Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Northwest has been a great adventure. We spend the majority of our time in Portland. We hit the coast last night and saw some amazing sights. The conference went great and was a huge joy to be a part of. We are about to catch a shuttle for the airport so I'll only post a few pictures now. Once things slow down a little I might give a little more Clarksville tonight then to Nashville for Passion06, then to Louisville for a night and then to Gatlinburg for a college retreat for SouthEast Christian. Then a Jan-term starting the following Monday.

Look real close in the center and you can see Mt. Hood. It was beautiful!

Scott Erickson painted this behind me the first night while I preached. It was a pretty cool experience. I was not distracted at all like I thought I might be.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Live From Portland

We flew into Portland yesterday where I am preaching for a youth conference. I preached last night and this morning. The Lord has blessed tremendously. We've met some really neat folks and Susan has gotten to meet Paul and Meredith Ramey, some great friends of ours. We'll post some pictures of this gorgeous part of the country real soon with some updates from the conference. Thanks for the prayers...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Birthday Present that Keeps on Giving

I received a key chain from my parents for my birthday a little over a week ago. I also received David Crowder's new cd (which rocks) from my sister Diana and her family. The key chain is one that is triggered to make a beeping noise similar to a radar detector when someone whistles. I'm not quite sure what to think of the key chain...actually I think I do know the message behind it...and well Susan will certainly benefit from it considering I will not be badgering her about where my keys are and she will be blessed by beautiful whistling tunes periodically around the house.

Well the other day I was on the way out of the house and couldn't find my keys and proceeded to walk through the house whistling. I quickly came upon my "radar detecting beeping" key chain and keys. I made my way out to the car excited to listen to my Crowder cd for the first time. A few songs into the cd...i thought "man...all of their songs seem to have the same kind of sound." Well turns out what I was hearing was my key chain. Every song on the cd, set my key chain off to is ever so beautiful beeping.

Susan and I were in Murfreesboro this weekend when I left my keys on top of the car. We took a hard curve and heard something sliding across the roof and hit the pavement and instantly I began whistling to see if my keys were in the beeping informed us that it was indeed my keys that went sailing. We pulled over and recovered the keys.

Last night Susan and went and saw "Pride and Prejudice." Amazing movie! I put my phone on silent when the message came on the big screen to turn cell phones and pagers off. I thought we were set. Shortly after the movie begins...I hear a soft beeping noise coming from my pocket. You guessed it...the movie set the keychain off. I passed it to Susan for her to bury it in her purse. The key chain has no on/off switch. Just a battery. And works.

That is the birthday present that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

When is the last time...

you broke bones playing tag football? Well for my Mom and Brother-in-Law, that would be this past Thanksgiving. Oh tis true, tis true! The teams were Susan (my wife), Hannah (my cousin), Scott (my brother-in-law), and Me going up against -- Bubba (my brother-in-law), Mary Coleman (my mom), Lucas (my cousin), Aaron (my cousin), and Diana (my sister - she only played for a few minutes and had to go to the bathroom).

Our family you see, is very serious about their football...or so it seems. This is the first game I remember a big group of us playing in a while but I think there will be others to follow soon.

Mary Coleman took one for the team as she deflected a pass that may have prevented a touchdown. (i really don't remember the just sounds good so i'll give my mom the props.) She injured her finger...injured bad. Broke actually. She told us she thought she broke it, but did she go get ice...noooooooooo, did she take a break? Nooooooo. She continued on with the broken finger. The only thing that would have made the story would be if her team had won.

Scott, while almost deflecting a pass was tripped by least that is the way Susan remembers it, and flew about 3 feet horizontal before he hit the ground ever so gracefully...he hit hard yet finished his fall in a nice olympic like forward roll up onto his feet. He immediately felt pain in his shoulder. Did he take a break? Did he get a sub? Noooooo! He drove his team to victory!!! He did this with 2 broken ribs as he would find out after he went to the doctor a week later because of the pain.

Did I mention this was a "tag" football game? Yea, I think I did.

Maybe we'll play tackle next year and no one will get hurt.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is my Dad's Birthday! I love my Dad tons!

Today he turns (4 x 9 + 4 - 15) x 2 + 5 + 5 + 1 =

What'd you get?

Happy Birthday Dad!

Finals Over!

Finals are finally over. Whew! It is indeed a great feeling. As you might can tell, I updated my sidebar again. I try to do this ever so often just to keep things alive here. I don't know how long I'll keep it like that...I'll eventually have to put my "Newly-bloggin" folks in one of the categories. What constitutes someone form being Bloggalotta..or little or barely etc...
Well, the folks that blog multiple times weekly got the lotta...the folks that ususally blog at least once a week but ocassionally a little....those who are once a month got barely....although brett's last one was in October...he's newlywed so he gets off easy. Sus informed me we were no longer newly-weds the other day, although I still feel like it...she said cause we've made it past a year...i trusted her and did no further research.

I thought we might get a laugh out of these. I've got a couple of buddies who didn't even make it to barely bloggin. They would have made it to...I need some help-a-bloggin. All in good fun, here's their addresses:

I wonder how many blogs are like that out there.

Susan and I will be spending the weekend with our nephew's and are so excited!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Click Below and Vote!

ok a 2 minute break from exam crunch...

God is using my good friend Daniel Doss' music in a great way...he's had a few songs that are on the verge of being launched out across the US and in 7 months or so might be being sung by every youth group around. Anyways, many of you are familar with his music and some of you just trust my judgement enough to vote...but you can click this link or the one below and then put in your votes. His category is down at the bottom.

more blogging after this thursday....

Monday, November 14, 2005

End of the Semester Crunch...and a Survey for Us All!

Hey gang, sorry about the lack of posting. The end of the semester crunch has arrived and will bleed into Thanksgiving break. Exams will be over December 2nd for me...and then I'll be back up and blogging. I do hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and who knows maybe I'll be desperate for a blogging break round midnight sometime in the next couple of weeks. Till then I'll give us a fun survey to participate in, so if you are reading...please leave your vote!

What is your favorite Christmas Movie? and...Why is that one your favorite?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Watch where you sit!

Check this out!

So we must watch where we sit. Okay guess is that is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to that man. What about you? What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? Please share.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Priceless for Ages to Come

I am excited about the reported debate (see links from previous post) on the doctrines of grace between Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary . This will be a great debate for lots of reasons, four of which I will share. You can see I have been in preaching class too long by the alliteration below.

1) Entertainment - These guys are great friends. Both are strong personalities. Patterson is a huge jokester. They will both likely have a great time. It will be entertaining.

2) Education - The masses are grossly ignorant of many things these men will discuss in their debate. This ignorance is fruit of our churches' persistent slide into Biblically illiteracy. I am often ashamed yet motivated by my own lack of intimate familiarity with the Bible. The debate will surely draw a crowd and thus educate those who are there with a desire to learn. Often times in discussing the doctrines of grace (or Calvinism), people (and pastors of some well known Southern Baptist Churches) ignorantly (or intentionally), misrepresent what an opposing position on the doctrines are. Thus so many people, only have a misinformed caricature of what the doctrines of grace are. The debate will clarify this for many people. It will likely spur people on to further study for themselves on the topic resulting in continuing education. The debate will be educational for me as well. These men are brilliant and I am sure that the depth of my understanding of the doctrines of grace will grow after listening to them.

3) Elimination of Fear - The education that will take place will result in the elimination of fear in many people's hearts. For so many, the unknown is fearful. Many people have unfortunately heard Calvinsm described as something like a disease. As a result, they get no where close to it, and become fearful of studying anything associated with it. The debate will likely receive massive attention. It will likely be taped will probably be put on-line. Many people of all ages and flavors will have their fears of the doctrines of grace/Calvinism relieved, as two trusted men publicly and lovingly engage in debate about them.

4) Exhortation for Unity - It is difficult to overestimate the positive long term effects this debate will have. While good theology should always result in devotion and worship it doesn't always. As an old saying goes "discipleship is more caught than taught." My hope and prayer is that as these theologians lovingly debate these issues, an exhortation for unity more profound than most doctoral dissertations will resound in people's hearts as they observe. It would be even greater if all were persuaded of Dr. Mohler's position and at the end of the day we were united in theological persuasion across the board. Fat Chance. Nevertheless, the profit for Southern Baptist unity of heart as we live and minister together...will likely be priceless for ages to come.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Great News! Mohler and Patterson to Debate Doctrines of Grace

Justin Taylor just posted the news about a debate concerning the doctrines of grace between Dr. Albert Mohler and Dr. Paige Patterson. The debate is planned to take place at the Pastor's Conference in Greensboro, NC, in conjuction with the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention. This is great news for many reasons...a few of which I hope to post soon. Taylor linked to his source Eric Schumacher who also linked to his source Tom Ascol.

Some of you may have been wondering where in the world I've been. Well...I've been enjoying the video from my last post. Check below if you have not yet seen it. I still laugh everytime I see it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

This Is Hilarious!

Okay, a good friend sent this to is hilarious. Click on the link and laugh out loud. Be sure you watch it from a high speed connection and your volume is on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Little More

I've readjusted and added some new links over on the left side-bar. I'm sure some more are still to come. I know I have not listed enough good music...I'm growing in the tunes department and would enjoy hearing about what you really like (include descriptions) and what you've been listening to; comment away. A few of the online magazines are brand new to me and I antisipate diving in real soon. Others I've been aware of for some time.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Just a Sample

Here is just a sample of a few shots from the art fair that was in our front yard last weekend.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Reflections of The Glory of God are Lined all up 3rd Street!

This morning the St. James Court Art Show kicked off right across the street from our humble abode. It is one of the largest Art Shows in the country (so they say). My crazy landlord asked me yesterday if I was going to work the beer booth. Oh, how did I miss signing up for that. Anyways, it is really cool how Old Louisville has been transformed as the Art Show has invaded. There are over 900 booths. Susan and I will post some pictures later this evening or in the morning of the festivities.

In the meantime, lets think about the grand artist himself. Our creative Father. No artist on earth can compare to His ability, creativity, or artistic mind. Every artist on earth themselves are a testimony to the greater artist. As I look out my front window, I see the glory of God lined up forever up 3rd Street. Thousands and thousands of people will flock to 3rd and 4th Streets and St. James Court this weekend to get a glimpse of the Glory of God. Most hardly know what they are groping for. They walk so slowly down the sidewalks gazing at magnificence yet not acknowledging the source, the Fountain. Every artist in every booth, is reflecting the glory of God in their artistic expressions. Even the unredeemed, though their expressions are marred and distorted with sin...they hint at their created purpose as they show their art. In their art, though their hearts suppress the truth, they declare something about whose image they were created in. He is the grand artist! My art does not compare to His! He is the Master creative genius! Of the thousands that will come and see, only a remnant will pause and give glory to the Master Artist as they see his reflection in hundreds of expressions. Most will walk right past reflections of the glory of God and in the hardness of their hearts continue to ignore the Beautiful One. Let us not ignore Him today. Let us enjoy artist expressions all around us as revere the Master Artist.

Share with us. While turning double plays, and skateboarding stunts have artistic tones in them - all of us have abilities in art, some of us are just more focused or accomplished than others.

Who are some artists you know personally?
What kind of art do thy do?
Why do you enjoy their stuff?
Do they have a website?

Lets share.

New Music from Daniel Doss!

One of my best friends, Daniel Doss has a couple of new websites up, but more important than that, has a new cd out. I have yet to receive a copy of it...but I am so looking forward to listening! You can hear little clips of it from his band's website. You can click here for his other website. Be sure to order your copy of his newest cd. One of the songs on it recently won first place in a couple of big contests and was privleged to be included on the latest volume of Song Discovery. They distribute the best new worship songs around...and have included the likes of Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Tim Hughs in the past.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

They saw his wee!

I just got a message on my voice mail from Kristi Cherry my sister...she and Bubba went to the Doctor today and found out they are having a boy! Yea!!! We are so excited! They are taking suggestions for names. His last name will be Cherry. So you fill in the blank by responding to the blog with your suggestion. I'll start us off.

Harry Cherry

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dancing Lessons Oh Yea!

Susan and I had our first experience in dancing lessons. A good buddy I met while preaching at Southeast Christian Church this past Summer was our brave teacher. We learned a little Waltz and a little Salsa. Susan was a much faster learner than I was. The occasion was Susan's 24th birthday. I think we'll go back for at least one more lesson.

We had a super time staying with Susan's Gran this past weekend in Clarksville too! I'm on fall break, trying to get caught up on reading and sermons outlined for the next several weeks.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fashion Models, The Homeless, and Cocaine Part 3

What about Kate Moss personally? What about Kerry Bell personally?

Many people may think the way the editor of Allure magazine Linda Wells thinks. As the NY Times reported, “Because a model is in many ways just a beautiful image, the personal life has historically not been that important.” Not important? What is going on personally with Kate Moss is not important? She is just an image? How plastic! How lifeless! How degrading! Kate Moss is so much more than an image, contrary to what many medias or other segments of our culture may want us to believe. Kate Moss is a person with value, for she was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). She is not merchandise. She is not a random image but she is the image of the all supreme, unique, infinitely valuable and holy God. And so is Kerry Bell.

It is unhealthy to forget that fashion models, and the homeless alike are created in the image of God. We devalue them both for different reasons. We think the same way as Linda Wells thinks about fashion models and homeless. Fashion models are just beautiful images for us to enjoy. The Homeless are just nasty images we wish to avoid. Neither are true. Both are peoples, worthy to be treated with dignity and respect. Neither are to be ignored. Both are to be personally cared for, reached out to, and told the truth about who they are and can be. Fashion models and The homeless alike need to be loved and informed that they are created in the image of God and the purpose of their lives to relect the image of God.

What about their kids? Kate Moss’ daughter turns three next Thursday. Kerry Bell has a 16 year old son that desperately needs a dad. Thinking about the kids of those who use cocaine should break our hearts and move us to personal engagement in their lives. In the same way we have been graciously rescued out of our sin, we should graciously intervene in peoples lives with the gospel and efforts of rescue.

Fashion models and The Homeless are more than beautiful or nasty images. They are the image of God. And they have kids who need them. Let us not ignore these realities.

Let's talk about you find yourself more inclinded to ignore or engage these people. How do you respond personally? How should we engage? What are some wise ways to do this?

Fashion Models, The Homeless, and Cocaine Part 2

Cocaine is certainly no respecter of persons. The Biblical reality is that there is a real devil who is prowling around looking for lives to destroy, whether it be the homeless or fashion models. (1 Peter 5:8)

H&M’s process of handling Kate Moss’ cocaine use is interesting and quite telling. You can read the article from the NY Times by clicking here. The Times quotes H&M’s spokeswoman Jennifer Uglialoro in what sounds to be a respectable position. “If someone is going to be the face of H&M, it is important they be healthy, wholesome and sound” in her describing why Moss’ next campaign with the company was canceled. However, this was not their first position. After hearing Moss’ side of the story they H&M initially decided to forgive her and continue to use her. There decision changed.
It changed as a result of the public reaction. The Times reports, “Customers called stores over the weekend, many complaining that the company, which markets to teenagers and young adults, would be associated with a model who admitted using drugs.” It was only after this feed back that Europe’s largest clothing chain chose not to continue using Moss.

There is a lesson to be learned.

We do not have to stand by and remain silent, unengaged with the culture at large, as we see it spin down the drain in sin and despair. We can have influence in places we may have never dreamed. We do not have to just shake our heads as though nothing can be changed for the better. No one at H&M or any of the clothing stores is likely going to get saved as a result of a complaining phone call. That’s not the point. The point is your young daughter, sister, niece or neighbor may now not be tempted to think cocaine is quite so cool, because this famous, beautiful model uses it at leisure. Their curiosity of cocaine may not be perked because they are so lured by this icon’s style. The point is we can engage and have a voice and presence of influence in the culture for Christ.

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." Matthew 5:13

What about Kate Moss personally? What about Kerry Bell personally? What about their kids? Next Blog...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fashion Models, The Homeless, and Cocaine

What do the homeless in downtown Louisville have in common with the world traveling fashion models of today? More specifically, What does my homeless friend Kerry Bell have in common with fashion model elite Kate Moss? Most would assume absolutely nothing. Kerry has no car, he walks everywhere he goes. He is not well known. He does not eat extravagant meals. He does not have a wardrobe. Kate Moss on the other hand travels the world, is famous, dines in NYC’s best, and earns about $9 million a year working with companies such as Chanel, Burberry, Christian Dior, Goria Vanderbilt and H. Stern jewelers. At first glance, they have seemingly nothing in common. Kerry usually stinks when you see him, Kate Moss probably wears the choicest perfumes. They do however have something in common...cocaine. Kerry who hasn’t been able to keep a job because of his addiction, is currently in rehab. The NY Times published an article yesterday reporting that Kate Moss had been dismissed from a planned advertising campaign with Europe’s largest clothing chain, H&M. The reason – her recent use of cocaine. Further news today indicates that other companies are dropping Moss as well. The article from yesterday is insightful on a number of levels which will be the topic of my next few blogs.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Back up and blogging!

Great news....our little computer took a blazing fast trip to Memphis (dell fix it place) and came back all well. She is up and running and ready for more blogging...stay tuned...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just back from Atlanta - Passion 06 around the corner!

I just flew back in from Atlanta this afternoon after wrapping up Passion06 planning. About 15 other pastors and lead worshippers from all over the country flew into Atlanta yesterday for planning and prayer as we look forward to Passion06 in January. Another 30 or so will be there next weekend for a meeting of the same. Why would so many in the midst of crazy schedules loaded with ministry responsibilities of all colors put on hold the urgent demands of the daily ministry and emerge in Atlanta together. One aim - the fame of Jesus Christ in the lives of millions of college students across the nation. Our expectant heart is that God will take 15,000 college students in His hands, spend them out for His glory, multiplying their anthems of praise in the lives of peoples across the world. If you know college students who have any kind of pulse for them get to Passion06 - January 2-5, Nashville, Tennessee.

If you are a regular at the passion website, be sure to check the link above...they have recently updated.

One Year Anniversary!

Susan and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary this past Sunday September 4th! It is hard to believe it has already been a full year. Time certainly flies when you are having fun! We have had a wonderful year of laughing, learning, and loving together and look forward to many, many, more. For useless trivia, Susan and I together have been employed in 5 different states during our first year. NY, NJ, KY, TN, and IN. Susan substitute taught in Indiana as well as a crazy telemarketing thing for a temp job back in the Spring...that would be the difficult one to figure out for folks. Sunday evening we went to Nashville for the night and enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Melting Pot. We slept in real good and eventually found our way back to Lville. We have had wonderful support and encouragement from so many during our first year!

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Super Start

Yesterday was our third Sunday of having "Journey". Our Pastor Brother Roger preached a wonderful word to us out of Job. He will rotate in and preach once every 5 or 6 weeks.

Our first Sunday was amazing. No one really had any idea what to expect as far as how many folks would come to Journey. The Students began to roll in first...their Sunday school classes are the closest to the Sanctuary. For a little looked like it was going to be a mostly youth service...but people continued to roll in, lots of adults. More and more people continued to file in and even into the balconies as the energy in the place became electric. The count at the end of the morning was around 525. Some folks dismiss the importance of numbers altogether. However Luke found it important enough to record about how many received the word and were baptised (Acts 2:41). Okay so maybe we can discuss the issue of "numbers" ideas on a later post. Nevertheless, the service went great. We sensed God's presence and the people alertly absorbed God's word. May He receive all the Glory. I am currently in chapter 2 of Colossians and look forward to continuing through the book. My soul has been thrilled with the privledge of preaching through a book of the Bible verse by verse!

We have had a great time getting to connect with our families. The drive down and back in the car has proved to be great quality time of conversation and prayer together as well.

Susan has had a wonderful start with teaching school! She's only had to send one note home with a student. Ha!

Please pause and pray that God will humble me and use me in great power as I preach in Journey. Pray that the church will return to Him with all their hearts! Thanks a ton!

Our computer is still in critical care...I'm in the lab...more blogging soon...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Sad, Sad thing...

My dear friends...Our laptop has a disease. It has not yet been diagonsed. all my blogging buddies, I am so sorry for the lack of blogging. I am currently in the musty computer lab. Perhaps sooner than later...our laptop will have a resurection and we'll be up and blogging again. Till then...
grace to you all.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Story You Have Been Waiting For!

Several years ago I was visiting my old youth minister in Norfolk, Virginia. As I was preparing to fly home he asked me if I ever took a later flight for a free voucher. I had not heard of what he was talking about…but this little introduction to “how to get a free plane ticket” has proved to be very fruitful in my flying experiences. I often fly home with a $200 voucher here, a $400 voucher there, but never have I returned home with 3 free round trip tickets (anywhere in the continental US)…until this past spring. The secret is this – many airlines often overbook their flights. When this happens and everyone shows up to fly…they begin to offer vouchers to anyone who can take a later flight…so they do not have to “kick” someone off. The following story is an account of how I have continued to sacrificially help airlines who have overbooked…by taking a later flight…or something like that.

This past April I flew to NC to preach for youth a retreat at Ft. Caswell, for the North Carolina Baptist Convention. When the weekend was over I was dropped off at the airport around 1:30 pm. My flight was not supposed to leave Willmington until 4:50ish, followed by a good layover in Charlotte and then into Louisville at about 11:15 pm. This particular weekend I was traveling alone without Susan so I was excited to get back home to her. Nevertheless, I still asked the folks at the check in counter (before I went through security and to the gate) if my flight was by chance overbooked. I did not really want to get in later than 11:15 but the curiosity got to me. My flight was indeed overbooked. I asked if there was another flight to Louisville. The lady behind the counter spent a minute typing in her computer. She then told me that they could give me ground transportation to Raleigh (buy me a cab ride) which was a 2 hour drive and then fly me from Raleigh through Pittsburg into Louisville with an arrival time at 9:30 – an hour and a half earlier than usual. They would do all this as well as give me a free voucher to fly anywhere in the continental US. That’s right…get home earlier to Susan with a free ticket! However typical policy is that they cannot offer you a voucher until about 45 minutes to an hour before the flight. I kindly talked to the lady at the counter and told her… “hey I’m here, and willing to take it…you know you are going to need me to, so lets just do it.” I watched her go and speak to her supervisor about it and….Yes! They said, “Okay, we’ll do it.” So five minutes later I walked out the door and hopped in a cab on my way to Raleigh. I got decent reading done in the cab, although my cab driver was a character to say the least. Once I arrived in Raleigh I went on through security to the gate…of coarse I asked them if they were overbooked too! They were not, so I settled in and got something to eat…excited that I would be getting home earlier that I anticipated with a free ticket.

About 40 minutes before my flight was to leave, the worker at my gate came over the intercom offering 2 free round trip tickets to anyone who could take a later flight. " They weren’t over booked,” I thought as I darted up to the counter. The plane was too heavy, not overbooked. So I asked… “Can you get me to Louisville tonight?” After about 30 seconds typing away on her computer, she says, “We can fly you out of here (Raleigh) into Charlotte (my original connecting/layover location) and into Louisville at 11:15. That’s right. On the exact same connection flight of my original flight! Because of my dreadful inconvenience they awarded me 2 free round trip tickets…that is, in addition to my first. You got…2 + 1 = 3! Three free roundtrip tickets anywhere in the continental US and arriving back in Louisville on the same flight that I was going to from the beginning! So all I was out, was a 2 hour cab ride to Raleigh that I didn't pay for and I came home on time with 3 free tickets. Gotta love it!

Tips for receiving one of these free flights yourself.
1) Try to schedule your flight on Sunday evening/afternoons. This is the time most overbooking occurs.
2) Arrive early and ask the person at your gate if your flight is overbooked. Kindly let them know that you would be willing to take a later flight and give them your name.
3) Try to have a flexible schedule so that you do not “have” to be somewhere at a certain time and thus can afford the delay.
4) Delta offers plane vouchers in money amounts(not cash but $200 toward your next flight); US Air offers free roundtrip tickets. You cannot use the vouchers with things like Expedia, Cheaptickets, or Orbitz. You have to get them from the company so US Air is the best way to go!
5) Travel with an ipod or a good book and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Great Post from Brett Vaden

Despite getting home at 1:30 am Saturday morning, I woke up and could not go back to sleep at 7:30 I got up. I love getting up early, especially on Saturday mornings...I'm just not always good at it...maybe you can relate. I had a wonderful time with the Lord and then found myself...where else, the blogosphere. It was a great place to be. My heart was warmed and encouraged by a post titled "An Amazing Thing" that Brett Vaden left on his blog. You should check it out. Be sure to scroll down past his excellent movie review to find it. To read it click here!

An interesting thing happened last weekend...

You see I began to realise that I have a much larger reading audience that the comments on my blog would indicate. A few friends here, a family member there and few more here...etc. The thing is none of these folks had left any comments (which is quite alright.) For the blogger (that's me) one has to decide is the time I put into blogging worth it. Unless someone has a "hit counter" which records how many hits your site gets, then the only way a person can gage what kind of reading audience he or she has is by the amount of comments left...or so I thought. But to my pleasant surprize, two good friends of mine told me last weekend that they had bookmarked my actually dogged me a little for not blogging during vacation...he was dogging me that week for not posting anything because he didn't know I was on vacation...(yes you two know who you are)...anyways, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had many more folks reading my blog than I realised. This is exciting and will most definitely result in more stay tuned and spread the word about the "Laughing and Learning Blog".

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Wild Next Year!

The next year promises to be a sure adventure! Mid August I will be starting seminary back up as ususal, which I am so excited about. Next Friday Susan will report to her first required day at Whitfield Christian Academy. This next year she will work as an 8th grade teacher with focus areas in Science, Social Studies, and Bible. This will be her first experience as a teacher. We are both very excited about her transition into this new job, with new people and new responsibilities. The adventure continues as we will be travelling to Clarksville, Tennessee to our home church every weekend where I will be preaching for their new engaging worship gathering. This summer I have had the great priveledge of preaching for "Journey" which has been meeting on Friday nights. Discerning God's leadership they are moving this worship gathering (strategically/experimentally) to Sunday mornings. This is no small move for the church. The potential for this gathering city shaking, global sending, and eternity denting. Please pray for Steve Moore who will be leading the music and band and myself and we seek God humbling ourselves before Him in preparation for the coming days. We greatly need your prayers.

My committment for preaching in Clarksville is a year. Next summer I should be wrapping up seminary...where from there? Clarksville, Cleveland, or Canada...(not excluded to those) Where-ever He leads we'll go.

Needless to say...come August we are boarding a wild ride. While I am sure some tired days are ahead, I have never been more convinced my greatest joy is knowing God and being spent out for his church, kingdom, and glory! We hope to see and have sweet time with many of you along the way.

Back from Vacation

I know some of you wondered where the blogging went last week. I was away Eating, Sleeping, and Playing with the in-laws for 6 days under the same roof. May sound like a nightmare to some, but it was a heavenly vacation for me! After the camp in Knoxville, Susan and I made our way down to Panama City to join her Mom's side of the family who arrived the day before. From the minute we arrived our time was pure refreshment. I love her (now my) family! This is an enormous blessing. I did not doubt that I would enjoy spending time with Sus' family, I have known them for a long time and have always enjoyed their company. But I felt totally free to be myself around all of them the whole time. The acceptance and love they have recieved me with into their family would have made our time wonderful even in we were in Kansas or something...although I do think we were all grateful we were at the beach. So...Susan, Gran, Kathy, Donna, Leann, Ken, John, Sam, James, Sarah, Frank, Katherine, and Amber...thanks for making vacation such a wonderful experience!

While I thought I would be ready to hit the ground running when we got back...I've been a little drudgy. I'm finally feeling back in the swing of things be looking for more blogging to come.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

For the folks at "Real Life"

I've had a great time hangin out with the folks at Real Life this summer. We've been talking about how our encounters with God should propel us to be on mission for Him. This post includes the promised info about giving your testimony.
1) In the first part of your testimony you want to include what your life was like before you met Jesus Christ. If you can't remember, ask those who knew you then. If you were really young, search the scriptures to see what they say about your heart before you met Christ.
2) The second portion should communicate how you came to know Jesus Christ. It needs to be very clear about the work God was doing in you, explaining how you came to hear the gospel, and how The Holy Spirit brought you under conviction. Be sure to include the simple gospel found in 1 Cor 15 for we know that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
3) The last part of your testimony should communicate how your life has changed since you met Jesus Christ. The differenece He has made in your life.

Work on your testimony. Have a 45 second version, 2.5 - 3 minute version, and a 7-12 minute version. That way you will be ready to share the great news of how God has changed your life. I'm looking forward to our last few Wednesdays together!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Congrats Bubba and Kristi!!!

I have not offically blogged the good news! I'm going to be an uncle again. My sister and brother in law, Kristi and Bubba are pregnant with their first child! Way to Go Bubba!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sometimes things don't go the way you think they will.

I thought today that I'd be preaching in a clean shirt and deoderized armpits, brushing my teeth with real toothpaste, and whitewater rafting for the first time. Sometimes things don't always go the way we think they will.

My flight arrived in Knoxville about 10pm last night. It was a great flight with good reading. I found my way down to baggage claim and positioned myself right at the mouth of belt where the luggage rides down. I stood and waited while passenger after passenger happily found their luggage. 7 minutes later, I'm still standing at the mouth of the conveyer belt, waiting, hoping, praying, that someone in Charlotte who will probably get paid today for putting my bag on the plane, did indeed put my bag on the plane. 2nd time in a row US Air has lost my luggage. He'll probably get paid, but he did not put my bag on the plane. Yes I'm assuming it was a he, because females would have no problem putting the correct bags, in their correct locations. However, it could have been that my bag was transported on a trolley over to the Charlotte plane and did not make it over there for the man to put it on the plane, because the trolley was being driven by a woman. Either way, I trust that God was providentially working through his sovereign plan through his limited people. I made my way up to the next level - I parked on the roof of the parking garage - about as far away from the gate possible. It was the only thing open. Unfortunately I did not pack an umbrella in my carry on book bag and it was pouring down rain. The rain felt kind of nice actually, everything except the wet part...exactly. Interestingly enough, I found a joyful humor in it all, kind of. Perhaps the US Air folks are just trying to get back at me, since the last time I flew I managed to come home on my originally scheduled flight, while so strategically working the system attaing 3 free round trip tickets in the continental US. Yea...they found me out and are losing my bags on purpose. Nevertheless, I drove about 1.5 hours and crashed at the hotel outside Ocoee, TN. The toothbrush the front desk gave me had a gel capsule inserted in the head of the brush that I had to squeeze to get toothpaste that rose up from the bristles. I then made my way over to the camp, with no deodorant, hardly brushed teeth, and the same rained on shirt I had on the whole day before. This morning was my first time to be with the High School bunch from the church. A thrilling first impression. But just like God, He used all of these circumstances to dissolve my concerns about any impression and prepare myself to preach. He blessed. It was a great first morning. I also found out they changed the white water rafting time to Sunday when I will have already left. I'm sure there is another wonderful purpose in that too. I'm now back at the hotel. And my luggage has arrived. Some times things don't always go the way we think they willFor he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. Psalm 33:9-10

Thursday, July 14, 2005

God's Image and Heir Jordan

Fox News published an interesting article on Michael Jordan's son Jeffrey yesterday. Some of it made me think about how the world watches Christians. See if you know what I mean from this sample of the article:

Jordan is under scrutiny. As Michael Jordan's son,
expectations are higher than normal, reporters are already asking about his vertical jump, and it's virtually impossible to
hide even when he's playing with 120 other top junior players.

"That's the greatest basketball player's son," said Jai Lucas,
Jordan's roommate this week.

Just two days into the weeklong camp,
Jordan has already become the camp's darling.

Everywhere he goes, fans and reporters follow, hoping to get a sneak peek at the younger Jordan and gleam any clue they can about whether he can someday approach his father's

The world often watches, wondering if we are the real deal, if there is anything to our “talk” or to our religious church attendance. It makes sense that Jesus said, “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 Many unbelievers watch Christians like reporters (sometimes vultures) waiting to “report” to the world when we drop the ball or step out of bounds. Sometimes though they are watching like a team scout who’s really interested. They may be very close to believing in Christ, and our love for other believers, joy in our sufferings, or good works shine in such a way that they do indeed believe and give glory to God. Either way, many are watching. The article goes on:

Jordan has no choice although there certainly are times he
would rather just be one of the guys...But wherever Jordan goes, he still
has the target on his back...Jordan even acknowledges there have been times he's
felt opponents have wanted to "take him out" so they could brag about it to
their friends.

Maybe you've felt like as a Christian, you have had a target on your back. Being dialed into the reality that others are watching is sobering and healthy, yet should not be our motivation for holy living as Jesus warns in the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.

I love the way the article ends:
But wherever Jeffrey Jordan ends up, he knows this: He will
never escape his father's image. "I'm as competitive as he is, I'm just quieter
about it," he said. "But that's my dad and it's pretty easy talking about

Think about what they said of Jeffrey Jordan. "He will never escape his father's image." The same is true for us. Genesis 1:27 informs we are the image of God. Though our sin has terribly marred us as His image, God is commited to molding us into the image of Christ, and He will not quit until He is done. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phillipians 1:6 Reflect God today where you are. Grow in his image. Just as Jeffrey Jordan works long strenous hours in the gym to reflect his dad, the greatest basketball player ever -- Let us labor and strive with all God's power to grow in the image of Christ reflecting Him to the reporters, vultures, and interested scouts. Maybe it will be as easy to talk about our heavenly Father as it is for Jeffrey to talk about his dad.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Our Imperishable Inheritance - Part 1

Cornelius “the Commodore” Vanderbilt began by borrowing $100 from his mother when he was 16 years old. By the time he died, he had made such successful ventures in the steam boat and railroad businesses that he was the richest man in America, worth over $100 million. His son William Henry inherited the business and doubled the fortune in less than ten years, making the Vanderbilt’s the richest family in the world? So I ask, what kind of inheritance do you get when your dad is the richest man in the world? What kind of house might you live in with this inheritance? George Washington Vanderbilt was one of eight children belonging to the world’s richest man. You are looking at a picture of the kind of house you live in with that kind of inheritance. In 1889, four years after his father died, George began work on The Biltmore Estate. It took 6 years to finish the 6 story mansion. My sister and brother in law recently visited the mansion and provided this picture for us. They were absolutely in awe at the stunning estate. Think about a home with: 250 Rooms, 438 Employees, 185 Paintings, 170 Rugs, 75 Acres of Gardens, 65 Fire places, 43 Bathrooms, and 64 Chairs in the Banquet Hall with a 40 foot table. On the fourth of July in 1896, folks at the Biltmore celebrated by eating: 22 chickens, 28 pounds of leg and loin mutton, 52 pounds of beef prime rib, and 2 baskets of peaches! At the 1899 Christmas party at The Biltmore, attendees were treated to 11 gallons of ice cream, 30 dozen cakes, 200 cornucopias, and 100 pounds of candy! Read more about the Biltmore here. You may daydream with me, “How could I ever receive an inheritance like that?” Or dream, “How could I ever get that rich?” Oh my dear friend, if you are a Christian, I have wonderful news for you. Meditate with me on the following scriptures and think about how rich your dad is and what kind of inheritance you have.
Is our Dad worth over $100 million? The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. Psalm 24:1, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:11, The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; The world and all it contains, Thou has founded them. Psalm 89:11,
How long has Dad been working on our inheritance? Read Matthew 25: 31-46 focusing on verse 34.
Has and will God really given Christians an inheritance? And now I commend you to God and the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32, In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…Ephesians 1:11, Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or covetous (that is, and idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ in God. Ephesians 5:4-5, He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32
The Biltmore Estate will one day burn up…what about our inheritance? Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
What an incredible meditation for those who are trusting in Christ! We’ll unpack some of this later…stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Home For a Few Days

Well I just got in from Ocoee, TN a couple of hours ago. Susan picked me up at the airport. It is a joyous thing to see God birth people into His body through the power of the gospel. I've been at Horn's Creek since Saturday preaching for the Middle School Camp for FBC Concord. I'll fly back down Thursday to preach for their High School Camp. Meanwhile, in Louisville, I'll preach on Wednesday night here , for a summer series I'm doing for their college ministry. God has been gracious to us at the camp and did some really neat things in the MS students' lives these past few days. I do apprecieate any of those who are moved to pray for me as I preach. Susan is finishing up her last week of nannying and is excited about her opportunity to teach this fall. She'll come down to the camp on Saturday and Sunday we'll head for Panama City for vacation with her family.

Check out this Blog!

One of my favorite Blogs that I check out almost daily is "Between Two Worlds" . Be sure to click on it at check it out. He always has really good stuff to read. He works with Dr. John Piper at DGM. Anyways, He's got a hilarious video clip you gotta see titled "Mrs. Benny Hinn."
The video clip is edifying, just in a unique way.

Monday, July 04, 2005

She's Unbelievable!

Today my wonderful wife Susan and I have been married 10 months. It has been an incredibly full 10 months. My conclusion thus far...She's Unbelievable! It is indeed a rare thing to have a wife who is so supportive of radical visionary leadership for the sake of the Kingdom of God. I'll share just a few highlights with you to let you in on why she is so unbelievable. Susan is a champ in the hospitality/housewife realm as so many are - she cooks delicious meals, decorates our home so warmly, keeps clothes clean and stocked, not to mention scratches my back every night. While I know all of this is sometimes is a challenge for Susan in addition to her full time job nannying a 20 month year old who has never slept in her own crib/bed, Susan seems to make it look like a piece of cake. It is the extra-mile stuff that causes observers to see that she is supernaturally enabled by our strong God. To honor her today,
10 Amazing Things In the Life of my Wife in our First 10 Months of Marriage:
10) Susan facilitated our move to Louisville, while I was away preaching for a retreat. Our family helped a ton - we are so indebted to them. I know this may seem like it ought to be on a list of 10 most embarrassing things of a husband during our first 10 months...Nevertheless, When I got home from the retreat, it was amazing all the hard work she and the family had done! Thanks again Family! My buddies still dog me out pretty good for this one.
9) For two weeks this Spring Susan worked as a sort of telemarketer from 6pm-11pm in addition to her substitute teaching during the day...Because we needed her to. She also spent also spent 2 weeks tying ribbons around lolli-pops for a temp job during spring break while no substituting was available.
8) Before we got married, Susan always bought people birthday/special occasion cards. I shared with her I thought she could make cards and save $ from our gift budget(considering we had 4 weddings 4 weekends in a row) to go to. While she does not think of herself as creative and struggled with this request at first, she triumphantly, supercreatively made cards to send people for special occasions. She used cool pastel oil paints...and her sewing machine. They were so cool, she made a bunch and gave stationary as graduation gifts to some of our good friends.
7) Susan comes tired, straight from work every Wednesday this summer to hear me preach for the college ministry here, and then fills me up and sends me out on Friday nights to preach here, even though she hasn't gotten to make the trip most Friday's because of her nannying. I usually do not make it home until 1:30ish am, nevertheless, she is excited I have the opportunity to preach God's word for people we so dearly love.
6) Susan suffered through weeks of nannying a sweet little screaming, crying 20 month-year-old...It was so bad it caused her teeth to hurt. She persevered through this because of her hardcore commitment to our marriage and my seminary education. Sidney has gotten much more enjoyable in recent weeks. No more screaming and crying. The kid literally screamed for 3 straight hours one day.
5) Susan hosted 20 family members for an overnight cookout here in Louisville. Seven of them stayed with us...1 BATHROOM! It went so well, we're considering making it an annual event - wherever we may be living.
4) Susan has prepared and opened our home almost every Thursday night this year for a small group from our church to meet. This summer we have hosted all of the small groups together on 2 occasions (about 30 folks.)
3) Susan gladly took in an 18 year old "homeless" girl, Candi Roe into our one bedroom apartment in New Brunswick during our first 3 months of marriage. This required us to transform our small den into a den/bedroom. Susan befriended Candi, helped her get a job, and invested much into young broken girl. There is so much to share about this, perhaps more later on another post.
2) Susan fearlessly and joyfully agreed for Kerry Bell to stay in our extra bedroom at our place in Louisville as we ventured to help Kerry with his cocaine addiction. He is a 40 year old African American, 10 year cocaine addict that we met with Brett Vaden and Brent Moore in our neighborhood. Brett stayed with us that evening, staying up half the night swapping with me at 4am. He then rode with us to Bloomington, IN two days later to take Kerry to an intense spiritual boot camp rehab called Hebron. We couldn't have done it without Brett. Susan unhesitatingly supported my leadership despite some opposition from loved ones. This is worthy of another post too.
1) Susan has sweetly and strongly loved me in ways I did not even know I needed. This is by far the number one most amazing thing in the life of my wife thus far! It is a great a challenging task to love such an ogre, but she does it valiantly.
I hope this encourages you and challenges you in the Lord and in your relationships. Susan is amazing! Her God is her secret!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pretty Funny Stuff

I thought this was pretty funny...

Driver caught in bedpan incidentCountry Today ^ 6-2-05 Al Batt
Posted on 06/02/2005 6:33:01 PM PDT by SJackson
Al Batt Hartland, Minn. (Freeborn County)
I am one of those men who like to live on the edge.
I do not fill my pickup with gasoline until the needle of the fuel gauge has dipped well into the red area. I know that running a vehicle with little fuel in the gas tank makes the vehicle lighter and that means better gas mileage.
This habit does not go unnoticed by my wife. My wife is a leaner. When she rides with me, she leans to the left. She leans not for the mushy reasons of days past; she leans so she can check out two things - the speedometer and the fuel gauge. She is forever telling me that I am going to run out of gas one day and then I'll be sorry. I know I would be sorry only if she found out that I'd run out of gas.
I listen to her and then wait until that needle ventures into the red before fueling up. I realize that a pedestrian is just someone who didn't know how to read a gas gauge properly and that I am able to drive 100 miles on fumes.
One day, my wife went shopping, leaving me to my own devices. I had read in the newspaper that the gas station in Hartland was having a special on pizza and pop at a price much lower than I would be able to stay home for.
So I found myself on a pizza run to Hartland when my old pickup sputtered and ran out of gas.
It wasn't my fault. I think the fuel gauge went bad. I could hear my wife's voice telling me how sorry I would be if I ran out of gas: "Honestly, if brains were gasoline, Allen, you wouldn't have enough to prime the lawn mower!"
My pickup was resting right at the end of Pat Pending's driveway. Pat is our neighborhood inventor. He has more patents than Carter used to have Little Liver Pills. Pat's wife was once the runner-up in the Miss North Dakota contest. She would have won, but her tractor broke down during the talent competition.
I walked up the drive and knocked on the door of Pat's shop. Pat came to the door. He greeted me and then showed me his latest invention, a lawn mower engine that runs on toenail clippings.
I asked him for some gas and he told me to help myself. Pat wasn't surprised by my predicament as my wife had warned him that it would happen. I told him I was sorry to bother him, but not as sorry as I would be if my wife found out that I had run out of gas. I asked him to keep it our little secret. He understood.
I didn't have a gas can. Pat didn't have one either. All of his went into building the world's largest lock washer. Pat and I searched his junk piles and the only promising thing we found was what looked like an old bedpan. It looked like an old bedpan because it was an old bedpan. I asked Pat if the bedpan would hold gas. He told me that it had held a lot more than gas in its day.
I took that bedpan and filled it with gas from Pat's barrel. I filled the bedpan right to the brim. I told Pat that I'd be right back and began hoofing it back to my stalled truck.
The Pendings' dog, Phideaux (pronounced Fido) has the kind of a bark that gives people toothaches. I hiked as fast as a man can who is carrying an overfilled bedpan of gas and has an irritating little dog running between his steps. Phideaux suspected me of stealing an old bedpan full of gas.
I got to the pickup, removed the gas cap and began to pour the gas from the bedpan into the tank. I was hurrying to get on the road before my wife learned of my foolishness.
Phideaux had become convinced of my thievery and began to chew on the back of my ankle. I was pouring gas from the bedpan while trying to shake my leg free of the gnawing poodle.
While doing this, I heard the sound of a car coming from behind. Normally, I am happy to see my wife, but not this time. I said a little prayer, asking that it not be her. The car drove on by. It was one of Hartland's Lutheran ministers, Rev. Pastor, in his Buick. I nodded at the passing car, quite happy that it wasn't my wife.
The good Reverend hadn't gone far past me when he hit his brakes. He put his car in reverse, backed up and watched as I poured the contents of the bedpan into the gas tank of my pickup.
Rev. Pastor rolled down the window of his car and said, "Now that is what I call faith."