Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter: The Kids

No pics from the vacation yet. But here is the pic that Stacey took of the kids on Easter, the day that we left for vacation.

Pictures from vacation, may be coming. We are having some difficulty with the camera :)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Words After The Comma

There are words after the comma. I know that this might be a shock to some individuals. But, when there is a comma, you should read the words after the comma. They may be important.

Too many times, I think that people stop at the comma. They act as the comma is a period. They think that it (the comma) is a period and stop dead in their tracts.

Maybe that is too harsh. Maybe the following (two) examples are too much of a grip, but let me show you:

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

You see that Scripture a lot. However, there is not a period there. There is a comma ! Here is the whole sentence ( the rest and then the whole in context )

, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

So, here is the words in the entirety:

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Here is another one (example):

For the wages of sin is death

Wait a secnd, can we please include the cmma and finish the sentence. Here it is:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

There are numerous examples of this and it is called, making the Scripture say what you are wanting to say and what you want to emphasize. I am still a little confused to why we ...... ummm, nevermind; that will be different post.

Back Home

We are back home.

I noticed that I did not do much of vacation posts he last few days; there were a few reasons for that.

Currently, I am watching the Texas / Memphis game while relaxing with the boys and witing for tonight. I do need to do some pick-up and getting a few things out. But, that should not take too long.

From the vacation,

On Thursday, it was a little chilly and in the late afternoon and early evening, we got 2 inches+ of snow .. YUCK. However, the weather did not keep us from playing outside. My boys were getting pretty good at returning the ball in beach volleyball (when it comes to them).

Jacob found love in swinging upside down. When we get the internet back up at home, we will upload the video of that. I am sure that everyone is just excited about that.

Bethany, she did not playvolley ball but she did build igloos in the sand.

On Friday, we relaxed and waited for our company. There is a fellow forumnite who lives up in Michigan about 1 hour and 15 minutes away and I invited him over to watch the Elite 8. He accepted the invitation and came with his wife and his two kids.

We had dinner and hen watched the game. The wives who never met had a great time chatting and we had fun talking ministry shop and watching the game. The kids who had never met had a ball together and played extremely well together. I hope that we can meet up again.

I am thinking ......C E D A R P O I N T. It is close to the both of us. If you are looking Todd, wha do you think ????

On Saturday, the kids went out and played one last time while Stacey got the house cleaned back up. We then jumped in the car and headed home. We traveled state-roads the whole tme, so the trip was a little longer. But, we still made in (including stops) in 6 hours and got back at 8 pm which is a good time to get back.

Pics coming next week. We are not tech savy (have the toys) enough to do it while we are on vac. So, you will see them throughout the week.

I Am Out ( you would think that I listen to Rome everyday ).

Friday, March 28, 2008

Three Essential Aspects of Forgiveness

Here is part of the book that I am reading from Amish Grace.

About Forgiveness ...

Forgiveness is a concept everyone understands - until they're asked to devine it.

Robert Enright

He has done clinical research on forgiveness and effects; here are some of his results and definitions.

In his research, he has come to believe that forgiveness is good for he person who offers it, reducing "anger, depression, anxiety and fear" and affording "cardiovascular and immune system benefits."

Clarification on Foriveness

But, what is it and what it is not ???

Many may not like using a philosopher to define the word, but here is a definition from Joanna North:

When unjustly hurt by another, we forgive when we overcome the resentment toward the offender, not by denying our right to resentment, but instead by trying to offer the wrongdoer compassion, benevolence and love."


Enright believes that this definition highlights three esential aspects of forgiveness:

- offense is taken seriously
- victims have a moral right to anger
- victim "gives up" their right to anger and resentment


Forgiveness is a gift to our offender who may not necessarily deserve it.

Forgiveness is unconditional, an unmerited gift that replaces negative feelings toward the wrongdoer with love and generosity.

Forgiveness means treating the offender "as a member of the human community".

Vogue: LeBron James

Last week, our news station (Cleveland) ran a story about the possible controversity over their superstar (LeBron James) and his new cover shoot for the Vogue magazine. Of course, it was the last news segment. Afer watching it, I kindascratched my head.

Well today, I saw the story is hitting some national attention. I am a little amazed and bewildrered. Maybe I am just naive and out of touch with reality.

I do not see racial problems in the photo. I see two "superstars" and they are having fun in the photo shoot.

Am I missing something ?
Are they realling painting black men wrong ?
Is he really "King Kong" ?

Here are what some are saying in case this story has slipped past you ...

- It’s an image some have likened to “King Kong” and Fay Wray.

- It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man,” said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

- But magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately provocative, adding that it “screams King Kong.” Considering Vogue’s influential history, he said, covers are not something that the magazine does in a rush. “So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman, it’s not innocent,” he said.

- In a column at, Jemele Hill called the cover “memorable for all the wrong reasons.” But she said in an interview that the image is not unusual — white athletes are generally portrayed smiling or laughing, while black sports figures are given a “beastly sort of vibe.”

- Images of black male athletes as aggressive and threatening “reinforce the criminalization of black men,” said Damion Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of Maryland.

- “If more people of color worked for Vogue in positions of editorial authority, perhaps someone in the room might have been able to read the image the way so many of us are reading it now, and had the power to do something about it.”

LeBron's response

James told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer he was pleased with the cover, saying he was “just showing a little emotion.”

“Everything my name is on is going to be criticized in a good way or bad way,” James told the paper. “Who cares what anyone says?”

So, what do you think ??

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Forgiveness ??

Give it to me !!!

That is your definition and what it means to you.

I am now reading Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Trajedy

So far, it has been unbelievable and this word is at the top of my mind; pleas share.

The Law


For Luther, God’s law establishes our responsibility toward our neighbor(what we should do) and, along with the gospel, establishes our identity in relation to
God(who we are). What we should do is love our neighbor; who we are is sinners
for whom Christ died and who, for Christ’s sake, God declares righteous.

The reason for this post today is that I have been following a few blogs who are in a law/grace debate and I think that this is debate that brings a huge gulf to the Christian community. Of course, there are many on the law side that would say those who are on the grace side are not Christians and that is a whole other issue that we will deal with on a different day. Today, I want to look at law / grace and how we should preach / teach and interact with those outside of Christ?

The central question underlying this debate is simple:

Does the law have any place in preaching once the gospel has been proclaimed? That is, can committed law-gospel preachers address issues of social justice, public and private morality, and the Christian life in any way other than as indicating our failure to live according to God’s will without lapsing into legalism? Conversely, can they avoid doing so without having their preaching devolve into a quietism and irrelevance that betrays God’s work to sustain and care for the whole creation?

Law Gospel Preaching

Hence, the phrase “law-gospel preaching” names God’s two activities of accusing and comforting that work together to create faith in the believer.

Luther View on Law-Gospel Preaching

It is important to note, however, that Luther prizes this way of speaking about God’s activity not simply because it provides a compelling homiletical strategy or even an incisive exegetical key to the Scriptures but rather because it discloses God’s dominant mode of self-revelation, apparent most transparently in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the cross of Christ we recognize our penchant always to reject God’s overtures
to us and are compelled to admit our absolute inability to save ourselves, and
in that recognition we who would always be in control of our destiny die. In the
resurrection we perceive that God’s grace is stronger than our sinfulness and so can
rest confident that God has acted to save us and all the world, and in hearing this
word of grace we come alive again and anew in Christ. Thus, to speak of preaching
law and gospel is ultimately to describe God’s dynamic work through the proclaimed
word to put sinners to death and raise believers to new life in Christ.

I am going to learn with you at the present time and give you some insight from Luther and his views of scripture and his thought process. I think that this understanding can help individuals grapple with the issue at hand and hopefully, this will not look too much like we are chasing a rabbit down a rabbit trail.

Semper simul

Whereas most theologians emphasize the progressive nature of God’s work through law and gospel first to terrify, then to comfort and convert, and finally to guide the believer, Luther stresses the ongoing and simultaneous quality of God’s work to put to death sinful persons and raise to life new persons in Christ. From the moment Christians come to faith, Luther contends, they live as people who are simultaneously sinful by nature and righteous by God’s declaration and deed.

Luther’s depiction of the Christian as semper simul (that is, always, as well as
simultaneously, justified and sinful) also clarifies why he confines both functions of the law to the sinner. Simply because the law’s role is always to contend with
sin—restraining it to promote civility in its first use, and exposing it and putting
persons to death through it in its second—it has no place in the life of the righteous believer.

Coram Deo, coram hominibus

In the first relationship, which can be described as our life coram hominibus—
before, or in the presence of, humanity—the law functions in its first use to
prevent us from using or neglecting others to accomplish our own ends. In the second
relationship, coram Deo—before God—the law in its second use unmasks our deviations from God’s will, reasserts our inherent creatureliness, and therefore makes apparent our ultimate dependence on God’s grace alone for our justification; in this sense, once again, it serves as prelude to the gospel’s announcement of God’s decisive action freely to regard us as righteous for Christ’s sake.

Because the law has a specific function in the Christian’s relationships with
both humanity and God, it continues to play a critical part in the believer’s life.
Each use of the law, however, executes its part differently. In its second use pertaining to our relationship with God—the law always plays an anticipatory role by
preparing people to hear the gospel and, in fact, reaches its climax and fulfills its
purpose once it has done so. The preaching of the law, in sum, is always the penultimate word; hence, the movement from law to gospel.

Responsibility and Identity

One way to make more concrete Luther’s sense of the law’s function in these two distinct relationships is to describe its driving concern in each. In our lives coram hominibus, the law in its first use is concerned primarily with our responsibility toward our neighbors; it deals, that is, with what we should do.

Desiring us to live at peace with each other, God gives us the law—summed up chiefly in the Ten Commandments—and through it restrains and punishes us when we seek to gratify our needs and wants at the expense of others. Whereas the law in the first relationship is concerned primarily with our responsibility toward others, in the second relationship it deals with our identity; that is, with who we are.14 Here, it works always in conjunction with the gospel to announce that we are those sinners for whom Christ died and who, for Christ’s sake, God declares righteous. As we have seen before, in this role the law executes an entirely anticipatory function, undercutting any attempt to ground our relationship with God on our own efforts or merits and in this way preparing us to receive our identity as God’s beloved children solely as a gift.

In terms of our identity, the law’s essential role is, in the language of the
court, “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” about our human condition. At times, Luther describes this truth-telling of the law as acting like a hammer that destroys human pride; at others, he describes it more like the quiet rustling of the leaves that signaled the Lord’s presence in Eden and aroused the conscience of fallen Adam and Eve. Whichever metaphor one chooses, the law
functions remarkably like a mirror whose reflection pierces through all of our pretense and rationalizations to portray unflinchingly persons in desperate need of
God’s forgiveness, acceptance, and love.

Preaching Culminates in Gospel

Most of Luther’s (and Lutheran) preaching culminates in the gospel because
we believe and confess that the new persons in Christ created through the proclamation of the gospel fulfill the law spontaneously, even unconsciously. (Just
as you don’t need to exhort or teach someone in love to attend to the needs of the
beloved, so also you don’t need to tell those who have been justified for Christ’s
sake to live in conformity to the life of their Lord.) Further, we believe that while
the law may command a modicum of obedience, it is only the gospel that transforms.

What Does This Mean ??

To me, it means that ...

You come to your conclusions. There are many ways to look at this debate and there are many ways to look at law and grace and "the gospel". I think that most of the time, we look and focus on one area too much.

I also have come to the realization that in blogs and in forums that we rarely do not want to hear or listen to other views, we just want to hear ourselves. To me, that is B-O-R-I-N-G

We need to learn and grow from one another and we need to tune into other voices. We may never know when and where we will hear the voice of God.

I Am Out !

A Hike, Football, Cards and Dessert

Those four words can kida sm of the day for me yesterday.

We relaxed in the house till a little after noon. We played some cards and I read some of my book. We ate our lunch and then we went out on a hike to explore the property. It was the first time that all five of us were out and about. We had fun exploring. They have some nice acreage out here. Bethany and Mommy found deer antlers. A poor deer must have got stuck. Each morning, we see numerous deers as we look out the sliding glass door. Once again, I wish that it was 20-30 degrees warmer to sit on the deck .......

Isaiah and myself threw the football for awhile. We had a good time even though the wind was playing havoc with the ball at times.

Uno and War are nice relaxing games; even when you have a 5 year old that "stacks" the deck.

We decided to go out for dessert last night. We went out to Applebee's and got plenty of desserts. It was fun. I don't know if we have ever done that before.

Late last night, I finished the book. It was a great fictonal story with lessons that we as Christians and church goers need to apply to our life.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Skulls and Museums

Yesterday (Tuesday) was our busy day of vacation. When we planned this trip, we decided to make one day "an adventure day" where we would go to one of the local towns and spend the day there ... well, yesterday was the day.

I chose Lansing as the town. The reason was kinda simple. I looked for larger towns within 75 mins of where we were staying and typed in "things to do" and Lansing was the winner.

Thus, we woke up and departed at about 8:15 to go into Lansing for breakfast. A few weeks ago, I had decided on a restaurant. The eatery was called the Golden Harvest. I read a few reviews and it had said that the food was good.

When we hit Lansing and was following our directions, the directions were taking us through what seemed to be some questionable neighborhoods and there sat this very small building with skulls and crossbones on the door with the words Golden Harvest.

Now, I have to tell you, Stacey does not like to go to new places to begin with and when we pulled up o the locale, she had tons of reservaions. There was a police offer eating there (car was outside) so I said, come on, we got protection. We stepped inside and the "diner" was small. It had seating capacity with tables and counter for about 24 people. There were only tables of 4, we grabbed the back one and pulled up another chair. The place was full the whole time we were there and at times there were people standing in the cramped doorway waiting for someone to leave.

The decorations could be "scary" to some and the music was a metal/grundge that was playing in the background; it was kind of a different breakfast enviorment. Their tag line on the menu was the following: Hang in there, we are overworked and undersaffed.

Let me tell you, the service was very good and the food was great and the cost was excellent. I settled in on the Bubba Sandwich. The Bubba was a french toast sandwich with sausage, bacon, eggs and cheese smooshed in-between the french toast.

The boys got a Breakfast Sandwich and the girls got a 1/2 order of biscuts and gravy each that was bigger than every full order I have ever seen.

We enjoyed the breakfast and then headed out to the RE OLDS MUSEUM.

Jacob enjoys older cars, so we headed to this museum. It gives a great history of engines and the cars that were made in the area. They had approx. 60 cars from all era's. It was very nice. Besides the "oldies", I liked to see the old fire trucks and the old ambulance and of course, I loved the 442.

After the car museum, we went over to Impression 5 Museum. This is a "children's science muesum" that is completely hands on. It was a very nice museum and the kids had a great time. It is very interesting watching our kids. They are all so different and something "different" in the museum caught their eye anf gained most of heir attention.

After the museum, we went out to the car for our packed lunch as we watched the snow swirl and the trees blow. We really wished that it was about 30 degrees warmr because there was a river with a "riverwalk" and picnic tables out there, but there was no way that we were going to eat outside in 30 degree weather with high winds and snow.

Then, we headed to the Michigan History Museum. This museum was a lot larger than I expected and has great information in it. It was not hands on though and made it difficult to absorb and read all the information with 3 kids. Thankfully though, we have kids that are patient and stay besde us and interesed enough in how people lived 100 years ago that we were able to enjoy the museum enough. We (especially Stacey) could have spent more time in there.

After the museum, we went out to dinner. I had chosen a mexican restaurant called Pablo's. It was a family run place with authentic mexican food. It was on Grand River (Old Town) and once again we were wishing for good weather, so we could walk this area and look at all the stores.

The dinner was good and Bethany engaged our witress with why everyone was peaking spanish and not english. The waitress shared with her that it is easier for them to speak spanish than english. However, she did a very good job with communicting with us and talking to Bethany who can be very ifted in communicating.

We then found our way back to the interstate and headed home. We(Stacey, Bethany and myself) sat down and relaxed while the boys explored the property once again.

A fire was started, the tv was turned on and a new book was opened up. This time the book was (is) called: Who Stole My Church: What to Do When the Church You Love Tries to Enter the 21st Cntury.

This is a "fictional" story and so far; it has been very good. I am on page 80. I am looking forward to finishing it up today.

More Later .....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spiderwick, A Book and War

Yesterday afternoon was our first full day of vacation here. As I mentioned in the previous post, it was about relaxation. Thus, this is what we (I)did:

1. We went to Spiderwick. It was a very good movie. We enjoyed it. On the drive home, the boys mentioned everything that they left out of the book and the things that they "added or changed". They liked the movie alot but I think thatthey enjoyed the books a little more.

When we got home, we ad dinner. During dinner preperation, Jacob was outside playing with his new friend. Isaiah was resting from a headache and Bethany and I began a serious game of war. Our game was interrupted to eat ....

2. I read the following book yesterday: I'm Fine with God ... It's Christians I Can't Stand: Getting Past the Religious Garbage in the Search for Spiritual Truth. It was a very good book. I will make a post on it later.

3. I finished the game of War with Bethany. After 1 hour and 10 mins. she beat me. She was vry happy to have another win under her belt.

After the game, I curled up to the fire and began another book.

Today is our "busy" day.

More on the other book and the busy day tonight. I am looking forward to this day with the family out and all the things that we will see and do.


Monday, March 24, 2008


We are on vacation.

Yesterday after church, we departed from Ohio. We have not gone anyhwre "exotic" but we are in a beautiful location.

So, after church, we began our journey. Our destination, a cottage in Michigan. On the way, we got a little hungry, so we looked for a place to eat. Our options were a little limited with it being Easter. We stopped at Bob Evans. It was very good. I had the "skillet". This reminded me of Kentucky. Each Wednesday, I met with ym's at Bob Evan's. We would have breakfast and talk shop. I really miss that time.

After lunch, we got back on the road. We arrived to our location; a little before 6 pm. We unloaded the vehicle and set up for the week. After a little resting, we went to Meijer's to grab groceries for the week. We got home a little around 10 pm. We unpacked the groceries, watched a little tv and had a snack before heading to bed.

This morning and early afternoon has been very relaxing and refreshng and that is the whole point of this week of vacation - not doing much. So, here is what we (I) have done today.

I slept in till about 9:15 and then ate breakfast. As I was eating breakfast, I played UNO with Bethany ( 3 games ). They, the boys, were hanging out outside enjoying all the open spaces. We ( the kids and me ) then searched the property. We went walking, played on the swing set, played a little volleyball, hung out at the pond, trampled through the stream and sat in the screened in gazebo that overlooks the pond.

We are staying in a very nice cottage that is situted on 130 acres nestled in the Maple River Valley. The terrain is gently rolling and it surrounds 40 acres of wood.

There is not much on our agenda. We are going to do a few things. Tomorrow is our busy day. For the most part, it is just relaxing and hanging out. This afternoon, we are going to the movies. We are going to see the Spiderwick Chronicles. The boys and I just finished the books. We hardly ever (maybe once or twice a year) go to the movies, so we thought this could be a vacation treat.

More Later.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter: Prayer of the Day

God of Mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ, and help us grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bethany: Diving Board

Here is Bethany jumping off the Diving Board in her swim class.

Ooooooohhhhhhh ..... Aaaaahhhhhhhh

Wanna Go Muddin' ???

I did today. Here is proof.

Front Driver Side

The Front Passenger

Kids With Muddy Car

The kids and especially the wife was not too thrilled to be traveling around town in the muddy car. We did get the car a bath after the b-day party.

I did not mean to go muddin' on purpose. This morning, I went to take Bowzer (our moose) to the the dog kennel. After, I dropped him off, I circled around into the turnaround (kennels driveway) and I plummeted down about 5 inches. The car would not move. I was completely stuck.

We had to call for a tow truck to come and "wrench us" out. What a way to start the morning. After the tow truck got me out of the mud, I raced back to town in time for the Easter Egg Hunt.

The tow bill and the car wash bills are in the hands of our wonderful kennel.

So, no, I did not decide to go muddin. If I would do that, I think that I would choose something other than the family minivan.

If anyone has a 4x4 and one that is lifted and wants to tear some up mud, let me know. I may be "in" today after a little taste of it.

Easter Egg Hunt in the Snow

Today we had our Easter Egg Hunt for the church. We gathered at the park and went on the hunt ...... in the SNOW. There is just something wrong (imo) with easter egg hunts in the snow. C'mon, warm weather ..... get here.

We did have about 22 kids that braved the 28 degree weather with snow flurries in the air. I did not get to help hide the eggs due to some car trouble. I will post about that later today. Sorry, no pics for the hunt, the camera was "down". Hopefully, it is just a battery issue.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lost: Season 4, Episode 8

For the most part, this episode was about Michael. Ummmm, I mean Kevin Johnson.

Once again, the show "showed" why it is one of the best on TV. It was a fantastic show and how they interwine the story line and develop the charachters is absolutely amazing.

Kevin Johnson (aka: Michael)

The episode shows us how the following:

Michael immediately goes to Friendly's hotel. Michael asks why his plane is on the bottom of the ocean. Friendly tells him it's not his plane, it's a phony. A man named Widmore staged the whole thing 'cause he doesn't want anyone finding where the real plane ended up. Friendly gives Michael a file with proof: the cemetery in Thailand where Widmore dug up the 324 graves for the corpses; the purchase order for the 777 through a shell company; the shipping logs from the freighter he used to drop the whole thing down a trench deep enough to guarantee that no remains would ever be identified.

In a few days Widmore has a freighter that's leaving port from Fiji. The Others have reason to believe he's found the coordinates of the island. They want Michael to be their spy on the boat. They've already arranged a job for him as a deckhand under the name Kevin Johnson. Michael asks why they think he'll work for them, and Friendly tells him if Widmore finds the island everybody on it dies. If Michael wants to redeem himself for what he did, this is his only chance. Michael says he can't go back to the island, and Friendly tells him he's not going back to the island. He's going on the freighter so he can kill everyone on board.

Sayid confronts Keven (Michael) ..... story develops and then ....

Back to the engine room as Michael finishes telling Sayid and Desmond his story. However, Sayid is not happy to hear that Michael is working for Benjamin Linus. He grabs Michael and forces him into Captain Gault's room. Sayid tells him Michael is the one who sabotaged the radio and engines. Michael was with him on flight 815, and he's a traitor.

Question: Is this how Sayid gets pulled in to working for Ben. is Sayid having to clean up the mess that he just created.


Before the writers strike ended, there was a possibility that we would only have 8 shows. Individuals were worried that the show would seem chopped up. The producers said, "if the strike is not over, episode 8 could actually be a good season ending." Well, I see what they mean, that it was and could have been. Thankfully, we do have 5more. Here is how the episode ended:

On the island, Rousseau, Alex and Karl stop for break on their way to the Temple. Suddenly, silenced bullet rounds whiz through the air, and Karl is hit! He falls over dead. They're under attack! Rousseau tells Alex she loves her very much, and on three they're going to get up and run. But when they take off, SSNAP! Rousseau is hit, and she falls over dead, too. Alex yells out to save her own life and tells them to stop shooting. She's Ben's daughter she's his daughter!

The Q's

Who are the "killers" ? Are they Ben's people and Ben put the hit out on them or was it the individuals from the frieghter. The helicopter was gone.


Who are the innocent people on the freighter that Ben is referring to ?????

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Step Closer

I recently finished the book One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters To Those Seeking God.. It was a very good book and I enjoyed reading the book. He went through many of the songs that U2 has done and how they deal with many issues that people are concerned about and how it wraps around into our faith as Christians. There were some songs in the book that I did not know the history of and that was fun to learn about.

Here is how the book breaks down:

Step One

1. Singing Scriptures
2. Psalms as Thanksgiving and Lament
3. Wisdom as Desire and Illusion
4. Prophecy as Judgment and Hope
5. Parables as Offense and Mercy
6. Apocalypse as Ecstasy and Healing

Step Two

7. Singing the Cross
8. Faith (Not Sight)
9. Hope (Not Possession)
10. Love (Not Power)
11. Now (Not Yet)

Step Three

12. Singing the Truth

It is a very nice read and should be enjoyable for the casual U2 fan.

LOST: Are you an addict ?

If so, here is some help :)

Tonight is the last episode for a month. They say that we will get some answers tonight. Two things:

- I will believe it when I see it
- If we do get answers, we will get a lot more questions

Is it true ? Is Michael the "spy" ?
Is it true ? Once they "have" Ben, they will kill everyone ?
Will we find out this season ??

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Go Away !!!!

After 9 days, the snow finally disappeared, except for the piles in parking lots. The last two days it has been in the 40's and raining. We are well on the way to flooding. Well, the temperature dropped and there were a few snow flakes in the air around 5:30. About 90 mins. later, this was the backyard:

I know that we now live in Ohio and it is only March 19th, but I am asking you nicely. Please go away. I want spring to be here. Please, pretty please.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Hammer Holds by Bebo Norman

We are going to use this song for our Good Friday service. I asked two of our seniors if they would be willing to put a video together for me for this song. I was wanting them to be part of the service and this could be a way that they could be involved using their gifts and passions.

I just received the video about 15 minutes ago. I think that it is fantastic and it lends to the mood we want in a fantastic way. After, I saw the video, I knew that I wanted to upload it to YouTube and share it with individuals.

Please take 5 minutes and take a look at the video. I think they did a great job putting the video together. GREAT JOB GUYS !!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

It Is Holy Week !!!

This morning as I put on my shoes in the living room, I was reminded that it is Holy Week and my first thought was, "it does not seem like Holy Week".

I am not sure if it is the time of the year (early) or that the Holy Week schedule this year seems "uncrowded". But that is how I was feeling.

Some of that changed when I arrived at the church and realized that Maunday Thursday and Good Friday were close and there was still work to do regarding these events.

This year, we are the "hosts" for the Sedar Meal. This should be very interesting. I am hoping that I can pull it off and that I will not stumble over the scripture readings and the leader portions of the program.

I think that I am more concerned with making a mess with the food or doing something completely wrong as people are looking to/at me to see "how it is done". I can see it now, I will have haroseth all over me as it drips from the bitter herb.

Thus, this morning, I met with individuals from the church to make sure that I knew what I was going to be doing and for us to make sure that everything was in place or as close to in place as it can be.

I also then went over video and sound for the Good Friday Service. I am leading the service. The service is one that I have done before but it is "new" to/for this church. We are doing a Reverse Advant. It should be a good service and I think it will highlight what the disciples were feeling as Jesus was taken away from them.

It will be a little "dark and gloomy" but that Friday was not a great time of celebration. But, hey, anytime you can have a Beetles song in the service, it has to be great, right ?

More on those services and Holy Week moments that stand out to me throughout the week.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Atlanta '08: Tornado

The nothern Georgia area got hit with severe storms two days in a row. On Friday, downtown Atlanta got hit with a 130 mph tornado. We lived in the greater Atlanta area for 1 year and have been to the city numerous times for conventions. We were there in November and stayed in a hotel downtown and passed through this area daily. We ate at CNN and was in the GWCC. Thus, when the storm hit and I saw some of these pictures, it prompted me to load them up.









In this round of storms and location, there were no deaths. There was just damage. The baskeball game went into overtime, so most of the people were still in the stadium. However, the storms did cause a few deaths north.

Prayers go out to all those who were involved or touched by the storms.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lost: Season 4, Episode 7

Alright, so we spent some time on the freighter in this episode

On the freighter, Keamy checks in with Lapidus and asks if he's ready. Lapidus says he'll be ready. Keamy warns him not to be late. Lapidus continues below where he runs into Regina, who is standing guard outside sick bay, where Sayid and Desmond are. Regina is acting strange, and Lapidus notices the book she's reading is upside down. Lapidus brings Sayid and Desmond food cans of lima beans. Sayid asks if Lapidus has had contact with their friends, and Lapidus says no, something must have happened to their phone.

Sayid and Desmond are slipped a note that reads, "Don't trust the captain." The doctor comes in and tells them that the Captain would now like to talk to them. As he leads them up, Sayid notices the helicopter is gone and asks where Lapidus went. The doctor doesn't know. Desmond watches as Regina steps up over the railing with a piece of heavy metal chain wrapped around herself and jumps overboard! They scramble to do something, but a voice bellows out for them to stop. They look up and see the captain standing on the bridge. He tells them she's gone and orders everyone back to their posts.

Sayid and Desmond meet Captain Gault. Sayid asks why he didn't do anything to save Regina. Gault says he didn't want to lose anymore crew. He thinks the crew is experiencing a heightened form of cabin fever because of their proximity to the island. Sayid asks why don't they just turn around. Gault says they've tried but someone sabotaged their engines. He's been working around the clock to repair them. Once it's done, Gault's orders are to move to safer waters. Sayid asks whom he gets his orders from, and Gault tells him Charles Widmore.

Desmond is shocked it's Charles Widmore's boat. Gault shows them the black box recovered from flight 815 on the bottom of the ocean. Gault tells them it took a considerable about of Widmore's resources to procure it. The wreckage was obviously staged, and Gault asks who could arrange the resources and manpower to pull off a feat like that. Who could fake the recovery of a plane crash? Where does one find 324dead bodies? That is just one reason why they want Benjamin Linus.

As the doctor leads Sayid and Desmond to their new quarters. However, there's still a dried blood stain on the wall. The doctor notices a deckhand down the corridor and orders him to mop it up. As the man comes into the light, we see it's Michael! The doctor introduces him as Kevin Johnson. Sayid stares at him hard but doesn't betray his cover.

Sun & Jin

Talking about confusing !!! We think that we are seeing flashforwards from both Jin & Sun, but we are only seeing a flash forward from Jin, we are seeing a flashback from Jin !!! One of my YMX pals informed me that the "flashback" was 2000 because of the tear of the dragon. He also noticed that the tombstone of Jin had his death the day the flight went down (that opens numerous q's)

Before we get to that Juliet had to share with Jin that Sun was "unfaithful" in an attempt to keep them both at the beach and not going to Locke.

At the beach camp, Jin returns to his tent. Jin tells Sun he understands who he used to be, a man who withheld his affections, who cared more about his job than her. So he understands whatever Sun did was a reaction to that man, and he forgives her. Sun cries and tells Jin she loves him. Jin says he loves her, too. He tells her he'll go to Locke's camp with her, but Sun says she doesn't want to go. Juliet was very convincing. They have to get off the island no matter what it takes. Jin promises to protect her and the baby, but he asks one last thing. Is the baby his? Sun says yes, it's his. She hugs him and confesses that she thought she lost him. Jin tells her she will never lose him.

At a Seoul hospital as Jin rushes down a hallway. He finds a Chinese security agent guarding a room and asks to speak to the Ambassador. He comes out, and Jin presents the panda as a symbol of Mr. Paik's eagerness to do business with the great country of China. The Ambassador accepts the gift and says he will call Mr. Paik to set up a meeting. As Jin heads out, a nurse asks him why he's leaving. Jin says it wasn't his baby he's only been married two months. Suddenly we realize Jin wasn't rushing to see Sun. His story was different from Sun's. It wasn't a flash-forward it was a flashback.

In Sun's flash-forward. She's in her apartment as the doorbell rings. It's Hurley, and Sun can't believe he actually came. Hurley asks to see the baby, and Sun lets him hold her. Hurley says she looks just like Jin. They leave and go to a graveyard. But it's not any grave they're paying their respects to it's Jin's. Sun holds the baby up to the gravestone and says the delivery was hard on her. She wished he could've been there. She named the baby Ji Yeon like he wanted. Sun starts crying and says she misses him so much. And we realize that whatever happened between the island and Sun's future, Jin isn't in it.

The Show

The plot and the twists completely amaze me. I get more "lost" as each episode continues. I like how they are developing the stories longer with specific charachters HOWEVER .....

- what is going on with Ben being out ?
- what is mr. grenade man doing ?

Sailing Between the Stars

Sailing Between the Stars: Musings on the Mysteries of Faith by Stephen James is one of the latest books that I have been reading. It is a very good book and I have enjoyed reading it.

Here is the write-up on the back of the book that does a great job explaining about the book:

We wlive in a world of tension, and as much as we'd sometimes like it to, our faith was not meant to relieve that tension but to make some sense of it. Through stunning essays and evocative stories, Steven James explores the wonder, paradox, and presence of Jesus in life today.

Without trying to decipher or diminish the mysteries of a life of faith, James leads you deeper into the rich texture of the breathtaking story God is telling our planet. Rather than limiting god to human understanding, you can discover the joy found in not being able to ever fully comprehend the Creator or the depth of his love. From funny to poignant to profound, but always pointing to God, James stories help you develop a worldview of wonder at the incredible world in which we live.

There is never a better time to get to know this God who is illogical, unreasonable, unrealistic, and incredibly and unmistakeably true.

I enjoyed listening to his stories and his insights as he unpacked the truths that he has come to. The readings were also very great because they were not very long and there were many chapters. Thus, reading a chapter while at the doctor office, at swimming practice, at gymnastics, sitting in the car at Meal on Wheels and .... were manageable.

I would definitely reccommend the book and for me, I was very happy because I picked it up on the discount rack at Berean's for $ 1.50. As one who loves to read, it does not get much better than that: a good book at a great price.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Mystery of God

It is time to be honest. I am falling more and more in love with the "mystery" of God.

At times, I wanted to unpack God and understand him. I wanted to grab a hold of him and comprehend what is going on and have the "whys and the hows" answered. But, it is not becoming that important to me.

One of the "mysteries" that I find mind-boggling is what we in Christianity has called and coined "the trinity". God. He is three; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

I am still learning and I am still discovering.

I have been reading a lot as well and I came across a church creed that I was not too familiar with. Okay, it is time to be honest (head down), I had never heard of it till this month. I did not grow up with "creeds" so sometimes, this is still new to me. The creed that I was introduced to was the following: Athanasian Creed

We worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.

For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.

What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.

The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.

The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.

And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.

Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.

Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.

Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.

Just as Christian truth compels us
to confess each person individually
as both God and Lord,
so catholic religion forbids us
to say that there are three gods or lords.

The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.

So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.

Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.

Now this is the true faith:

That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son,
is both God and human, equally.

He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother,
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.

Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
but by God's taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his essence,
but by the unity of his person.

For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
so too the one Christ is both God and human.

He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to hell;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father's right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

To me, absolute "beautiful paradox".

I believe that this creed paints a breath-taking view of the God. It shows us (me) that God is mysterious and He is indefineable.

As the words should be: God is within my hearts' reach but it is out of the reach of my mind.

About the Creed

This creed is named after Athanasius (A.D. 293-373), the champion of orthodoxy against Arian attacks on the doctrine of the trinity. Although Athanasius did not write this creed and it is improperly named after him, the name persists because until the seventeenth century it was commonly ascribed to him. It is not from Greek (Eastern), but from Latin (Western) origin, and is not recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church today. Apart from the opening and closing sentences, this creed consists of two parts, the first setting forth the orthodox doctrine of the trinity, and the second dealing chiefly with the incarnation and the two-natures doctrine. The translation above was adopted by the CRC Synod of 1988.

A Lutheran Connection

In Lutheranism, the Athanasian Creed is -- along with the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds -- one of the three ecumenical creeds placed at the beginning of the 1580 Book of Concord, the historic collection of authoritative doctrinal statements (confessions) of the Lutheran church. It is still used in the liturgy on Trinity Sunday.

The Trinity Shield

Description of the Shield

This diagram consists of four nodes (generally circular in shape) interconnected by six links. The three nodes at the edge of the diagram are labelled with the names of the three persons of the Trinity (traditionally the Latin-language names, or scribal abbreviations thereof): The Father ("PATER"), The Son ("FILIUS"), and The Holy Spirit ("SPIRITUS SANCTUS"). The node in the center of the diagram (within the triangle formed by the other three nodes) is labelled God (Latin "DEUS"), while the three links connecting the center node with the outer nodes are labelled "is" (Latin "EST"), and the three links connecting the outer nodes to each other are labelled "is not" (Latin "NON EST").

The links are non-directional — this is emphasized in one thirteenth-century manuscript by writing the link captions "EST" or "NON EST" twice as many times (going in both directions within each link), and is shown in some modern versions of the diagram by superimposing each occurrence of the "is" / "is not" text on a double-headed arrow ↔ (rather than enclosing it within a link).

So the following twelve propositions can be read off the diagram:

* "The Father is God"
* "The Son is God"
* "The Holy Spirit is God"
* "God is the Father"
* "God is the Son"
* "God is the Holy Spirit"
* "The Father is not the Son"
* "The Son is not the Father"
* "The Father is not the Holy Spirit"
* "The Holy Spirit is not the Father"
* "The Son is not the Holy Spirit"
* "The Holy Spirit is not the Son"

The Shield of the Trinity is not generally intended to be any kind of schematic diagram of the structure of God, but instead is merely a compact visual device from which the above statements (contained in or implied by the Athanasian Creed) can be read off.

I will finish this post with a scripture reading from the book of Colossians 2;2-4

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we've been shown the mystery! I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or "the Secret."

So, what do you think ?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Innocent Victims

During 2005, some 4.1 million people became infected with the human immunodefiency virus (hiv). The year also saw 2.8 million deaths from AIDS - a record global total, despite antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, which reduced AIDS-related death among those who received it.

The worst thing about HIV/AIDS is how it destroys the lives of its innocent victims. I'm talking about babies who are born HIV positive, little girls raped by their uncles and fathers, and even the women who are infected by the disease because their unfaithful husbands brought it home to their marriage beds. These victims are dyting by the hundreds of thousands. But numbers like this can be overwheling. Incomprehensible.

(pg. 57)

The innocent victims are the ones that I really shake my head at. I really do not understand this situation and all the ramifications. At times, it is easy to put this on the back burner because where I live, I do not see this or witness it. It is a world away.

However, just because it does not occur here and is a "world away" does not give me a "slip" on not being responsible and helping. In the near future, I will be sharing ways for us to get connected and to make a difference.

Also, by using the book, I am going to share you the story of specific individuals who are hurting and maybe we can see the disease from their eyes.

This is just one of the issues that I am struggling with and maybe this ties into with a bigger theological matter that I am wrestling with ... which is free will. If I get enough nerve, I will be blogging on that as well. I am not sure if I am ready to open up that can of worms, yet.

Monday, March 10, 2008

High School Confidential - March 10th

An eight-part documentary follows the lives of a dozen girls as they move from freshman through senior year in "High School Confidential."

Is anyone planning on watching this show. Below is a little preview for the show:

Here is a show write up:


Two things are appealing about the WE's eight-part series that follows 12 girls through four years of high school in Overland Park, Kan.

The first is what it includes.

Because filmmaker Sharon Liese was willing to spend four years on this project, a long span of time when you're seeing no finished product, she filmed a huge amount of material.

So when she needs to make a point, she has the footage to make it. She doesn't have to bridge gaps or ask questions with the melodramatic voiceovers common in "reality" productions.

The second is what it doesn't include.

Maybe because Liese is the single mother of a high school girl herself, or maybe because she spent so much time with these girls that she developed real respect for them, this series doesn't ever feel like it's simply holding its subjects up for our amusement.

That doesn't mean Liese pulls her cinematic punches. When she talks about the hard-partying life of Cappie, she shows us blurry video of the stoned boyfriend and the casual underage drinking.

Cappie's pretty blunt herself when she talks about the rules of partying, like going outside to smoke dope or developing code words so a girlfriend will know to rescue you from a drunken boy.

But these scenes feel like reports from the front, not second-hand thrills, because Liese can be so straightforward that sometimes she could be shooting for public television. While the theme music and come-hither teases are here, they're muted.

The structure is mostly chronological, following one to three girls per hour-long episode. The two profiled tonight, Lauren and Cappie, don't seem to have any particular connection. They just create the interesting contrast of two pretty girls on different paths.

Lauren's a clean-cut kid who gets blindsided by a serious medical problem - the drama from which Liese almost underplays, clearly not wishing to exploit it.

Cappie, at the same time, is narrating her internal battle: whether the good, responsible kid will eventually control the party girl.

The title "High School Confidential" promises more than it delivers, if viewers are expecting a lurid exposé. But in a stricter sense, it's accurate. Liese gets the girls and their parents to confide a reasonably honest set of assessments, sentiments and concerns.

The result is a picture that feels true. It's very likely incomplete because few people tell everything to a camera, but the insecurities and the growing confidence are conveyed with language and an attitude that seem fairly natural.

It's worth remembering that this show is set in a reasonably affluent and very white suburb, so it's missing some issues that would color the high school experience in other places.

But it's a serious and sympathetic film on a subject whose nuances are as individual as snowflakes and every bit as tricky to capture and preserve.
12 girls,

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Snow Storm: Our Kids

The kids playing in the snow:

Bethany helping with the shoveling

Bethany Making a Snowball to Throw at Her Brothers

Bethany Swinging: Snow Does Not Deter

Isaiah Throwing a Snowball at the Garage

Isaiah Showing How Deep The Snow Was

Jacob Digging

Yes, he is like his dad ......

Jacob Making a Tunnel

Jacob in the Tunnel

Snow: The Day After

The snow finished up last night. This morning, I woke up and checked to see how many cancellations there were. In our county, there were quite a few but the counties (two of them) north of us had plenty.

I walked to church today. We really only have one wokable vehichle, so I had to keep it here for Stacey and the kids in case they decided to venture out to church. They did not because we ended up not having the following:

- 9 am Contemporary
- 10 am Sunday School

We did have the 8 am traditional and 11 am traditional. I know to some that sounds odd to have the bookends and not the middle but there were reasons for it :)

Anyways, back to the snow. I went out after I got home from church and took a few pics. Here they are:

This is a car that is 4 houses down from us. We are not suppose to park on the street if we have more than 3 inches. However, numerous of us do; due to our driveways and the way our street is set up. But, if it snows, the plows come through and will block you in, people know and understand this. So, here is the car:

I am one of the people who park my van on the street as well. So, here is my van buried. We have space in our driveway for the van, HOWEVER, my reverse on the van does not work. Thus, it is kinda hard to park in the driveway:

Here is a picture of our house. I am not sure if it really shows the "deepness" of the snow but it does show snow and the house :)

Here is Stacey's car this morning. The snow had shifted from the top (roof) of her car to the windshield and the snow and ice on the driveway is low now and packed down. You still have to press the gas pedal lightly or you will still spin:

With the sun out and the temps in the 20 and with a tool called a shovel; the snow came off of the drive way (a little). We can now at least go from the door to the car without much trouble:

And I decided to not allow the postman grumble too hard, so we made a pathway to the mail box. I need to go and do the sidewalk next. But, I have not done it. Our neighbors have not done theirs, so I have not done mine ... I mean, what good would it do :) Of course, they may be saying the same thing, ut-oh:

As I look at my window and see all this snow, for fun, I hit to check out the weather where we lived 2 winters ago ... um, note to Jeff ..DON'T DO THAT AGAIN !!!!!

Hope all out there in the snow are safe and warm and are "unburied".

An Even Playing Field ??

There are some fields out there that need to be leveled. We live in a world that has many unlevel playing fields and some of them need to be leveled out.

There is one, to me and others, that is crying out louder than all the rest and that is the trouble that is facing our brothers and sisters in Africa. The hand that they are dealt is "not fair". The field that they are playing in is so lopsided to what we have here in the United States.

My heart goes to the infants in Africa who are infected with HIV and their mom and dad have already died to the disease. They have no resources in their small village. They truly are hopeless.


There are no geographical limit's to God's love. God loves me just as much as he loves the little African babies. The little baby in Africa was created in His image, just like we were. There is no difference in God's eyes. But there is one difference in my eyes - one that compels me to reconsider my abundance and the manner in which I view the world around me. She was born in Africa. An Africa where povery, disease and death are more ubiquitous than Starbucks (Davis, Pg. 45).

If I remember correctly, we have a responsibility. The reason that we have a responsibility is because we are called to love our neighbor and we learn from Jesus that our neighbor is not the house that you can see. It extends to everyone. We, as Christians, must reach out to those in need.

The numbers are staggering. Do you realize how many orphans there are in Africa due to AIDS ? Here is the number 15.2 million. Yes, 15.2 million children are without mom and dad because the disease has destroyed them and thier familes.

We can make a difference.

Duke vs. North Carolina

Last night North Carolina # 1 in the nation went to play Duke # 5 in the nation. It was a great battle and a wonderful game. There was a great deal on the line for the winner. The winner would:

- be the ACC regular season champs
- be # 1 seed in NCAA tourney and play in NC
- bragging rights against their biggest rival

If there was one sporting event that I would go to if I had a chance, it would be this game at Duke. Intensity is unbelievable and the fans there are nuts (crazy as they like to be called).

The sea of blue, the jumping up and down and the noise would be unbelievable to experience live. In this post is some of the photos of the fans and the game. Kevin captured some great shots and they really give you a feel for the game. Here we go:

Pre Game

Dick V. loves college basketball and he loves this enviorment and he goes "crazy" during the calling of the game. I thought he did a great job last night. Here he is having fun before the game.

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 8: Sports commentator Dick Vitale surfs the Cameron Crazies before the game between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C.

The Duke fans gave the UNC coaches and players some harrassment over their injuries, so called injuries and the injuries reports that they give. The Duke fans below are trying to show some of their creativity.

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 8: The Cameron Crazies hold up a mock injury report for the North Carolina Tar Heels during warmups before they face the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C Cox)

If you are a Tar Heel and come into Duke to play a game, you have to be calm, cool and collective and have "thick skin" because they are going to ride you hard as seen in the photo below:

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 8: Marcus Ginyard #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels tries to ignore getting heckled by the Cameron Crazies during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina defeated the Duke Blue Devils 76-68. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images

It was an aggressive game and there were some unbelievable defensive stands. Here is one example of the tough UNC defense that came in to play:

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 8: Danny Green #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels blocks a dunk by DeMarcus Nelson #21 of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina defeated Duke 76-68. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tyler Hansbrough may be the player of the year. He is a gutsy player who plays hard and gives 100% every second on the court. He is a big man that loves to pound hard in the lane. he gets the rebounds and puts it back in. His FG% was down a little last night and he did not get to the free throw line despite all the banging; yet he still had 16 points and 15 rebounds. Here is a photo that is very common, shooting with two men on him.

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 8: Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots over Lance Thomas #42 and Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina defeated Duke 76-68. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

UNC pulled the victory out in the end. Their D clamped Duke in the last 4 mins. Danny Green gave the fans, we are better sign, by lifting his jersey as he went off the court.

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 8: Danny Green #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates their 76-68 win over the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium March 8, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It was a great game and I am glad that I was able to tune in. If anyone wants to lay down some serious cash and get me to this game next year, I would be forever greatful to you.

If Lawson can stay healthly, I think UNC will win the tournament this year. Yes, he only had 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists but his leadership on the court and his quickness as a guard is undeniable and he along with Hansbrough in the middle will cut down the nets.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Parable by Nouwen

Once there was a people who surveyed the resources of the world and said to each other: "How can we be sure that we will have enough in the hard times? We want to survive whatever happens. Let us start collecting food, materials and knowledge so that we are safe and secure when a crisis occurs."

So, they started hoarding, so much and so eagerly that other people protested and said: "You have much more than you need, while we do not have enough to survive. Give us part of your wealth!" But the fearful hoarders said: "No, no, we need to keep this in case of an emergency, in case things go bad for us, too, in case our lives are threatened." But the others said: "We are dying now, please give us food and materials and knowledge to survive. We can't wait ... we need it now!"

Then the faithful hoarders became ever more fearful since they became afraid the poor and hungry would attack them. So, they said to one another: "Let us build walls around our wealth so that no stranger can take it from us." They started erecting walls so high that they could not even see anymore whether there were enemies outside the walls or not.! As their fear increased they told each other: "Our enemies have become so numerous that they may be able to tear down our walls. Our walls are not strong enough to keep them away. We need to put bombs on top of the walls so that nobody will dare to even come close to us."

But instead of feeling safe and secure behind their armed walls they found thmselves trapped in the prison they had built with their own fear. They even became afraid of their own bombs, wondering if they might harm themselves more than their enemy. And gradually, they realized their fear of death had brought them close to it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I think that there is a great lesson for us to learn. I think that we need to really try to learn and live the motto: what can I offer. We need to continue to examine the world around us and see what we can offer the world.

We have a world that is crumbling around us. We can make a difference. Yes, it will be ugly at times. Yes, it can and will be difficult at times. But, we can make a difference. Yes, it may cost us some of our time and some of our possesions.

Are we willing to step out of our comfort zone ?
Are we willing to give instead of take ?
Are we willing to see the hurting around us ?
Are we willing to reach out and help those in need ?

Will you take the necessary step ?

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

We received snow yesterday afternoon and evening and then we got a break for a few hours and then the second storm hit us. We got plenty of snow.

This morning, around 9 am, I walked over to Behuler's to grab us some donuts (our Sat morning tadition) and I took the camera to take a few pics. The pictures are below:

This is our patio table and chairs. Does anyone want to come over for a grill-out and eat at the patio ?

When I saw the car (below), I decided that I would just walk the 1/2 mile or so instead of cleaning it off and shoveling out the driveway:

Here is the street that we live on. You may not be able to tell that it is the street, but it is. That was another good reason to "hoof it" instead of driving:

The grocery store is on one of the main roads and our church is located directly across the street. Here is the pic of the church and the main street at a little after 9 am:

Then finally, here is a pic of me shoveling. Stacey will need to get out eventually, so I am trying to create a path from our door to the car and from the back of the car to the street:

I ended up taking the car out at 2:30. It was not the smartest decision that I made. It is/was bad out there. I tried to get into the churches parking lot and I got stuck -- BIG TIME ---

After about 20 mins of digging and rocking and not making much progress ... two guys asked if I wanted help. I took them up on it and we got it out with about 10 mins of work.

The parking lot was getting plowed when we left. The polw got stuck in our parking lot, so I did not feel so bad. It will be interesting to see if church is still on in the morning and how many make it. I will be walking.

I am not sure if I will encourage my wife to drive or not. It is very short, but there are still spots to get stuck .. in the drive way and on the roads. It should be a no brainer .. but do not even attempt side roads or alleys :)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Lost: Season 4, Episode 6 - Recap

The episode "featured" Juliet. However, we had quite a few other sub-plots mixed into the episode which included the following:

Locke and Ben. Their relationship and battle of wits are quite entertaining to watch. Locke seems to think that Ben is on the same page with him now and has given him great truth about their common enemy and who it may be.

Faraday and Charlotte They disappeared during the night and they are on a mission. Ben seems to still be in control (someway/somehow) and he sends Harper to Juliet with a message. We now know about Harper and her connection to Juliet. We know the "other woman" is Harper. The message is a simple message: He (Ben) wants Juliet to kill Faraday and Charlotte. For you see, Ben believes he "owns" Juliet.

Back to Juliet ......

She goes to do her mission (after she eluded Jack)

Juliet arriving at the Tempest station. She goes inside and finds Faraday at the station's control center working at the computer. Juliet holds her gun on him and orders him to get away from the computer. He says he can't do that. Faraday says he's trying not to release the gas he's trying to make it safe. Suddenly, Charlotte attacks Juliet from behind. They fight, but Juliet grabs her gun and holds it on both them. She orders Faraday to stop, but Charlotte says they're trying to disable it before Ben can use it against them. The countdown continues. Faraday frantically works to stop it. Then, with only seconds to spare, he's able to stop the process and disables the gas.

Jack and Kate catches up and this is what occurs (ahhh, what a touching moment)

Jack and Kate catch up with Juliet and Charlotte as they're leaving the Tempest station. Charlotte takes Kate inside to explain how she and Faraday just saved everyone's life. Juliet tells Jack that the freighter people came to wage a war against Ben but Ben is going to win, and she warns Jack that he doesn't want to be near her when he does. Ben feels that Juliet is his, and he knows how she feels about Jack. Jack leans in and kisses her. Passionately. Defiantly. He tells Juliet that Ben knows where to find him.

Of course though, the show has to end on a hmmmmmmmmmm moment and here it is:

At the barracks, Locke takes Ben upstairs to the living room, and Ben gets a tape out of a safe. It's footage of Charles Widmore beating some guy to a pulp. Ben tells Locke that Charles Widmore is the man trying to find the island and it's him who sent the freighter. Widmore wants to exploit the island, and he'll do everything in his power to posses it. The man beaten is someone working for Ben whom Widmore caught. Ben gives Locke a file containing everything he has on Widmore. In return, Locke lets Ben have his freedom, and no one is happy about it.

So, what did you think of the episode ?
Who will be revealed as the Oceanic 6 next week ?
What will Kate find when she is in the station ?
What is Locke thinking ?
Where is our pal with the grenade ?

And ohhhhhhhh so much more could be asked

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lost: Season 4, Episode 6 - Promo

In 4 hours, 26 mins and 37 seconds; the episode begins. Here is the ABC promo.

Will we get some answers ??

Generation of Hope: Zimbabwe AIDS Crisis

Yes, the video is 10 minutes and 23 seconds long but it is from the individuals themselves in Zimbabwe. To hear it from them and to look into their eyes is something special.

The thing that amazes me is their smiles and their laugh. With everything that they go through, they have wonderful spirits. That was the thing that amazed me when I went to Ghana. These are the children that are left behind.

What can you ... What can I ... do to help ?

The Hope House

As I have mentioned, I just finished reading a book that tore my heart about HIV & AIDS. I am going to be writing numerous entries about the book and about organizations that are helping the cause.

Today, I want to lift up the work of The Hope House. The Hope House was not mentioned in the book but it is a house that needs to have some light shined upon it.

The Hope House is located in Shelby County, Tennessee.


HIV/AIDS has fast become a disease of poverty disproportionately represented among the African American community:

The southeastern United States, and the Mid-South more specifically, has been particularly hard hit by HIV and sexually transmitted infections

Shelby County has the fasted growing rate of HIV infection in the state.

Young women between the ages of 15 and 39 represent the fasted growing group

Since 1992 more than 500 new cases are reported each year in Shelby County

50 percent of new cases are women under 25 years old.

70 percent of reported HIV infected are in minority population

More than 300,000 people in the United States are infected and do not know it

There is still no cure or effective vaccine for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
Hope House is the only agency in the state of Tennessee and just a handful in the United States that provides day care for children and social services for families, all affected by HIV/AIDS:

One-third of Hope House mothers contracted HIV through sexual assault

Hope House was started by The Junior League of Memphis in 1994 after two years of research to determine what services were need for mothers and children, who now represent a disproportionate number of people affected by HIV/AIDS

All Hope House children have a parent who has the disease or who has died from AIDS related illnesses

More than one-third of Hope House children are infected with the disease and many of those children receive medicines here at Hope House by staff medical professionals

Hope House also employs a full-time social worker and other medical staff to manage the unique conditions of infected children, many of whom receive therapy and counseling on a regular basis

Most Hope House mothers do not reveal their HIV status to their families or friends for fear of condemnation, not just for themselves but for their children

Hope House provides children and their families food, clothing, household necessities, transportation and sometime financial support – all to affect a better quality of life for the entire family

Our programs and services include:

Day Care

Trained teachers provide loving child-care for HIV infected parents needing daily care for their children. Every day the Hope House staff can address the impact of AIDS in the lives of our families through careful watch over the children’s psychological, physical and intellectual needs. Careful monitoring of HIV infected children has been shown to help stabilize their illness and reduce the number of required hospitalizations.

Respite Care

Short-term respite care allows the HIV infected parents back-up child-care support in order for them to keep medical appointments and to provide relief when a parent is too sick to care for the child full-time.

Medical Support

Our staff works closely with the children’s medical providers to ensure that each child’s special needs are met. A Licensed Practical Nurse is also on staff in the event of a medical emergency.

Developmental Screening

Approximately 90% of all HIV affected children have some form of developmental delay and all Hope House children enrolled in full-time day care are screened for potential problems.

Agency Referral

HIV/AIDS affected households face numerous problems that could never be addressed by any one agency. Through collaborative efforts, Hope House works with other professionals to assure that our families are receiving the highest quality support our community has to offer.

Play Therapy

Through a collaborative arrangement with Family Services of the Mid-South, a play therapist meets twice weekly with our children needing individualized therapy due to emotional and physical problems.

Caregivers Meeting and Parenting Training

In an effort to help parents become more involved in their child’s education, teachers maintain regular contact with the parents and offer regular opportunities for them to join their little one at “school.” This helps to remove fear and/or intimidation many of our parents have of school due to their own personal experiences. Further, an LCSW and a pediatric nurse regularly provide parenting training one on one or in group settings.


Hope House has two 15 passenger vans to transport the children and their families to and from Hope House everyday.

If you would like to support The Hope House through a financial contribution, you may click here.

Dear God,

Children continue to be the most fragile and completely innocent victims of the AIDS epidemic. None of them are even remotely aware that a devastating disease threatens their lives and futures. Most of the children eligible for enrollment at Hope House are in a highly disadvantaged and at-risk environment.

Each day they are surrounded by poverty, crime, and drug infestation due to their geographic locations within the city's poorest communities. Not only are they dealing with the circumstances of poverty but also life in a household that is plagued with sickness and secrecy.

I want to thank you for the individuals who are willing to work on the front-lines. I ask you to give them the encouragement and patience to do the job and ministry that they have been called to.

To the families that are trapped in the epedemic, i ask that you will surround them with individuals who will love them, care for them and give them support.