Saturday, September 29, 2007

Link Dump -- September 29th

R2 Salt and Pepper
Odds of Dying
The Top Twenty Starship Captains
The Man Who Wouldn't Salute
3500 Calories To Lose A Pound... Is This Formula All Wrong?
What If You Spent One Year Following Every Rule in the Bible?
eBible vs. YouVersion: Web Bible 2.0 Smackdown - a user compares
She Says It Doesn't Work
Be still... - I resonated with this post a lot
Another Time Wasting Game... Boomshine

A fun time of the year.

I was thinking about how much this time of year is exciting in sports. You have football (HS, college, NFL) all in full swing, the baseball playoff are about to begin, the NASCAR chase is in gear, it's a great time of the year to go fishing if you can find time, and hunting has started (deer season officially opens Monday for archers.
So many opportunities, so many events to distract, yet so many chances to relax and enjoy. Here's what I think about this weekend's events...
The boys and I went to the High School game last night. The Chargers, who have struggled through some close games, pulled off the 28-27 OT win. Northwood decided to go for two after their OT score. I thought it was a good move because we had trouble stopping the run all night. The boys made a goal line stand to win it, on Homecoming!
Notre Dame faces off against Purdue. It might be the homer in me but I really think that this is a set up game for the Boilers. They seem to have all the signs of overconfidence and the Irish really have nothing to lose. Winning is great medicine and ND is in desperate.
Colts play Denver in a game they should win at home but I am sure that will be a tough assignment. The Bears travel to Detroit to try out their new QB against an absolutely awful Lions D. I like their chances.
The #48 is on the pole again. Can Jimmie avoid the trouble or will the other chasers take advantage?
The Cubs clinched tonight so watching/ listening to them this weekend has become unnecessary. However, watching the scoreboards will be interesting as there are 5 teams scrambling for 3 spots. This will also decide who plays the Cubs. Can they finally get over the goat?
I wish I could say that in the next week I'll have a chance to hunt or fish. Unfortunately it looks like that won't be happening. I do hope to get my bow out and at least go to the range...


Monday, September 24, 2007

Day Off Blog

Trying to keep my disciplines up has been rough the past month or so. I am determined to do so as much possible. My day off/ sabbath/ what ever you might want to call it is one of those things.
With my schedule, Sunday is not the best of days to have "off" usually. Due to some illness at work it has been what works out for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday was my day off (actually going through until 11 tonight). Here's how I spent it:
  • SS/ Worship
  • lunch with my family at Cici's. A family from church was there as well and joined us.
  • watched parts of the Colts game, the NASCAR race, and other football between snoozes of a nap.
  • read for a while
  • watched the Bears game -- I fell asleep in the 3rd quarter(I didn't miss much)
  • working at the church
  • this afternoon I will be seeing what I need to do to get the basketball pole in our driveway functional. Whoever put it in has the pole set where the rim will actually be at 11 feet.
  • I'll also try and knock out some more reading this evening as well.

Nothing fancy; just trying to keep myself on a routine of down time (at least somewhat)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Notre Dame's fourth quarter comeback

It's time to wake up the echoes and send Sparty home cryin'.

Link Dump - September 22nd

BBQ Foods: Kentucky Burgoo - this might require a roadtrip at some point...
Considering the Qur’an
A Small List of Good Books we need to be reading more
Ultimate Frugality - Ten New Ways For You To Save Money.
Why Church Workers are Prime Candidates as Porn Addicts
Los Angeles Police Department officer Joey Getherall gridiron hero becomes a real life hero
"God Wants to Give Us Nice Things"
Are Church Plants the most Effective form of Evangelism?
Self-taught MBA
This Is Not the World's Greatest Dad No Matter What His Shirt Says
8 Marks of a Disciple
What If You Spent One Year Following Every Rule in the Bible?
and...scene. Interesting info on the departure of the ND quarterback Demetrius Jones
Popular Mechanics 25 Skills Every Man Should Know I've 22 (maybe 23) of these down

John Piper - Test Yourself: Football or Christ?

I actually saw a woman on TV tonight say that she was glad that God healed her from cancer because she was not ready to leave her family/ husband yet. What does that say about us????

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Link Dump -- September 18th

I have recently spent some time cleaning up my feed reader. I also have added some new content. This is one of the things that I like so much about the blogosphere and feed readers. You can keep fresh things that speak to you and move on from old stuff. Many favorites remain. I have overall about 7 less feeds right now. Here are some good recent posts.

Amish Pentecostals?
Welcome to Jerkville, Population Me
10 Tips to Read More and Read Better -- we all could stand to be come better readers
Total Depravity of Man….Chapter and Verse
CONFESSIONS OF A HAPPY PASTOR: 5 Attitudes I will Not Tolerate
HOUSTON NUTT: PICTURE, 1000 WORDS, ETC. made me laugh...
Ex-ND QB says Weis reason for abrupt departure , uh yeah right...
Baptism, Church Membership, and Graduation sometimes the Church cannot get out of it's own way
Lack of Leadership is Costly a great response to the current ND football season
May God Bless You With Discomfort
Divorce Isn’t That Big a Thing for Many Pastors These Days…
Rebuilding Your Credit Report – Part I
First look at Prince Caspian really stinks we have to wait 6 more months than planned, hope it's worth it.

Book #17 -- The Listener by Terri Blackstock

I was at the Library yesterday afternoon and just happened across this book. I was skimming through the inspirational fiction area and found it. I have become a fan of Blackstock, having now read I believe 10 of her books. I had never seen or heard of this one and found it different than her usual murder/ mystery/ thriller books.

At about 160 pages it is a fairly quick read. I started when I got home and finished on my break tonight at work. It had part to do with the size and ease of the book as well as the story that pulled the reader in.

It is the story of a man named Sam who receives a gift from God. He is able to audibly hear the deepest needs of people's souls. What happens next is an inspiration and motivation to spread the good news of Jesus to anyone who needs it, that just happens to be everyone. I will not repeat specific stories from the book due to the spoiler factor.

While some portions of the book seem a bit forced and definitely fiction filled, I took some powerful messages away from the story. We need to remember that it is every Christian's job to share about Jesus, no exceptions. Also the best way to reach people is to recognize the needs that a present in their lives and start by addressing those. When people have their needs met they are very receptive to what God has for them. No major epiphanies here, just a new way to reinforce the truth.

This story shows what could happen if an individual and a group of believers would crawl over and out of the walls of the church to engage people where they are at. Definitely a worthwhile read and a challenge to action. What would you hear of you could hear what God hears? How would you respond?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Praise You In This Storm - Casting Crowns

Whe this song was released I thought that it was amazing and what a powerful message to so many who have gone through so many tough things. I really have a newfound appreciation and greatfulness for this song in the past month.
This video is spot on!

Link Dump -- September 16th

Interesting Interview With The Florida QB
Same As It Ever Was, Same As It Ever Was… perspective on the war between the Calvinist amd Armenian camps
Benny Hinn Bible Code??
Church from a Visitor's Perspective 1st of a 9 part series
Is your church a coalition or congregation?
Hello, I’m a Single Mother and I’m Coming to Your Church Tomorrow
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam
Speechless brutal honesty about the ND loss as well as hopefulness that all die hard fans should share
John MacArthur, Doug Pagitt, and Yoga
The Missing Kicker Formation.... a cool tribute, ven if you don't like USC
Sometimes When You Give, You Will Also Recieve... another perspective on the Kevin Everett tragic injury
Who is Consuming Whom?
Top 10 TV news events

The Day the world changed -- part 4

This blessing seems a bit odd in some ways. It has however provided us insight to God's grace and a sense of relief. That is the fact that as this amazingly horrible crash occurred, no other people or property were damaged, injured, or worse.
We may never have complete insight into what actually happened in those last moments but we have been able to put together that for some reason dad's van was travelling at a high rate of speed in the center of a 4 lane road. As he approached the area where the road curves, which so happens to be right at an intersection, he continued on straight. His path took him across a lane of traffic, over a curb, along an embankment with about a 30 degree slope, past a tree and several utility poles, across a side street with an oncoming carload of teens and finally into a loading dock.
The list of might haves, could haves and what ifs in this thing is amazing. There were so many vehicles on the road at 12:30 on a Saturday, yet not one was damaged. When the van left the road and crossed the curb it went straight rather than into a furniture store where a woman sat behind her desk. The van did not roll on the embankment. It missed the tree and poles, only grazing a support wire. The teens saw the van coming and stopped to let it pass. The van hit a concrete wall and did not go into/ through the warehouse where there were people working inside.
This brings us circled around to the subject of coincidence... I cannot bring myself to believe how one could chalk all of these things up to mere chance. As much of a painful thing this has been, we have been buffered by the knowledge that no other families had to go through this and that there is minimal follow up insurance wise because of what or what did not happen. All of these things do not lead us to jump for joy, rather to nod in thankfulness to a Father who cares.

Time to get back to basics

I'm not sure what else the coach could say or do after a loss like this one. I usually try and think about how I would handle a situation if I were in a coaches shoes. I can think of nothing better than getting them back on the field tomorrow and work. There really is nothing that will be in that game tape that would help the players learn. Will Charlie rally the troops or will the Weis Age begin to thaw????

Saturday, September 15, 2007

ND / Michigan in web pictures.

I thought it would be fun to share few pregame thoughts that came to me about the game and attach some pictures to them. In no particular order...
This game doesn't seem to have the same gusto as when these guys were at the helm:

I think that ABC will spend a lot of time focusing on fans of both sides looking a lot like this young lady. It might be no small irony in a few weeks that she is in a Cubs hat but that's another post:

I've seen a lot of questions around the web about whether this guy is actually injured:

This duo will have the most to say about whether ND has improved enough this week to win:

This series has always been won on big plays Manningham last year, the Rocket, Desmond Howard, Woodson, Tim Brown, etc. I for one will be watching in hopes of an ND victory of course but also with an eye to the future as well as the past of this great rivalry. GO IRISH!!!

Book #16 -- The Dip by Seth Godin

I finished this book almost a week ago and I just never wrote my review/ thoughts. I picked it up after seeing several recommendations for it. Most all of Godin's books have been well received and recommended so I thought I would give it a try.
One of the first things that hops out at you and the author points out as important is that the book is short (80 pgs.). Godin states that it is important to make your point quickly and stay with one main message to your audience. A great lesson for teachers in any venue.
The point of this book is to in a simple way provide people with the tools to recognize what type of situation you are in (cliff, cul de sac, or dip) and empower you to know that sometimes keeping at it has great rewards, in other circumstances it is OK to quit; with the idea that you will be better equipped to win at something else. Godin believes if you cant be the best in what you do you should quit and find what it is that you can strive for being #1.
I resonated with the message of this book with where I am in life right now. The cool thing about these principles is that they are not just for professional life they can be applied to all areas of life. The idea of being a "jack of all trades and master of none" just may not be the badge of honor that we seem to bestow it.
The real test comes in being able to recognize (this is actually the easy part) what each challenge is and then having the insight and courage to quit those things that do not make us win in the end. Taking the time to realize that quitting does not make you a loser if you quit the right things for the motive of being able to focus that energy into those things that you want to be t he best at.
So what are they in you life? Do you want to be the best Dad, husband, employee (fill in your occupation here, teacher, Christ follower, leader, minister, kite flyer, or whatever else you might be able to think of. It's a matter of priority. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Even of you feel that you have a solid handle on the directions life is currently taking you it could be a useful tool.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Day my world changed -- part 3

I will be continuing to share from the numerous lessons and blessings that have come our way in the wake of my father's death. This one was one of the first, but we would not fully understand it's fullness for several days.
My dad had left the house to run 2 errands that day. He needed to pick up 3 prescriptions (2 for him, 1 for my mom) and then he wanted to pick up carryout for their lunch that day. He had accomplished his stops and was on his way home when the accident happened. As the news reached us and the afternoon unfolded we discovered an amazing thing. The impact of the accident damaged or destroyed most everything in the van; including the prescriptions. Excapt for mom's. The police chaplain was able to get the bottle for my mom who would be needing those medications that evening. One solitary pill in her bottle was broken, the rest were perfect. All of dad's were broken and or contaiminated in the crash. IT has been especially in these "little things" that we have found our solice that even if we do not like it, or understand that situation, God has had it in His control.
It would be easy to check this off as a mere coincidence. The only thing is that there are really no such things as coincidence or luck. Add to that the fact that there ahave been far too many of these "coincidences" in the past 3 weeks to pass them off as such. Romans 8:28 is viewed in many circles as a platitude and has been used in ways that have made it a cliche. The fact is that as stated in my first post on this topic it is TRUTH. Sometimes the truth is obscured by our personal preferences or just the simple fact that we do not want to accept it. As I look at that scripture again I begin to see just how great it is. In fact, taking the next segment of the passage and including it only makes it that much more remarkable and powerful. (read Romans 8:28-39)
Volume upon volume of commentary has been written on these words and I do not suppose that my thoughts would hold a candle to the insight and scholorship that many who have explored this passage have shared. I do see a few keys that stand out to me as I read this with a new perspective of life:
  1. we need to remember that we are called according to HIS purpose, not ours. (vs. 28) We so often look at the blessings of God as given just because we as individuals are special. It's not all about us.
  2. If God (the real Creator of the Universe) is for us, who can be against us? I can't add much to that thought.
  3. Christ is in heaven working on our behalf (vs. 34) That's a pretty high level advocate if I ever heard of one.
  4. How much better would we be if we could grasp and apply the fact that we have been called to become MORE than conquerors. We seem to want to settle for the fact that we win. That is true, but as is the norm, God has raised the standard. What would my life look like if I applied this verse alone?
  5. Verse 38-39: "For I am convinced that neuther death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A bottle of medicine seems like such a minor thing in so many ways. But God cares about those things as well.

Link Dump -- September 12th

Something Light: Best 100 TV shows of all-TIME a good discussion starter...
Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
562 People Baptized at NewSpring Today - um, WOW
“Nice” Christian Boys and Girls Make Me Sick…
Why Christians Should Have Nothing To Do With Snowmobiles
Confronted by my own Judgmental Heart
The Land of Dying Dr. Kennedy had the right perspective...
The World’s Shortest International Bridge
Holy Toaster

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Day the world changed - Part 2

I mentioned in a previous post that there were/ have been numerous things that have reminded us that the Father has all of this under His control. One of those was what we found in dad's Bible.
Dad was persistent in doing his Scripture reading and devotions. If for some reason he missed, it became a mission to not only do the next one but to make up the missed reading. When his Bible was opened we knew that he had not done his devotions for Saturday the 25th. His Daily Bread booklet was stuck (as usual) in the pages he last read. In this case it happened to be Psalm 116. You can read the devotional that he read as his last while here on earth HERE.
The gist of all this is that we believe that God had this as a message for us. We also see that this lesson could well have been a preparation for dad. We were reminded quickly that we were not alone in our time of grief.
The obvious question is "If God understands so well why would he allow the painful situation?" All I know is that I have to reminded that His ways are not mine. God does that which will bring Him the greatest glory in the end. I feel like I have been in so many ways reaching for platitudes and cliches. I then have realized that these are actually the truths that I have learned in my personal journey. Truth is much more than a cliche. It is an anchor that we can hold to and be supported by when life crashes over us like a rogue wave (guess Ive seen too many episodes of Lobster Wars and Deadliest Catch :). The distinguishing mark is that truth is truth no matter the situation of circumstances. That is why we can learn so much from Job. That is why we find comfort and resolve to live on in Psalm 116:15:
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Next: medicine bottles and utility poles...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Link Dump -- September 7th

With the homegoing of my dad 2 weeks ago I have spent little time in the blogosphere. In fact I have largely skimmed and passed over most of the posts that have piled up in my reader. These are a few that caught my attention:
Leonard Sweet talks about the emerging church
Building a replica of Wrigley Field at 1/3 the size of the original
Marry Our Daughter - is this real/ legal????
2007 Fall Season Premiere Schedule
The Key That Would Have Saved The Titanic
Why We Need Each Other…
How to Organize a Personal Library Get a filing system, not just a piling system
Black Believers Debate Prosperity Gospel
SteriPEN looks like a must have item for any overseas trips
What Your ZIP Code Says About Your Weight
Satanism, Masonry and Mormonism
Friendly Christian Interviews Friendly Atheist
Using media and communications effectively: A Media Manifesto
Just Show Up
Staying Happy In Jesus
Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Hot Dogs
belonging w/out believing and believing w/out belonging
We Need More Tour Guides

The day my world changed

Today marks exactly 2 weeks since I last wrote a blog entry. Not that I haven't thought of it. But each time I either wasn't in a place it web access, didn't have time, or just plain did not feel like it. On Saturday August 25th in the early afternoon I received a call that I wish never came and I pray that no one else ever would have to endure.
On the other end of the line was a police officer, I could hear my mother crying uncontrollably in the background, who asked that I come to her house immediately. As I look back I think that I knew what was happening already. The brief conversation in the next few seconds solidified the notion. As I was running out of the house I called to my boys to tell that I had to go. One of my boys had been on the phone with my mom about 10-15 minutes before. He then told me that she said she was a little worried about grandpa (my dad) because he had been gone longer than expected. I sped to their house pleading to the Father that it wasn't what I thought.
The officer met me outside the house and explained to me that my dad had been in an accident and had passed away. The world I know was different in an instant. Everything seemed to speed up and slow down all at once. I went inside to be with my mom. I called my wife and told her, and told her that the boys needed to be told. A couple of hours later I had to tell my daughter as well. So many thoughts, questions, emotions. How? Why? Who?
As we began to gather more information about what had happened we began, and continue to this point to see that God had His hand on all that happened. How can that be? Certainly the Heavenly Father knew that I needed my dad in so many ways; my mom needed her husband; my kids needed their Papo.
There have been so many lessons in the past two weeks. I will be writing much more about them as I process them myself. Let me begin first by saying that I realize that in these situations you come to know and test what you hold as belief. Another point is that I cannot see how people who do not have the "blessed hope" within them or have a strong church and physical family around them cope in times like this. The thoughts, prayers, meals, cards, and hugs have sustained us. We are thankful for each one!
God is sovereign. His ways are not mine, and that is a good thing. I came to realize on the day of the viewing that I should not be as much sad about my dad as I am jealous. He has entered into that which we all aspire to. That leads me to what we found in his Bible...