Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 70

Category: Computers

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

Vote closed.  Winner: Google Maps

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

Click on images to enlarge them.

Separation Anxiety

Next year sounds good!

Safety First!


Who just used Google Maps!?

No more dishpan hands.

Forgot to click "save".

Mouse fossil discovered.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Harsh Truth

Ever hear that phrase? What does it mean?  Shouldn't we want or need to understand truth regardless of what emotional response it elicits in us?  But isn't there more than one kind of harsh truth?

For instance:

1.  Someone may call me fat and ugly.  This is truly their opinion of my physical appearance and it certainly meets the "harshness" requirements.

2. Then there is truth that states we are all sinners, all fallen short of the Glory of God and the wages of sin is death.

Equally harsh mind you.  No one wants to hear that they have fallen short and that a death penalty awaits.  But this truth unlike the first one is good for you to understand and the other is just a persons mean opinion.  For every person that may find me unattractive there are thankfully others that would compliment my appearance.  That is a subjective truth that can change with each persons point of view.  The second kind is objective truth.  Regardless of how you feel about it, the truth remains and the only question is how you will react to it.  The Christian accepts Christ's death as a substitute atonement for their sins and though they too will die one day, they will also be raised again as Christ was raised.

That is Good News is it not?

I am currently learning how to tell the truth in love as Scripture advises.  In doing so, I have become more bold in what I will say.  But accountability is key since it can be quite easy to steer over into the subjective column.  We are not doing our fellow man any good to be mean and subjective truth tellers.  We are giving life when we are willing to tell objective truth regardless of where it lands on the PC or harshness scale.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today's Mailbag 17.0

The Golden Years

Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down.  I was looking for my keys.  They were not in my pockets.  A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing.

Suddenly I realized, I must have left them in the car.  Frantically, I headed for the parking lot.  My wife has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition.  My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lost them.  Her theory is that the car will be stolen.  As I burst through the doors of the church, I came to a terrifying conclusion.  Her theory was right. The parking lot was empty.

I immediately called the police.  I gave them my locations, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen. Then I made the most difficult call of all, "Honey," I stammered.  I always call her "honey" in times like these.  "I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen."

There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard her voice. "Idiot", she barked, "I dropped you off!"

Now it was my time to be silent.  Embarrassed, I said, "Well, come and get me." She retorted, "I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car."

If you have a contribution for Today's Mailbag, send it to

Monday, June 25, 2012

Disgust & Motivation

I won't say I've happily carried an extra twenty pounds around for the last decade.  But I can say that I've not let it bother me enough to do anything about it.  I first started putting on weight in my twenties.  Having been 6'1" and a high school runner and soccer player...I needed to gain a few.  I weighed 145 my sophomore year before getting on the Cross Country team.  By my senior year I was 125 pounds with 2% body fat.

While I see no need to ever return to such an extreme number, I would be extraordinarily happy with weighing 180 at this point.  As it stands I fluctuate between 195 and 200.  It was a slow climb to get here and for the most part I've topped out.  Being that I don't do anything different I just seem to maintain and therefore sit idly by hoping to wake up and see a different result in the mirror.  I know this won't work, but a small, boyish part of me that still embraces the faciful, occassionally still wishes it were so and thinks it could happen.

But where I am finding myself (at least in this moment) is a place I need to be in order for true change to officially begin.  My disgust for the image in the mirror is turning into motivation.  And I think that is the key for any of us with out-of-shape bodies.  We all have a different threshold as to what we can tolerate or justify away.  But there is a point where action becomes the more desirable practice over continued inactivity and calorie-consuming gluttony. 

I think I am going to make some changes.  How about you?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 69

Category: Logos

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

Vote closed.  Winner: AKA Facebook

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

Click on images to enlarge them.

Google Chrome Origins

Comes with a side of fries.

A Down Economy

What? I got hungry!

Pepsi Results

A.K.A. Facebook


Which one would you like?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Christian Discernment

As our churches become more and more infiltrated by secular thought and worldly influences, what becomes of discernment?  Do Christians still have any?  Well certainly some do but I am beginning to think that this group may be a shrinking minority.  In simplest terms, discernment is knowing the value of something and determining if its good or bad.  God gives us various methods to arrive at a conclusion about things just in case we are confused.  Some posses discernment as a spiritual gift and have a certain built-in intuition.  Others need to seek council and test issues with Scripture.  But the idea is that a Christian practice discernment regardless of methodology.

So with that in mind I present to you perhaps the worst example of discernment possible by the FBC Senior Choir in Columbia, South Carolina.  For some unknown reason Music Director, Keith Watson has managed to convince those in the choir to sing and perform several secular songs of ill repute.  This might have been a self-contained incident that was dealt with internally were it not for several of these clips going viral on YouTube. 

Such songs include:  Eminem's "Lose Yourself," Chamillionaire's "Ridin Dirty," OutKast's "Hey Ya!," Pussycat Dolls, "Don't Cha," MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," and Nelly's "Hot in Herre."

Some songs are worse than others but I would argue none of these songs should be sung by a church choir.  I Google searched for the lyrics to "Hot in Herre" (performed below) and was even more appalled than before.  But one need not look for lyrics to DISCERN that this is NOT appropriate.  I am all about having a good sense of humor.  I am all about showing younger generations that the older ones (myself included) are still hip and with it.  So the motivations behind these productions might be somewhat understandable.  But it amazes me that no one in the staff or membership questioned the value of this idea before it got off the ground.  It amazes me even further that this Music Director still has a job.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Don't Mess With Mama Bear

What happens when you get between a Mama Bear and her cubs?  If you're really lucky you might escape with your life intact but a hospital visit is probably a good idea.  Well the lesson holds true even with the less furry, human Mama's it seems.

Yesterday evening I sat captivated as I watched a local news report on Kari Kimbler.  Her husband pulled into a Starbucks parking lot, left the car running with Kari and baby in the car, hoping to grab his purchase and quickly return.  A man who had just stolen a t-shirt from Wal-Mart had other ideas.  He got in the drivers seat and drove off with Kari and her child.

At first Kimbler just begged the man to stop and let them out.  But after the assailant entered a stretch of highway going the wrong direction she began to realize the man could not be reasoned with.  He seemed to have no regard for his own life much less hers or her offspring. 

This is my favorite part:

"Then momma bear kicked, and I all could think was, 'I've got to protect my baby with all that I have,' and it came out, and I just beat the living daylights out of him as hard as I could -- in his head, just punching in his head, and she was screaming too," Kimbler said.

Needless to say, the beaten man pulled over and let them out.  Dallas Police are still searching for this man but Kari managed to save the lives of herself and her little one.  Something tells me, this mystery man is somewhere licking his wounds wishing he hadn't messed with Mama Bear!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mourning a Lost Faith

I was up most of the night.  Tossing and turning over my recent discovery.  It seems a rather impactful Christian brother that I first met on Youtube has rejected his faith.  I don't yet have official confirmation of that from him but all signs and clues that he has left lying around seem legit.

There are two types of "former Christians".  Type one has only rejected Churchianity.  It looks and smells like Christianity and most in it believe themselves Christian.  I know because this is where I once called home.  But it was man-made traditions and obligations.  It was a hallow attempt by man to bridge the gap to God.  It left me searching and believing that Christianity really didn't have the answers.  Type two really did have a relationship with Christ.  They really did have the authentic walk.  They really did have the Holy Spirit and experienced a re-birth...only to later reject their faith and return to the land of the lost.  Scripture warns us that type two has committed the only unforgivable sin when they reject the Holy Spirit in this manner.

I almost applaud type one folks.  Sure there is inherent danger that they will always believe that they had an authentic walk with Christ and never believe something more than their Churchianity experience is even possible.  But why delude yourself and think you've got something that you don't.  These are the folks that Scripture says will call out Lord , He sadly reports that He never knew them.  It is vitally important to reject Churchianity so that you are no longer in this category.  So though it is scary and has dangers, I again, must applaud.

The problem is in the not knowing a persons heart.  In the not knowing which category they are rejecting both categories of people will claim they are rejecting Christianity and both will swear to have had an authentic walk.  So I mourn over this kind of news, no matter who it comes from or what circumstances make up the details.  I have to deal with the idea that I may NEVER get to commune with this person as a brother or sister again.  In some ways its worse than telling me any other kind of bad news.  Eternity is attached to these decisions. 

For those of you that have Calvinist leanings of once saved always saved...(a) I hope you are right despite Scriptural references that imply otherwise and (b) please don't take this as opportunity to argue TULIP concepts with me.  I am very upset and not in the mood.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dad's Day Afterthoughts

I am convinced that God allows men to experience Fatherhood so that we can share an intimate bond with Him.  As I've grown in my walk with Christ, no other time or stage of life has opened my eyes to who God is and how He must feel about us as His children.

An earthly dad such as myself gets to experience the most mind-bending frustrations perceivable to the human psyche as they try to properly train or explain the ways of life to their young-lings.  But we also get to experience the unconditional love and deep desire to do anything including sacrifice our own lives to protect and provide for them.  Most days are spent somewhere between these two extremes but you get the drift.

And if we who are evil know how to (give good gifts) to our much more will you Father in Heaven give good things to those that ask Him. 

This passage is from Matthew 7 and I've purposely put parenthesis around three words that I believe we can exchange for a wide variety of other words.  The point of this verse isn't to share with you how to get good gifts from God although it does broach the topic.  Instead it makes a broader and more important point: that if we earthly dads know ANYTHING about being a good much more does God know about it?  So insert what you want in the parenthetical area and the concept still works.  Your efforts will always pale in comparison to the Ultimate Father.

Our role, in my humble opinion, is to take these precious gifts (our children) and show them at least a glimpse of what an ultimate dad looks like, creating a thirst in them to seek out their true Father with complete passion and zeal.  When men fail to understand how important their role is in the rearing of children, they hinder those tender ones from even wanting to approach a "heavenly" version of their earthly example.  Being a dad is for me, THE MOST important responsibility any man can be trusted with.

Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 68

Category: Cowboys

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

Vote closed.  Winner: No fear, no pants

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

Click on images to enlarge them.

Cooling Off

Texas Flip-flops

Sound advice.

...Or pants, apparently.

Cowgirl car-hops

Available at your local Cowboy retailer

Where's the nearest horse mechanic?

Scientific Shootout

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Direct TV Spoof

You cannot follow me online or know me IRL for long before discovering my sense of humor.  To me this is a God-given human trait that unfortunately isn't always shared by fellow Christians.  And I get that we need to be serious about important subject matter and not make light of our faith when eternity hangs in the balance.  I'll even grant you that certain types of humor stylings are inappropriate and well beyond the borders of a "best representation" of Christ-like behavior.  But hopefully you don't see my comedic offerings skirting such a border and appreciate a good laugh as much as I do.

For this particular creation, I have taken the already hilarious Direct TV commercial formula and made it my own...with a Christian twist of course.  This (like most of my decent ideas) will most likely become a series.  Take a look at this first run and give me your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ProActive or ReActive

I have had various times in life where I am searching.  Originally the search was for God Himself although I didn't always know He was what I was looking for.  Since coming to Christ, that hole is filled completely and a certain abundance of Joy flows from that.  So the searches that have occurred since then have been more along the lines of questioning God about what He is calling me to do.

In these processes and times I tend to fluctuate between a proactive and reactive strategy to God's will.  When in proactive mode, I am literally searching for answers, questioning friends, praying constantly, looking for any clue to help me get clarity. When in reactive mode I am just waiting on the Lord.  In some ways, this requires the most patience but also seems to make the most sense.  After all if He is in control, then my service needs to be in reaction to His clear objectives for my life at such times He reveals that to me.

Scripture seems to support both methods.  We are told to seek and we shall find, knock and the door will be opened...both proactive measures that get the desired results.  But we are also told to wait on the Lord as a sheep would a Shepherd in countless other places & illustrations.  This is especially relevant to my life right now as I feel a bit unsettled.  I have a tremendous feeling that I am supposed to be stepping up my Ministerial outreach.  I am not sure if that means a more official, pastoral role, or a continued "outside of the box" and "in the field" sort of thing.  I know fairly well what its not.  But I struggle to put a finger on what exactly this new-found urging in my soul actually is.

Your thoughts and experiences are most welcome!

Monday, June 11, 2012

When To Let Go...

The verse in  Matthew 10:14 goes as follows:

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Hey Christian!  Did you read that?  Did you read and UNDERSTAND?  This says by all means share your faith, share the Gospel, spread the word but what else does it say?  This passage has an If/Then statement if you look closely enough.  IF the people you are sharing with don't want to listen to your message THEN you are to do what?  Keep knocking on their door?  Keep quoting Scripture to them?  Try sharing in another way just in case you messed up the first go-round?  No, it says to move on.

Don't get me wrong.  I am speaking straight out of a hypocritical mouth.  I, like you, want everyone to know what I know, feel what I feel, and spend eternity partying in heaven.  I would be an absolute jerk to not want that for others.  But where do you draw the line and let go?  Do you keep going into the same field scattering seed day after day or do you go to new fields?  God ultimately calls to a persons heart when they are ready.  If you are lucky, you might get to play some small part in the process but get it through your thick skull that YOU are NOT doing the SAVING!

The fact is, people will know you are a Christian (or at least they should).  If you don't spend all of your time preaching at them but are open about your faith, it creates an environment that makes you approachable.  And some just won't ever approach.  You have to be alright with that.  As it stands, current techniques seem akin to chasing after pigeons throwing seeds at them.  And we are shocked and horrified that they fly away scared?!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 67

Category: Optical Illusions

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

Vote closed.  Winner: Floating Platform

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

Click on images to enlarge them.

Starbucks Side-effects

Mirror or Alternate Dimension?

Floating platform

How many ears does she have?

Broken gravity.

Heavenly Campsite

Who left the cat plugged in?!

The Bridge to Nowhere

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Moral Dilemma - WWYD?

Ever watch ABC News correspondent John Quinones as he does his hidden camera experiments?  Sometimes its just to see if people will help someone in need.  Other times its to see if folks are willing to be confrontational when the situation demands it.  Still other made-up scenarios test a persons moral fiber.  My wife probably gets annoyed with me when I watch this show because I emphatically state,

"If only this show would catch me in the act, they would see a guy willing to do what's right!"

Yes, folks I watch this show and get the majority of my entertainment value from making judgement calls against those that "fail" the test, all the while in the privacy and comfort of my own home, claiming that I would never get caught turning a blind eye to injustice of any kind.  I think deep down, I know that my imperfections are bigger than that but there I sit, royally on my throne of self indulgent pride, boldly declaring otherwise.

With this set up in mind, I must now change the scenery and take you to Target and propose a What Would You Do scenario of my own (move over John Q.)  My daughter Mackenzie even before entering the shopping premises has voiced her desire to purchase something.  She has a few bucks to her name and knows well enough at her age that this won't buy her much.  As luck would have it, while in the store she finds a $20 bill!  My first reaction was WOW...what luck and I was doing a mini-celebration that Mackenzie's options for her purchase just improved significantly.  Then reality kicked in and I realized that someone else LOST this money.

As I thought about our options, my train of thought went something like this:

  • How can we possibly locate a person that lost cash?
  • What person wouldn't admit to losing money if you held it up and asked a large crowd?
  • Does anyone near-by us appear to be searching for something lost?
  • Should we go turn it in to the lost and found?
  • Will the lost and found person keep it for themselves and laugh as I walk away?
  • If the money goes unclaimed, who gets it?
  • Does finders-keepers apply to Modern culture?

Essentially I wanted Mackenzie to know that we need to make an effort to find the owner of lost goods.  But at what point do you keep the shaggy dog that no one called about when you've papered the neighborhood with FOUND pictures?  Or in this case, at what point do you buy a toy?

You may choose to judge me for how I handled this and I would deserve it as payback for my actions and rulings over the ABC coverage.  But we went to the lost and found counter to ask if anyone had inquired about a lost $20 bill?  They said that no one had and so I let Mackenzie keep it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The End is Near 5.0

This is a relatively new series to my blog that you will hopefully enjoy. The idea is to share five links to various sites that show evidence that we are living in the End Times. You will quickly see that for every link that may lead you to a serious article or news coverage that looks to be straight out of Revelation, there will be several more that are just tongue-in-cheek and meant to be funny.

I am not a date setter. Scripture says we will know the "season" of the end but not the time or day. And since a day is to God as a 1000 years is to us...there is really no telling how long a season might be. Here are just a few reasons I think we are in the season of The End...

Machines on the Rise - In the vein of movies like Terminator, one of the categories that is growing quite common in this series is how advanced our technology is becoming. This week, we have one such example:

1.  Nano Manufacturing

Cases of Injustice- It seems all too often the headlines prove that justice is a hard-to-come-by commodity.  In just a few weeks, three such examples hit the radar:

2. Student denied Asthma medicine & left to die

3. Police break into wrong home & accidentally burn it down

4. Honor student jailed for missing classes while financially supporting younger siblings

Comedy or Crazy?  - Opinions often vary as to what is funny or what constitutes art.  Time for you to weigh in on this latest bizarre example.

5. Orville the Helicopter Cat


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Owned By Owners Manual

In concept most things should be relatively easy to assemble and install.  A night-stand has three walls and two drawers.  Connect the three walls (plus top & bottom), slide in the drawers and viola! Right?  Well maybe not.  Though I have a rather long list of items in ten years of marriage that have been successfully put together and/or installed, the percentage of those that went smoothly and without issue is VERY minuscule.

When I first started my handyman career I often wondered if it was just me and my inexperience or if everyone had the same basic woes with their projects?  One MAIN factor kept sticking out like a sore thumb.  The OWNERS MANUAL!  Who is in charge of writing and illustrating these things?  I am convinced that the people whose job it is to produce these "instructions" to us have NEVER actually put the product together or installed it.  And I believe that SHOULD be a requirement!

Case in point on Sunday night earlier this week, I set about to install a new light fixture above our Kitchen table.  In concept, it should be easy.  Turn off the breaker, connect the electrical, attach the mounting bracket, connect the fixture to the bracket, screw everything tight (including the light bulbs), turn circuit breaker back on and flip on the wall switch.  I have installed four ceiling fans with quadruple the amount of parts and heavier components so surely this will be just as simple as I've described!

But you, the reader, know better.  You know it didn't go well because (A) it never goes well and you've personally experienced this too not to mention (B) I don't normally blog or rant about great experiences.  To save you a novel, this OWNERS MANUAL not only failed to show the proper order that all the components were supposed to be put in, they never once tell you to connect the electrical wires LAST.  I had to learn by trial and error (each time disconnecting the entire apparatus) fixing the issue, reordering the parts, reconnecting the wires, finding a new issue, disconnecting, fixing, reconnecting...well you get the picture.  I am a smart enough person that IF any kind of clear instruction had been inserted into the manual, this could have ALL been prevented!

DIY TIP:  Any time you are hanging a light that has a rope or chain-type mount, connect the electrical last so that when you screw the brackets into place it won't twist your electrical wires into pretzel shapes.

COMMENT: I want to hear from you.  Feel free to tell me about either how awesome your handyman experiences are or how relatable this post is due to your similar troubles!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Heroes & Hope 3.0

We live in trifling and uncertain times. I tend to highlight the more concerning topics fairly often. 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 one such story came to my attention about a young man with Spastic Cerebral Palsy.  His name is Matt Woodrum, a fifth grader at Columbia Hills Elementary School, he normally sits things out on Field Day.  But not this year!

Determined to participate just like all of the other kids, one of the most difficult events is the 400 meter race.  For Matt to complete the necessary two laps he must push through some intense pain.  Just watching him fight for every step is not only gut-wrenching but heroic and awe inspiring.  So much so that he soon has a huge crowd of fans cheering him on.  Watch as this amazing story of victory unfolds and see if you can keep your composure!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Photo Friday Frenzy - 66

Category: Camping

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

Vote closed.  Winner: Parting the Fishing Hole

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

Click on images to enlarge them.

Good Advice!

I call top bunk!

Mind. Blown.


Nobody here but us swans!

Star Trek Camping

VW Tent

Parting the fishing hole!