Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year in Review

The sun is setting on 2007. Because of you, it's been a good year here at Living the Biblios. Thanks for your readership!

2007 was balanced with its share of serious and not so serious entries--critical analysis and light hearted humor. This year the blog gained a few more readers and comments. This site isn't a heavy weight in terms of traffic, but I've certainly enjoyed writing and reflecting here with you.

The purpose of God is that we'd live out his story, or "biblios," the Greek word for book-Bible. May the entries on this blog encourage you to live out God's story!

Favorite Posts of 2007

Posts with Most Hits in 2007
  • Crow-ing about Toilet Paper-- My parody piece in response to pop-rock singer Sheryl Crow's suggestion that everyone use only one sheet of toilet paper in order to help save the planet from global warming.

Articles Written for UCCtruths in 2007
  • $85,000-- What a small church needs each year to keep going.

Blog Highlights from the Year 2007


  • Three tenses of our salvation-- The Bible speaks of salvation as a past completed work, a current ongoing work, and a work to be completed in the future.
  • A sermon about sleeping. Too often preachers neglect the fact that we're humans with real physical needs. You will spend about 1/3 of your life sleeping. So why haven't you heard a sermon about that?
  • I went 650 feet underground. The Kansas Underground Museum is a real treat to visit. Unfortunately, it's really struggled since opening. Go and visit! It's great.
  • Presidential candidate and United Church of Christ member Barack Obama believes religious conviction should inform and motivate one's political action. An analysis of Obama's foundational speech at the United Church of Christ General Synod. Parts one, two, and three, and four.
  • Theology growing up. How I came to believe that the end of God's program is not heaven in the sky, but heaven on earth in a renewed creation.
  • Generational blind spots. An excellent guest column by FWC President Bob Thompson about the ways Christians in each generation seem blind to obvious biblical truth.

Friday, December 28, 2007

R.I.P. 2007

Ingar Bergman, Benazir Bhutto, Art Buchwald, Liz Claiborne, Jerry Falwell, Dan Folgelberg, Ernest Gallo, Robert Goulet, Ruth Bell Graham, Merv Griffin, Johnny Hart, Leona Helmsley, Don Ho, Molly Ivans, Lady Bird Johnson, D. James Kennedy, Evel Knievel, Norman Mailer, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, Benny Parsons, Luciano Pavarotti, Oscar Petersen, Eddie Robinson, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Beverly Sills, Anna Nicole Smith, Tom Synder, Hank Thompson, Ike Turner, Kurt Vonnegut, Porter Wagoner, Bill Walsh, Jane Wyman, and Boris Yeltsin.

All these people achieved fame, fortune, and success. All of them died in 2007.

No measure of accomplishment will save us from the grave. Not you. Not me. Not them.

"Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24)

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Starbucks "Starbucked"

Late one night I couldn't sleep, so I turned on the TV and happened upon C-Span 2's "Book TV" program. Pontificating in Portland's Powell's Bookstore was someone talking about Starbucks. What followed was caffeinated talk that kept me up and watching.

Taylor Clark is the author of Starbucked, a book that examines Starbucks from a business and cultural perspective. While Clark isn't a big fan of Starbucks (he thinks they're the McDonald's of coffee), he shared some fascinating Starbucks facts in his TV lecture:
  • When the very first Starbucks opened in 1971, it didn't sell coffee by the cup-- only beans.
  • Starbucks' largest store is a five-story building in South Korea.
  • The average Starbucks store makes $1 million a year.
  • Starbucks' biggest market is in China, a country where people generally don't drink coffee.
  • Initially, Starbucks' management was staunchly against adding the Frappuccino to its menu; today, its their biggest selling drink.
People sure are passionate about their coffee, which is why coffee is trendy and political. Starbucks has transformed the industry.

My favorite cup of coffee? It's definitely Starbucks Espresso Roast.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Money and Debt

Balancing the checkbook is a constant challenge in our house. Radio talk show host Dave Ramsey has made working with money a little more fun... and so does this video.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

The Christmas Story from The Bible Experience New Testament (, the 2007 Audio Book of the Year, blended with beautiful artwork by Michael Dudash (

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Favorite Christmas Site

Christmas is just on the horizon. Here's a little gift for you-- my favorite Christmas website.

The Hymns and Carols of Christmas is a site managed by Douglas D. Anderson. Pulling together hundreds of sources to one clearing house site of information, Anderson documents the long and rich tradition of Christmas music and poetry better than anyone.

Learn the fascinating history of Christmas favorites like, "Silent Night." Read Shakespeare's Christmas verses entitled, "Holly Song."

Poetry, carols, and hymns. It's all there. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What I Learned When the Lights Went Out

Have you ever gone a week without electricity? I never did. Until last week that is. Many in our Little River, Kansas community who live out in the country are still out and probably won't get help until after the New Year.

But now that the power at my house and town are back on, here's a few lessons I've realized:

I value routine more than I imagined. Sure it's nice to bust out and try something different, but when the power goes out, it changes all your routines. We always struggle to get our kids in bed by 8:30pm, but the first night of no electricity, we were all in bed by 7:00pm. When the house and town is utterly pitch black, there's not much else to do.

It's nice to have relatives. That is, relatives who are close by and ones you get along with. If it wasn't for my sister-in-law's family in Wichita letting us camp out at there place, our uncomfortable situation would have been much worse. Be nice to your extended family. You might need them one day!

It was bad, but not that bad. When you lose something you take for granted, you begin to count your blessings about other basics you do have. We still had a roof over our head, warm blankets, and food to eat. Many cities in foreign countries constantly deal with inconsistent electric supplies. And the early Kansas settlers never had it either. But they still managed. And so did we.

You can still worship the Lord. On the one Sunday that Little River didn't have power, our church met with the United Methodists for a joint service at the Catholic Parish Hall, which was hooked up with a generator. 52 people came to sing, pray, and hear God's Word. In the middle of hardship, we found encouragement from the Lord and each other.

The bottom line lesson: Even without, God still provides.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Power Back On

After nearly a week of no electricity, the city of Little River, Kansas got power yesterday afternoon. Yippee! Thanks to all the linemen who made it possible.

Outside of town, its still lights out. Some rural customers have been told it could be after the New Year before they get their electric service back.

Meanwhile, I'm appreciating electricity a little more.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Electric Power in Little River

I now have a better feel for what it was like to be an original Kansas settler in the 1800's--my entire town of Little River, Kansas has no electricity.

The power went out early Tuesday morning. It's still out. No one really knows when it'll come back on. As KAKE-TV reports, the power outage is affecting our school district, USD 444.
As of this writing, more than 73,000 people in Kansas are still without power.

Have you ever spent time in total darkness? The kind where its so dark, you can't see your hand two inches from your nose? It's a creepy feeling.

I've been in total darkness before-- inside a cave and underground-- but both times I knew the lights were coming back on quickly. But on Tuesday night, I woke up at 10:00pm and realized, "It's going to be completely dark for another 8-10 hours." That thought freaked me out: "If this is what hell is like Lord, I sure don't want to go there."

My family is resettled, so we have shelter, heat, and electricity. Many folks around town are running gas powered generators. People are looking out for one another.

A power outage certainly isn't as bad as a tornado, but it is a pain.

Monday, December 10, 2007

On Romney's Freedom and Religion

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gave an interesting speech last week about the role of religion in public life. This quote is generating a lot of comments:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Religion without freedom? Just look at Islam in Saudi Arabia.

Freedom without religion? That's moral and social anarchy.

Romney is right on the money--and gaining my attention as a voter.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Don't Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Photographer Dewitt Jones observes:
Do you know that the average National Geographic article is shot in 400 rolls of film? 14,000 rolls to get the 30 pictures that go into an article. I'm not worrying about mistakes. I'm looking for the next right answer.
From the DVD "Everyday Creativity."