Friday, August 26, 2005

Relationships or Bust!!

I received an email today from a loved one,with good intentions of course, but I really feel there is a twisted message included in the email... I'm getting ahead of my self... Here's the email message first, then we will discuss...

I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is.

You are my 8 in 8 seconds. I am not breaking this. No way! I'M TOLD THIS WORKS!!!!! Bishop T.D. Jakes "8 Second Prayer." Just repeat this prayer and see how God moves!! "Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen."

Pass this message to 8 people (EXCEPT YOU AND ME). You may receive a miracle tomorrow. I hope that you don't ! ignore and let God bless you.

So this is the email I received. Although I believe the intent is good I think there are several messages in here that are twisted... First of all,

"I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is."

The world is full of "good" people. Living a "good" life is not the answer. To me this statement sounds like you live your life as a "just in case". I'll go to church, I'll take communion, I'll sing in church, or even say prayers, Just in case there is a God, I've covered my bases and I'll be ok. WRONG!!!!

Matthew 7: 15-23
15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Here we see in vs 16 that people will be recognized by their fruit... What does that mean? It is the effects of that persons life on others coming to Christ because they have a personal relationship with Him and are living their daily lives in His will, but we are then cautioned in 21-23 that there will be those who do things in Jesus name, miraculous things even, but they truly do not know God... I feel that this statement to "just in case" live your life as if there were a God is wrong for this reason, but not just this one. You could live your life doing things in Jesus' name, and still be completely lost and in trouble.

Ephesians 2:8-10
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We see in these verses that we are not saved by our actions. No amount of "living as if there were a God" can save you. Only by Faith can this be done... The works or actions come from, as we see in vs. 10, what God has planned for our lives and by living in His will we produce works
and fruit.

How do you have this "relationship"? How do I know Jesus? We have an easy to remember method at our church, that is not too dissimilar from the "8 second prayer" above...

S Sorry... Lord I know I am a sinner and that my sin keeps me away from you. I am sorry for what I have done. Please forgive me. T Thank you... Thank you for sending Jesus to pay the price for my sins on the cross. P Please come into my life and make me new and whole.
Pretty simple... S.T.P.

The second thing that bothers me about this email is the very end...

"Pass this message to 8 people (EXCEPT YOU AND ME). You may receive a miracle tomorrow. I hope that you
don't ! ignore and let God bless you."

It is good to share the message of Christ... Do not mistake me on that. The thing that bothers me is the implication... "Pass this to 8 people and maybe receive a miracle..." Miracles happen
everyday in many places on large and small scales. Being saved by Grace is a wonderful miracle which the prayer mentioned in the email could accomplish if prayed with a genuine heart, so by praying that prayer one has already received a miracle before passing the email along... How many people would pass this on simply because they want or need a miracle? Miracles comefrom God, again NOT from our actions. We pray and ask for miracles, but His will for our lives determines our blessings and miracles. I count waking up each morning a miracle. Why is it that our society has gotten away from talking to people? I am guilty of this myself as I write this blog...

Think about it... It is so easy to forward an email or pass a tape or CD, or anything else than to sit down with someone you know and simply tell them about Jesus and how your own life has changed from knowing Him...

I want to reiterate that I believe the intentions of this email were good, probably all the way back to whomever created it. I certainly know that the family member that sent it to me had good intentions, and copied it to 9 people... fantastic, great... Don't you think it would be better to call these people and say something like, "Hey ______, I've been thinking about you lately... why don't we go get some coffee or something?" Then sit down with them and talk. Isn't this what our heavenly Father wants from us? Or does he want us to be so involved in "Church activities" that we have no time for relationships. "I'm in choir, I teach Sunday school, I'm on the drama team, I'm in the Orchestra, I have practice on Monday Nights, I keep kids in Day care... I don't have time to sit with you Jesus and talk about what's going on in my life... I'll call you when I need something..." What's wrong with that picture? I think the best example of how our relationships with people should be is Jesus. Go figure.

He was all about relationship in the Bible... He wanted to talk to people, hug them, love them, touch them to their soul... The books and letters of the Bible were not written by Jesus... These books recorded what Jesus said to PEOPLE... The letters of Paul are invaluable to us, but I can't help but thinking that Jesus would have gone to see these people and tell them things face to face... I don't mean to babble on and on. I know it was 1 email laced with good intentions...

I will say this to those of you reading this... I have been thinking about you lately, wether(sp. -1) I know your name or not, and I'd love to get together for some coffee or something and talk about what's going on in your life and how mine has been changed...


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Memory Loss in Pregnancy: Fact or Fiction?

For those of you that don't know, my wife and I are expecting our third baby. We have 2 daughters ages 6 and 2.5. This ones a boy. *smiles* Anyway, It has been said that a pregnant woman experiences short term memory loss during pregnancy, especially the third trimester. Why am I writing this you ask? Well, I'd like to chime in and put in my own piece of evidence in affirmation to this phenomenon. First, I'll add a few paragraphs of what the experts say... then what I say...

(picture is not my wife)

The Experts...

Pregnancy can be a time of joy and expectancy for a woman, but few women will experience a pregnancy completely devoid of negative side effects. While most symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, weight gain, and increased fatigue can be attributed to measurable increases in hormone levels, other symptoms, such as short-term memory loss, are less quantifiable, and therefore, perhaps less palpable. In fact, recent data suggests that the memory loss experienced by pregnant and postpartum women is both real and measurable, despite an apparent lack of association with either anxiety or hormone levels.

What is Short-term Memory Loss?

If you are pregnant and approaching your third trimester, you may find yourself increasingly misplacing items such as keys or eyeglasses, forgetting appointments, or suddenly losing your train of thought in the midst of performing a task. Rest assured, this probably does not signal the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease, but may be a temporary condition known as short-term memory loss. Short-term memory, or working memory, as it is also known, is the process by which we store most of the daily, generally transitory information we need to get through our daily routines. This kind of information will most likely never make it’s way into our long-term memory, the process we reserve the more permanent information we encounter.

Memory Decline Greatest in Third Trimester

Approximately half of all pregnant women report increases in forgetfulness during the latter part of pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

In a 1998 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keenan and associates monitored the memory and anxiety or depression level of a group of women throughout pregnancy and in the postpartum period. A similar group of nonpregnant women were likewise monitored for comparison. While the length of material influenced the amount recalled for both groups, pregnant women in the third trimester showed a significant decline in memory. No such decline was noted for nonpregnant women.

According to a 1998 report in Fit Pregnancy magazine, at least one study has found that pregnant women's brains get smaller in the third trimester. British researchers scanned the brains of ten moms-to-be during their last trimesters and again a few months after their babies were born and discovered that brain cell volume decreases during pregnancy, only to plump up again sometime after delivery. It is thought to be as much as 6% of a decrease in brain size.

The Layman...

I AGREE!!! LOL Let's see what examples I can think of...

OK here's a reoccuring theme... I'm in bed reading a book, my wife comes in and gets ready for bed. Sometimes she talks to me while I'm reading... she's even gotten on the bed and talked to me about my book.. She then proceeds to turn off the light and get in the bed at which time I reply, "Thank you..." and she answers in laughter... "oops sorry". This happens frequently(like last night for example).

Hhmmm ok here's another one... It begins with these words... I'll stop by and bring you lunch before I (fill in the blank) and it ends with me looking at the clock at about 2PM with stomach growling wondering "where's my sandwich?"

The last example I'll give we experienced this month. I gave my wife a paycheck to deposit into our bank account. She takes it to the drive through and somehow it gets deposited into another account at the same bank that hasn't been used in a year or so... The truth of the matter is that my wife gave that account number as the account to put it in... LOL This was discovered when I couldn't buy gas for my car yesterday and the gas pump was screaming at me "NSF NSF NSF NSF NSF NSF NSF!!!!!" I started searching for the money only to be told at the bank this morning, "Um, you need to talk to your wife... the money's there..." me-"Did it get put into the old account?" reply-"Um, I can't tell you that (i'm not on the account) all I can say is you need to talk to your wife" Long story short... Problem solved...

I pray for one of 2 things to take place... 1) Example 3 to not happen again. 2) A medicine to be created to keep pregnant women's brains from shrinking...

The ongoing joke in my family is stated in one phrase when something is overlooked or forgotten... "6 Percent" LOL...



Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Reality TV Conversion!!

Five men, ranging from an atheist in the pornography trade to a former Protestant paramilitary, have found their lives unexpectedly transformed in the latest incarnation of reality television in the UK - the monastery.

The London Telegraph reports that the five underwent a spiritual makeover by spending 40 days and 40 nights living with Roman Catholic monks in Worth Abbey, West Sussex.

The experiment, which will be shown on BBC TV this month, was designed to test whether the monastic tradition begun by St Benedict 1500 years ago still has any relevance to the modern world.

Although participants were not required to vote each other out - like Big Brother - they faced the challenge of living together in a community and following a disciplined regime of work and prayer. By the end, the atheist, Tony Burke, 29, became a believer and gave up his job producing trailers for a sex chat line after having what he described as a "religious experience".

Gary McCormick, 36, the former Ulster Defence Association member, who spent much of his early life in prison, began to overcome his inner demons.

Peter Gruffydd, a retired teacher, regained the faith he had rejected in his youth and Nick Buxton, 37, a Cambridge undergraduate, edged closer to becoming an Anglican priest.

The fifth "novice", 32-year-old Anthony Wright, who works for a London legal publishing company, started to come to terms with his childhood traumas.

The three-part series called The Monastery shows the five abiding by the monastery rules, with a strict timetable of instruction, study, prayer, reflection and work duties. They are also shown holding intense and often painful sessions with their religious mentors, individual monks assigned to guide each of them on their spiritual journeys.

Reality TV in monastery changes five lives forever (London Telegraph 30/4/05)

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Conference to Remember

WOW what a weekend!!! We were part of the worship at the Amplifier 2005 Conference in Baton Rouge, LA.( Swiftfire Ministries Website ) These were our guests for the conference. I play drums for the worship team at my church and we were invited to be the backing band for Steve Swanson. (see below) Honestly I didn't know who Steve Swanson was, but I was excited about playing for this conference. The schedule had us playing Thursday Night @ 7PM, Friday @ 9:30 am, 2:30 pm, & 7PM, Saturday @ 9:30 am, 2:30 pm, & 7PM. 7 Sets... doesn't seem too bad except that the worship sets went for at least an hour each, plus we had practice before each set for 30-minutes or so. Now let's add in that we were playing in the large ballroom at the Holiday Inn to about 200 people or so... which means I was playing HARD!!! I was hitting the drums as hard as I could...

My take on Steve Swanson. He's a genuine gentleman. Often times you encounter someone with his history as a worship leader and you'll also encounter arrogance. This was not the case with Steve. He was a phenominal keyboard player, but in spite of all his talent he was very humble. The first night we had scheduled to be there for 5PM to allow us to practice with Steve and learn his songs, but Steve was late getting into town and didn't get to the room until 5:45... Even being crunched for time, having only listened in brief to his songs (we got cd's Monday... but no song sheets/music) he took the time to get all of our names... and not only that he learned our names right then. We practiced through some of his songs and we struggled. We just didn't know them. At the very last second he asked us what we did know from his binder... we told him and then we started the worship set on a familiar song and went from there... We didn't do a single song that we had practiced. LOL It was great. It became a running joke with us about "Let's go practice the songs we're not going to play tonight..." HA! At the end of each set I'd come off the stage completely soaked. Aparently, someone couldn't get the AC settings right. We spent most of the sessions just adlibbing and playing off each other and following Steve from one song to another. There was one night though that we ended up playing 2 songs for and hour. Pretty funny, except that one of those songs had a rocking drum beat and i was exhausted. Steve was a great director also. You'd be in the middle of a song transition and he'd change his mind and look over at the band and with his hands make a "G" and scream/whisper GEEE... We'd all just jump aboard and follow. The best part is that I have cd's of all 7 worship sessions and the recordings are surprisingly not bad considering they camefrom a raw output on the sound board. All in all it was a great experience working with Steve Swanson and I hope to be able to play drums for him again. We weren't actually registered to attend the conference though we were able to stay for 3 of the messages. 2 with Patricia King and 1 with Paul Kieth Davis. They were both great speakers and carried great messages. I would like to have been able to stay for more of the sessions. There's some information on all 3 of these folk just below. Hey!!! leave me a comment this time you slackers!!!

Through worship, prayer, and teaching, Steve leads the congregation into a worship experience of deeper intimacy and freedom with God. The worship services are a time of seeking the Lord in the fullness of joy, and basking in the beauty of holiness. As an act of worship, Steve and Lisa bring to life the powerful illustration of God's destiny for each individual in the body of Christ with the "Potter's vessel." Steve's giftings are, prophetic song, music, and teaching. Lisa's giftings are, prophetic dance, art, and teaching. Together Steve and Lisa have been Commisioned to train up a new generation of worshippers who express their calling in worship.

Patricia King is a passionate, prophetic personality who is the host of Extreme Prophetic Television. She has had over 25 years of background as a Christian minister in conference speaking, prophetic service, church leadership, and television & radio appearances. Patricia is an author of books, booklets and manuals and has produced many informative resources through the medias of tapes, videos, CD's and DVD's. Her reputation in the Christian community is world renowned. You will find her to be sincere, genuine, generous, honest, real, "cutting edge" along with controversial.

Paul Kieth Davis- He has spent many years in an extensive study highlighting the ministry of revelation and power exemplified throughout the church ages with an emphasis on the 20th century church. His hearts desire is to see the full restoration of Biblical Apostolic ministry manifested through the Spirit of Truth residing in God’s people expressing salvation, healing and deliverance to the Glory of God and His Christ. He has a unique gift for imparting prophetic understanding of times and seasons with a message of preparation and expectancy for the Lord's Empowering Presence.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tatoos... Taboo???

Well here it is... The question of the day. I am currently 31 years old and i have a couple piercings in my left ear, but other than that I'm as clean as a whistle. No tatoos or other piercings to speak of... just a little chin hair i guess... anyway... The thing i've been thinking about is getting a Tatoo or not. I have arguments with myself on both sides of the spectrum. (No I'm not crazy yet...)

On the AGAINST side.. 1) it is virtually permanent and not something you can change or remove easily, maybe not at all without permanent scarring or a larger tat to cover it up. 2) What in the world would I put on my body permanently? 3) A tatoo would potentially be looked down upon in the business world... can I afford that? (I am a loan originator - do mortgages) 4) My parents/family would probably hate it (Other than my Wife), but... I am married and 31 though. 5) I've been told by people with tats not to get one because it is addictive. 6) How do I find someone that does great work and won't screw mine up? 7)How will it look when I'm 60 and when I get even older and all wrinkled up? 8)there are probably others I may come back and edit in later

On the FOR side... 1) My wife would think it's HOT!! 2) It is a little edgy which I have kind of always been with my waist length hair in high school and college, &my shaved head now, 3) It would make me feel like more of a Biker though I am still without a bike (I miss my Harley). 4) It could be a big display of the important things in my life (If i could pick what to get tatooed on me). 5)It is more socially acceptable than it has ever been. 6) there's more I'm sure that I will edit in later and... 7) My wife would think it's HOT!! (That's definently worth counting twice!!!)

I notice that my AGAINST side has more points than my FOR side... that's probably why I haven't gotten one up to this point... On to the next question. What would I get? I really don't know. I've thought about the names of my children and my wife. I've thought about some Christian Symbol like the Icthus or cross with a crown of thorns or even Scripture Itself. I've thought about many things, doodled on countless pads trying to design something... I am also spurred on by watching shows like Miami Ink, where these guys do Fantastic Work. I would want mine to look that good. Is someplace locally good enough or should I make a trip out to Miami??? I digress. What do you think?

This is completely open for your comments, even if you don't know me tell me what you think? Do you have tats? What are they? Do you like them? Do you want more? Are you addicted? How expensive are they? What are your suggestions for me? Where do you stand on Tats from a Biblical Perspective?

Big question for me... I alluded to it earlier. As a Christian, how is this viewed scripturally? I've never really been one to worry about what other people thought about me in General, though I am aware of the effects of certain things in Business etc... I am however concerned with being within God's plan and His Word... Honestly, I've not done much research on tatoos in the Bible, though I recall a reference to tatooing scripture on your body... I cannot remember the address, sadly... Give me your wisdom on this...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fact or Fiction...

What if we could have longer daytime hours, end global warming, & have milder climates. All it would take is a shift in the Earth's orbit. Yeah that's it... lol Can you imagine this... well, there is a group that believes if enough people were to jump at the same exact moment in time it could possbly cause this effect. What do you think? Go here and read about it... LINK

So did you go read it... did you watch the video of the "professor"? No... ok here's the link...

Other links they give to support this theory...

What do i think? I don't really know...

but i did sign up to jump...


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Salty Dogma

Salty dogma (idea borrowed from boy1ders blog)

Bono gives an explicit confession of being saved by Grace, not Karma | by Gene Edward Veith

Is Bono, the lead singer and songwriter for the rock group U2, a Christian? He says he is and writes about Christianity in his lyrics. Yet many people question whether Bono is "really" a Christian, due to his notoriously bad language, liberal politics, and rock star antics (though he has been faithfully married for 23 years). But in a new book of interviews, Bono in Conversation by Michka Assayas, Bono, though using some salty language, makes an explicit confession of faith.

The interviewer, Mr. Assayas, begins by asking Bono, Doesn't he think "appalling things" happen when people become religious? Bono counters, "It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."

The interviewer asks, What's that? "At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one," explains Bono. "And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that. . . . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."

The interviewer asks, Like what? "That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge," says Bono. "It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."

Then the interviewer marvels, "The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that."

"The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death," replies Bono. "It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven."

The interviewer marvels some more: "That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has His rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?"

Bono comes back, "Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."

What is most interesting in this exchange is the reaction of the interviewer, to whom Bono is, in effect, witnessing. This hip rock journalist starts by scorning what he thinks is Christianity. But it is as if he had never heard of grace, the atonement, the deity of Christ, the gospel. And he probably hadn't. But when he hears what Christianity is actually all about, he is amazed.

Pictures from Iraq

Here are a few pics from the website listed over there =============> "Bo in Iraq" Just a taste of the daily life in Iraq. Hopefully you will visit the site your self and see the photos and even video clips that are posted there. Please leave some comments.

Here's Home away from home.

Dust plume... or a giant monkey? You make the call.

Explosive round

Bo get's an IV for "preventative" measures. He looks happy about what he's fixing to get...

A picture you won't se on CNN. Soldiers throwing packpacks with goodies to Iraqi children.

Bo readies the radio before a morning mission.

Finally, some time to relax. Bo doing what he does best.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Amazing _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Part 1

This could only happen in South Louisiana

The tug is approaching the bridge pushing barges loaded down with coal. Not an unusual sight on the rivers in South Louisiana.

Note the swiftness of the current. It appears that the river is near or at flood stage.

You can see that the captain made sure the barges cleared the bridge supports, but the draw bridge was not raised in enough time. The tug fights in reverse to stay ahead of the current and avoid a collision with the bridge.

He couldn't do it though. The current is too swift and the bridge is struck. What now?

Oh NO!!!! The current has turned the boat sideways... this does NOT Look good!!!

Looks like the Tug is going under one way or another!!!

This does not look good. No One seems to have bailed out either!!!!

Nothing more to say....

Amazing RECOVERY Part 2

It made it through and it seems to be trying to right itself.

Note the water pouring out of the main deck.

More water pouring out!

Is that exhaust I see... this things running again!!!

WOW!!! you can see a propulsion trail... this things going back to WORK!!!!

Yep... All in a days work!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Hero for Today

Many of you may not know that my Brother-in-Law is in the Air Force in Iraq. I am very proud of him and what he is doing. Have you stopped to realize that the Hero's of tomorrow are being created today over seas in Iraq and Afganistan? We've all heard stories of our nations hero's from WWII, Korea, Nam. There have been movies made about these heros. Some that come to mind are the ones about Audie Murphy in WWII and Saving Private Ryan (based losely on actual events). It stands to reason that our brothers, sons, wives, daughters, spouses will be the Heros movies are made about for the next generation to watch and admire. Are you supporting these up and coming Heros? Do me a favor will you? Visit the sites you see to the right side of this page. They are called Bo in Iraq (This is the web site for my brother-in-laws company in Iraq) and under_rated (this is a friends brother's personal blog site) and show them your support by leaving comments and messages and sending email. I also have a link so you can email Bo directly. Please do so even if you don't know him to tell him that you are proud of him and this country. And to Bo I say that you are one of my Heros. May the Lord protect you and those around you. May He bless this country and bring peace and prosperity to our country and those that choose democracy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I have Arrived

Hello every one... this is my first official post on this blog site. I am following in my friends footsteps and considering moving away from my Xanga site. I hope to bring entertainment to you in the future... I am including a kind of Best of from my Xanga site so you can see who I am in a way... Enjoy the site... leave many coments... and come back often...