Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Recruit

This is a spy thriller movie that came out in 2003. James Clayton (played by Colin Farrell) is recruited to the CIA by Walter Burke (played by Al Pacino). Though Clayton claims he is not CIA material, he is fascinated by the CIA since he suspects his father was a CIA operative, and he shows natural aptitude for being an agent. Clayton ends up going through CIA training and meets a female trainee that he seems to have a special connection with. Throughout the training, the trainees are reminded often, "Everything is a test," and "Nothing is what it seems."

This is a suspenseful movie leaving you wondering throughout what's going on, what's real and what's a test, and who are the good guys and bad guys. I love CIA stuff, so I really enjoyed the film.

Monical's Pizza

I consider this some of the best pizza ever! I always get the thin crust, and it is so excellent; my favs are pepperoni and sausage and mushroom. There are locations in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois, though I think Springfield is as far south in IL that they go (unfortunately). Typically I've gone to one of the Bloomington, IL locations when passing through while traveling between So. IL and Chicago.

The salad and breadsticks are really good here too!

Check out Monical's:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ by Martin Chemnitz

A description of the book from the Concordia Publishing house website: "This is a translation of Chemnitz's De Duabus Naturis in Christo, written in 1578. This book concerns the two natures of Christ (the divine and the human), their hypostatic union and the communication of their attributes and related questions. It shows that the Christology of the Lutheran reformers is that of Scripture, the ancient church fathers, and the creeds."

This is the kind of book that is best read little sections at a time, so that one can digest the material. This book reminds me that with theology, you can go deeper and deeper and deeper into it, yet still not be able to fully explain everything. And that's something I really love about Martin Chemnitz is that he'll explain as much as he can according to the Scriptures concerning Christ, but he fully admits in many places in this book, that there are some things we cannot fully understand. We must leave these things till we get to "the heavenly school." I love that kind of honesty in a theologian because it can be very dangerous to attempt to explain more than what we can about God.

There are many passages from this book in my Theology posts, so check it out!

Bakers Square

This is another place I like to go to when I'm up in northern IL. When I was little this place used to be called Poppin' Fresh. Then somewhere along the way, it became Bakers Square and in addition to all the delicious pies, they offered a variety of food including sandwiches, salads, soups, burgers, chicken dishes, steak, pasta, and breakfast items. I've enjoyed many of the sandwiches. And I still think they have the best pies. French Silk used to be my favorite. I still love that, but branched out and now also enjoy Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme, Caramel Apple a la Mode, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, Coconut Cream, Hot Fudge Brownie a la Mode, Oreo Cookie, and seasonal pies like Candy Cane at Christmas time and Key Lime in the summer. It is always a treat to get one of these fabulous pies. Wish there were Bakers Squares in So. IL!

Check out the food and pie menus:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Runaway Jury

This 2003 drama/thriller is an adaptation of the John Grisham novel The Runaway Jury. Gene Hackman, John Cusack and Dustin Hoffman star in the film. In the film Dustin Hoffman plays a lawyer representing a woman whose husband was killed in a shooting while at his office. They go up against a major firearms company, claiming it is responsible for his death. Gene Hackman is a jury consultant for the defense. The first time I watched this movie I was amazed at how he had all these people analyzing potential jurors and so on. John Cusack plays a juror. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say it's a really intriguing movie with the interesting premise of a jury being able to be influenced, led or even "sold." I think this is my favorite movie based on a Grisham novel.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

1 Kings 19:1-18

Elijah Flees to Horeb

1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The LORD Appears to Elijah
And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

Elijah was overwhelmed and discouraged, so much so that he said he wanted to die. Pretty normal to be experiencing that considering he had worked tirelessly to proclaim God's Word and people wanted to kill him. But he pours out his feelings to the LORD, and the LORD shows him compassion. First, God provides for Elijah's physical needs. Then God comes to Elijah not in wind or fire or earthquake, but in the gentle whisper, the still small voice, and He strengthens him. And today God speaks to us in the gentle whisper, or still small voice of the Gospel. Through Word and Sacrament, our faith is strengthened in those times when we feel we've had enough and can't go on. In this account with Elijah, God shows Himself to be an incredibly merciful and compassionate God. And He continues to show His mercy and compassion to us though we are so undeserving.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reuben Sandwich

A Reuben Sandwich is a grilled or toasted sandwich made with corned beef or pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and either Thousand Island or Russian dressing. It is typically on rye bread. I love this sandwich!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"In Thee is Gladness"

In Thee is gladness, Amid all sadness,
Jesus, sunshine of my heart.
By Thee are given, The gifts of heaven,
Thou the true Redeemer art.
Our souls Thou wakest, Our bonds Thou breakest;
Who trusts Thee surely, Has built securely;
He stands forever: Alleluia!
Our hearts are pining, To see Thy shining,
Dying or living, To Thee are cleaving;
Naught can us sever: Alleluia!

Since He is ours, We fear no powers,
Not of earth nor sin nor death.
He sees and blesses, In worst distresses;
He can change them with a breath.
Wherefore the story, Tell of His glory
With hearts and voices; All heav'n rejoices
In Him forever: Alleluia!
We shout for gladness, Triumph o'er sadness,
Love Him and praise Him, And still shall raise Him
Glad hymns forever: Alleluia!

Text: Johann Lindemann, tr. Catherine Winkworth
Tune: Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi

Such a beautiful hymn musically and lyrically. Life is not always happy, happy, but in Christ is our true gladness. We know He is with us always, and nothing can separate us from Him. The world can only give us happiness, but Christ has given us true joy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

F Minus (8/18/08)

Jump Start (8/18/08)

Pizza World

Pizza World has locations in southern Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa and Georgia. It is probably my favorite pizza chain located in So. IL. Though I love to get pepperoni or sausage and onion, I also like many of their specialty pizzas like the California Spin-Dip which has an Alfredo sauce, spinach, and artichoke hearts or the Spicy Thai pizza. it is fun to get a bunch of the specialty pizzas and try them all! The calzones are also tasty.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ "Christ Present in the Church According to Both Natures" (Present with His Church and with me)--Martin Chemnitz

"But now we have the comforting promises that Christ, our Head, our King and High Priest is present in the assembly of His church as it is gathered in His name in the ministry of the Word and sacrament, and thus present with His entire church everywhere, that is, with all and each one of His members, thus also with me in my prayer, in my trouble, and in the guidance of my whole life."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"All I'll Ever Ask" Joshua Kadison

Love means so many different things,
but you're all that matters,
and this is all I'll ever ask of you.

Tell me your dreams, so they can be mine too,
Let me be there, to help them come true.
Tell me your fears, when you feel afraid,
Come to my arms, let me rock them away.

That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
Of you.

Come to my shoulder, when you need to weep,
Wake me up, when you cannot sleep.
Talk to me, when you want to be heard,
Be silent with me, when you can't say a word.

That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
Of you.

I can't swear, that you'll never have to cry another tear.
But whenever you want someone to hold you,
I'm always right here.

So just come to me, for anything at all,
Call my name, it's yours to call.
Feel my faith in you, when you can't find your own,
And always remember, you're never alone.

That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
Of you.

I can't swear you'll never have to cry another tear.
But whenever you want someone to hold you,
Remember, I'm always right here.

That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
That's all I'll ever ask,
Of you.

A friend told me about this song years ago. It was a B-side song of a more popular Joshua Kadison single. And from the first time I heard it, I absolutely loved it. It is such a beautiful love song, and it can bring tears to my eyes. It's too bad this song isn't more readily available, though I believe it is on a CD of Kadison's called Premium Gold Collection which may be possible to get through Amazon.


Risotto is a rich and creamy, traditional Italian rice dish. I normally don't really like rice, yet I love risotto, I guess because it is rich and creamy. My friend Lisa made some really good risotto once (and I'm still waiting for her to make it again). And Archer Farms (the brand you can find at Target) sells Risotto in a box that you can prepare easily and quickly on the stove. The Archer Farms Four Cheese, and Butternut Squash risottos are quite good.

Glory of Christ's Human Nature Quote--Martin Chemnitz

"...we must judge concerning the glory of Christ's human nature not from what seems glorious to us, but from the revealed Word."

--Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures in Christ "Christ Present in the Church According to Both Natures"

Beijing National Aquatics Center "The Water Cube"--Beijing, China

This was built for the 2008 Summer Olympics and hosted swimming and diving events of the Olympics. Every time I saw the Water Cube during television coverage of this Olympics, I thought about was an awesome looking structure this is. I wish I could see it in person.

Some info. about the Water Cube, "The structure comprises a steel space frame, the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only eight one-thousandths of an inch in total thickness. The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.
The outer wall is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure, a foam (structure formed by soap bubbles). The pattern is formed by taking a slice through the foam, and it was chosen in preference to the Kelvin foam because the more complex Weaire-Phelan structure results in more irregular, organic patterns than slices through the regular Kelvin foam.

The structure will have a capacity of 17,000 during the games that will be reduced to 6,000 afterwards. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square metres and will cover a total of 7.8 acres."

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ "Christ Present in the Church According to Both Natures" (Witness and seal of the Lord's Supper)--Martin Chemnitz

"For in the action of the Lord's Supper there is a public, solemn, and peculiar witness and seal that Christ, our Mediator and Savior, wills to be graciously present with His church in its struggle here on earth, not with only one portion and part of Himself, that is, with only His deity, but wholly and completely, that is, with His assumed nature also, by which He is of the same substance with and related to us, our Brother. For in this nature He was tempted, so that He could share in our wretchedness; in this nature He accomplished by His suffering and death the work of our redemption, so that we thus might be made members of His body, of His blood, and of His bones. Because our reason and sense do not understand or comprehend this, therefore Paul says, 'Great is this mystery in Christ and in His church.' (Eph. 5:32)"

2 Samuel 22:1-7; 17-20

David's Song of Praise

1 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
2 He said:"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me.
4 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
5 "The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
7 In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

17 "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Such awesome words from David, that are certainly for us who have faith in Christ. Our LORD saved us from our enemies. Because of Christ, we are conquerors even over death. And what a marvelous thought that God delights in us! Our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier loves us and delights in us, unworthy as we are.

Cubs Hawaiian Shirt (Logos and Other Items)

The shirt features retro and current Cubs logos all over it with other pictures of Cubs related things like Wrigley Field, Cubby bobble heads, hot dogs etc. next to them. I love this shirt. Perhaps it is one of my favorite shirts. I do get a lot of slack wearing it in the St. Louis area, but it's all good! I wear it proudly!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Faith Quote--Athanasius

"Faith which is based on something clearly evident is not faith; but faith believes the possible in the impossible, strength in weakness, greatness in poverty."

--Athanasius, Contra Apollinarem

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II Free Will (par 5-6)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

"God the Holy Spirit, however, does not bring about conversion without means. For this purpose He uses the preaching and hearing of God's Word, as it is written in Romans 1:16, the Gospel 'is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.' Also Romans 10:17 says, 'Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.' It is God's will that His Word should be heard and that a person's ears should not be closed (Psalm 95:8). With this Word the Holy Spirit is present and opens hearts, so that people (like Lydia in Acts 16:14) pay attention to it and are converted only through the Holy Spirit's grace and power, who alone does the work of converting a person. For without His grace, and if He does not grant the increase, our willing and running, our planting, sowing, and watering (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)--are all nothing. As Christ says in John 15:5, 'apart from Me you can do nothing.' With these brief words the Spirit denies free will its powers and ascribes everything to God's grace, in order that no one may boast before God (1 Corinthians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:5; Jeremiah 9:23."

Jules Destrooper Chocolate Thins

These Belgian cookies are absolutely delicious. They are butter biscuits, "Crispy thin, exuberantly covered with 3 varieties of real Belgian chocolate." I love all of them--white, milk, and dark chocolate!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"How Firm a Foundation"

How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

"Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I'll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

"When through fiery trials your pathway will lie,
My grace, all sufficent, will be your supply.
The flames will not hurt you; I only design
Your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

"Throughout all their lifetime My people will prove
My sov'reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hairs will their temples adorn,
Like lambs they will still in My bosom be borne."

Text: A Selection of Hymns, London, 1787
Tune: Genuine Church Music, Winchester, 1852

This is a beautiful hymn, and it has been a great encouragement to me. I remember a few years ago I was going through a challenging time, and I listened to this a lot on my mini iPod. The words brought me peace. My favorite verse is verse 3. I like the repetition of the "nots," and "nevers," reminding us God will never desert or forsake us. Words to cling to!

Monday, August 11, 2008


This is one of my favorite Olympic sports to watch. The strength, agility, and balance the gymnasts demonstrate is amazing. It's incredible how they can move their bodies and do what they do! Gymnastics is both exciting and beautiful to watch.

The Two Natures in Christ "Christ Present in the Church According to Both Natures" (Christ our Brother, sharing in our sufferings)--Martin Chemnitz

"Furthermore, it is certainly a most serious and important matter which is under dispute, namely, the words of Christ's very testament, a doctrine which is so full of consolation, that is, that the Son of God, our Mediator and Savior, according to the words of His testament wills to be present with His church here on earth, which is fighting under the banner of the cross and struggling in this vale of tears. For He wishes to be present also in and with His assumed nature by which He is of the same substance with us, related to us, our Brother, our very flesh, according to which flesh He does not blush to call us His brothers and in which flesh He was tempted, so that He can share in our sufferings, according to which flesh Christ is our Head and we are His members. And just as no one hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, so also Christ does to His church, since we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bone (Eph. 5:29)."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Arnott's Chocolate Biscuits

These are delicious Australian chocolate coated cookies. There are different varieties including a chocolate cream and a caramel centered one that are very good. In the US, they can be purchased at stores like World Market. The front of the package of cookies reads, "The most irresistible chocolate biscuit." Yes, that's right!


I love this racquet sport. This is probably one of my favorite sports to play. I love the feeling of smashing the shuttlecock with the racquet. When I was younger, my friend P.J. and I would play badminton all the time in my backyard. Even though I lost most of the time, I still enjoyed playing it. I try to watch as much badminton as I can when the Summer Olympics are on.

Coca-Cola Vanilla (Vanilla Coke)

This is the soft drink Coca-Cola made to a recipe with extra vanilla. Regular Coke contains a small amount of vanilla. But with Coca-Cola Vanilla, you can really taste the vanilla. For awhile Vanilla Coke was discontinued, but I'm so glad they decided to bring it back since it's very tasty. They also have Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summer Olympics

I always look forward to the Summer Olympics and enjoy watching as much of them as I can. I prefer the Summer Olympics to the Winter Olympics. It's really cool to see all these nations coming together and competing to the best of their ability. On my list of things I would like to do before I die, is seeing part of the Summer Olympics in person when it's in the US. I think it would be an incredible experience to be rooting for your country in your homeland like that and to be a part of this great international experience. If Chicago gets to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, I will probably do everything in my power to go.

For 2008, to celebrate the Summer Olympics, I hosted an International Party. The people I invited were encouraged to bring food/desserts from the country of their choice, and to be creative. We had eggrolls, sushi, hummus, a Swiss chicken dish, Italian beef and meatballs, sauerkraut, polish sausage, mini tacos and burritos, cheeses of the world, fruit, cannolis, cookies and candies from different nations, wines from different countries, etc. It was quite a nice spread. I found lots of flags of the nations decorations, so it looked pretty festive. And we all enjoyed watching the Opening Ceremonies. It is always fun to see what the host nation does with that, and cool to see the parade of nations and the torch being lit. It was a fun time.

Some of my favorite events to watch are gymnastics, some of the track and field stuff, volleyball, and badminton. Now there is more television coverage than ever, so it is awesome to watch lots of Olympic stuff!

Psalm 54

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Amaskil of David. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, "Is not David hiding among us?"

1 Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life—men without regard for God. Selah
4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good.

7 For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

David faced a lot of challenging times; sometimes he was struggling to survive. But he called out to God and asked for His help. He realized the LORD was the One who sustained him, just as the LORD sustains us through our troubles and during those times when we feel like the world's against us. Because of the LORD, we too can look in triumph on our foes, including the devil who is always trying to tempt us and pull us away from God. We know he's been defeated!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

3D Pinball Space Cadet

This game typically comes already installed on many PCs. I like playing pinball for real, and also enjoy playing video game/computer versions. 3D Pinball Space Cadet is a lot of fun and very addicting!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Alone" Heart

I love the Heart version of "Alone" which was really popular in 1987. It was Heart's biggest hit, and is a great power ballad. The song starts out kind of soft and then builds. I love hearing the group belt out the song.

I also dig the Celine Dion version of this too.

Listen and download

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pretzel Bread

Pretzel bread is unbelievably delicious! I am always excited to find a place that makes it (wish I could find more places to get it!). When my mom and I ate at the German Biergarten in Epcot, we ate tons of this.