Biblical Thoughts

By Kyle
After deciding that instead of finishing my "12" books that I resolved to read by the end of the year in favor of reading the entire Bible through in 3.5 months, I have now decided to bring some of my perceptions that I find interesting to you...This will be short and little points, not everything by any means, but hope you can enjoy:

  • God's promise to Jacob ended up being much less cool than it sounds, but its still an amazing promise by God: "'I am God, the God of your father,' he said.  'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.  I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.'" Genesis 46:3-4 - This promise took over 470 years to be fulfilled.
  • The reason for Israel's slavery in Egypt was because of their brother, Joseph. (Genesis 47:21)
  • The Lord's Supper has deeply rooted meaning in the Passover, but we often ignore this connection.  The bread and blood represented God passing over judgement on His people.
I also thought something I never thought I'd think last night "I can't wait till I can get to Leviticus".  Reading about the Tabernacle dimensions can get boring!


By Kyle
What a week!  Mix our launching of our new fall program line up for our youth group with the fact that I've been nasty sick creates a pretty tough week.  Barely keeping your head above water is not the way I like to get started with launch!

Thankfully God is bigger than me and I think that this week was very good and that God is using what He's put into place!  Pray for our youth!

Thoughts from the Latest Episode of Glee

By Kyle
Emily and I watched the first episode of the show "Glee" last week.  It was charming and had some interesting redone music.  So we sat down this evening to watch the new episode tonight.  And in an age where people are panicking because the president is giving a speech to our children to stay in school, a lot of parents tonight probably missed the garbage that was thrown into their kids heads.

The episode tonight had a lot to do with sexual tension, and I do not want to avoid that issue.  I think its very true that teens today have a very, very hard battle to stay pure with the sexual culture the way it is.  Our kids are feeling huge amounts of sexual pressure and have no clue how to deal with it.  But tonight, Glee provided an simple explanation that the director obviously believed and it can be summed up in this pivotal speech by Rachel:
"You know what? This is a joke.  Did you know that most studies have demonstrated that celibacy does not work in high schools?  Our hormones are driving us too crazy to abstain.  The second we tell ourselves that we have no room for compromise, we act out.  The only way to deal with teen sexuality is to be prepared, thats what contraception is for."
Do you want to know why celibacy often doesn't work?  It's because all we care about is that a student committed to say "no".  In fact, I know personally many people who have made commitments to be celibate and have failed.  They had given it over to God and made sure to let everyone know what choice they had made.  Many even had rings to show their commitment.

But the reason that so many students are having trouble staying celibate is not because they don't want to.  When we get married, we commit to the other person to be true and faithful, and we mean it, so why do people fail that?  Does that mean that we should give up getting married and trying to make marriages work?  No way!

There is no formula to staying celibate, but in my opinion, if you don't have a strategy to go along with your celibacy, then good luck, because you are playing with a time bomb and just hoping that your hormones don't get the best of you.  Here are some strategies that I have found to work:

  1. Set boundaries, then set boundaries around the boundaries - So many people who say "I won't have sex" have no problem going with their boyfriend or girlfriend and making out with them.  I know this from experience.  And when it happened, it was hard to not go further.  Teenagers love to test boundaries and so the best thing you can possibly do is to set your boundaries as far away from what you want to stay away from.
  2. Set boundaries in your emotional life - Our culture has told us that sex is physical and not much else.  However, that really is pretty inaccurate.  Sex is very emotional and social.  What I mean by that is that if you are deeply, deeply connected to someone emotionally, there can be a huge temptation to take that emotional connection to a physical realm.  I think this is the main reason why students fail at staying abstinent.  
  3. Limit your time together with that special someone - Likewise, on the social level, how much time you spend with that person can lead you into going places sexually/physically that you never thought you would.  When a relationship starts, times are often few and can be so charged with excitement, and as time goes on your get comfortable and start intertwining the things that you do.  Pretty soon, you spend so much of your time together.  And often when someone is spending all their time with that special someone, 2 things happen - 1.) they often lose other friends, and 2.) they often get physical in a way that they did not expect to.
  4. Get friends and/or parents involved - Talk to people that you can trust about whats going on.  BE HONEST!  You're not helping anyone by lying.  If you friends and parents know your boundaries, then they can help keep you accountable for it.  But don't wait for them to call you on it.  Use integrity and also check yourself when you find yourself coming close to a boundary.
  5. Talk about getting close to a boundary before you cross it - I think a lot of people can see the end coming when they are going to come close to a difficult situation.  But our tendency is to say, "oh, I haven't done anything wrong, though".  If you talk with people about getting close, they can help you deal with it before you cross the line and feel guilty.
  6. Remake your boundaries every 6 months - A 5th grader wants to stay away from the opposite sex because they still have cooties, an often 8th grader is too terrified to say or act on their feelings, and an upperclassmen in high school can get into a pretty deep relationship.  I know those are generalizations, but they are made to show that a teenager changes A LOT during their years.  And with that, the way you perceive sexual issues changes A LOT.  What you felt 6 months ago might not apply today.  So remaking your boundaries does not mean that you should lower your guard each time.  Instead, talk honestly with someone about how you've been with the boundaries.  Ask these questions:
      1. What has been easy for me to keep?
      2. Has there been anything that might not fall under any of your boundaries?
      3. What has been hard for me to keep?
      4. Of the answers for 2 & 3, what things should I create more boundaries around?
      5. Of the answer to 1, what things can I safely allow myself do without risking my purity?

Now these are just my thoughts that I have put together through the years. Take them if you need.  Shape them if you want.  But please, don't leave it at "I'm not going to have sex until I'm married".  I don't want anyone to tell you that you can't control yourself and your sexuality!

Updated Photo Gallery

By Kyle
So, I updated the photo gallery on the website.  You can access it by clicking "+ MORE PICS" on the right sidebar.  Before, you could only view 20 pictures total, but now you can view as many as we post.  Right now, there are 79, but we'll make sure to have lots and lots and lots.

Check out the pictures here

This one is for you, Dad

By Kyle
As some of you might know, my (Kyle's) dad stabbed himself in the chest with a knife while trying to open one of those annoy plastic packages that are impossible to open.  When he told me the story, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...because it was so funny, and yet terrible at the same time.  He could have killed himself...scary.

So, today I ran across this: "How to open clamshell packaging"

The ultimate solution: either use a can opener or don't buy them.  Thankfully, there is also the argument that they are terrible the environment so many companies and stores are going away from using this stuff.

Do your part - don't stab yourself.

Very Cool Pictures

By Kyle
So, I sometimes come across some pretty cool pictures on the web, but this site has some amazing pictures of "Biblical Events" taken on Google Earth.  Here's a sneak peek at the garden of Eden.  See if you can spot Adam & Eve.  Here's the link to the rest of the pictures.


Its Hard to Love

By Kyle
I am a person who always like to be conscious of what is going on deep inside me.  As with many other people in this world, sometimes I find myself doing things that I don't want to be doing.  And sometimes in the process of this, I end up not loving others, but end up being self-serving.

Over the past month, I have been stretching myself to do things that I know are loving to others, but actually hit on some pretty deep (and weird) fears that I have.  One of those is making phone calls.  For some reason, picking up the phone to call someone is about as scary as when a teenage boy goes up and talks to the girl he likes.  Not quite the same emotions, but some of those same fears come up in me.

What habits, fears, weaknesses do you struggle with that hurt your ability to love others?

Updated Site

By Kyle
After much effort to make the other site work, I decided to simplify my life a bit and create a hub for you to all see what we already update regularly, rather than trying to do something different that I will rarely update.

So now you get our blogs, our pics, and our tweets all in one place!

Whereas in the past I have used frameworks on the web to do my websites, this one is done completely from scratch by me.

One of the great things of this site is that I can easily add your blog or twitter feed or even flickr account (if you are a Mellander, or related to one closely) so that this can become a hub where we know whats going on with the family.  If it never reaches that, no big deal, you'll have a great place to see whats up in our world!