Thursday, October 27, 2005

Ups and Downs

I don't know if I am acting this way because my folks are here or if because this week seems to be a bit of a laul at church or what. I honestly haven't been that motivated as of late to be incredibly "spiritual" about things. I am sure that you have noticed that with the content of the last five posts. I guess this is just a kin to how life really is. We have our 'triumphant' high moments and our devistating 'low' moments. Isn't it funny how we learn more from the lows than the highs though. Just wanted to let you guys know that I haven't given up on Samuel. The blogs will return. Isreal will still plead for a king and all will be right with the world. Thanks for being patient with me.

God, thanks for letting me know that I suck. I am depraved. It is only because of you and the sacrifice that you made that I am able to have any joy. You truly are my joy.

You are my joy
You are my joy


Eat a Bug

It's so refreshing. Think about that phrase. I have to admit that I use it far to often, but I can't help myself. It seems to fit every situation I find myself in. If you are happy it makes you even happier. If you are hacked of it will lighten your mood. If you are depressed, it will make you smile. I truly believe that this phrase was sent from Heaven to bring joy into our lives. You guys should try it out. Don't be shy.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sweet Illusion

Do you know what you are seeing?

Can it be 'trusted'?


Andy Bryan's Post

Below is the link to Andy Bryan's blog. He is a pastor at a church in North Kansas City. Today's blog was particularly good and I invite you to join in the discussion.

You can also get to Andy's blog from the menu on the right. It's all how you wanna go.


Eighth Grade Math

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 8/10 correct!
Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Parents are Visiting

Most of you probably know that my folks are in town this week. I know that Leah and Dustin are enjoying their free week having the house all to themselves. We are having a good time here. To be honest, there isn't much to do in St. Joe but I think my parents are making due. Dad is about to go crazy not having many channels though. If you don't know, Dru and I have been living with only two channels for a year and a half. Dad can't seem to get this through his head. He continues to hold the remote even though there are no channels to change to. Old habits die hard I suppose.

All is well.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Book of Psalms

Thanks Matthew for the link.

I turned out to be Psalms.

What are you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Dru is ill

Unfortunately this will be my post for the day. Dru has taken the day off because she is sick. I am currently gathering my belongings from church and heading home. I will play the role of caretaker. A role that I most gladly accept. It is a familiar role from the last school year and apparently I have been cast for the part once again.

If you would like to keep up with my studies in 1 Sammuel I will be reading chapter 7 and probably chapter 8 as well. Israels gonna get a king. Do I hear the sounds of empire once again? (Even though Jake doesn't read this thing that was for him. Oh, if you don't know who Jake is then check out the picture of him and todd on the blog. Jake is the one without glasses and Todd has the glasses.)

The reason I mention empire is because our Young Adult Sunday school class is studying the book of Colossians in relation to empire. I am reading a book called Colassians Remixed that deals with the subject. Very interesting. You can check it out here:

I will see you all tomorrow, or rather write to y'all tomorrow.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Dag Gone that Dagon

The Glory/Ark of the Covenant has left. It is now in the hands of the Philistines. In particular, in it is in the temple of Dagon, the Philistine God. The scripture does not say specifically but we can imagine that the Ark was brought in with all of the pomp and circumstance that would be fitting after the winning of a large battle. To the Philistines, this victory proved the superiority of their god, Dagon, over the ‘feeble’ god of the Israelites. They had won. YHWH was in their possession.

We can imagine a similar scene after the death of Christ. It would appear that all that Christ had done or said was all for not. He was now being paraded through the depths of Hades as the loser. He was the lesser god.

After the festivities were over, after everyone had gone to bed and the temple doors were shut for the evening, was it then that YHWH began to go to work. He first made Dagon bow before Him. The next night he completely removed all of Dagon’s power by taking from him his arms and legs. He does all of this seemingly in secret. Why? It is in the silence of the night that YHWH works. Dagon knows he is no match. Dagon knows he will fail.

Just as YHWH shows His strength through the weakness of being captured by the Philistines, so too did Christ show His strength through the weakness of the cross. There is always hope. Joy always comes in the morning and the Glory always returns. Whether that Glory is returned by two lowing cows, or by the boldness of a resurrection, the Glory ALWAYS returns and YHWH will forever be the victor.

Life may not always go as planned. There may be times that God seems non-existent. Have no fear. YHWH has a habit of working in the dark. YHWH has a habit of making all that ‘seems’ more powerful than Him bow in the end. YHWH has a habit of removing all power but His own. YHWH has a habit of victory.

Oh how sweet it is when the Glory returns. We seem to have a better appreciation of Him when He has seemingly left us.

“‘Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.’ I am the Lamb of God. Lay upon Me your sins, your failures, your shortcomings. My sacrifice has atoned for all. I am the mediator between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus.
Do not dwell on upon the past. You make My Sacrifice of no effect.
No! realize that in Me you have all, complete forgiveness, complete companionship, complete healing.”


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ichabod: The Glory Has Left

Admittedly, anything I say about 1 Samuel chapter 4 will pale in comparison to Walter Brueggemann’s exegetical (oops big word) masterpiece entitled, Ichabod Toward Home: The Journey of God’s Glory. You can check it our here:

Although this may be the case I will try my best to put this passage in perspective. The first question would be, “Why Ichabod?” Ichabod is the name of a child who is born at the end of chapter 4. Ichabod’s mother is Phinehas, one of Eli’s wicked sons, wife. It is at the end of chapter 4 that we find out that both Phinehas and Hophni have been killed. This should really come as no surprise. After all, God told Samuel that Eli’s family will be judged and the death of his two sons will be a sign of this. So the question still remains, “Why Ichabod?” We also find out that the Ark of the Covenant, which represents God and the Glory of God to the Israelites, was taken in to battle with the Philistines. To make a long story short, the ark was taken captive by the Philistines. Thus Ichabod, meaning literally NO GLORY, was born. Scripture tells us that “The Glory has departed Israel…”

Do you understand the breadth of that statement? It means that God or YHWH was taken captive! YHWH did not win the battle! As scripture says, the mighty God “…who struck the Egyptians (yes event the Egyptians) with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness…” was taken captive. God lost.

Think about that. Let the notion of that sink in.

This story of the Ark mirrors another famous Biblical story in which God loses. It is the story of Christ. I know what you’re thinking, “But Jesus didn’t lose. He had to die on the cross in order to be risen from the dead.” I agree with you. However, try as best as you can to put yourself in the position of the Israelites and even in the position of the disciples. None of them know the outcome. None of them know that the Glory will soon return. They are completely ‘in the dark.’

I had an opportunity to experience a very unique service while I was at the Emergent Conference in Nashville. The service was called Tenebret. (Forgive me if the spelling is wrong.) This particular service celebrated Holy Saturday. Meaning, it celebrates the day that Christ was dead or better put, the day that the Glory was gone. At the beginning there were many candles lit. As the service went along the candles were blown out. The light of God was leaving. All of the candles were blown out, save one. The remaining candle was called the prophecy candle. Trust me it wasn’t very bright. There was not much light to see by.

The Boys Posted by Picasa

The Blitz Crew in Mexico Posted by Picasa

Isn't She Cute? Posted by Picasa

The Walking Phenom...Full Body Shot ;) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

YHWH, I’m Callin’ You Out

At the end of chapter 3 in 1 Samuel, Eli tells us this, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” Verse 7 tells us this, “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”

God I’m calling You out! Samuel, a child who was conceived by Your blessing, a child who grew up in Your care under the provision of Your Holy Priest. A young man, who you spoke to in an audible voice did not know who you were. You know what that tells me. It tells me that it is by Your will and Your will alone that we are drawn to you. It means that I could walk the streets on a daily basis and scream Your name until I was hoarse but it wouldn’t do me any good unless Your Spirit was at work.

God I’m calling You out! There is no way that I will ever be able to save someone. I’m calling You out do what You said you would do. Draw them God. Use me as a vessel, but you must be the one to draw them. In Eli’s ‘wisdom’, knowing that he had screwed up, knowing that his legacy was to be no more he says, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” He gives in. In Samuel’s vision God spoke to him concerning Eli. God told Samuel this, “The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.” What? Eli hears this and lies over like a whipped dog. Was Eli wise, or was he simply a coward. I look to Moses in this situation. Moses, who had the audacity to stand before YHWH and plead for his people, why, when faced with utter damnation, does Eli simply lie down and take it. Provisions had been made by God to take the place of sin. Does God go back on His word? You read the text. Cipher for yourself.

God I’m calling You out! In this give and take relationship with the divine it is our duty to call God out. We have a covenant with the Almighty. That means that we must hold up our end of the deal, but God most definitely must hold up his end of the deal. I will not take NO for an answer! If individuals are drawn by the Holy Spirit, and that is the only way they are drawn, that is the only way that the Lord is ‘revealed’ to them, then I say the Holy Spirit better do His job. If it is true that the Father would have it that all would come to Him, then the Spirit better get to work. I will do mine Lord, but mine depends on You.

May the Glory never be taken! May Ichabod always return home!


Ode to the Maddog

Interesting thing just happened to me this morning. I got a not from a friend from high school. (He sent me one through myspace. If you have a myspace then hit me up. My title is Caldwell.) His name is Aaron Nichols. I can’t tell you guys how great it was to hear that he is doing well. Aaron was one of the guys that I wished would have been able to come to my wedding. He was a great friend and I am happy to say that I knew and still know him. Perhaps we will have a chance to catch up now. Funny how life is sometimes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Wind at Your Back

As I mentioned, I am going through the book of Samuel. I love this book. It really is a magnificent story. The main plot line of the book is, of course, the story of Samuel, but just like any great stories there are many underlying stories that encompass the greater story. Previously, I spoke of Hannah, Samuel’s mother. Today I want to talk about Hophni and Phinehas.

Hophni and Phinehas are the two sons of Eli. Eli is the High Priest of the people of Israel. He comes from a long rich tradition of Priests that the text tells us were chosen ‘out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest’. Eli’s line was a chosen line. Hand picked by God to perform the priestly duties. The text tells us that Hophni and Phinehas were displeasing to the Lord.

Here is a little history lesson. The priests of the day did just what the title says. They were priests. This meant that they did not have time to farm or to raise there own live stock. So how did they eat? God allowed the priests to take a portion of each offering given. The stipulation was this, they were only allowed to take a portion of the offering after the meat had been boiled and all of the fat cooked out. Even after that they were only allowed one large fork full from each offering. Sounds reasonable.

Hophni and Phinehas were doing this. Except they weren’t quite getting it right, instead of taking a portion after it had been cooked they were taking the best parts of the meat while it was still raw. It was a selfish thing to do. It was probably far greater a reward than they deserved and they were essentially stealing from God.

What’s the point? Here it is. God is JUST. In the end, God’s justice will prevail. Hannah, a righteous servant of the Lord was blessed for her sacrifice. Essentially, she was living with the wind of the Lord at her back. She was in step with God. Eli’s house was a disgrace. Eli’s sons were an abomination in front of God and because of that the text tells us that the house of Eli will be removed. Not only will it be removed but the death of Eli’s sons will be a sign to that end.

There are consequences to our actions. Thankfully through the blood of Christ we are forgiven. This does not however give us an excuse to not live with the wind of God at our back. It doesn’t give us the excuse to rob and steal the best choice meats from God. We are not given a license to sin. The Bible calls us to repent and turn from our wicked ways. It calls us to live with the wind at our back instead of in our face.

Oh, that we could all be like Hannah and say her prayer.

1 Samuel 2: 1-10

Let the beauty and richness of those words resonate in your heart.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Quick Note

If you have checked out the site since Saturday then you know that I have posted anything. I apologize for that. It may be a little difficult for me to post on the weekends. Dru and I went back to Fayette this weekend. It was a very short trip but well worth it. We stayed up until 3:45 on Friday night. Neither Dru nor I had done that sort of things since college. I hope she is doing ok at work today.

Quick question: Do you know those types of people that seem to moan and complain regardless of the situation? I really don’t like those people. I know that I am not above complaining but it really rubs me raw when somebody does it all the time.

That got me thinking. How often do I moan and complain to God? He has put me in this position to fulfill his calling. It doesn’t matter where I am at the time. The calling is the same. Just as Pastor Jon said yesterday during his sermon; “we are to love God, and love each other.” That’s all. It seems so simple, but yet it is so hard. I thank God for the blessing that he has given me another day to learn how to fulfill His call.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Rejoice at Weakness

I’ve started a new habit. I guess it’s not truly a habit yet but hopefully it will turn into one. I have a confession to make. My devotional times…yeah, they have been pretty much non existent for about 5 months now. I am hoping that this blog will help to change that. So my new habit is this. I have a devotional time. Not a new concept I realize but it feels good to get that off my chest.

My father in law gave my wife a small devotional while we were in college. Dru has been harping on me for quite some time now to read it myself. To be honest I don’t know why I haven’t. It’s called God Calling compiled by A. J. Russell. The writers are anonymous but have some very good things to say. Anyway, I don’t feel comfortable just reading what somebody else wrote about God for my devotionals, so I decided to start going through 1 Samuel as well.

Ironically, even those this probably isn’t the right definition of irony, the devo and 1 Samuel seemed to go hand in hand. (Somehow I knew this would happen before I started.) The title of the devo was Rejoice at Weakness. If you know anything about the story of Samuel then you know that Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was made very weak by God. Her womb was closed. The Bible says, ‘by the Lord. He was causing her to go through a time of trial, a time of weakness.

The story goes on to say that Hannah grieved over this fact for quite some time. She prayed to the Lord ‘weeping bitterly’. She even prayed so hard from her heart that her lips were moving but no sounds were coming out of her mouth. Eli, the high priest, thought she was DRUNK! Hannah was willing to get on her knees and cry out to God with so much passion and so much conviction, and dare I say, so much weakness that she even appeared to be drunk!

What does this mean for us? Here is my perspective. We live in a land that is more than plentiful. The majority of us, particularly those that will read this, are want for nothing in this world. In my opinion, all of this has dulled our senses to the plight of world around us. We fail to see the poor. We fail to see the oppressed. We fail to see the hungry. It’s not because they aren’t there. It’s because we aren’t looking for them!

Our desire should be to usher in God’s Kingdom. Our desire should be live out Matthew 25: 34-40. How is this to be done? Like Hannah, it will take weakness for us to accomplish our goal. It will take us hitting our knees. Praying with such conviction and passion to live the life that we are called to live. If this means that we have to look “silly” on Sunday morning because during the entire service we are at the alter interceding for those who can’t intercede for themselves, then so be it. If this means that our “prim” and “proper” way of having church has to be set aside for a while then so be it. If this means that we truly, truly need to lament to God and cry out for His hand to touch those in need, then by all means so be it. Let’s take off our self-righteous, logo bearing, status quo clothing and exchange them for sack cloth and ash.

“Rejoice at your weakness, My children. My strength is made perfect in weakness. When you are weak then I am strong. Strong to help, to cure, to protect.”


Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Ins and Outs

I was preparing for a class yesterday that I and our associate pastor, Mitch, are teaching on Wednesday nights. Yes, I know that it should have been typed sooner but I had procrastinated. Anyway, the class is based around Brian McLaren’s book, The Story We Find Ourselves In. I was typing up a section on the sixth C which is Church, or Community, and I was looking for a passage in the Bible where Jesus is talking about the Kingdom being at hand. It just so happens that the best concordance Bible I have is my old, but sturdy, Kings James Bible that I was given as a tween. While I was thumbing through scripture I cam across Matthew 25 verses 34 and 41. My eye was immediately drawn to these two verses because I had underlined them at some point in my life. Huh, I said to myself why these verses and not the others. This made me start reading…Here is what verse 34 says:

34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

I thought, ‘that sounds great, what a blessing.’ So I read the next verse:

41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

‘AHHHH!!! What a scary thought. Banished into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ I imagine that was my reaction when I was told to underline those two verses as a kid. Clearly these verses are describing how Christ’s sheep will be brought home and those who have rejected Christ will be rejected in the end as well. But wait a minute. Have you read the verses in between?

35. For was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and you took me in…40b. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

42. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me not meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink…45b. Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Why was it that my pastor didn’t have me underline the other verses?! It is true that there will be judgment one day. It is true that the righteous will be separated from the unrighteous, but Jesus tells us in plain English how to become the righteous ones. It’s not about creating an, “I’m in, your out” mentality. That’s missing the point. If we continue to teach and preach this ‘version’ of the gospel, then we are doing Christ and our kids and our entire congregations an injustice. Christ message was one of revolution. A revolution of love meant to be lived out on this earth. It is the most subversive message that has ever been given. When will we wake up and realize that the message of Christ was not about selfishly getting our own souls to heaven, although I believe that we will be with Christ when it is all said and done, but rather it was about feeding the hungry, and clothing the poor. It was about practicing here in this life how we will live in the next.

I’m not completely angry at those I trusted to give me the truth as a kid. (Although that statement might tell otherwise.) I am becoming more aware that as a youth pastor it is not my role to simply get my kids to say a prayer. It is not my role to “scare the hell” out of them. My role is to love and nurture. To show kindness to the oppressed. To lead by example and to invite them on a journey that will last them a lifetime.

This decision to be a disciple of Christ should not be taken lightly. It should not be based on the question, ‘If you were to die tonight.’ Christ tells that just as a builder weighs the cost of the construction of the building to see if he has enough to build, so are we to weigh the cost of giving up our lives to follow Christ.

The cliché is true. It’s easy to call Jesus our Savior, but it is much harder to call him our Lord.


The Initial Post

Greetings Cyber World and Cyber People,

This is my initial test post to see if this thing works. I am sure that it will be fine and I have nothing to worry about.

As an introduction, I figured I would tell you a little about myself. My name is Adam Caldwell, I am sure you gathered that by the address of the blog but just in case you missed it. Currently I am living in St. Joseph, MO working as a youth pastor at Ashland United Methodist Church. I am married to my beautiful wife Dru. (If there is a place to post a pic I will.) We have been married for 1 year and 4 months. Hard to believe its been that long.

Both of us graduated from Central Methodist College. (Now University) That's located in Fayette, MO. We will actually be taking a return visit this weekend for homecoming. That's should be a hoot.

Okay I am going to end this thing. I have ideas for musings in the future. We will see if I get them written.


My Beautiful Wife Posted by Picasa

Me and a kid in Mexico Posted by Picasa

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