Monday, April 28, 2008

Malibu's Most Wanted

I am headed out to Pepperdine for the rest of this week to the lectureships. I shall miss you all. If the chance arises, I may post from there and share some amazing new wisdom with you!



Friday, April 25, 2008

A Few of my Favorite things.....

Once again...a list of things I enjoyed this week:

The boys are back!!!

The Office
What can I say....I love it!

The National - Boxer
My buddy recommended the song Fake Empire, and I cannto stop listening to it

WHAT?!?!?!?!? It was fun!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Not too long ago, Prince Charles, while speaking in the UK, said that “banning McDonald’s is THE "key to a healthy lifestyle” in his nation. While I agree with the Morgan Spurlock’s of the world (see Supersize Me) and loathe the ridiculous “stuff” ol' Ronald tries to pass as food, I find this statement quite ridiculous.

It is indicative of culture today, isn't it? We like passing the buck, and blaming others. We do not like accepting blame and responsibility. Eliminating such foods from your diet will improve your health, but having the government ban it is not the key! The key to YOUR health is not up to someone else to pass legislation, it is UP TO YOU!! The key is YOU making a choice, and following through.We cannot rely on others to make us better, if we aren’t willing to make the changes on our own!

I think this same principle applies to our spiritual lives too.

How many times do we want others to heal our souls for us? So often we whine about our churches, ministries and classes. “I’m just not getting fed” is a term we often hear and say. I understand where this comes from, and at times there is SOME validity to this….but where does self responsibility come into play? Aren’t we old enough now to also feed ourselves? How many of us when complaining spent ANY time that week studying God’s word for ourselves or praying to him?? We cannot always rely on others to push us forward in faith. We too have work to do here. God says that there is a time to move away from the milk of babes and start eating meat of an adult!

I am not discounting the need for great preachers and teachers. I think they are vital parts of healthy spirituality. I just think that we can become TOO dependant on them to do all of our soul’s work for us. Just like the body, we too must exercise our faith!

Banning McDonalds is NOT going to save us, if we choose to eat garbage at home. And listening to a great speaker is not going to save us if we choose to continue to “eat garbage” at home. Take some time to get to know God yourself……it is vital to your health!

Hide and Seek

Last Sunday night, the teens and I went to the Craterian Theater downtown. We quietly walked in. Our purpose was to support our friend Trey Allen as he performed a vocal solo. It was very cool to see an entire youth group basically take up a whole row in this theater.

The night was nice. Several kids sang songs. Others played some beautiful music. Much talent was displayed. Trey was the next to last performer, so we sat through just over an hour of solos before he took the stage. He looked great in his tux. He looked just like the Trey we all knew and loved.

But, when Pavarotti, I mean Trey :) began singing in German, it was NOT the young man we all knew. He was fantastic! We had heard him sing praise songs in class and even joke around in Karaoke, but NEVER had we heard him like this! It was a wonderful discovery of hidden talent. What an amazing surprise!

I wonder what hidden gifts may hide beneath the surface in those folsk all around us? I am sure we have some amazing teachers that have yet to step up in front of us. Surely there are great preachers in our midst. Future elders must walk our classrooms. The next great theologian just may sitting next to you. And who do we talk to each week not knowing how they may change the world someday?

I want to encourage each of us to step out of our comfortable boxes and try something new for our King! I don’t think we can ever grow in the ways that we would like until more of us are willing to lead in new areas. God has promised us great gifts in Him, and it is up to us to discover and use them. How exciting!

Don’t let fear hold us back! Let us be that “city on a hill” that Jesus described. Let us put these God given talents on display! Trey can use this new found gift to improve his life and the lives of others, but what if he had never chosen to try and sing? My brothers and sisters, we are all called to sing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

34...the facts

Today I turn 34. That sounds like a boring age, but here are some cool facts about the number.

34 is SELENIUM om the periodic table
34 has secret meaning to the Sigma Phi Epsilom fraternity
#34 is a song by the Dave Matthews Band
34 is the code for international direct dial phone calls to Spain
34 is Edmond Dante's prisoner number in Count of Monte Cristo
34 was worn by the greats Hakeen Olajuwon and Kirby Puckett, and the so-so Shaquille Oneal with the Lakers
T34 was a world famous Soviet Military Tank
34 grams of carbs in a McDonalds Double Cheeseburger


Monday, April 21, 2008

Blessed Donuts

My son did some wonderful things recently. He had been saving up a dollar here and there that he had earned and storing them in his new Batman wallet he got in Mexico. Saturday he asked if we could walk to the donut shop (the whole family). We often do this on Saturdays so we thought it sounded great. As we talked he let us know that he was going to be treating us. Wow! Thanks son! When we arrived, he made us sit down, and then “took our order”. He then would NOT let us go to the counter. He wanted to do it all. He ordered in his beautiful little voice “I would like…….please”. He even threw in an OJ! He then paid the lady (with a little help) and carried the trey to us. It was SO beautiful. Jessie and I watched with tears in our eyes and pride swelling in our chests. It probably sounds silly to the random reader, but to this daddy, it meant everything in the world. I praise God for the blessings of my kids. Thank you SO much Jude-O. That breakfast meant the world to Daddy and Mommy!


Gift Wrapped Jesus

My friend sent me this video. It REALLY makes you think. We want everythign neatly packaged and convenient. We don't want to have to break a sweat. Has our generation forgotten that we sometimes need to work for blessing?


Friday, April 18, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

My new tradition I decided was to put up a post each weekend of the things that humored, inspired, touched and generally entertained me the previous week. Here are a few things from this one:

I really have to admit that I like the new POD album. The track "Tell Me Why" is gorgeous and the lyrics cut me deep.

the office
Thank heavens the writers strike is OVER! The 1st 2 new episodes have been classic!

WOW! This book is really making me think!

Eli Stone
The season finale was SOOO good! Please come back soon Eli!

This movie REALLY screwed with my emotions. It is heartbreaking to see what a cavalier and apathetic attitude many kids have toward sex and pregnancy. It too though was beautiful, heartbreaking AND redemptive all at the same time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ACU on the rocks...

WOW! Check out this news story. BIG STEPS! Tell me what you think:


What's next, guys with earrings and gals in shorts in class???????

Alchohol VS WE READY

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Idol Gives Back (for Tom's reading pleasure)

Idol Gives Back Logo
So, I am still thinking about that “Idol Gives Back” last week. I am not sure what I think. I appreciated Bono, because I truly think he is a wonderful humanitarian (he is looking OLD man!). I liked Annie Lennox too. But what was the rest of it? It was an odd show of what I think may have been hypocrisy. And, it was just plain strange.

Let me share some “highlights”. For one, I had never seen this sensation known as Miley Cyrus (Hanna Montana) before. One performance would have been enough, but oh no…we were blessed by 2! (thank GOD for DVR fast forward). It was troubling…that girl, who is supposedly the role model for an entire generation of little girls was writhing and gyrating on that stage, for no apparent reason, like the next Brittany Spears. WEIRD. Miley Cyrus Idol Gives Back
I liked how they kept talking about the terrible poverty in the world but Snoop Dogg (yes a once murder suspect turned humanitarian) performed with a diamond encrusted microphone. So did another female singer…I think it was Mariah Carey. I wonder if they know that most likely 10 of those little African kids they want to raise money for probably died or were seriously maimed in a diamond field for that stupid mic!

Fergie (aka blight of humanity) performed with Heart. Once again thank you Lord for DVR fast forward. That was just wrong, and I think I saw her do a cartwheel or something?!?!?!?!? I don’t remember much more, as I was either dozing off or blatantly ignoring it.

The strangest moment came at the end though I hear (I was asleep for this part) as a chorus sang “Shout to the Lord” on national television (wow!!!) but was followed directly after by Ben Stiller and a bleeped out cursing tirade. What is that????? Even if they had not just sung a worship song, this is a family show…save that for somewhere else! The next night all the finalists sang the same song, even including “Jesus” in the words. I was amazed and glad, but also aware it was a marketing scheme. I mean they know their target market. Who is going to give to homeless and Africans? American Christian audience that’s who!

It was just all a little odd to me. I truly do appreciate when celebrities use their fame for good. That is SO cool to me. Bono is sincere. I thought Brad Pitt and Annie Lennox were too (her performance was the only good one of the night I thought). And I believe this raised a ton of money fro some good causes…..but it just felt WEIRD. That is all I can say to describe it. Last year seemed off the cuff, inspired and heartfelt. This year all came across as packaged and a little trite. I would love to hear what you guys think.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

........that made me happy last week:





Why I am Voting......

It is no secret to most, that as of now, I plan on voting for Barak Obama. Yes I am still a Christian! :) Very much so! I constantly get “attacked” for this choice. I am getting tired of hearing, “how can you call yourself a Christian and vote for Obama”, but I understand. I am tired of defending my choice. Only one friend has been able to ask about this without sounding like I was on trial (thank you Tom). The #1 argument I get is something along the lines of “what about the fact that he supports abortion?”. And in the rare times people feel they need more debate material than one little point, they throw out “Doesn’t he support gay marriage?”. Well…….I am going to argue my points ONE MORE time. I am going to give you a brief reason of why I plan right now on voting for Obama. I don’t think he is perfect. I am sure there are better candidates somewhere out there. But, from the choices I have been shown, He is the best to me. Let me tell you a few of the reasons why:

Let’s start with is: I am VERY pro-life. I don't support abortion in any way. It breaks my heart and I loathe it. I hate the fact that it exists! Abortion though, sadly is not going away right now. No president has gotten close to making this happen. No man is going to amend the Constitution. George the “most Christian President ever” supposedly and has even appointed his own people to the Supreme Court and what has happened? The Supreme Court has not overturned Roe v. Wade. If he hasn't done it, why would we think the next guy will? It's just not going to happen. Don’t get me wrong. I will still stand against it any time I can. I will say without shame anytime and any place that I think abortion is a terrible, painful sin. And, I will not give up hope! I believe God can do anything. And I have faith He is working on all of this, even when I cannot see it. But as such, I think abortion is NOT the only factor to vote on. Keep in mind though that PRO-LIFE does not just refer to the life of unborn children (at least in my opinion). It means valuing LIFE IN GENERAL, in my book. My friend Kile said it like this: “But when I say pro-life I also mean anti-death penalty and anti-frivolous war.” It kills me how the folks yelling at me about this have no problem with a senseless war taking just as many lives!

I cannot be a one issue only voter anymore. There is MUCH more to consider. Many friends now refer to me as their “liberal” friend. I don't see it that way, but I guess in this respect I am. But as I see it these days, the way we use the term “liberal ideas" refer often to things that truly seem to line up with Jesus MUCH more than the Republican ideas I was brought up with. I like the idea of using every resource and energy possible, even the government, to help the downtrodden, weak and oppressed. This sounds very Christian to me. So I guess I have changed. I can no longer accept the argument that the only issues our government needs to deal with is abortion and keeping the gays from getting married. I think both are wrong. I think they are sins. And I believe them to be important issues to stand up for! I will never stop praying for them to be eradicated. But I also think there are other issues that we have too often ignored that are just as important.

For instance, I find it a shame we live in this great and blessed nation yet some 50 million of our own citizens cannot even afford basic healthcare, while we burn billions on war! At least Obama wants to try and do something about this. His health care plan may not solve everything. But it has to be better than doing nothing! He proposes a new plan that hopes to make sure that health care can be affordable and available to everyone that needs it.

From everything I can tell, he believes in and follows Jesus Christ and says so openly. As such He seems to believe that Jesus calls His followers to help those in need. He values social justice. He is also a brilliant man. I like that he looks to diplomacy first in foreign policy. He seems to unite people and I think he may be able to get people to work together. The guy can SPEAK! Hearing him is inspiring. He seems open minded. He is different, and America needs a change. We need “new blood” to breathe life back into our country! Of the candidates out there Obama is the closest to what I want from my leader even if I do strongly disagree with him on certain ideas.

I am not militant about this. I am not going to advertise with car stickers or yard signs. I am not going to argue with folks for voting another way. But, I am constantly being asked about this so I thought I'd tell you a little about it. Is he perfect? Of course he isn’t perfect. Could he turn out to prove me wrong in all of this? Yes he could. But that is why I am thinking how I am. In case you were wondering…now you know!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Eli Stone

By far the best new TV show on air........does ANYONE else out there watch this besides me?

Eli Stone

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dream Team

As the months pass by quicker than I can fathom, I find my mind drifting back to Uganda more and more. It is funny how 3 weeks there make one think that they are part African! Any talk of this region of the world and a small swell of pride rises inside me, as if it were MY land. I love the place. It did get in my blood and it shall never leave.

Now, 3 months later. I am surprised how much I am missing Uganda. I miss the slower lifestyle. I miss the spiritual fervor. I miss the beautiful people. I miss the land. I just miss it. In fact, lately, it is all I can think about. I dream of the day I can return.

So, as I have been reflecting on these weeks I want to capture what I learned. I am STILL trying to process it. But, I want to reflect on my time spent there with my team. I got to know 5 amazing friends in Uganda. As I can now look back with a little clarity, I am able to see the ways they touched me. I want to capture these thoughts so they will never leave me. I love these people. I pray to be with them again some day.

Jonathan Thomas is an amazing man of God. I am convicted by his passion and energy. I love his humor. He is so talented. He is an amazing artist in MANY ways. I love his stubborn passion for things important to him. I admire his work ethic. He is a great father and husband. I have met fewer people so open to God’s direct leading of their life. I truly believe he is doing things in his life to change people he comes in contact with. I am so thankful he has played and will play a role in my life.

Jenna Graham knows how soft a Koala bear is. :) I am blown away at the spiritual maturity of someone so young. I love how she can talk to anyone anywhere at any time. She can relate to an old man on a plane and invite a Swiss stranger to church with no hesitation. She exudes a beautiful innocence. She is confident. She constantly seems to be learning. She is happy and makes others around her happy. She has a beautiful smile. And children are drawn to her like she is a magnet. I am grateful to call her friend.

Greg Woods is a literally an icon. I knew his name long before I knew him. He may have the most tender heart I have ever met. Wisdom seeps out of his ears. He LOVES people and wears that love on his sleeve. He has seen everything in his ministry and is a wealth of knowledge and ideas. One of the things that impresses me most is how he gives EVERY person the chance to speak and shine. He makes every kid he comes into contact with feel like the most special kid in the world. What a quality! The impact he has had for God’s kingdom is truly immeasurable. I pray that my legacy can be even HALF of his one day. I thank God for Greg Woods.

Wendy Goodyear is one of a kind. She is really smart. She has seen and done a LOT. She has traveled the world. She loves, I mean LOVES young people. And she too draws them in. She is incredibly giving. She is so creative. She is also very strong of heart. She has a presence that can command attention yet you never feel threatened or silenced. She is worthy of respect. She is a role model for young girls. I love her heart and how she has embraced everything life gives her and uses it to minister to people. I am so glad I know Wendy.

Matt Tibbles is a good man. I admire Matt’s level of spirituality. I love to hear him pray, and wish I could pray like he does. I am blown away by his spiritual discipline and how he can embrace activity or silence. I love his strong will to stand up for what is right. He is not swayed by popular opinion; he is what he is and no fad will change that. He is a great preacher. I don’t think he even knows that! Matt wants the world to be fair and I think he is working hard to do his part. I believe Matt Tibbles will be known in this world as a man of God seeking to make the world better than when he came into it. I love my friend Matt.

I could go on for hours about these amazing people. I truly thank God for letting me watch them and learn from them. I pray that this was not my only chance to work with these guys. I cannot wait to continue watching the impact they have on young people in the NW. I hope I can offer them something for all they have given to me. Many days I wish I was still in Africa with them.

Uganda is just so amazing. It is a living and breathing paradox. It is the most gorgeous and beautiful place on earth but at the same time is can be the ugliest. It is full of the most beautiful souls I have ever met but also full of the darkest evil you’ll ever see. There is optimism everywhere yet hopelessness surrounds you at every corner. There is happiness seeping from cracks of huts but the same huts are clouded by despair. You cannot understand it until you have been there. Even then you cannot put it in words. It is truly amazing.

There is a hunger there that consumed my soul and will not let go. There is a hunger for truth. A hunger for peace. A hunger for love. A hunger for good. A hunger for God.

These lyrics are from a song by Paul Colman. They speak great truth:

I came to change you but instead you changed me

And I confess I came to frame you in a photograph

But you showed me why

And you turned this heart around

And I see your smile how it can be

So much brighter than me

And your silent eyes they scream

Of hunger and meaning and eternal dreaming



We smiled at you from behind the glass

And without reserve and whiter than snow

You smiled back at us

And you showed me who

And you turned this mind around

And I see your hands reach out to God

So much higher than ours

And your silent eyes they scream

Of hunger and meaning and eternal dreaming


Afrika mimi naku penda


I am hungry to go back. Uganda I love you. Matt, John-O, Wendy, Jenna and Greg- I love you too. Thank you for changing me, touching me and rocking the very core of my soul. “Turn the radio up for that sweet sound. Hold me close never let me go…” 

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Memphis Blues

Man, some games just hurt. Monday night was one of those games for me. My lifelong favorite Memphis Tigers lost in OT in the national championship. I am okay with the loss. Kansas is a great team. What I hated, was HOW they lost. The game was theirs. With 2 minutes left, they had a solid 9 point lead. All they had to do was protect the ball and make free throws, and they would very soon be cutting down the nets.

They did neither! They were sloppy with the ball and they missed 5 straight free throws! Just 1 of those would have won the game. But, they just did not get it done. What kills me is that free throws and ball protection are FUNDAMENTALS of the game. They are BASKETBALL 101. When you play in your first kids’ league these are some of the first things you do. Anyone in division one hoop should be able to hit free throws. It is basic basketball.

At times players get too caught up in the “flashy” and “exciting” part of the game. They want to pull off the ankle-breaking crossover, the 360 dunks and the triple pump shots. So anxious to make a poster worthy photo shot, they neglect the fundamentals of the game. And at times, like Monday night, we are reminded how fundamentals are what will win in the clutch!

Many times, we are like that in our faith. We want to look like spiritual all-stars so we read flashy books, use big religious buzz words and listen to cutting edge Christian music. All the while, we neglect the “fundamentals” like prayer and Bible study. And what I am finding as I grow older is that in this arena too, it is the fundamentals that pull us through when it is all on the line.

I pray we are a fundamental people. Spend time in the word and know it. Pray to our God and know Him. We never know when these tools when prove life saving.

I still love the Memphis Tigers, and always will. And SO much more will your God always love you. Now get out there and practice those free throws.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Go Tigers Go!

Memphis Tigers Flag

I grew up in Memphis. As such, I have been a die-hard Tiger fan since I can remember walking. I can name all the great players you have never heard of, like the Baskervilles, Askews and Dooms! I went to many a game at the Mid South Colisseum and then the Pyramid. Two years ago when visiting family, I got to see a game in their new home at FedEx Forum. They are MY team.

Well....tonight they play for the national championship! I am SO excited! The last time this happened, that hippy Bill Walton ruined all Memphis dreams. But, that was some 35 yrs ago!

It is 2008, and Kansas better look out!