seek God earnestly (by female friends — who are not single). I don’t feel that I am any of those things. Perhaps this is the key. Do women want a person who projects the image of success? Or do they want someone honest? Do they want a salesman who tells them how lucky they are to have that man?

Why do we assume that God has someone for us at all? Is singleness a disease or a gift? Am I truly wise enough to tell the difference between a blessing and a curse? Maybe my being single and the loneliness that I struggle with is a blessing from God. Maybe God loves me enough to prevent me from being married (at all or prematurely) and is trying to teach me to rely solely on Him for my happiness, comfort, joy, etc. and I don’t believe that He can provide those without a spouse. Maybe God realizes that being passionate, committed, and earnest would make me prone to idolize and worship my wife and marriage more than Him. And being that I am shallow, prone to wander, and fragile, God is keeping exactly where He wants me to be whether I like it or not…

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 28, 2005 @ 4:23 pm

Ahhh, the dating game…almost as much fun as slamming one’s fingers in a door (repeatedly)…

Traditional or not, one cannot date (either genuinely, platonic, pseudo-, or otherwise) unless there is at least one other person (of the opposite gender) present. My problem is not the asking, it is getting the ladies to accept an invitation. I am not sure if I am just particularly repellent, overzealous, unattractive, or what. I can’t speak for everyone, but it requires great deal of emotional energy and effort it takes (me) to ask a woman out. Its not that I fear them, but I do hate (and fear) rejection. Politely done or not, a rejection is painful.

Being an introvert, I have a hard time initiating conversation with anyone. But, I have also been told that I am “too honest” (I say too much when someone else initiates the conversation).

I tried the online dating thing for a while. I should call it online “meeting” or chatting. I never once went out on a date. People (even in my own family) are wondering if I am homosexual and that is truly aggravating. My non-Christian friends are always trying to get me to go to bars, dancing, etc., but I am wary of those situations. Not because I don’t think that there is not at least the potential for a good relationship, but there is plenty of potential for damaging and/or sinful relationships.

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 27, 2005 @ 6:13 pm

Pop culture and the Canon

I think that pop culture has so permeated our lives as a direct result of the fragmented church. Pop Christianity says that everything is always wonderful for a believer and if it isn’t, God must not like you.

So, when we are struggling with sin, with anger, with trials, etc. we find better examples from worldly sources than in modern teachings.

I am not saying that God has failed us or not included these truths in the Bible. I fully believe that the Bible addresses all of the issues we face, but most are not taught as they appeal to a much narrower audience.

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 18, 2005 @ 2:22 pm

church smorgasbord!

I must say that I take exception to Mr. Copeland’s comments (as paraphrased by Mary above). I think that much of the problems with the modern church is that we have a bunch of splintered groups who have like talents. The result, is a cliquish bunch of people who sit around agreeing all the time rather than being refined (a process which often comes through dealing with conflict).

We need churches with carpenters, with teachers, with administrators, healers, etc. However, especially in our affluent culture, we do not have to cooperate to survive. So, divisions occur over more minor things. Wrong doctrines creep in easier and the church becomes weaker and more fragmented.

Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.

I have always had a hard time with this verse as typically, we don’t see high iron content in blades anymore. Neither do we typically use steel to sharpen steel. Normally, we use a grindstone, a hone, a diamond stone, etc — something which produces an edge much sooner.
With steel rubbing against steel, a number of things occur:
1) Friction
2) A slight work hardening of the edge
3) A very refined finished edge.

So, looking at the verse in the context of discipleship / church, I see the following at work:
1) Friction: forces us to deal with people with whom we might not normally associate. In the process of dealing with, praying with, and growing with them, our rough edges are rounded off.
2) Work hardening: Once an edge has been established like this, it tends to retain is cutting ability longer.
3) The finished result is an extremely sharp and smooth cutting surface.

So, regardless of whether or not the author had wide knowledge of metallurgical processes, the concept remains that through friction and often the chafing action of trials, we are further sanctified and thus become more useful in God’s kingdom.

So, while I do agree that a good church is hard to find, I think that too much emphasis is placed on feeling comfortable and accepted rather than challenged — I think one needs a bit of both.

I will be praying for you as you search for a church.

» Posted By Hojun4 On September 18, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

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