Thursday, December 28, 2006

I can do anything for 1 year...

This is my wife's motto when it comes to doing things that are a little inconvienient. This phrase mainly refers to the paper route that we do. It seemed like a daunting task at first but now it is not as bad as it first seemed it was going to be.

I have adopted this same motto but in a different way. There was a girl at Harding, her name escapes me at the moment, who was friends with Stacy. Every year she would 'give up' something (i.e. pizza, pop, ice cream, etc...)

This has been my habit for the past 2 years. 2 years ago I decided that I would go one year without drinking any pop. It was hard at first. Cause lets be serious for a moment here, who can eat pizza with out washing it down with a cold pop(or coke, or soda, or whatever you call it but this is my blog and it shall be refered to as pop! End of discussion :).

After a year of no pop I decided to take a big leap and go for water only. Yikes!!! I mean I live in the South and what is the one drink that everyone here has. Yep, that sweet exlir of the Southern Lifestyle ..... Sweet Tea!!! (Just a funny side note here: Jamey had to look the directions for making sweet tea up on the internet when we first moved here) Oops!! :)

Anyways, this decision has been one in which I can definetly tell a difference in how I feel. My energy level is more constant and I don't feel the sudden surge of energy and then sudden drop after the sugar high wears off. Sure there were the occasional slip ups. One time at a 'Shower' after church I had a couple sips of the punch(old habit, and it was only a few weeks into this), then for Super Bowl Sunday I had ginger ale because I had the stomach flu and everyone knows that Ginger Ale/7 up is the only drink that calms the stomach. And then at the Bybee's I had some "Christmas Punch". Hey it was the Holidays and I didn't want to be rude. Well all of this rehash has led me to the point of this blog.

This year I have decided to double up on my things to go without. I need some help in setting the definitions of what this entails so here are the main categories:

No sweets.
No fried foods.

So this eliminates:
Brownies, Sunny's chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bars, restaurant mints, suckers, Starburst, Skittles, Snickers, M&M's, Reese's Peanutbutter Cups, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, cake in general, pies in general, Chili's Molten Lava cake.

Can you think of anything else?

As far as fried foods:

French Fries, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, KFC Chicken, Fried chicken, fried pork chops.

Anything else for this group?

And I might, might, might stick with water only. I think I will mainly drink water but allow myself to have something else if I desire but stick with water as my main source of drink.

Any other suggestions?

Maybe no pizza either?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Moments & Memories

Sometime today take a moment of silence to honor those who are/have serving/served this country. Today Micah Gifford will be laid to rest in California at a military cemetery.
May God place His hand of comfort on his family this day and the days to come.

_________________________________________________________

One of my all-time favorite Christmas memories was circa '91. All my sister wanted for Christams was a bike. That was it; simply a bike.

We awoke at the usual o'dark 30 and had to wait for the parents to get up so that we could go get the presents from under the tree. Well in my parents house when you walk out of the hallway and into the living room the foyer is off of the living room. Well parked in the foyer was Jennifer's bike. The funny part was that my parents had her so convinced that she wasn't getting one for Christmas that when she walked past the foyer she stopped, turned, looked at the bike, turned forward again, and walked to the Christmas tree. We unwrapped all the presents and she still hasn't said a word about the bike. My dad finally said "Jenny, isn't there something in the foyer for you?". "No", she replied. "Better make sure and check again", he said.

She got up from the mound of wrapping paper and presents and walked back to the foyer where she then stood in a stupor, let out a shriek, and ran to the bike. She had gotten so convinced that she wasn't getting one that she thought she just imagined what a bike would look like parked there.

We all had a good laugh...


Merry Christmas to all,

Jon, Stacy, Lawson, and Jordan

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More thoughts on helping the poor...

Last night at church, Art Leslie, the minister at the Inner City Church of Christ, spoke to us about the work going on in the inner city of Huntsville. Much of the thoughts to follow are from his talk and mixed in are some on my comments as well.

The jumping off point for his talk was a verse from Galatians 2:10:

Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.

In this section of Galatians, Paul has just gone to Jerusalem to be confirmed by Peter, James, and John to be fit for spreading the gospel. As Barnabas and he leave to minster to the Gentiles this is the charge that is given to them from the other apostles.

In all that you do in your ministry don't forget to help the poor.

How can we really help the poor?

You have to be involved personally. You have to get involved in someone else's life and let go of your own hangups and really help that person.

Can you just give money? Sure but I just can't see that that is all we are called to do. Is just giving money really helping? Is that really working? If we don't get involved physically are we just, as Paul says, a clanging gong or a resounding cymbal. Is our faith dead? Do we lack the works in our faith to make it alive?

You see the rich young ruler didn't quite get it. You remember the story...The man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to enter into eternal life and Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. The man says that he has done all of this. Then Jesus gets down to where the "rubber meets the road" and tells the man ...

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

What was the man's response...I can't do that. I am too rich. That would mean me getting involved in someones life. Nope can't do it, can't help the poor.

Maybe we are too concerned about our possessions. I like my stuff, I like stuff in general. I am very particular about who touches my stuff. Most of my stuff the I like I keep locked up for only me to play with. You know what is going to happen to my stuff when I leave the world and go to be with my Father. Nothing! It will sit right where it is when I die and stay here.

The Rich Fool didn't get it either. He had an abundance of crops and decided to keep it all to himself, so he built bigger barns to store it all in so the he would have all that he wanted.

Listen to what God told him...

"'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

Let's go back to the apostles charge to Paul and Barnabas.

In all that you do in your ministry. When you get together to worship. When you get together to fellowship. When you get together to pray. When you go out in the world and walk with the Lord. Don't Forget To Help The Poor.

You see you can't be complete or as Jesus told the rich young ruler. "You can't be perfect" without helping the poor. Without getting involved with someone and helping them.

I am a big fan of Proverbs. Why? Because they are true facts of life. Everything in there will guide you to be a better person, father/mother, wife/husband, business man, and disciple of God. Read this Proverbs and tell me it doesn't sum up the previous two stories that I referred to.

Proverbs 28:27

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."

So here is my challenge to you. Get involved in the ministry that helps the poor. If you live in Huntsville, I challenge you to go down to the inner city and worship with the brothers and sisters there and not feel changed when you leave. Go with you eyes and heart open to the needs of the people who meet there. I challenge you to get involved with the poor there. If you live elsewhere, I challenge you to do the same. If your church doesn't have a ministry, start one.

Here is an even bigger challenge...
Get your kids involved now so that they grow up with this being an integral part of their life.

At the Inner City Church of Christ they have these little cardboard church buses to put change in. We have Lawson put change in there every time he finds a coin. When he does find it he comes to Stacy or I and says "Bus, Bus!"

Some of my fondest memories are of my dad carrying me down to church with him on Saturdays to get a mower to go mow and elderly woman's yard or to take a piece of furniture to someones house who had none. I am trying to create the same memories for my children.

What memories are you going to create? Will you create one like that of the rich young ruler who kept all the commands but couldn't help the poor or one of the Rich Fool who hoarded his goods for himself? Or will you create one like Paul and Barnabas and when you pass on you will be remembered as one who, as he/she went about their ministry, never forgot to help the poor?

You only get one legacy to leave behind? Seems like a pretty easy choice.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Teach the children...

Lawson's birthday party was this past Saturday. After an hour or so of playing and eating lunch we had him open his presents. Watching him open the first gift and then want to play with it only and show no interest in the other gifts it got me to thinking.

Do we teach our children to be greedy?

Seriously think about it. Lawson opened one gift and was completely content to play with that one toy and had no interest in the other presents. I had to take away that toy and make him open another.

Do we teach our children to want more and more? Is this something we should be doing?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Help yourself!

Why do we, American's as a whole, want to give money, time, effort to help the down trodden, less fortunate, homeless, and sick of countries outside of our borders?

Take Bono's red campaign. Great, noble, worthy cause, but why can the situation in Africa spur so much response while we have problems on the same scale here in America?

Yes there are people in Africa who have the AIDS virus because some man raped a woman and gave her and her baby AIDS. Unfortunate? Yes. Horrible? AB solutley!!! Should we extend a helping hand to people there? I think there are some serious consequences if we don't. Look at Jesus' words about helping those less fortunate.

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

What about the family that lives in Butler Terrace or (insert the name of a housing project that you drive by everyday but fail to take notice of )?

There is a man that I met last night at the Inner City building. His name is Chester. Chester is in his 40's, he is black, he is homeless, and he is a slave to drugs. What is your gut reaction that you would have if you encounter this person on a street corner? He is like the guy that it is standing on a corner of a busy intersection with a cardboard sign that is asking for food, money, clothing, etc... I know what my reaction was a few years ago. "You lazy, no good bum. What is wrong with you. Go down to the downtown mission get some food, some job training, and stop loitering on this street corner." Is this reaction that far off from most people's? Maybe. Maybe not. Only you can answer that question.

How about this scenario. Chester...same characteristics but with one important one that trumps all of our misgivings about him. He is created in the image of God. Let that sink in for one minute.


Those people sitting on street corners or walking down the street with ratty clothes on are made in the image of God. The same image in which you are made. And one more characteristic. God loves them. Now I am not just saying that to be like the person who walks by and says that so that they can feel better, but God really does love him. He is included amongst all of us when Peter pens these words ...

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


Yes, those in Africa, Baja, Honduras, etc are all included in these words. They are included in Jesus' words in Matthew 25. But why do we run to help those and not our own countrymen.

Personally I think it is because of the benefits, lifestyles, etc. that America affords. Look at the movie coming out "Pursuit of Happiness". It is about a man who had $21 to his name yet took an internship for nothing and slept in bathroom stalls with his toddler son and made himself into a millionaire. Do we overlook the 'Chester's' of America and look to the AIDS victim, poverty victim in other countries because 'Chester' should get off his butt and go "Help himself" because America has this opportunity for him.

Do we feel that our money is better spent overseas rather than on those in our own societies that have fallen victim to their own vices? Are we actually discriminating against our own countrymen because we feel that they have gotten themselves into this position and should get themselves out of it? Ever heard of a 'hand-out'? Was there ever a time in your life when you were down on your luck and someone helped you out? Helped you get back on your feet?

Can we give our money overseas and over look those in our own society and still feel like Jesus can say to us...

"'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me"

Is this a 'Picadilly' request? Can we just pick a chose who is worthy of our help?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Questions/Suggestions

Just let me throw this out there:

1 - To whomever perforates the baby wipes,

Here is an idea. Really it is quite ingenious. Either perforate the wipes all the way so that they tear like you would expect something to tear when it is perforated, or don't do it at all and let me tear it myself. Seriously, this is really annoying when you have one wipe laid out and once you examine the situation you realize it is a 2 wiper and you go to 'yank' the second wipe out and it either rips or drags out three others with it.

P.S. Pass this along to the the person who is supposed to perforate the paper towels also...don't forget the TP person either.


2 - What exactly is a football move?

Last night in the Chiefs debacle against the Chargers, Lorenzo Neal caught a pass in the flat, turned his body and was hit and fumbled. But evidently since no one in the NFL is man enough to take a hit and hold on to the ball they have implemented a rule that you have to make a "football move" before it can be ruled a catch and a fumble. What, prae tell, is a football move? Can someone please explain this to me?

3 - Wal-Mart

Another novel idea! Wait, listen closely you don't want to miss this little jewel. In fact I'll spell it out for you.

H-I-R-E M-O-R-E C-A-S-H-I-E-R-S

C-a-n Y-o-u U-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d t-h-a-t!!!

4 - Post Office

A new word to introduce to your employees vernacular.

PACE: as in pick it up

Thursday, December 14, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG GUY!!!


Lawson,

Son, tonight at 8:51 pm you were brought into this world and my life changed forever. I remember the moment as if it happened 5 minutes ago. I can remember where all the nurses where standing, the smells, the sounds, the lights, and the melting pot of emotions that were welling up inside of me.

The second that Dr. Lopez pulled you out I lost it. For the first time in my life I actually felt what it was like to weep. Weep for joy. Weep for fear that I would be inadequate to show you how to be a man of God. Weep for the unknown of what the future held. Weep for complete relief that God had been with you from the time you were conceived and is still with you this very moment. I would not weep like that again until your sister was born 20 months later.

You are the joy of my life. Every morning you awake to a world full of wonder and amazement and I try my hardest to keep your world one of safety and comfort. The day will come when you will leave and Lord willing be united with your Christian wife. That day is little more than 20 years away most likely yet it will seem like a split second when it happens. My prayer is that I can always beseech the Father for wisdom and guidance as I try to be an example to you of what a man of God looks like. I know that I will fail somewhere along the way and I pray that I am man enough to pick myself up and try again. I am more thankful than you will ever know that we are surrounded with such close Godly examples of what a man should be like. There is your Papa who became a Christian when he was my age and has never ceased seeking to be like his maker every day. There are my friends Kenny, Uncle Kenny to you, and Jason who are each walking their own path with the Father and will continue to be influences on my life and yours for years to come.

I love you with all my heart, mind, body, and soul.

Happy Birthday Buddy!!!

Your Dad,

Jon

Some things to think about...

Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.
He stays up for days on end.
__________________________
You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.
__________________________
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.
He gets shot at, as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.
__________________________
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.
__________________________
You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.
__________________________
You talk trash on your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
__________________________
You don't feel like helping out your dad today, so you don't.
He does what he is told.
__________________________
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
__________________________
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
__________________________
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He does not get to eat today.
__________________________
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for months, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
__________________________
You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
__________________________
You are angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He is told he will be held an extra 2 months.
He does as he is told.
__________________________
You call your girlfriend and set a date for that night.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
__________________________
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his Love's perfume.
__________________________
You ditch class to go to a movie.
He goes where he is told.
__________________________
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
__________________________
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own government and remembers why he is fighting.
__________________________
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of the men like him.
He hears the gun fire and bombs.
__________________________
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the bodies lying around him.
__________________________
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does what he is told.
__________________________
You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call and write home, sleep, and eat.
__________________________
You crawl into your bed, with down pillows, and try to get comfortable.
He crawls under a tank for shade and a 5 minute nap, only to be woken by gun fire.
__________________________
You sit there and judge him, saying the world is a worse place because of men like him.
If only there were more men like him.

"The only way for evil to triumph, is if good men do nothing."-Edmund Burke

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Micah's Last Blog Entry

Thought this was interesting with all the talk about nonviolence to see how a Christian in the military in Iraq felt about those they were fighting.





Hello Friends and visitors of my awesome webpage. You may be wondering, "How did this guy get so sexy?". There is no answer for that. But if you weren't wondering that and you WERE wondering why doesn't this jerkfaced jerk ever write me back? Well, for starters, I suck. Then add in the fact that I am overseas about to be a part of this fight we're in and you can hopefully understand that responses will be few and far between. In case you are worried about my well being...don't. I am proud to be a part of this fight. I signed up to do this for a reason and I hope that everyone understands why this fight continues to be important to every one of us...not just the Iraqi people. Don't pray that I come home soon. Pray that the people that are causing us to stay out there can see the light and change their ways without harm coming to them first. Which, I don't know if you ever got tickets to the "gun show" or not, but if anybody steps to this all I gotta do is flex and their brains will explode out of sheer amazement, so again...don't worry bout me! However, feel free to write if you want cuz obviously I still get to use the internet (somewhat) and letters are always coo. Peace in the Middle East (heh-heh). Micah G.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Good Bye

I didn't know him personally but I had several business classes with him while at Harding. I remember my dad talking about knowing kids in school who's brother had been killed in Vietnam or knowing guys who had gotten drafted and were killed. I kind of always wondered what that was like.

Well it is weird. Sad.

Here is a poem from a fellow soldier.

A Poem for Micah from SSG Brian Embry
Man I hate I have to write this, but I know it must be done
If only I was feeling something more than being stunned
Your days were a blessing as you always shined a light
And even though I can’t see that now, I feel it deep inside
Even as I write, I can sense you all around me
The unit lost a soldier but we soldiers lost some family
And sadly, as it is, I never got to say goodbye
But how can you be gone when you were so full of life
How can you be gone, I wish it wasn’t like this
I hear you saying "Because god wanted me to rock with!!"
You always made us laugh and I never heard you curse
And in the modern army now, that’s pretty much a first
It’s absurd in a way, and we use to always laugh
When you replaced those words with verbs that didn’t match
Looking back, we use to say how giff was a goof
But you stood up for what you believed in regardless if it was cool
You never cared to be the same, you were just Giff
And just one of the best soldiers I’ve came in contact with
I never saw you drink, but you always came around
And made sure that us drinkers didn’t drive up through the town
Your parents should be proud, and they should hear this a lot......
MR AND MRS GIFFORD YOUR SON TOTALLY ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!
I have so many memories, every one makes me smile
And it’s funny how it hurts even when I’m in denial
But in a while, someday... I really don’t know when
I want you to be there, at the gates, on the day they let me in
As a friend, as a brother, as a soldier of the lord
My condolences for your family of whom you mean a lot more
And even though we miss you, we know your still around
Please ask god to guide us remaining soldiers on the ground
We miss you.


Micah's MySpace

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mission Minded?

A couple of months ago in LifeGroup the following question was posed...

What if Paul was writing a letter to the Church of Christ at Mayfair? What would he say? Would he praise us for our commitment to furthering the gospel in third world countries?
Would he praise us for our commitment to placing a huge emphasis on the education of our children?

Most likely he would. Mayfair is one the best churches that I have been blessed to be apart of. Stacy and I love Mayfair because of the commitment that she does have to the education of our children. We love the service in the auditorium but have come to consider our class home. Neither of our families live close by. In fact both sets live over 12 hours away. Thus, we have come to consider those in our class our close friends as well as family. But let me get on with the intent of this post.

What would Paul say about our commitment to the needs of Huntsville? How well would we be "graded" for our commitment to furthering the gospel in the "Butler Terrace's" of Huntsville? I don't know why and maybe never will but I feel led by God to help and call attention to the needs of the Inner City Church as well as the Inner City Learning Center. I have worshipped with the brothers and sisters there only once but I felt the genuineness of the worship there. These people aren't caught up in the "politics" that seem to plague the church today. These people maybe wearing the same clothes that they wore the Sunday before or even the day before. Do they care? I'm sure they do but it doesn't weigh on their mind when they come to worship. If you want a brief glimpse of the another's perspective on what it is like to worship here see what Jason had to say about his experience this past Sunday.

Art Leslie has said the the President of Alabama A&M University has placed membership here and is going to start worshiping here as well. Tom Gates from Mayfair leaves Mayfair after communion to go the Inner City to worship with them and teach the adults how to flourish in their new found faith.

2 just 2 out of 1,600+ make the sacrifice to go the Inner City to be a light and encouragement to the brothers there.

How much could that church flourish and grow if we had people from Mayfair, maybe even the Homebuilder's Class commit to just one year of membership there to help the church grow. The church was started several years ago with the efforts of Lee Milam and some teenagers wanting to reach out to those in the Inner City. This has been and will continue to be a blessing to those served by the church there, but how much more of blessing could it be if it was aided by those who were more "advanced" (if there is such a thing) in their spiritual walk?

Has the church been neglected since it was started? No, not really, maybe a little. Perhaps it was started and people did help for awhile so that they could feel good. They could check off their good deed for those unfortunate souls in the inner city. Possibly they are scared it is some "Holy Roller" - "Thank You Jesus" - "People passing out on the stage" church but it is far far far from it.

Maybe people are scared to come down there. Scared of what, getting shot. You think someone is just waiting to shoot the first 'cracker' that shows his/her face down there. Please. Don't think your so important. I wouldn't be stupid and walk around there at night by myself but during the day and early evening there is nothing to be quite so apprehensive about.

Maybe people think that they are too good for the Inner City. I have heard this many times..."Don't worry it's just the Inner City." "You want to give that! Oh, that's just too nice for the Inner City." If you have this attitude you need to read James chapter 2.

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?


Just stop and think for one second. Seriously consider the question.

What is one year?
How much would you really have to sacrifice to help the Lord's church grow?
How much more would you end up being blessed by being apart of this congregation for just 1 year?

Friday, December 08, 2006

What did you get for Christmas last year?

Truth is I really can't recall exactly. I got the staples of a pack of underwear, socks, t-shirts. I got several dress shirts and ties. We also got some money. I also got to go to sleep in my own home in my own bed with the heater running so that my family and I could sleep comfortably.

What about you what did you get for Christmas last year?

This year our class, the Homebuilders, will adopt a family from the Inner City, specifically from Butler Terrace off of Govenors Drive, and give them a Christmas. A Christmas that they didn't have last year. Not one present was given to these boys.

Last year Christmas was just another day for these boys. Can you imagine that. Christmas just like the other 360 some odd days of the year. Nothing to lie in bed awake with anticipation for in the morning. Remember when you were a kid on Christmas Eve? I do. Most of the time I could hardly sleep. That night seemed like the longest night in the world. I just layed in bed till I passed out from exhaustion only to wake up and have to wait the in bedroom for mom and dad to decide to get out of bed. Can you imagine not doing that? Imagine just going to bed not with anticipation of the next day but with discouragment that there is nothing to look forward to the next day.

That is what the Sherrod's did last year. Our class is trying to make that not happen this year. I went and spoke with the mother, Lisa, last night. That was a surreal experience. I have seen projects from the outside and seen them in the movies but I guess I just never really realized what these people eek out a living in. I just couldn't imagine trying to raise my family in those conditions. If I try to describe it you just wouldn't believe me so this afternoon I am going by their apartment and will video tape and take pictures of the inside of their home and show this footage in class on Sunday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What's the difference?

Omgah!
Oh my gosh!
Dad Gomn It!
Ga Dang It!
Son of a!


Why not just say the real thing. Is it really not that bad if we just flip flop the syllables in words or if we slur some of the words so that it doesn't seem like we said the 'real deal'?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Would this make me a bigot?

In Minneapolis 6 Muslims prayed in the terminal right before boarding a plane and then once they boarded they fanned out all over the plane. The flight crew and passengers expressed concern over flying with these people on the plane, so all 6 were taken off the plane and now C.A.I.R. (Council on America-Islamic Relations) has their turban tied in a knot over this. The spokesmuslim for CAIR even said he wished America were under Islamic rule. Hmmm.

I mean, I would have felt the same way if I saw some Muslims praying before boarding the plane. Maybe you are praying to your god to give you success in blowing this plane up or success in taking it over and crashing it into some other building, maybe in Chicago?

Are all Muslims terrorists? Not at all but... All the terrorists in the past 6 years have been Muslim. A bigoted response? I think not.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday time for...

Weigh in and answers.


Answers to Friday's Useless Facts:

The longest words that can be typed using only your:

Left Hand - stewardesses

Right Hand - lollipop

Friday, November 17, 2006

Okay smarty pants!!!

What are the longest words that can be typed by using only your left hand and by using only your right hand? THERE!!!

Fun Fact Friday !!!


Do you notice the reflectors on the roads by the yellow lines? Most of the reflectors are white or yellow, but every now and then there is a blue one? Do you know why it is blue? Take a guess and I'll let you know on Monday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I thought I had...

at least a few more years, like 10, before I would have the "Talk" with Lawson. I thought. But last night in the youth group class they have started a series on "Temptation". We broke up guys and girls and talked a little more about temptation on personal levels. Then we split up into huddles and had a list of questions to go over.

The first question was "What are some temptations that you face today?" (there were 7 more questions but we never made it past this one).

The number one temptation these 11th grade guys talked about was ...


Porn.

What? Porn?

One of the guys said they guessed it would get easier to deal with when you got older. Man if it only worked that way. If marriage was the "magic pill" and you never found it tempting to look at any other woman than your wife. If only... So then we began to talk about serious subjects. These 11th grade kids talked more about sexual temptations than the adults did in the Wednesday night class that Phillip Allen and I taught last quarter.

We covered quite a bit. How far is too far? Is it wrong to talk about what you did? Can you do certain things and still be a virgin?

I figured the kids were talking about looking at porn at home on the internet or if someone slipped in a magazine to class, which some were, but mainly they mentioned that kids were downloading porn to their cell phones and looking at it during class.

Our society is going on a downward spiral out of control. It amazes me or rather it shouldn't (with the corrupt leaders we have) how easily accessible porn is. On your cell phone? Talk about impersonal. I mean when I was growing up you at least had to have the gonads to walk into a store and swipe the magazine. Now one can just get it sent to their cell phones?! Do we really need cell phones? I mean I am so thankful now that someone can get ahold of me, what in the world would they have done if they couldn't talk to me right then. Oh wait that's right they could have waited till I got HOME and checked my ANSWERING MACHINE. Okay back on topic.

I think this is something that should be brought up infront of the new lifegroup for parents of teens. Do they know? Do they care? Or does their son having the latest cell phone matter more than their sexual purity? They only thing I think that really sunk in the with guys is that Lord willing one day they will meet a great Christian woman who has abstained from sexual temptation and has kept herself pure for her husband and the hurt that they will feel when they have to tell her that. "I couldn't see past the next hour so I gave in and got a ... or had sex ... or (insert some sexual fulfilment that you tainted yourself with)." "I know that you denied yourself these pleasures but I just couldn't so I am offering you a blemished sexual life and want you to give me your unblemished sexual life". Rough.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More random thoughts...

Okay so best guestimates state that approx. 30% - 35% of Americans turn out to vote. Now we have been around for about 230 years. This is our 109th elected congress. Voting has become an overlooked privilege. But that is whole nother rant all together. Let's contrast this with Iraq. For the first time ever people there are allowed to vote for their leaders. Take a guess at the percentage of people who voted...(insert Jeopardy music)...


70% - SEVENTY - SEVEN ZERO

What is the difference? This is something that these people have wanted, never had the chance to, and now have the ability to. They flooded the polls to express their view points.

Okay now here is the randomness...

How excited are some people when the become Christians for the first time after having lived a life devoid of hope and peace? Some of the most 'on fire' people are those who have longed for a peace and hope and at last someone showed them how Christ can bring that to their lives.

Is it me or do those who have been going to church their whole lives, all through school, because your parents dragged you, then on through college because somewhere deep inside you knew it was right, and then now as an adult because somewhere between being dragged to church and now have most likely found your own faith, seem to discount their faith a little. Maybe it has become 'old hat' to us. Just another thing to check of the list..."Yep, went Sunday morning, night and Wednesday night. Done for this week." "Been doing this for x number of years."...

Why does it seem that those people who have lived a 'rough' or 'secular' or '(insert a descriptive word)' life value this new found hope more. Is it different for them? Does it have some other meaning that we are missing? Or do they just realize exactly what it was they were looking for and now that they have it they can't wait to tell someone else.

And one more thing since I am espousing my thoughts on 'spiritual' subjects...Why do we not hesitate to spend $550 - $1,200 to fly to the BAJA or Belize (both excellent works and causes) but we can't clear our schedule to go spend $2.13 for a gallon of gas to go serve in the inner city? Fear that we might see these people again after we are done serving them, or that someone we know might see us serving?


Okay one more then I'll stop...How hard is it to TURN OFF YOUR STUPID CELL PHONE IN CHURCH!!!!! Do those people who call you not know that you are in church between 9 and 11:15 every Sunday? Are you living that poor of an example to those around you?

And I'm spent...

Monday, November 13, 2006

My first official heart attack!!!

Stacy and I are looking for a new house to buy, hopefully within the next month or so. We have found two that we really really really like (Stacy says love for one and like for the other) I feel the same way but our houses that we love are not the same ones. But my dad told me before we got married not to put up a fuss about the house too much because she is the one who has to be home all day with the kiddos and will make it the way she wants so she feels comfortable raising the kids there and spending the majority of her time there. So we are hopefully going to make an offer on the the one she loves. Anyways the house we are going for is a two story (now don't get ahead of me here)...

It is Sunday afternoon and we are looking at the house with our Realtor Diane Hasley of Keller Williams (who sold our house in 1 day I might add) Well we are up stairs, I have Jordan and think the Stacy is watching Lawson and Stacy thinks that I am watching Lawson. I went into one bedroom and Stacy another and then THUD BANG THUD BANG THUD BAND THUD BANG THUD. The only thing I remember is putting Jordan down upstairs and then picking Lawson up at the bottom of the stairs. I think I touched one step on the way down. Lawson was laying at the bottom looking up when I got to him he started to cry and I scooped him up and took him to the car (mostly so I could gather myself) to check him out and get him his pacifier. I took me about an hour to calm down, it took Lawson about 2 seconds after he got his pacifier. Just glad I didn't see him fall down the stairs. Good think kids are made out of God rubber...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Church money and the poor

Here is a post from Larry James on giving and the use of the funds. Interesting stuff if you really think about it.


Frequently at this site, readers lecture me about how the church, rather than the government, should care for the poor. I know we will continue to debate this point in the future.

Not long ago a friend sent me a link to an extremely interesting article by Ray Mayhew ("Embezzlement: The Corporate sin of Contemporary Christianity?"). I found Mayhew's ideas compelling. What follows are a few quotes for your consideration.

_____________________________

While reading some patristic documents recently, I was startled to discover that the Church Fathers are univocal in their insistence that the bulk of the revenue collected by a local church belonged by right to the poor. There was no expectation among them that a large percentage of what was collected by a local congregation would be used for its own maintenance and ministry. In fact, to do so would have been viewed by them as a misappropriation of funds. . . .. . .the assumption of most church leaders today is that we have the right to spend our revenue in ways that we believe would be most beneficial to the work for which we are responsible. Budgets are drawn up, employees paid, buildings built and maintained, and missionaries supported. This is the way things are done, and as long as there is an annual audit and no misappropriations of funds, all is well. But is it?

All of the above is built on two assumptions that are rarely, if ever questioned. The first is that revenue collected is "ours," belonging by right to the congregation that gave it and who now, therefore, has the right to spend it. The fact that some churches tithe their income and give away ten percent to other ministries only reflects how deeply we believe it is "ours" to use in the first place. The second assumption is that how this money is spent is a pragmatic decision that varies from congregation to congregation (and culture to culture), depending on the perceived needs and objectives of each local church. I believe that both of these assumptions need to be reexamined in light of scripture and church history. . . .

. . .The record is unambiguous, church revenue, prior to Constantine, was used, both locally and in other parts of the Empire, primarily for the welfare of the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, the widow and the orphan. The local congregation did not expect a large percentage of what was given to be used for its own maintenance and ministry. In fact, to do so would have been viewed by most of them as a misappropriation of funds.In the second century, Tertullian provided us with details of the church services in North Africa. He spoke of every man bringing money. . . "You might call them the trust funds of piety. They are spent on the support and burial of the poor."

Justin Martyr provides us with similar insight from the second century practice of the Roman church. Speaking of the Sunday service he says, "the money thus collected is deposited with the president who takes care of the orphans and widows and those who are in straits because of sickness or any other cause and those in prison, and visitors form other parts. In short, he looks after all who are in need.". . .Giving in this way was not seen as generosity, it was viewed as an act of restitution. It belonged to the poor by right. Augustine instructed his own church to set aside at least a tenth of all their possessions and income for the poor (not the church). This was actually a concession to what he saw as greed because his congregation was not prepared to give up everything that was "superfluous"!. . .

We should also not miss the obvious: when the Old Testament tithe was given, it was given away to others. It was given to the Levites, a tribe to which those doing the giving did not belong. In contrast, when I give to the church, it is not "given away" at all. I am the church! Revenue given to the church directly benefits me as a believer in providing pastoral care, Bible teaching, family counseling, facilities for my children and a building for me to worship in. In that sense, very little is given away. Most of the money I give to the church is spent by the church on meeting my needs and those of my family. For this I am very grateful. However, I am also suspicious as to whether I am a valid recipient of such expenditure..

. .Today, if we are going to teach the tithe as a benchmark of faithful stewardship, we need to also teach how the early church used these trust funds in ministering to the needy.. . .In the late fourth century, John Chrysostom echoed Matthew 25 in lamenting, "thou hast been bidden to give freely to the hungry. . .but thou dost not count him deserving even of a loaf; but thy dog is fed to fullness while Christ wastes with hunger.". . .Cyprian maintained that prayer and fasting was of no avail unless accompanied by giving to the poor, while Origen ranked almsgiving third in importance behind baptism and martyrdom. However, their definition of almsgiving went far beyond giving their loose change to the hungry and homeless. It was defined as spending on oneself only that which was absolutely necessary and giving the remainder away. Nothing superfluous should be kept as long as others lacked the necessities of life.. . .Ignatius characterized heretics as those who had "no care for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, the hungry or the thirsty."



Lots to think about here for church people, huh?Read the essay in its entirety at: http://www.relationaltithe.com/EmbezzlementPaper.PDF?PHPSESSID=a51c2cdedd075fbce8b57263389f9007.

Voting on Tuesday

In the 1800's there was not a specific 'voting' day. So in 1845 a Federal law was passed that deemed Tuesday 'voting' day.

Sunday was a day of rest. It took one day to travel and Friday and Saturday were farming days so by default Tuesday was the day. Travel on Monday, vote on Tuesday, return on Wednesday and the have Thursday to get ready to harvest on Friday and Saturday.

There is no 'voting' day established by the Constitution only a federal law passed in 1845 makes Tuesday a 'voting' day.

So Jamey was correct.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Useless? Information

Why do we vote on Tuesday and not some other day of the week?

Anyone know?

Take a guess and tomorrow I will post the correct answer.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday, Monday...

Today is Monday.


Time for weigh in!?

Friday, October 27, 2006

And so it begins...

A client has just brought us FRESH, HOT Krispy Kreme Donuts. UGH!!!!

Well only 2 hours 45 minutes until I am off work and can not smell them anymore.


Does anyone have a pair of unused noes plugs?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Slim Jon...?

So to put myself out there for ridicule I have borrowed/stolen and idea from Lane Widick, Fat Man, and started my own blog to document my attempt at changing my lifestyle and losing 80 lbs.

So check it out and leave any type of comment, encouraging or sarcastic, and check in on Monday's to see what the new weight is. BIG Daddy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

State of Mind

The problem is not that I have made a decision to quit viewing sexual images that cause me to lust but that I have too many in my mind already. Because I was once naive and allowed myself to view anything my eyes desired I now have a huge battle before me to banish these thoughts and images out of my mind, but how does one go about getting rid of images that are already in ones head?

The only analogy that I can equate it to is this...If a sewer main breaks and spills sewage into the drinking water and the utility company fixes the source of the leak it will take a while for the sewage to run out of the system...so it is with our minds, but can we speed up this process? I believe so, through prayer and replacing the garbage with good things...Read Phil 4:8

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things"

If your minds thoughts could be broadcast on a TV screen that followed you around how would you act?

Everything else dealing with sexual purity is of a 'physical' nature. We watch movies, TV shows - Deal or No Deal & Dancing with the Stars were shows I left off of the list of shows to watch that have bimbo's on it-, magazines, etc. There are the scantily clad women during the summer, or the co-worker who wears clothes a little to snuggly or revealing. But what about the mind? No one but you knows what goes on in there. I mean no one but you and God know what goes on inside your mind.

"Don't worry", you say " I can handle it." I am mature enough to be able to see these images and not take them any farther. That maybe true, and if it is, I applaude you for having conquered your sexual desires. This is what we are striving for; to be able to do as 2 Cor 10:5 says...

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. "

But until we reach that precipice why do we continue to watch such things and voluntarily let them into our homes?

If we are supposedly "mature" then why do these images, the ones that we are "mature enough to handle" pop into our minds during the Lord's Supper, while we are driving down the road, or even, it could happen, while you are being intimate with your spouse?

We need to setup a defense mechanism in our minds. A "corral" so to speak. In this corral the only female that has 100% right to be there is your wife. Any other women that enter your mind must be banned from entering your corral, likewise any other women that are already in your 'corral', i.e. past girlfriends, co-workers, etc. need to be kicked out and placed far far away from it. Unfortunately there will some women that hang out around your 'corral'. These women will be your friends wives.

How do you handle those situations? Tell me some of your guidelines for interaction with your friends wives.

As far as old girlfriends go, is it harmful to 'wonder' about what life might have been like with that person?

As far as female co-workers go, is it wrong to avoid any and all friendships with them?

Monday, October 16, 2006

47 things you always wanted to know...

1. FIRST NAME? Jonathan
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? nope, parents just liked the name
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? October 2, 2006
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? yes, until I try and read it later.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? hickory smoked ham
6. KIDS? Lawson, 22 months old, Jordan 2 months old
7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? of course
8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? yes, personal one at home and this blog.
9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Do you use to much if your wife has to ask you if you are being sarcastic or not?
10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? yes
11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Yes, head first so I wouldn't feel anything
12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cap'n Crunch
13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? yes
14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? yes
15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM ? County Fair Winner from Kaliedoscopes
16. SHOE SIZE? 13
17. RED OR PINK? red
18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? my weight
19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? my family, friends in Montgomery
20. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? it would be fun
21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? black suit pants dark burgundy shoes
22. LAST THING YOU ATE? Honeynut Cheerios
23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The A/C blowing in my office
24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? blue
25. FAVORITE SMELL? Jordan/Lawson after baths/Stacy's hair
26. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? a client
27. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO: teeth
28. FAVORITE DRINK? half cran-apple juice/half ginger ale
29. FAVORITE SPORT? football
30. EYE COLOR? hazel
31. HAT SIZE? big enough that one size doesn't fit all, 7 7/8 or 8 depends on if my hair is cut
32. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? no
33. FAVORITE FOOD? sausage balls, chili, rotel dip, steak, gizzards
34. HAPPY OR SAD ENDING? happy
35. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED AT THE MOVIES? World Trade Center
36. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? lavender, Stacy picked it out
37. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter
38. HUGS OR KISSES? depends on who
39. FAVORITE DESSERT? oh, tough one, brownies, pineapple upside down cake, Sunny's choclate pie, peach cobbler, Chili's molten lava cake
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Case for Christ, Financial Accouting and Reporting CPA Exam Review
41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Harding University
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Baseball, Amazing Race
43. FAVORITE SOUND? Lawson laughing, Jordan cooing
44. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? beatles
45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Olympia, WA
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I can fix just about anything
47. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? February 22, 1979 Kansas City, MO

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Huntsville Inner City Learning Center

65%

Any guess what that 65% means?

That is the number of kids that drop out of high school in Huntsville, Alabama. That's right Huntsville, the highest earning per capita city in Alabama has a higher drop out rate that that of Dallas, Texas (58%).

25%

Wanna take a shot at was this represents?

The principal of Stone Middle School (Old Butler High) followed a class of her students all the way through graduation. 25% is the amount of kids that graduated high school.

0%

The number of the above class that graduated from Huntsville High School.

Nothing.

What has been done about it to this point.

I am neither from here nor do I pretend to be but it is pretty clear that these statistics are swept under the rug. Ignored. If we ignore it then it doesn't exist right? Right. WRONG.

6 out of 10

The ratio of black males in Huntsville who, within 3 years of their class graduating, will have been involved in the judicial system.

3 out of 5

The ratio of black males who, after dropping out of high school, will have fathered 2 children.

Ever wonder why you have to pay so much for car insurance in good ole' Huntsville? What about your home owners insurance? Little pricey? Well, it isn't because Huntsville is such a nice town; it’s because of the above statistics.

We had a meeting at that Inner City Church building about a month ago. After it was over I escorted several women to their car for fear that something would happen to them. These are grown women who have been down here, as far as I know, only once and they are nervous about walking around after dark. What about the kids that to live with this EVERY DAY? What about the mother who was bent over changing her baby's diaper when a drive-by shooting occurred and a bullet stuck in the wall where her head would have been had she not been bent over changing the diaper? Any we get mad that the trashman didn't come today? What can we/I/you/us do?

Once the street has a kid it is highly unlikely that you will get him back? Why should he/she want to come back? What can a 27 year old guy making under 50K a year, driving an $800 car, and has so many student loans that I could claim them as dependents say to a 16 year old kid who has more money in his/her pocket than I do in my bank account, nicer clothes than I have, and the latest cell phone. Not much...

What can I do for an 8th grader who can't read on a 4th grade reading level? I can teach him/her. I can give them hope for a future. I can show them that you can break this cycle. I can show them that you can have self-worth, self-confidence, high self-esteem. But I can't do it alone.

Art Leslie has named me head of advocacy for the Huntsville Inner City Learning Center. It is a Non-Profit organization that has been formed to take back the inner city from this debilitating cycle and give its residents hope and a future. All I can do is help one kid by myself, but I can tell everyone I know about it and have them help 1 kid and they tell someone else and they help 1 kid...get the picture?

We also need money. So I am going to write Oprah, Shaquille O’Neal, Denzel Washington, Dell, IBM, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Scholastic Books, and anyone else I can think of to help us get this going. Honestly, do you really want your child to have the same or even less than what you have? The parents (most likely parent) don’t want that either but they need help in doing something about it. That's where we come in.

Mon thru Thursday, 3:30 to 6:30 , we will bus some 30 children from the 'inner city' schools into the Learning Center and help them with their general studies and have some one-on-one time to help with their reading skills.

The goal is to eventually expand into an organization that will not only contain the Learning Center but a health center, food pantry, and a job skills center. The idea for this came from Central Dallas Ministries.

I have discovered that I couldn't care less about what people think about me, mainly because I feel that for too long I resisted callings from God for fear about what people would think about me? Hebrews 13:6

So here it is? If you can, we need your help, yes we need volunteers to help teach the children, make dinner for the kids to eat while they are there, and clean up the Center to get ready for the next day, but most of all we need your money. It will be tax deductible and it will, I assure you, be put to good use.

If you want to donate to this cause or to find out more information you can send/write to the address below:

Huntsville Inner City Learning Center, Inc
c/o Art Leslie
309 Seminole Dr SW
Huntsville, AL 35805

Thank for taking time to read this and send it to as many people you know.

In Him,

Jon Stacy

Philippians 4:8

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Double Standard

Stacy and I were at the mall the other night. We happened upon a decent looking man and woman who appeared to be a couple. We stopped and made small talk with them. Eventually the discussion turned serious and we decided to ask them to come over to our apartment later that night, but there was a catch. When they did come over she needed to wear some suggestive clothing, nothing to revealing but show just enough to keep a man interested, and he needed be dressed accordingly as well. Once they arrived we wanted her to just lie in the floor so we could look at her and then we wanted them to begin to make out in the living room floor while Stacy and I sat on the couch and watched them. If they felt like it they could even have sex while we watched.

This is such an absurd story and scenario that it most of us would never allow or think of doing such a thing. Can you imagine how much gusto you would have to work up to even ask a random couple to do such a thing?

Now tell me what the difference between the above scenario and say, Survivor, Grey's Anatamoy, Amazing Race, Friends, NYPD Blue, My Name is Earl, any number of movies, Redbook, Vogue, Maxim, Cosmo, Vanity Fair, etc...

Would you consider us to have a double standard when it comes to real life and television?

How about men? If we even think that our wives might be getting affection from another man it takes about 1/1000 of a millisecond to get enraged at even the thought, yet we get satisfaction sexually from 'just looking'. After all what does it hurt to look?

Would you consider this a double standard?

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 We don't even have the right to consider putting ourselves in these type situations. Now I am not saying that because you watch those shows you are sinning but why even take the risk of having those images in your mind? Ever been in church and had an image from a movie or TV show just 'pop-up' in say..during the Lord's Supper? But don't worry, I can handle these shows. The images of two people making out in a break room on Grey's Anatomy never pop up in my mind; images of women wearing 'tube tops' on a remote beach never pop up in my mind. I can watch shows with racy scenes and not ever have the sex drive in me get just a little excited?

How about for the women? Do you consider the fact that your husbands are driven visually? That even though you might like these shows, because you 'get to know the people', it could cause your husband to struggle in his sexual purity?

What would we do with out the TV shows and movies? Crap we might have to talk to each other or *gulp* read, AAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

'Secular' View of Non-Violence

This happened at Harding University this past Friday at an ASI lecture. Read this article and tell me what you would have done. Searcy Daily Citizen

Friday, September 22, 2006

Larry James

Thought Larry James' post today was interesting since lately there has been some discussion about why it is easier to go to the Baja and help the impoverished there than it is to drive over to the church on Seminole street and get involved in the impoverished lives of people less than 5 miles from where we worship.

Change of Focus

Should we really want the world leaders that preach the annihilation of America dead? I mean look at how some of the leaders have the ability to focus an entire nation for a single cause. Let me clarify the next statement: In NO way shape or form am I condoning the actions of these people. Look at the 'radical' Muslims. How focused are they. They are so intent on their goals that they are willing to die for them. Are we as committed to the call of the cross?

What if we, someone, could change their focus. Just their focus, not their tenacious desire to achieve a particluar goal?

Look at Paul. I can't help but think that some Christians wished something would happen to him so that they would not be persecuted anymore. Well something did. Did his ability to be completely focused on a cause change? No. Did his desire to see something come to fruition change? No. Did his ability to influence people to follow a cause change? No. So what changed.

His focus. God shifted his focus from persecution of the christian faith to the spreading of the same faith.

I can't help but think about things that we are passionate about that are in conflict with God's will. How much more good could be done in the kingdom if we merely changed our focus?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Saturday

Just to copycat off of Kenny's reality spoof.

Saturday morning: had workday at inner city church - got alot accomplished Good

Saturday midday : sliced arm open on metal shelves at inner city - Ouch

Saturday afternoon : went dove hunting and stuck 3/4" barded wire fence in my inner thigh - Ouch

Saturday afternoon : was taking aim on a dove and my left ankle burst into flames
- why you ask - I was standing on a fire ant mound - OUCH!!!!

Michigan beat ND - Good
OU got screwed(sorry Jamey) - Ouch
Florida beat TN - Good

Monday - went to doctor
- Got a tetanus shot - Ouch
- Some how got epididymitis - WAY OUCH ALL THE TIME!!!! (feels like getting kicked 'there' about 20 times a day.

Tuesday - got meds for epididymitis - WAY BETTER!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Patriotism

So after reading many others blogs about patriotism and Christianity I have decided to post my own thoughts about these matters. The oddity of it all is that this discussion has happend among Christians when every major war has happened. Civil War, Spanish-American, WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and today.

Disclaimer: You are encouraged to voice your side to this issue, however you must have some scriputral refrences for your view. All views will be respected. All views can be challenged respectfully. As for my view, it is a fledgling one that is constantly be changed and refined.

After reading a blog about a man wrestling with the idea of writing a letter to exempt his daughter from saying the 'Pledge of Allegiance' I began to wonder about what that pledge really meant. Were we placing America on an even keel with God's plan, or were we simply giving homage to the land that we live in? I came to support the latter. My support comes from Romans 13 specifically the parts in bold.

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

Am I way off-base here in reading that we are a blessed nation because of how we were founded. Now, before any more arguements erupt here, there is substantial evidence shown in our founding that we had 'christian' ideals as that basis for our government and religious freedom was the entire purpose of the pilgrims coming here in the first place. To say that we are still blessed today because America is "the nation whose God is the LORD," is not true, yet I believe that we have been blessed by God because we are Christians and we serve a risen Lord. This last point I believe is seen in the second bolden part of the previous scripture. God looks down and sees all mankind. He sees us here in America and blesses us inspite of the fact that America is no where near a nation with christian morals.

One big problem I have with other blogs is the absolute statement that it is idolatrous to be patriotic and pro America. Do Not call me an idolator. Let's look at what exactly and idol and idol worship is.
Idol : a representation or symbol of an object of worship
- don't see this applying to the idea of supporting America
: an object of extreme devotion
- America is not perfect in the least, don't support everything, perhaps this particular definition should be reserved for the Muslims.

Worship : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
- America is neither so we can perform this act.
: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
- now here we can address some issues. Again we place such emphasis on the first definition that we miss the second definition entirely. Look at last bold section of the following scripture. Here is another passage that warns us not to get caught up or mincing words:

Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 2 Tim 2:14

Pauls states that God has set up the governments to be His servant. There is nothing scripturally or morally wrong with saying the 'Pledge of Allegiance' as a way of paying homage to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in the country that we do today. I am also not and idolator because I love America and the freedom that she stands for after all if the government was put in place by God then shouldn't we respect it.


Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Now as far as the recent blogs about non-violence. We can all agree that out and out criminal action is not right, but how can God be about non-violence and yet setup governments that do "not bear the sword for nothing". If we were to have complete non-violence then get ready for more Rwanda's and to have another 800,000 people hacked to death. God knows that man would run amuck and cause such destruction if there were not boundaries and those boundaries enforced, physically enforced if need be. For me non-violence needs to become the first thought but I don't believe that we need, would, or are commanded to carry this to the point of allowing harm to come to us or our families.

The view that I am uncertain where I stand for sure is that of being involved in politics. You have to be reminded of what Peter says in the verse below:

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Yes we don't belong to this world but if there are plenty of Christian men involved in politics but the problem is to be sure that we/they don't get so involved that the sight/vision of our mission on earth is lost and takes second place to the goals of the political party.

If you dont' want to be involved with the military/politics/America then you need to stop paying taxes because as Paul writes "This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing" The taxes we pay support our troops and the political agenda of the government wether we agree with both or not.

Well, that is my position. Now feel free to shoot holes in it if you like but refer to the disclaimer at the beginning of this post before doing so.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Break

I think I'll take a break from the posts about sexual purity for a couple of days.


Try this one on for size.


You are in a room on one end of a house and there is a room on the other end of the house with 3 light bulbs in it.
There is no way to see the other room without leaving your room and going to the other end of the house.
In your room there are 3 light switches, each one controls one of the three light bulbs in the other room. The order of the switches has no bearing on which light bulb is turned on.
You can only leave the room one time to go the other room to check on the light bulbs.
How can you tell which switch controls which light bulb?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Homosexuality = Heterosexualtiy

Things that make you say Hmmm...

First let me interject here about this, previous, and subsequent blogs. Most of this is written from the stand point of looking in the mirror and some deep introspection. I hope that it causes the same in you.

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

Back to the topic.

What I am talking about here is that we don't place the same emphasis on heterosexual impurity as we do homosexuality. If I ask you to rate on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most disguted) where would you rate your feelings about homosexuality? 10, 20, 50. It's a no brainer. When you watch a movie and 2 guys kiss you immediately cringe, cover your eyes, and look for the fastforward button to get past that scene. Why? Because it is unnatural and we are taught to despise it from an early age.

What about heterosexual impurity? How would you rate it on a scale of 1-10? Be honest now, don't give the pat 'church of christ' answer here 'Oh, well that's easy a 10 for sure'. 2, 4 maybe even a 6 if we had some distain for it.

I can't help but believe that God is just as disgusted with homosexuality as He is with heterosexual impurity. After all isn't heterosexual impurity a perversion of what God has created. Yet, we don't hate it. Do you? Did you? How much did you hate it when you were dating your wife, or other girls in college. You hated it so much that you drove to your 'spot' 2,3,4 times a week to gratify your sexual desires and lusts?

How about in movies as in the first paragraph. Do you fastforward a scene? rent the movie with a scene in it? Here is my problem with movies with sex scenes, we rationalize them to be okay. We say 'Well they are married in the movie." WHAT!!! One, they are not married in 'real' life so you are watching two people committ adultery right in front of you and you paid to watch it. Two, you would be called a voyeur and thrown in jail if you peered through your neighbors window to watch them. Three, you should only be getting sexual fulfillment from your wife. If you get aroused from the scene then you have sinned.

Why do we accept one and loathe the other?

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me."

Do we really hate heterosexual impurity? I bet we do when it comes to our children. Are we raising our children to detest this? Are we setting the example for them? can we? Do we hate it enough in our own lives to 'purify' ourselves and consecrate our eyes, mind, and heart to sexual purity for the sake of our wives and children?

-Will you raise your boys to have the sexual integrity that might have been lacking in you?
- Will you set the example for your girls to seek acceptance from God and not a man; give them a Godly view of what to look for in a man and how they should be respected?

Do you hate it that much?

Friday, September 08, 2006

One year ago to the Day

It is hard to believe that it is already one year since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. So in light of this I have posted my emails that I wrote to remind myself of what I saw.

Friday, September 9, 2005

There is no way that I could ever give you a mental image of the disaster that has happened here. We are in Ocean Springs which is about 8-10 miles east of Biloxi. There was some flooding in many of the homes here but at least they have homes. I got the opportunity to travel with one of the elders to biloxi to pick up a washer and dryer for the youth home so that those displaced would have a place to wash clothes. The sites that I saw are as I said simply indescribable. There was one street where there were no longer any houses. The tidal surge simply wiped out all of the walls and left only the roof to sit on the ground. There is a middle school that looks as though a bomb was dropped on it. We got to drive along hwy 90 right on the beach, or where the beach used to be. The east bound lane is under about 1-2 feet of sand and the west boud lane has been completely picked up and moved about 15-20 feet inland. There is a golf course that has an 80 foot tall steel lighthouse that is now 100 yards away from where it originally stood. The true example of servants are the people of this church. Many have been at the church since Sunday 2 weeks ago and have not gone home either because they don't have one or there is simply too much to do at the building. There is an unbelievable amount of supplies here for the community. Most of it has been given away twice over. People wait in the lobby while the women fill up cases and cases and sacks and sacks of supplies (i.e. all manner of canned food, personal supplies, paper supplies, and cleaning supplies). All of us got the experience of cleaning out a woman's home today. She lives 50 ft from a canal and had water 10ft deep in her house. The water floated up dressers, fridges, and a piano and left them in complete opposite places from where they started. The stench of a flood is also indescribable. The only thing I could compare it too would be a slaughter house on a stale hot humid day with no wind moving to take the smell away. This woman like many others has nothing left in her life that she has accumulated over time (heirloom furniture, years and years of personal journals, pictures, keepsakes, etc....) It really makes you think about the priority that we place on things that can be wiped out in a flash. It is about 11 pm and we have been working non stop since we arrived, I am beat but it drives me forward to see people who have nothing left in life to be working every day to help others rebuild there's. Where your heart is there your treasure is also. Feel free to share this with anyone who has an interest in what is happening here. There are so many stories of things that have happend not only today but in the previous weeks that I couldn't possibly tell them all. I will write again tomorrow about the experiences that lie ahead. Pray continually for everyone here and for the strength of the church.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Kay Zorn, Kathy Darby, John Osco three names of people that I will never forget. I doubt they will remember the names of some 18 people from Huntsville, AL but they will never forget what 18 people did for them one weekend in September, nor will we forget all that they did for us by letting us bless them and be blessed by them. We finished Kay Zorn's house this morning. Yes, the smell was still there and a little worse after another day of soaking, but yet this woman was still at her house at 7:30 in the morning trying to look through her entire life to see what was salvagable. It still isn't real that we emptied a persons entire life out into her front yard because water that was there for no more than 1 hour completely destroyed it. At several points the reality set in on Kay and she had to walk away as tears of frustration and grief came pouring out. There are no words to console someone who has just lost everything. When we had finished with moving everything out of her house she thanked each one of us with tears in her eyes. She couldn't believe that 8 people whom she never met and most likely will never see again took a weekend to come and help her try to get on with her life. We also worked on John Osco's aunt's house because his family was living there since theirs was completely wiped away in the ocean surge. This house was right on the beach and had about 3 ft of water in it. We ripped out all the sheetrock and insulation and wood flooring in the 1st floor of the house. John's house sat on a penisula out into the bay and the water rose from the ocean side and bay side and met at his and a 100 other houses completely wiping them off of their foundation. At his aun't house was a massive live oak tree that had been ripped out of the ground not because it was broke but because its base wasn't planted in a firm foundation. ( How many devotionals can you get from that.) The last house I helped work on today was Kathy Darby's. They have a 2 story house that had 5-6 ft of water in the 1st level. We had to take the laminate wood flooring and kitchen cabinets out but didn't have time to take out the sheetrock.

There is so much work that has yet to be done, yet there are so many more people to come do the work. There are many more stories that I, and everyone else that came can and will tell. I saw this statement on an email : God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If Job can do it; I can too!

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" - Jesus

How much does it cost to be obedient to the call to not have a hint of sexual impurity, greed, or idolatry?

What is exactly is a 'hint'?

90% of our struggles with sexual purity we can overcome with perseverance and will power. These could be pornographic magazines, movies, websites, etc... But what about the last 10%. For me the last 10% is just flat out looking. How do we overcome our own male trait of getting sexual satisfaction through visual gratification or stimulation?

The answer is easy. We got into this problem of sexual impurity by being male, we will get out of it by being a man. Take David's charge to his son Solomon in the opening chapters of I Kings 2


"I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go

I particularly want to focus on one section here : observe what the LORD your God requires.

God requires that we make absolutely sure that we don't have even a "hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." There is a price, a cost for us to take this kind of stand. Hear me very clearly on this: It will not be easy and it will not be natural, at first, to force our minds and eyes to look away from lustful or potentially lustful things. The problem with visually stimulating images is that once we have seen them, even if for a split second, they are imprinted on our memories. Unfortunately it happens in an instance, it is not like studying scripture or a book where we have to concentrate to commit it to memory. In just one split second it is in our memories for our minds to pull up at its own discretion.

Why is it not natural? Let's look at what Paul has to say about this in Romans.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Simply we cannot trust our bodies to obey God's command. Sexual purity is a battle that men can never win on their own. It is a temptation that is so strong and such a natural thing that we can't control it on our own. We have got to have God's help, that is the only way we will be able to win this battle for our minds and our souls.

We say, "Well, Jesus was God incarnate. There is no way I can be a person of whom can be said, "My hands never touched a woman in an inappropriate way and my eyes never lustfully looked at at woman" But what about Job.

"I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. For what is man's lot from God above, his heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?"

You say, 'okay I think I can do this', but before we jump into this, let's look at the stipulations he put on violating this covenant.

"If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, then may my wife grind another man's grain, and may other men sleep with her."

Can we make this same commitment? Does the cost outweigh the benefit?

As far as the cost goes lets look at the example of Zedekiah in Jeremiah 38. The angel of the Lord has given Jeremiah this message that he takes to Zedekiah. He tell Zedekiah that "This is what the LORD says: 'Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. He will escape with his life; he will live.' What? Give my self over to the enemy. You - are - crazy!!! Then Jeremiah tells him the consequences if he does not follow God. "if you will not surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over to the Babylonians and they will burn it down; you yourself will not escape from their hands.'

Well we know the rest of the story. Zedekiah did not do this and Jerusalem was burned to the ground. His sons were killed before him, his eyes were gouged out, and he was led back to Babylon is chains. The price for him not obeying God was the destruction of Jerusalem and the lives of his family.

So I ask again, what is the price for refusing to obey God's command. Your salvation, your kids, grandkids, great grandkids, great-great grandkids. The decisions that we make can effect 4 generations of our descendents.

What 'hints' are you allowing to remain in your life because we just can't " be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go "

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another Question?

No arguement but just another question. I am not saying that we shouldn't dress up and give our best but why. Does God really care if we are wearing our best clothes to church but sit there living in an endless of cycle of sin. Sure we admit the big sins but how many little 'pet' sins do we hold onto because we don't want to turn it all over to God but because I am wearing my suit I am "in this setting....should give our best". Kind of like Luke 11:38-40. If we have the means to dress nice then we should do so but I still wonder if we are alienating some people. Just and example, no theological arguements here, but look at the evangelical churches - 3,4, 5000 plus members wearing casual clothes. Do they make people feel more accepted because of their dress?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tag your it!

So here is my list of books that have had some kind of influence on my life.



1. One book that changed your life: Every Man's Battle: This book really opens your eyes and mind to what exactly sexual purity entails and how to live your life in such a way that you can be 1000% committed to God and your wife. Yes I know I put 1000% and not 100%.
2. One book that you've read more than once: Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. Probably one of my all time favorites. Just a good story about a boy who is stranded in the wilderness and fights for survival. One of these books where you get so involved in it you start to play a movie in your mind as you read it.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: CPA exam books, finally on a desert island I would be able to concentrate on studying them.
4. One book that made you laugh: When an Elephant walks. It is one of Lawson's favorite books and I crack up every time I read it because he does all the sound effects that we do.
5. One book that made you cry: Tuesdays with Morrie. Just a good book.
6. One book you wish had been written: Everything you need to know about how a woman's mind works. Hey the question asked "wish had been written."
7. One book you wish had never been written: CPA exam books.
8. One book you're currently reading: Into Thin Air, by John Krakauer about the Mt. Evrest disaster in the 1990's
9. One book you've been meaning to read: Mere Christianity, started in about 2 years ago and got sidetracked and haven't picked it back up.
10. Tag five others: I started it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No shirt, No shoes, No service!

Okay, where in First Opinions do we find that we must dress up to go to church? My reason for this was seeing a man hitchhiking his way to work. I thought should I stop and pick him up then I was like... What would I talk to him about...(nothing because I don't really talk in the car - just ask Stacy)... If I do talk should I just jump right in and say "Man, do you have God in your life?", should I invite him to church...Just say "Be here at 8:15 Sunday morning and I'll carry you to my church." If I were to bring him would he feel embarrassed because of his dress. Maybe he would fit in better at the Inner City...MAYBE.. we shouldn't be so concerned about dress (James 2:3) Do we turn people away because we 'dress up' for Sunday. Does Mayfair get a bad 'rap' because of the middle-to-upper class that attend. Does the size of the building turn people away. But enough rambling here is the main question... Do we dress up on Sunday because a) we worship better when we are dressed up or b) God likes our worship better when we dress up.

If you choose (a) then evidently only business men required to wear suits to work are able to give true worship during the week...if (b) then poor people are just up a creek and I only have 3 suits so 4 days out of the week God doesn't appreciate my worship which is not very good because I am not dressed up.

Are we alienating people, not intentionally, I would never be so presumptuous to assume that, by the way we dress and they then seek out other denominations in which they feel more 'accepted'?

You can also bring up the dress of today but that is another blog all together but I will say this...When you let your daughter wear 'cool' clothes or 'fitting' clothes your are accomplishing one thing... The demoralizing of you daughter and her right to be respected. Boys/Men are not looking at her thinking...'Man, I she looks intelligent she would be nice to talk to.' To the men we have NO RIGHT to do this. That woman is a wife/sister/mother/daughter or will be one day. Would you want other men looking at your little girl thinking those thoughts. Come on now lets be real we are men and we know how men think so why would we allow our women to dress in a way to promote those thoughts and disrespect herself. Sorry for the tangent.

Working together?

In sending the email's out for people to pray for April I had subscribed to the West Huntsville spam email so that I could forward the email to the members there and let them sign-up as well. I recieved some other e:mails due to this. One closed..."West Huntsville is a great place to be". Anyways, when we first came over here to visit Michelle we attended the church there. The building was rather large for such a small membership. Since I am not from here nor do I know the history of all the church splits and divisions it seemed that the church at West Huntsville was withering away. For quite some time I have seen a FOR SALE sign in front of Fanning Heights Church of Christ as well as West Huntsville. Lately, however, there have been several billboards that advertise 'West Huntsville - A place where families grow". Are they trying to reinvent themselves, build their membership back up? This leads me to a thought that I had this morning as I passed the billboard and thought about the FOR SALE sign.... Why don't churches help each other grow or fix problems? It appears that we are 'sects', for lack of a better word. In the business world, specifically retail, if a store is suffering in performance and production then the District Manager or HQ sends a person or several persons to help build that store back up to an acceptable level. The company has invested to much money in property, inventory, personnel to let the store simply dwindle down to nothing and then walk away. Back to my question. Why don't we do this? Are we too prideful? Have we somehow become 'holier' than he/she at 'that' congregation? Do we disagree to such a degree that we won't help a church stay together and recover and grow? After all isn't there really just one goal? Heaven. Look at it in business perspective. How much time and energy do we have invested in the members of a church? What about the countless thousands of dollars 'given' to help pay for the building, activities, outreach, etc... I highly doubt that Wal-mart would have some 1.8 million employees and be the #1 retailer in the world if they didn't back up their stores that struggled. Sure they close stores when they become outdated but they don't simply disperse those employees to other stores and not build a bigger better store to serve the orginal area. Am I off base here in this comparison? If a church dwindles away and closes it's doors then who will be there to serve/minister to immediate area? Imagine the possibilities if we actually supported the other local congregations that were struggling and maybe sent several members to help 'revamp' or 'build' up the church...WAIT HOLD ON... that is way out of my comfort zone, besides what could I do? And there lies the quandry. Is it possible to move past the comfort zones and doubts about our abilities and really concentrate on furthering the work of the Kingdom? What could happen? Maybe we will only ponder and imagine and then realize that even that is an uncomforable to do and return to our 'hole' and let churches dwindle and close. I recently read a story about a rural Missouri church that added a second worship 'site' NOT service and they quadrupled in size. Well there are multiple 'worship' sites in town and around the world. What if we (the church) helped to expand and keep those 'sites' going strong? Would the Church of Christ be on the "Nightly News" getting an interview from Tom Brokaw about how fast it is growing and how many members join every month?