Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nashville and Back

This past weekend i was able to go explore the great wonderland of Nashville. I traveled with my buddy Mallory and her roommate Magen and let me say it was the trip of a life time. The time on the road was filled with cotton candy, naps, stolen computers, and more naps. We got into Nash-town about 5:30 and were welcomed by the infamous Max Corwin. Oh how i love this Kid. We had such a great visit with Max and his friends. Sleeping on the floor of his door room was remarkably comfortable and fun. I bumped into my best friend Grant Watson while we were on the campus of Belmont. Grant's family was in town so i got to see his Brother Brad too.  Meeting Brad's new wife in person was quite awesome. I knew she was beautiful from pictures and stuff but meeting her made me realize how lucky Brad is. She is so sweet.  I also got to meet the wonderful Gretchen, Grant's girlfriend. She was so nice and hopefully someday we'll get to visit longer. All that to say i miss those Watsons and it was way good to see them. 

We had brunch at a place known as pancake pantry. This place is so popular that an hour long line (or longer) forms outside its doors screaming with people longing for the ambrosia that is Pancake Pantry's Pancakes. Max and i got the regular buttermilk pancakes along with some stinkin' good hasbrowns. Mal, much like the kid inside her, got the chocolate chip pancakes, which were delicious and wonderful. Supposedly many celebrities frequent the Pancake Pantry But we did not spot any there.



Inside Nashville's Centennial Park resides an exact replica of Greece's Parthenon.  After brunch and a few clothing shops we found ourselves in this huge park. The building looked kinda dinky from far away but as you approach it it becomes quite intimidating. Lunch that day was quite nice. There is a place called San Antonio Taco Company and we made a few stops there on our short trip to Nash-vegas. Upon entering you fill out an order form which notes what kind of food you want, how you want each made and how many you want. Then they make it. Then you eat it. And then wash it down with sweet tea. Quite good. 

A highlight for me was after almost buying some sun catchers in the mall parking lot when we went to catch some desert at The Cheesecake Factory. As we were walking 
up i saw some guy that i recognized. And it hit me that he was an actor. Standing at the entrance to the place surrounded by girls was James Marsden. He plays Cyclops from X-Men, and is also in the Hit Musical Hairspray among other movies. As the women told James how great he was and how many times they've seen each of his movies we went inside and ordered some cheesecake. It was a great last night in Nashville spent with two great friends that I'm glad I've gotten to know over this past summer. 

So we left for home after church on Sunday. The trip was full of laughter and sleeping and music and maybe a speeding ticket but i won't tell you who got it. Nashville was definitely worth the 20 plus hours on the road. Can't wait to go back some day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

waves waves waves ep

So i am about to release my first ep album. And as official as that sounds it should be a pretty humble release. But all humility aside i'm very excited about putting these songs on a cd and letting you guys hear it. I'm calling it waves waves waves. It was a title i came up with in highschool during the ebb and flow of post-pubescent semesters and figuring out what becoming a man was. I love God but i felt/feel like my zeal comes in waves. I'm passionate and then get inside crests and troughs of instant self gratification. All that to say this is a peak into the past few years for me, although it will only be three or so songs. So i guess this is kinda the Bar-Mitzva of myself. A little rites of passage if you will. It will be here soon. Check out one of the tracks on my new myspace music page.

Love you guys.- Mark Apel

Thursday, October 2, 2008

True Love Weights

So Autumn is supposedly here and the weather in Denton has been very enjoyable lately. Fall is setting in and girls nation wide are putting theirs clothes back on. It is a very very good thing. 

Of late I have been thinking about this ring that sits around my finger. I have had it since about 9th grade when my church did a series called "true love waits". My brother and I did it together and Mom let us go to James Avery to pick out a ring for the ceremony the following sabbath. My brother got one that had the Christian fish on it and mine had the words "the Lord is my Shepherd" engraved into the side. This ring was and has been a great reminder especially in those high school days that sex was out of the question until i found my wife and we got married. (which at this point the old ring gets thrown aside). 

Lately I have been looking at this ring. I sometimes want to take it off. Or maybe a small group of humans, elves, hobbits and dwarves will help me return it to the evil place it was smelted from. If I'm ever going to meet someone i have to take this thing off. Everyone i meet for the first time asks if I am married. (i think this has to do with the fact that I am becoming manlier and have a decent amount of facial scruff) I see an attractive girl look at me and I know she is thinking, "Oh I bet he goes home to his lovely wife each night. He has a kid on the way and is getting his masters to become a teacher in the local high school." Oh contrare! Each night i arrive home to three guys. I have no kids, our sink is always full of dishes, no smell in the house reminds me anything of a woman, and the ring on my finger is no covenant with a woman, but with God. Maybe i will get my masters and go on to teach high school English. ( just an idea Ive been throwing around. )

The other Sunday while sitting through a sermon at church, Pastor said that we should not tire of doing good. Galatians 9 says that we shall reap a harvest at the proper time if we do not give up. I had noticed that all the things i do and don't do because of the gospel of Christ had become burdens to me. That morning was a moment to remember why I'm doing what i am doing and not doing what i am not doing. Its not because my religion is hell and won't let me have fun. Its because the Lord calls me to be different and to wait. Especially for marriage. I just know the wait is going to make the marriage day such a harvest for both my spouse and I. 

So maybe in ten years I will consider marriage. Until then i will be fighting the good fight as best as i can. Failing. Succeeding. Failing. Succeeding. And in due time God will provide. 

[Side Note: I miss many people. I miss home. New Caney has never been something i have just pined about, but lately i miss seeing the pillars of Roman Forest, and garish red of the Tobacco barn, and blur of blue as I pass RC Race Track. But i shall be home soon if i have anything to do with it. (Marcus Vick, i miss you man. Ginny Miller, i can't wait to see you someday soon. Atom Hammons, what are you up to?)]

All that to say: Life is good. Challenging but Strengthening. Intrusive but Humbling. Burdensome but Sanctifying.

All Glory and Honor to Christ Jesus. 


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

video
churchbook@gmail.com
www.global-church.blogspot.com



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Denton/Ike/Kelsey/church/Church/A.J.

So, I'm back in Denton. I can honestly say i love this town. The moment i drove into town i couldn't help but smile. School has started back and i actually enjoy attending classes. Especially my class on short story. Although it meets at 9:30 am(my earliest class) our Professor make this class very enjoyable. Professor Tanner is a poet of a man with a beard so unique that it kinda makes him look like a puppet. I feel like everything he says should be written down and told to all of my friends. All my other classes are moderately enjoyable, and my goal is to make it to class and to impress the parents with good grades. (which I've failed to do thus far). 
So supposedly there was some kind of big storm that swept through Galveston and Houston. At our new house we decided not to have a TV. We felt it would bring us together as roommates and minimize distractions in the home. Well that's all well and good but the one thing we all miss is the news! I didn't even know there was another Hurricane until i overheard some talk on campus and then my Dad called me to say they may have to evacuate. I felt pretty out of the loop. But in the end my family is safe and at home with power. (as of yesterday). It was shocking to see the photos from Ike's aftermath. Seeing beach fronts we used to rent houses on and enjoy cold thanksgivings together on that were now bits of driftwood and murky sand. God has it on planned out. Good will come. It always does.
So my little/older brother Cary has officially tricked some girl into spending the rest of their lives together. Cary's amazing girlfriend Kelsey has officially been promoted to Fiance. The coolest thing about it is that Kelsey is one of the most awesome girls on the planet, and i can't wait till she's my official sister so we can hang out more and share holidays together. They are pretty much perfect for each other. He who has found a wife has found a good thing. At least that's what I hear. 
So my church project is slowly getting off the ground. I'm really excited to see where this goes. I've had a few people send stories and art and soon and very soon I'll have some video interviews with some of my friends sharing what God has been doing and is doing in their lives and through certain ministries. Keep an eye out for some new stuff on the church blog. Right now we have a new blog up by Nicole Rogers. A friend from church back home who is now attending OU. So read up and then write your story down.
I'm officially a member at the Village Church now. It's kind of a crazy thing to be a part of a church on my own. For over 18 years i was a member wherever my parents attended and were members. But don't get wrong i love the churches we went to. If we hadn't gone to Forest Cove and the experienced a church-fight and then became second baptist, we'd all be missing out. I grew so much in the ministries of that church and if it weren't for guys like Eric Larson, Pat Camaratta, Jeff Hiett, and especially one of my best friends Jonathan Gray i wouldn't be the man i am today. I owe a lot to those men. All that to say since the move to college and Denton i have found a church to be a part of and a community to grow in. I Love it up here. Soon I'll be starting to lead for the middle schoolers in their Sunday morning worship services. I'm really excited to finally be plugged in and doing ministry inside the church. 
I recorded a new song on a compilation album of a group I'm a part of now called Counter Collective. It's one about a man that used to live close by when i was younger. Also it's about my Grandpa, his son, and his son's son. Hopefully i can put it up on here soon.


That's it. Love you guys.
(photos by Chris Newby)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

wonderful day for a bananafish

i stumbled upon an article today online concerning the "cussing pastor" Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill in Seattle. It was dumb to say the least. It talked about how people left the service after Mark failed to cuss in one of his sermons. As if to say that the only reason a crowd was congregating was not to hear the gospel but instead to hear some vulgarities. Which is a good observation, I'll give this guy that. But he ends his blog-rant by saying that he hopes his group of readers would continue to pray against the ministry of Driscoll and his church of cussing wannabes. (dumb). Click here for article.

I just don't know that we can arrive as Christians and tell people to pray against a fellow brother and that his ministry would fail. 

Honestly i know very little about Driscoll and his ministry at Mars Hill, but I'm pretty sure that he is teaching the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Whether he cusses or has weird theology if he is teaching the Gospel let nothing hold that back. right? 

Yet in response we have Christians picketing against other Christians. Its no longer all efforts being focused towards battling the flesh and corruption and injustice and poverty and oppression, but its brothers against brothers fighting over doctrines and misquoted sermons. Liberal theology versus conservative theology. So we have a schism in the church. 
I've been talking to my good friend Max lately about a book called Velvet Elvis written by Rob Bell. He keeps telling about some of his friends and their views on this new book. They keep claiming his theology is flawed and that he doesn't believe in the virgin birth and all this stuff. The fact is they have never read Bell's new book at all and have only heard rumors of the content of the text. In fact Bell believes in the virgin birth and admits that in Velvet Elvis. Bell asks:
 
But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word virgin could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being "born of a virgin" also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse? What if that spring was seriously questioned? Could a person keep jumping? Could a person still love God? Could you still be a Christian? Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live? Or does the whole thing fall apart? I affirm the historic Christian faith, which includes the virgin birth and the Trinity and the inspiration of the Bible and much more.

All Bell is saying is that if we were to find out that the scriptures actually point to something different than what was taught to us in Baptist Sunday school would our faith come out null and void. The answer is no! By no means! So i think people just like to deem an idea heresy or foolish just because it is somewhat different than what they were taught. When what we should do is read into the idea and think about it. and wrestle with it. Then throw it out.
So all this to say that we should stop jumping on everyone and back talking our brothers, but rather listen to what they are saying and consider it. And if its nonsense toss it out.  Not saying everything Rob Bell says is absolute. It's not. He is not God. He is a man with an idea. Like all of us. A mere whisper.

I guess I've just seen a lot of this lately and heard so much that it gets at me. 

I honestly don't know where i stand on my theology. Old world? New world? Free will? Elected and Damned? I don't know! But i do know that i have sinned against the God of the universe and he came and died that i might live in a peaceful community with Him. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

churchbook/forever21/taylors

so the 'church' blog is up and running. we have our first story up by Nicole Sutton. (a life-long friend of mine). Check it out.

Also I've discovered in the recent past that forever 21 is not only a girl store. No no. It has fashion for the whole family...kinda. But yeah I've been shopping there and its pretty great.cheap and stylish. Just like me.

Let me just say one thing about the Taylor family. AWESOME. I've had the pleasure of living with them this summer and it has been awesome. They are so hospitable and treat me as if I'm a Taylor. 
Larry&Delinda- these guys are such great parents to their four boys. Larry is the headmaster at the christian academy at Prestonwood. He has such a heart for educating young believers and influencing them that they may influence. Delinda is a great wife to Larry. She is a stay at home mom but also tutors on the side.(Spanish i believe). Tomorrow is 23 years of marriage for them.
Bryce- One of the most brilliant minds of our time. Bryce will be a sophomore at Yale this fall. Bryce and i have had some fun conversations over J.D. Salinger, Last Comic Standing, and many other things. I think he reads like a book a day or something. I can see him being a prominent part in the leadership of our generation. (sounds corny, but its true)
Luke- He's the quiet one. One of the schools leading receivers for the football team, and also number one in his class for academics. Luke just finished a summer semester at Yale and is considering going to King's College in New York. He's the man!
Zeke- He is way too creative. Him and his posse love to make short films mostly inspired by M. Night Shamalan and action movies. He's a smart kid and also a hard hitter for the PCA lions. I hope one day to go to the theatres to see a movie directed by Zeke.
Chas-the energy of the entire Taylor family resides in the bones of this boy. Chas always has something to say. He has tons of wit and is usually the one that starts the brotherly fights. A fun fact about Chas is that one of his favorite shows is "Jon and Kate Plus 8". That and all of the sports channels.

So needless to say this family is great and in a few weeks I'll have to leave them. That will be a sad day.

mapel.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mom

Hey i want to ask prayer from whoever reads this for my sweet Mom, Joyce Apel. She has suffered from hearing loss for the majority of her adult life. Its getting worse now and its affecting her work-ability and normal social life. The deal is that she gets dizzy spells that pretty prevents her from doing anything but laying down. She also hears this roaring sound throughout her head all through the day. I think its almost like a ringing white-noise sound.(just imagine it all day long).
I want to ask you to pray for her. She may get a surgery soon that would remove some excess fluid from her right and the doctors say that her left ear, which is fully deaf, may follow suit and start removing fluid of its own. Kinda healing itself. Pray for her and pray that if this surgery happens that the Doctors are right about all of the stuff i just mentioned.
I have this feeling that one day my mom is going to be able to hear a pin drop in northern Alaska because our God is big and listens to the cries of His people. He moves mountains and calms seas. He creates colossal solar systems and planets. I know her can heal a couple of ears on my mamma's head.
Thanks. I'll keep you updated as i hear more form her and pops.

Mark 11:23-25
"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

I think my mom is just hearing the roar of a lion thats coming soon to save us...

Babushka/WakeBoarding/EmergentChurch?

Yesterday was one of those days that you'll always go back to. I got the go to the lake with the Corwins and friends on Friday and boy was it awesome. We went down to Cedar Creek lake in Tool Texas. (For you Apels this should bring back great memories of fishing with Grandpa and Ashley eating worm poop) We all took turns by threes on the WaterHog(i believe that was the name) as Captain Warren guided us through the wakey lake. I tried wake boarding. Yep tried it. I wasn't as skilled as some of the veteran's out there although i did get up a few times only to suddenly face plant with much talent and grace.

Mama Mona and I talked on the way there about a lot of things. About how to not let technology ruin a perfectly good day from the Lord. Also about the emergent church and whether or not we should be a part of that. I think we both came to the conclusion that these emergent writers(miller/bell) have a lot of good ideas and new perspectives on the church and Christ, but that nothing is new under the sun.

It was just one of those days where you find yourself riding into the country with a dog on your lap with people you don't know that well but you really love for some reason.
I dunno it was a good yesterday...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sing Along with Solomon

So i was reading the other night and i decided to venture into Song of Songs. Its the one book of the bible your parents told you never to read. I remember bible school teachers taking sharp lefts away from this raunchy book. I think its because it addresses love and intimacy and not just any kind but honest and true intimacy. Like the kind where you call your lover a gazelle and romance her by exclaiming that she is dazzling and ruddy. I guess that's why we weren't allowed to read it but I don't know.
As i read through the first few chapters I noticed some pretty awesome stuff. Immediately i was jealous. I wanted a woman to speak some of this poetry about me. Listen to this:
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine. 3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! 4 Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.
(This is awesome! Like if i read a girls diary and found this in about me, i would melt, then form again, and marry the heck out of her. I don't know. Maybe that's just me.)
Another portion of these beginning chapters really stuck with me. Song of Solomon 2:7:
7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
I was/am always that guy who once he knows a girl likes him he does everything he can to impress her. But i think this is where i fail. I am pretty good at arousing and awakening love when its not time. I can honestly say that i deserve the blame for past relationships failing. I think in my head that its about time I had a girlfriend and don't let God awaken true love in his own time. Reading that verse convicts but also liberates me because i hear the passion in the lovers voice calling out to her beloved. And the way he describes her is pristine and pure.
Song of Solomon 2:2: Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.
Solomon knows whats up. Seriously. I see how my Dad loves my Mom. Its crazy. I couldn't have had a better example of true love in my life. And now I see the way My Brother loves his wife. He would do anything for her.(Like buy her Layne's chicken fingers and a sonic water to smooth over the birth of their new baby daughter)
Also i look at how Christ loves his church. He would do anything for it. He would suffer 40 days in the desert and not eat for his bride. He would associate himself with sinners and eat with them in order to honor his bride. He would heal women with womanly problems, he would go and press the flesh with the lepers in order that his church might grow. He would be humiliated and beaten in front of his bride and by his bride for the sake of his beloved bride. He would be murdered by the ones who followed him for their sake. He rose three days later and visited his bride. He encouraged his disciples and renewed his brother Peter showing him that he was still the one Jesus loved. He ascended to heaven and permanently sits at the right hand of his Father and eagerly awaits the wedding feast when he gets to see his bride. And his bride will stand in awe of the glorious husband and enjoy an eternal festival celebrating the faithfulness of the Christ.
Song of Solomon 2:3
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

Friday, July 4, 2008

mcklayne is awesome.

On July 3rd, 2008 at 6:20 pm my tiny little niece was born in College Station. I got to see her about 2 hours after she came and it was great. Asher welcomed his new sister in the best way and in the way his Grumpy taught him best. It was definitely not a normal independence day weekend but it was one of the best so far. (Right up there with the sparkler bombs and Charlie getting a police escort for going 70 in a 30)
Cary is still Africa. He'll be home soon and i cant wait to hear from him again.
Ashley and I just got back from Highschool Camp with Prestonwood and it was quite the trip. A lot of students came to know the Lord and still more made a lot of decisions concerning their lives and sin.
Mom and Dad are awesome. It was great to see them this weekend. Mom not doing well and is still having her dizzy spells. Hopefully this will all end soon. I'm praying for total healing, but if this happens we will all have to start watching what we say about her.

Well there will be more to come. Love you guys. Check out this video!


Asher Meets Mcklayne

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

an end....a beginning...an ellipsis

hey bloggers. I've decided to try out this whole new world of communication and thought provoking, coffee talk, haven't seen you in a while reminiscing. I've decided to delete myspace and was thinking that i might like to try out blogging. I know my brother charchar and his wife are pretty into this whole deal and its been a blessing being able to keep up with their family life...especially little ash-dog(hoo-hoo). and now awaiting the arrival of the most beautiful girl eventually known to man, Mcklayne.
So this is me getting away from the messy, exploiting, and banner-filled myspace and entering a much more grime free environment. Its like when you leave the bowling alley. The smell is in your clothes and the images of those strange individuals will never escape your mind.(but somehow it was still kinda fun). I hope this blog stuff ends up exciting and not just me rambling. we'll see.....