Sunday, December 26, 2010

The story of Jonah

Here's a wonderful rendition of the story of Jonah told by a little girl.

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

White Christmas

Well, last night we had our first White Christmas in my area since 1948! Wow, that's a long time! I've always enjoyed playing in the snow for a number of reasons. Those include, snow angels, snow men, and the fact that snow is so rare in Hampton Roads. There's nothing like taking a bunch of snow and pelting your sister with it, either... all in good Christian love of course.

Another thing snow reminds me of is how clean Christ wipes away our sins and that couldn't come at a better time than at Christmas. In fact, in Psalm 51, King David was asking for mercy from God for his sin of adultery and murder and asked God to wash him "white as snow". This creates a perfect picture of how wide God's mercy is for us. This is the very reason Christ came on Christmas, that we would be made clean and able to commune with God. Wow!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

--David

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mother's birthday! For those of you who haven't had the privilege of meeting mom Ferrell, she's a great Christian woman and has set a great example for me to follow. The vast majority of principles, virtues, and life lessons I have learned from my mom. Not only that, but she has brought 3 children through their college undergraduate studies, she gives of her time and energy to our family, and she's just fun to talk to. Needless to say, I love my mom and it's always a joy to celebrate her birthday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Switchfoot - The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues) [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Switchfoot's music video of "The Sound", a song inspired by John M. Perkins, a civil rights activist dedicated to bringing one nation together united by the power of love.

He said it best when he said, "Love is the final fight."

Enjoy the video, check out www.jmpf.org . Special benefit concert for the John M. Perkins foundation on the 29th. Ustream feed at www.ustream.tv/switchfoot.

Switchfoot will also be playing at the Norva on Oct. 6th at 8PM. If you like what you hear and see, you'll love their show.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A powerful 3 word phrase.

Being a Christian nearly my entire life, sometimes sayings, phrases, and even scripture, pass by our eyes and ears and we take them for granted but don't let them penetrate our heart. One such phrase I had heard for years and the truth I took for granted. It wasn't until I heard a sermon on the phrase and really let it soak into my mind and heart that I was blown away by what the truth meant. This little 3 word phrase sums up everything that we should aspire to be, everything that we hope for, our reason for existence, and more than anything, displays the power and unbelievable blessings we've been bestowed as Christians.

That phrase is, "Christ in you."

At first glance it seems like such a trite phrase that every Christian understands. "Oh yeah, I get it, Jesus died, was resurrected, and now He lives in me through the person of the Holy Spirit." I get it. But think about what this means!

Colossians describes Christ as having the fullness of God's deity in Him. All of God's power, might, majesty, and glory are in Christ. God is Christ. The creator of worlds, galaxies, planets, stars, comets, trees, animals, sky, clouds, the very air you breathe is Christ. Not only that that same God died on a cross for you, a sinner who deserved every ounce of God's wrath, but in His mind-blowing grace, took your place and your punishment on Himself through Christ. 3 days later He rose from the grave. He promised a Helper and the Holy Spirit was sent to live and provide wisdom and guidance to our lives. That Spirit is Christ and He dwells in you!

The fullness of God dwells in You! Christ in You! If we, as Christians could grasp this principle and truth that the God of the universe dwells and works in us, we would be a force to reckon with.

Paul put it this way in Colossians 1:25-27

25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You see God's purpose is all about God giving glory to Himself and the hope for that is Christ in you, residing in you, working through you, living in you, that will accomplish that. When we take hold of that truth and deny ourselves, we magnify God, he gets the glory and as a reward, we get joy.

Walk in this truth and may God infiltrate your life.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What Will People Think? What Will People Do? I Don't Really Care

In 2009, I dove headlong into a ministry that has since changed my perspective on God, given me a new purpose, and has also been quite a ride. I'm talking of leading my student Community Group. This past year has been a journey that I won't easily forget. I've developed spiritually and also built relationships with a group of rowdy teenagers.

Last year, the student ministry kicked off the year with an event called One. I remember that day very clearly. The worship center was packed out and at the end of the night, many students made a commitment for Christ.

Last night, we kicked off the year in the same fashion and WOW, was it powerful.

First off, I have to go on record and say this was hands down my favorite One experience thus far. It was the 3rd we've had and this one blew the other 2 out of the water. Of course, when God shows up, crazy and beautiful things happen.

The theme last night was Jesus Freak and Rob began by telling a little bit about the eponymous song. For those who don't know, Rob and I share a strong affinity for DC Talk, the band who performs the song. They're both mine and Rob's favorite band, although Switchfoot is a very, very close second for me. Jesus Freak is my all-time favorite song, so when the band came out and performed the song, I, of course, had a smile from ear to ear and screamed like a little girl when they were done. The whole band did exceedingly well performing the song. Mike gave easily one of the best and ridiculously face-melting guitar performances ever to hearken the WEC stage. Rob did a great job with Toby's part and Keren, Rob B, Larry, Randy, and Brooke all did their part to make it one of the most memorable performances ever.

We had 3 worship songs and then Rob came and gave the message. He spoke on impacting the community around us by living for Christ and becoming a "Jesus Freak", one who is so ardently enthused about Jesus that he or she doesn't care what people think or say, he or she just lives for Him.

At the end of the night we sang "The Stand" by Hillsong and Rob called the students who were willing to make a stand for Christ to come on stage. What followed was a moment that made this 26 year old cry. There before me was a crowd of teenagers lifting their hands and eyes to God singing, "I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the One who gave it all. I'll stand my soul, Lord, to You surrendered. All I am is Yours."

I can't wait to hear the stories from the lives of those students. It makes me proud to be a part of what God's doing in their lives at WEC.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Entitlement? What's that?

Last week, in a bible study that I've been attending, we discussed the topic of tolerance and fairness. We mentioned that, as Christians, we can be tolerant of other religions and still maintain the belief that Jesus is the only way to God. The argument of, "that's not fair" was then brought to mind. At that point in the conversation, I kinda butted in and said, "grace isn't fair." As Christians it isn't fair that we get freedom from sin, it isn't fair that we have a way out of darkness. The Christian life as we know it isn't fair. What would be fair is that we would spend eternity separated from God due to our sin. But God in His mercy sent His Son to die on a cross so we didn't have to.

And yet...
Humans, even Christians, sometimes fall victim to the idea of entitlement. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean by this is the feeling that says that because of something I've done or an attribute or characteristic that I have, I deserve or am entitled to a reward, item, object, or something else that is desirable.

Hear me on this: nothing could be further from the truth.

The food you eat: that's a gift.
Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness may be written down as a right in The Declaration of Independence, but no, my friend, you are not entitled to it. It's a gift.
The job you have, as miserable or wonderful as it may be, is a gift.
Your family is a gift.
That iPod you saved up for is a gift.
The money you worked for is a gift. You worked for it, but it is not entitled to you. God owns it.
Your teachers or professors, they are gifts.
Your intelligence is a gift. (Don't waste it!)
Your significant other is not entitled to you. Sure, there's that marriage license, but he or she is a gift!
And one last one: The very breath you are breathing, the breath that gives you life, is a gift.

You see, friends, God demands payment for sin because He and sin don't go together. We are sinners. All have sinned and fallen short. In order for justice to be served, a payment had to be made and our lives were the price. But God, in His mercy, made the ultimate sacrifice by doing the unthinkable, sacrificing His son, in payment for us. But it did not end there for 3 days later Christ was risen and we have the privilege, not the right, to share in His resurrected life if we believe on the name that is above every other, the name of Jesus.

We can not and should not fool ourselves into thinking that we deserve something. Instead, we should lift our eyes to the heavens and thank God for the mercy and blessings He has shown.

We are entitled to nothing. We have been given more than we deserve. So instead of saying, "That's not fair." Let's change our attitude and say, "Thank you for what I've been given."

And when we live a life glorifying the God who gave it all, God rewards us with joy, peace, and true life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time with the Cooley clan.

This past Saturday I went to Richmond to see my mom's side of the family and to celebrate my uncle Matt's 40th birthday. It was a lot of fun. We had steak and chicken and green beans and mushrooms for dinner. It was delicious. Also, Baggo (also known as cornhole) is a tradition whenever we get together. I didn't have time to play a full game, though.

All 3 of my Mom's brothers were there along with all of their children, which just so happens to be all girls, which makes myself and my brother a little out-numbered. There's 5 of them and 2 of us. This would normally be fine because I've known my cousins all there life, enjoy their company and love them.

There was just one thing that really bugged me that Saturday evening.

They all ganged up on me, yes all 5 of them, and asked why I was still single. Granted, they have somewhat of a point. Yes, I am 26 and still single, but I'm quite happy with my life and enjoy what I do. I have a great job, go to a great church, get out and have fun, have friends, etc. Of course, there's no reasoning with these girls. I think it's partly cuz they want another girl in the family.

In all honesty, I still love my cousins and I know they only want the best for me. I just find it quite humorous that they think I can't be happy if I'm single, which is so far from the truth. I wanted to say to them, "Jesus was single," but I knew that wouldn't do much good.

All this to say, I am waiting for whoever God has in store for me and preparing myself to be the kind of man God wants me to be for her.

Special note to my cousins: I still love ya.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things I learned from vacation 2010

Things I learned from vacation:

Chicago is beyond awesome.
Signs is a contagious game.
People over the age of 25 fall asleep more easily during late night movies.
The closer you are to your friends, the smaller your space bubble is.
Kayaking in shallow water alone is not a good idea.
Searching for a public library in Indiana is like playing the Water Temple in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Sunflowers are a lot bigger when you see them in person.
Indian food and wine goes together.
The Tides aren't any better playing away from home, but I cheer for them anyway.
Wrigley Field was built in 1914.
Hercule Poirot and Britney Spears' music makes a hilarious combination.
A car traveling from Lafayette to Chicago or vice versa is a time machine. (thanks to time zones)
I don't want Ignatius the Ultimate Youth Pastor anywhere near my church.
It takes an hour or more to get Chicago's deep dish pizza. Is it worth it? OH YEAH!
Virginia should import Indiana's night sky.
Time with people you love is priceless.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Movie Review: Inception

About a year ago, I was sitting in the movie theater waiting for a movie to come on when a teaser trailer for a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio came on. There wasn't much shown, some cool special effects scenes and Leo giving a very contemplative look towards the camera. The first shot was "From Christopher Nolan". At this point I had seen every one of his movies except for Insomnia and Following. This got me intrigued. Then they showed the rest of the teaser trailer. From that point I was hooked. Nolan has never made a movie that I didn't like. There were some I liked more than others, but he's never made a movie where I walked out of the theater thinking, "Wow, that movie was bad." So, when I heard about this film, I knew it would be on my list to see the following year. The movie I'm talking about is of course, Inception, which is almost guaranteed to rake in box office millions this weekend. Having seen it last night, it will probably stay at the top for a while.


For those of you who are uninformed about the basic plot of the movie, here's a brief synopsis, without giving away anything. DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a man who has experience extracting information from a person's mind by entering his or her dream. However, a man from a very lucrative corporation asks him to do the unthinkable, plant an idea into his competitor's mind. For reasons, I will not disclose here, Cobb accepts and assembles a team to perform this task. That, in a nutshell, is what the movie centers around. However, Nolan does so much more with the film by introducing complex ideas and thoughts centered around the idea of the thin line between the waking world and the dream world. What would happen if we temporarily lived in the dream world? Would we want to come back? This is just one question that Nolan addresses.

I can't tell you much about the film for one simple reason: you have to see it for yourself. I could tell you about it, but it's a very experiential film. In a summer full of films with no weight, creativity, or intelligence behind them, Christopher Nolan has created a wholly original film that dares to be different. Where most movies this summer are asking you to check your brain at the door, Inception demands you put in overdrive.

David's rating: 4 stars out of 4.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Favorite Thing #2: Smallville

I've been meaning to come back to my blog for a long time, but I couldn't decide on what to write about. Then a number of things happened to help me decide.

1. Heroes got cancelled after only 4 seasons.
2. Smallville was renewed for it's 10th season.
3. It was announced that Smallville's 10th season would be it's last.
4. I watched the Richard Donner cut of Superman II
5. I bought Season 1 and 2 of Smallville and the Richard Donner Cut at the same time.
6. I met a new friend with the same love of Smallville that I have.

How do these relate?

Heroes being cancelled after 4 seasons proved what I had long suspected: that the show was more focused on plot than characters. After they changed the characters after the 1st season, that's when I stopped watching and apparently a lot of other people did too.

The next 2 reasons are self explanatory: I've been watching the show since day one so when the show was renewed I was excited, but I should also mention that while I was sad that Smallville will be ending after this season, I also thought it was a good decision. I can't think of a better time to end it. It seems to fit the story arc so well and where they're going with the storyline makes sense for it to be Clark's last confrontation before he sports the tights and cape.

After watching the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, I couldn't help but think about how Smallville had maintained a similar serious nature and tone to the Superman story. Also, there are several nods to the Superman films. Among them being the guest appearance of Christopher Reeve himself.

For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past 9 years: Smallville is a show chronicling the life of Clark Kent from his birth to the time he becomes the great American superhero: Superman.

To say Smallville is one of my favorite things almost seems like too little to say for such a great show. I've been watching the show since day 1 and if I ever miss a show I always find a way to watch it before the following week. Though there have been many changes throughout the years: Michael Rosenbaum and Kristen Kreuk leaving being 2 of the biggest, Smallville has maintained its integrity and focus. While many shows these days include crude humor, inappropriate situations, and sex overload, Smallville has maintained relatively clean. What impresses me the most is that while each season has an individual story arc, it builds upon the previous one and sets the vision for the next and the character development, to me, is unparalleled. When you've been watching this show for as long as I have, you begin to become attached to the characters and you look forward to what the future has in store for them. The writing is some of the best in the industry. They know how to build a compelling plot without sacrificing character development and they also create a plot situations specific for each character so that they can explore a different aspect of who they are. I've watched too many TV ads where it feels like they're just using star power to pull an audience without creating characters that are actually enjoyable week after week. It's also one of the very few shows I know that have both self contained episode plots along with an overarching story arc. Most shows I've seen on the air are all about plot, but you get no satisfaction from that single episode. You have to watch the whole season to get that.

On a final note, I think the Superman saga itself intrigues me because it's so similar to how God loved us enough to send us his only son.

"They can be a great people Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son."

Friday, April 30, 2010

There Ain't No Drug

Have you ever been enjoying a nice, relaxing television show, when a drug commercial comes on, that makes you laugh and uncomfortable at the same time? And then you think to yourself, "People buy this stuff?" I certainly have. Recently I read an article about a spray that apparently stimulates the "cuddle hormone" allowing for more affection from the male half of a relationship. I posted the article on my facebook page later with the caption, "Need emotion in your relationship? Just use this spray!".

The reason I bring this up is that more and more drugs are being created for problems that don't require a drug. That or drug advertisements create the illusion that their particular product will solve all of your problems. You know what I'm talking about. Those commercials that come on and you see the main character of the commercial in a down and out mood, the colors are bland, and you get a sense that he or she is helpless. Then he or she takes the drug and suddenly his or her life is completely better. The family comes together, everything is perfect, the colors in the commercial get brighter, and inevitably you get the cheesy slogan at the end after all the side effects are run by your ears at lightning speed.

Now, this is not discounting the effect of the drug and what it can do for some people. I just think that buying a drug impulsively is a bad idea. A smart customer should research all options before making a decision, especially what the side effects are! Also, advertisers should be clear and list the side effects clearly so that customers aren't effected negatively. It could also prevent future lawsuits.

But there's another problem. There are tons of drugs that deal with symptoms and not with the real problem: yourself. For instance, if you have a hangover, there are drugs you can take to relieve the pain, but you caused the problem by drinking too much. If you smoke, you will get cancer eventually, and there are drugs that are taken as a result, but you could have decided to quit earlier. If you have heartburn, you can take tums, but you could have prevented it by watching your diet. There are so called "weight loss pills", but you could have exercised. If you have problems cuddling, now there is a spray that can help you get over your bad self. In each of these cases, the problem ultimately came back to the person. The simple solution: do what you can to be healthy and if necessary, be held accountable.

In the same way, we are all sinners. Nothing we do can make us right with God. Sure, we may feel better, but the root of the problem never goes away. Deeds don't obtain righteousness. Only the blood of Christ shed on Calvary can set us free. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

As Switchfoot put it in their song Mess of Me, "There ain't no drug, the sickness is myself."





Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SABOTAAAAAGE!!!!

Switchfoot rocking out with a cover of the Beastie Boys' rock classic.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blues Traveler





Last night I got to see a band that I've only recently gotten into called Blues Traveler. They've been around for a long time and when I saw they were in town I thought I'd check em out. I went with my good friend Scott Minter. We had a blast. John Popper, the lead singer, can play harmonica like no other. Below are some photos.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NeedtoBreathe, community, and a deer

It's been a week since I last blogged and I have a lot of things I could talk about that happened this past week, but I want to talk about just one of those events.

On Sunday I was headed over to meet my friend and community group leader, Jean-Paul, to ride over to Norfolk to see NeedtoBreathe. I was traveling down Warwick Blvd towards downtown, when all of a sudden a doe, yes, a female deer (Sound of Music, anyone?) sprang out of nowhere and my 2005 Toyota Camry collided with it. Thankfully, the damage was very minor and my car is still driveable, but the deer didn't fare as well.

While it was alive after I hit it, the deer had to be put down by the park ranger who was phoned shortly after my accident. It was a sad moment, but I knew the park ranger knew best. Once the deer was removed from the scene, the park ranger gave me his information and I was good to go. I was able to go see NeedtoBreathe and enjoy a fabulous show. For great photos of the show, head over to robshep.com He was also there and will testify to the amazing performance they put on.

It started off rocking with the song "The Outsiders" and maintained a high note for their entire set. Then, at the very end, NeedtoBreathe cut off all of the amplification, microphones, and the rest of the electronic equipment and the crowd gathered around for a beautiful, acoustic rendition of "Washed by the Water", one of my favorite songs by the band. All in all, a very memorable experience, despite my wildlife encounter.

Friday, April 09, 2010

NeedtoBreathe - Something Beautiful video

On Sunday I'll be going to see NeedtoBreathe live at the NorVa. For those of you who've never heard their stuff, here's an acoustic performance by the band of their song "Something Beautiful" off their latest album, The Outsiders

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Return of the Blog and Favorite Thing #1

Well, what can I say, it's been well over a month since I've posted on this blog. Some of my regular blog readers may be wondering why. Well, I didn't forget. The hiatus was in fact, intentional. I needed some time away from it to take a break, and also so I could focus on things other than my computer for a change. So, I've thought about a lot of ways I could bring the blog back including a dissertation on my opinion of Twilight, a review of a recent movie I saw, a report of what's going on at WEC, but I thought, instead, I'd borrow an idea. My friends Josiah and Josh have both done, if I'm not mistaken, entries on some of their favorite things. I thought I would do the same. So, without further delay, here is my favorite thing #1.

Root Beer. That's right, root beer. It is hands down, my favorite type of soda, and interestingly enough, no root beer is the same. You have your Mug, your Barq's, your A&W, but then you also have your Jones, your IBC, and your Stewart's. In my experience, root beer that comes in a glass bottle always tastes better than ones that don't. Not only that, but the aesthetic experience of drinking out of a glass bottle has always been more appealing to me. There's just something special about holding an ice cold glass bottle. But the best root beer moments are the ones shared with friends while drinking it out of a frosty mug while engaging in some fun activity whether it be around a campfire, watching a movie, or having an enjoyable conversation. Root beer moments are the best. If you haven't had one in a while, you should try it soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Do Something Now

At Passion 2010, this video was shown to encourage us to do something for the depraved world. It touched my heart. I hope it touches yours. video

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Switchfoot Podcast Episode 43

For those of you who don't know already, I'm a huge fan of Switchfoot. They have a podcast that I follow. It's available for free on iTunes. Something to note is you have to convert it to play on an iPod. Anyway, here's the video.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow!

There are few things in VA that I enjoy more than snow. For several reasons, but the following are the most significant:

1. The many uses of snow: snow cream, snow men, snow forts, and of course snowball fights

2. It RARELY occurs in Virginia.

Now, technically, we get snow in the form of freezing precipitation about once a year, but rarely do we get enough to do anything with it or shut down schools. Snow doesn't count as snow if schools don't close, that's just me. Anyway, this year, I went out and measured in my yard and we had just over 6 inches. That's a ton of snow! Today I built a midget snowman. I say midget, because the only way it could be a "man" is if it was a midget.

I hope everyone reading this enjoyed the snow and has been outside to enjoy it. It's something everyone should take advantage of.

Snow also reminds me of a few passages of Scripture. Psalm 51 and Job 38 come to mind.

In Psalm 51, David writes one of his most famous psalms after Nathan has revealed to him his sin with Bathsheba. There he cries out to God for forgiveness and says, "wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Snow's pretty white, so to be washed that clean creates a beautiful image of how Christ washes away our sins. In Job 38, God is in the middle of what I like to call "the Job smackdown" Here God is displaying and describing to Job His power and might and just how huge and glorious he is. He asks Job several rhetorical questions including the one we find in verse 22 which says, "Have you entered the storehouses of snow, or have you seen the storehouses of hail," Basically saying, "Job, I am God, you are not. I have storehouses of snow that you've never seen."

So from these 2 scriptures we get a great picture of God's power, might, and mercy. He loves us enough to forgive us and make us whiter than snow, but He also is powerful and mighty enough to create winter storms like the one we saw this weekend. I hope this blog and the snow will remind you of that.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Awakening: Passion 2010






A New Year is generally sign of new beginnings and I would have to say that this year was definitely not an exception. This year I went to Passion 2010. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what Passion is, here's a little bit of what it is. It's a time where students and young adults between the ages of 18-26 come together to glorify God, worship together , and hear teachings from some of the best speakers around. But more than that, it's a time to meet God, glorify His name, and do our part to bring justice to the world the 4 days we are there.

This year the speakers were Beth Moore, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, and John Piper. The worship leaders were Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, David Crowder*Band, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Fee, and Hillsong United. All of the people involved did a fantastic job of not just making Passion an event, but a time where hearts were united to glorify God and to awaken to a new revelation of who God is. For me, it was as if God was saying, "Hey, you want to see a little more of who I am? Here you go!" I was blown away and for a brief time, I felt like I got to experience what heaven is going to be like. It was that great and now, I can't wait to see where God is going to bring me.

It should also be said that the college students raised $724,480.42 for 12 organizations that do ministry all across the world. Not only that, but a family at Passion matched what we gave when the total was $668.597.00. So the total given was $1,393,077.42 ! Wow!

I also met a group of people with whom I bonded during the four days I was there. They were my family group. God used them to speak truth into my life and also had the privilege of being a small part of God moving in their lives. Without a doubt, that was my favorite part. Worship and preaching are good, but what use would it be if I went to Passion and my life didn't change? It would just be an event. Thankfully God showed up and rocked my world.