Monday, March 31, 2008
Miss: Running errands with the family when nothing seems to work out. We couldn't find what we needed at the store, we couldn't buy the phones Shannon wanted; everywhere we turned we came up empty handed.
Hit: Enchanted (2007). Mom insisted that we rent this Disney tale and we really enjoyed it. What a pleasant, funny, heart-warming movie.
Miss: Bee Movie (2007). The other movie we rented – ugh. It just wasn't funny. The boys didn't seem to like it at all and it was painful for us. I actually fell asleep toward the end for a few moments. Yuck.
Hit: No phone calls. Normally when I take a day off, especially if we're watching movies, we get a phone call every 10 minutes. Yet this time we were undisturbed for most of the afternoon.
Miss: Rainy, dreary days. But even an overcast day is okay when you snuggle up for the afternoon to watch movies.
Hit: Shannon's homemade cinnamon rolls. How many moms can make the kind of delectable
foods Shannon makes completely from scratch? You can put Shannon in a kitchen with nothing but basic ingredients and she can make an amazing feast.
Miss: All four boys bouncing off the walls. Without the chance to burn off extra energy (thank you trampoline) they do get a bit stir-crazy.
After four rounds, here's how our Sweet 16 competition is going:
Justin is still in first place with 380 points. Jared and Jarod closed in by picking the top four teams correctly, the only players to do so. Everybody but Chad had all four of the Final Four teams picked (Chad only missed on Memphis).
Jared is two points behind Justin. He will gain two points on Justin each time KU and Memphis win, while Justin's lead improves by two points each time North Carolina wins. UCLA is a wash. So depending on how it plays out Justin could win by six points (UNC over UCLA in the final) or lose by as much as four (KU and Memphis in the final).
Jarod can't close the gap on Justin. He can only gain five points of his eleven point deficit (he really needed Xavier to win the tournament and North Carolina to lose earlier). Everyone else is even further away (Kyle, for instance, was losing six points to Justin with each Memphis win).
You can check out the updated numbers here.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment on my posts and then check back regularly to see if I've written back. I always try to respond to user comments whenever I can. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
After three rounds, here's how our Sweet 16 competition is going:
Justin has pulled into first place with 324 points. Justin's top six picks all made the Elite 8. While no one picked Davidson at all, five guys selected the other seven remaining teams. Chad and Matt only have 5 teams remaining.
This is the stage of the game where it comes down to the arrangement of the last few teams. If certain teams win, you might close the gap on another player by a few points with each win. But there's only so much opportunity left. For example, to pass Justin, it helps me if KU and Memphis win while North Carolina and Texas lose. The top seven teams are separated by 22 points.
You can check out the updated numbers here.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
- We have the FAQ about our church's two services on the church blog. We haven't had too many questions or any objections like I thought we might – just a few concerned voices that still seemed supportive. I hope that means we explained things well and prepared the congregation for these kinds of changes. Or maybe the fifth column is just especially quiet… hmm…
- Shannon and I are at the end of our cell phone contracts. We can't afford to switch to an iPhone yet but we're not sure what direction we ought to go. We received an offer for the Blackberry Pearl from Verizon (the company which has
bled us drybeen our carrier the last two years) but I'm not sold on all the extra features of a smartphone. I pretty much just make calls and text message. What do you think?
- My older boys watched the first two Indiana Jones movies this last week. Brennan wants to be a scientist and that character seems to appeal to him, though I think Tanner seems to be the better movie watcher. Tanner (6) is often engrossed in the plot and dialog of a show unlike the other boys – but they're still young. And they all like the action as much as I did when I was a kid.
- The "springs o' death" (our trampoline) continue to produce injuries daily. It's a good thing we have four of these rug-rats.
- Speaking of rug-rats, our little pretend dog, Maury, can finally climb down the stairs of the deck into the backyard. This is good because, being only one step tall, he's been trapped on our deck when he goes out to potty. I will never be able to power-wash the deck to my satisfaction after this.
- Oh, and have I mentioned that KU is in the Sweet 16 again and K-State won a tournament game while Mizzou stayed home. Life is good in the Sunflower state.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The Sprint Center is a beautiful building and walking around the concourse you view all tall buildings of downtown Kansas City all around you. Parking isn't really a problem, with various parking garages and empty lots all over downtown. The adjacent Power & Light District looks kind of cool but, since it's about 95% bars and nightclubs and is the only place in Kansas City where you can have open containers on the streets, it's likely to be become public intoxication capital of the Midwest.
The Brigade lost 92-52 and it wasn't really that close. The opponents, the Grand Rapids Rampage scored the second most points scored in AFL history.
Sean is a missionary pilot for MAF and they've been transfered from the jungles of Ecuador to the jungles of Southern Mexico. Along with the move, Sean has also started a new blog at mexicoaviator.blogspot.com to tell about their ministry in Oaxaca.
I've also corrected the "my favorite missionary" link at the right hand side of this blog.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Most notably, we announced yesterday that we are going to begin offering two services soon. Beginning May 4, we will have two Sunday worship services at 8:30 and 11:00. This change is only one part of a bigger plan to reach out to the communities around us (Piper, Basehor, Bonner, etc.).
Two services will make room for the people that we foresee the Lord adding to our family. We can only park about 75 cars and seat about 180 people. By adding a second service we hope to see many of the parking spaces used twice and the seating capacity to be over 300.
We have a three way tie for first place with Justin, Kyle, and Jared at 238 points. Matt S. is bringing up the rear with only 182 points and nine teams eliminated already. Chad now has the highest seeded team eliminated with Georgetown which was his top team. Jared and Sheldon have the most teams remaining with eleven out of sixteen.
You can check out the updated numbers here.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Out of a possible 136 points, Justin D. and Kyle D. are tied for first place with 132 points. Matt S. is bringing up the rear with 107 points and five teams eliminated already. Matt also has the highest seeded team eliminated with USC as his 13-point team. Kyle has the most teams remaining with 15.
Ideally, you would see all sixteen of your teams reach the third round (the "Sweet 16").
You can check out the updated numbers here.
Friday, March 21, 2008
But now we're caught up… and we have no where to go. The next episode of the Office isn't due for another three weeks. Then we wait a long week (that's 10,058 minutes) before we get another 22-minute dose. And we only get half a dozen episodes before another break of four or five months. Ugh.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
[Updated after Round 6]
|Pts||Jared||Richard||Sheldon M. ||Kyle D. ||Matt S.|
|Pts||Chad W. ||Josh T. ||Jarod A. ||Justin D. |
Fortunately, Brennan is at the age that he can take care of most things around the house with minimal instruction. He answers the phone and bathes the dog and set his brothers up to play video games or do school work on the computer. He's a lifesaver.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
If you'd like to do something a little different, try my "Sweet 16" game we've been playing the last few years. Instead of just filling out a bracket, we pick the best sixteen teams in the tournament and rank them best to worst. The best team will get 16 points for each win, the second team will get 15 points and so on until you get to the 16th team which gets one point per win. If you put them in the correct order, your maximum score would be 477 points.
Last year Zach B. won with 434 points. He had Florida and Ohio St. in his top four and each of the Final Four teams in his top six. Let's see you do that again, Zach!
If you want to play along, just post your list of of sixteen, in order, in the comments section and I'll keep a running tally as we go along. The cutoff is Thursday morning.
Oh, and what does the winner get? The satisfaction of a job well done.
The are, however, at least two other men who have similarly sacrificed themselves to protect their comrades: Marine Sergeant Raphael Peralta (who died three and half years ago) and Army PFC Ross McGinnis (who died in December 2006), both of whom smothered grenades with their bodies. Neither has yet been awarded the Medal of Honor. It's reaching the point of embarrassment for the Marines and Peralta, taking twice as long as the normally glacial pace of verification.
Other posts about the Medal of Honor.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I wonder what new justification people will find to kill 200,000 British babies each year?
Michelle Malkin writes fantastic short article about Emma Beck, the British artist who recently hung herself after aborting her twin babies. Her suicide note said, "I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum. I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies -- they need me, no one else does."
Saturday, March 15, 2008
When we recorded to cassette tapes, we made two copies. These piled up week after week until a decent sermon came along and both tapes were snatched up never to be seen again. I still have piles of old, cringe-worthy sermons from my early years and I'm still considering how best to
When we began recording to CDs, which made notably shorter stacks, we began making copies to order. When someone wanted a sermon we made them a their own copy and put the master copy back in the stack. The problem was that copying CDs took a little bit of time and making a professional looking label took even longer (thanks, Mike, for all your work).
Now we're working out the kinks to record the sermons digitally. It'll go straight to a hard drive, be compressed to an MP3 format and get uploaded to the website as soon as someone can make it happen. If someone wants to hear our sermons they can just listen to the website or download it their iPod or phone or they can make a CD themselves. For those who aren't comfortable using the internet in this way, we can still make a CD for them (sorry, Mike).
I'm hoping we get this up and running in the next few months but some of it depends on working out some solutions for the website itself. Nevertheless, this is the way we'll be going soon and I'm sure it will be a much more effective way of distributing these messages.
The F-117 was scrapped because it was an older plane with limited capabilities which was taking up money the Air Force desperately wants to go to newer more capable planes. In fact, the Stealth Fighter is not really a fighter at all but a light bomber. It could drop two bombs but had no other armament. The plane was subsonic and so vulnerable to enemy fighters that it only flew at night. The new F-22A Raptor is faster, better armed, more flexible, and more stealthy than the 1980's vintage Stealth Fighter.
The Air Force is desperate to get more of the expensive F-22 and F-35 fighters.
Friday, March 14, 2008
We haven't had any bloody noses or broken arms yet, but I feel like it's just a matter of time.
In coming weeks I'll write a lot about what we'll be doing… but for now let me say how blessed we are to have the Elders we have in our congregation. All four of these guys have been fantastic. They would never say so, but I believe these guys are exactly the men that the Lord needs for our congregation right now. In fact it feels like this is the season that these men have been prepared for.
Praise God for these men.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The centennial of the war's beginning is just six years away and it should be a powerful and very educational time. I know my boys will be reading and watching a lot about World War 1 as that time draws near. I've been collecting books (and a short list of great WW1 movies) that I want them to be exposed to.
In fact I just last week picked up a book on combat stories from WW1 American fliers. I've not read it yet but after a brief skimming, it looks interesting – almost a day by day account of the fledgling American air force.
Check out the trailers at Apple.com.
Monday, March 10, 2008
They played video games, ran around outside with the two dogs, and played in their room for the balance of the evening. What a blessing those little critters are!
We love our friends and family that have little kids. We have little kids at this stage in life and we're geared up for it. For instance, a few months ago we had several folks over to play cards. We had ten or more adults downstairs playing cards and I sat at the top of the stairs and played goalkeeper for thirteen (!) little ones.
It's amazing what you can survive.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Free agents shunning KC
The Kansas City Chiefs have been very quiet on the free agent front, some of which is because potential free agents are shunning the organization, according to Pro Football Weekly. Head coach Herman Edwards reportedly wants to obtain eight new starters during the offseason, but two players they were interested in declined to visit with the organization. Both center Jeff Faine and kicker Josh Brown were coveted by Kansas City, but neither opted to even schedule a visit leaving the impression that veterans find Kansas City an unattractive place to play. Looks like its going to be a long, and possibly ugly rebuilding process in Kansas City.
Friday, March 07, 2008
The poll also found that 31% cell phone owners send text messages in a given day (most of which are sent to my wife). 15% use their phone's camera every day, and folks who use their phone for games and email are about 8% each.
I've begun using my cell phone more and more and have it with me around the clock. I don't use the camera but I occasionally text message. I also use it as my alarm clock when I travel. It would be hard to part with.
- We're having a game night tonight at church. Ping pong, pitch, board games, etc. – it should be a lot of fun! Sometimes it's hard to see how this fits in the larger picture of church, but it's actually quite important. The atmosphere we have here of transparency, warmth and friendliness is fostered by activities like this. The Gospel is more effective here because of the bonds we're developing.
- When's the last time you saw an AP byline from Holton, Kansas? Here's an interesting article about British officers training in NE Kansas. At the end of the article the Brits speak to the culture shock of "real" Americans live. It's mostly flattering (patriotism, friendliness, etc.).
- The Office is quickly becoming an obsession. We're flying through season two on DVD, soaking up each episode and it's deleted scenes as well. Our biggest obstacle is running into spoilers, especially in the form of friends asking, "Have you got to the part where so-and-so does such-and-such? No? Oh, well that's really funny and unexpected." Thanks.
- Shannon asked this morning, "What's up with the foot of snow?" I responded, "First of all, it's not a foot. It's like three inches. Secondly, we always get snow like this in January." "But it's March." "Good point."
- My classic movies are getting harder and harder to find. It looks like the public library may actually be my best route to finish out AFI's top 100. Now I just have to find the time…
- I usually follow the Chiefs closely but after last year they're not making it any easier. Nevertheless, they seem to be the pariah of the league right now. Free agents are flying left and right but none are landing in Kansas City. Several top names have been pursued by the Chiefs but all signed elsewhere, now players are asking to get out of KC. It seems Carl Peterson, who has a growing reputation for ham-fistedness, is going to burn this thing to the ground before he actually gets anywhere. Yuck. Even the Falcons and Raiders are looking better than KC right now.
- I hadn't picked up my harmonica in a month or so but watching The Office has me playing their theme song. It's not hard to play harmonica when you have the tabs written out for you. It's just hard to play harmonica well.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Teaching in the Church
Step One: Dig a Deep Well.
Study, Study, Study. Go further than what you'll need. A big part of Bible teaching is understanding the "whole counsel of scripture" and a primary cause of false teaching is knowing the Bible only in part. Read the Bible widely with a good variety of tools and resources.
Step Two: Clean House.
Let it affect you! Spiritual shallowness cannot remain hidden forever. There's no bigger turnoff to the Gospel than the hypocrisy of a teacher.
Step Three: Know the Lay of the Land.
Know your audience: Preparing for a kindergarten class is different than preparing for a junior high class and a women's group is different than the youth group.
Know your venue: Is this an hour long class setting or is it expected to be a three-minute devotion?
Step Four: Stand Your Ground
Make one point and make it well. Always try to have just one dominant thought. Don't make apologies or provide excuses, just say what the text says.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
…but it's not Jim or Pam.
Or even Ryan.
The truth hurts. It really hurts.
We're about 10 or 12 episodes in and I watch each one with my hands over my face, peaking through my fingers. Wow; it's like rubbernecking at a traffic accident.
Anyway, we're eating her favorite food for lunch and watching movies at home all day today. She's been showered with phone calls and emails all morning and loved by four little boys that think she's irreplaceable.
Maybe it's the boys and me that are the ones who are spoiled.
The show seems to specialize in awkward silences. It's horribly funny but mostly because you feel so bad for the different characters. It's just awful… but it's also reminiscent of real life. The Office scripts out the unscripted awkwardness of real life.
We also rented a few episodes of the Muppets Show for the boys. They hardly knew any of the characters besides Kermit but they laughed and giggled for an hour and a half. I've never seen a rental go over so well with all four boys; the Muppets are funny!
Monday, March 03, 2008
60% admit to cheating on their husbands!?!?
I wish I could say that was unbelievable, but the more I counsel in ministry the more I discover that discontent and deceitful wives cheat on their husbands every day. I'm not sure that 60% isn't too high, but I would have guessed 40-50%, active church goers somewhat less but nominal church goers about the same as the general population. That's my guess anyway.
According the author, Susan Shapiro Barash (who may be lying by the way), money is the number one thing women lie about, sex is the fourth most common and various relationships make up half of the top ten issues about which they lie.
I've been really busy the last three days with ministry stuff. Sundays are always busy and I rarely blog on those days but the convention last week and the Elder's retreat on Saturday have me buzzing ministerially.
I'm doing a lot of reviewing and evaluation of how we do things at WCCC. I've also been reading and researching at an even higher pace than normal, which is saying something for a bookworm like me. Jay-rod and I are both full of energy and eagerness that we've not felt in a quite a while.
It's an exciting time!
I'd love to talk about some of the details but it's not necessary yet. Our church climate won't even change that much from an attender's perspective, but there's a lot of new focus and direction behind the scenes where before there had been routine and stagnation.