Monday, December 31, 2007

A gift that I am still working on


If you are looking for inspiring stories of faith in people's lives around the world, pick up "The Narrow Road." It is written by Brother Andrew, a Bible-smuggler and it chronicles his life in WWII, the Dutch East Indies war, and his call into missions. It is inspiring and will put a little steel into your Christian spine going into the new year.

It's an easy read, and available at your local Christian bookstore. Or wait a couple weeks and you can borrow mine :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Another early Christmas present


Our church has been a plant that worshiped in an elementary school for several years. We have started a capital campaign to build on some property outside of town, which is going well. But recently, a church in town closed its doors and the Lord impressed upon us to try to purchase that facility as an interim step toward our ultimate goal.

They have accepted our offer, and we are in the process of getting approvals. This is a wonderful gift to our tribe of believers this Christmas.

Praise God for his faithfulness.

A nice article on a young lady from my church


Lauren Harper is a high school exchange student in Pune, India. Here is a Monroe Evening News story about her trip. It appears that she is having an interesting trip.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Woo Hoo!


We just had our 10,000th visit to this site. It took 3 years, but it brings a smile to my face.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Emmanuel ( God With Us)


Each year at Christmas we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child, when God took human form and moved in with us. The Hebrews called it Emmanuel, or God With Us.

I recently preached on that topic and realized that to the Israelites, God with us meant a lot, because they could remember through stories when God literally lived with them.

During the Exodus, God was with them as a pillar of fire and a cloud. When Moses went up on the mountain, they heard the voice of God shaking the ground. And when Solomon dedicated the Temple, the Glory of the Lord filled the Temple to the point that the priests could not perform their ceremonial priestly duties. That was God with them.

A carpenter's son, born in a manger and fleeing for his life from a king wasn't their idea of Emmanuel. But God, in his wisdom, sent Jesus to live with us, like us, and among us, so that he could give us victory over sin, death and Hades. It still amazes me to think that Jesus would give up the beauty of heaven to come to this mess. A perfect place for a very imperfect place. A place of beauty for a world filled with much ugliness. That is love my friends. True, selfless love.

And now that the Holy Spirit lives in us, not a building in Jerusalem, we are called to be the embodiment of Christ to the world around us. This Advent and Christmas I have been thinking a great deal about what that can mean for me personally, my family, and my church. I don't have answers, but I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you how you can be the incarnation of Christ to those around you. How can you bring Jesus to them, not in an arrogant, "I'll tell you how to do it" way, but a "I love you because you are you" way. More of a servant's heart, like Jesus, rather than that of a fixer.

That is the meaning of Christmas. Love came and set up camp in our neighborhood. I want to do the same and spread the Love that rescued the world.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Get Ready

The Prince Caspian Trailer is out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I don't envy Rich Rodriguez


For those who do not know who I am referring to, he is the new head football coach at the University of Michigan. Yes he is taking over a great, storied program, but there are undercurrents afoot that can suck him under if he is not careful.

First, he has to win. Winning 75% of your games at Michigan is not good enough. Period. And you have to beat Ohio State and never lose to someone like Appalachian State again. Don't even schedule a school like that and risk losing.

Second, he is in a position similar to a young (he's 44) pastor who succeeds the retiring hand-picked successor to a larger-than-life pastor in a large church. Bo Schembechler is a minor deity at Michigan, and Lloyd Carr, the retiring coach, was on Bo's staff and is "A Michigan Man" whatever that means. Rodriguez is from West Virginia, has no ties to Michigan, and is not part of the Bo lineage. And he does things differently. He runs an unconventional 3-3-5 defense and a spread offense, neither of which were in Bo's schemes.

I say that to warn the faithful that Rodriguez will change things. He will do many things differently, and endless carping about "the Michigan Way" will not help. If the "Michigan Way" was still working, Rodriguez would still be at West Virginia and Lloyd Carr would have picked one of his assistants to follow him. But, this program has been in a steady decline for a few years, unable to win big games, and embarrassed in the Rose Bowl and the Appalachian State and Oregon games.

I say this to help the faithful who worship at the Maize and Blue temple to realize that the good old days aren't coming back in the way you remember them. This guy is a good coach, who has built a powerhouse at a school not known for its football tradition. Remember Bo, but don't expect a reincarnation of him. Three yards and a cloud of dust has gone the way of the dodo.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still looking for the perfect gift for that special someone?

Look no more. And you can help out wildlife conservation efforts as well.

I'm just doing my part to help. :)

It's that time of year again


Yep. It must be Christmas if the ACLU is running around telling municipal governments to get Creche's off of city property. Every year this happens. The ACLU does its thing, the Christians get outraged that they cannot display a manger scene on city property, and news cameras show up.

Why do we do this? I saw a letter to the editor in our local paper the other day with a brilliant idea. Instead of Christians fighting to put a manger on public property, why don't ALL of the Christians put one on their own property? Imagine streets lined with reminders of Jesus' birth. House after house testifying to their faith. What a witness that would be to the world.

I'm pretty sure we will have one up next year. We've been shopping for an illuminated one that doesn't look cheesy. Unfortunately the best ones are out of stock. But that is my plan for next year. I won't ask the city to do what I won't do myself.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What was the point of that?


Major League Baseball finally released its much-ballyhooed "Mitchell Report" chronicling the Steroid Era of baseball. I never really understood what the point of this was, and after seeing the list of names accused of using steroids, I'm even less convinced that this was necessary.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. George Mitchell, the principal investigator is on the board of directors of the Boston Red Sox. How can he even appear to be impartial?

2. Mr. Mitchell didn't have subpoena power, so no one was compelled to talk with him. If fact, many players did not cooperate with the investigation at all.

3. The Lords of Baseball (owners) and Bud the Dud (commissioner) knew this was going on. It is no coincidence that balls began flying out of the park at record clips immediately after the last labor stoppage that cancelled a World Series. The Lords of Baseball needed fans back in the seats and $ in their wallets, so they turned a blind eye toward what was happening. And Bud the Dud seems to have been a willing if not, clueless accomplice. He even held a press conference yesterday and said he had not read the report yet. But he was determined to act. Good plan Bud.

4. Steroids are illegal, but the point of this was not to prosecute. And under the labor agreement with the players union, there was no testing for steroids allowed, and no penalties for use. And using steroids could bring a player enough money to set his grandchildren for life. Great reward and little risk just invites abuse.

5. The only players named were those who someone else threw under the bus. Some of the most prominent names in the era - Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa - are not named. It doesn't mean that they are not guilty of using steroids, it just means that their friends are tight-lipped.

6 Lastly, the naming of the players seems a bit like character assassination of the players. There were no rules, there is no prosecutable evidence, but yet they chose to release what they acknowledge is an incomplete list. Since Mitchell couldn't compel anyone to talk, there is no way this is an exhaustive list. But these guys are now named, and other cheaters move on whistling past the graveyard.

Baseball is the second-worst managed sport around. The National Hockey League is the worst, but gaining quickly on baseball. This is a pathetic attempt to blame the players while the owners and pitiful excuse of a commissioner move on like nothing happened and "put this all behind us."

The sad thing is that I will keep watching. And that is my fault.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How do you define success?


This discussion thread started me to thinking about how you define "success" in terms of a church? Is it missional activity? Is it the number of people in attendance on Sunday morning? Is it the number of people converting to Christianity? Is it lives changed? Is it......?

I lean toward the school of thought that Christ will transform lives and the fruit of that transformation will manifest itself in the way the individual sees the world around him/her and interacts with the lost and hurting world in which we live. If they adopt the attitude that they have their "fire insurance" and don't really have to do anything else, that may not be the poster child you want to use in your success stories.

What do you think? I'd love to hear how you define success for a church. Post a comment and let's talk.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Egads! I am getting old


I suddenly realized last night that I am getting old. It was a brief epiphany while watching a show that I had TiVo'd. It was one of those PBS fundraising week specials, the Roy Orbison and Friends - A Black and White night which was the special last night. I'll confess that I love Roy Orbison's music. But here I am at 11:15 p.m. watching Roy, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt et al do their thing when I should be in bed because the alarm will be going off at 5:45 a.m. I hate the PBS fundraising specials, especially the obvious Baby Boomer-targeted ones. But I couldn't pull myself away from "Ooby Dooby" and the other songs.

I must be getting old when I start to get transfixed by the Boomer stuff on PBS. This is not a good sign for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Celebrating Advent


I'm really beginning to enjoy the Advent season. For some reason the churches I attended in other parts of my life did not celebrate Advent. I'm not sure why that is, but I find it to be refreshing period of anticipation as we remember what the arrival of the Christ Child meant to the world.

Advent is such a wonderful time to spiritually prepare ourselves for Christmas. Some practice fasting. Others have special mid-week Advent services. There are so many expressions of the hope of a Liberator, Redeemer, Savior - all of which were met and exceeded in Jesus Christ.

I had the privilege to preach in my church on the second Sunday of Advent, which celebrates Peace. Christmas is not always a peaceful season, but Jesus came to bring us eternal peace with our Heavenly Father. Accept that gift if you have not done so already.

This year please try to attend an Advent service somewhere. I found this article to be helpful to understand what Advent is all about. It does make Christmas all the more special when you are in touch with the "hopes and fears of all the years" that were met in Jesus that night in Bethlehem.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wowzers


The Detroit Tigers just pulled off a jaw-dropping trade with the Florida Marlins. The Tigers acquired Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera for a package of top minor-league prospects. This now gives the Tigers a lineup with 7, count them, 7 All-Stars as position players and 3 All-Stars in their pitching rotation.

I get the sense that the Tigers think their window to win is now.

From their lips to God's ears.

Detroit Free Press reaction

ESPN reaction

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thank You Lord


It's ironic how the LORD comes through just when you need him most. Last week was rough as the Granholm Depression here in Michissippi claimed one of my clients. I hope to be able to work with them again next year, but for now, we are on hiatus.

Then I opened my mail on Saturday and a letter from the financial aid office at Nazarene Theological Seminary was waiting for me. I have transferred to NTS this semester for primarily economic reasons. The tuition is 1/3 less than Asbury. The letter told me that they were also giving me a 30% tuition scholarship. Praise the Lord!!!

The sum total of the scholarship and transfer will lower my tuition by 53%. And I am grateful for that. For me, Christmas has come early. It's all gravy from here on out.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thank you Bob Geldof


For those who do not know, Sir Bob Geldof was a member of the Boomtown Rats who helped organize a UK supergroup called BandAid. Their principal activity was recording the song "Do they know it's Christmas Time?" The record, released in 1984, is my favorite modern Christmas song for several reasons. It's catchy, not sappy, and I loved the second British Invasion of the late 1970's and 1980's. I know I am dating myself here.

What I also love about it is that it spawned the Live Aid movement, which helped turn the world's attention to the famine in Africa. While much of the famine was a government-engineered attempt to starve rebel groups in Ethiopia, it did mark a turn in the Western world's consciousness toward the starvation and other abuses occurring around the world.

The list of artists in the project includes:

  • Bananarama
  • Bob Geldof
  • Culture Club
  • David Bowie
  • Duran Duran
  • Eurythmics
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Heaven 17
  • Human League
  • Kool and the Gang
  • Midge Urge
  • Paul McCartney
  • Paul Young
  • Phil Collins
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Status Quo
  • Sting
  • The Style Council
  • U2
  • Wham!
Here is a video clip of the song. Enjoy it, and celebrate the fact that, while not all of these people are followers of Christ, they were willing to put their mouths, and money together, to alleviate suffering. It's a start, and one that I love to listen to.

Enjoy the song. And thank God that we don't face starvation in this country.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Please indulge me here


On Wednesday, December 5, I will be locked up to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. If you would like to post some "bail money" for me to get me out of their jail, I would be honored.

MDA serves people in our community with neuromuscular disease by providing clinics, support groups, assistance with the purchase and repair of wheelchairs, braces and communication devices, and summer camp for kids. MDA also funds research grants to help find treatments and cures for some 43 neuromuscular diseases that affect people of all ages, right here in our community.

To donate, just go to my webpage and follow the instructions. You can donate via credit card online, or you can print the form to mail a check. Either way is fine, and I truly appreciate your help.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

God as a management consultant?

It appears that God is now in the human resources business. According to this story, Richard Roberts resigned as president of Oral Roberts University because "God told him to." I can't argue with that, since I wasn't part of their conversation. This might lead one into Open Theism though, since God had earlier told him to stay and fight the lawsuit accusing him of financial mismanagement. Does God change his mind? According to this story, it seems that way.

Go ahead and take your shots


Yeah yeah, whatever.

Some blogs I read

Here are a few that I find helpful as I walk the path of this life.

One Year Bible Blog

Paradoxology

Bishopman

Memorize This

There are others, but these are some of my favorites. Check them out if you have time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A world without Bibles?


That is an intriguing premise to a new book published by a West Michigan pastor. I have not read the book, nor do I know the author, but it does hit me where the Lord has been working on me. The premise is that all the Bibles disappear, and all we have of Christianity is what is in our heads. Which sounds scary.

I know the Lord has been pressing me on memorizing scripture. It is a discipline that I have neglected and need to return to. There may come a day when I can no longer read, and, and all I have of scripture is what is locked away in my slightly addled brain.

If any of you have any scripture memorization tips you would like to share, I'm all ears.

This is an interesting site with some scripture memorization helps.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Love


Yesterday in church I was thinking about love for some reason. It may have something to do with watching the newlyweds in front of me sit so closely to each other. I remember that feeling all too well. When you just want to spend every waking moment together and can't bear the thought of being apart. It is such a beautiful thing to behold.

Last night in our small group we were discussing how love is a choice. It is a choice to continue to love even when the giddy feelings are gone. It's a choice to love when you don't feel like it. Our relationship with God is like that as well.

Right now I don't feel giddy. I haven't felt that way for a while. But I choose to continue to do what my God requires of me as an expression of love. I don't always want to, but it isn't about my feelings. I know that He loves me, even when I don't feel it. He loves me when I want to curl up in a corner for a while. He loves me no matter what I do, because He chooses to. And I can do no less. I do not want to be like the church in Revelation 2:4 which was accused of forsaking its first love.

The next time you don't feel love toward someone, remember, love is a choice, not a feeling. It's been helping me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving

This year as you stuff your face and watch the Lions lose, spend a moment to reflect on these two things. Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation and an account of the first Thanksgiving by Edward Winslow:

Lincoln:
"Inasmuch as we know that nations, like individuals, are subjected to the punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of Civil War that now desolates our land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people.

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.

We have forgotten the gracious hand that preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all of these blessings were provided by some superior wisdom or virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness."

Winslow's account:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, Many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

May your Thanksgiving be blessed by good food, good friends, and the love of your family.

Roy


Monday, November 19, 2007

Have some Kleenex handy when you watch this

What an amazing story that will make your eyes tear up. You can see the video here. It is one of those "Rudy" type moments that makes you just shake your head in wonder. God bless that coach for giving this kid a chance to play despite his disability. And God bless the kid for going "en fuego" once they gave him the ball.

There is a funny smell in Tulsa


And it isn't coming from livestock.

Read this and shake your head. Richard Roberts seems to be throwing his financial staff under the bus to explain why his statements don't jive with reality. I just have a feeling that this is going to get much uglier.

A Class Act moves on


University of Michigan Head Football Coach Lloyd Carr announced his retirement today. It comes as no surprise, with all the rumors swirling around here. I wanted to thank him for things he did and did not do.

He won Michigan's first national championship in nearly 50 years.

He never had a whiff of scandal around his team.

He never threw a player or coach under the bus. He was loyal, almost to a fault.

He graduated players and made better men out of them.

He didn't go around asking for raises and holding the university hostage, as some (Saban) did.

It was never about him. It was always about the players and the University of Michigan.

He won 75% of his games. By Michigan fan standards, that is not good enough. Ask Notre Dame if they would take that. Or Nebraska.

Thanks Lloyd. The man who succeeds you will have a program in great shape. And some big shoes to fill. I have 2 kids who sing "Hail to the Victors" in part because of your success. And that makes me smile.

Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for the links and photo.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Willow Creek's Shocking Confession

Here is the article. I'll post more on this later But I wanted to throw it out there for discussion. It seems that Bill Hybels, founder of Willow Creek Community Church, one of the leaders of the "seeker-sensitive" church movement, has released a study of their methods that is not very flattering.

There are a couple things to chew on though:

If you simply want a crowd, the “seeker sensitive” model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it’s a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

Incredibly, the guru of church growth now tells us that people need to be reading their bibles and taking responsibility for their spiritual growth.

Share your thoughts please. It is an amazing thing to read.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When Dilbert has too much time on his hands


Things like this happen. First, who knows what a Tesla Coil is? Secondly, they make it play the Super Mario theme. Third, they post it on YouTube.

Odds are they have a lot of time to themselves. Just a hunch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Somehow I knew this would happen

The Prosperity Gospel folks come out.

Jesus Died So We Could Be Rich! Declares Biblical Expert and Best Selling Author

Have you ever felt like you were being sold out?


I'm getting that vibe from the folks in Washington. First, gas and oil prices are setting records, yet some on Congress do not want us to drill for oil in our own country. ANWR and the continental shelf are off limits, yet they hold enormous amounts of oil that we could use and not be sending money to countries that are avowed enemies ours. But Hugo Chavez is helping Cuba drill off the coast of Florida. And China is now drilling off the Florida coast. But U.S firms are not allowed to do that. Go figure.

Secondly, this whole debacle with the Southern Border has me mystified. Our border is overrun, and the politicians seem to not understand that most Americans are not opposed to immigration, but they are opposed to unchecked illegal immigration.

I truly wonder if our representatives in Washington, regardless of party, have our national interest at heart. Or are they trying to curry favor with a bunch of potential new voters.

FYI - the photo is of clothing ditched by illegals as they cross the border.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More fallout from the Senate investigation of the Prosperity Gospel televangelists


My thanks to the Bible Belt Blogger for staying on top of this. Evidently Benny Hinn is feeling threatened by the Senate Finance Committee requests for information about how his ministry spends its money. This whole investigation seems to be driven by reports of lavish lifestyles being fueled by tax-exempt organization funds. While I do not want any more government intrusion into the church than we already have, I also do not want hucksters jeopardizing the status of churches because of their greed.

It seems that all of the ministries being investigated teach some form of the Prosperity Gospel, which teaches that God financially blesses the faithful. The allegation seems to be that these folks have taken that blessing to a new level of opulence. Personally, I think this borders on heresy, and it can be spiritually destructive to those who are not rich or healthy. It would necessarily lead those people to believe that they do not enjoy God's favor, which is a horrible thing to put on a person on his/her deathbed.

In the encouraging signs department, the Assemblies of God church seems to be distancing itself from this doctrine. May God put an end to this soon.

Thanks to this site for the ribbon fish graphic.

One of the favorite dishes in the church

I know this is an area where the Lord is working on me. For more info, go here. I may quibble with their very broad definition of gossip, but the intent is great. I've always viewed gossip as having an intent to damage another. Recounting events without judgment to me is not gossip, but there is a line close to there. I'd like to hear your definition of gossip.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Something to think about



This article dovetails nicely with my upcoming message. Praise God for bringing things across my path that help me do what he is calling me to do.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veteran's Day


November 11 is the day we celebrate the end of The Great War, now known as World War I. Take a moment at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to honor those who have served their country in the armed forces. Honor their sacrifice, and mourn those who did not return. Lest we forget.

The video clip below recites the poem "In Flanders Fields" that came to commemorate this ghastly war and the entire generations of men that Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada and Australia lost. Watch it, it will move you.

Pray for me

On November 18 I will be bringing the message in our local congregation. My topic is Mark 2:1-12 the story of where the friends lower the crippled man through the roof. I'm still struggling with finding the right video clip to illustrate what I am talking about. Here is a link to a previous post that contains the gist of what I intend to talk about. The linked article in the post is key to the idea, so if you have time, please read it as well.

I appreciate any suggestions you may have. I'm just kind of stumped on this one.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I see a bad moon rising


I see trouble on the way.

It appears that the Congress is going to do what the church cannot/will not do to police the lavish life of the prosperity gospel preachers on TV. Senator Charles Grassley has written letters asking for information from six televangelists. Grassley wrote to Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla.; Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church, Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries of Grapevine, Texas; David and Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Mo.; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas; Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga., and Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga.

At least three of these are members of the board of directors at Oral Roberts University, where another financial scandal is brewing.

It is sad that the government is going to have to intervene on this. The cause of Christ will suffer because of the sin of a few greedy individuals. This really chaps me. And it is hard not to be vindictive and wish the wrath of the IRS on these folks.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Now we know why the ancients were spooked


Comets were often seen as portents of doom and messengers from God. If you get a chance, go out and look to the North in the next few weeks. You should get a decent view of Comet 17P/Holmes, which recently increased in brightness by about a million times.

I don't know if the comet has anything to do with the Lions going 6-2, but pigs are flying and comets are appearing. I'll let you be the judge.

It should be fun to look at in the meantime while we wait for the mothership to arrive. :)

The Detroit Lions are 6-2


This is what I saw out my window yesterday.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thank you Sir! May I have another?

The paddling scene from Animal House comes to mind. While the movie is not virtuous, that scene seems apropos. It seems that the Governor and Legislature, after passing a capricious and poorly-thought-out tax increase, have bent us over the desk and are administering the paddle to us, the taxpayers.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the state budget will increase by $760 million, not decrease by $400 million as promised. It seems that the "cuts" were from next year's projections, not from real spending. It's akin to the 50% off sale at the furniture store. 50% off of an inflated number still leaves a profit. Cuts from an inflated budget projection still lead to more spending, while picking our pockets for more taxes.

Personally I am getting tired of taking the paddling from the politicians. Isn't there an election coming up?

Friday, November 02, 2007

For all of you blog junkies out there

This little piece of news will allow those of you with a Google account (it is free) to receive email updates when comments are posted on this blog, or any other blog for which you have registered.

That way, if you leave a comment, you will know when someone responds to your comment.

Just trying to be helpful on a Friday.

Want to scare the pants off yourself?

Go to this site. It has a map updated every 400 seconds showing terrorism and suspected terrorism information around the world.

I keep reminding myself that God is Sovereign. It seems to help.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Good Old Days

The next time you get wistful for the way things used to be, take a look at this. Flash back to 1977, when I was 10 years old.

Warning - small children should not be allowed to view this. The years of therapy are not worth it.

Scenes from the 1977 J.C. Penney Catalog.

Edit note: Evidently the photos came from this blog. My apologies for not attributing them to the site.






Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day


October 31 commemorates the day Martin Luther posted his famous 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. The ensuing events gave rise to the Reformation and created the Church as we know it today with the three main branches of Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy and the Protestant church.

As you hand out candy to the little hooligans in your neighborhood this evening, think about one of the seminal events in the history of the Christian church that has profoundly affected Western Culture. The goals of the Reformation were admirable and appropriate. The aftermath was pretty messy. And we are still picking up the pieces today.

Ducking, Bobbing, and Weaving


It seems that Senator Clinton is not adept at articulating what she means. This article chronicles her troubles during a recent debate. I don't normally comment on presidential politics, especially this early in the process, but there was a line in the article that caught my eye.

"And when it was over, both the Barack Obama and John Edwards campaigns signaled that in the weeks ahead they intend to hammer home a simple message: Hillary Clinton does not say what she means or mean what she says."

This sounds very familiar to me. The link takes you to a post about Authentic Church where I said that if the church was like Horton the Elephant, we would all be better off. Political candidates, family members, heck, all of us would be better human beings if we meant what we said and said what we meant.

Eventually vacillating will come back to bite us. Pray for grace often, and say what you mean. But also remember to do what you say you will. It only works if both parts are present.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not that they don't have their value...



Thanks to my brother in Christ for this day-brightener.

Committee's have their place, please don't send me hate mail.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This man is a college graduate?

Check this out. A Miami Dolphin player just learned that the people in London, ENGLAND, speak English. Imagine that.

And they say that kids don't learn anything at Football U.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Walking Wounded

I'm somewhat at a loss to verbalize this thought, so bear with me. I've been in a funk lately, as you may know. Actually its more than a funk, more of a downward spiral, but that is not the issue I want to address. What my emotional upheaval has done is dull my awareness of people around me. Not that I was particularly sensitive before, but I am even less so right now.

This weekend it sort of crashed on me when I saw the hurt on some of my fellow Christians. I could tell something was wrong, but I didn't know what it was. And I didn't want to ask. One of the things about funks for me is that I tend to withdraw. I do it for several reasons. I know I am operating mentally and emotionally at an impaired level, and it keeps me from snapping at people. It also allows me to not put myself into situations where I will be tempted or overloaded, which can lead to things being misconstrued or blown out of proportion. But this withdrawal cuts me off from others, and dulls me to what is going on in their lives even as we pass each other in sort of a strange, pained dance.

I'm getting together with someone else this week who is in a similar place. I don't have any words of wisdom to offer. I don't have a plan, a book, or much beyond myself. I have faith in a God that I know is sovereign and loves me. But I don't hear him right now. So I cling to the faith that I have and remember the times I did hear him. That is what I have to offer.

Somehow I think this is how Christian community should work. The wounded help each other carry on as they journey through life together. Pray that we do not lose the sensitivity to each other that makes this possible. I know my self-preservation makes this difficult, but I also know what I am called to do. This is my denial of the flesh, to go and soldier on with someone hurting as much or more than me. All the while clinging to the hope that the God of the Universe will reveal himself in a way that we can comprehend. I went to the mountains in Colorado this summer. This appears to be the valley on the other side. Pray for us. But also rejoice with us that we are, in our own way, living out the command to bear each other's burdens. In an odd way, that kind of excites me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A shameful act

Rep. Pete Stark should be ashamed of himself. On the floor of the House of Representatives (video below) he made the following accusation about President Bush:

"You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

What kind of person thinks the President of the United States sends our soldiers into battle for his amusement? That is one of the most disgusting statements I have ever heard from a sitting U.S. Member of Congress. And the Speaker of the House calls the comments "inappropriate." I imagine if Rush Limbaugh or someone from the other political party uttered them that her response would be different.

If he is not censured promptly, something has gone horribly wrong in our nation's capital.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A little fire safety info for you

When fighting a kitchen fire, make sure you have a kitchen fire extinguisher, not a water-filled one. The video below dramatizes the proper and improper ways to fight a grease fire. If the fire is contained to a skillet or pan, you can always put the lid on the pan which will deprive the fire of oxygen. I've done that before when a neighbor in college had a pork-chop flambe' going in our apartment building. I pray that it never becomes an issue for you. video

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How the Michigan Legislature and Governor worked out the budget

Click on the video link to see a behind-the-scenes look at the recent budget negotiations. I feel so honored to have them as my leaders.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What I am reading right now


I started this last week. It's a sobering but compelling read. It will leave you unsettled in the first few chapters as it goes through the scriptures dealing with the poor and disadvantaged. I encourage you to read it. I picked it up from my local library.

I'll post more on it as I move through.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where are you?

Have you ever asked God that question? It's one that has been on my mind for a while, and I think it is part of the melancholy funk. Part of what I think weighs on me is seeing all the horrible things in our world, and sometimes I just wonder where God is. I know in my head he is there, and he is sovereign. But man, there are times I could use a "God with skin" sighting, if you know what I mean.

I do empathize with Elijah when he laid down in the desert to die. Not that I am the only righteous person left, as he mistakenly believed. But I can imagine the overwhelming frustration.

The song clip below tells my thoughts well.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cutting off their nose to spite their face

You be the judge. It seems that James Dobson and his band are alarmed at their waning influence in the Republican Party and the possibility of a Rudy Guiliani candidacy. So they have figured out a way to ensure that Hillary Clinton becomes president. In their tortured way of thinking, it is better to take no loaf, in terms of Supreme Court influence, with Hillary, than the half-loaf that Guiliani offers. Despite his pro-choice stand, he has said he will appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as written.

As for social issues other than abortion, Guiliani has a sterling record on crime control, eliminating porn shops, getting hookers off the streets, and protecting kids from being propositioned in Times Square. But abortion is the Holy Grail of Evangelical Republican Politics, and Rudy doesn't measure up in their eyes.

If they back a third-party candidate, they will be doing to the Republican nominee what Ralph Nader did to Gore and Ross Perot did to Bush '41. Splitting votes and ensuring their defeat.

I'm not backing Rudy, or anyone at this point. But this just seems stupid if their goal is to do anything other than get the Republican Party's attention. If they are serious, they will do a great deal of harm to their cause with a 3rd party candidate.

To me, this sounds more like a cry for attention than anything else. Which is sad.

Congrats Comrade Gore

Former Vice President Albert Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Now that he is a Nobel Laureate, there is a draft Gore movement in the Democratic Party, which I find interesting. Is there that much dissatisfaction with Hillary and the rest that they want to bring back Gore?

If so, they need to rethink their poster concepts. Or at least make them less obviously Soviet in their style.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In case you aren't familiar with Richard Roberts

Rumors

One of the things that struck me in the Oral Roberts University story is the comment by a student. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Cornell Cross II, a senior from Burlington, Vt., said he is looking to transfer to another school because the scandal has "severely devalued and hurt the reputation of my degree."

"We have asked and asked and asked to see the finances of our school and what they're doing with our money, and we've been told no," said, Cross who is majoring in government. "Now we know why. As a student, I'm not going to stand for it any longer."

Rumors and gossip have been an issue since language was invented. People will spread rumors because they feel a need to make themselves look better. They will also do it to undercut an opponent and sometimes, just because there is an absence of information. If things seem amiss, and requests for information are not fulfilled, the ground is fertile for rumors, speculation, innuendo and gossip.

It seems that some have been questioning the ORU leadership about the finances of the school for some time. That, coupled with a lawsuit filed by former professors, have led to a full bloom of stories about things that are going on there.

I cannot condone rumor-mongering, but I certainly can understand how it happens. I have been an advocate for transparency for churches, non-profits and any group that handles public money. Publishing board meeting summaries, posting quarterly financial statements and having open meetings are all ways to squash rumors. Nothing kills a rumor faster than exposure to the light of truth, and unfortunately too many organizations are loath to be transparent, especially involving their finances. If you have nothing to hide, then don't be secretive. If you are secretive, then you naturally invite suspicion.

The text below was written by David Crowe, a high school junior and the son of an Asbury alumnus. It was posted in the Asbury Coffee House. He offers some good thoughts about rumors, their spread and how to spike them.

People need to think when they start or progress a rumor. Think about the person it's about. Not only put yourself in there shoes but also in there position.

There have been many a rumor this year over many things involving many people, but something has come to me. Is there a true friend who would dare spread a rumor or tell something one has swore never to speak of? Why are there moments that we feel like we must talk to others about others? Does it really make us feel better?

School shootings have been a problem over the past years but there are other culprits than the ones who pulled the trigger, those who decided that they would rather risk the chance of having a fellow student be put down 6 feet under, by putting down another person.

Very few know everything about a person. It takes more than knowing them a few years to know them.

So if you hear a rumor spread about someone whether about something in their past or present don't feed the gossip. Starve it! If you don't, you might make a person relive a past they have tried to forget and move on. Don't spread the pain. Heal it, by being there for your friends and sometimes even for your enemies because I know we would all rather be put up than to be put down for good in a wooden box

David A. Crowe
Preacher's Kid
Junior, Eastern Wayne High School