Church thoughts to chew on for January 24th, 2010: Redemption

thoughtstochewonBefore I start this week’s church thoughts to chew on, I wanted to say that Stephanie and I have gotten some great response from several people since we decided to start posting these weekly recaps. For us these posts are a great way to reflect, absorb and share the message that we hear each week during church and we’re super excited to get feedback that lets us know that some of you out there have actually been paying attention as well. Our goal isn’t to to shove our thoughts and beliefs down your throats, it’s to give you all an insider’s look into what we’re experiencing each week in a Christian worship setting and to give you some of our thoughts on how it all translates to us personally. As always, thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions for us, please be sure to comment on any post or shoot us an email (you can contact us by clicking on the links under the ‘Stalk Hup and Steph’ to right).

With all of that being said, the main focus of the message at church today was redemption, which to me is a word that is often used in religious settings, but rarely explained. If you Googled the word redemption, you’d quickly see that it has a lot to do with being freed or rescued from a harmful situation. Today during service, redemption was specifically defined as: to be liberated, freed, or rescued from bondage and slavery to a person or being and it was the foundation of a fantastic message that explained and outlined the redemption that Jesus gave each and every human being by giving up his life on the cross. Yeah, you could say that redemption is pretty awesome. Read on to find out why.

To better understand redemption, we went over two different prototypes: Exodus Prototype and Cultural Prototype, as well as Bible verses that supported each.

Exodus Prototype: This type of redemption is focused on a freeing or release from something that is harmful to us or enslaving us. For example, in the Bible passage below the Israelites were redeemed from being slaves to the Egyptians, but this type of redemption could easily be from something more relevant to our everyday lives, such as being a slave to alcohol, pornography, sexual temptation or any other unhealthy or sinful behavior.

Exodus 6:6 – “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

Cultural Prototype: The idea of redemption has become a major theme in today’s pop culture, which can easily be seen by flipping on your TV on practically any night of the week. Are you in a situation where you severely need some redemption for your home? Well, then MOVE THAT BUS!!, because all you need to do is contact Ty over at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and your redemption will be granted through the building of a brand new, top of the line home with all of the furnishings. Need your wardrobe redeemed? The show What Not To Wear can help you out with that redemption, too. Need to be redeemed from a drug or alcohol addition? The guys over at Intervention would be more than happy to help you with with that, too. Everywhere you look there are people looking for a new beginning, a fresh start and a release from the hardships and struggles that they are dealing with and it’s selling better than ever before because true redemption is an incredibly powerful thing to watch.

Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Now that we’ve all got a good grasp on redemption, it’s  time to dig into how Jesus plays into all of this.

How Did Jesus Redeem Us?
– Jesus redeemed each and every one of us by willingly dying on the cross for us.
– God paid our ransom through the death of his son, Jesus Christ, and through that gave us all the opportunity to be redeemed from our sins.

How Do We Receive This Great Gift?
– Receiving the gift of redemption is free and simple, but not easy.
– Redemption requires humility, which basically means that you need to realize that you don’t have the power to overcome sin on your own, and we are ultimately undeserving of such love and forgiveness due to our sin nature.
– The first and most important thing that you need to do is to confess to God for forgiveness and then confess to others to start your healing process.

What I got most out of this message is that no one has done too much or gone too far in God’s eyes — there’s always a way to get redemption and be freed from the things that you are a slave to. But, it’s not going to happen automatically and it’s not easy, although it’s very straight forward from God’s point of view. If you ask Jesus to come into your life and realize that you can’t overcome the temptation of sin on your own, you will be given the gift of redemption and that, my friends, is an amazing sense of freedom that only God can give.

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If you’ve read through this and you’re questioning how exactly you can receive God’s free gift of grace and forgiveness and are ready to make that commitment, then please read on!  There is no “magic prayer” or exact wording that you need to pray.  It’s as simple as admitting to God that you are a sinner, and there is nothing that you will ever be able to do to merit forgiveness.  Believe that Christ, God’s son, came to earth to die on the cross and take our sin upon Himself.  Believe that He rose again on the 3rd day, and is alive today.  Dedicate your life to God and invite His spirit into your life.

If you have dedicated your life to Christ after reading this, then please don’t stay silent.  Contact us or someone that you feel comfortable with and tell them!  It’s a long road ahead but it’s a wonderful one, filled with hope, love, and new beginnings.

Some surgery fun: Hup fixes his AC Joint separation

Over 3 months ago I wrecked my bike like an idiot (only a block and a half away from my apartment) and jacked up my shoulder something fierce. I don’t get injured a whole lot, but whenever I do it usually happens at the most unexpected times like it did this time. It never happens when I’m do something really stupid like ramping something, dodging a car or racing a scooter down a major city street — it happens when I’m simply riding my bike home from work, just wanting to get home to see Stephanie. Since I wasn’t wearing a helmet (like a real idiot), I’m just happy that I got away with just an AC Joint separation and not some type of head injury. Even though I had the worst possible case of AC Joint separation, it’s still much, much better than landing on my noggin’ and doing some serious damage to that big brain of mine.

Well, like I said, it’s been nearly 3 months ago since my wacky accident happened and about 3 weeks ago I had surgery to fix the AC Joint separation that I unexpectedly gave myself during the first week that we lived up here in San Francisco. The surgery went great and I’m finally healed up enough to sit at a computer for longer than 20 minutes, which means that I can thankfully start making some videos again (they take a little bit o’ time to put together).

To celebrate the fact that I’m finally healing up and that I can start playing seriously on the interwebs again, I thought that it was only necessary to put together a video of my fun surgery experience that Stephanie snagged some clips of before and after I went under the knife.  Check out the video of my surgery fun below or over here on YouTube and be expecting more and more videos from us again now that my shoulder is officially on the mend (and now that we have Frank!).

The story behind Hup’s unexpected dislocated shoulder and why he loves Steph even more because of it

I Guess You Can Call Me An Optimist
If you knew me for any period of time, you would quickly realize that I am an optimist. Actually, just calling me an optimist is probably a radical understatement as I have always lived my life with a ‘the glass is definitely half-full‘ mentality and the rose-colored lenses that I tend to see the world through don’t come of too often. Some people in my family say that I’m a little too optimistic sometimes and that I tend to trust people a little too much, too soon. To this I say that on a few occasions they’re totally right — I’ve been taken advantage of and I’ve been used a few times thanks to the fact that I’ll give pretty much anyone the shirt off of my back if they’d  simply ask. But, as I tell the naysayers — the benefits that I have been blessed with and the people that I have gotten to meet due to my high level of trust and optimistic view of the world greatly outweigh the minuscule level of times that I have been taken advantage of. In other words, the good has always outweighed the bad about 10,000,000,000 t0 1.

I tell all of you this because over the past few days I have been put into an unexpected situation that I could have easily dealt with in a negative manner, which would have only made a seemingly bad thing turn into something much, much worse. But, instead of viewing my unexpected accident as something that I don’t deserve and something that’s going to practically ruin my life and plans that I’ve made for the near future, I saw it as something that was unavoidable at the time and something that can potentially make my life even better (if dealt with in the right way).

I Fought The Street (And The Street Won)
Monday morning was such an awesome way to start the week. I had just moved into my new place the weekend before and had woken up, worked out with my buddy Redg, had a productive day at work and was heading home to hang out with the love of my life, Stephanie, who had just gotten home from work about 30 minutes ago. As I was peddling home (literally a block and a half away from my apartment) I was picking up speed and in a few split seconds something really, really bad happened that left me laying upside-down on my (dislocated)shoulder with the bike somehow still attached to my foot. As I came to my senses, pulled my foot out of my shoe that was stuck in the bike’s front spokes and dragged the bike out of the street I began to feel a big, throbbing pain in my shoulder. Honestly, it didn’t feel any worse than any other time that I had fallen off my bike, but this is the only time that surprised me with a bone that was definitely not in the right place as I took off my backpack and ran my hand over my back and shoulder. Something wasn’t right here and at this moment I started to freak out a bit.

“Hey man, are you OK??”, a young woman said to me as I tried to gather my thoughts on what had just happened. I told her that I was OK and that I hadn’t hit my head, which she didn’t really believe. “I’m just trying to evaluate your state of mind right now and make sure that you don’t need my help.” she said as I pulled out my Blackberry so that I could call Stephanie to come pick me up. “I’m alright” I told her again, “I live right down the road and my fiancee will come and get me”. She must have felt like this was a good enough answer because with that she took off down the sidewalk and I called Stephanie so that she could come rescue me from this crazy situation that I had literally thrown myself in.

The Calls For Help
At this point I called 2 different people. First I called Stephanie and told her that I was in a bike wreck and that I thought that I had really hurt my shoulder pretty bad. She freaked out a bit and asked me what had happened and I told her that I wasn’t really sure yet, but that I was in some serious pain and that it was only getting worse. Despite the fact that I completely lied to her and told her that I got hit by a car less than a month ago, she said that she would be over as soon as humanly possible. The second person that I called was my homie Redg (who I had worked out with that morning) who’s girlfriend Liz is a nurse and who I hoped could tell us the best (and closest) emergency room to go to around our apartment. This phone call was pretty funny now that I think about it — I wish that I had recorded somehow. It went something like this:

Redg: Wudddup Hup? What’s shakin’?
Hup: Hey Redg (grunt in pain), how’s it going? I have a random question for you.
Redg: Sure man, what’s up?
Hup: Well, I’m sitting about a block away from my apartment and I just wrecked my bike and I think that I have broken my shoulder. So, I was wanting to ask you what ER you would go to around here if you were in my situation?
Redg: Oh man — are you serious? I’ll ask Liz where you should go and get right back to you.
Hup: Cool, thanks man — talk to you soon.

After this I sat there and while I waited for Stephanie to come pick me up I came up with what exactly had just happened and why I was sitting there with a dislocated shoulder and a wrecked bike. After clearing my head a bit, thinking about it and looking at all of the damage that had been done to me and the bike I finally figured it all out.

The Explanation Of The Wreck
So, what had happened was pretty simple, but oddly accidental. As I was peddling faster and faster my left foot slipped off of the pedal and as it slipped, the force of the missed peddling shoved my foot directly into the front spokes of the bike, which stopped the bike immediately. As all of you out there who took physics class know, even though the bike stops, that energy is still traveling through my body, which kept on going right on over the handlebars and onto the street. As I flew over the handlebars my foot was still stuck in the front spokes of the bike, which meant that I was actually dragging the bike behind me as I hit the ground. Luckily, all of the impact went directly to my right shoulder and not to my head, which would have probably resulted a much, much uglier and serious injury that I have now.

Just minutes after the wreck Stephanie came and picked me up, she threw the bike in the trunk, dropped it off at our apartment and rushed me to the California Pacific Medical Center emergency room (which Redg directed us to).  It was kind of funny how just a day before Stephanie was driving really timid around San Francisco and now that she was in ’emergency momma’ mode, she wasn’t taking any prisoners and was weaving in and out of traffic like a freakin’ champ. I mean, she had to get her baby to the emergency room, people SO GET OUT OF THE WAY!!

The Diagnosis
After getting a few X-Rays, meeting a couple of really cool nurses/doctors and hanging out at the hospital for a couple hours I was finally given a diagnosis that wasn’t too bad I guess. I had basically torn a ligament that holds my clavicle in place and it’s going to require surgery to get it all fixed up like I need it to be. It’s called an AC Joint Shoulder Separation and it seems like I have the wreck has somehow cause me to have the most severe case of  it. Awesome. Here are a few pics that can help explain exactly what I’ve done:


Yeah, not good.

What Good Has Come Out Of This?
So now the question is, what good could have possible come out of this, Hup? Your shoulder is all tore up, you’re in pain and now you have walk around with a stupid-looking sling on. I have a feeling that I’ll have more good than just these few points, but these are the ones that have stood out to me so far. More to come, for sure.

  1. I got some killer pain meds. You know, it’s not often that you can get high legally, but when they gave me some Oxycodone for my pain I knew that I was in for some dizzy times ahead. Those things do NOT mess around and I haven’t even taken any today because of the crazy effects that they have had on me. You take one and you’re practically knocked out. KO, goodnight.
  2. I realized just how much I love Stephanie and how much she really, truly loves me. It’s always great to know that your partner-in-crime has got your back and throughout this whole ordeal I could not have imagined Stephanie dealing with it any better. She is truly the love of my life and I have no idea how I could have gone through this without her.
  3. We might have found a Honeymoon spot in Australia? As we were waiting to get my prescriptions on Monday night, we met a guy named Ken Howard from Australia who has made tons of money developing board games and consulting for board game developers and inventors. Well, we got to chatting and before you know it he had offered us to use his mansion in Australia for our honeymoon and I’ve even emailed him since to confirm it. We’ll see if this turns out to be true, but if it does, it would be pretty sweet.
  4. Nic, my new roomie, had no problem helping me put my shirt on while I was in my underwear. I’m pretty sure this is a good thing?
  5. It made me feel good knowing that I had enough friends around SF that if I had an emergency that I could get it taken care of. It’s definitely a good feeling to have.

So that’s all I have for you right now — sorry for the long explanation, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress as time goes on, but everything is getting better as time goes on and today is the first day that I can type AND put on my clothes by myself. Sweet! :)

Late night dinners on Caltrain

As many of you probably already know, I take the Caltrain to and from San Francisco during the week, which is a pretty decent commute from where we live in Palo Alto. In the mornings it’s not too bad – I’ll usually catch the train at some point between 7:05am and 7:36am, which gets me up to San Francisco no later than a little after 8am.

But, the way home is a little different. Normally I’ll work until about 5pm or so, jet to work out a few blocks away at 24 Hour Fitness until 6:30pm, haul ass back to the office so that I can get my stuff together and take off on my bike to catch the train that leaves by 6:56pm. Of course, that’s if all works out perfectly and I don’t need to stay at the office a little later than usual.

Tonight is one of the nights that I actually did end up sticking around a little later – well, actually a lot later. I stayed until the only 2 trains heading back to Palo Alto were at 10:30pm and midnight. As I jetted off into the night of San Francisco toward the train station my goal was to make it to the 10:30 train, which seemed easy enough since it was only right around 10. I made it to the station with about 15 minutes to spare so I decided to head to a nearby Safeway so that I could grab some grub for the ride home. After I quickly picked up some hummus, carrots, pita bread and turkey I headed for the register with over 10 minutes to spare and only 3 people in line.

Of course, the 2nd person in line decided to pay all in small change, which led me to asking the 3rd person if I could cut in front of her so that I wouldn’t miss the train which was going to leave in about 5 minutes whether I was on it or not. She let me jump in front of her and I ended up making it to the train with at least 20 seconds to spare, which in my book isn’t all that bad. :)

At that point there was really only one thing to do now that I was on the train at 10:30pm with an hour ride ahead of me.

It was time to eat me some dinner…doesn’t it look tasty?


a smorgasbord of late night awesomeness

Adventures In Bicycling: The crazy, honking, old man

Each weekday morning I ride my bike to the CalTrain station here in Palo Alto, then I take my bike on the train up to San Francisco(there’s a bike car) and finally I ride my bike from the CalTrain station to my office up in San Francisco. It’s not a ton of riding, but for the short amount of ride time there always seems to be plenty of action. I figured that some of this action would be good to document, so I’m going to start posting the random and usually funny stories that happen to me as I continue to brave the bike rides up to San Francisco and back.

Today was pretty funny due to a white-haired old man that was driving a Subaru Outback down the road today as I was hauling ass to the CalTrain station(I’m always cutting it close, of course). When I’m cruising at ‘Damn, I might be late’ speed in the morning I can practically keep up with the cars on the one-way that I speed down, due mainly to the fact that I don’t stop at any 4-way stops. This method is neither safe nor legal as far as I know, but it gets me there on time so I go with it.

Well, as I was speeding along and creeping up on a Subaru Outback on the right side of the road, the white-haired driver must have found a parking spot that he wanted to squeeze into, so he slammed on his brakes without giving me any type of turn signal or anything that would have let me know his intentions. This is no big deal to me and my superior bike skills, even if I was half-asleep and riding like I stole something. I simply swerved into the left lane of the one-way, passed the old-man-turned-parallel-parking-expert and kept peddling towards the train, which was set to arrive at any second.

For some reason this must have really pissed this old guy off and instead of pulling into the spot he decided to step on the gas, lay on his horn and try to catch up to me as I continued towards my nearly unattainable goal at this point of actually making the 7:14am train. As he kept on inching closer to me while honking and looking really mad I just kept on peddling, even though I really, really wanted to see what he wanted to say to me once he caught up. But, instead of stopping I just looked back at him a few times with a ‘What the hell, dude!??!’ as he followed me for over 2 blocks while he honking got became even more mad at the fact that I was an out-of-control bicyclist in Palo Alto. I was getting a real kick out if it at the time, but obviously he wasn’t.

If I didn’t want to catch that particular train, I would have so stopped so that he could lecture me on whatever was on his mind this morning while trying to literally hunt me down in his SUV. I started wondering what he would have said if I actually would have stopped. Maybe he was scared for my safety? Maybe he had been hit on a bike before and wanted to warn me that my unsafe ways are a surefire way to get hit, too? Maybe he just needed some coffee and was pissed off at the world and wanted to vent. Unless I somehow get to see him again, I guess that I’ll never know. But, one thing that I do know is that I’ll have another Adventure In Bicycling – there’s no doubt about that.