My new toy

See that? That's my MP3 player ... great, isn't it? (Guess you'll have to take my word for it.)

My most excellent wife sprung for that this Father's Day, and I've done nothing but annoy her with it since ... spending time holed up with Napster in the office, bringing my headphones to bed, plugging it into the car stereo when she's trying to talk to me. Good times.

Boys never grow up, it's just that their toys get bigger -- whoever said that was a genius ... or had a Zen Microphoto MP3 player.

Hey, this is a links post. Nothing much to say, really ... just wanted to point a few things out. Some of these links you'll find at your right -- like this most important link on how to know Christ -- but most are just for the moment.

This upcoming weekend (after July 4) I'm headed up to an outdoor retreat with some brothers in Christ. It's called "Outpost Advance," and you can check out their website here.

Oh, and one of the guys organizing the event is Jim Eaton, who I've e-mailed back and forth a few times. His blog is here. He's a forward thinker, and has a lot of great thoughts on true Christian action.

Jim sent me some links in regard to my last post, and you can check those out here, here and here.

Back to my MP3 player now. The thing is full of hundreds of songs already, and in case you're wondering what I'm listening to, here's a list, followed with a short description and a link to that artist's website. Give a listen.

Aaron Shust -- his infectious "My Savior, My God" is the best contemporary worship song going right now. But, trust me, his album has a lot more than that.

The Afters -- have a fantastic sound, a little pop, a little rock-n-roll. Great worship songs in here, too.

Downhere -- is another good modern Christian outfit. Good lyrics and a unique sound.

Gnarls Barkley -- eventually, I'll get around to listeing to something other than the song "Crazy," but it's so doggone good I never get past it.

Jars of Clay -- hey, a lot of CCM artists are jumping on the trend of releasing albums with nothing but old-time hymns, but I dare so no one does it better than these guys on "Redemption Songs"

Jason Morant -- a Christian version of Eliott Smith ... with hope, of course. Great, mellow Christian music.

The Longing -- as Discipleship Journal pointed out, a lot of bands take their cue from U2. Few pull it off as well as these guys (couldn't find a link, for some reason).

MercyMe -- who else? They've been in my rotation for going on three years straight now. Heard "I would die for you" yet?

I could go on and on. I've been busy realizing my early 20s fantasy of having every Pearl Jam song ever recorded. I'm doggone close, I gotta tell you. I've not been listening to a lot of PJ lately ... in some ways I think I've outgrown them, spiritually at least ... but I've sure been downloading the Godfathers of Grunge a ton.

For those times when I want to mellow out, it's Thelonius Monk, Damien Rice, Guster or the soundtrack to The Passion of the Christ.

And none of it would have been possible without my fantastic wife ... and my shiny new MP3 player.

Thanks, hon.