Crazy World

December 27, 2007

Today the world news has been dominated by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Twice the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Bhutto was again running for Parliament, and many expected her party to win in the upcoming elections and her to be named Prime Minister.

On the day she returned from a self-imposed exile in October, Bhutto survived an assassination attempt that killed 140 people. Many suppose that these attacks were the work of Islamic extremists, who do not like Bhutto’s favoring of democracy or the fact that she is a woman. This terrible assassination shows that Islamic extremist terrorism is alive and well.

The events of today have made me view the current American election process in a bit of a different light. I must admit that it is easy for me to become dissatisfied with it. I can complain about how there are no candidates I am psyched out of my mind about or how the process has become two years long. In the midst of these thoughts, I forget to be thankful for the process itself. None of the major candidates in this election have had to survive multiple assassination attempts from suicide bombers. None of them has faced exile from their country for political reasons. These considerations have made me more appreciative of the political situtation in America, as well as more aware of the dangerous ones around the world.

In other news, so much for peace on earth and goodwill toward men at the Church of the Nativity two days after Christmas.

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Happy Christmas!

December 25, 2007

This time of year many people flip open their Bibles to the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke. There is good reason for this because these passages beautifully recount the good news of the events of the Savior’s birth. It is unfortunate that not as many people turn to the opening chapter of John because it helps us understand much of the spiritual significance of the incarnation.

It says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (1:14) John tells us many interesting things about the Word, who is Jesus. He was in the beginning with God; in fact, he was God from the beginning. And in him is life and light.

Christmas is life coming into the world because it is through Jesus that we can experience true, eternal life, which is knowing the Father. (John 17:3) Christmas is light coming into the world because we can truly understand the truth through Christ.

These are only the beginning of the blessings Christians should celebrate at Christmas time. Through the incarnation we have beheld the Father’s glory, which is full of grace and truth. From him we have received grace upon grace. And if we receive the Word, if we believe in him, John tells us that we have the right to be called children of God. Try wrapping your mind around how awesome that is this Christmas.

Last night at Believers Fellowship’s Christmas Eve service, the prelude was a piano performance of the Hallelujah Chorus. Hearing this melody reminded me of an experience I had in Israel. Our group had the privilege of seeing Handel’s Messiah performed for the first time in Hebrew. I enjoyed the performance, but I will never forget one thing that happened at the end of the Hallelujah Chorus. The crowd had risen to sing with the choir, and as the song ended I noticed one choir member near the edge of the risers. One arm was raised to the sky, and he was looking up with tears streaming down his face. He wasn’t just singing Handel’s Messiah, he was singing about his Messiah.

We have so many blessings because the Word became flesh. Therefore, we have every reason to sing hallelujah this Christmas. We have every reason to ponder in our hearts the wonder of what God did for us by sending his Son into the world. And we have every reason to have a very, very, happy Christmas.

Give Me a Break

December 21, 2007

Last Thursday I turned in my absolute last thing of the semester, a paper for Dr. Stead’s U.S. Constitutional History class. As I turned the paper into his box, I expected a rush of excitement to come over me and explode into a good Dean Scream as I sprinted back to Hotchkiss. However, a wave of exhaustion hit me, and as I walked back to the dorm I almost literally fell asleep in the middle of the soccer field.

It was a long, crazy semester. SLS Retreat feels like it was two years ago. But as I walked back from North Campus last Thursday, I couldn’t help but realize how many ways the Lord had blessed me this semester. One way that came to mind was that I did not get sick all semester! Well, that was until last Friday night, when I did get sick. It was pretty bad, but it would be ungentlemanly of me to elaborate.

All that to say, Christmas Break is here! Four weeks of no homework! I spent the first week of it bouncing around SoCal, hanging with the fam in the OC, chillin with my grandpa in Santa Barbara, working at a basketball tournament at school, and watching the local news with the Crawfords (which can actually be pretty entertaining.) Today I arrived in Texas, where I will be staying with my parents for the next three weeks.

Here’s what I hope to accomplish over the break:

Sleep. Oh yes. It will be nice when 9 hours a night is the norm, not 6.

Hang with the fam and old high school friends.

Watch all three Lord of the Rings extended editions. Honestly, it’s been too long.

Read. I do not have any uber-ambitious plans here, but I am working on A Heart for God and hope to finally ready Future Grace this break. I also want to stay current on reading the news while I’m here in Texas, especially as the primaries get underway.

Pray and Plan for the future. I want to spend time thinking through what I want to do after college. This probably will involve starting to study for the LSAT.

Memorize. I was not too consistent with memorizing Scripture over the semester, so I’d like to be more diligent with this over break. I’m starting with John 1:1-18.

Call. I want to keep in touch with my friends back at school. Thankfully, I’ve already been able to do a lot of this so far.

Rejoice. Like every Christmas, I want to spend time rejoicing in what God has done in sending his Son for us! I think John 1 and its discussion of the Word becoming flesh deserved more attention at Christmas time, so it is the focus of my personal Christmas meditation/rejoicing this year.

While it may not sound like a lot, I’m sure all of this will keep me busy for the next three weeks until I return to California for another semester.

I Get Paid For This!?

December 7, 2007

It all started one night during my freshman year when Travis Dalton walked into my room.

He said, “Do you have a job, Blakey?”

“No,” I replied.

“Do you want one?” he asked.

I was not really sure what to say to this, so he went on to explain what the job would be. He was looking for an assistant to help him keep stats for the upcoming basketball season. I told him that I would have to think about it, and as I did, my thought process was something like this: “Wait…go to all the basketball games, sit in the front row, watch very carefully, and get paid for it? Why wouldn’t I take this job!?” Before long I told Travis that I would love to join the Stat Crew, and I have been a part of that ever since.

At the beginning, I did not know what to expect from sports at a small Christian college because when I thought of college basketball, I thought of March Madness, Cameron Indoor Stadium, and players that were bound for the NBA. But as I began to work through my first season, I quickly found out that I love my job and sports at TMC. While these games were not televised on ESPN or discussed in the sports pages of major newspapers, they did not lack energy or excitement. When Bross Gym is full of screaming students and your friends and dormmates are on the court, there is nothing that can top it. I saw lots of great games my freshman year. The men had a talented team and won some overtime thrillers. The women put together the best season in TMC history as they won the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament and advanced all the way to the NAIA Final Four.

I’m now in my third year of stat keeping here at TMC, and I also work at soccer and baseball games now. I think I love my job even more know than when I started. Time after time I find myself walking back up to Hotchkiss after an exciting game and asking myself in disbelief, “I get paid for this!?”

Driving South to True North

December 3, 2007

I have spent more hours on the freeways of Southern California this semester than the rest of my life put together. Do I love sitting in traffic? No. But do I love the wonderful opportunity I have had to serve the high school ministry at Compass Bible Church this semester? Yes. And that is what I am thankful for today as the thanks-a-thon continues at Step Onto Liquid.

Each weekend I head down to Aliso Viejo to lead singing at True North, the high school ministy at Compass Bible Church. Here are a few reasons I am thankful for this opportunity.

-The church is legit. Every time I am there, I am encouraged and challenged by the teaching. I also love the church’s passion for ministry in South Orange County.

-God is working in the high school group. This morning, one high schooler shared how he got saved last month. (Read his testimony here.) He and some other students have started praying in the Quad at their school each morning before school. Students from True North are leading evangelism lunches at their schools; they also are reading Scripture and commenting on it at their Scripture of the Day website.

-I get to hang out with my family. Another highlight of driving south to the OC is that I get to hang out with my brother, Bobby; his wife, Christa; and their son, Tyler. My nephew is a stud!