Now That’s Interesting! Anti-Gravity Shoes, Jesus Knows I Robbed A Bank, Hilarious Trust Falls, More…

The shoes that made Michael Jackson’s anti-gravity lean possible – Ever wonder how Michael Jackson did that crazy anti-gravity lean during his concerts? Here’s how he did it.

Water Cafe Sells New York City Tap Water – “Not just any tap water, insist the owners of Molecule. They say the water streams through a $25,000 filtering machine that uses ultraviolet rays, ozone treatments and reverse osmosis in a seven-stage processing treatment to create what they call pure H20.”

Jesus Knows I Robbed a Bank – “Jesus knows I robbed a bank—five of them, to be exact. Jesus knows I am selfish and stubborn. Jesus knows I served almost 11 years in federal prison. In the 10th year, Jesus knows how I sat in a cell, alone, crying after the prison guard enjoyed telling me that my 50-year-old dad died from cancer.”

JK Rowling’s Hogwarts Treehouse – “The Hogwarts-style towers – estimated to cost around £150,000 – are so big that they need planning permission. Each wooden tree house is to be built on stilts and boasts balconies, carvings and turrets that wouldn’t look out of place in a Potter adventure. The towers are linked by a rope bridge and can be approached by a secret tunnel hidden underneath a raised wooden walkway.”

Real Actors Reading Yelp Reviews – This is brilliant. Pure, unadulterated brilliance.

Sneak Attack Trust Falls – I absolutely refuse to do trust falls. Unless they’re like this.

A Dastardly Tale of Blood, Needles, and Humiliating Apparel

For the past three weeks I’ve been having what you might call stomach “issues”. To put it simply, the inside of my stomach has been trying to get on the outside of my stomach. Anytime I would eat anything of substance I would feel nauseated.

The doctor gave me a few medications which didn’t help a whole lot. This past weekend the nausea started tag-teaming with stomach pain. They make a really good team, and I decided that I should probably make a pit stop at the ER, just to make sure I wasn’t dying or about to have an alien burst out of my chest.

For some reason, being in the hospital puts me in a reflective mood. As I lay back on my ER gurney, here are some of the random reflections that flickered through my mind.

  • I’m so grateful that I live in a country where I can get immediate medical attention. This is the wonderful common grace of God. Millions of people around the world walk miles and wait days to get proper medical attention. Some can’t get it at all. I was admitted into the ER within 15 minutes of my arrival. Thank you Lord for your kindness to me and this nation. Plus, our hospital in particular is wonderful. The staff and doctors are fantastic.
  • When a nurse says “big pinch” what she really means is, “I’m about to stick you with a needle that also gets used to tranquilize bison, so try not to scream like a girl.” Sometimes I wish the nurses would just say straight up, “Look, this is going to hurt like the dickens, so don’t embarrass yourself.”
  • The guy who invented the hospital gown should be forced to wear one every single day for the rest of his life. The hospital gown is, hands down, the most degrading piece of clothing ever invented. Just trying to get the thing on is like a circus act. I never can get the right straps tied together, and, inevitably, part of my backside is left exposed. It’s embarrassing, that’s what it is.
  • The time space continuum works differently in the hospital. A minute takes an hour, and an hour takes three hours. I was at the ER for either six hours or six weeks. I’m not sure. I think it has something to do with The Matrix.

After a battery of tests, including drinking an awful liquid that tasted like sweetened dish water, having a CT scan, and giving up precious pints of my own blood, the doctor concluded that I probably have a stomach ulcer. This is both good news and bad news. It’s good news because, praise God, it’s not worse. God is kind to me! It’s bad news because it means I can’t drink coffee for weeks (I told myself I wasn’t going to cry…).

Now it’s a waiting game. Lord willing, the ulcer will heal on it’s own and I’ll be back to my coffee guzzling ways. But until then…tea. But I will suffer boldly!

Win Some Great Stuff From The Band Wayfarer!

Lately I’ve really been enjoy the music on “Wayfarer’s” newest EP The River. I normally don’t like hymns being redone, but these guys have done a fantastic job and have a fantastic sound. You download a digital copy of their EP for free on their Bandcamp site.

Today I want to give away an awesome package prize to one lucky (sorry, providentially selected) winner. That prize includes:

  1. A vinyl copy of the EP. This is for all of you want to experience the music in its finest form.
  2. A band t-shirt.
  3. A silk screened poster.

Just use the entry form below to enter. I would also ask that you would download their free EP. These guys put a lot of work into it and you need to hear the finished result.

It Wasn’t Supposed To Be This Way

They hadn’t been to church for a while so I gave the husband a call.

“Hey Chuck, (not his name) how are you doing? Haven’t seen you guys for a while. Is everything okay?”

After a couple uncomfortable seconds, Chuck said, “we probably won’t be coming back to church.”

“Are you serious? Really? Why? Have I done something to offend you?”

“No. You see, Mark, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. We did everything we were supposed to do. We taught our children the Bible. We took them to church. We told them about Jesus. We prayed for them. And then my son winds up getting a girl pregnant and having to get married. It just wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

I felt really sad for Chuck and his family. And I felt really sad that Chuck had the expectations of God he did and that he’d obeyed God for the reasons he did.

God doesn’t promise us trial-free lives if we obey him.

God doesn’t promise that if we keep his commands he’ll reward us with cruises and country club memberships. Tim Keller, in Prodigal God, talks about how the prodigal son’s elder brother had expectations of his father which tripped him up:

We see that the elder brother “became angry.” All of his words are dripping with resentment. The first sign you have an elder-brother spirit is that when your life doesn’t go as you want, you aren’t just sorrowful but deeply angry and bitter. Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life, that God owes them a smooth road if they try very hard to live up to standards.

Not only does God not owe us easy lives, but he promises we’ll suffer:

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials… 1 Peter 1:6

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.  James 1:2

We should not be amazed that suffer; we should be amazed we don’t suffer more than we do.

It helps me to remember that not only do I deserve any thing bad that happens to me, I deserve far worse – I deserve to burn in hell for eternity for my sins. Of course I’d never tell anyone in their sadness or suffering you deserve to be in hell so buck up, but it helps me keep things in perspective for myself when I’m tempted to complain.

So when is it appropriate to say “It wasn’t supposed to be this way?” Whenever something good happens to us! Whenever we are blessed! It wasn’t supposed to be this way – I sinned and rebelled against God – yet look how he has blessed me!

So don’t obey God thinking he’ll owe you, for God owes no one a thing. Serve him out of gratitude for all he’s done for you and because you love him. Serve him for his glory.

No, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. And aren’t you glad?

If A 2 Year Old Can Memorize Scripture, So Can You

I recently received this encouraging email from a woman who used our “Hide the Word” Scripture Memory Songs in Vacation Bible School:

Hi Mark,

I wanted to let you know that using 2 of the songs from your cds for our VBS this year was a huge success.  Around 200 children learned I Peter 3:18 and I Peter 1:18-19.  They sang along with the CD and performed each song with sign language.  During the instrumental bridge of each song, we had the children recite the verses.  Your songs proved to be great tools for them to use in memorizing their verses for the week.  Also, we made CDs for each family at VBS so they could listen to the songs at home.

Here is one comment I received from a mother of 6 children:

My 2 year old can now quote 1 Peter 2:18-19. “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”.   Thank you VBS music cd!

We’re so grateful for this encouragement!

So here’s what we want to do.  We’d like to give any VBS or Sunday School or Christian School or Home School or Church a Hide the Word CD of your choice.

Just go to our website: forevergratefulmusic.com and pick out the CD you’d like, email your address and your choice of CD to us at mvaltrogge@gmail.com and we’ll send you a complimentary CD.

Or, if you simply have a hard time memorizing Scripture and would like to try Hide the Word, we’ll send you one free as well.  Just follow the instructions above.

You aren’t going to be outdone by a 2-year old are you?