About Me

I'm somewhat introverted, I'm a voracious reader, and I love a good conversation. My interests and activities can be found on the right side of the page. My life goal is to use the gifts and talents God has bestowed on me to glorify Him and benefit others.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Of Tortillas, Sumo-Wrestlers, and a Giant-Sized Headache.

Ever have a day where you start out on top of the world, but by the end of the day you feel like you 've been smashed flatter than a tortilla run over by a 400-pound truck driver driving a huge eighteen wheeler carrying a bunch of well-fed sumo wrestlers?!?!

That's what yesterday was like for me. It started off great. I got up like I usually do, and drove to the college at my usual time even though I didn't have Spanish class that morning (I decided it would be good to get homework done). And my day did go well. But then, at the end of the day, I discovered that my overall grade in Spanish was much lower than I thought it to be-a 67%!!! This is largely due to the fact that 1) I have an incompetent teacher, and 2) the online software the college uses for homework is really screwed up.

Needless to say, I was ticked. I decided to seek out my girlfriend, b/c I figured seeing her would help me simmer down, plus she has really good insight on a lot of stuff.

Though I looked about as well-adjusted and sociable as a malnourished pitbull, still Vanessa listened to me with compassion, albeit worried compassion, flowing out of her eyes. But here's the best part. She didn't just
nod her head, rattle of Romans 8:28 and send me on my way. No, instead she truly LISTENED, even though I was venting and therefore probably not the greatest person to hang out with at that particualr moment. She encouraged me, but she didn't make light of my predicament.

See, that's what a true friend does. They stick with you through the good times and bad times, the clear times and the stormy times. "A brother was born for adversity," Proverbs tells us. All of us need t0 find friends like that. She also prayed for me, and even though I'm upset now, I know God will help me in His timing.

So, am I happy and grinning ear-to-ear? No. I probably won't be totally at peace until I bike to work later today, where no matter how hard I pound the pedals or how mad I may get, the pavement and cornfields and wide-open skies absorb my venting without complaint. You can carry on as much as you want, and they'll never interrupt. Try it sometime. It's relaxing in a way. ;-)-

In closing, continue to purse God, even in the bad and good times. God Bless.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What I Lack In Maturity I Make Up For In Immaturity.

My title today suggests that this post will be less serious than it's predecessors. Today, for those of you who don't know, is SYATP (See You At The Pole). Accordingly, I got up (More accurately, I woke up) at 5:00 a.m. today, got ready, and left for the college at 6:25. About fifteen kids from CCF came. We started at 7:00 and prayed for about half an hour. Then, I came in here, hung out with Vanessa and her friend Katie for a little while, then went to work. I just got off work and feel like I'm ready to collapse on the nice soft chair in what V'essa and I call the "Shh!" section
(the quiet section) of the library. Looked at my schedule today and realized that since I dropped Mondays I'm only working 8 and 1/2 hours a week at the college, and 5-8 at the libray. :-(- Oh well, at least I'm working. ;-)- Anyways, adios party people and I will catch you later. ;-)-


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Misconceptions Concerning the Female Species.

This post concerns a subject which will grab the attention of every guy in my audience. Never fear, my friends, this is not the sex talk.

Today I wish to give my thoughts on girls.

My personal view is that their is a lot of misinformation floating around on how we guys should treat girls.
We tend to take our cues from Hollywood and the media, which more often than not oppose a Biblical worldview. I wish to see this trend reversed, and thought I'd share my thoughts concerning this.

Let me set the scene for you. You're sitting in school, and are keenly aware of her presence. This isn't just any girl; this is her. You know, that cute girl who always sits two rows in front of you, third desk from the left.
As thrilling as your teacher's two-hour lecture on rational expressions is, you find your mind continually returning to this alluring young woman. From afar you've observed her bright smile and outgoing personality, but any time you try to make your presence known your mouth goes dry, your palms sweat and your mind goes totally blank. Finally, you can't take your cowardice any longer. You decide that you must interact with this goddess face-to-face, come what may.

So, psyching yourself up, you replay the scene in your head a million times. After class you'll walk up to her desk, flex your huge muscles, flash that perfect movie star smile, and deliver the one-liner of the century, which, you're certain, will make her instantly fall madly in love with you.

O.K., hold up. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but it doesn't exactly work that way.

Over the last couple years I've talked to many Christian young women about what they look for in guys, and guess what? None of the three attributes mentioned above were high priorities on their lists!!!

In actuality, most of what these godly young women listed as essential on the list of attributes they look for in boys they might like were things like honesty, maturity, and godliness above all.

See, girls are very emotion-centered creatures. They love to see guys showing compassion for others, and living a life of integrity and godliness.

Don't believe me? Take a look at these quotes (taken from BOOM: A Guy's Guide to Growing Up-which all you guys should go buy, by the way!) :

"True Christian girls find true Christian guys irresistible! A strong faith in God that shows in the way you handle everyday situations and relate to people around you is the most important characteristic we Christian girls are looking for in a friend."

-Paula Van Rhyn

"Be patient and talk to us. Most of the time we'll tell you what's going on inside if we think you care."

-Linnea Shannon

"I look for a guy who is considerate of other people's feelings and who acts like a gentleman by doing things such as opening the door for me. It's also important that a guy act the same around his other friends as he does around me."

-Becky Staple

As you can see, godly girls value integrity, godliness, and compassion the most in the opposite sex. Display these qualities, live a life dedicated to God, and you're bound to eventually attract someone who shares your views.

The world tells you that you need a nice car, Tag body spray, and muscles that make Arnold Schwartznegger lo0k like Pewee Herman to ever have a chance of attracting a member of the opposite sex. Don't believe it.
What these advertisers don't tell you is that nice cars eventually rust, and no matter how much you bench your body will still peg out someday. (One can only hope that deodorant won't go out of style!!! Lol).

The point is, girls look for a guy who isn't chained by mindless conformity to peer pressure and the need to live up to "the cool code." They look for someone who isn't afraid to be his own person, and strives to be a leader and good witness in the way he behaves and conducts himself.

One last thing: don't push romantic expectations on a girl right away. As a friend of mine, Liz Wacaser, put it so well, "Crushes are hard to live with." Before you entertain romantic thoughts with this girl, get to know her first. The absence of romantic overtones make it so much easier to get acquainted with the true person behind that pretty face, to see the strengths, weaknesses, and potential struggles that would come with starting a romantic relationship with this particular person.

I had many long, meaningful talks with the girl I now court without first expressing my romantic thoughts, and that wait has paid off. I got to see the love of God manifested in her life in the way she acts towards other, her love for people, her likes and her dislikes. It's better to wait and evaluate the person before rushing into a romantic relationship and then being disappointed.

Bottom line: Live for God, "treat younger women as sisters, with absolute purity," (1 Tim. 5:2), and eventually in God's timing He will bring the right woman into your life.

God Bless!


P.S. I've decided it's be cool to have girls comment on this, so that the guys this is addressed to can read their comments and hear it from a girl. Plus I'd get to see if I'm on track or not, lol. ;-)-

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mommy's Alright...Daddy's Alright...They're Both Just A Little Weird.

Well, finally my car has all the parts it needs to be road legal and fully functional-except for the radiator. So, we'll just pick it up on Monday and put it in, and I'm good to go!!!

For those of you who don't know already, on the night of Thursday the Thirteenth a large doe decided it would be great fun to play chicken with my car as I was driving home from school at 8:00. This proved untrue, as what the deer percieved as a fly-by-night rush ended up breaking it's neck and two of it's legs. My car ended up in not so great shape as well. Fortunately I emerged without a scratch-proof there is a loving God in heaven. ;-)-

Anyways, I thought I would share with you all a revelation I had yesterday night, at a church meeting.
The initial question I'd like to pose to you is: what is the definition of church?

Typically, answers come in three different flavors: 1) a building, 2) a Sunday morning routine, and 3) God's people.

Last night, in the middle of this meeting, I was struck hard with the thought that God's church is simply his people meeting to edify each other, change the world, and glorify Him.

We (my Mom, Dad, and I) were the only ones to attend Friday's meeting, held in our "Pastor's" (if you can call him that) house. We had long talks about what we thought the definition of church to be, and everyone put in their two cents. I really felt God moving as we talked. This further impressed on me the idea that God is manifested when his people meet together to glorify Him-where and how they meet is irrelevant.

You must understand, for a significant portion of my life I was part of a house church. That is, our body of believers met in each other's houses and shared what God had done in our lives and how we could better reach the community around us. This experience cultivated an understanding in me that "church" is more than just a Sunday morning routine where you sing songs and listen to a pastor, but rather a manifestation of God directing his people to grow and reach the community around them, constantly growing in their knowledge of the faith and in fellowship with each other.

Now don't miss the point here; I'm NOT trying to say that listening to a pastor speak or singing worship songs is wrong-I just refuse to believe that there is all there is. Although these activities are often part of church, they aren't what the end goal of a church should be.

I know that it probably seems like I'm going all Howard Stern on you guys here; the majority of my friends have been raised in program-based church. But my question is: when did church become all about the programs? It seems to me that a lot of churches seem to make the accomplishment of the man-made goals that they set the priority in their Christian life. Bussing youth group kids to events, setting up for activities, the list goes on.

I'm not at all implying that this is wrong; I know that every church has to have some degree of structure, and I'm certainly thankful for those individuals in my own life who have sacrificed their time and energy for a bunch of noisy kids who don't listen to them half the time (myself included!) I'm simply saying that I see this as unfortuantely becoming the end goal in the lives of many Christians: the mainentance and planning of the programs of the church to the detriment of true fellowship with the people the programs are designed to reach.

You have to realize that people want more than programs and a Sunday morning routine. As Jake Owens says, people want love (check out www.jakeowens.blogspot.com for more on this). Kids that come to youth group are searching for more than just a pizza party and a chance to play games: they're searching for an encounter with the One who can save their souls and turn their lives around. How would I propose creating an atmosphere that accomodates this goal? Have deep Bible studies, with a concrete lesson in mind. Have kids leave bearing an admonition to change the world in some small way, then the next week ask them what they did. Keep them accountable. Have apologetics training, where they can learn to defend their faith against the lies in their media and their schools. Have DISCUSSIONS, where everyone can contribute.
Have an unstructured time in your meetings where you ask people to express what God has been doing in their lives (this really helps get the people involved, in my opinion).

Finally, I see the church as modeled in the Book of Acts as more of a family than a function. With this in mind, help keep each other accountable. "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness. faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." -2nd Timothy 2:22.

God bless.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Rex-Kwon-Do For the Soul

Today I have another movie parallel to write about. It concerns the film...Napoleon Dynamite.

I know most of you reading this probably just experienced the eye-rolling symptoms discussed in my warning at the top of my blog. It's no secret to my friends that I like the movie Napoleon Dynamite. However, once again I find myself getting more, or at least different, lessons out of it than your average Joe.

Hey-whoa-hey, now hold up, you say. I just put the words Napoleon Dynamite and lesson in the same sentence. The casual viewer of the film would contend that it is one of the most pointless movies in the history of film, a film doubtless directed by grade-school dropouts who were definitely smoking something stronger than tobacco when they made the film.

At first glance, this would appear to be true. There is no real conflict/resolution or climax to the film; it seemingly relies on the unprecedented dorkiness of it's characters to keep viewers entertained. However, an observant student of the film such as myself will notice that beneath all that, a subliminal object lesson exists.

Most of us know the story: Napoleon is simply a very nerdy kid who, on account of his moon boots and sweet fro, is picked on constantly at school, and has a very hard time making friends. The jocks ridicule him, the hot cheerleader types ostracize him. Let's face it, someone who's favorite hobbies are drawing ligers (like a tiger, except "bred for it's skills and magic" ;-)- and dancing disco isn't going to be at the top of the popularity chain.
And when your best pick-up line is, "I see your drinking 1% milk. Is that 'cuz you think you're fat? 'Cuz you're not. You could be drinking whole, if you wanted to," you somehow find yourself in short supply of cute babes that wanna date you, much less play you in tetherball. ;-)-

Despite all this, Napoleon does end up making friends who accept him for who he is. And that's the issue I want to address today: the issue of realism in our relationships.

Right now our culture is running a serious deficit in the "realism" department. Don't believe me? Turn on your TV or pick up a magazine. Day by day, we in America are constantly bombarded with the idea that image is everything. That's why we spend so much time working out, buying new clothes, and mindlessly conforming to our peers around us. Just count the number of kids in any given school wearing Hollister brand clothes as an example.

This view saddens me, because I think that it tends to foster an unhealthy obsession with the surface, to the exclusion of those things that really matter. We're so obsessed with our fashion and popularity that we've stopped searching for the real deal. We neglect reaching out to someone because they might not fit in with our clique. We watch and listen to and do things we know we shouldn't all in the name of "fitting in."

I'm not immune to this Americanized syndrome by any means. I struggle with it just as much as the next guy. The difference comes when you realize that none of it will last. In 40 years, no one will care what kind of car you drove or who you hung with or who you dated. But the things that do matter, honesty and integrity and faith, among other things, will last a lifetime!!! With this in mind, continue searching for the real. Live today with a determination to obtain those things which will last: true friends, faith, integrity.

Have a good one.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Movies and Morals

As you can tell from reading my previous blog, I'm a big fan of the movie The Matrix.
Of course the special effects are record-breakingly incredible, and yes the plot is peerless in the world of sci-fi, but there's another reason I enjoy this movie so much, and that's because I think it's an excellent parallel of the Christian life.

For those of you unfortuante enough to be unfamiliar with the film, let me give you the basic outline. Basically, the world that we see around us is a computer-generated counterfeit designed to blind us from the truth...the truth that we are really locked in a mental prison by, as the movie box states, "all powerful machines of artificial intelligence that control us." The entire human race is unknowingly imprisoned in a world that looks and feels like reality, but truly isn't. This is the Matrix. Amongst these decieved are a remnant of those who have been "unplugged," who are constantly striving to free those decieved from the Matrix. Out of this remnant rises one (Neo) who is destined to free the entire human race from their predicament, and open their eyes to the reality of the state of the world around them.

As I said, there are many similarities between the movie and the Christian life. One of these is that many in the world are decieved into thinking that the observable universe is all there is; or that "seeing is believing." We Christians of course know differently; that beyond what we can see and smell and taste there is a war going on, a war for the souls of those enslaved to their sin.
"For we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities of the heavenly realms."

Like Neo, we have been charged with the responsibility of opening other's eyes to this deceit, in short "making disciples of all nations." While we aren't able to manipulate time and space while performing jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics, running up walls and using high-powered firearms (though that might be fun ;-)-, we do have weapons at our disposal.

One of the most powerful of these is prayer. We can intercede daily for those we're trying to influence, and God will help us.

Another is our witness. How we live our lives can be one of our most effective tools in communicating our faith to others.

However, our biggest advantage in this war is that, UNLIKE Neo, we don't have to be
"the one." The fate of the world does not rest in your hands or my hands (those of you who know me know that that is a very good thing ;-)- Jesus Christ paid for the world's sin on the cross once and for all. Our job is to lead our peers to a knowledge of the grace made available because of this act to all who would believe in Jesus.

Like Neo, we have a choice. We can either choose to refuse our responsibility and slip into conformity, letting the world blissfully continue on its downward spiral, or we can stand up and accept our job, helping to open the world's eyes to their predicament should they continue without Christ.

Unfortunately, this choice cannot be made by simply taking a pill. Ours is a choice which must consciously be made each day, as our "matrix," our American culture, seeks to pull us into a lifestyle of ease and conformity.

In closing, are you content to close this browser and live a life of mediocrity with this knowledge that you have tucked safely inside your head, hidden from others lest they reject your witness?
Are you content to "go to sleep and believe whatever you want to believe," or are you going to use the knowledge you now have for the edification of your peers, and see for yourself "how deep the rabbit hole goes?"

Shane (aka the Introvert)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some Specifics

Now that we've finished the appetizer, it's time to sink your teeth into the meat and potatoes of my blog.

First of all, who am I? Let's start with what you've already gleaned from my title: that I'm an introvert.
Webster's defines an introvert as a "shy or reserved person." Well, if I fit that description, then why would I be writing a blog, you ask? Two reasons:

Numero Uno: I LOVE to write. I write letters, emails, and I'm in the middle of writing the 7,985th draft of
my second book, on my PC. So it's only natural for me to utilize yet another medium for
expressing myself through the written word.

Numero Dos: As I've begun my third year of college, I've started to get to know a whole lot more people.
This has in part influenced me to socialize. Also, I feel that as I grow older I'm beginning to
emerge more and more from the "introvert mold" I was seemingly cast in. ;-)-

Recovering introvert or not, I enjoy reading, writing, concertgoing, listening to music, playing basketball, working out, practicing Aikido, and watching mysterious brain teaser type movies. Here are some of the specifics:

Music: I'll listen to almost any genre except for country. That being said, I'll classify my fave artists by genre:

Modern Rock: Anberlin and Lifehouse are my fave here, but also Starflyer 59, House of Heroes, Switchfoot,
Audioslave, Between Thieves...

Classic Rock: First and foremost Led Zeppelin, but also Scorpions, Rush, Pink Floyd, Queen, Foreigner...

Hard Rock: Skillet, Flyleaf, Spoken, P.O.D., Family Force 5, Project 86, TFK...

Pop Rock: dcTalk!!!

Punk Rock: MXPX, Eleventyseven, Flatfoot56, Stellarkart, FM Static...

Rap/Hip-Hop: First of all MARS ILL, they're the dopest, lol. ;-)- But also T-Bone, Playdough, and The Procussions...

Techno: Andy Hunter, Moby, Joy Electric...

Ska: Five Iron Frenzy!!!

Emo/Screamo: 30 Seconds to Mars, Underoath, Dead Poetic, Far-less, clean songs from MCR...

So, that about covers it for my musical tastes. I'll be brief about movies and TV shows, I promise. ;-)-

Movies: For my two favorites, I'd have to say The Matrix and Napoleon Dynamite. The Matrix is a milestone film, a marvel of filmaking let alone story-telling, and it parallels the Christian life in so many ways.
Napoleon Dynamite is, well...flippin' sweet, what else? ;-)-

TV Shows: I'm hopelessly addicted to Seinfeld (my Mom's fault). I'm also a total, die-hard LOST fan!!! It's incredibly unprecedented, masterfully woven plots were a large part of my decision to write a second book.

Anyways, there's a little background me and the some of the things I enjoy. I'll write more later; write now I better get to sleep if I hope to stay awake for sKuLe tomorrow.

The Introvert