Snow Patrol and the Shelf

I have been utterly enthralled with Snow Patrol lately. Most of you are familiar with their smash hit, Chasing Cars, but might I introduce you to my favorite two songs. Set Fire to the Third Bar is just so hauntingly beautiful, and Shut Your Eyes is also wonderful.

Set Fire to the Third Bar

Shut Your Eyes


An Old Testament Theology – Bruce Waltke
– Just outstanding. A flow of narrative, exegesis, commentary and teaching. A must have for both reference and personal enrichment. Bravo Mr. Waltke. Bravo.

The Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne
– Arguably the most challenging book I have ever read. I find myself cheering on my brother, being deeply convicted by his faith in action, refreshed by his perspective of Jesus, and wincing at his lack of sound doctrine. Read carefully, but please read.

James – James brother of Jesus
– Ryan and I had a pretty good discussion about James the other night. For the second straight time, I have felt God clearly speaking directly to me through the book of the Bible I am studying. I say this in contrast to simply learning. This is a good book, it is teaching me to care less about teaching the right thing, and more about loving and doing the right thing. Also curious is the absence of penal-substitutionary atonement (note: I expect Ryan to rebut this in the comment section, but that doesn’t put it in the text. Example:if he or I were to preach James as a sermon, the other would call the other one out for missing the atonement as the central point to our teaching). I have spent many nights wrestling with this, desiring to let the word of God determine my theology.

Also, I am preaching The Parable of the Sower to High School students this weekend. I am filling in for a friend last-minute, please pray that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit.



If Awesome was a person it would be Tyrone Wells

Last night Crystal and I went to see Tyrone Wells; who in my limited opinion is one of the best musicians around. His songs are innovative. His lyrics are original and moving. His performance is one of a kind, and his vocals are off the charts. This guy was just born to entertain. I don’t know anyone else who could do a mash up of songs including, The Police, Marvin Gaye, and Justin Timberlake and then throw in a little yodeling to top it all off. I mean we are talking about the total package here, so if you ever get a chance to see him perform do it you will thank me.

But there is probably a more enduring reason why I have such an appreciation for Tyrone Wells. As Crystal and I started dating she turned my on to him and a lot of his songs now carry with them special memories from when we were dating. We would take trips down to SoCal to watch him play at a small little coffee shop and then drive around town listening to his CD’s. One of his songs became “our song” and we danced to it at our wedding. The song is entitled “Home to me.” Which was on his very first CD

Well this post is not just about Tyrone Wells it is also about how awesome my big sister Kammi is. My birthday was a few weeks ago and she went way out of her way to find out that Tyrone Wells would be in town and surprised us with the tickets. But here is the really awesome part; third song into his set Tyrone says, “Kammi wanted me to play this song for Crystal and Ryan tonight who danced to it at their wedding, so this one is for you.” Talk about unexpected and shocking, Crystal and I were both just blown away. It was special and really awesome. So Kammi if your reading this thank you thank you, Crystal and I now have a new memory that we will long carry with us.

Last if you have not listened to Tyrone Wells, you need to. Go to itunes and download at least these three songs.

1. What are we fighting for

2. Wondering where you are

3. California

Matt feel free to recommend some others since I know you have heard most of his songs.

Shelf Fridge Ipod

These posts are pretty fun to write, except for the times you discover that you have not listened to any new music and that your beer tastes have stayed pretty much the same for as long as you can remember.  Anyway, here is my list.


Spiritual Direction by Henri Nouwen.  Here is a quote from the book; “Once pain or confusion is framed or articulated by a question, it must be lived rather than solved.”  Or try this one on for size, “Our lives are not problems to be solved but journeys to be taken with Jesus as our friend and finest guide.”  Hey Brian McLaren Nouwen called and he wants he material back!  I’m kidding but this has been an excellent book for me to read, it is books like this (from a dead Catholic priest) that round out my Christian life, they allow me to be challenged and understand God from different avenues and streams than I am used to and particularly comfortable with.  Everyone should read this book, especially if you are reformed.

It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg. This is typical Ortberg, good writing, incredible illustrations and simply profound at times.  Guy is just a born communicator.  He does have a high “cheese” factor and can be quite “boomerific” at times but the book is quite enjoyable to read and is excellent for all.

PNTC Gospel of John by D.A. Carson.  Considering that I a huge fan of both D.A. Carson and the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series I knew that I would love this book.  This is the second beefy commentary I have read on John this year and I have to say Carson’s is second to none.  What I find remarkable about it is that whether you are a Greek guru or just a Christian wanting to dig deeper into the Gospel of John, there is something for you in this commentary.  Now that to me is the definition of great writing.  One who can write to all levels, even at the same time.


I have cut back on the beer drinking this summer, and lost over ten pounds this summer, maybe the two are related.  But a few good beers I have had are the Breckenridge Seasonal brew a few weekends ago, and anything by New Belgium they are the Patriots of the beer making world.

I have cooked a lot of steak this summer as I continue my secret mission to become the next Bobby Flay.  Yes I have gone to great lengths to learn how to cook the perfect steak, even watching hours and hours of the Food Network.  And I think I am getting close.  Won’t share all my insights right now because maybe a cookbook is my best shot at getting published in the future.


Kayne West Graduation. Honestly I was stunned when I saw that Matt had not included this new CD on his list.  If you are into hip-hop, which I am, then you will love this CD.  Kayne West has an ego the size of Barry Bond’s head but he also is incredibly talented.  Even if you do not like rap download the track “stronger” could be the best song of the year, it is easily the best workout song of the year.

ESPN Radio.  I have become and addict.  Crystal got me a subscription to ESPN the magazine and with it comes a membership to be an ESPN insider.  I would not give something like this a second thought usually but as an insider you get to download all their sports talk shows without the commercials, for free!  So everyday now I download it onto my Ipod and listen to it on the way to work.  Colin Cowherd is my favorite, the guy says some crazy stuff, but is hugely entertaining.  Plus with football season being back in full effect, sports talk radio is at its finest.



For those of you who don’t know, Shelf/Ipod/Fridge is a chance to share what you are reading, listening to, and drinking. I would encourage all loyal readers (and even marginal for that matter) to write a shelf/ipod/fridge post as well and link to it in the comment section of this post (Jake, since you have a iphone you have no excuse not to participate). If enough people participate we could make this a monthly endeavor, sharing our different tastes, and turning our voyeuristic online endeavors to somewhat of an actual community.


The Legacy of Sovereign Joy by John Piper

– Just finished this phenomenal mini-biography of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. Simply to hear the stories of conversion, the struggles (Luther’s bad mouth), and love for God that these great reformers was such a great encourage to continue to “contend for the faith.”

Getting Things Done by David Allen

– I am rereading this wonderful book on organizational principles. It has revolutionized how I view organizing my life. I am rereading it becuase I am having a hard time sticking to the implementation of these principles. This is a book I will probably read two or three times a year until I am able to master these great tools for productivity.

JPS Commentary on Ecclesiastes
by Michael Fox

– Other than having to read this book backwards (with the JPS you literally read from the right to left, except for the page itself) I love this commentary. I have relied primarily on the WBC series, but was pleased with what I read about this in the two reference surveys I have (Commentary and Reference survey are basically entire books that serve as annotated bibliographies for Bible commentaries). It is great to be as honest with hermeneutics as Solomon was in addressing life under the sun. What a splendid battle it is to study Ecclesiastes.


Black Holes and Revelations by MUSE

– Progressive rock at its best. I always say that I like my emo with a lot of rock, but I’m not even sure MUSE is emo. Just check out the link, they’re wonderful.

Under the Iron Sea by Keane

– Keane lands somewhere between MUSE and Coldplay. Note: I cannot stand Coldplay, so Keane is my limit for piano led whiny Brittish pop/alternative rock. That being said, Under the Iron Sea, is one of 3 albums I have gotten in the past few years that I can listen from beginning to end. Listening to them simply makes me happy, and in a good move. Plus, its one of 5 cd’s I own that I can listen to with my wife.

Greatest Hitz by Limp Bizkit

– Yes I am serious, and yes this is proof positive that I graduated high school in 1999. But, after picking this up recently I was amazed at how many songs were still really good. I mean, if you had asked me in 2000 whether I thought Korn or Limp Bizkit would still be on my player in 10 years, I would have not hesitated to say Korn. Yet Counterfeit, Nookie, Re-Arranged, N 2 Gether Now, and Rollin’ all blared out of my window yesterday. Note: yes I did turn it down when at stop lights, I don’t want people to know how much of a loser I really am.


Only had one beer in my fridge over the last month, so I’ll modify this one a bit.

Fat Tire by New Belgium

– Sometimes you just have to go back to old trusted beers. Fat Tire never disapoints as a amber, slightly bitter Ale. And, I am eagerly anticipating their fall seasonal to be consumed shortly.

Cabernet Sauvignon  by Chateau Ste. Michelle

– Probably the best deep red you’re getting for around 10 bucks. And for my money, this dry-red is great with a juicy red steak, or kicking back on your porch smoking a…

Tobacco Pipe by Romeo and Juliet

– Yup, I have taken up pipe smoking. While it is working and making me feel smarter, I have not quite gotten used to how to correctly keep the tobacco lit. It is quite fun learning though. If anyone has any suggestions on what kind of tobacco to smoke please comment. I am most interested in a very aromatic blend

fridge/grill slash Ipod/Shelf

In the Fridge

Redhook India Pale Ale (IPA)

This is my third favorite IPA (#1 Mongoose IPA, Hales Ales – Seattle, WA; #2 Bridgeport IPA, Bridgeport Brewery – Somewhere in Oregon), although it is the best IPA I can find in Vegas (#2 Thunderhead IPA, Pyramid Brewing – Seattle, WA). Nice and hoppy with a phenomenal aftertaste. While it is a pale ale, it is not the best beer for 100 degree days due to the fact that maximum flavor is achieved after sitting out for about 15-20 minutes. The better a beer is, the better it tastes when warmer. I’m not saying a beer shouldn’t be cold, I’m simply working off a premise all beer snobs are well aware of: lighter beers are best ice cold because they lack substantial flavor. That being said, while the IPA is great, I’m drinking it inside, not on the porch. And since we have a great new porch, my second beer is the …

Pryamid Curve Ball

No beer says spring and summer like Pryamid’s Curve Ball. This Kölsch style beer perfectly exemplifies spring and summer. Named after a summer staple (baseball) this is the perfect beer for sitting out on the porch with a couple buddies talking about sports, theology, or anything for that matter. I cannot say enough for this beer except: ITS NOT IN MY FRIDGE. Somehow every liquor store within a 20 mile radius hates me and my buddy Derek as when went on a journey to find curve ball’s last week. Such a great spread that most Vegas liquor store have (all the locals will understand my sarcasm here) they have neglected this great beer. Although, Lee’s did have Butt Monkey. Hey Ryan, if only they had Ass Goblin.

Longhammer IPA (by Red Hook)

Can you believe that Red Hook came out with a second IPA? Neither could I becuase they packaged it completely different. I actually passed this up at the store a couple times and would have missed it completely had not my buddy Derek bought it for me as a bartering trade for some stuff he took home from our yard sale last weekend. This is one of the smoothest IPA’s I have ever tasted, which depending on how big of a hop-head you are, is either a good or bad thing. I would say this to those of you who have not had a good IPA experience: go buy a sixer of Longhammer IPA, it will change your perspective.

NOTE: I wrote all that down before I read this quote by a concerned drinker, and someone in the know.

pirateale (1 month ago)

i was very disappointed in this new Red Hook IPA, then i was delt another blow to find out the “long hammer” replaced their original IPA. Altho the long hammer is far more palatable for average beer drinkers, hop heads beware, low IBUs simplistic hop and malt profiles overall a light session ale. this is a very small beer

michaelyblam (1 month ago)
According to Redhook – the original IPA and the Long Hammer is one of the same beer. There’s no difference except the name.

Alright, I’m a moron, onto the grill (wait I’ve been moving and haven’t had time to grill). Well then how about a quick shelf/ipod

On the Shelf

Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen

Everything Justin Taylor and John Piper say about Owen is true. He’s amazing. One concept he has helped drive home to me which has had a tremendous affect on my walk with God and my preaching is the idea that sin comes from inside us, not from out in the world. That might seem like a simple/stupid point, but slide down that rabbit hole with your own soul and see how deep it goes.

Keller’s Gospel Class PDF’s

All that gospel saturated, foundational stuff you come to love by Keller, but given in a 200+ page leader’s guide, and 80+ page small group format. Just great to meditate on. If you haven’t read or listened to anything by Keller click on our links and get ready to achieve super-Christian status.

Bible passages about the Word of God

For the next 5-7 days I am going to be flushing out some thoughts on how we receive the word of God, and how we perceive his grace. Whether we like it or not most of us view life through a postmodern hermanuetic (the meaning of the author is in our interpretation not in the authors intent. For further study of the postmodern hermanuetic and God’s Word, read this great book), and that deeply affects the way we take in the scriptures as well as they way we perceive God’s grace. Should be good times.

On the ipod

Since my ipod’s on the fritz and I got scolded by one of the eight people in my church for listening to “secular” music, this will be brief.

Bloc Party, Bloc Party, and Bloc Party (I freaking love bloc party)

As always, feel free to write what’s in/on your fridge/grill or shelf/ipod. Although no one ever does.