Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pavlov Proven

Human behavior is nothing if not hilarious at times.  Perhaps our fallen status lends itself to the disposition but God has to be up in heaven just laughing hysterically about how insane we can be.  And I am not even talking about insane on a conscious level.  We subconsciously make silly decisions just as much as we might on purpose.

Case in point is the Pavlov experiment which, to be fair, was first done on a dog.  Every time a bell would ring the pup would get a treat.  His mind came to associate the ringing of a bell with food to the point that when a bell would ring he would salivate even if he was no longer offered the food.  Turns out this works rather well on humans too.

Though its much more entertaining on an episode of The Office, I have recently done this experiment with my kids.  I take them to school every morning.  As such I always unlock the doors (providing the audio cue) and ask them to unbuckle their seat belts once we are in the parking lot but not yet at the curbside.  I have been doing this since last Fall making sure my request corresponds exactly with the sound of the locks.  I even went so far as to make sure to do this whilst in the same exact spot in the parking lot everyday just to be sure all environmental factors were duplicated each time.

Well, on Monday of this week, I finally tested the sub-conscious training.  I pulled into the lot, clicked the unlock button but didn't say a word.  Like clockwork both kids immediately reached for their seatbelts and unfastened them.  I have now done this for four days in a row with the same results.  How amazingly silly we are!

video

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Boo to Bacon!

Don't get me wrong.  I am a big fan of crispy bacon.  I'll eat it on a train, in a tree, in a car, just let me be.  I will eat it in a box, with a fox, with a mouse, in a house...I will eat it here or there.  I will eat bacon anywhere!  If hospitals gave us the option of bacon grease for an IV drip, I'd be the first to sign up.  But one must draw the line somewhere and I think we've finally arrived.

If you haven't already noticed the LOW price sticker of the bacon pictured above and the corresponding price of $8.69, then I invite your attention to it now.  Granted this particular product is for the Super Thick Cut but my wife tells me the regular cut variety was above $6 on her last grocery outing.  Folks!  Forget about gas prices.  This is a true crises of EPIC proportions!

But speaking of gas, how is it that we are able to pay less than $4 per gallon for something that has to imported from conflict-stricken countries & go through a refining process but we are paying almost double that for a cut of meat?  Bacon, you are delicious...but when you start rivaling the price of a juicy steak I must call foul and issue a boycott.  I would just as soon hunt down my own wild pig and cure its meat in a homemade smokehouse in my backyard as I would pay this kind of price for someone else to do it.

Forget the price of gold people.  Start investing in bacon!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Broken People = Broken Promises


As with just about everything I find funny, there is always a touch of truth to it.  And sometimes that truth is a harsh reflection of who I am as an individual or who we are as a society.  We shouldn't be surprised by this fact since humor requires the audience to be able to relate to the subject matter being discussed.  In order to relate, we must have had an experience based in the truth of the statement(s) being made. 

Here we have a comic strip where within seconds of making a New Years Resolution to NOT judge people, our character has broken his resolve.  For me it was no snacking after dinner.  For you it might have been to spend more time with the family.  Let's face it we have a wake of brokenness behind us.  The best intentions normally motivate our initial gumption to make promises and strive for change.  Its in the testing of our endurance that failure becomes possible.

Thankfully we have a Father in Heaven that doesn't suffer from this "good intentions" disease.  Human goodness is truly laughable when compared to the holy scale of God's.  Jesus alludes to this when someone calls Him good in Luke 18.  God's goodness is pure and unmatched.  It means when He makes a promise, that you can count on it.  We need not worry about whether He will come through for us.  It's a guarantee:

Numbers 23:19 - God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Enduring Love

Like something right out of The Notebook, a headline broke last week declaring a 76 year marriage had ended with the couple dying just hours apart from one another. He apparently held her hand and wept as she breathed her last breath and then died himself just 16 hours later. I am not sure what touched hearts more...the length of this marriage, the obvious sustained love & dedication, or the idea of long-time lovers crossing over into death together.

I am a rookie compared to these two with a decade of experience behind me at this point. I am far enough along to know fairy tales that end with "happily ever after" are fiction for a reason. But its those not-so-happy moments that force you to grow, that challenge your resolve, and shape a love that is even stronger than the one that cause the pairing to begin with. And it helps of course when you marry your best friend.

In reading about this couple, what caught my attention most was a quote from their son, "The key things I remember about my parents were not the things they taught us, but the example they set for us. We just watched and marveled."

This is comforting on many levels as I think of the example Rachael and I try to set for the kids. At the end of the day we may not say or teach them everything that we should. But I truly believe they will always have our marriage to look to as an example. To make it 76 years would mean me living to be 103, so I can't make that guarantee. But I can promise it will be a long love affair with God-centered dedication to one another!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 62

Category: Literally

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote Closed.  Winner: Stool Sample

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Just following instructions!

Log Cabin

Prophetic Sign?

Super Bowl

You asked for it doc

Iron Man

Copy Cat

Beware of red lightning!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In Search of a Predator


On the heels of yesterday's post about how we as individuals and society can turn a blind eye to certain issues, I have some good news.  The FBI has now listed one Eric Toth on the Most Wanted List.  But it gets better.  He is not only on the top ten, he is the Number One Most Wanted.

Who is Eric Toth and why give him a spot that is normally reserved for terrorists like Osama Bin Laden?  Glad you asked.  Eric is actually a third grade teacher from the Washington area charged with possession and manufacturing of child pornography.  The FBI claims he had installed cameras in bathrooms adjacent to his classroom.

FBI Special Agent Jacqueline Maguire said:

"There is no comparison to be made between Toth and bin Laden...Although Eric Toth has not murdered anyone and his is not an international terrorist, that does not mean he isn't dangerous.  We are very concerned that he may be in contact with other children, so we are asking for the public's assistance to help us capture him."

Toth (A.K.A. David Bussone) has been on the run since 2008.  He has been elevated to the Ten Most Wanted due to evidence that he may still be involved with teaching children in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and even Phoenix as late as 2009.  The FBI is offering $100,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest and if prior success stats are any indicator, he will be caught.  CNN reports that Toth is the 485th person to make this list and 465 of those listed have been caught with over 150 of them by a tip from the public.

I applaud this move by our law enforcement officials and pray that very soon this predator be brought to justice!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Your Blinders

I follow The Onion on Twitter.  Often times the fake news is more compelling and certainly more entertaining than the other options available.  Recently a headline struck me as funny at first but then I thought about some more and thought it a sadly accurate statement.  It reads:

Neighbors Confront Alcoholic Child-Abuser About His Lawn

Now hopefully none of us turn a blind eye to abuse.  And hopefully none of us are bold enough to confront a man like that about a minor issue if we aren't willing to address the major ones.  But we do as individuals and a society have our own personal blinders don't we?  We willingly complain about certain issues when deeper, more important ones are ignored.  We willingly point out the faults in our friends and family all the while ignoring our own.  Perhaps this truth is what inspired God's word to instruct:

Matthew 7:5
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Where do you tend to turn a blind eye?  Do you see suffering and refuse to render aid?  Do you see abuse and pretend its not there?  Do you pass by the beaten man on the road or like the Samaritan stop and help?  Do you correct yourself before correcting others?  Do you confront the minor issues instead of the major ones?  What part do you play in this?  Where can you make some changes?

Let's identify our blinders and take them off, shall we?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sin Identity

The more I interact with people online, especially those that for one reason or another have rejected Christianity, the more I discover a common thread.  Yes, many of them claim to have problems with the doctrine or the fantastic stories, or believing in miracles, or reconciling the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New, or that the Genesis account could possibly describe our origins.  But those are just arguments that typically stay on the periphery.  You can spend a great deal of time giving them good counter point and information and may even win a few over on a particular point or two.

But for some reason the removal of these objections does not motivate repentance and the sinners prayer asking Jesus Christ into their hearts and lives.  Why?  I can't say for 100% of those that reject the faith but the common thread I've begun to see is something I call the Sin Identity.  Our culture and the enemy of God seem to promote that we adopt labels into our identity.  Some are alcoholics.  Others are adulterers, gossips, liars, homosexuals, fornicators, or thieves.  Whatever a person's particular sin struggle may be isn't just behavior they engage in, it IS them.  It IS who they are and they believe it whole-heartedly.

Let's take the most controversial one in the list above for an example but turn it around on me.  Am I a heterosexual or do I practice heterosexual behaviors?  Both seem to be accurate statements yet most people that share this behavior in common with me do NOT identify themselves by the label even if it accurately describes an aspect of their life.  The distinction is a small one but its important.  They say the devil is in the details and I think this is fabulous example of how this statement is true. Once Satan has successfully convinced a person that their sin struggles and behaviors is who they are all then convincing them to reject God is child's play.

All one must do is read that God hates sin (of any kind) and they interpret it to mean: God hates me.  Of course nothing can be further from the truth!  He so loves you that he took on a human body of His own, took the burden of our sins, and paid the penalty we should have suffered for our rebellion against Him.  A God that doesn't care would hardly lift a finger to render aid to those that reject Him.  A God that doesn't care would not allow Himself to be beaten to the point of disfigurement, nailed to a cross, spit upon, insulted, run through with a spear, and put to death of the most shameful variety.  Understanding that He could have at any point stopped the process in a Matrix-style moment is key for me.  Because though he could...He didn't. 

And why suffer needlessly when your own record of deeds is a perfect one and you have no actual crimes or sins to pay for?  All I can figure is its the Ultimate expression of love.  You. Are. Not. Your. Sins!  Those are forgiven and paid for.  That is why its called The GOOD News.

Don't let the enemy continue to lie to you.  Your identity is so much more than a behavior you practice.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today's Mailbag 16.0



Children Are Quick!

Teacher: Why are you late?
Student: Class started before I got here.
______________________________________

Teacher: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
John: You told me to do it without using tables.
_______________________________________

Teacher: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
Glenn: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L
Teacher: No, that's wrong.
Glenn: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.
________________________________________

Teacher: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald: H I J I K L M N O
Teacher: What are you talking about?
Donald: Yesterday you said it's H to O
_________________________________________

Teacher: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
Winnie: Me!
_________________________________________

Teacher: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
Glen: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.
_________________________________________

Teacher: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I'.
Millie: I is...
Teacher: No Millie...always say, 'I am."
Millie: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'
___________________________________________

Teacher: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted to it. Now Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
Louis: Because George still had the axe in his hand...
____________________________________________

Teacher: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
Simon: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.
_____________________________________________

Teacher: Clyde, you composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's.  Did you copy his?
Clyde: No sir. It's the same dog.
_____________________________________________

Teacher: Harold, what do you call the person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested.
Harold: A teacher

If you have anything to contribute to Today's Mailbag, send it to capturedimage@hotmail.com

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 61

Category: Interesting Products

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection.

Vote closed.  Winner(s): Homemade Goggles & Long Yellow Things

Mobile Phone Users - Click HERE to see & vote on the poll.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Pig-Nose Mug

Homemade Goggles FTW!

Car Bandage

Like Moth Balls?

If only there was a shorter name for those!

Probably NOT a good idea.

Where will technology take us next?

New & Old School combine.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Heroes & Hope

My End Times series is mostly tongue in cheek and funny.  But even when a humorous link is posted, there is still a depressing undertone that we are living in a trifling and uncertain time.  So in effort to be fair and balanced, it seems appropriate for me to present another series that highlights people, events, accomplishments, and the rays of light God gives us for encouragement sake.  Yesterday three such examples came to my attention and I believe ALL of them are worth your time to watch from beginning to end.  Rather than link you to these productions, I have taken the time to embed them here, so you won't have to go anywhere to enjoy them and be encouraged.

Seventh Grader Saves Bus, Classmates, and Driver:


A Little Boys Dreams & Persistence Pay Off:


Elderly Man Reacts To Music:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cure For Cancer?

I know of few other diseases that have the kind of power to strike fear in our hearts than the word Cancer.  Whether it is our own diagnosis or that of a close friend or family member, we tend to tremble at its utterance.  Why?  Because for every well fought stance that has led to remission we all can name specific examples of loved ones that lost the fight and were taken from us.

I've been hearing about research for a cure all of my life.  I must admit that my skepticism tends to take grip as I ponder the possibility of success.  Between the fact that scientists have been searching for a cure for so long and seem not to even gain victory over the common cold, my cynicism appears justified to some extent.

However, recent news just hit the interwebs yesterday that ImMucin has been developed as a Cancer vaccine and is showing very promising results in the clinical trials.  Sometimes there is a misnomer that Christians, like myself, don't care about death and dying since that is when we get to our eternal and heavenly bliss.  Still others think my faith causes me to avoid medicine and man-made solutions to illness and the fallen status of our world.

Nothing can be further from the truth.  I believe God endows us with abilities and even leads bright minds to invent and innovate.  Prayer is certainly powerful and part of my utility belt when seeking out healing for myself or my loved ones.  But I also let God bless me through others that have the ability to help expedite the process.  I pray this vaccine is indeed successful and helps to transform millions of lives for the good.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thomas Elliot, Superstar

The King of all Social experiments posted on Youtube on April 9th as the Regular-Joe-Nobody, Thomas Elliot pretended to be a famous actor from Hollywood.  With the help of a few friends that began swooning over him, taking pictures, and video it wasn't long before the entire mall was buzzing about his presence.

Within minutes he not only had a Security Guard detail escorting him from store to store but in some cases the large crowds he attracted caused stores to close.  People were asking for photos, autographs, and even letting him hold their babies all the while asking "Who is this guy?"

My interest in this story goes well beyond my respect for a well-planned, well-executed prank.  This is a commentary on who we are as a society.  Ever craving an association with an important person, event, or movement...we flock to the nearest ones as soon as we hear about them.  Perhaps we do this because we are silly sheeple.  Perhaps we do this in effort to "share" in the perceived importance level and somehow their light becomes our own.  Perhaps we do this because God naturally puts in us the desire for purpose & meaning.

Unfortunately the desire for purpose and meaning often sends us down rabbit trails to unfulfilled destinations.  A God-shaped vacuum can only be filled with God Himself.

What do you think? What do you believe this says about about society?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Understanding The Point

Every other year we traverse to East Texas for  Easter Weekend.  My mom's side of the family all get together at my aunt's lake house/camp for the celebration.  Bunnies and eggs already offer enough competition to the Resurrection story as it is.  But in this environment we also have five cousins (not including my three) of similar age, we have a giant lake with all-you-can-handle fishing, we have boating expeditions, we have nature hikes, campfires, delicious food & desserts, and a very steep driveway to race down.  And just in case they could possibly find a way to get bored, yes...there is also a Wii and DVD movie options.

I have taken the approach that I want my kids to have a blast.  I want them to enjoy their cousins and the countless available activities.  But somewhere along the lines, I want to take pause and talk about why we are out in the woods and what the weekend is actually about.  I have pessimistically blogged about this topic in the past (click here if you dare) so this year I tried a more positive strategy by asking my twins various questions along the way.  At every turn they knew this was about Jesus.  They explained how He was crucified, buried, and raised on the third day.  I was a proud papa already but then on Sunday morning as we took the short drive from our cabin to the main lake house, I asked them if they could tell me the Easter story.

I expected another brief recap of Jesus dying for our sins and in three days being raised again.  Instead my daughter started with acquisition of the donkey and the crowd laying down palm leaves, shouting Hosanna.  She then talked of the last supper and how Jesus took the bread, broke it and explained it was His body.  That he took the cup of wine, explaining that it was His blood.  She went on to tell us the details of the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas' betrayal, and Christ's arrest.  She did end with the details I originally expected but I was amazed by the in-depth and knowledgeable recap which included calling the Disciples "Jesus's Helpers".

It was all in her own words, told with a six year old understanding.  But it was brilliant and the highlight of my weekend!  Sure I too love the fishing, the food, the family, the campfires, and the natural surroundings.  However, nothing could have made my Easter experience better than having my children "get it" and share in those moments together!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Awk...Ward!

Ever have one of those moments when stupidity just flies out of your mouth?  One of the most common times for me is when I am asked:

"What's up?"

And I say, "Good." as though I was asked "how I was" rather than what was going on.

Those moments are humiliating but somewhat understandable even to the confused inquirer as they process your answer.  But a few weeks back as I was exiting a Chik-fil-a location I took this brain-failure issue to a whole new level.

As I was leaving a lady was about to enter.  And although I made it to the door first, and propped it open with my own foot (since my hands were full of delicious treats) I decided in my infinite wisdom to say, "Thank You."

Yes folks, I thanked a lady for letting me open the door and hold it for HER!  My brain needs a rest and an overhaul before someone commits me to the funny farm!

What similar faux pas have you committed lately?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tornadic Terror

I have lived in what they call Tornado Alley all of my life.  From early childhood until now, I have spent quite a bit of time huddled with my family in the "safest part" of the particular home we happen to be living in.  As a child, it was a combination of emotions.  Anxiety for the unknown was mixed in with positive feelings of being intimately connected with my family.  Camping out indoors, huddled in a hallway with our 13 inch black and white TV was in some ways a treat for me.  Having my parents do most of the worrying, waiting, and watching whilst I fell asleep in my sleeping bag brought me comfort.

Now I am that dad, the protector...who must do for my children what my parents had always done for me.  As the radar and weather reports began showing signs of concern yesterday my family was scattered throughout the metroplex.  I was at work, my wife and baby at home, and my twins were at school.  The old fears from childhood resurfaced as I imagined being apart from one another while the severe weather approached.  My wife and I quickly formulated a plan that meant me leaving work early, getting the kids out of school, and the five of us gathering together to wait out the storms.

As I arrived at the school it seemed other parents had the same idea.  There was this sense of community as we all gave one another an understanding look.  The Principal was at the front door and told us all to just go straight to the classrooms to get our children but to hurry...the weather was fast approaching.  The kids, like me years before, were both scared and excited.  Little did I know as a child or do my children know now...so are the parents.  Yes, we are grown up, more experienced, and mature.  But deep down our feelings of insecurity are still there...we just have to bury them for their sake.  Severe weather is just one of many factors that we have no control over and a reminder of our dependence on God's grace and provision.

One day my kids will be the protectors.  And they will realize when they are, that mix of emotions is still the same.  But they will keep a brave face for their little ones.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pastor Admits Atheism

Macbain posing with Dawkins
A recent story came to light as a UMC Pastor in Florida, Teresa MacBain, stepped down from her position and ONE day later let it be known to an atheist crowd attending the American Atheist Conference that she was indeed one of them.  This headline is widely celebrated in the atheist circles where I rub elbows both on Facebook and YouTube.

A quote under the story LINKED HERE says, "I am glad she saw the light.  Trained to be a minister, and preaching it, yet the truth finally won out.  Its a reflection of the growing class of those that don't recognize the monotheistic gods presented in various books that are filled with contradiction and scientific, as well as historic inaccuracies.  Besides, a god that sounds like Saddam Hussein?  No thanks."

Well this headline should neither be celebrated or shocking to any person's world view.  This just goes to prove what Jesus taught all along.  Its not about Religion, its about a Relationship.  You cannot fake that...at least not for the long-term.  Religion is man-made traditions, ceremonies, and rules that make an effort to find God.  Relationship is God's bridge to us and He makes that possible through Christ's sacrifice and Resurrection.

Do you trust man's way or God's? 

I feel sorry for this woman.  She obviously at one point in her life knew there was more to existence than naturalism.  But instead of developing a relationship with Jesus Christ, she joined a religious practice that left her feeling empty and fake.

Monday, April 02, 2012

What's Your Excuse? 2.0


We all have them.  EXCUSES!  Reasons why we can't accomplish something.

Reason why we can't:
  • Travel
  • Lose Weight
  • Earn more
  • Have extra time
  • Vacation
  • Improve our skills
  • Better our situation
  • Eat right
  • Exercise
  • And many more...
This fairly new series to the blog will hopefully help you and I both stop making excuses.  The first person highlighted was on my Facebook page (not here) so feel free to click THIS LINK to view an amazing man overcome his disability and show us what is possible when excuses are tossed aside.

But for today's post, I present Johanna Quaas.  She is an 86 year old performing gymnastics to a packed audience.  There are several videos including one where she performs a floor exercise routine but the one below was perhaps the most amazing.  Enjoy and STOP making excuses!