Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween


Here is a picture of our little Shark! video

Friday, October 24, 2008

Roxanne (A Reminder of Why I'm Alive)

Some of the greatest, most meaningful moments happen in life when your the farthest away from the world. This past Wednesday I walked into the room of a 29 year old girl named Roxanne. She sat in bed covered in mounds of blankets. For 23 years she has been battling two brain tumors while in pain because of the several that run up her spine. I was invited over because it had been a dream of hers in life to write a song. As I sat there asking her to tell me about her feelings of life and her experience and what Christ means to her, she began to unload. As my friend was writing these things down, she would forget quickly and repeat the same thing over and over again, "I don't know why I have to go through this" and "Jesus is everything to me." At that moment, nothing else mattered. It didn't matter I was late coming home, it didn't matter I was going to miss dinner, it didn't matter I was late for worship rehearsal and prayer. How could I remove myself from experiencing something Christ dedicated his life too. I sometimes wonder how much of life is lost to other things like TV, acting like we have it together, fighting for politicians, complaining about how much we don't have, when I'm staring at a girl who hasn't known normal health for the majority of her life. Roxanne continued on," He's all I need. He hears my prayers. Why can't I walk, why, why, why?" After about an hour and a half of writing and playing music, we had it. The song was done. I played it for her and she bobbed her head ever so lightly and smiled. At that moment I felt purpose. I don't know if you can feel purpose, but it was something I don't feel a lot. As my friend drove us home, I had a chance to sit and think. Thoughts went through my head about so much. Sometimes I hear people talk about things so passionately but rarely hear who Christ is to them. I think if Paul would come back and sit in on a conversation with a group of people any where in the U.S. he would probably say, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things." I'm not sure I've seen this type of passion for Jesus in my entire life. Was it only Paul, I'm sure it's not. I think what I felt that day was something Paul felt on a consistent basis. He suffered for Christ, have we? I'm not sure, but I think the more you do, the more purpose you find in Him. For two hours i sat with my friend and a girl named Roxanne. What I learned from that moment was more than any message I have heard on Sunday morning all year. I was in it, not just hearing it. I will continue to ask myself ," What matters Steve, what truly matters?"


Roxanne's Song:

Sometimes You're so hard to find
As questions run through my mind
It seems the answers come slow
To questions You only know

I cannot understand how
You hear my prayers even now
I need you more everyday
Closer to you I will stay

With every thought I think of You
As every breathe begins to sing

You are everything, You are everything
even in my pain, You are all I need
You are everything, You are everything
What no one else can see, You are everything

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the moral dilemma?


Hey guys and gals,

I wanted to share a sermon our pastor preached a couple of weeks ago, ironically, yet not ironically, in the midst of the fiscal crisis in America. It brought so much perspective and was a reminder of Wes' blog on GREED (and I believe he preached on similar topic last night), and our conversations we've had over the last couple of months. Please take a few moments to listen to it if it's possible or you if you so desire. Nothing SO profound or what you haven't heard before maybe, but a reminder. Have a great Sabbath.


Love,

Jeff

http://files.urc-msu.org/mp3/2008/092808.mp3

If that link doesn't work, just go to "urc-msu.org" and to the left is the sermon in blue, "The gift that keeps on giving"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

here's to you evil knievel

Props again to Ben for putting his life on the line for his students. Here are the views over Temecula Valley High from 13,000 ft. (jump) and 5,000 ft. (parachute)!! Question for Ben: what does the free fall feel like (rollercoaster??) and were you singing Tom Petty the whole time down?

13,000 ft.


5,000 ft.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Fall from the Lampi's




Here's to the best time of the year in the Midwest. Miss ya'll.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Happy Birthday to Grace!

video
Wish we were there to eat cake with you!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

From 13,000 feet

One of our esteemed bloggers parachuted with the famed Army Golden Knights this past Tuesday. He went from 13,000 feet to 5,000 before the parachute deployed. I was nervous at the time I knew he was jumping. It is on video so I hope that it can be put on the blog some day. Oh yea who was it, # 76 on the Brighton Football team (left tackle). Benjamin Lee Gaines is his name.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tin Caps!

The team formerly known as the Fort Wayne Wizards has a new name. Next year we'll be watching Tin Caps baseball at our new downtown stadium! For those of you confused by this, might I remind you of one who "lived for others", he was known for giving all he had to the poor even the clothes off his back, leaving him with no cap but for his tin pan, and so what better way to commemorate this legend than naming our team after him. By the way Lugnuts and Loons, Johnny may have lived for others but not our sluggers. You better get a tetnus shot before you come to our tin shack, we gonna done put a cap in yo a##! A tin cap that is. Ha! I'm getting a hat. Anyone else want one?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

From 10,000 feet

As I watched Grey parachute jump into the recliner, I am minded of something and I will turn it into a contest. Here is the question: Someone who is a regular contributor to the Gaines-Lampi blog will be parachuting this Tuesday from 10,000 feet. Who is it?

Contest rules: 1) If this person has told you, you cannot play. 2) You have to answer right now, no calling people to see who it is.
3) Once this secret person is identified, then we will all pray for him or her that day.
4) Joel E. if you are out there, let us know by voting.

Contest ends this Monday evening.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Grey's moving on up!

video
Some recent footage of my boy. He's getting so big and so much more time consuming to keep an eye on. I wouldn't trade him for the world. Hope yours are well.

Steve

Jesus and Politics: Is He Right or Left?

Alas, I've stayed out of the political banter for the mainstay of this political season. Mostly disillusioned with the whole system and suspect of any so-called political "savior" or "maverick". Intrigued but admittedly jaded and yet committed to the ideals and beauties of American freedom, including our privilege to vote. Conflicted when I read about what a partial birth abortion entails while holding Grace. Wondering if I could vote for a candidate who opposed a ban on this disgusting practice, yet also wondering if I could vote for a candidate whose party some would argue has traditionally ignored the fundamental reasons and systematic injustices that drive some women to abortion in desperation. Wondering if there are bigger issues or a bigger picture I should be seeing and if so, where should I look? Wondering what a disciple of Christ should do? Having dedicated my life to serving an entirely different kingdom. Alas, I like many others am conflicted.

So, in response to Jeff's last post I ran across the following chapter in a book by Peter Kreeft, a Catholic theologian and apologist from Boston College in his book The Philosophy of Jesus. I couldn't find a link so I just pasted in the whole chapter below. Sorry for the length. Give it a read and see if it makes any sense. I don't know if I'm board with all he says, but perhaps it's worth some extended thought and will at least stir the pot a bit...

"All political issues today are seen through the prism of Right vs. Left, the
political 'us vs. them.' The categories are all-encompassing thought-savers,
knee-jerks that allow us to avoid thinking about each issue on its own
merits. But the categories, and the polarization they create, is even more
indefensible when applied to Christ because it means judging Christ by the
fallen world rather than vice versa.

The polarization is also harmful to morality because it lets us be
selectively moral, selectively idealistic-which means selectively immoral
and pragmatic. If we take the high road on abortion, euthanasia, and
sexuality, we can take the low road on war, poverty, and pollution; or vice
versa. Even when we focus on a specific question like whether all human
lives are intrinsically valuable, these categories allow us the moral
schizophrenia to say yes when we address abortion and no to that same
question when we address war and capital punishment-or vice versa. It's not
just that we give wrong answers (I'm not sure what the right answers are in
particular about a particular war or capital punishment in a particular
case), it's that we have self-contradictory principles.

Only from the viewpoint of the straight can we judge the skewered. Christ is
the straight, the plumb line-both when He is explicitly known, by divine
revelation, and when He is implicitly known, by conscience and the natural
law. He brings to all issues God's natural order to judge man's unnatural
disorders. Therefore, He does that to politics too.

He also unites the proper concerns of Right and Left, for He is the straight
path ('I am the Way') from which both Right and Left turns depart. He gives
a stronger reason for the rightful concerns of both Right and Left than
either Right or Left can do.

For instance, why feed the poor? Because the poor are Christ in disguise.
Not just because of political correctness or individual sentiment.

Why love sinners, as the Left does, and why ate sins, as the Right does? Why
love addicts to drugs, violence, money, or sex? And why hate their
addictions? For the same reason. Because Christ does. That's why we should
be more compassionate to sinners than liberals are and more uncompassionate
to sins than conservatives are. For the same reason: Christ.

Why preach and practice the 'social gospel'? Not to be politically correct,
or to refute the Fundamentalists, but because Christ did.

Why be universalistic and inclusive and ecumenical? Not to sneer at
xenophobia, isolationism, and provincialism, but because Christ was and is
universalistic. Christ is not a local tribal deity.

Why insist on 'the scandal of particularity,' and on the concrete, visible,
particular, and exclusive claims of Christ to be the one and only Savior?
Not to stick it to the liberals, but because Christ is particular and
concrete and visible and exclusive and literal.

Why be progressive and radical and creative and in love with the new? Why be
open to the winds like a sail? Because Christ is. Why be faithful and
stick-in-the-mud traditionalist, like an anchor? Because Christ is 'the same
yesterday, today, and forever.'

Why be a 'bleeding heart liberal'? Because Christ is. Why be a 'hard-headed
conservative'? Because Christ is.

Many have substituted Liberalism or Conservatism or some other ism for
Christ, and co-opted Christ for their cause. Christ cannot be co-opted for
any cause; all causes must be co-opted for Him. All isms are abstractions.
Even the perfect ism, if there is one, cannot save us and cannot love us.

The special danger of the religious Right is to worship Christ's doctrines
instead of Christ, confusing the sign with the thing signified. The Right is
absolutely right to insist on being right and to insist on absolutes. But a
finger is for pointing at the moon; woe to the fool who mistakes the finger
for the moon.

The special danger of the religious Left is to worship Christ's values
instead of Christ. That is just as abstract as the Right's substituting
Christ's doctrines for Christ. They are also only pointing fingers.

The Right argues that the Left is vague, but even the true and precise
doctrines of the Right are vague compared with Christ. Everything is. The
Left argues that the Right is hard, but even the soft, compassionate heart
of a liberal is hard compared with Christ. Everything is.

Right and Left cannot convince and convert each other for the same reason
that the Pharisees and the Sadducees could not convince and convert each
other. For what a Pharisee needs is not a little softening of the head, a
little dose of worldliness, pop psychology, relativism, and subjectivism.
What he needs is Christ. And what a Sadducee needs is not a little hardening
of the heart, a little arrogance, a little bit of Scrooge or Machiavelli
or Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' What he needs is Christ.

And our society needs nothing less, split as it is between Left and Right
today just as Jesus' society was split between Sadducees and Pharisees in
His time.

Earthly societies are not eternal, as souls are. Yet Christ is the Savior of
societies as well as souls. Our society is dying because it has turned the
holy name of its Savior into a curse word. Christophobia is the poison that
is killing our society. Our secularists are making us forget Christ faster
than we are making them remember Him: that is why our society is dying. Its
blood supply is drying up. The Precious Blood is evaporating. We are losing
more blood each day.

The answer is scandalously simple, unless Christ and Christianity and the
Bible and the Church and Christ's apostles and all the saints are liars. The
answer is that there is only one hope, for societies as well as souls: 'What
must I do to be saved?' 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be
saved.' (Acts 11:14)

Is that too simple and childish for you? Are you too 'advanced' and 'adult'
for that? Remember what 'advanced' tooth decay looks like. Remember what our
society means by 'adult.' Remember what 'adult' movies mean. And then put
that against The Passion of the Christ And then 'choose ye this day whom ye
will serve.' (Joshua 24:15)"

—Peter Kreeft, The Philosophy of Jesus (St. Augustine Press, South Bend Indiana, 2007)