Archives For January 2006

Open thread for now. Here is the original thread.

I believe God can give us the strength to endure [submitting to the world's standards], but many fall under the pressure to be all things to all people, and compromise what they believe to political gain. It’s sad indeed. It really encourages us to pray for our leaders though…especially those who are Christians.

Original question.

(Welcome La Shawn Barber readers! Thanks for a great live-blogging time! Check out my other posts, as well the sidebar to listen to Square Talk Radio.)

One of the greatest men I’ve ever met was Truett Cathy, the owner and founder of Chick-Fil-A. Really, I didn’t “meet him” as in talk to him, but I heard his words as I sat in his Sunday school class on the last day of the year for them. The words were inspiring as he talked to the young men who would continue on through the youth group. And the most amazing thing he said was “what you read is who you will become.” Those aren’t the exact words, but the principle has stuck with me. So now I present to you the books that have helped me, have shaped who I am, and books that I have enjoyed so much.

Helpful Books

Foundations of the Christian Faith by James Boice
Who Made God by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler
A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell
The Way of the Master by Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort
Attributes of God, The Sovereignty of God, The Beatitudes and the Lords Prayer, and Why Four Gospels by A.W. Pink
Better Thinking and Reasoning by Ron Taglipietra
Haleys Bible Handbook
(When I was younger) Kay Arthur’s studies for kids.
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
Strategic Debate by Vance Trefethen

Books That Shape Who I am

Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Don’t Waste Your LIfe by John Piper
Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
I Dare You by William H. Danforth
The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stowall (a gift from Truett Cathy)
Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
No Place For Truth by David F. Wells (Reading it now)
Why I Am a Baptist by Tom J. Nettles and Russel D. Moore (Going to read it)
Blog by Hugh Hewitt
In the Reign of Terror by G.A. Henty (Fiction)
A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (Fiction)
Bruchko by Bruce Olson
Journeyman Missionary by Jesse Fletcher (Fiction)

Favorite Fiction

Sigmund Brouwer books
Bill Myers books
Stephen Bly books all the way
Men of Iron by Howard Ryle
Nancy Rue (Not Drue) Christiant Heritage series
Hardy Boys
Original Sugar Creek Gang Series by Paul Hutchens
The Art of Living by Wilferd Peterson
Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Stories Worth Re-Reading (the book)
Sgt. york and the Great War
The Martyr of the Catacombs
Regina Silsby’s Secret War
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
The Red House Mystery by Elisabeth Enright
Sign of the Beaver and The Witch of Blackbird Pond Elizabeth George Speare
Cyrano
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Agent Books

Sherlock Holmes
God’s Secret Agent by Sammy Tippit
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
Handbook of Practical Spying
Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield
The Complete Father Brown by GK Chesterton (I’m wondering how I forgot this one, except for the fact that I don’t own it. As the Rebelution said, it’s just as great or even greater than Sherlock Holmes. Father Brown doesn’t do drugs.

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so would you like to suggest some books to add to my library (which isn’t fully listed here due to the fact that there are far to many I’ve read to find and write down.)?

Start listing!

I don’t know about you, but have you ever thought what I’ve thought when I hear a certain prayer?

We hear of someone, such as a friend or a relative, who have lost a “loved one” and are in need of our prayers. And every time we pray for them we pray that “someone might be saved through this circumstance.” And, to be honest, most of the time I’m thinking “yeah right…someone just died, people.” Of course, this isn’t my though all the time, but I have thought it before.

Now I also do realize that God can work through situations like those where someone has died to bring a person to think about death, and where they will go after death. And that may very well be a good thing. It is certainly a way that God can work in a person’s life.

Yet I wonder, when we pray, why we do not say “Lord, I pray that you will use this beautiful day to work in someone’s life” instead of only praying that when someone is seriously ill or has died. Why don’t we pray that God will work in the good situations when people are feeling great? Why do we only turn to God when things are going wrong? Why do we expect God to work only in dire circumstances?

Really, I begin to wonder if we’ve become stuck in a “prayer rut,” just repeating the same old phrase over and over again, not realizing that we haven’t shown our full trust in God. He works when the sun is shining and when the rain is falling. I believe that we need to keep that in mind when we go before God.

Let’s pray that God will work through someones life whether they are sick or not.

“Lord, I pray that you will use this beautiful day to work in someone’s life.”


Really, I always want to provide thought-provoking analysis on the culture every single day, but unfortunately, that’s not always possible. So I come to you today to remind you of some things, and to bring your attention to some things as well.

You still have time to call in for Square Talk, since we’re spending this week preparing for it, in an effort to give you a quality show with some information you haven’t heard. All you have to do is call 206-888-4STR or 206-888-4787 and leave a comment about the MySpace post. I know some had some questions about it, and others wanted to comment on it. Leave your comments on the number above. We’ve had a call already, and I want to thank you very much for it. We’re excited to air it on Square Talk.

Another thing to check out in the blogoshpere is the new blog, Together For the Gospel. Really, it is the most entertaining blog in the blogoshpere right now. C.J. Mahaney…Albert Mohler…Mark Dever…Ligon Duncan. That equals an incredible blog. What makes it worth reading, is, of course, C.J. Mahaney’s posts. I just wanted to let him know that Seattle will win over Pittsburgh. It’s inevitable. Pittsburgh has been waiting for an upset. But enough for the NFL analysis.

One of the most interesting posts right now is Mark Dever’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Blogs.” I probably could write an entirely different post, but I won’t. I think Pastor Dever states some very interesting and true facts–blogs are not central and absolutely necessary to our Christian growth. Really, I believe reading books is so much greater. But blogs do have their place. Really, the central question “could these small things we write really be that important?” is really a heavy question for all bloggers. Does what I write here on this blog matter? Does it really hold importance?

And the answer really depends on the blog, and how it is written. Personal blogs don’t matter. Blogs about your breakfast, and the party you went to last night don’t matter.

But blogs such as Dr. Mohler’s, or Tim Challies, or Girl Talk, or Reformation 21, or La Shawn Barber, and many, many others that I don’t have time to mention really do matter in the long run. They affect someones life. Really, many of the blogs reach more people than a teacher or professor would every day. Some reach thousands each day. I think that holds a lot of weight. But we must also keep in mind that what we read really makes who we are, and we must pick blogs wisely, making sure that they are full of quality material.

So, as I wrap up, call in to Square Talk, check out the blog, and read books. Lots of books.

WARNING: SPOILERS

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose”.
–Jim Elliot

First of all, let me begin by saying that The End of the Spear was a powerful movie. It was surprising how well done the film was technically, even with a lower budget. The story was, as I knew, incredible. The scenes were touching, and reached out to the audience, leaving a stunned audience to sit in silence at the end of the film, not moving anywhere to leave the theatre.

Before going into the theatre, I knew one huge fact about this movie. It’s name, or rather, his name was Chad Allen. Allen happens to be one of the nation’s leading gay activists, and the actor portraying the part of Nate and Steve Saint, one of the five missionaries killed by the Waodani in the 1950s. I believed that the knowledge that this was a gay man would ruin my experience. But it did not. The man was just like any other actor, a sinner, who was doing his job. The acting was superb, and I was glad that this man’s lifestyle had no affect on me as I watched the movie.

Yet still, we have seen a lot of legitimate concern with using the “worst man for the job.” This man is one who worships, as he says, the “God of my understanding. It’s very powerful, and it’s taken its own shape and form. And I am very much at peace in the knowledge that in my heart God created this beautiful expression of my love.” It is obvious that he was not the best man for the job. In fact, he could have been the worst man for the job.

World Net Daily reports Steve Saint’s interesting take on the situation:

Nate Saint’s son Steve Saint, who served as a producer, a stunt pilot and had a bit part in the film, believes it was God’s plan to have Allen in “End of the Spear,” according to Agape Press.

Saint admitted, however, he was shocked when he learned Allen was homosexual.

“I could feel physical pain,” he recalled, “thinking [that] somebody that lives a lifestyle like that is going to depict my dad.”

But after further reflection, he began to see Allen’s involvement might be God-ordained.

Some Christians might be offended by Allen’s role, Saint realized, but “I thought, ‘What happens if I stand before God someday and He says to me, “Steve, I went out of my way to orchestrate an opportunity for Chad Allen to see what it would be like to live as your father did.”‘ And then I could picture Him looking at me and saying, ‘Steve, why did you mess with my plan?’”

Also according to World Net Daily, Allen supposedly has made a “gentleman’s agreement” with Every Tribe Entertainment to not use the platform given to him through this movie as a way to promote his homosexual activities.

What concerned me the most was not a gay actor or a director of gay movies, but rather the power of the gospel given in this movie. For the majority of the movie, I put myself in the shoes of an unbeliever. I came to the conclusion that the power of the gospel could be received as powerful. Yet it is very possible to wonder what exactly those missionaries were willing to give up their lives for, other than to be friendly and stop the killing. Some have claimed that it is impossible to see the gospel in this film because it is so hidden, yet I will differ on that point. It will vary, as I said, from person to person, and their background. Beyond the Gates of Splendor did not “preach” the gospel. And really, we should be the ones proclaiming the gospel, not this movie. We need to make sure we don’t get hung up on details, or problems such as these and take our eyes off of what we really need to be doing.

As a Christian, the gospel was evident as the Aucas realized that these missionaries were trying to tell them something–that the God they knew was out there and had a Son, and he was the way to jump the great “boa.” Of course, one would need a foreknowledge of the gospel to understand the dual meaning of these words which were used to help the Indians understand the message.

Perhaps we need to go beyond the gospel even, and realize that this is a story for Christians. A story about the ultimate sacrifice of these men who were willing to do crazy things to give horrible sinners the hope of forgivness and eternal life. It is a challenge to us to take our Christianity seriously and to be willing to give up personal comfort to save our brothers and sisters from eternity in hell. Really, that is the essential part of this film, even above the gospel. It is a challenge to spread the gospel.

The story as a whole, as I said, is absolutely powerful. The main character, Mincayani, is well-portrayed. His is a story of hatred and fear, turned into love and forgiveness as he becomes a God-follower, following the “carvings” of God’s Word.

We also see Nate Saint and his son. Their relationship proves to be something that affects you when you witness the horrible slaying of Nate Saint and the other missionaries on Palm Beach. There is a wonderful set of scenes, starting with Steve Saint asking his aunt the words of “We are your sincere friends” in Waodani over the radio (she was friends with Dayuma, an Auca who escaped to the white men early in the movie.) He asks his dad to promise to speak those words if he gets in a jam on the beach. Sure enough, he does.

As Nate Saint lies there, gasping for breath, a spear in his chest, and Mincayani standing over him, he speaks those words to him. If you have a heart at all at this point you’ll need some kleenex.

Another scene is at the end, when Steve Saint is given the chance to take revenge on Mincayani, yet he responds by telling Mincayani that “no one took my father’s life, he gave it away.”*

The true story was the key ingredient in this film, mixed with enough humorous parts to keep the audience entertained, and plenty of moments that broke your heart. These moments made the audience sit silently as the filmed closed. Many were wiping away tears, and others were pondering what had just happened as they saw horrible sin being forgiven.

Overall, the movie receives a B, as the gospel is not as strong as it could be, you really didn’t get to know the other missionaries and the story behind the story, and while they picked a good actor in terms of his skills, the fact that he is a gay activist is disheartening, to put it mildly.

I would encourage you to see it for yourself. I do not believe it would be a sin to go see it, and I would preach day and night against anything Chad Allen says if he decides to use the platform that has been given him. I want him to know True Joy and Peace, not joy and peace run by his feelings and understandings.

Finally, I am asking myself the question of whether or not Steve Saint was wrong in what he has done. And I’m really not 100% sure. Some are saying he’s terribly wrong, and others still are saying we don’t know. I would give him the benefit of the doubt, believing that he wanted to witness to this man. I really would like to get in personal contact with him to ask those vital questions that really need to be asked.

*Not official quote…

, ,

First off, I’m sorry. Really, I am. I’m sorry that you had to be held from commenting. Yet that’s not all.

I’m really sorry that you weren’t able to read this essential post because of an error on my part. This calls for action, and that’s what’s going to happen. An all-out revival of Wake Up the NEA even if it means missing some days blogging here.

But that’s not all I wanted to tell you about. The greatest thing about this post is that I am giving you an opportunity to win an Agent Tim Online T-Shirt. That’s right, a genuine ATO Shirt. And, I’m going to throw in an Old Schoolhouse Magazine with an article partly by me for free.

Here’s how to win.

1. Read this post.

2. You can comment if you want, but, for this time, I want you to do something different. Call 206-888-4STR or 206-888-4787 and leave a message like this…

Hello Tim, this is [First Name]. I wanted to thank you for bringing to my attention to the problems of MySpace. My question for you is [insert question here.] Thanks!

If you really disagree with me, or have a hard hitting question, or just liked the post, call in. Really, the questions are “why pick on myspace?” and “what’s wrong with myspace” as well as “don’t kids have the right to privacy on myspace?”

3. If you want to ensure that you are entered into the drawing for the shirt and magazine, you can email me. We will announce the winner a few days after the show on the Square Talk website.

So, make sure you call in, ask questions, comment, or want to make a point. And don’t worry, we won’t have your number, you don’t have to recieve the T-Shirt, and you can email Dr. Albert Mohler if you want to be assured that I am a real person.

Call today!

The real comments are working now. Thanks for your patience…now get commenting!

It was a normal school, with the same faces, the same groans, the same teachers, and the same sleepiness that seems to hang onto everyone in the morning. But things weren’t completely the same. Little did the students, the parents, and the teachers know that a 15-year-old kid had brought a pellet gun, with the orange warning peice painted black, to his school, and was completely intent on dying that day.

Penley, of Winter Springs in suburban Orlando, was accused of pulling the pellet gun in a classroom Friday and pointing it at other students before forcing one into a closet, then leading deputies and SWAT team members on a chase that ended in a school bathroom.

When he raised the gun at a deputy, a SWAT team member shot him.

Officers who had responded to the 1,100-student school believed the gun was a Beretta 9mm, and didn’t learn until after the shooting that it was a pellet gun.

The hospital had repeatedly refused to release Penley’s condition to reporters or even specify the nature or extent of his injuries. Police had said Friday that the boy was on “advanced life support.”

Sheriff Don Eslinger said the 15-year-old boy brought the gun to Milwee Middle School in his backpack. Eslinger said two students saw it and one persuaded the other to report it, causing a scuffle.

The alleged gunman ordered one of the students into a closet, dimmed the lights and ran from the classroom. He then went around the campus carrying the weapon, Eslinger said. Deputies eventually isolated him in a restroom, and the school was evacuated.

Eslinger said negotiators tried unsuccessfully to start a dialogue with the boy, identified as Christopher David Penley.

“He did not respond,” Eslinger said. “He refused to even comment. All he said was his first name. He did not drop the firearm.”

When the boy raised the gun at a deputy, he shot the youth, the sheriff said.

“He was suicidal,” Eslinger said. “During this standoff, and during the chase, the student said he was going to kill himself or die.” At one point, the boy held the gun to his own neck.

No one else was injured. The sheriff’s office confirmed later that the weapon was a pellet gun fashioned to look like a 9mm handgun. The tip of the gun had been painted black, covering brightly colored markings that would have indicated it was nonlethal.

It is indeed a sad story, and, as usual, is full of lessons for students and parents alike. We’ve looked at two teen killers in the past on this blog (one of which was accidentally deleted), and all of the stories have one central similarity–relationships.

David Ludwig killed his girlfriend’s parents. Patrick Armstrong killed his “friend,” who was a girl. And now, this 15-year-old gets himself killed because he’s depressed about a fight over a girl. That’s really warning number one when it comes to teens–watch out for the boy/girl relationship that can easily end up on the front page of Agent Tim Online. You really don’t want that to happen.

Almost all of these stories are about some young man deciding killing is the answer to the problems he’s facing, which usually involve girls. We can see many reasons for this, such as television and video games, which constantly speak of death, killing, and murder, causing the teen’s mind and soul to become immune to the revolting feelings that should come when you hear of a person being murdered, or watch it in action.

This is real life we’re talking about kids, not a video game or television. Everyone needs to wake up and quit living in a video game world.

The MySpace Part

Another interesting factor in Ludwig and Armstrong’s cases is that they both involve the word “MySpace.” Yes, that’s right, MySpace. That really awesome website where you can get a blog and meet lots of people. That place where you can send instant messages, and invite your buddies to read your site, and share thoughts about your daily life. And, of course, it’s safe…right?

You can read article after article on kids who thought they were safe–from parents and freaks–who ended up getting busted, expelled from school, killed, or fired.

Jose Aguilar, a 14-year-old freshman at Munster High School, talks about how much he loves his guitar on his Xanga.com blog and about his spot on the MHS junior varsity wrestling team. The guitar part is OK, but sharing your school puts you at risk, Willard said.

Jose said he wasn’t worried because he didn’t think random people would check out his blog.

“I kinda just think that the only people who are gonna be looking at it are like my friends,” he said.

Wrong.

Sites like Xanga, MySpace, and Friendster are accessible to everyone, which means you need to be extra careful about how you post. Any personal tidbit is an invitation for trouble. Anything that someone can use to track you down does not belong on the Net, Willard said.

Even if you don’t post that kind of information, there’s a chance people may still try to contact you. One in five teenagers is solicited online, according to the NCMEC.

If someone ever says ‘LMIRL’ — let’s meet in real life — remember one word: NO. Never, ever, under any circumstances meet somebody in person that you only know through the Internet. Those situations lead to nothing but trouble.

Melissa Darang, a junior at Merrillville High School who has a MySpace site filled with cheerleading photos, said she would never meet someone in person.

“That isn’t very smart to me,” she said, adding “I have seen people around though like at the fair or at the mall, and I think to myself ‘that person has a MySpace.’ Kind of weird.”

How does she know that? Pictures. When you post your picture somewhere — anywhere — on the Internet, there’s always going to be a risk that someone you don’t want to see them will find them. If you really want to put pictures of yourself out there, make sure they are not inappropriate or the kind that could get you into trouble. Use good judgment.

Also use your head when it comes to what you write on e-mail, instant messaging and Web site postings. It may seem like no big deal, but they are permanent records of conversations with people. If you can’t be certain the person you think you are talking to is for real or if the person could possibly use what you say in a negative way, then don’t converse with him or her. Even if you write something as a joke, beware. It could be used against you.

There are times when those kinds of exchanges can be used to your advantage. If you are having trouble on the Net, printing out the conversation or saving it to your hard drive is the first step you should take. Using that as evidence when approaching your parents, or any other trusted adult, can be really important.

When someone you know is giving you a hard time, it’s often referred to as “cyberbullying.” It can be just as hurtful as bullying face to face, and often even more so. Though you might feel the need to retaliate and try to cyberbully the person back, it’s best if you go to your parents first. In the most severe cases, it’s best to get the school involved.

“Schools have to be aware it’s happening. They have to educate the kids that just because it’s being done online, you’re still doing something that’s wrong,” said Bill Bond, resident practitioner for safe and orderly schools at the National Association for Secondary School Principals.

If somebody approaches you in an uncomfortable way — uninvited instant messaging, unsolicited posts — you also should go to your parents or another trusted adult. If you don’t feel comfortable going to them, go to the Web site www.cybertipline.com. The site is run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and has links to report every kind of crime. (Source)

Fairfax County, Virginia, is waking up to the dangers of MySpace and Facebook as well:

Fairfax County will hold seminars on the subject for parents this week, and Arlington County, at the suggestion of a parent who is a computer safety consultant, plans a similar meeting next week.

Meredyth Cole, assistant head of school at Madeira, said officials there were “shocked and amazed” to see how many students use Facebook, which began for college students in 2004 and was expanded late last year to include high school students.

Besides the most obvious danger — adult stalkers enticing teenagers into face-to-face meetings — Cole warned that personal information posted online can also be read by college admissions officers and future employers.

“We are trying to figure out how do our school rules relate to this type of behavior,” Cole said.

Some colleges have expelled teenagers for violating codes of conduct after discovering photos of underage students posing in front of kegs or writing about drinking binges, and employers often look up job candidates on the sites, said Parry Aftab, an Internet lawyer and the executive director of Wiredsafety.org.

What is scary for many of us is this: our friends all have a MySpace, which easy to find, easy to read, and sometimes easy to hack into if you know them well enough. I decided to go in and do a little investigation. My mom has done a lot more than I have, but here’s what I’ve found.

Almost everyone…no…everyone, puts a picture of themselves on their profile. Usually fine, yet it can pose a problem, especially when you consider the fact that most of the kids post not only their pictures, but also post their city, state, and country. Others post their telephone number, their school name, their full names and their friends full names, wonderful details about themselves, and other things that just shouldn’t be there.

For Christians, MySpace poses a huge problem for teens. It is not only a threat to your safety, but a trash dump with bad ads and bad people.

“There is ample research to suggest that disclosing secrets or talking about strong emotions improves physical and psychological health,” says James C. Hamilton, associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama. “Teenagers are typically very concerned about appearance and reputation, and these blogs and online discussions allow teenagers and children a sort of intimacy in conversation and communication with others that preserves their anonymity in ways that face to face conversations can’t.”

In other words, conversations on these blogs are candid, deep, and can show the “real you.” These blogs lead you to complain about your parents, share, rant, show joy, and cuss. It’s a community–a community of growing teens lacking in adult experience or maturity and freaks who are trying to stalk the kids.

Teens equals disaster when they gather together in one place where no one is encouraged to be the best that they can be morally. Girl/Boy relationships many times start there, and when you think back to the beginning of this post, that is not usually a good thing.

The Bible tells us that “Bad company corrupts good character.” We are to “flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

These blogs can be a danger to the health of teens, as we’ve seen, providing a teen hang out, which always equals some type of trouble.

When we ignore what the Bible says–He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm–we’re going to end up with serious problems. There has to be a reason for schools blocking MySpace and reasons for parents becoming alarmed.

Comments are working now…I’m using Haloscan at the moment, but they work.

RSS Who?

January 16, 2006 — Leave a comment

focuspleaseI’ll be perfectly honest with you–I’ve gotten lost when it comes to terms such as CSS, RSS, CPanel, and Bandwidth Overload. These words are prevalent in the tech community, which I am certainly not a premium member of, hence the fact that I can easily get confused, just as you can.

But really, I do know how to do a little more than your average 15 5/6 year old kid. I have a decent grasp of HTML, or at least, enough to get by. But I really get lost when I travel more than surface deep.

One of the most important aspects of your blog is your “feed,” which is simply defined as a link that readers can subscribe to. Yes, I know that made a lot of sense, but hang in there with me.

Let’s pretend that you already have a feed (you probably do if you use Blogger). I have a “feed reader” which is called Thunderbird. It’s similar to email, and can actually be used for email. Thunderbird allows me to subscribe to the site’s feed and putting it in my list of feeds to check daily.

When I check my feeds, it sends me a copy of all the latest posts on the site’s of my choice. In other words, you need some type of feed reader such as Bloglines or Thunderbird to keep updated on any blog you want.

That’s basically what RSS and XML are: feeds that syndicate your site like a newspaper, sending it to inboxes of subscriber’s. I encourage you to subscribe to my feed, which is helped out by feedburner, another great tool to spice up your feed if you’d like to try it out.

You’ll want to provide a place on your site for people to subscribe to. For blogger, you feed is probably www.yoursite.blogspot.com/feed.xml. If your site doesn’t seem to have one, look at the options for Blogger, and you can turn on your feed.

So, now it’s time to get in the know and start reading feeds!

Are You A Drummer?

January 15, 2006 — 1 Comment

focusplease
This post is not about the age-old drum argument or anything like that, but rather a nice pause from talking about how to blog, allowing me to convey to you something rather humorous that happened to me today at my church–something I certainly did not expect. Suprisingly, this has absolutely nothing to do with blogging or Agent Tim Online.

So, here’s the story. The service has already begun and we’ve sung a few songs. The pastor comes up and prays, and then we have a “greeting time” where everyone…well…greets others in the service, by shaking hands, introducing yourself, and basically just making everyone feel at home.

So, I stand up, shake some hands around me, then turn around to shake some vistors hands behind me. I shake one ladies hand…

“Good morning,” I say as I shake her hand and smile.

“Good morning!” she replies enthusiastically.

I move to the shorter lady beside her, who looks to be in her mid-60s or so.

“Good morning!” I smile and shake her hand.

“Are you a drummer?” she says smiling and shaking my hand.

My brother comes and stand beside me and she asks him as well. We both continue to grin and glance at each other, both suprised.

“Uhhhh…actually…no. I’m a guitarist though…”

“Ahh! My grandson is looking for a drummer for his band…” She continues to smile.

“Ohhh…” I smile somewhat sheepishly, “Ummm…okay…”

I turned around, a bit confused and very amused–never heard that one before. I mean, really, I’ve never been invited to be a part of a band by anyone over 20, and this was certainly the first time I’d been invited to join a band by a visitor who was in her 60s whom I’d never met and knew absolutely nothing about. Sometimes things just suprise me, and I wonder if it’s God’s sense of humor (have you seen anteaters?) at work.

It’s always fun to run into people who put the spice into your life, and really wake you up. But’s it’s also very weird. Very, very weird.

Comment Via Email for now…

Thursday Reflections

January 12, 2006

focuspleaseI’ve come to the realization that this blog is missing something. Actually, it’s missing a couple of things.

Through the Extreme Makeover posts (Part 1 and Part 2), I’ve learned the importance of writing my posts on paper, the importance of keywords, linking to other blogs, and more importantly not just reading other blogs, but taking the time to show I really am interested in what they have to say by commenting. Those are just a few things that I have found so important when blogging. But the one thing that I always seem to forget to include is the One who deserves all the glory for “success.” His name is God.

I just can’t write or speak or blog without God. Things go terribly wrong when I leave out the key ingredient. Perhaps you can tell when I decide to leave God out when you read this blog. Maybe those are the days when you decide not to stop by, or don’t want to or need to comment. And maybe those are the days when my posts seem dull and boring.

For me, when I leave out God, nothing goes right, and it’s obvious to me. But God wakes me up, and I am able to turn things around, and get back on the right track, trusting that He’ll lead me where He wants with His power and not mine.

So, I need to fix a few things. Expect some comments from me on your blogs, because I really do read them, and really do enjoy them. And expect a bigger focus on Him who able to far more than even I can imagine.

I know that when I take the focus off of myself in everthing I do, God will bless. And I pray that we all keep that in mind as we continue in our walk with the Lord.