8.10.2006

New Site

Hello everyone - long time, no see. I realized a while back that my blog was dying. Things changed, but everything was a temporary fix. So I found a way to do the ultimate solution! I have created my own blog from scratch (well, mostly). It works similar to any old blog, except that it gives privledges to friends and family that you probably wouldn't have on a normal blog. Specifically, you can post your own blogs. I envision it to be a crossroads for lots of friends and family to be able to stay connected.

But I understand that some of you just like to read or leave comments, and you're welcome to do that too. You get to hear the great news there too!

The address is http://www.mellanders.com.

P.S. This will be my final post on this blog.

5.30.2006

What I Believe

Being a newly appointed pastor, I am faced with a situation that most people can side-step if they so desire. I must clearly be able to articulate what I believe about God and often times, what I believe about social issues. I have always thought about these things as I am sure you all have to some degree. So after some thoughts, here are a few of the beleifs that have wafted from my human, sometimes ingenious, fallible mind (keep in mind, this is far from a complete list).

I believe that Jesus Christ is God; that he came to earth as a man and lived and died so that he could conquer sin and overcome the gap between God and us.


I believe that I am a part of God's family, God is our Father, and that all can be adopted into His family. (I know that sometimes terms like family and Father can sometimes carry negative baggage, but I believe that this family transcends that baggage to fulfill a healthy and loving family).


I believe that the Holy Spirit is God's presence on earth and that He is the one who draws the connections between our hearts, our minds, and God. He does that in so many ways.


I believe that Jesus will come again to finish the work He started in bringing the kingdom of Heaven. Its something that can happen at any moment and is a great source of hope for the believer in Christ.


I believe that the Bible is God's Word and is absolutely true and a standard by which believers should live their lives by. (I think I'd go so far as to say must or desire live their lives by. If I could put all those words into one, I would) I believe in the importance of knowing the difference between our beliefs/traditions/interpretations and the absolute truth found in God's Word.


I believe that life is special and that it should be cherished, respected, and honored. I think that things such as war, euthenasia, & abortion are sticky subjects because of this and should be avoided at all cost.


I believe that marriage between a man and a woman is God's design for romantic love and for family. I believe that sex is reserved and sacred to that relationship. I also believe that whether straight, gay, single, married, dating, etc, many people in today's culture are confused on the issues of sex, commitment to relationship, and most of all, what romantic love is and what it should look like.


I believe that one of the greatest duties of the Christian is to be compassionate and loving.


I believe that there are many things that are a mystery about God and that we might not ever know all those things.

4.20.2006

The Brink

I feel like I am on the brink of something.

Something BIG.

Think about walking through a forest. You hear some bird chirping, and you hear a faint, steady roar in the distance. The smells of trees fill your nose, but there is something else. You continue to walk, smiling as bits of light hit your face. You see more and more light coming out - and the distant roar gets louder and you can smell the salty air. You see a peak up ahead, but can't see whats below. You're on the brink.

I think I'm there. I'm almost to a point where I am going to be able to see this gorgeous view of God and life and more, but its so intangible and just pieces of a puzzle.

But I don't know what it is. My life has been in a bit of turmoil as of late - many new variables entering in that, although some of them were not bad, maybe even good, complicated my life.

So I've been spending a lot of time thinking...a lot of time praying...a lot of time reading. I think some of my senses as I come to the brink are these:

1. I'm struck by Jesus' reaction to people. He was always stopping because he sees people and has compassion on them.

2. I think I sometimes slack off because of fear.

3. The Bible is so much bigger and alive than we give it credit. There is so much cultural reference in the Bible that we miss or misunderstand so much.

4. We need each other. We can get really off track on our own. Thinking or studying the Bible is not an individualistic thing.

So, I'm sure that soon I will be stepping out onto this cliff and see the ocean, but have yet another journey ahead. But at the moment, I enjoy the anticipation of the discovery!

4.03.2006

Baseball

Yesterday marked the first day of baseball season. And what a great season it is. If you have been living in a cave for the last 25 years, then you will not know that I am a HUGE baseball fan and an avid Fantasy Baseball player. Baseball season means so many things to me. Here are a few of those things:


  • 1. My social life takes a slide, unless the conversation is baseball.

  • 2. I will take a trip to Seattle at some point during the summer.

  • 3. I know way too many facts about guys that I have never met and will likely never meet.

  • 4. My wife must listen to countless hours of me recapping games, situations, or just how well or how poorly my fantasy baseball team does on any given day.

  • 5. I will 3-peat!

3.16.2006

I'm a Geek To The Second Power

Many of you know that I am a complete geek and like most things that are nerdy. I spend my free time doing math puzzles and at one point in my life rolled a dice to see whether I was able to accomplish something in a make-believe world. I play way too much fantasy baseball and have many other weird habits that would qualify me as a geek.

I read an article in a magazine that helps me keep on the know about geeky things, and I stumbled upon a game. Except this game is like no game you have ever played before. I do not know much about it because I learned of it today, but what I know so far just blows me away.

The game is called Perplex City (I'm guessing you can figure out the play on words). To play this game, you buy a pack of cards (I'm guessing they are similar to baseball cards, etc). In each pack you have 6 cards which have different puzzle/riddle/challenge for you to solve. Some, as I hear, are easy to accomplish - others are so complex that teams of people struggle to decipher them. But the coolest thing about the game is that it is interactive with not only the game itself, but it expands and uses real life things to be able to solve.

The end goal is to solve all 256 clues, the first one who does this finds "the cube" and wins $200,000. Although the money is cool, I am just very intriqued by the game itself and the social, challenging, and interactive qualities of this game. I am thinking about buying some cards.

Check the game out for yourself and let me know what you think about it?

2.28.2006

Revolutionizing TV

Most of us, if we watch any TV at all, either know the time the show you watch is on, or spend time blindly flipping through channels. However, the "digital revolution" has finally started to eclipse the video world. Itunes not only does music, but video as well, that you can download to your computer and access at any time. Here is where I have the biggest problem - I've always had to purchase music whereas TV has always been free.

I know that isn't univerally true. There is music on the radio and you have to pay to get many channels. Even knowing that, I look at TV and say, I don't want to pay to watch Survivor or CSI or whatever you watch.

So here is my suggestion: why not make available a tv show to download at any time for free, but with advertisements in them? What if you even required the users to specify what kinds of ads they wanted to see so that people were actually more likely to be influenced by an ad? They have their advertising dollar and we get TV for free.

I believe that in the future, we will all watch TV on demand, not when a show is on. Sure, we will eagerly await the first showing of the new episode of our favorite show or watch live the sports event on TV. I just don't think reruns are going to cut it for much longer. I also think paying $2 an episode for low quality video is not the way it will go.

What do you think?

2.22.2006

Pics


I realized that I hadn't put a picture up in a long time. Posted by Picasa

2.16.2006

Full Circle

If you have ever listened to music I like or heard me talking about music, you know that I often have odd musical interests. As I think about human development, I am excited to look at my musical development.

  • Childhood - I listened mostly to kids Christian music (Psalty was my favorite). However, I had a lot of influences from waht my older siblings listened to. I heard Petra, New Kids on the Block, and more. Although I enjoyed the innocence of the music, I saw that there was much more than just jumping around.

  • Junior High - I started to get into hip-hop and rap. I remember being the cool kid for bringing my Kriss Kross single. My love was mostly secular and delved myself deeply into guys like Tupac and Snoop Dogg (although Snoop Dogg was a little more secretive), but I also enjoyed the more melodic hiphop.

  • High School - I broke out of rap and started to hate it. I poured myself into Christian alternative music - listening a lot to guys like Supertones, FIF, Plankeye, etc. I went to a lot of shows at this time, which further deepened my love for the music.

  • Late High School/Early College - I started getting into really loud music. Screaming and yelling was awesome. I listened to it really loud in order to drown out the sounds of the world.

  • College - I got really into emo. It captured my heart and struggles. It helped me to identify with my inner struggles. I also started to develop a deep love for techno/pop. Its happiness and melodic sounds helped me to pump through difficult situations and to cheer me up in between being emo.

  • Current - I went through a jazzy stage, but I think now I am at this point where I incorporate everything I have ever loved. Like my most recent discovery is Mat Kearney. He has a bit of a hip-hop/rap lyrical base, but has a voice like Coldplay and some Jack Johnson-like songs. Its very fun and thoughtful music. I definitely recommend it.
  • Where will I go next? I know one thing - it won't be country.

2.08.2006

BASEBALL IS COMING!!!!

I went to Red Robin the other day and saw Sportscenter on the TVs. No offense to anyone who are fans of the sports, but all that was on TV were hockey, NBA, and college hoops. I hate these for the most part (except March Madness to a degree). But I sat there and mourned for a short while. The season of death is upon us - no more football and baseball is still a couple of months out.

But a glimmer of hope has shown its head! A bright, shining beacon in my depressed sports world. Fantasy baseball sign-ups have begun!

If you have never played fantasy baseball before, you should give it a try - or if you have before, we'd love to have you in our league. It is a ton of fun, as some of you know. We are going on our 3rd season and would like to get a full league. EVERYONE IS WELCOME! If you are interested, or if you want to play, or if you just want more info, let me know!

PLAY BALL!

2.07.2006

Intimacy


I just recently started reading Intimacy by Henri Nouwen. I know what the name of the title might make you think - but the book is not only about physical or personal intimacy, but also intimacy with God. I have been blown away from his perspective on love and faith so far and I recommend the book to you all.

Just as a sneak peak at the book, I want to talk a tiny bit about Nouwen's perspective into faith. He goes through in the first chapter and compares it to the development of a person. One point that stuck out was on adolescence. He said that in adolescence we start to get a feel for the bad in us - the hypocrisy. We say to ourselves, "If people knew what I was really like, they would hate me." He also said that religion is often seen as purity, good, etc and doesn't have a place for the dark and the evil - he says they are looked at as "antireligious". Nouwen said there are 2 major ways that people respond: by rebellion and by repression. Rebellion goes against religion and hates what it stands for because the person doesn't reconcile the good and the bad both with religion. Repression denies the evil in the person and the person ends up trying to be as good as possible, or at least try to look that way. Obviously, neither of these are ideal. Nouwen says that in order to get past this, we need to be able to look at faith wholistically - seeing that the dark in our lives has just as much a part in our faith as our light, and that by denying either, you are stunting your growth.

Let me know what you think!
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