How Much Do You Have to Hate Somebody....?

I don't know about all of you, but this video disturbs me.  I've never thought of myself as a "hater," but I have to admit at times I fit Penn's definition of one.  A good lesson for all of us I think.....you?


Porky Pig - Blue Christmas

Elevator Games

I don't know what it is about an elevator, but it usually brings out the ornery side of me. If you know me well, you know that I'm a prankster at heart. When I first got out of pharmacy school, I worked in a hospital where I used elevators all day long. So here's a list of some of the pranks I've pulled while in an elevator, some of them involving my friends:
  1. One time I walked into an elevator and didn't turn around to face the door. I just continued to face all the people. It definitely created an "uncomfortable moment" because everyone in the elevator didn't know what to do!
  2. One time I got on an elevator, and as soon as it started going up I said real loud "I'm too young to die!" I said over and over until the elevator stopped.
  3. One time I got on an elevator on the very top floor. It was crowded. I rode it down one floor and got off. Then I quickly ran down the stairs to the next floor and when the elevator doors opened I was there waiting and got back on. You should've seen the looks on everyone's faces!
  4. One time I got on a crowded elevator. As I assumed the normal "elevator posture" (you know, facing the door, looking up at the numbers) I looked at the total stranger next to me and said in a loud voice "I've got new socks on!" Their facial expression was priceless.
  5. Another time I got on an elevator and there was someone in there about my age. I quickly got excited and said "Hey, it's great to see you! I haven't seen you since high school! You haven't changed a bit!" It was so great to see them squirm and fake their way through the conversation as if they remembered me.
  6. One of my best all-time great gags was one I pulled on my best friend. He and I got into a crowded elevator on the ground floor. We were going to the fourth or fifth floor, so we were going to be in there a bit. In a loud tone, I asked him "So dude, how's your rash doing?" Immediately, everyone in the elevator got super quiet. My buddy's face turned beet red, but I didn't let up one bit. I continued with "So are you still super-contagious or what? Should I be standing this close to you?" By this time, people were squirming and trying to move away from him as discreetly as possible. At the next stop, EVERYONE got off the elevator! I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants!
What about you? Got any fun elevator gags?

What Are You Bringing to the Table?

Thanksgiving is upon us. I can't tell you how much I love this holiday. Why? Mainly because it's a chance for me to get to see extended family, but I'd be lying if I didn't say THE FOOD! My family isn't shy about bringing the food to the table. In fact, each year there are certain items I look forward to - for example, my Aunt Virginia's taco salad. Now you might think a taco salad doesn't belong on a Thanksgiving table, but her's most definitely does! Sadly, she won't be able to make our Thanksgiving gathering this year, so no taco salad for me. Thanksgiving just won't be the same for me.

I often use Thanksgiving as an example for small group ministries. You see, we all, like my Aunt Virginia, have something special to "bring to the table" for our small group. That something special is your spiritual gift. Maybe it's mercy or wisdom or prophecy or even hospitality. The point is, it can't benefit the group if it's not brought "to the table." Can you imagine Thanksgiving without the turkey? Or your Aunt So-and-so's pecan pie? Your group feels the same when you aren't there.

So, the take home point here is this: you have something everybody wants to enjoy, so be consistent in attending your group, whether it's a Sunday School class or home-based small group. You have something special to give, so bring it!


Our Family Blog

If you're interested, Michele and I have a family blog dedicated to all things related to our new family. You can check it out here.


Gimme my bottle and nobody gets hurt!

Pic #1: Kari was hungry one night, so she latched onto my honker while mommy was making her bottle & commenced to start sucking!
Pic #2: Sucking even harder. I'm laughing so hard I can't move.
Pic#3: Not willing to let go. No mercy. Look how red-faced I am!

Catching Up

OK.  It's been far too long since I last blogged.  Much has been going on and it's been a little difficult to get the creative juices flowin', but I think they are rebounding slowly.  To catch everyone up, here's what's been cooking in my noggin lately:
  • I'm writing a book, which has been fun and frustrating at the same time.  I'll spend an hour or so typing, then read what I've typed, delete it all, and start over again.  So far I've got the introduction and half of the first chapter in the can.  The topic?  Our adoption story parallelled with the adoption story of Moses. 
  • So, did you hear Obama was elected Prez?  He wasn't my choice, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be a hater.  In fact, I believe God (and America overwhelmingly) chose him to lead our nation for the next 4 years, so I'm going to commit to pray for him regularly.  I'm not going to speak negatively about him either.  I sincerely hope and pray he holds true to the faith he proclaims and does a great job.  Oh, I don't believe for one second he's the Anti-Christ.  This kinda stupidity has got to stop!
  • I've been dealing with work drama a lot lately.  I have a staff of three women and I'm the lone male.  Enough said.
  • I just finished teaching a four week class at church on men and leadership.  I called it "MENERGY," and after the final session last night, all the men wanted to continue meeting weekly for encouragement and accountability.  Awesome!
  • Kari is growing like a weed!  She has discovered she has a voice, and likes to use it.  A lot.  LOUDLY!  Each morning she likes to just lay in her crib and babble and scream - just because she can!  Her mother and I just lay in bed watching her on the monitor and laugh.  She's also somehow rearranging herself in her crib.  I'll lay her down in one position only to find her flipped 180 degrees the next morning.  I don't know how/when she does it - she can't even roll over yet, but she's trying!
There you go!  More to come - including pics of you-know-who!  By the way, did you notice the new profile pic?

For Those Who Weren't There......

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how
the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could
have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually
in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and
again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming,
but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who
spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows,
in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the
worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who knew neither victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt (emphases mine)

This past Monday night I led a "class" of men from my church in a discussion about this very quote. I challenged each and every one of them with these thoughts:

  • Every man has an "arena."
  • The "arena" is for testing.
  • Many men avoid the "arena" because of fear of failure.
We started off by identifying their particular arena(s). For some their arena was in the area of finances, others it was their family time, some it was their God-given purpose in life, and a few acknowledged it was their marraiges. These were areas they felt led to "fight" for, and yet for some reason weren't giving 100% effort to do so. Why? Because failing was too scary for them.

So, I challenged them to consider this quote I read in Craig Groeschel's new book "It" (provided by my boy Scott Williams from the N-Dub! Thanks again, buddy!):

"Failure is the tuition you pay for success." - Walter Brunell

I don't know Wally, but that guy has it all figured out! We have to change the way we view "failure." Now, I'm not saying we should rush out and fail, fail, fail. What I am saying is we should be willing to risk failure to experience our "triumph of high achievement."

What about you? What's your "arena?" More importantly, are you in it?

365 days ago....

Yesterday in church, a thought came rocketing into my skull from out of seemingly nowhere...

"Do you remember this time last year?"

Immediately my mind "rewound" the last 365 days or so.  I realized it was about this time last year when Michele and I were perhaps in the darkest days we have ever experienced.  We had just went through an IVF procedure only to find out that it had failed.  We were numb with grief.  We were shocked from pain.  We were angry from feeling betrayed by the Father.  Why hadn't He heard our prayers?

Little did we know that He had.  He had heard us.  He was working.  Our answer was already forming even as our tears were falling.  Like a mystery that He is, He chose for our baby to come to us through someone else's womb.  Our pain, her conception - all of this, approximately 365 days ago.

It's amazing what a difference a year makes.  Thank you Abba.

Thoughts about Temperature and God

Now that it's starting to get a little chilly outside, I've noticed something. In my car, I have a digital display that tells me the temperature both outside and inside the car. The other day I noticed it was a chilly 43 degree morning. As I started my car, the air conditioner was already pre-set on 68 degrees from the day before, when the outside temperature was in the 70s. What struck me was this - the day before 68 degrees felt cool, but on that particular morning it felt warm. What gives?

It's not that suddenly overnight 68 degrees changed it's mind and decided "Hey, tomorrow I'm gonna be a warm 68." No, 68 degrees is a constant. 68 degrees is 68 degrees all year round. So what changed? What changed is the environment by which I experienced 68.

God is like 68 degrees - He is constant. Our perception of Him, however, can change much like the temperature. Sometimes it seems as if my relationship with Him is hotter than the surface of the sun itself. Other times, He has seemed as cold and distant as the planet Pluto. What changed? Not God.

Have your times with God become stale? Change the environment. Have your prayers become routine? Change the environment. Has your "family time" become uninspiring and lost its originality? Change the environment. When the temperature dipped into the 40s, I experienced 68 degrees in a whole new and fresh way. Why? Because the environment changed. The same can happen with your relationship with God. Try it!


Princess Bride - The Wedding

My youngest brother, Brian, got married this past weekend.  It was a really small wedding - very quaint and intimate.  Tried as I might, I couldn't help but recall this scene from the Princess Bride.  In fact, we were quoting it as we drove him to the wedding ceremony!  Anyways, Brian and Amanda's story is an amazing one filled with love, forgiveness, grace, and hope.  Their union is truly an answer to many prayers, and Michele and I are so glad to welcome Amanda into our family.  During the ceremony, the pastor (who also married Michele and I) shared their goals with all of us - the number one being they wanted to serve God through the local church.  True enough, the next day (after their wedding night!) they got up early and went to church.  I am so proud of them!

Why on Earth Can't the Candidates Debate about the Real Issues?

I truly wish the candidates for President would stop arguing about the economy, tax breaks for the wealthy, healthcare, national security and the war. Instead, I wish they would have the courage to talk about the real issues....like these guys do.

Flight of the Conchords- Issues (Think About It)

We Should Listen to Our Elders...

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the Fruitcake Lady or not, but she appeared ever so often on The Tonight Show. She reminds me a lot of my great-aunt Mary Jo, or Jo-Jo as we called her. Just to warn you, she does use some bad language - but of course, so did Jo-Jo ever now and then! Hope you enjoy!

The Apocalypse is Upon Us! #2

A continuation from this post...

Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 were letters from Jesus addressed specifically to 7 different churches which existed at the time the Apostle John was alive. In effect, we are getting to read Jesus' emails to each of these churches. Here's a brief synopsis of what each letter said:


Jesus chastised this church because it had "departed from your first love." The original Greek word for departed literally means "divorced." Basically, this church had become spiritually complacent.


This is the first church Jesus doesn't admonish. Jesus warns this church of coming persucutions and encourages them to remaing strong and faithful. Their reward will be the crown of life - eternal life untouched by spiritual death.


This church had within it certain people who claimed to be Christ-followers but were participating in idolatry and sexual sins. Christ warned this church to repent or face judgement. Those who repented would be rewarded by Christ Himself.


Like Pergamum, this church had serious problems. Specifically, a woman "prophetess" was leading its members into idolatry and sexual immorality. Jesus announced his judgement upon these individuals was coming soon unless they repented. For those who did, Jesus would reward them.


This church was on the verge of becoming spiritually dead. They were a hypocritical church - longing for the recognition of being Christ-followers but severely lacking in living it out. Jesus warned them to repent or else.


This is the second church that Jesus doesn't admonish. They were being obediant despite being persecuted. Jesus encouraged them to remain strong and promised them victory over those persecuting them. He also promised to spare them from "the hour of testing" the rest of the world will have to endure.


This church was full of self-pride. They were a wealthy, prosperous community and had become too dependent upon material possessions instead of Christ. Jesus pleaded with this church to humble itself and repent.

To sum it all up, the word "repent" was repeated seven times. Jesus makes it plain He will not tolerate a complacent attitude towards sin in His Church. This reminds me I need to do the same in my life. I think our churches do a great job of preaching the grace and mercy of Christ, but a lousy job of preaching about our personal responsibility to turn from sin daily. It's as if the word repent has become a Christian's curse word or something. Repentance takes time, sometimes a lifetime. The point is to be continually in the process. And for those who overcome, the reward will be worth it!


Odd, Quirky, Silly, and Just Plain Fun Factoids

OK. Not a terribly serious post today. Rather, I decided to have some fun. Today I thought I'd share a few silly facts about me, with the hope you'll comment back with some silly facts about you. Ready to play?

  • Whenever I get ice out of the ice tray, I ALWAYS drop at least one ice cube. EVERYTIME!
  • I have to have my khaki pants and dress slacks hung on plastic hangers. No wires for the pants! And yes, I change them out to plastic once they get back from the cleaners.
  • Whenever I go into Wal-Mart or Target, I HAVE to look at the pens. I may not buy any, but I at least have to see if there are any I don't already own. I can't leave the store until I do.
  • Latest and greatest additions to my iPod are: Paramore's "Riot," The Very Best of Hall & Oates, and Genesis: Turn It On Again (Greatest Hits).
So there you go. Your turn.

Acting and Marriage Vows

There's a great story I read this morning about Kirk Cameron. Basically, he has made a commitment not to kiss anyone but his wife, especially while acting. You can read about the story here.

Here's what I like about this story:
  1. Kirk wants to honor God with his marraige.
  2. Kirk wants to honor his wife above all others.
  3. Kirk has a plan to do both #1 and #2.
  4. Kirk is not afraid to stand-up for his principles. I like the fact that he wouldn't kiss the actress playing his wife in his new movie, but rather kissed his "stand-in" wife. In my opinion, it probably made the kiss more believable as well.
So, what do you think? Should married actors/actresses think twice about kissing someone other than their spouse on-screen?

The Quest for Security

Let me just say this to start - this world is not safe. Before you label me a "Debby Downer," let me flesh that statement out a little bit.

Over the past few weeks the Stock Market has been taking a nosedive. Understandably, this has a lot of people upset and on edge. There is great concern about our nation's economy and whether or not we are headed towards another Great Depression.

This November, we will be electing a new President for our nation. It's clear there is passion for the nation on both sides. There is also, in my humble opinion, a tremendous amount of fear and worry that the "other side" will win the election. Repubs are scared to death the Dems will win and vice versa. Each party only sees gloom and doom if they don't win.

My friends, this world is not safe. It was never meant to be safe. We can not place our security in the things of this world, for it is not our home. The one thing we can be sure of is this: God will be on His Throne whether the Stock Market completely falls apart or the "other side" wins this election. God is Sovereign over all of it. Trust in Him, not in these other things.

Confession time: God is stretching me big time in my "quest for security" in my finances. Lately, I've noticed my mood fluctuates with my bank account. When I deposit my check, I'm a happy camper. At the end of the month when things are a little tight, I'm a grump and worrier. This must break the heart of God big time. After all, He is still the same God when my bank account is full or low. Where is my hope? In God or money?

Repenting and chasing Him all the more today.

How about you? Where do you naturally drift towards for security?

Creature of Habit

I went and got my driver's license renewed this morning before work. Now I'll be honest, I know a lot of people pay extra special attention to their driver's license picture, their hair, make-up (girls), and such but I do not. Not an especially important matter to me, just a piece of plastic I need in my wallet so that I may enjoy the privilege of operating a motor vehicle in the State of Oklahoma. I knew I was going to be taking a picture, however, so I randomly chose a shirt out of my closet that I knew was clean (meaning one that didn't have any food stains on it) and headed out the door. Today that shirt happened to be a yellow polo shirt with blue horizontal stripes.

So while I'm waiting for the Tag Agent lady to type in all the necessary information into the computer, I whipped out my expiring driver's license and looked at the picture. I couldn't believe it! In the picture I had taken four years earlier I was wearing.....wait for it..... a yellow polo shirt with blue horizontal stripes! It wasn't the same shirt, but it looked very similar.

Moments like this are a reminder to me that I have the capacity to be predictable. Repeatable. Habitual. Stale. Especially in my personal daily walk with Christ. Honestly? Jesus could probably say that I've been wearing the same "shirt" for some time now and I know He'd love for me to make a "wardrobe" change for the better. Starting today.

What's your "go-to" shirt? Where, in your walk with Christ, do you need to freshen up your "wardrobe?"

Out and Open...and What Now?

If you haven't heard by now, last week Ray Boltz announced he was a homosexual. Yes, "Thank You" Ray Boltz said he was gay and has been for his whole entire life. You can read more about it here.

There have been several bloggers give their two cents about it, like this one. Personally, I'm amazed at some of the comments left on others' blogs about this topic. It certainly appears as if We, The Church, are quite divided on this issue. So I figured I might as well weigh-in too. Here's some of my thoughts, and as always, feel free to chime-in with yours too.

1) I want to first say that I have many friends who are gay, and everything I am about to say I have said to their face with all the love of Christ I had in me at the time of our conversation.
2) Homosexuality is a lifestyle of choice, not birth. God doesn't make someone gay as much as He would make someone a child-molester or murderer. These behaviors are all choices made by the individual, and as such carry consequences.
3) Homosexuality is clearly defined in Scripture as contrary to God's will. Therefore, it is without question or debate sin. See this, this, and this.
4) Just as homosexuality is a sin, so are heterosexual perversions, i.e. adultery, prostitution, etc. GOD HATES ALL SEXUAL SIN.
5) Homosexuality can be overcome, with the power of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.
6) The overcoming may take time, if not a lifetime for some. The point is, they may need a helping hand to keep them strong and motivated during their battles.
7) We, The Church, should support any and all who are battling this sin nature.
8) Oftentimes however, The Church does a very poor job of doing this (#7) - which breaks the very heart of God.

The problem I have with the Homosexual Agenda is this: they are attempting to force upon us an acceptance for their behavior. Once they are "out", they are proud of their lifestyle. They show no remorse for their actions, because they don't think it's wrong or sinful. If someone disagrees with them, that person is a "hater" or "intolerant." My friends, we can not be afraid to stand up for the Truth. However, we can't beat them over the head with it either. Don't be discouraged or afraid to speak the Truth in love. Because, after all, that's all anyone wants in this life - to be loved - even homosexuals.


Where Were You?

September 11, 2001.  It's one of those days we will always remember when, how, and where we were at when we heard the terrible news.

Me?  I had worked the evening shift at the hospital September 10th, which meant I had gotten home around midnight.  Fortunately, I had the next day off and I was looking forward to getting some errands done.  I remember getting woke up by the phone ringing that morning, but I don't remember exactly what time.  I remember being a little upset that someone not only woke me up, but that they called so early in the morning.  That person was my wife, who was at work.  She asked me if I had been watching the TV and if I knew about what was happening in New York City.  I quickly turned on the TV just in time to see the second airliner fly right into the second tower.  I immediately went numb.  The rest of the day was spent on the couch, in my boxers watching, crying, praying, seething, and hurting for all of the lives affected by such a cruel act of terror.

Seven years has gone by so quickly.  So, where were you?  What's your story? 

I'm All About Shattering Taboos...

OK. I'm ready to just put it out there. I'm sure I'll get some criticism. Fine. I'm sure I'll get some comments. Even more fine. I'm hoping to generate discussion - that's the whole purpose of a blog, right? With that said, I want to shatter the politics/religion taboo (you know, the two things you don't talk about in a public setting) by revealing my choice for President and why.

This isn't an attempt to sway your opinion. This isn't an attempt to stump. All I'm doing is telling you who and why. I welcome your comments that agree/disagree with my decision. After all, iron sharpening iron isn't necessarily a feel-goody experience is it?

First and foremost, even though I'm giving this ticket my vote, I do not agree 100% with their agenda for the future. I like some things from both candidate's platforms. As far as my choice is concerned, I tend to agree more with one than the other, however.

Secondly, I am excited that both candidates profess a genuine faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I realize this doesn't mean they are perfect in their morality, after all, who is? I'm not choosing because I think one is a "better" believer than the other. That's being judgemental.

Third, I feel both candidates would bring "change" to America. Either way, this election will be monumental. Either we will have the first President with African heritage, or we will have the first female Vice-President in the history of this nation. America will never be the same no matter which party wins.

So, who am I voting for? McCain and Palin.

Here's why:

First, McCain is a true-blue American. Obama grew up for most of his childhood outside the continental American states (he moved to Hawaii two years after it achieved statehood at a time when there still was a huge anti-American sentiment present and then the Islam-majority country of Indonesia). As a result, I feel he lacks, for lack of a better term, a certain amount of "American pride" that only comes from growing up in America.

Secondly, McCain is a champion for the unborn. He and his wife even adopted two girls from Mother Theresa's orphanage who most certainly would've died had they not done so. Obama's voting record on abortion is radically more liberal than even that of NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, one of the nation's most powerful pro-abortion lobbying organizations. If you've kept up with my blog at all, Michele and I have just adopted a baby girl whose own life was in the balance shortly after her conception. I can't imagine my life without her. I simply can't give my vote to someone who won't fight to defend the unborn.

Thirdly, McCain has sacrificed his own body for this nation. He has shed his own blood for this nation. He has literally had his bones broken from torture for this country. His body is a testimony of his self-sacrifice for this country. Obama says America needs to come first, McCain has lived it.

Finally, McCain is more experienced to lead this nation. Obama announced his candidacy a mere 143 days after being sworn into office in the U.S. Senate. He had 143 days of work experience under his belt and then decided he could run this country? You couldn't become the chief of surgery with 143 days of surgical experience. You couldn't become a CEO of a Fortune 500 country with 143 days of business experience. You couldn't become a space shuttle commander with 143 days of astronaut experience. I have been a pharmacist for 8+ years now. I am a much better pharmacist today than I was after being on the job for only 143 days. Why? Experience. Obama may one day lead this nation, but right now, his lack of experience as an executive leader is a major reason why I can't vote for him.

So, there it is. What are some factors playing into your decision for President?

Oh, Did I Mention....

No, your eyes are not deceiving you..I decided to upgrade the layout of my blog.  Hopefully, it will generate more looks as well as stimulate more comments.  Anyway, hope you all enjoy!

What do you think?  Like?  No like?

The Apocalypse is Upon Us!

So my LifeGroup has embarked on a journey together through the book of Revelation. I'm quite proud of them, because they suggested studying this very complicated book of the Bible. To help, we are using this study guide by John MacArthur. Growing up, I don't recall a whole lot of teaching about or from this enigmatic book. So, I thought I'd blog some thoughts as we go through it each week and invite all of you to comment (hint, hint).

Chapter One:

I'm struck how Jesus is contrasted in Revelation 1:13-18 to this prophesy of the Messiah. Philippians 2:6-8 (I like the way The Message says it) reveals Jesus' mindset in transitioning from his heavenly form to human form. So basically, Jesus took off his crown, his robe, his power and strength, and laid them down - the NASB says He "emptied Himself" - to become one of us - weak, frail, powerless, vulnerable, human. Can you imagine if the Queen of England suddenly decided to become a commoner? Not only that, but what if in doing so she then declared everyone in England royalty, worthy of sitting on the throne of England? Can you imagine? This, my friends, is exactly what our Jesus has done for us.


I'd love to hear your two cents.

"The Faith of Barack Obama"...my review

I have finally finished reading this book by Stephen Mansfield. It was provided to me by the good folks at Thomas Nelson, and I want them to know I appreciate the opportunity to give my thoughts and comments about it. I also appreciate their patience as I wanted to read this book thoughtfully and thoroughly before commenting. With that said, here goes!

Prior to reading this book, I had a lot of questions about Barack Obama. What knowledge of Obama I had was what had been filtered down to me from friends, colleagues, and the media. Was he or wasn't he a Muslim? Is he or isn't he a born-again Christian? What are his beliefs, and how do they shape his politics and worldview? Why was his pastor in the news so much? After reading Mansfield's manuscript, I feel like my questions were thoroughly answered.

What I appreciated most about Mansfield's approach was his dedication to portraying the faith of Obama without any hint of bias or prejudice. While Obama's public statements of faith compared with his voting record often elucidates criticism, Mansfield refrains from doing so. Neither will you see any glimpse of Mansfield's own personal opinions about Obama's faith and political ideology. This, in my opinion, adds tremendous credibility to Mansfield as an author, and I applaud his integrity.

Mansfield skillfully paints a picture of how Obama's upbringing, education, and career path helped shape his faith and politics. For to truly understand the man, you must first understand what and/or who helped shape that man. Obama's life is a kaleidoscope of influences and experiences. He is a child of mixed races; his mother was caucasian American and his father was a Kenyan. While his mother was an atheist, his father and step-father were Islamic. His childhood was spent primarily outside the continental United States in Hawaii, which had just achieved statehood, and the Islamic-majority country of Indonesia. Heading into his college years, Mansfield reveals Obama was lonely and empty. Being "different" from his peers growing up left him wondering "Who am I?" and "Where do I belong in this world?"

Finally, Mansfield details how Obama came to have a relationship with Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He spends a great deal of time ellaborating how Obama's occupation as a community organizer led him to attend Trinity United Church of Christ under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It was under Wright's tutelage, that Obama came to a decision of faith in Jesus Christ. Mansfield steered well clear from type-casting Obama's faith. However, he did objectively describe the "black theology" espoused by Rev. Wright from the pulpit. Undoubtedly liberal and in many points heretical, Rev. Wright's theology helped shape Obama's young and growing faith for some twenty years. Despite being controversial from the pulpit, Wright has led Trinity to become an instrument of social outreach and ministry in the Chicago community. Without a doubt, Obama's faith was created, molded and empowered from his association with Trinity and the Rev. Wright. It is this faith that Obama unashamedly claims guides his every political decision.

Overrall, "The Faith of Barack Obama" is a very good book. It is well written. It is very apparent Mansfield did his homework and was thorough in his interviews. I would certainly recommend anyone wishing to have a better understanding of who Barack Obama is "behind closed doors" to read this book.

Warning! Super Dad Alert!

Here I am all geared-up and ready to go to the OU vs. Chattanooga football game. Yes, I know. Dead sexy look for me.

Profoundly deep spiritual lessons l've learned from a 5-week old..

So my baby girl came and paid me a visit yesterday at work. I was pumped! I was definitely living up the "proud papa" moment as my staff "oooohed" and "cooohed" at my lil' cutie. As luck would have it, I noticed a particularly unpleasant odor arising from my wee little one's nether region and instantly decided it was a perfect opportunity to show-off my fatherly diaper-changing skills.

So, I sprang into action! Little did I know just how bad it would be! Whoa! There was poop everywhere! Now, I grade these situations on a 1-10 scale - meaning how many wipees are necessary to get the job done. This was a 7! So as I'm doing my best to clean her up, she starts wiggling and kicking and jerking and moving and before I realize it I have poop all over my fingers and hands. Plus, she has managed to relocate her "mess" somehow from her nether region to the soles of her feet and up her legs! To make matters worse, I had 4 women standing over my shoulder laughing and giggling and commenting on how "great" a job I was doing. Talk about pressure!

As I was just about to complete the task, all of a sudden, I noticed a warmth come over my hands. That's right, she peed all over me and herself at the same time! What a darling! I guess she felt bad and just wanted to help clean my hands for me.

So, here's the deep super-duper spiritual lesson my 5-week old taught me:

Sometimes life gets messy. Sometimes messy gets all over you. But don't worry. God will provide a warm shower to help get messy off you. And then He will sit back and laugh!

It's not everyday you get to meet an angel...

Michele and I count ourselves doubly blessed to know this young lady. She is the birthmother of Kari Lynne Marie. Her name is Angela Marie, and it's no coincidence that the word "angel" is in her name. Because that' exactly what she is to us...an angel. She is strong. She is brave. She is kind. She is intelligent. She is beautiful. She is unselfish. And above all, she is very, very loving. We felt it was only right that Kari Lynne shared part of her name with the person who gave her to us.

Angela, we praise God for you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you!

Today was one of the best days of my life!

Today was absolutely, unequivocably one of the best days of my life. Today was probably the 4th best day of my life.

#1-Being born again (Oct. 31, 1982).
#2-Our first kiss (at the altar) in two years (June 6, 1997).
#3-Hearing Kari's first cry as she was born (July 23, 2008).
#4-Finding out she will forever be our little girl (12 noon today).

That's right. Today we learned that Kari will be our little girl. Her birthfather did not appear at his scheduled court date, and therefore his parental rights were officially terminated. This was the last major barrier that could've prevented her from being our baby girl, and God took care of it for us. At 3 p.m. today, our amazing birthmother sacrificially surrendered her parental rights as well. This amazing act of love, which staggers me still to this very second, allows us to adopt Kari outright.

Psalm 52:9 says: "I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope for your name is good." This verse has become especially dear to us over the past few months, and today it became more real than we could ever imagine. God is so good!

What was your first real job?

My staff and I were having fun at lunch talking about our first "real" job.

Me? Picking corn. That's right, I could pick corn with the best of them. I was 14 when I started and worked that job until I was 16. Started at 5 a.m. and worked until it got too hot, usually around 11 a.m. or so. We had to wear long-sleeve shirts, jeans and boots.

The best part of that job was getting paid! We got paid cash everyday. We would all gather around the farmer (Mr. Sheffield) and he would pull out this ginormous wad of cash and pay all of us. Then we'd all hop on a huge truck and head home. Good times!


Can a Christian be a Liberal too?

As a blogged about earlier, I am reading this book for free in exchange for posting my thoughts and critiques of said book. To help get me started, the publisher emailed me the first two chapters. So, here goes....

The author, Stephen Mansfield, also wrote this book. What I'm impressed with so far with this book is the lack of any hint of bias. In fact, he stated in his introduction he doesn't intend to "press a political agenda" nor "rage against the realities of his life." Mansfield hasn't crafted a vehicle to submarine Obama's political ambitions. Rather, this book was written "in the belief that if a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and thus it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life" (pg xxiii). I applaud Mansfield's objectivity.

Obama has stated he indeed has a Christian faith and this faith guides him daily. However, he is also quite liberal in his political agenda. He is unapologetically pro-choice and is a big supporter of gay rights. I'll admit, I'm having a difficult time reconciling the two - oil and water just don't mix.

Which begs the question: Can a Christ follower have liberal political philosophies, and not contradict God's Word?


Is Barack Obama a Christian or not?

So, as we all know, the elections for President are very important and very close. I've been trying to educate myself as best I can on both candidates, their politics, and their beliefs. Beliefs are especially important in my voting desicion. Some people would scoff at me basing my decision upon a candidate's personal faith, I honestly don't care. Faith is important - after all, this individual will be the leader of the free world. I have to know he relies on wisdom higher than his own.

So, to help, I recently scored a free copy of this book. As a token of gratitude for said free book, I've agreed to blog my thoughts, feelings, criticisms, and ideas about the book. With that said, be looking for my posts. I'm going to post my thoughts as I read each chapter.

How important is a candidate's faith to you as far as your vote is concerned?

If they could see us now.....

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Acts 2:42

In a couple of weeks I'll be leading a Bible study prep session for our campus' Life Group leaders. To prepare, I've been reading about the very first church. Yesterday, it hit me all anew - these were real people. They truly lived, breathed, and died. Because of them, you and I share a common faith. They made it possible for the story of Jesus to be shared throughout the world and the generations. We owe them a lot of thanks!

So, I began to wonder, if they could see us (the Church) now....
  • ...would they be impressed with our growth or disappointed that our influence isn't larger?
  • ...what would they think about all our denominations?
  • ...would they be grieved or pleased with how we treat one another?
  • ...would they consider us equally devoted or numbingly entertained?
  • ...would they see themselves in us or a diluted shell of what they once were?
  • ...would they say we give generously or hoard selfishly?
What do you think?

If for anything, this is why...

Check out this story I just read on the interweb. I realize there are a lot of critics of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, if for anything this is why we need to continue our efforts to free those countries....religious freedom.

Check it out here.

Tentmaker Redux

Since I'm a winner now and S-Dub from the N-Dub is pimping my blog for a week, I figured I might get a few new readers. With that in mind, I'd like to re-post my first post to introduce my passion and purpose to all of you. Hope you find some commonality and inspiration.

From Nov. 7, 2007:

First off, welcome to my blog. I'm truly honored you have shared a few moments of your time with me.

So, what exactly is a "tentmaker?"

Acts 18:3 reveals a little snippet about the Apostle Paul's life that I find extremely fascinating. The Message says it like this:

"Paul moved in with them (Aquilla & Priscilla) and they worked together at their common trade of tentmaking." (emphasis mine)

Yep. Paul, at one point in his life, had a day job. A regular 9 to 5'er. However, he didn't merely toil at making tents for no reason. Rather, he leveraged his profession to advance the Gospel.

So, to answer the question, a "tentmaker" is someone who has a career and a passion to let God use them in their career to further the Gospel. Like Paul, God may call them to vocational ministry, or not. The point is, a "tentmaker" uses their career as a propellant for ministry.

What about you? What is your career, and how do you see God using you as a "tentmaker?"

One thing to do while you are watching the Olympics

I am looking forward to watching the Olympics over the next several days. I love everything about the Olympics. However, I was challenged earlier today to look at the Games with a differenct perspective. Rather than watching the Olympics and getting all caught up in nationalistic pride and competition, why not use this opportunity to pray for the countries represented at the Games?

Here's my plan:
  1. Since they are the host country, everytime the word "Beijing" or "China" is mentioned in the broadcast I'm going to pray for that country.
  2. To help, I signed-up to receive one of these. You can too!
  3. Whenever watching medal ceremonies, pray for all the countries on the podium.
There it is. Simply and sweet. I'd love to hear any of your ideas too!

Go USA! (and JESUS!)

I'm a Winner!

So, my buddy Scott Williams had a contest on his blog last week - he invited his followers to come up with a new name for his blog for Fridays. Why? Because every Friday he is going to be giving away FREE STUFF! That's right! FREE STUFF! All you have to do is go to his blog, leave a comment on FRIDAY of every week until Jesus returns*, and you will be entered into a random drawing for FREE STUFF!

So, as I said, I won his contest with my idea of renaming his blog "Free is the New Friday." I took inspiration from the current name of his blog "Big is the New Small." So, every Friday, his blog's name will change to "Free is the New Friday." Pretty neat idea (his, that is).

Thanks, Scott for picking me and I'm looking forward to my new book!

*Scott may not do this every week until Jesus returns...I just put that part in there for laughs. Then again....?

Ummmm, I Think I May Have Some Trouble Ahead!

OK. This was too funny not to post. I know we are all born sinners, but REALLY? THIS EARLY? Pray for me! Hahaha!

It's My 100th Blog Post!

I've been intentionally waiting to blog this post so I could include pictures of my baby girl! Her name is Kari Lynn Marie, and she is just amazing. She is doing well and her mom and I feel incredibly blessed to be her parents. God truly is amazing!

So, if you want, you can see her pics here and also here. It's taken me a little while to figure out Flickr and to upload all the pics - what with having to peform feedings and changing diapers I haven't had a lot of free time! But, I'm looking forward to blogging consistently again. God has been stirring a lot of thoughts lately - I'm even mulling over a book idea!

Thanks again to all who have emailed, called, commented with encouraging words and well-wishes. You can not know how much they mean to us! Also, we started a family blog so all our friends and family can keep up with us. You can see it here.

God is good!

Overwhelmed by Generosity

This a blog about generosity. Michele and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our family and friends these past few weeks. Whether it's the random phone calls just to tell us we are being held up in prayer, a funny, encouraging card, the unexpected checks to go towards our adoption costs, or the unbelievable outpouring of diapers, clothes and various gifts....words can not describe how much all of this has touched our hearts. Deeply.

If there was a guage that measures just how much a person is being loved by others, our guage would be pegged right now. Check that, it would have broken the peg and be spinning like mad! It's been truly amazing to see God's love through His Church - all of you! You have certainly represented the lavish love our Savior has poured out upon the world.

So, from Michele and I, thank you so very much for your love for us and our baby girl. We are honored to share this journey with all of you!

Close to the End...or really, the Beginning!

Sorry for the long time between posts. We are nearing the finish line on our adoption! Our baby girl will be born sometime around July 22nd or so.

Please keep a few things in prayer for us between now and then:
  1. Pray for Michele's and my health. The past 6 weeks have been nothing but run-and-gun for us. The stress and nonstop go-go-go is starting to wear us down. We'd really like to have our batteries fully recharged once this little girl arrives. I know we'll need them to be!
  2. Pray for a smooth delivery for our birthmother (whom we adore!) and that our baby girl will be born pink and healthy.
  3. Pray for our birthmother. She is such an amazing young lady, and I know she's going to be grieving the "loss" of this little one. Pray for God's peace and comfort upon her after the birth.
  4. Finally, pray for our adoption to go through - the only snag in this whole process is the birthfather. He could choose to contest, which would cause us to lose the baby. Please pray for God to move him to either not get involved or at least to give his consent. We are believing God is working on our behalf!

Thanks again, to all of you who take the time to read this blog. Once she gets here, there will be more consistent posts. I hope and pray God is bigger to you today than He was yesterday!

Gritty or Greedy?

So Tiger Woods played in the 108th U.S. Open Championship despite his doctors orders to do so (he had surgery on his left knee about 2 months ago)....and won. When asked in his post-round interview why he disregarded his doctors orders to play he responded (I'm paraphrasing here) "That's what I do. I play."

From my point of view, there are two ways to look at this story. They are:
  1. Tiger should be respected and congratulated for playing despite his injury. It takes a lot of will-power and moxy to play golf at that caliber in spite of pain. -OR-
  2. Tiger is a prideful glory hound that let his quest for domination of the sport of golf get the best of him. He selfishly threw away the rest of his season just to win another major title (he now has 14 by the way).

I think, to some degree, Americans glorify a wounded athlete too much. Now it's one thing for an athlete to get hurt in the midst of competing, and gutting it out to win. It's a whole other thing to compete while injured (against medical advice) thus jeopardizing your future career as an athlete.

What do you think?

If I'm losing my mind now, will a baby make it any better?

OK. So here's the deal. I haven't blogged much lately - not that I haven't had PLENTY to say - but because I am losing my mind. Why? Take a look:

Since May 17th I have:
  • Had 3 massive garage sales on 3 consecutive weekends (Yes, I know...we actually had enough stuff to pull it off for three weeks in a row. Sad, but true - and there's some left over to donate.)
  • Had my A/C unit completely freeze up.
  • Got the A/C unit fixed, then discovered I had a leak in my closet a few days later. Pulled up carpet and pad and deployed fan for 3 days straight to dry it all out.
  • Leak in closet a result of a busted drain pipe coming from the drain pan underneath my furnance/A/C unit in attic.
  • Fixed busted drain pipe, only to discover a leak in my wife's closet a few days later.
  • Second leak caused from where the drain pipe connects to the drain pan (too loose), so I fixed that! Noticed a lot of water still accumulating in drain pan - called in the professionals.
  • Professionals fixed condensation line (which was poorly installed when the house was originally built - GRRRR!) and installed 2 kill switches that will automatically turn off the unit if it detects water backing up in the line. WHEW!
  • Was planning and preparing for a huge leader retreat at church that got postponed (wisely) at the last minute. I was going to lead a break-out session on how to prep for Bible study for a small group. Can't wait to do it in September!
  • The wife and I flew out to Jacksonville, FL for one last get-a-way before baby arrives. It was our 11th anniversary gift to each other. Attended a Family Life marraige conference while there - TOTALLY recommend it! Had some friends graciously donate air miles to make it all happen - thanks Thomas'!
  • Painted baby's room. Painted chair rail and installed it as well.
  • Been filling out a TON of adoption paperwork.
  • Attending an adoption conference this upcoming weekend in OKC.
  • This week had new computers installed at the pharmacy. It's kinda tricky trying to fill Rx's while your computers are down!
  • Leaving this Wednesday for an annual men's golf trip with my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and ten other men. This is our 7th year in a row. It's a great time of fun, golf, and encouragement. Michele is going to Cayman with her mother, sister, and our nephew at the same time.

So, there you go. I've been too busy to blog. Hopefully when our baby girl arrives thing will slow down. MUAHAHAHAHA! I crack myself up!

For Your Sake, Don't Watch!

You better not watch this video promo for Lifechurch.tv's upcoming At The Movies series in July. Because if you do, I won't be liable for anything that might happen, like uncontrollable giddiness, glee, wonderment, curiosity, excitement, anticipation, dribbling in your pants, sleepless nights 'cuz you're too amped to sleep, and/or severe impatience.

Me? I'm like a 9-yr-old little boy sleeping with his flashlight on Christmas Eve counting down the hours until he can get an early morning sneak peek at the loot Santa brought him. Not that I actually did that......more than 10 years in a row. I need counselling.

Which is Worse?

Which is worse - someone who is called to vocational ministry and doesn't answer the call, or someone who isn't called to vocational ministry and does it anyway?

Tear it up.

P.S. Sorry 'bout the hiatus. More on that later. Show me some blog lovin'.

God Only Knows, But Still I'd Like an Answer

I'm sure many or most of you have heard the devastating news by now of the passing of Steven Curtis Chapman's little daughter, Maria Sue Chapman. She was only 5-years-old. You can read more about it here.

This hits me especially hard right now given the fact that I'm soon to be a father of a little girl. My heart, my thoughts, and my prayers are certainly with the Chapman family as they begin to walk forward from here.

This tragedy brings to mind so many questions. God, where were you? God, why did You allow this to happen? God, why did this little girl die? God, why the Chapman's? Are you angry with them? Did they do something wrong? What? Why? Where? How?

Tragedies, such as this, also bring with it so many emotions. Anger. Grief. Despair. Doubts. Sorrow. Abandonment. Betrayal. Bitterness. I am very familiar with all of these, as I'm sure, so are you. We've all experienced loss. Someone you knew and loved was taken unfairly, too soon, and quite unexpectantly.

Still, I wonder "WHY?" I too have my personal list of "why's." Why has it been so difficult for Michele and I to conceive a child of our own? Why did we have to endure so many miscarraiges? Why did you allow Michele to have endometriosis? Why does she have to suffer so much pain from it? Why are so many babies aborted every minute when there are so many couples hungry to have them? Why us, are You mad at us? Upset with us? Are you punishing us for an unconfessed sin? Why?

Obviously I'm not God. I'm not even going to begin to think I have THE answer. Or that I could possibly even comprehend the wisdom by which it was formulated. One possible reason I humbly propose, however, for all the "unfair" and "unjust" and just plain "crappy" things that happen in this world is simply this:


Because sin is in the world, we have tragedies. Because of sin, this world is broken. Because of sin, things don't always go our way. Because of sin, there is pain. Because of sin, there is grief. Because of sin, babies die. Because of sin, children starve. Becaues of sin, people fly planes into buildings in the name of their "god." Because of sin, Heaven will be the sweetest thing.

God didn't bring sin into this world. Pain was not in His original plan. Suffering wasn't either. Neither were tears. They are all aftershocks from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Like a father has compassion on his little girl who fell and scraped her knee, God too has compasssion on His children as we patiently endure the trials and tribulations of this sin-wrought world. He cries when we cry. He groans when we groan. For you see, they weren't meant to be, and they will soon be gone for good! All praise to our Glorious Redeemer for His matchless grace!

Why is YAWNING so Addictive?

While we were watching my baby girl on the 3D/4D ultrasound, she let out one great big
Right there in the womb! And then I did the same exact thing!
Sometimes at work, just to annoy my technicians I'll start what I call a "YAWN war!" A YAWN war is basically where someone YAWNS, either for real or not, really loud. This invariably leads to someone else YAWNING really big. And then someone else YAWNS too. By that time everybody in the room is YAWNING really big. Kinda like YOU are right now! Am I right?
With one of my friends, all I have to do is text message her with the word "YAWWWWN" and she will! YAWNS are soooo addictive. One of my favorite childhood books was "The YAWN Book" by Dr. Seuss. "The YAWN Book" is all about all the different kinds of YAWNS YAWNED all around the world. My grandfather would read it to me everynight to put me to sleep - and it usually put him to sleep before me!
So, have you ever been caught in a YAWN war before? Are you in one now?

I've Fallen for Another Woman

So I have to confess to my blog readers that I have fallen for another woman.

Don't worry, my wife is well aware. In fact, she's pretty excited about it too. You see, the "other woman" is my future daughter we are adopting in July.

I haven't yet blogged about this momentous event that is happening in our lives for various reasons. Lately, however, I have felt the urge to share with all of you about what God has been teaching me as my wife and I walk down this path. So, this week's focus will be on adoption.

This past weekend I got to see my baby girl, literally, via a 3D/4D ultrasound appointment. It's a moment I'll never forget. To see her tiny features - her nose, chin, chubby litte cheeks, feet, and ears - was nothing short of amazing. I may be biased, but to me, she is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. I can't wait to finally get to hold her. I find myself daydreaming about all the fun things I want to do with her - the zoo, Santa pictures, pictures with her cousins, pictures with her mom and I, dance recitals, etc. Needless to say, I'm excited.

The 3D/4D ultrasound reminded me of this verse. God doesn't need an ultrasound to see what's going on in our hearts and minds. He can read our minds just like you are reading this blog. Ultrasounds can reveal flaws in a baby's development. If they have a cleft palate, you can see it. If they have a deformed heart or spine, you can see it. As we were watching our baby girl, I was silently praying "God, please let her be whole." And she was! 10 fingers, 10 toes, perfect heart and spine, and a cute little chubby face! However, if she did have some kind of birth defect, I would still be as crazy about her as I am now. Of that I'm certain. You see, she is my baby girl. And daddies love their children no matter what.

Prior to this experience, I used to pause and ponder "How can God love me so much when I have so many spiritual deformities?" Now I understand. A Father's love transcends any and all "faults." For that, I am eternally grateful.

How about you?

10 Ways to Drive Your Pharmacist Out of His Ever-Lovin' Mind

Let me preface this post with this: I love serving the public. I truly do. It's my passion, my calling, my ministry. However, there are moments when I fight very hard to remember Whom I serve and why. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it includes several of these "moments." Enjoy!
  1. Call your phamacist and ask for a refill. Give him your first name only and hang up. Pharmacist's like a challenge. How many Michelles or Johns could there be, right?
  2. After planning your vacation for months, call your pharmacist (the more panicked the better) a mere hour or two before you need to catch your plane for a refill on your medicine. Throw a big fit when your pharmacist informs you your prescription is out of refills and the doctor will have to be called (by the way, this scenario usually occurs after the doctor's office is closed for the day). Your pharmacist is obviously slacking on their ESP capabilities and deserves a good verbal lashing.
  3. Call your pharmacist and tell them you need a refill on your "subscription" and would like to have it in a "genetic" if at all possible.
  4. By all means hand your pharmacist your empty tube of prescription hemorrhoid cream, rectal tip still attached, and ask them to throw it away for you. Pharmacists' hands are impervious to germs - especially the fecal kind.
  5. Write a hot $150 check for your prescriptions. Then pay for it (and the added bank fee) with dollar coins. Pharmacists are good at counting and look for any and every chance to showcase their skills.
  6. While picking up your flu prescriptions, cough and sneeze all over your hands, then hand the pharmacist your money. Feel free to use the bills like a Kleenex first. See #4.
  7. When you get new insurance cards in the mail, or if you switch to another insurance company, keep it a secret from your pharmacist. They love taking 45 minutes to talk to an insurance representative from a call-center in India - who just learned English the week before - only to learn you have new insurance. It's especially fun when you stand in the lobby waiting and glaring at us and tapping your foot while we are talking to said insurance representative. It's even more fun when you laugh as you realize you forgot and hand us your brand new card. We think you're a real card.
  8. The pharmacy is your children's playground. Let them roam, run, climb, touch, scream and drain the water cooler dry all over the ground. We pharmacists think your kids are "precious."
  9. Call your refill into your pharmacy and beg them to have it ready in 15 minutes, but don't pick it up for three days.
  10. Come into the pharmacy and walk up to the counter all the while talking on your cell phone. When the pharmacist or technician comes to assist you, hold up your finger and mouth "Just a minute." We don't have anything better to do than to stand there and listen-in as you carry on your majorly important phone conversation about when your hair stylist will be able to squeeze you in for for a quick coloring treatment.

There they are. Seriously, I've experienced every one of these scenarious at one time or another. I'm just thankful God has given me germ-repellant hands. ;)

I Have Been Tampered With. You?

Have you ever noticed how everything you buy these days has a foil or semi-plastic seal on it? Over-the-counter medications, milk, orange juice, etc. The idea is if any of these items were opened, you would noticed it right away. Something about it has been changed. Permanently. Irrepairably. Tampered with. Never again the same.

It makes me think about this verse.

Christ, through the work of the Spirit, tampers with you as you walk with Him.
My question is this: could anybody tell that I've been tampered

Can I see significant changes in my character over the years? I have seen some (more patient, less prone to swearing, quicker to confess sin, etc.) but, to be honest, in some areas it seems not so much (will purity always be a struggle?).

What about you? Where has God tampered with you the most? What is He tampering with right now in your life?

If something is child-proof, then why can't I open it?

A funny thing just happened to me. One of my patients came in to pick up his prescription for an eye drop. He asked me to administer his drops for him, and I happily obliged. The trouble was, I couldn't hardly open the dang dropper bottle because it was "child-proofed" with a plastic wrapper around the cap. I struggled, and struggled, and pulled, and did everything short of jumping up and down on it to get that darn wrapper off!

Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning.

For some non-believers, this is exactly what church, God, and the Bible is like to them. We Christians have "child-proofed" the Gospel. They want to get it, they know they need it, but can't get past the "packaging." Here's what I mean:
  • Marathon-length church services.
  • Worship music that's dated, stale, and just down-right awful. Don't get me wrong, I like a good old hymn once and a while, but there's a reason you can't find a radio station in your town that plays hymns all day long. Think about it.
  • Unwritten "dress-codes" at church.
  • Christian speak. "Thanks be to Jesus who is our sanctification and justification by the election of God's redemptive predestination!" (Not trying to be sacreligious here, just saying.)
  • "Us" vs. "Them" mentality. Come to us, we aren't coming to you.

Do you see any "child-proofing" at your church? If so, let me remind you of this verse and this one. Now, what are you going to do about it?

The Final Random Question for the Time Being

Hey everybody, thanks for journeying with me this week...very introspective and fun week...lots of good comments.

Which brings up another point, if you read my blog, and like it, tell somebody about it. Better yet, link to it and let me know so I can link back to yours too.

With that said....here's the Final Random Question for the Time Being:

What can you do at work today that will bring recognition to Christ? How can you let others see Him in you?

For me, one of my employee's mother passed last night. I'm praying for Christ to be her comfort and peace. I'm also going to try to be God's comfort and peace to her and her family via flowers, a card signed by all of us, a phone call, and more. I'll be honest and tell you I often don't know what to do or say in times such as these, but I do know just being there for someone means more than you know.

How about you?

Random Questions

In case you haven't noticed the lil' widget to the right there, I'm now a Twitter person. You can follow me everywhere I go now. Aren't you excited?!

What's your go-to Starbuck's drink?

Mine? Grande Caramel Macchiato. Mmm-mmm good!

Random Questions

If you could share one helpful tip about Bible study with someone else, what would it be?
Let me have it!

Random Questions

I had breakfast this morning with a friend, and we were discussing this one:
Which would you prefer: a DVD-based small group Bible study featuring a teacher you didn't personally know,
or a small group Bible study taught "live" by someone you did know?

Let me just say I love my church. I'm 100% on-board with most of what they're trying to do for the Kingdom. One thing I don't love so much is DVD-based small group Bible study material. Here's my reasons why:
  • It's a lazy way to lead a small group Bible study. What I mean is it doesn't challenge a leader to properly prepare for leading the Bible discussion. All they have to do is plug in a DVD and it does it all for them.
  • A key element of small groups is relationships. It's difficult to relate to a teacher on a DVD, especially if you don't know them.
  • Not all DVD players are the same. Not all TV's are the same either. I personally get frustrated if there are glitches in a DVD video.
  • What if the leader put all their faith in the DVD, didn't prepare for the meeting whatsoever, plugged in the DVD, and it wouldn't work? Serious waste of people's time. See point #1.
  • It assumes people would rather engage with a TV than a live person in a small group setting. Seriously? When was the last time you struck up a deep conversation with your TV set?

What are your thoughts?

Random Questions

Here's a random question for you...no agenda...just wanna hear your thoughts.

Who was more influential to you as a Christian, a
pastor or lay person? Why?

Disturbing Scriptures

Here's Numer Two: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22

Context: Paul warns the Corinthians to have nothing to do with idol worship.

Have you ever seen a buddha? They look so cutesy and all, but Paul warns in this passage there's more than meets the eye. Consider
verse 20. Now what do you think? That cute little plump "deity" is nothing more than a fancy facade for a demon. Not just buddha, but behind every idol worshipped on this plaent is a demon. I'm d-i-s-t-u-r-b-e-d when I think about all the prayers lifted up to these demonic powers all around the world - and what power that must give them to torment those who don't have Christ. Power to blind. Power to harm. Power to steal, kill, and destroy.

What disturbs me most is I tend to think of idols as only little statues, but they can also be my TV, golf, porn, drugs, etc. Anything that competes for the attention only God should have in your life is an idol.

What's disturbing you right now?

I've been tagged...you may be next!

OK. So my good friend Natalie, who my wife and I miss like crazy (and her numnums too), just tagged me. I'm supposed to post 6 uninteresting things about myself - which I'm finding extremely difficult to do because I am nothing but interesting. Right.

Here goes:

  1. My favorite cologne right now is a $20 bottle I bought at Bath & Body Works called "C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries" Black. I joke with my wife that instead of "Bigelow" it should be "Jigelow" because it makes me smell sexy! (No, she didn't laugh.)
  2. At night while I watch TV with the Mrs., I subconsiously start popping by big toes simultaneously. (Yes, I'm really stretching to be uninteresting here folks.)
  3. I recently got a new putter. It's a SeeMore just like the one my favorite golf pro, Payne Stewart, used. I have been putting lights out ever since. (Is that interesting? If so, kindly disregard.)
  4. Right now I'm watching the wind blow through the trees across the street from my pharmacy. They were all heavily damaged in the ice storm and I'm just waiting for one of them to come crashing down soon.
  5. When I drive, I like to drum along with the song on my steering wheel. I'm probably the best steering-wheel drummer I know.
  6. I think six is a wierd number. It looks like a niner got a little top-heavy and just fell right on its face.

Now I tag Derrick, Cap'n Coastley, Lauren, Anne, Ryan, and Landon.

If you want to play:

  • Link back to the person who tagged you.
  • Post these rules on your blog.
  • List 6 uninteresting things about yourself.
  • Tag 6 random people at the end of your entry.

Disturbing Scriptures

Have you ever read something in the Bible that just freaked you out? I mean, just caused you to stop......and ponder......and fret........just a little? I'd like to share a few with you this week that have affected me in this manner. I hope you chime in!

Freaky Scripture Numero Uno: Matthew 7:15-23

Context: Jesus' warning against false prophets.

OK, so I know the object of this passage deals with false prophets. But, can I be honest? Verse 23 d-i-s-t-u-r-b-s me. Here's why:
  • These "false prophets" did some amazing things, like drive out demons and perform miracles. You can't do that without faith and/or God's help. And yet, Jesus didn't know them.
  • The Greek word for "know" is ginosko (pronounced ghin-oce'-ko). You can read about it and all the verses that use it in the NT here. Basically, it means to recognize, to be aware of, to have knowledge of, and to become acquainted with. Jesus did not ginosko these people.
  • These people acknowledged Jesus as "Lord" and He acknowledged them as "evildoers."
  • Jesus' tone in this passage is very terse. You can tell He meant business. He wasn't going to show them any mercy whatsoever - only the judgement they deserved. This Jesus isn't a very popular one in our liberal circles of society.

I'm disturbed most of all because I know I can be, much like these false prophets, hypocritical at times - and this passage lets me know exactly how my Lord feels about it. How does it make you feel?