29 Things I Miss From My Childhood

Tonight I was reading a book to Charis, and one of the characters in the book said the word “snort”. Apparently Charis thought the word “snort” was the funniest word in the history of mankind, because she kept repeating it to herself and laughing hysterically. This event, combined with the fact that today is my 29th birthday, has me feeling a bit nostalgic. So I decided to compile a list of twenty nine things that I miss from childhood. Here goes…

1. Saying one word over and over, and laughing harder each time I say it. For example: “fart”.

2. Getting super amped up on Saturday morning to watch three hours of cartoons.

3. Watching Darkwing Duck, Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers, and Tale Spin every day after school.

4. Getting really into something for a very short period of time. Examples: Pogs, Star Wars trading cards.

5. Manipulating my parents into buying me an action figure when we went to the store.

6. Breaking that action figure when we got home from the store.

7. Backyard wiffleball.

8. Being coated in sweat and dirt after a long day of playing freeze tag and kick the can.

9. Going to sleep still coated in sweat and dirt.

10. Having a simple faith in the power of prayer. Like the time I prayed that God would allow me to fly.

11. Wearing sweatpants for days on end without one ounce of shame.

12. Watching movies with my dad and having dad try to cover up swear words by saying “BABABABABA” really loudly.

13. Watching movies with my dad and having dad accidentally put the bad parts in slow motion instead of fast forwarding them.

14. My special blanket that had the power to take away all fear and sorrow.

15. Bologna.

16. Being really excited to tell my friends that I had watched a movie rated “PG”.

17. Getting a toy with a McDonald’s meal. (Why don’t they do this for adults?)

18. Playing games with my friends that involved hurting each other.

19. Thinking that I might be a professional basketball player someday.

20. Wearing short shorts and tube socks and not knowing any better.

21. Anticipating the newest release in the “Ernest Goes To…” movie series.

22. Riding my bike to Sheetz for the sole purpose of purchasing a 44oz Slurpee.

23. Getting a refill on my Slurpee.

24. Beating Super Mario Bros.

25. Getting excited about flying on an airplane.

26. Getting a free lollipop from the bank.

27. Drawing intricate designs on my arms and legs with a ballpoint pen.

28. Getting really excited about my first pair of name brand shoes.

29. Not worrying about making lists.

What do you miss from your childhood?

What’s Your Favorite Cold Remedy?

It is now officially cold season, and Jen and I and the girls have been getting slammed the last couple weeks. I’m always in search of the latest, greatest cold remedy.

So would you mind sharing your personal cold remedy? I don’t care how crazy it is. I don’t care if it involves sticking tube meats in your socks or rubbing lard all over your face. I’m willing to try just about anything.

What do you do to fight against a cold?

How to Listen To Twice As Many Sermons

Generally I don’t think it’s a great idea to do spiritual things exceedingly fast or in high volumes. I’m a big fan of slow, deliberate meditation upon the word of God. I think it’s important to pay close attention to preaching, and not to multi-task while listening to sermons.

But there are times when it’s valuable to quickly read large chunks of the Bible, or read a spiritual book quickly, or listen to a large number of sermons.

But how can you listen to a sermon quickly? It’s actually pretty easy. Follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Download and install the Quicktime audio/video player from Apple. You can download it here.

STEP 2: Download your favorite sermon. Make sure that you know where the file is being saved. For simplicity sake, I always download files to the desktop.

STEP 3: Right click (or control click for Mac users) on the downloaded sermon and click “Open With”. Select Quicktime Player.

STEP 4: Once the sermon has opened in Quicktime, select the “Window” menu, and select “Show A/V Controls” (this may be a bit different in Windows).

STEP 5: In the bottom right hand of the A/V Control Window is a “Playback Speed” slider. Bump the speed from 1x to 2x. Adjust the speed as necessary.

There it is. Simple and awesome. It works for just about any audio file. The human brain can process words much faster than they can be said, and this allows you to listen to sermons at a speed that your brain can handle.

Now you can listen to twice as many sermons!

Reflections On The Death Of Phil Harris

Deadliest-Catch-Capt.-Phil-Harris-Dies-From-Stroke

Last Tuesday night The Discovery Channel’s reality show, Deadliest Catch, documented the passing of Phil Harris, captain of the Alaskan crab fishing boat, the Cornelia Marie.

He suffered a massive stroke while his crew was offloading his boat in January and died in early February at age 53 while still in the hospital.

With the consent of his family, the reality show kept their cameras rolling throughout his ordeal, right up till the end.  There were a couple touching scenes with his sons, especially when he told them he loved them.

The Discovery Channel did a tasteful job though it seemed crass to me at first.  But a couple days before the episode I read these verses:

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4)

Initially these verses caught me off guard.  Why is it better to mourn than feast?  Who likes funerals or intensive care units?  Why is sorrow better than laughter and how does sadness make the heart glad?

The answer is that we can grow wise by contemplating death – “the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.”

In our culture, we’re shielded from death.  We shove it to the backs of our minds.  We’d rather party. But parties don’t make us wise.  Funerals are opportunities to see that death “is the end of all mankind” and we who are “living will take it to heart.”  Intensive care units can remind us of the life to come.

Seeing death should help us contemplate our own death, think about eternity and live wisely.

By “sadness of face the heart is made glad” when we put our hope in Jesus, not in this world.

I feel sad for Phil’s family.  But I’m glad they allowed the cameras to keep rolling.  I’m glad they showed the hospital scenes with all the tubes and machines and his final conversations with his sons.  I hope it helps me grow more wise.  It reminded me that my own life is a vapor, and someday I’ll be with the Lord.

I don’t want to miss opportunities to glorify Christ, and to tell my wife, children and grandchildren I love them.

Could You Help Me Out?

In April of 2011, Crossway Books will be releasing my next book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy.

In order to communicate more effectively about the book, and other projects I’m working on, such as Sovereign Grace Music, I’ve set up a Facebook page.

I’ll also regularly giving away resources from the page such as free books, free music, and a host of other items. It’s easier to do this through a Facebook page than a Facebook profile.

Would you mind heading over to Facebook and “liking” the page?

That would help me out. Thanks!

Stephen

Flipping Out About the iPad

ipad_hero2_20100127

People are wigging (street talk meaning “getting excited about”) out about Apple’s new iPad. Tim Challies calls it the most disappointing thing since the Blue Jays lost the World Series in 1993. Josh Harris, on the other hand, thinks that it’s the greatest invention since slap bracelets and Reebok Pumps.

I think I side with Tim Challies, but for slightly different reasons. Here’s why I’m not so impressed with the iPad…

  • Zero capacity for time travel. After reading all the hype I was under the impression that I was going to be able to transport myself directly back to 1992 and watch brand new episodes of “Home Improvements”. Apparently Steve Jobs hasn’t heard of a flux capacitor (see Back to the Future).
  • No ability to be my personal bond-servant. I was envisioning something along the lines of “Hal” from 2001: A Space Odyssey, except that the iPad wouldn’t attempt to kill me or take over my life. It would just make my bed and be a true friend.
  • No shoulder support. It would appear that the iPad is really just an enormous, Shaq-sized iPod. With an iPod this large, I want to wear jam pants and carry it on my shoulder through the mall, pumping out the tunes, like an old boom box. But there’s no shoulder support. Come on Apple, looks aren’t everything.
  • No bulletproof anything. Okay can we be honest for a second? For what it does, the iPad is enormous. Almost like a police riot shield. If I’m going to carry it around, shouldn’t I at least be able to block a bullet with it as well? But I didn’t see one mention of bullet proof casing on the specs.
  • No built in celebrity voices. You can read books on the iPad. Not impressive. I can read books on paper too. I want something that is going to read books to me, preferably in pre-recorded celebrity voices. I want to have Sean Connery reading the book Desiring God to me.

Okay, I’m done wigging out about the iPad.

Your turn. Are you impressed with the iPad?

What We Can Do For You, What You Can Do For Us

How can we improve this blog in 2010?

Longer posts? Shorter posts? More posts in series?

Should we post more times during the week? Less?

More posts about The Snuggie?

What would you like to see on this blog in 2k10?

Now, one thing you can do for us: add your voice

We love it when readers comment. You may feel like, “I’ve got nothing to say!” That’s okay. Even if you just let us know that you enjoyed a post, that’s fantastic.

Or you can leave other, smart, intelligent comments like:

  • I like salami
  • I like The Snuggie
  • You guys are morons

To make commenting more fun, we added a new comment system to the blog. You can leave a comment with your name and email, just like before.

OR…you can log in with Facebook or Twitter, and then you won’t have to log in every time you leave a comment.

If someone leaves a comment you like, you can give it a thumbs up, and the system keeps track of how many thumbs up a person has.

So give a shout out. We read every comment, and try to respond as much as we can.

Here’s to the New Year…

Some Changes For the New Year

It’s almost the New Year, and to celebrate, I’ve made a few changes to the site.

First, I’ve given the site a new look. I hope you like it.

Second, you’ll see a “Sideblog” over on the sidebar. We’ll be posting things there that we want to share but don’t make a full blog post. If you subscribe to the blog you’ll see these updates in your feed.

Third, I’ve added a “Facebook Share” and a “Twitter Share” button to the bottom of each post. If you enjoy a post, we would appreciate it if you would spread the love by sharing the post on Facebook or Twitter.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

My Favorite Everything of 2009

So this is the time of year when everyone comes out with their “favorites” lists. Favorite books, favorite movies, favorite cold cuts, etc. If Oprah does it, so can I (kind of my life motto). So I thought I’d join in the fun and tell you about a few of my favorites from this year.

Favorite Worship Album – Over the Grave by Sojourn Music

This album is simply incredible. I’ve included my favorite track, “Warrior”, below (RSS readers need to click through):

Favorite Song for Corporate Worship – “Completely Done” from Sovereign Grace Music: Sons and Daughters

This song is excellent both musically and lyrically. Listen below (RSS readers need to click through):

Favorite Non-Worship Album – Armistice by MuteMath

These guys blow me out of my fanny pack. They are some of the most musically creative guys I’ve ever listened to. I’ve included my favorite track from the album:

Favorite Books

I read a lot of books, so I can’t select just one favorite. Here’s a few of my favorites from this year:

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman – by Jon Krakauer

What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventuresby Malcolm Gladwell

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everyone Else – by Geoff Colvin

Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion - by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Favorite WebsiteGrooveshark.com

You can listen to any music you want whenever you want. I love the World Wide Internet.

Favorite YouTube Video – “David After Dentist” (watch below)

Favorite Snack: Salami

It’s something my body needs anyway, and I like that in a snack.

salami

Okay, you’re turn. Give me a few favorites. I want some sweet recommendations from you guys.