Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dyson sucks

Have you seen the Dyson commercials? They are all pretty much the same. They show the product working and they show the Dyson guy talking about the product. Well, that guy weirds me out. He creeps me out all most as much as that scary little girl that used to do the grape juice commercials about 10 years ago. Their is just something about the Dyson guys voice combined with his vampire like looks that makes me uneasy every time I see his commercial, and he talks with an accent that isn't quite an accent from anywhere in particular, but just not where you are from. I even bet that people in the UK wonder where he is really from. He always tells his storey about how he was sitting around thinking about his vacuum one day, when he stumbled on an idea to make him rich, I mean to make the vacuum suck better. I want to know what kind of a person sits around just thinking about their vacuum cleaner?? Now he claims to have reinvented the wheel, in the form of this revolutionary ball that the new Dyson rolls around on. I am sure it works great, but in truth, I have never had any trouble maneuvering my vacuum around chairs and stuff. It's not like a small child ever jumps out between my chair and couch chasing after a bouncing ball, directly in the path of my speeding Hoover. I have never had to swerve out of the way of a wild deer that appeared, out of no where in the middle of my living room right in front of my vacuuming path. I really do not see the need to be able to turn on a dime with my vacuum. Most of my vacuuming is done in a straight line, and most of the things I vacuum around are of a squarish nature.

I can say that the Dyson guy, while being super creepy, has done a great job taking something some one else has invented and made it better. Not many people can invent something absolutely new, but almost anyone can take something that is already there and make it a little bit better. We in the Church need to become masters at doing the very same thing. We need to always be looking at the things we are doing and continually ask ourselves, "how can we make this better?". If we practiced this skill more, we would not find our selves so out of date and not in touch with mainstream culture. We don't have to compromise our beliefs to not get bogged down with out of date tradition that no longer fits our needs or ministers to the lost.

So, I just want to say, thank you Mr. Dyson. Your a little creepy, but we all should be fallowing your lead to make things a little better.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stand up for the Rock

I love listening to music. I am not a great singer, as my daughter has let me know by asking me to stop singing please, and when I asked her why me and not Mom, she told me that Mom sings good and I do not. But I do like to sing in the car when no one is riding with me. I have loved music as long as I can remember, and have always wished I was more musically inclined. When I was in Jr. High, I joined the school band and played the trumpet. I spent most of my time in band goofing off with my friend Matt. We would joke around, flirt with the girls, and spit wads of paper through straws into the tuba when the band director was not looking. So anyway, I was listening to the radio while driving, and a country song came on the station I was listening to. If you do not know me very well, you may not know that I hate country music. You see, I grew up listening to rock music with some 70's folk type music mixed in. Now it seems like that every station you listen to plays a little bit of everything. My thing is that if I wanted to listen to country music, I would have the radio on a station that only plays country music. I don't know for sure, but I am pretty positive that the country stations are not slipping in a Journey song every once in a while, or a Justin Timberlake song. Why then, when I am listening to the style of music I like am I expected to suffer through a Taylor Swift or Rascal Fats song? It just seems crazy to me. It's kind of like going to your favorite Mexican restaurant and ordering a meal, and when you get your food you find out they have slipped a couple of egg rolls on your plate. Just because a lot of people like egg rolls does not mean that I want to eat egg rolls with my burrito.

The hole situation made me think of how tolerant and inclusive we are expected to be. I am all about loving people where they are the way Jesus did, but I do not have to accept behaviors I know to be wrong. Just because someone wants to justify their behavior by declaring it wright in their own eyes, and then screaming "don't you dare judge me!", does not mean that it magically became OK for them to do wrong. It is critical that we remember that God is the one who declairs if something is OK or not, and it does not magically become fine for someone to sin just because they have declared it not sin. We are also under no obligation to accept their behavior as acceptable just because they claim to think it is OK. In fact God expects us to stand up for what is right, and take a stand for Him. Jesus loved people, but he was not some week namby pamby non confrontational person that slid through life never offending anyone and never calling out any one about their sin. In fact if you read the Bible, you will find a lot of examples where Jesus called people out about their sin. He got right in the face of the woman that came to get water at the well he was resting at. He wasn't "fine" with her behavior, he put it out there and forgave her and told her to go and sin no more. That's the key to the whole thing, how can we share the forgiveness that Jesus offers if we are declaring with our actions, or with our silence and acceptance, that their is no sin, just a difference of beliefs and morals. That is why Jesus was so hard on the Pharisees, they believed that they were innocent of all sins. If we are never forced to face our sin, the realization that we are lost in our sin, their can be no forgiveness. More men die of cancer then women because they refuse to admit that they are sick, and they wait until the last minute to go to the doctor. By that time whatever they have has advanced to such a state that there is not a lot of options for them. That is why Jesus said he came to heal the sick, not the well. We all are sick with sin, but some people just refuse to admit to themselves that they are.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting Schooled

Whenever I can, I substitute teach. Yesterday I had to opportunity to teach at the local high school in an English class. During lunch several students came in to eat their lunch in my classroom. It seems that the teacher I was subbing for is a well liked teacher and allows students to spend their lunch time with her. One male student was talking, and explaining the mysteries of life to a few of the other students, and of course was talking loud enough so all of us in the room could benefit from his vast experience and wisdom. It seems that one of his other teachers is a Christen and was trying to share Christ, in a little bit of a pushy way, with one of her classes. He was giving us the low down of the conversation and sharing his displeasure with her and her message. He exclaimed that he was an atheist, and that he was not going to believe in some God who only wanted to make everyone exactly like himself, and that doing so even went against his very own laws. Of course, fighting against my shy nature, I had to say something about the subject to the young man. I told him that it sounded like he did not know much about the subject of God, and that he should be more informed before he made such statements. To which he did not have anything to say. He just kind of looked at me with a blank expression. Then I think his mind wandered, because he turned around and started talking about something else after saying something under his breath about his other teacher and her pushing her beliefs on to him.

Two things about this situation bug me. One is that people always seem to think that everyone around them automatically shares there views and opinions. It's like we are so self centered that it never even occurs to us that someone might have a different opinion then we do. Why would they? Doesn't everyone agree with me? Aren't I the most important person in this room? My mommy thinks I am! It has also been my experience that teenagers are not the only ones who think this way. I can not count the amount of times that an adult has just started in on some subject, just assuming that I would share their views on the subject, never even considering that I might totally disagree with them. Then I have to consider the very likely possibility that I have done the very same thing on many occasions. I am all for speaking up for things you believe and feel strongly about, but when you start speaking, you should always be aware of others, and never assume that they share your views just because they are with in ear shot.

The second things is when people speak from their ignorance. It was very obvious to me that this young man did not know anything about God or the Bible. He was sharing his personal opinion, and what he assumes to be true. He may have even herd some stuff from other people who where also wrong. Why do people do that? If I don't know anything about a subject, I would not go spouting my thoughts to people. I would never go up to Jake Hillis and start telling him about how refrigerators work, and what is inherently wrong with the whole system. Because in truth he has a lot of knowledge about the subject, and I have almost none. I have not studied how they work and why they work like they do. Just like that young man has not done any studying about God and who He is and what He does, or why He does it. That young man does not know what God's laws are, and for sure he does not know anything about what God wants from him or for him. But, for some reason he felt able to make some unfounded statement about God, and not only that, he felt he actually had the right to make some kind of judgement about the creator. How stupid is that? I wanted to stand up and push the kid out of the room, and tell him "sorry, no stupid people allowed." and all God wants to do is to show him how much He loves him. Once again we are all reminded why it's a good thing I am not God, and that God is God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good at friendship

I don't get to preach on Sunday mornings very often, so when I do, I enjoy it and try to make the most of it. This past Sunday I got an opportunity and I spoke on friendship. At first it may not seem like that important of a subject, but if you take the time to think about it, you will discover that relationships are really important to our lives, and of major importance to God. Jesus actually had many relationships while on Earth, and because he was never married, all of his relationships were friendships. He was the best there was at being a good and true friend. There are many examples Jesus gave us that we can model to show us how to be really good at relationships, but I think the most important thing we can get from Jesus on this matter is to make sure that we are getting our needs met from God and not looking for them to be met by other people in our lives.

Have you ever been friends with a person who needed your attention all the time. Who whenever you talked with them, it was all about them. No matter what struggles you were going through in your life, they were always going through something worse, and not only that, but no one could possibly understand what they were going through. Have you ever had a friend that needed your attention so bad that you were afraid to be caught talking to someone else. They were so possessive of you that if you were friends with someone else, they felt like you were cheating on them. You were a friend cheater, a feater if you will. Have you ever felt trapped by a friendship? Like if you were not their friend their whole life would just fall apart. It's almost like you become their life line and if you were to leave, they would not be able to cope with every day life. These are the type of friends that make you feel exhausted every time you spend time with them.

If you have never had a friend like that, maybe it is because you are that friend. No one can be everything to someone. We were not meant to get our needs met by other people. People can not meet our needs for long, and if we continually try to get our needs met by our friends we invariable become needy. From there it becomes this vicious cycle of being needy, trying to get your needs met by friends, which in turn leaves you feeling more needy. Now repeat and rinse, presto, you are a really needy annoying friend.

What's the answer? Get your needs met by God, and free up your relationships to be what they were meant to be. It sounds easy, but if we are used to getting our needs met by other people it can take some real effort and time to break this bad habit. It make take some time, but it is well worth it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

One thing Saraya loves to do is to make cookies from scratch with me. She had been bugging me for a couple of days to make some cookies with her, so I came home a little early from work and we got to it. What we usually do is that I will make a full recipe, and I will measure out and let her mix a partial batch. Usually I just try to estimate the amounts of flour sugar, eggs and other ingredients, and as a result, her cookies never come out the same. This time I tried really hard to measure out 1/8 of what I was making. I did pretty good to, except I messed up a little on the butter, and the egg was tough to split in 1/4. As a result her cookies came out pretty good. After they came out of the oven and cooled, her mom suggested that she take a cookie to her teacher, whom she really likes. Saraya took the idea one step further and wanted to bring enough for her whole class to have a cookie for snack the next day. So the next morning we took enough cookies for her whole class to have. She got to hand them out to each kid, and her teachers made a big deal out of it. Saraya loved it!

You know, Saraya could have just kept them all for herself and eaten them over the next couple of days, and she loves a good cookie. But she decided to take them all to share, and I think she enjoyed that experience even more. That's the place I am trying to get to with my money and possessions. I really enjoy spending all of my money, and using all of my stuff, but God keeps telling me to share because He knows that the experience of sharing my stuff would be so much greater. For some reason it is so hard to get in my head. I am the kind of guy that just would not take all of my cookies to school to share with everyone. I would want to keep them all at home so I could eat on them for the next couple of days and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Why should I share with you? You didn't make the cookies, you didn't even have the idea to make them. All you ever do is go to the store and buy those cheap Walmart made cookies and put them on a plate like you made them or something! You know what I would rather do? I would really like to bring you one cookie so you could see how great my cookies are and really know how bad you have it. Then I would go home and eat about ten of them in front of my TV, all the while knowing how much better my cookies are then yours.

It's incredible how sinful I am some times!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Peter Pan syndrome

I was putting my daughter Saraya to bed last night, and after we finished with the whole bed time routine, brushing teeth, reading a few books, and praying, she started talking about her pretend brother. She doesn't bring him up as much anymore, but he will pop up in a conversation at least once a day. I asked her if she would like a real little brother some day and she said that she wanted 2 brothers and one sister. She said that I was going to have one, she was going to have one and her mom was going to have one. I asked her what she meant by all of us having one, and she said that we were all going to have one in our bellies. I then told her that only mommies carried babies in their tummies, and that when she got to be an adult that she could get married and maybe one day have a baby in her tummy. She then told me that she did not want to eat healthy food anymore. At this point I was a little confused at how we had arrived at eating healthy food, so I asked her why she didn't want to eat healthy food anymore. She then proceeded to tell me that she didn't want to be an adult and that she wasn't going to get married. She said she wants to be a little kid and not an adult. That is when I understood her not wanting to eat healthy food anymore. At our house healthy food helps you grow up big and strong. So in her head, if you don't eat healthy food you wont have to grow up. I tried to reassure her that she was not going to grow up anytime soon, and that she could stay a little kid for a long time, and that she was always going to be my little girl no matter what. That seemed to be satisfied with that and felt good enough to go to sleep, that is after I went down stairs and found her Dalmatian puppy penny that she had left in my room.

A lot of Christians seem to have the Peter Pan syndrome. They become Christians, and then they never really grow up. They very rairly read their Bible, or pray, and they for sure never study deeply or meditate on the Word of God. Which leads to not a lot of self examination or growth. They refuse to eat healthy food and insist upon just drinking milk. As a result a lot of Churches are filled not with baby Christians, but with fat lazy Christians. You see, baby's are young, newly born. That is not what we have. We have older Christians who have refused to mature. When you refuse to eat right you don't stop growing, you just become unhealthy. Your muscles don't get as strong as they should, your bones don't grow or become as dense as they should. You brain doesn't mature and grow like it should. So the end result is not a 30 year old baby, it's a very unhealthy 30 year old.

So don't be a fat lazy Christian. Start eating healthy food!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

kicked out

Well, it finally happened. I got kicked out of a co-ed church league softball game! I believe our Umpire took an immediate disliking to me when at the plate to pray and flip the coin, I asked him if he had brought a brush to clean the plate with. He said he had lots at home, but did not bring one because this was only a rec league. I jokingly said something along the line of, oh I see how it is, we aren't important enough for you to bring a brush. I was trying to joke around with the guy to put him in a good mood so he would have some fun, needless to say, it did not work!

Flash forward about 5 minutes. We are in the outfield, and I am playing short stop. A ground ball is hit my direction, I field said ball and throw the person out at first. However the ump did not see it as clearly as I did or as clearly as anyone else out there did and called the person safe. I must admit, I was shocked at the call and thought that he had totally blew it, but beyond shock, I was not feeling anything else. I surly was not mad or upset in anyway. Me being the funny guy that I am, and still having that Jr. high desire to make my classmates or teammates laugh, threw my glove down in mock dramatic fashion. All the while with a smile on my face, and not taking things to seriously. At this point the ump says something that I didn't hear clearly, so I either said "what?" or I just stood there looking at him with a questioning look on my face until I herd him utter the words "your gone!" again. I was in shock and disbelief. I immediately tried to explain that I was just joking and was not even mad or upset, to which he repeated himself and said that he did not care and that I was to leave the field. At that point all I could do was laugh and head towards the bench. A few of my teammates tried to talk to him and it only seemed to make the guy madder.

We ended up loosing the game and got put out of the tournament, though it was a close game, and we had a really good chance to win even though we were playing a team that had killed us earlier on in the season. But that is not the important part. The important part is that after the game I went up to the man and tried to say I was sorry and explain myself and my intentions to him. Sadly this only seemed to threaten him and make him more angry. He ended up storming off, not wanting to hear anything I had to say. As he was walking off I did tell him one more time that I was sorry for the misunderstanding. I then went over to the opposing team and apologized to them, and let them know that I had not gotten angry and was just trying to have fun. They were much more understanding of the situation, and in fact said that they had not thought that I was upset anyway.

I told that whole story to say this. I have been kicked out of my share of sporting events, and I can honestly say that every single one of them was warranted except for this one. In every single one I had let my anger get out of control, except for this one. In every single one I had let my competitive nature get the better of me, except for this one. In every single occasion I left the field angry, with nothing but disdain for the person that threw me out, except this one. In every single case, I had not apologized, and had not even thought of apologizing to the guy who had to throw me out, except for this one time.

God does not expect us to agree with authority in every situation. But he does expect us to submit to that authority. They may be wrong, but God says that He places all authority in their positions, and that we are to respect it. Not because they are always right, or because they are smarter or better then we are, but because He put it there. I don't know why God put that guy in that position, but He did. Maybe after about 10,000 years in Heaven, when all the important questions have been answered, I will ask God about that guy, and what His reasoning was behind it. I know He has a good reason for it, I just don't know what it is yet.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Presidential election

I would comment on the upcoming Presidential election and the way I feel about the issues, but a friend of mine has already done such a good job of expressing himself on his blog, that I feel I could not do any better of a job then he has already done. So if you would like to hear my opinion on the matter, just click on his name and read what he has said. His name is shaun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First School day

Today was my daughter Saraya's first day of pre K. We got there a little early and had to wait outside for the doors to open. When we finally went in and took her to her room, she put down her lunch bag in front of her name tag and ran right into the class. We actually had to make her come back and say goodbye to Dana and I. She was ready to go. She had even told me yesterday some of the things she was planning on doing. She told me she was going to paint me a picture and when I picked her up we would have to put it in the trunk because it would still be wet. I think she is a little like her mom in the respect that she has her little plan on what she is going to do way before she does it.

I am really glad that she was excited about going to class today. I don't think I would have dealt with it to well if she were crying and if she had not wanted me to leave her there. I think it helped out a lot that we took her to her class last week and spent a while there getting her used to it and introducing her to her teacher. While I know and trust her teacher, and I know that she will be taught biblical stuff along with regular learning stuff. I still have this thing in me that wants to keep her with us or with the grandparents. I don't want to let her go, but I realize that I am being driven by my desire to protect and control. I can already tell that I am really going to have to watch myself when it comes to letting go and letting God control and protect. I will not be able to teach her to trust in God if I show her I am unwilling to do the same.

I want to hold her close, but I know that it is better if I stand back and let her experiance life. The hardest part about being a parent is not taking care of your kids and putting up with all of the stuff that kids do, it is having the guts to let go when you need to. I totally get why parents home school their kids.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I know, it's been a while since I have written anything, and the men's trip happened a little while ago, but here it is. I have uploaded a few pictures from the trip and I hope it gives you a sense of what goes on during a men's retreat. The first picture is of Nick. While at home we men are often encouraged to keep our shirts and pants on, so on a men's retreat many men use this opportunity to show off their manliness. Nick is one of the manliest of the men, so he is one of the first of the men to shed his shirt and display his prowess.

Another thing we men do on our trips is call our wives. We all know that when we leave, our wives are lost without us. So because of that we call often just to take care of all the little problems that might happen during the day. We also call to lend our emotional support to our wives, as they are emotional wrecks when we are not there. We are the light of their worlds, and they just feel like the world is dark and scary when we are not there. We also take this opportunity to eat out. This is one of the few occasions we get to order food without our wives ordering a small dinner salad and then eating 2/3 of our meal. It is pure joy to sit down and get to eat everything on our plate all by ourselves. If you look closely you can see that Scott has a huge grin on his face, that's because he can hardly wait to finally have his meal to himself. Michele is notorious for the ordering a salad and eating from his plate. She even brings her own fork with an extended handle for extra reach.

Not much explanation needed for this next one, just a bunch of guys going to the bathroom in the river. You can also see a puff of smoke coming from one of the guys. Some of us also use this time to smoke the once a year cigar. I wont tell you who is smoking out there, but to some of those men there is nothing better then smoking and peeing in a river on a nice summer day.

Here is a few of the guys standing around throwing the football. Of course Jake has his shirt off because his wife does not ever let him go without a shirt at home.

Nick throwing the football, he has his shirt on because he just got a call from his wife and she said, " you still have your shirt on don't you?" Of course he told her yes, and then after he got off the phone he felt guilty and put it back on for a few minutes. You notice he has his hand in front of his face while he is throwing, that is because he is such a man, that he can complete a pass without even looking.

Finally, we always end our day with sitting around a campfire, or just some wood, and tell stories of the good ol days. Sean, Vanilla Mike, and Moix seem to have more stories then all of the rest. If I remember correctly, Mike has just gotten done telling a rousing tale about some shenanigans him and his posse got into. while Sean is making a few grunting noises and Moix is pumping his fist making a whooping noise. That about sums it up.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Big Baby

Well, tomorrow is the day that the men of the church are leaving to go camping and canoeing. I am excited about going because I will get to hang out with some very cool guys, and I will get a chance to get to know some other guys that I don't know that well. All and all I think it will be a fun trip. As everyone knows, I do not like the humidity, and I would never just choose to sleep out in it for no reason, but I am more than willing to do it if it mean's I get to develop some relationships. But from all of the comments I have been getting I must be the biggest baby ever!! It seems that the consensus is that I am going to get out there and just whine about it the whole time. I have also gathered that people think I have been going around complaining and whining constantly about it for the past couple of weeks. It's been a little weird to have so many people come up to me and say stuff like, you just need to suck it up, or you just need to make the best of it,and look at the bright side, when I never had plans to go out there and be a stick in the mud.

I am pretty happy with who I am. I know I still have a lot of room for improvement, and I am working on stuff constantly, and I know that in some things I just don't fit in with the typical southern guy. I don't care about hunting, and it's not that I am apposed to it, I just don't want to do it. Unless that is, I am allowed to shoot some neighborhood cats or my next door neighbors dog. Fishing is all right, but it is not something I am passionate about. I don't watch fishing or hunting shows on TV either. I also don't love to mow my yard. I do it because it needs to be done, and I can't seem to get Dana to do it, but I don't love it. I really could care less if my grass is Bermuda or crab. In fact I really don't know the difference. My only goal with my yard is not to be noticed. I don't want people going by saying look at that house, that yard looks like trash, and I don't want them looking saying he has the best yard on the street! If I have the best yard, then I have to keep up the standard, and I don't want to put that much into it. I'm not into trucks, and I don't have an opinion on the whole Ford verses Chevy debate. I don't work on cars, and I could care less if yours can go faster then mine. The only thing that I am really worried about when it comes to my car is if it works, and how good of gas mileage it gets. I don't love the hogs, and I really don't fallow any college sports at all. If I root for any college team it's going to be ASU because I graduated from there. So there are times when the guys are standing around talking about stuff, and I just don't have anything to say, well nothing intelligent anyway. I'm OK with that, I don't feel like I have to be a part of every conversation, and I don't feel like I have to know more then the next guy about everything. What I am not OK with is people thinking I am some sort of cry baby that complains all the time. So I am purposing to do better at it. I am going to not talk as much about stuff I don't like. I thought I was just voicing my opinion on things, but I guess it is not being perceived that way, and I can't change the way people perceive things. The only thing I can change is me. It's so frustrating when we try and change other people like our friends or our spouse, when all God wants us to do is to work on ourselves, sometimes I forget that, and it's good to be reminded.

Monday, July 28, 2008

nohawk fohawk

You may be used to seeing images like these, and I am sure there are many women bloggers who not only think that there is nothing wrong with these images, but in fact love these images. I on the other hand puke a little in my mouth when I have to see these pictures.
I truly hate this hair style on grown men. Are you kidding me? This is what parents do to their babies and small children while they are giving them a bath. This hair style is not to be worn by men, and if you are sporting this hair style, you should never leave the bath or shower with it still in tact.

Saraya has had the fohawk perpetrated upon her just like it was perpetrated on me when I was a small child. She was not happy about it as you can see in the picture. The baby in the picture above had the misfortune of having to wear it out of the tub, and by the look on it's face, i think that he has slipped into shock out of embarrassment, ether that or the hair style actually sucks I.Q. points when worn for to long.

The only time this hair style is cool is when it is done properly. As shown at it's best by Mr. T. It's almost like these guys actually think they are sporting a style that is manly or even cool. All a fohawk is, is a Mohawk gone bad. Mr. T would say, "don't mess with the Mohawk fool!!" I think fohawk is short for fool hawk.

If you are old enough, or you live in the south, you should be able to recall another hair Curt that people sported, that was considered cool. It is now called the mullet. The mullet is at it's worse when worn by a woman, but it's not much better when worn by a man.

There were even famous people who made the style very popular. I ask you this, how are these men looked at now? Are they looked up to as the trend setters they once were? Do you ever pull out your old photos of yourself proudly displaying your long locks, blowing in the wind, while the front part of you hear is to short even for a gale force wind to move? No, I think not, not unless it is to prove to your kids how misguided you once were.

Or perhaps you are one of the blinded few, who have held on to this train wreck of a hair style, believing that it adds some kind of edge to your personality. If that is the case, more power to you, hold on to it with all of your might, because it is obviously all that you have left. That's right, no style, no edge, not even a true self image, just a mullet.

As for me, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I have several pictures of myself sporting a mullet, butt I will never be caught wearing a fohawk outside of the bathtub or older then the age of 2. I have actually made myself immune to the temptation of the dreaded fohawk by shaving my head bald. Many have thought that I did this because of loss of hair, but in fact it was because I saw the dangers of being lured in by the temptation of the fohawk.
In Romans 2: 11 it says, for there is no partiality with God, and I am glad about that. He loves us all the same, no matter if we are still sporting the mullet, or if we have succumbed to the devils lie and are proudly wearing the fohawk. It's really comforting to know that I am loved no matter what I do in life. So break out those hidden photo's of the mullet days, and be reminded that those of us who need the love and acceptance the most are the ones who appreciate it the most.
Brothers of the Mullet unite!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Tattoo

Scott and I finally went and got our tattoo's last night. I have been wanting a tattoo for about 4 years. I actually drew the tattoo I got about 3 years ago and I have been carrying it around with me the whole time. Scott already had a tattoo on his back, but he wanted to get another one. It took him a while to figure out what he finally wanted, but he finally did, so we headed down there last night at about 8, and we took Hillis with us. Jake really wants to get one, but he would not take the leap last night. I think he really wanted to come to see if either Scott or I would cry or pass out or something, neither of us did though. Scott said the one on his back hurt really bad and that he almost passed out a few times, so he was a little nervous about it.
As you can tell by this picture, Scott went through some pain getting his this time to, but to his credit, he never passed out or even shed a single tear. I think Jake cried a little while Scott was under the needle, but it was from laughter, not sympathy for Scott.
I don't think mine hurt as much as Scott's did, but it stung a little bit when he was doing the back part of my arm, and when he did the white ink over some stuff he had already shaded in with another color. Well, all I can say, despite the warning of Misty Archer, is that I am really glad I finally got it done. I don't know if I will ever get another one, but I really like the one I got. Saraya still thinks it is going to come off in a few days. She has not quit got that it is on forever. By the way, the red on Scott's leg and my arm is not ink, it's blood. Mine ended up bleeding more than Scott's did, but I guess you gotta expect a little blood when you are having a needle stuck into your skin over and over again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Learning the game

So, let me just say that I have a great wife. There are only 2 women in our church that I know of that like football enough to go to a seminar about the game just so they can understand a little more about it. Most women hate when their husbands sit in front of the TV for 4 or 5 hours on Sunday or Monday watching a game. My wife never complains about it, and if it's her favorite team, which is not my favorite, she will even sit and watch the game and cheer her team on the whole way. It's just a pity that her team is not the Raiders. She liked football before and understood a lot of the basics about the game, and now she has more of an appreciation for the game and how good the players really are. Not that she didn't have an appreciation before, but there is just something about trying to do the things that professionals make look so easy, that makes you truly understand how great they are at their job.

There is no real spiritual point to this post, just wanted to say that the longer I live with Dana, the more I get to know her, and the more I can see how great a wife I have.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

what you say I am

The other day Cristi Hillis said to me, I noticed that your eye twitches a lot, and I was wondering if you knew that it did and why does it do it. I told her that I knew that it had been doing it' and that my eyes often felt irritated. I think it's from all of the pollen in the air. So, ever since she said that to me, I have been looking at my eye a lot more, and noticing the way it feels a lot. It seems like I am constantly wondering if my eye is twitching, especially when people are looking at me. Thanks to little miss Hillis I am no longer James the dad, or the husband, or Pastor James, or James the big guy, or even James that handsome dashing man, I am now James the eye twitch guy. It's really amazing how we are affected by how others see us, and how we think they are seeing us. It makes me think of all of those crazy people that try out for American Idol. They are there because others have told them what great singers they are. Then they try out and someone else tells them they stink, and they just can not believe what they just herd. It goes against everything they have been told and believed for their entire life. Just once I would love to see one of the parents that has made the long trip with their child to audition, to lean over, put their arm around their hysterical kid, and whisper in their ear, "no honey, they are right, you are a terrible singer. I lied to you all these years about how good a singer you are. It was a lot easier and more enjoyable for me to tell you that, and make you happy, so now you are going through all of this pain and public humiliation because I wanted to be happy."

I am so glad that God's goal is not to make me happy, it's to make me more like him. I have to go now, because I have to put some drops in my eyes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How many times?

So, this morning I was getting Saraya ready, and she asked if she could take a CD with her to Dana's mothers house. I said yes, so she got it and opened it up and started spinning it around inside the case. For some reason she does this a lot. It is almost like she can't open one up without trying to spin it around. I quickly told her to stop doing that or she might scratch it and it would not play right anymore. And then I said, "how many times do I have to tell you!". To which she replied, "six".......You know, my mom used to ask me that question all the time when I was a kid, and I never thought to give her an actual number. The only bad part is that I am not sure how many times I have already told her that same thing, so I guess I am going to have to tell her 5 more times just to be safe.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fathers day

Sunday was fathers day. As I was driving to church, I grabbed my cell and I called my Dad. One of the first things that he said was that a few days ago he was trying to figure out how old I was. He also asked how the "family"was doing instead of asking how Saraya and Dana were doing. The reason why he asked about both of them was that he was not sure how old I was, and he wasn't sure what my daughters name was or what my wife's name was. I am not sure he has ever gotten Saraya's name correct without me reminding him of it, and I can not even imagine not knowing how old my kid is. Though in his defense I am getting older, and he is even older than I am, and he does have 4 kids. Though I still do not believe that I would forget how old my kids were. It was a quick conversation that probably only lasted about 5 minutes. We talked about surface stuff, job, family, weather, the dogs, nothing really that deep. Then we said our goodbyes and I told him that I loved him. After I got off the phone with him, I was truly glad that I had called him and wished him a happy fathers day. Even though the last time we talked was probably about 10 months ago, and it was because I called him, I still meant the words I spoke when I wished him happiness on that day. I do wish that we could have a deeper relationship, that we could talk about deeper and more personal things, but I am thankful that we do have some kind of relationship, and I can only pray that one day before he or I leave this world that he will be able to have the relationship that a father should have with his son. Until then I will continue to accept him for who he is, and I will continue to thank God for being a perfect father. I learned early on in life that no man can meet all of the needs of another. By learning that, I have saved myself a lot of pain and resentment. I have also been able to see that other people are really not any worse than I am. We are all capable of some pretty bad stuff.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I don't know

Saraya and I were in the car, driving to her t-ball game yesterday, and out of the blue she says "Dad, are you thinking what I'm thinking?". I quickly thought to myself, It's highly unlikely that I am thinking the same thing a 4 year old is thinking, but what a funny question for her to ask. So I said to her, I don't know, what are you thinking, and she said "I don't know". So I guess we were kind of thinking the same thing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A good Weekend

Lately our weekends have been at least as busy as our weekdays, but this past Saturday we got to have a relaxing day at the pool. Dana's parents only live about 5 minutes from us, and they have an in ground pool. That means that we can go over there just about any time we want and swim, and we don't have to take care of it. It's not as convenient as having a pool out in your back yard, but the fact that I don't have to clean it and fill it, and put chemicals in it more than make up for the 5 minute drive to get there. We spent all day there just lounging out on the deck and swimming. My mother came, and so did my brother Jason and his fiance Felicia and her 2 girls. A great time was had by all. Dana swam for a little bit and then decided she wanted to get some sun. I asked her if she put any sunscreen on, and she said no, that would defeat the purpose. She wanted to get darker. Well, she got darker, a darker shade of RED. She also did not think of the time she was going to spend on Sunday outside. She had already scheduled to take pictures all day long out at the park of church members, with the proceeds going to our vacation bible school. So she spent from 12 noon till 8 pm that night outside in the heat and humidity with a sunburn.
On another note, I have noticed that Saraya has been asking if she can have something by saying "should I". For example she will say "Daddy, should I have some M&M's?". First off, I think this is really cute, but I also think this is very astute. I am not sure what she is thinking when she asks this way, but by phrasing the question this way she is not assuming that she actually should have what she is asking for. She is actually leaving the decision on whether or not she should up to me. If she were to ask "can I" she is already assuming that she should have them, but still asking permission to have them. Can I?, is still a very good question and a very valid question, but to ask "should I" is so much better. I am trying to remember her example when I approach God with requests of my own. I have got to get it into my head that He not only knows what is best for me, but that He wants what is best for me, and equally important, that I always don't know what is best for me.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I read a news story today that reported on some vandalism done by about 25 teenagers. The vandalism was done to the house of the famous poet Robert Frost, when one of the vandals decided to throw a party on the rairly used property. As often happens, word got around quickly, and the party swelled to about 50 people. After a few hours and $100 in beer, things got a little rowdy. A chair got broke, and that started a frenzy of destructive behavior. 25 young men and women were brought up on charges of vandalising this historic place. This story so far is non to far out of the ordinary. The sentence that was handed down however is. It seems that the court decided to make all 25 of them take a short course on the poems and the life of Robert Frost. The thought behind this is that by knowing some about the man, and the contribution he has made to society, might make them change their ways and think twice about damaging others property. As if knowing about the life of this dead poet will some how change these young people from the inside out. The reality is that it wont! I don't care how great a writer someone is, they can not truly change a life from the inside out on their own. It seems very sad to me that these people thought that making these teenagers study Frosts' poem The Road Less Traveled, is going to have some everlasting change on someones life. But maybe they were not thinking that. Maybe they were thinking that making these kids sit through a few lectures on poetry from a guy that died before any of them were born, poems that they have already slept through once in high school, might be a much better deterrent than making them pick up trash on the side of the road. I am all for it if that is the case. Besides, the worst thing you could have done to me when I was in high school was to make me go back to school on my free time, which I had to do on many occasions, only then is was called Saturday school. If that is not the case though, I wish I could convince them that the only mans story that can actually change a person truly from the inside out, is the story of Jesus. His words are the only words that can remake a person. They are the words of life that can change a persons heart. All they will do, if they are lucky, is change some of their behaviors. I guess if you don't know God, a change of behavior is the best you can do.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Embarrassing moments

I was on MercyMe's blog, and Bart had posted a blog that told of one of his embarrassing moments. I enjoyed reading it and I also had fun reading all of the responses he got from it. So I decided to do the same thing on my blog. So here is one of my embarrassing moments. I hope you enjoy it and comment back with one of your own.

I was in high school, and on a date with my girlfriend. We were sitting in my Datsun (Nissan) truck, out in front of her house saying goodnight. Saying goodnight meant that we were kissing. She was a really good girl, so all we did was kiss. In fact to make sure that is all we did, she had a habit of keeping her arm in front of her chest as kind of a buffer zone. Well I kind of got used to knowing that her arm would be there, so I went to place my hand on her arm only to discover that the buffer zone was not in place at that time. My hand landed, fully cupping her right breast. It took what felt like a full 20 seconds for the sensation of my hand to reach my brain, but when it finally did I pulled my hand away, at the same time she pulled her body away, and then I blurted out the only thing that came to my mind at that moment. No, it wasn’t I’m sorry!! Or even whoops!! But instead I said those magic words that every high school girl wants to hear after a moment like that. I said “I thought it was your elbow!” Luckily she had a great sense of humor and we both laughed it off, and never told her dad who was a very scary guy that worked for the LAPD and always carried a gun.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm a smoker

Sunday after church Dana wanted to have the band and their families over for a meal. We just got a new grill, so she asked if I would smoke some meat for the occasion. Of course I was more than happy to do it, anything I can do for the band, (the backbone of the church) I am happy to do it. Well I ended up smoking 3 Boston Butts because we needed 2 for the band luncheon, and my mom wanted to smoke an extra one so we could eat on it for the next week. Well, through all of this I have discovered that I like smoking stuff rather than just grilling it. Smoking takes a lot longer. I have to start the night before, and then I also have to get up in the middle of the night to tend to the fire and the meat. Maybe that's why I like it better. When you smoke something it's a longer more drawn out process that you have to plan for a little. Grilling you just get out there and do it, and it only takes about an hour. It seems that with grilling everything is rushed, and you are trying to get the fire right, and then you have to get the meat and put it on, and then you are having to do other stuff, and people are coming up and bugging you, and your wife wants something, and then the kids need you for something, or in my case, the kid. It's just a blur of stuff going on, and among all of that you are expected to fix the meat to the perfect temperature for everyone, "I want mine medium, I want mine well, I want mine medium rare". You see, I'm not that smart, and my brain can't handle all of that stuff at one time. Well at least not handle it and enjoy the experience at the same time. I can really enjoy smoking stuff on the grill. I can do one step at a time, and most of the time no one else is around when I'm doing it, so I can just relax and enjoy the process. I'm not a morning person. In fact, some of my most hated memories of childhood was when my Dad used to wake me up singing some lame "It's time to get up" song. It wasn't that I had to get up that bugged me so much, it was that he was so happy about it that really ticked me off. Being that as it may, I don't hate getting up at 4 in the morning to tend to the grill. Yes I'm a little sleepy, but there's no one else up, and I can spend about 30 or 45 minutes doing my thing and then go back to sleep. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like smoking on the grill. I just wish more stuff in life were like that. Where there was not a lot of other stuff going on, and I could just enjoy one experience at a time. Even the tough things are not so bad when you can just slow down and really work on it and get it just right. I love when the meat is smoked just right and is nice and juicy and tender. In the same way, I love when I preach and the message is just right. When the whole thing flows from the beginning to the end. When you are really able to get your point across. I love the process of writing a good sermon to. When I can get alone, without any interruptions, and craft it just right. When no one else is talking to me and asking me stuff. When the TV isn't on, and the radio isn't playing, and I can read and study and pray, and hear from God. I really need to make more times like that in my life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

exciting Sunday

Much has happened this last week. We finally had our first Sunday service in our new Church facility. It was super exciting. The morning was filled with all kinds of people coming in and looking in all of the classes. Looking at the new rooms that were built, the pictures that had been painted on all of the walls in the children's classrooms. Noticing all of the flooring and the updates that have been made to our new building. Then the service started and it felt like the excitement just kept on coming. I was really surprised that almost everyone was not just on time, but a little early. There was also several new faces in the crowd. Which just added to the excitement of the day. The music started, and the band and tech guys had put together a little video to go with a song the band did. The video chronicled the construction that has been going on over the last several months. The end of the song was met with much applause that seemed to just happen, not like at other times when one person starts it and then other join in. After the welcome was over and the band finished it's next song, the people clapped again, and again it was the kind of applause that everyone starts, starting and ending with the flow of the service. All in all the band did a great job in adding to the excitement of this special morning. The morning was made even more special because it was not just our first Sunday in the new building, but it was also mothers day. To sum it all up, we had one of our highest attendance Sundays ever, and the day went off without a major problem. Everyone went away feeling really good and excited about our new building and the future of our church.
I am hoping that when the excitement fades, as it always does, that the expectations and dreams of the people do not fade with it. It makes me think of when Moses came down from the mountain after seeing God. His face was glowing with the power of God. The people were amazed and even afraid. Soon after that Moses started wearing a covering over his face. Not so people would not be afraid of the glow from his face, but so that they would not see that the glow was slowly fading away. I think he was afraid that the people would think that God was leaving, or that He was no longer in favor of them. The reality is that the glow was going to fade. Moses was not perfect, and he did not live in a perfect world. The glow had to fade. The excitement of a new building is going to fade. Things are going to break and wear out. The shine is going to wear off of things, the building is going to get dirty and worn down. There is no way we can put a Vail over the building so the people don't see the shine slowly going away. I just hope that our people realize that even though the excitement may not always be what it was like on the first Sunday, that God is still with us, and His plan is still the same. Wherever God's people are, that is where the "church" is. That is because wherever God's people are, that is where God is. Emotion was never meant to carry us along, dedication and obedience to the Father was. No matter how we feel on any given day, we are to do what God tells us, and we should always remember that God is with us and for us.

Monday, May 5, 2008

mistaken identity

Well, I'm back! It seems after my very first blog ever, that I was shut down by the man. It seems that Blogspot thought that I was one of those automatic spammer programs that get on sites like these and spams everyone. I have no idea how or why this sites anti spam program picked me out, but we got everything worked out. I am not sure what kind of comment this situation makes about the current state of our society, but I am sure it is not good. When a real person can be mistaken for a program by another program, that was written to keep certain programs out, and then it stops the real person from gaining access to his own writings and information, then that can not be good. It sounds like the beginning to some science fiction movie where some kind of computer is trying to take over the world. I would probably be played by Will Smith.
Anyway, as I was trying to get back on my site, I realized that I have no rights concerning this blog. The site that I post on has all of the right to everything I put on here. All of the things I write, all of the pictures I post, no matter how personal, all belongs to this blog site. If they decide to shut it down and erase all of my stuff, there is nothing I can do about it. It makes me think of two things. First, we seem to be signing our rights away way to easily now a days. The computer makes all of it way to easy. All we have to do now is click a box and wham, it is done. I very rarely ever even read those agreements anymore, and I bet no one else does either. The second thing is that everything in this world is temporary. Nothing here is permanent, and some things can be taken away in a moments time. I need to make the best of the time that I have, and always be storing my treasures in Heaven.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Glory days

Two nights ago I got free tickets to a Christian concert. There were four different acts that performed that night, but Avalon and Michael English were the main ones, with Michael English being the main one I didn't mind seeing. The first act was not that bad, and I thought that maybe this night would not be that bad. However, after hearing the second act, my initial optimism was premature at best. The second act consisted of 2 girls. One of them played the piano and sang, and the other played the guitar and sang. I use the term "played" very loosely. While they did technically play their instruments, they did not play them well, or very often. Usually they just played a few cords sporadically throughout the song. They also did some sharing between their songs, which I wish they would not have. It just seemed like I was listening to a couple of high school girls that were doing a talent show. They would have been the hit of their school, but that's as far as their act should have gotten. The next to perform was Avalon. While I have never owned one of their albums, I have herd a few of their songs on the radio over the years. I can say that every member of the group has a great voice, and can really sing. But that is where my appreciation for their group ends. Watching Avalon in concert was like watching a really cheesy variety show from the 80's. I actually hate to even call them cheesy, because I really like cheese, and associating them together might give cheese a bad name. Avalon's pretense for going out on tour, is that they are coming out with a new album, and they want to promote it. It seems they are redoing some old Christian songs the "Avalon" way. I guess the "Avalon" way really means the over sung, way to dramatic, cheesy, fake enthusiastic way, because that is what it felt like to me.
The biggest disappointment of the night was that Michael English only sang 3 songs, and that he was sick. He gave his testimony between 2 of the songs, and that was powerful. I only wish he could have performed better. His voice was really hampered by his head cold . He may not have had a hit since 94, but he has a great testimony, and I think he can still really sing.
I guess my real reason for writing this is that it got me thinking about how we love to hang on to stuff in the Christian world, even if it is outdated and does not really work anymore. We love to sit back and remember the glory days, and how it used to be. I am all for remembering the past and how great it was, but when we try to apply it to the present it does not always work. I felt bad for Avalon that night. They did not sell enough tickets, so they actually ended giving a bunch of them away to local Churches to give out to their members. Even with all of the free tickets given out, probably less then 400 people showed up. The auditorium looked empty. So I did feel bad for Avalon, but I felt worse for the few people that actually showed up for the concert. The whole night was a glaring example of a group of people that have held on to something that does not work anymore. We should never be afraid to let go of the past and embrace the present.