Wednesday, March 30, 2005

So far I'm having a pretty blessed day. Started the morning confirming a job for next week. I am also working on a landscape lighting bid for a beautiful historical home at St Albans.

This is particularly interesting not only because it would be a high-profile accomplishment, but the property sits right by a cavern that Meriwether Lewis fell off of before starting his expedition. Since I'm a descendent of Lewis, it's good to know that my propensity to accidents come naturally. Most would say I'm probably more identifiable with Gerald Ford, though. Small list of examples: Shutting my head in a car door, constantly running into door thresholds (Lasik did not help this), jumping out of a tree and spraining both ankles, jogging over a manhole cover that half-covered the hole (that hurt), getting a concussion while skateboarding, walking into several branches throughout the years, walking into women's restrooms without reading the signs. My favorite was drilling an anchor hole for shelving-right through a sewer pipe in my office, and not realizing it for a few weeks. The wall was getting soaked with each flush. Fortunately that didn't make Geri mad. What got her goat was that I started fixing it before going skiing, but left the sawed-off sewer pipe exposed the entire weekend.

On a brighter side, Geri and I decided to switch our adoption papers from Korea to Guatemela. Korea was taking too much time, and she felt a stirring for a boy from Guatemala. We should have a boy in 2005! Next I'm thinking a girl from either Korea or Kazakhstan. Aren't choices great!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Don't have much time for a post, but was very excited to see family and friends in OKC this week. We started the long drive back on Easter morning. I say long drive because going back we accumulated a U-Haul trailer. Geri saw an antique dresser for our "baby room". By the time we figured out that it wouldn't fit in the Highlander, the $550 "bargain" ended up costing us @ $750.

Driving back gave me some time to fill out the Beth Moore study I teach. Even though it was Easter, it was interesting to see a full parking lot at the churches in Tulsa, as well as the Indian Casino.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ramblin' Thoughts For The Day

1. Have you ever noticed annoying mannerisms from your parents? I have. When Dad gets a drink of water, he never finishes the last gulp. Instead he pours the last half ounce back into the sink. This always seemed strange to me, but guilty as charged. I do the same thing.

2. Is it me, or does a typical Joel O'S____ TV sermon seem light and fluffy? I don't hear too much about Jesus, but hear alot about "Daddy", and what Daddy did, or what Daddy did in a certain situation. He needs a WWDD bracelet for his flock. On Sunday he threw a curveball, and talked about his Grandma (Probably his Daddy's Daddy's Mamma). Somehow he managed to center a sermon based on her deciding to kick her snuff-chewing habit, in order to get remarried. I once heard someone comment that it's a good thing he keeps change in his pockets. Otherwise he'd be levitating above the stage, given all the lightweight helium he preaches on.

3. Other than the Bible, are there books you have read that inspire you. I have read several, but am finishing up Let's Roll. The story of Todd Beamer, who perished on 9/11 in Pennsylvania. He seems like a guy that would have been in our college buddy group. I admire his devotion to God and Family. Like anyone else our age, he was on a journey in life to balance these with work.

4. I like watching Golf on TV. Big Break III is very interesting when I can catch it. Unfortunately the last few times I have watched a tournament has been somewhat annoying. An announcer has a "nose whistle" when he breathes between shots and sentences. If anyone reading this suffers from Nose Whistle, please seek help (or blow your nose).

5. Girl Scout cookies are a racket. The girls in green get you addicted. At first you buy out of guilt and peer pressure. After all who can say no to these little angels. Once this tactic is complete, you HAVE to keep buying to support your habit. So far my total this year: 1.75 boxes of Tagalongs, 2.25 boxes of Thin Mints. Not a statistic I am proud of. I fell off the discipline bandwagon when I was "batching" it last week when Geri was gone. I'm just glad they don't sell chips and salsa throughout the year.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Ever had any embarrasing moments?

When we lived in Colorado, there were 4 couples that we dubbed the FCC's. The Fertility Challenged Couples. The wives were continually going through appointments and treatments, but not to be outdone, us guys were affected by this humiliating process of infertility diagnosis. It takes two to tango. We were all subjected (at separate times) to going to the same room at the same fertility clinic, getting handed a plastic cup w/ lid (usually by some stern nurse-type), and told to go in "the room" to give them a "sample" for analysis.

Finally the day arrived for me to drive down there at 7:30am. I was sweating bullets of embarrasment thinking to myself that at least it's early in the morning, and noone will bother me. Those thoughts quickly faded as soon as I hit the door. I was immediately accosted by 2 annoying pharmaceutical reps who offered me coffee and donuts. They would not take no for an answer. Needless to say, I snapped back and signed in. Not a great way to start this humbling process.

I am guessing there are some not-so-bright folks that go through this. In this room, among the nasty, earmarked magazines, and the gross furniture, was a sign that stated "Orally Obtained Samples Are Unacceptable".

Friday, March 18, 2005

Buffett Rocks

BOY am I in Heaven. One might think that only a loser would spend Friday night on the computer. Well call me a loser then! for tonite I am downloading many, many songs in ITunes. I have recently found my old stash of Jimmy Buffett CD's, and am having a ball listening to greats like Barometer Soup, Fruitcakes, Off To See The Lizard...I've even dusted off the guitar to play my 3 chords. While my guitar proficiency stinks-who cares-there is noone to critique my strumming. Hey, my singing isn't that bad, though. I wish Geri were here, but here's to making the best of a Friday in the big city.

Other music of note tonite: Bruce, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp (w and w/o the Cougar).
After listening to the sermon, I still believe that women do not meet the NT qualifications for leadership positions of being an Elder or Deacon. I cannot find an example of women publically preaching or leading prayers. One might point to the culture at the time, but my observations of not having those examples of public preaching/leading prayers in the NT cause me to fall on the traditional side of this issue. I have discussed my view in a previous post however.

Trying to define a "leadership" role as having the ability to pass the Lords Supper seems a stretch. Is this "wrong"? Does the Lord frown on this? I don't know for sure. Do I want to rely on God's Grace on these issues? I do know that I am not comfortable with this. This is one of those polarizing issues which can divide the congregation (Lords Body). This is not a good thing, but the beauty of the Church is that each congregation is independent of each other. Each set of elders are accountable for their respective members, and how worship is set. If you aren't comfortable with certain practices, don't attend or visit.

Even though I do not have a comfort level with this, it makes me sad when someone from one congregation basically sentences the members of another congregation (with differing opinions) to the hell express. Whether the issue is women passing the tray, small groups, praise teams, clapping, raising hands in worship, or listing to certain types of Christian music, I tend to think that baptized believers should focus on the 99% that is agreeable instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water. It also bothers me when folks write off good institutions such as ACU or Pepperdine because of their perceptions of doctrine taught. Again, how about focusing on the common denominator of being baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ho hum, what to do. Since Geri is gone on a business trip, I am trying to make some good use of this free time. I have started to clean my messy office, catch up on a bit of TV (I still have lazy tendencies), and I am currently listening to a sermon which has peaked my interest. My cousin who preaches in Abilene has posted a sermon he preached in January. He speaks of the role of women in the church, and how he and his elders have interpreted the role they will have in the public worship at Highland.

It has been a longstanding tradition for me (and my family) to be stubborn and inflexible on certain issues relating to traditions in The Church. I have had a change of heart on quite a few issues for various personal reasons, and am fighting the instinct to be closed-minded. I will listen to their viewpoint.

I have alot of respect for Mike. He is a great advocate for people, and has a great heart. It is through reading some of his thoughts that I have tried to be more aware of issues such as prejudice, evangelism, and grace.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I absolutely get jazzed about youthful exuberance. When I see kids unknowingly celebrate the fact that they are young, have few pressures, and even fewer responsibilities. The world is limitless. Growing up should be fun. This is one reason I love to occasionally watch American Idol. I did get a small dose of this kind of youthful enthusiasm this week with a visit from my niece. She has bounds of energy, is fun, and in awesomely unique. She reminds me of a girl in Littleton that is a bit of a tomboy at heart, but has a great love for others and God.

Thats about it for today.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lightning Strikes Twice

In basketball I love the popping sound as the ball swooshes through the net. A pop and drop sound I don't like on the court happened again last night. Recovering from a high ankle sprain from a month ago, I thought things had healed up good enough to play last night. After all what's a little pain-just wrap that ankle a little tighter and buck it up like a man. Once again I (as well as others) heard the pop of my right ankle giving away. Immediately I dropped to the floor in considerable pain. The good 'ol pop and drop. I love this game. Next stop, phys therapy with Aaron Robinson at SSM.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

After 7 sunny days cruising the Carribean, we are finally home. Not once did I feel seasick, but the house is "rocking" as I type this post. Never having experienced a cruise like this, I have decided that they are simply huge floating buffets. Food to the left, food to the right, food all around. Definitely not a place to start a new years resolution.

This trip was sponsored by Edward Jones, and had @ 45 brokers with families onboard. Jones has a program that allows their brokers to be elegible to win 2 trips per year-all over the world. I think @ 50% win these trips. When Geri had her office in Littleton, we won 9 trips. We have been blessed to literally see the world. Now that she is a partner with Jones, they assign her the trips to "host". These are working vacations. If this is work-sign me up for more.

If you are like me, I try and bring things to read and study when on vacation. My books of choice were Soul Survivor (Phillip Yancey), Visions From A Foxhole (WWII), A Beth Moore study on Paul (Since I'm teaching that class on Wednesdays), The Bible, and Let's Roll (wife of Todd Beamer-known for 9/11 crash in PA).

I am dissapointed in myself having read very little of the Bible, and not focusing on my study of Paul. I sometimes think I am a lazy Christian-easily interested in anything but feeding my soul. Two good examples are my lack of study of Gods Word, and my propensity to drink while on vacation. Right now I will focus on the latter. My thoughts have consistently been I don't want to drink to be drunk, or drink when it causes someone else to stumble. When we went skiing a few weeks ago, that was the first time I have been skiing without imbibing (if that is the correct term) for as long as I can remember. Lately I have been struggling with my rationale on this subject.

One of my favorite movies is Saving Private Ryan. A memorable scene is when Capt Miller (Tom Hanks) leads a frontal assault on a machine gun nest. In this assault their medic is killed, and dies very graphically. The scene is set-here's a squad of men sent out to rescue one man off the lines, Private Ryan. A noble idea in theory, but their lives are at stake, and even expendable in this quest. Once they have captured the MG, and killed all but one German, the squad is debating what to do to the prisoner. Kill him or let him go. After all it was the Germans fault for starting the war, manning that gun, and ultimately killing their medic. A fight breaks out. Allegiances are split-kill the German? turn back emptyhanded? go on to find Ryan? Capt Miller decides to let the prisoner live, and walk blindfolded back to the American line. Why didn't the captain just order the kill? By now we have found out all the secrets about Capt Miller like where he is from, what he did as a civilian... He didn't want to shoot the prisoner because with every person they killed, he felt farther away from home-he was slowly becoming unrecognizable to himself. In the same sense I am coming to the conclusion that the more liberties I take (in this case social drinking)...the farther I feel from home (God). I push God away from my thoughts. I am embarrased to talk about things spiritual and my faith. I am unrecognizable to the man I want to be. I just find it too ironic to profess this aspect of my life over drinks. I am consistently wondering if anyone else feels this way? I guess it doesn't matter-because only I am responsible for my relationship with God. I think my solution is to cut this liberty out of my life and see what happens...

Friday, March 04, 2005

Last week in Colorado, a mountain-radio topic revolved around a hippie author that lived outside of Aspen (Woody, CO to those that have read his books, etc.). Now I have never paid attention to his rants. I've picked up his books in the bookstore, but found it to be less than interesting. Prior tho this, my impression of this author came from his nephew. His nephew used to be my boss, but had some negative things to say about how his author-uncle treated the rest of the family.

I think I am fortunate to have some quality uncles. One had a great career in the public schools-The Fisherman. One is a renowned photographer. One is known as The Runner by his wife. I am grateful for each of these men. I have learned many good lessons based on their lives. I remember back @ 25-26 years ago this kid in church that was shifting around nervously during the "invitation song". The Runner leaned to him and said "go ahead if you need to". That kid was me, and was the start to my Christian life. For that I will always be thankful.

Cheers for those that influence others for the greater good
Jeers for others that don't care about anyone other than themselves

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Math Games

Here's a question to ponder. This might not even make sense, since I typically go ADD on my streams of consciousness.

When is 1% equal to 99%. ?

I consider myself a pretty good guy. I try to live my life in a way that other folks know I am a Christian-but I'm not perfect. I know that greater theoogians will say that Grace has us covered-Jesus is the only perfect one to walk the earth. But when I slip up in my walk with God (perhaps 1% of the time for convenience sake), it seems that other 99% of the remaining time is spent dwelling on that 1%. Crazy, huh?

I guess my takeaway is to keep on working on my relationship to God. We are all in the same boat.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Grey Street

There is a song by Dave Matthews Band that stirs me when I hear it. It is called Grey Street, and some of the lyrics say "...There's an emptiness inside her and she'd do anything to fill it in..."

Too many people don't have God in their life. Too many people don't pass along the Good News. Me included. I have a vision to introduce to people something to fill in their emptiness. What is your vision?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Let me count the ways

It never fails. Quick trips to the mountains will always recharge my batteries. This trip ended with very good discussions about the state of the Church today. Topics included musical instruments, clapping, praise teams, organizations such as Promise Keepers, contemporary trends amid traditional congregations.

Since folks tend to label your stance on particular issues from conservative to liberal, I tend to follow more on the slightly "liberal" side of things. I do not believe in change for change-sake. This serves to alienate people and cause bad feelings (not good for the Lords body).

Instead of the traditional 2 songs, opening prayer, song, lords supper, communion, offering ("separate and apart from the Lords Supper"!?), song, 15-20 minute sermon, song, closing song, closing prayer service, I do believe there are other ways to touch other people, and even help in a spiritual awakening in your journey.

I am uncomfortable with musical instruments in the worship service, but is it a heaven or hell issue? I don't condemn other churches (ie: Christian Church, our long-lost cousin).

I believe that Baptism is a necceessary part of salvation. Just saying a prayer doesn't cut it, but for those that don't follow this to a "T", should they be considered Christians? Some think not.

I think Praise Teams and having a Worship Leader can be a great contributor to services to God. Not if it divides a congregation. But can you not feel the closeness and depth of God while listening to a fellow Christian lift praises to God? I sure can!

Does "Making music in your heart" necessarily mean no instruments? I find this to be an intresting conclusion, but don't wholeheartedly agree with this. I tend to fall on the conservative side, but I will not condemn another congregation (that is independent from others-subject to different elders- anyway).

Can music (written and performed by someone outside the "Church") be uplifting, and a form of worship to Our Creator? Even with instruments? Does God even want this?
I have dwelt with God and His Son while listening to K-LOVE and many performers such as Michael W, Amy G, DC Talk, etc. I have wept and had changes of my hard heart while being immersed in this music. I think that in the spectrum of music, it is either For God or Not For God (thanks to Rick O'dell for putting that into words).

Are Clapping and Raising Hands representative of a faulty worship? This is a silly debate, but I can look at this in 2 ways. If it divides the congregation, it is not a wise thing at the moment. period. On the other hand, what's wrong with lifting "holy hands", and when did my hands become "instruments".

Is it wrong to have a Christmas service? Come and I know that December 25 is probably not the birth day of Jesus. This is not the issue. My thoughts are this. If on one day in the year, someone is thinking about Jesus, we have a great opportunity to share the Gospel. I say have a Christmas service. Didn't Paul strive to be all things to all people in order to get the Message across.

What about Women's roles in the service? I go to the conservative side on this one. I am uncomfortable when women say prayers, etc...I guess it violates my conscience. I know that Women minister in a great way, but in a different way. My thoughts are that if there are problems, are the men of the congregation not stepping up to offer themselves in the worship services?

Do you have to put "Church of Christ" on the sign out front? If this isn't on the sign out front, can we still fellowship with them as Christians?

There are many more thoughts and questions perhaps for another post.