Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Boy. I'm so proud...


Check out this video. This kid has unbelievable talent.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

a tooth extraction

Things you don't really need to hear at the dentist:
  • Oh, wow.
  • I didn't think that would happen.
  • Did you think that was going to happen, doctor?
  • That was a surprise.
  • I'm going to need a special tool for this.
  • I'm going to have to leave part of your tooth in there. Is that okay? It should be fine.
  • Ugh.
  • This is really going to hurt.

Yep. I was at the dentist today.

a small request

Please don't refer to our new vehicle as a "mini" van. Just call it "the van". Mini is too much like maxi and, well, you know...


Book Review: Surprised by Hope - Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

I have a new favorite author/theologian in N.T. Wright, author of Surprised by Hope. He knows how to communicate lofty, theological concepts in a way that both makes sense and engages the reader to think. So much of what we think about theology is tainted by our church and political.

The mistake that many are making these days is they are re-INVENTING and re-DEFINING theology. Some people are taking the party's theological line without thinking about it at all. Re-THINKING is absolutely healthy and necessary.

Wright doesn't get too complicated. He looks at one topic: "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on heaven as on earth." He looks at that phrase in the Lord's Prayer in light of Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.

By the time you get done reading the book, you actually feel hopeful - like God wants to do great things with your life and that He wants to develop your gifts for eternal kingdom work and application. How cool is that?

Monday, July 28, 2008

adoption update


We signed Allie's adoption papers bringing us one step closer to the final step: our September court date. Five weeks from Wednesday, this whole process will be over.

Sunday, July 27, 2008



I'm a Soccer Mom

IMG_0149Yesterday we crossed over to the dark side. The charming and beautiful Susan and I are mini-van owners. We traded in our sexy, but too small, Pontiac Vibe. I posted the other day about the possibilities of us doing this. I think you guys must have tossed up a few prayers for us because the dealership, Harper Motors, really treated us right. Our sales rep was the step-mother of a good friend of mine all through middle and high school. Plus it turns out that dealership did business with my dad for years when he was the local Xerox dealer. So I really found favor.

But I didn't know it was going to work that way, so I did some homework before I went.

  1. I found out how much my car was worth. I found the average trade-in value for my car. Not retail value - dealerships pay wholesale for cars, not retail. Know what your car's wholesale value is so you don't get a double dose of sticker shock. I also found out what I owed on my car. I the payoff is smaller than the trade-in value, you're upside-down and need to make up the difference in your down payment.
  2. I've been researching vans online for about a month. I found out what was the best value, best reviews, best warranty for my price range.
  3. I'm a Costco member so I took advantage of their new car buying program. Costco negotiates with the factory, not the dealer. They guarantee a price at or near dealer invoice. If there are rebates, those are applied after you have that bottom line price.

Buying a car can be a nightmare. Doing your homework relieves the pressure.

Allie really likes the ride in this car better. She doesn't sit as low or feel as boxed in as she did in our compact. She's up high and likes to look out the window. We have to make a run down to San Francisco next month, so hopefully she'll travel better than she has in the past.

Last night at bedtime, the charming and beautiful Susan said, "Good night, mini-van man."

I'd rather be thought of as a "mani-man vin," whatever that is.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Best Tech Tools and Fitness Plans to Get in Shape

I re-blogged a post the other day about how to get started running. This post is a follow up to that article. Follow the links to check out all the great tools and tricks that are just a few clicks away.

What are you waiting for?

Are you still here?

read more | digg story

An Update

IMG_0143 The charming and beautiful Susan and I want to give an Allie update. As you may know (or may not know), Allie is diagnosed a quadriplegic with infantile cerebral palsy. In addition to this, Allie has been declared legally blind due to optic atrophy and cortical visual impairment. It's taken us some time to process this information in a way that we can share it without falling apart.

None of these declarations about Allie's medical and physical condition leave us hopeless. We are enraptured with overwhelming affection for this little girl. To the degree of tragedy we've walked through with her is our degree of love for her. It's beyond description.

Since she has no trunk control, she's been fit and measured for some special equipment. We have on order a special stroller, an activity chair for around the house, and specialized bath-chair. Although she is not able to sit up by herself, she is developing arm, hand and head control. With her trunk supported by this equipment, she'll be able to focus more on developing and maximizing motor skills.IMG_0142

The new trauma we have been coming to grips with is the idea of trading in our sexy compact car and acquiring a mini-van. We made it through the childhood and teen years of our two kids without establishing ourselves as suburbanites by purchasing a mini-van. Now it looks like we're forced to make that transition because we need something to transport Allie's new equipment. To compound our mini-van trauma, I've put my wonderful red Honda VFR super-bike on Craig's list to help underwrite this sobering mini-van acquisition. Pray our emotions and marriage survive the status change of moving from a glamorous small car to a mid-sized soccer-mom mobile.

On another subject, I've posted a video of Allie and me. I call this video "Bouncehouse."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Church leader's son killed in crash in Corona - Los Angeles Times

pray for the family of Greg Laurie

Church leader's son killed in crash in Corona Christopher Laurie, the son of Harvest Christian Fellowship leader Greg Laurie, died after his car collided with a Caltrans vehicle, the church announced.

From a Times Staff Writer
5:51 PM PDT, July 24, 2008

Christopher Laurie, the son of Harvest Christian Fellowship leader Greg Laurie, died in an auto accident in Riverside County, the church announced today.

The accident occurred this morning on the Riverside Freeway, near Serfas Club Drive in Corona. Laurie's car collided with a Caltrans vehicle.

Laurie, 33 of Huntington Beach, served as the art director at Harvest Christian Fellowship, sponsor of the Harvest Crusade, for the last three years. According to the church, he is survived by his parents; his wife, Brittany; and daughter, Stella; as well as his brother, Jonathan.

Laurie was expecting another daughter in November, church officials said.

Church leader's son killed in crash in Corona - Los Angeles Times

Monday, July 21, 2008

I got some 'splainin' to do

lucy"Lucy!" yells Ricky Ricardo, "you got some 'splainin' to do."

Somebody pointed out on a previous post I published that I got the stats backwards. I felt pretty stupid when I realized that the person that took me to task in the comments was correct. I feel as stupid to the same degree as I felt giddy when I read the stats. The euphoria I felt should have been an indication that I was not actually in touch with reality. What else is new?

I never understand the propositions. I thought when the article said that Californians were against the proposition, that meant they were against same-sex marriage. But the facts are, Californians are against a BAN on gay marriage. I thought my take on the findings were blog-worthy because they were the opposite of of what I thought Californians would think.

But I had it bass-ackwards.

The only time I open my mouth is to switch feet.

Mission Network News: Pastor and family evicted

I found this story at Mission Network News about a pastor that was kicked out of his apartment.

"The Chinese government is determined that there will be no distractions and no embarrassment when the eyes of the world turn to Beijing next month," said Todd Nettleton, Director of Media Development for Voice of the Martyrs. "Our Christian brothers and sisters, like Brother Hua and his family, are not ‘troublemakers,' as China's government says. They are simply Christian people who want the freedom to follow Christ according to their conscience."

Click the link below to read the rest of the story.

Mission Network News | Anne Jackson » Blog Archive » Act Now! Get a FREE Autographed Copy of Mad Church Disease!

annej Anne Jackson posted an appeal on her blog for resources for pastors down in the Dominican Republic. Here's what I like about Anne: she's always thinking, "how can I do the most with my blog?" That's not a direct quote, by the way, it's just obvious.

If you want to get involved, click through to her blog and order a book or two or three. I sent the four I ordered to the address found on this form I found on G.O. Ministries web site.

I don't know how many free books she can afford to give away, but why don't you take action and order a book from the wish list at the bottom of Anne's post. | Anne Jackson » Blog Archive » Act Now! Get a FREE Autographed Copy of Mad Church Disease!

How to Start Running [Exercise]

Everybody that I tell I'm runner responds with, "I wish I could run." Well, here's an easy way to get going. But you gotta get going. So, get up off the couch and get going...

read more | digg story

Movie Review: Beyond the Gates

Those that know me are well aware of my love for Africa. I know of no place so diverse and rich in culture, flavors, smells, and fears.

I'm captivated by the horrific events of Spring 1994 in Rwanda when one race attempted to annihilate another while the world sat on it's hands. Beyond the Gates documents accurately, summarizing well local and world politics as the story is told.

I blogged earlier about some other recourses to make oneself aware. In the wake of the Rwandan genocide, a generation of activists have emerged resolving to keep this from happening again. Pray that, in their zeal, they go in God's wisdom carrying the Gospel of Peace by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How is God using you?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What do Californians think about Gay Marriage?

gay-mariage-stats I cut this graph out of Friday's San Francisco Chronicle. Most of the U.S. has written California voters off as too liberal, but these stats tell a different story. The Californians sampled for this poll are against same-sex marriage.

Here is what I took note of:

  • The Bay Area (which contains the city and county of San Francisco) is the region of the state most opposed to gay marriage.
  • Females are most opposed to gay marriage.
  • Young voters are not the most opposed group, but they follow closely behind their parents' group.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How to Avoid an A$$ Whoopin'

Ten Ways to Avoid a Good Southern A$$ Whuppin... Issued by the Southern Tourism Bureau to ALL visiting Northerners, North easterners, North westerners, Westerners and Southwestern Urbanites:

  1. Don't order filet mignon or pasta primavera at Waffle House. It's just a diner. They serve breakfast 24 hours a day. Let them cook something they know. If you confuse them, they'll kick your a$$.
  2. Don't laugh at our Southern names (Merleen, Luther, Tammy Lynn, Inez, Billy Joe, Sissy, Clovis, etc.) or we'll HAVE to kick your a$$.
  3. Don't order a bottle of pop or a can of soda here. Down here it's called Coke. Nobody gives a rip whether it's Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up or whatever... it's still a Coke. Accept it. Doing otherwise can lead to an a$$ kicking.
  4. We know our heritage. Most of us are more literate than you (e.g., Welty, Williams, Faulkner). We are also better educated and generally a lot nicer. Don't refer to us as a bunch of hillbillies, or we'll whoop your a$$.
  5. Don't laugh at our Civil War monuments. If Lee had listened to Longstreet and flanked Meade at Gettysburg instead of sending Pickett up the middle, you'd be paying taxes to Richmond instead of Washington. If you visit Stone Mountain and complain about the carving, we'll kick your a$$.
  6. We are fully aware of how high the humidity is so shut up. Just spend your money and get out of here, or we'll kick your a$$.
  7. Don't order wheat toast at Cracker Barrel. Everyone will instantly know that you're a Yankee. Eat your biscuits and gravy like God intended and shut up. Also don't put sugar on your grits, or we'll kick your a$$.
  8. Don't fake a Southern accent or we will kick you a$$.
  9. Don't talk about how much better things are at home because we know better. Many of us have visited your Northern hellholes like Detroit, Chicago, and DC, and we have the scars to prove it. If you don't like it here, Delta is ready when you are. Move your a$$ on home before it gets kicked; and you become a$$less.
  10. Last, but not least, DO NOT DARE to come down here and tell us how to cook barbecue. This will get your a$$ shot (right after it is kicked). You're lucky we let you come down here at all. Criticize our barbecue, and that will lead to an all day a$$ whoopin!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is it Human?

When I worked in South Sudan, little children were confused and scared. Big kids taunt little kids by pushing them toward me.

Is it human?

Why doesn't have hair on its head?

Does that white come off its skin?

Is it white all over?

Why are it's arms so hairy?

Does it eat humans?

My buddy, Ed, over in Kenya has similar experiences...

blog 01

These are some images from Kamiti Corner, a community of coffee field workers that Calvary International Fellowship has a Bible study in. What can I say; my arms are hairy and it amazes the kids. They like to touch them. Sometimes I tell them I am a white gorilla.

July 08 116

Hairy arms on bald white guys are cool, but this is actually what it is all about. We are blessed to see guys from the church step up and teach God's word! We are blessed to see communities of believers join together around God's word.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Learning the Way of Christ

alli-kiss-1 I posted a review of Yancey's book Soul Survivor the other day. Yancey's writing has always ministered to me, and during the past year with what we've gone through with Allie, more than ever.

One of Yancey's mentors he writes about is Henri Nouwen. This is what Yancey writes on p. 295.

While living in Peru, Nouwen received news from Holland that his sister-in-law had given birth to a daughter with Down's syndrome. He wrote the family these words, unaware that in a few years they would seem a prophetic insight:

Laura is going to be important for all of us in the family. We have never had a "weak" person among us. We all are hardworking, ambitious, and successful people who seldom have had to experience powerlessness. Now Laura enters and tells us a totally new dependency. Laura, who always will be a child, will teach us the way of Christ as no one will ever be able to do. (From Gracias!)

The above quote is something the charming and beautiful Susan have come to grips with. In fact, we are grateful for this new perspective; one we never, ever would have had without the entrance of Allie into our lives.

This won't be the last time I write about this subject...


Monday, July 14, 2008

Pastor Arrested in Illegal Snake Bust

Cable news ran clips of this story over the weekend and then Uber Blogger Todd Rhodes mentioned the story in the Monday Morning Insight Email that hit today.

So what do you think? Is this "out of the box ministry"? Some new church growth program? When the only thing that can get "out of the box" is a bunch of deadly snakes I call it back-woods weirdness.

Rhodes asks, "Is it morally wrong to break the law to smuggle illegal snakes to use in your church service?" I'm pretty sure he's asking this question "tongue in cheek."

Here's my answer. Please listen hard for sarcasm in my voice.

here’s what’s morally wrong:

  • Rock-n-roll
  • dancing
  • drinking
  • pre-marital hand-holding 
  • wearing make-up
  • cross-dressing
  • trick-or-treating
  • smoking tobacco
  • chewing tobacco
  • inter-racial marriage
  • Santa Claus
  • the emerging church…

But smuggling snakes into church service to the Glory of God is religious freedom.  Only an anti-christ lead, over-taxing federal government would stop it. If Obama is elected president, we'll see more intrusions like this into the freedom to worship.

"Brood of Vipers!" > Pastor Arrested in Illegal Snake Bust

Friday, July 11, 2008

Book Review: Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey

My favorite subject to write about is people. Of those people, the ones I want you to know about most are those that have helped me grow spiritually, helped me grow closer to God, or helped me point others to God more effectively.

Philip Yancey, in many of his books is truthful enough to write about a time early in his adult life when he wrestled with his faith. The faith tradition he grew up seemed hypocritical, irrelevant, graceless, and out-of-touch. It just didn't make sense to him to continue to identify himself with Christians. There were none around him that could validate true faith in Christ.

Yancey points out that during great crisis, two questions haunt people:

  • "Who am I?"
  • "Who do I want to be?"

In Soul Survivor, Yancey shares how thirteen unlikely mentors helped answer these questions for himself. As he tells the story of how his faith was rescued, I found myself asking the same two questions and then identifying both with Yancey and the characters he writes about.

As always, Yancey, provokes thinking outside the boundaries of popular, party-line Christian thinking. And Yancey makes me feel like God actually loves me and tolerates me for who I am, not who I think I need to be for Him (or anybody else).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

noisetradeIt's been two years since Derek Webb  released Mockingbird. His latest project is the website a clearinghouse for artists and a new way to purchase and share music with your friends. I like the concept. I hope he does well with it.

"If artists and fans realized how they could help each other and started making direct connections, without a middleman, the whole industry would change overnight. It would start a revolution."--Derek Webb

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New Kicks

"Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!..."

Our helpful neighborhood letter carrier dropped off these little Chuck Taylor Converse All-stars today.

I told Allie that Pop-pop used to style in these exact shoes when he was little - and when he was thirty-five. And maybe he'll get a matching pair on his next birthday when he's 43.

Allie may have rolled her eyes at that idea. "Oh grow up." I'm pretty sure she did. The charming and beautiful Susan definitely did.

"They're timeless," I said.

"As is your immaturity."

Anyway, thanks Ebay.

And most of all, thank you, Grandma Ruth.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Compassion Child

compassion We sponsor a little dude in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is land-locked African country in West Africa. We got this letter from him the other day:


I am so happy to hear from you. My family and I are doing fine. Thanks for the beautiful picture. I love drawing. My greetings to your son and daughter.

It is quite hot here these days. We are in the dry season. Days are so sunny. But the rainy season is not far from now.

All is well in school... I was fourth in my class. Do your children go to school? If yes, in which grades are they? Do you have any pets?

Please pray for me. I want to be first. Bye for now.

I love hearing from this guy. He speaks and writes in French. He draws little pictures on his stationary. I hope some day I'll have a chance to go see him. I'll be honest: this is one of those deals where I don't feel like I'm making a big sacrifice or even a big difference. But I've had the privilege of meeting people who have grown up in the Compassion program and their lives and destinies are night and day different from where they would have been without this ministry.

Night and day different.

Click here to make a difference.

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Hairspray 2007

This is the funniest movie I've ever seen. I can't believe that this is the same John Travolta that played hardened criminal Vincent Vega of Pulp Fiction fame. Or Vinnie Barbarino. Or Bud the Urban Cowboy.

It's a musical and Travolta plays the mother of the star. That's right, the mother. He's a full figured woman suffering from an identity crisis and an eating disorder. He sure can bust a move in the fat lady suit. He doesn't over do it so you forget it's a dude playing a woman. And then you remember it's Travolta and it's hilarious all over again. You've got to see this flick.

It's rated PG, but it's definitely not for kids.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Roll Over!!!

Allie has been learning to roll over, but most of the time it happens at random. She accidentally gets into position and pops over from front to back. But yesterday, I learned that with some coaching, encouragement, and cheer leading, she'll do it.

Below is a video of one of these efforts. It's the third time today she flipped over with me cheering her on. After the first time today, I ran for the video camera and I immediately forgot how to work it while she rolled over a second time. We tried to get her to do it again, but she was too tired from earlier efforts. Then, after a rest and some breakfast, we tried again. The video below is the result:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Jars of Clay and Blood: Water Mission

The first time I saw this band I was working in maintenance at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. We had this concert series happening at the time where hip, Christian acts were brought in to give greater exposure Christian artists and the message of the Gospel. Jars of Clay was the opening act/road crew for PFR (also known as Pray for Rain). Little did anyone know that PFR was on the way out while Jars was just making their ascent to worldwide fame.

Jars of Clay started an organization called Blood:Water Mission that drills wells in Africa. I blogged about the young lady they hired as executive director over on Missionary Scribbler. She's quite an inspiration.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Allie Sings

All of Allie's toys make noise. We had a rule at my house when my kids Charity and Aaron were little: if you buy a toy that makes noise, it lives at your house. That was to head off any ideas my dad or parents-in-law might get to make us crazy at Christmas time by smuggling annoying noise makers disguised as "gifts for children" into my house. But the real idea was to pay me or the charming and beautiful Susan back for some decades-old transgression.

But we've come full-circle now that we're raising a baby in our forties. We want Allie to make all the noise she can. And that she does as you'll see when you watch the video below.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Yes, We got your package

I have never felt so loved. We had to leave Florida and move to Northern California to work through the process of adopting Allie our granddaughter while starting a new job with Shepherd's Staff Mission Facilitators. Making a career change in the middle of the worst family crisis in your life is not a swift move. But, for us, was unavoidable.

Here, in Eureka, we get visitors from Florida and packages, non-stop. Thanks for pouring on the love, you all.

Here's video documentation of us opening a package from Justine and Shannon:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hope in the Dark

man-in-hat I scour the Internet daily looking for interesting and informative items to post on my new missions blog, As I do, I'm becoming interested and informed and it keeps me constantly mining. I'm not even scratching the surface. There is so much to know and learn about how people are making a difference in the world. Unsung heroes and work that is going on beyond the parking lots of our churches and malls.

How does God want to use you? What's the story you're a character in?

I just downloaded the first chapter of Hope in the Dark. Go check it out.

Gmail - human trafficking in south FL -

This email came to me from my friend Melissa...

OK, so i know some of you don't actually live in S. FL any more. But i was hopeing that you'd help get the word out about this amazing opportunity we have on July 7th to become informed about what is going on in Palm Beach County regarding human trafficking. I so wish i could be there but unfortunately will have to be out of town. However, if you're able to, register (that way they know how many are coming) and attend! Also, if you could forward this email on, that would be brilliant! grace and peace, Melissa

Register now for this free event.

Unspeakable: A Journey Through the World of Child Trafficking in Palm Beach County.

Host: Ahava Kids
Location: Jewish Community Center 3151 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33409
When: Monday, July 7, 7:00PM 8:30PM

Don't miss human rights advocate Raymond Bechard, Founder and Director of Ahava Kids and author of Unspeakable, as he reveals the reality of child trafficking here in Palm Beach County.

This is your best opportunity to discover how you can help child victims of trafficking here in South Florida. Save the date now! You won't want to miss this important event!

Visit the website to register for this free event at

For more information please contact Carrie Snyder or Heather Struble at or call (561) 623-9070

P.S. Invite and spread the invitation to as many as you know! Forward to all your contacts to keep the awareness going

"I Saw What I Saw"

Spend four minutes in Rwanda with Sara Groves: