Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas in Today's World

It's been awhile. I've been thinking about getting back in the saddle but life gets in the way.

Anyway, here's something I thought you might like. Click on the link below and enjoy a contemporary look at the birth of Christ . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZrf0PbAGSk&feature=player_embedded

Blessings!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joshua touchdown

Okay, I'll brag for just a moment. Here's a video clip of Joshua's first 7th grade touchdown.



Click on the title Joshua touchdown to view the video

Out Live Your Life

I always enjoy picking up Max Lucado books. There are stories after stories about people who have made a difference or who have lived through difficult times and as a result of their faith, they saw life in a more positive light. In his newest book, Out Live Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference, Lucado takes us on a journey through the book of Acts in order to encourage all people to be difference makers.

This is a very easy to read book, with short chapters filled with stories about people who were and are difference makers. The basic premise of the book is how will people remember you after you are no longer present in this world? That’s a sobering question and Max exhorts the reader to be a person of action so that they do make a difference in this lifetime. His stories are gripping and add strength to the points he is trying to make.

Max provides questions at the back of the book to help the reader muse upon his writings. Overall this is not a deep, deep book, but it is one that should cause Christ followers to pause and consider if they will outlive their lives.

You can purchase this book at Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.

I review for BookSneeze

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Quran Burning on 9/11

Folks this is what gives Christians a bad name. This guy and this church are idiots. You can read about this church in Florida where they are going to burn Qurans. Do I believe in the Quran? No! But I also don't believe in Mormon writings, Jehovah Witness Bibles, the philosophy which moves our country from writer Ayn Rand; but I'm not burning their books.

Sadly, incidents like this do more to hurt the movement and spirit of Christ followers, than ten good deeds.

Here is the link . . . http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/quran_burning

The Story Devotion Questions

As we move through The Story, there are discussion and reflection questions for all 31 weeks. My goal is to send them out on a weekly basis so that you can use them to help you go deeper in scripture and deeper in your life with Christ. These don't necessarily represent where the message or Sunday School lessons will be heading, but are ways to help you move through scripture. Hopefully these are helpful.

As a reminder, this week's reading is from Genesis 1-4; 6-9.

PERSONAL DEVOTION QUESTIONS
CHAPTER 1 - Genesis 1-4:6-9
The Beginning of Life as We Know It

Day 1
  1. God created Eve because he felt that it was not good for Adam to be alone (p. 3). When have you felt most alone? How would your life be different if you were experiencing deep community? What might you do help someone else who is alone and isolated?
  2. Adam and Eve hid from God because they felt shame and guilt. Both failed to accept responsibility for their sins and failures. Often, the first step to the healing and the restoring of relationships is to accept responsibility for our mistakes. What, if anything, do you need to own this week?
  3. Adam and Eve’s disastrous decisions demonstrate our own inability to choose well between right and wrong. Describe a wrong choice you made, and how it affected your life. How has God helped you heal from that choice?
Day 2
  1. Cain’s feelings of jealousy and hurt feelings led to Abel’s murder. Is there anyone in your family who you have hurt, or who has hurt you? What might you do to reconcile with this person? Identify a family relationship in your own life that is loving and secure. Share your thankfulness for that person with a note or phone call.
  2. When God looked at the earth and saw that it was only evil all the time, He “regretted that he had made human beings, and His heart was deeply troubled.” Our hearts are often deeply troubled when we observe the horrors of this world. How might you respond to someone who asks how a good God could allow so much evil to take place?
Day 3
  1. God pursued Adam and Eve after they had sinned. God pursued Cain even as Cain was steeped in anger. Describe a time in your own life that God sought you out. What happened? How did it deepen your relationship with God?
  2. Noah is noted for being “righteous” and “blameless.” Are there any areas of your life that could be described this way? What areas of your life are most difficult to act righteously or blamelessly? Who do you know that could hold you accountable for these things?

Monday, September 06, 2010

The STORY

It's finally here!!! Next Sunday we officially dive into The Story. If you're not familiar with what we're doing, we are moving through a condensed version of the Bible over the next 31 weeks, except for advent.

Sunday School classes for adults, teens and children will be going over the same scripture each week; and it will be the same scripture for the message.

We have sold so many copies of The Story Bible, which is a condensed version of the Bible. These Bibles are available at the church at 1/2 price for $7.50. I will try to send out weekly thoughts about what I'm reading and thinking about.

The beauty and power of what we will be doing is seeing how God is at work in our lives and how He sent Christ into the world for us is part of the overall story from the beginning. Stay tuned, and be ready for a dynamic series of messages.

We're in our final countdown until we blast off!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Plan B - Book Review

Don't you love the title . . . Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?

From the start of this book, Pete Wilson had me hooked. We all have an expectation of how and when God will show up and rescue us from our difficult traumas. I could resonate with not only his situations, but his feelings about what happens when life does not go as we planned it to go. As a result, this book emerged; as Wilson covers those times when the path we were taking takes a detour and we find ourselves on a new path, and Plan A gets scrapped and Plan B has to come into play.

This book was easy to read, as Wilson used examples from his personal life and stories from the Bible to often demonstrate where Plan B came into play. The end result, is the reminder that we need to be focused on God and our relationship with Him. God is not our all-mighty ‘genie’ who gives us whatever we want, when we want it. At times the harsh reality of life comes out in this book. Overall, this book is worth reading and possibly a good book to hand to a friend who is struggling when life has not gone as planned.

In the end, the obvious answer is to turn to God, yet, Wilson would be the first to admit that God’s plan, which is always the right plan, is a mystery. It would be interesting to hear Wilson preach and talk to others, as he seems to have an empathetic tone in his writing. I highly recommend this book.

This book was received free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I thought this was a very good video reminding us about creation . . .




I hope you were able to remember where God is at in your life today!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guess what we are to celerbate?

This post was written a few weeks ago by Pastor Mark Beeson. Mark is the Senior Pastor at Granger Community Church in Mishawaka. What are your thoughts.

Because I have children, andgrandchildren, I find myself thinking about how I can best help them understand the principles, morals and values of a Christ-centered life. I think about it a lot. I pray for wisdom. I study. I want the next generation to know how they can help God's Kingdom come, and God's will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. I want them to know what made America great. I want them to know how to make this world better.

You'd be correct if you assume I try to pay attention to what our President says and does. If the most powerful man on planet Earth (yeah, I know, other than Jesus) makes a Presidential Proclamation, it means all Americans should act accordingly. People should notice. Families should understand their President's wishes. Teachers should be able to explain them to their students.

When the president proclaims "National Sanctity of Human Life Day," elementary school teachers should explain to their students that life is sacred. All life is precious. And when the president proclaims "Martin Luther King Jr. Day," a Federal Holiday, grown-ups should explain the importance of Dr. King's great efforts to bring racial reconciliation to American society. Children should hear Dr. King's declaration that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." And when our children learn of our president's proclamation of "National Child Abuse Prevention Month," we're responsible to explain that no child should ever suffer abuse from any adult - ever. It's up to parents, and pastors, and teachers, and youth leaders, and Grandmas to explain the meaning, intent and benefit of our President's Proclamations.

It's a privilege, and an honor, to help our children see the value of our President's Proclamations.

At least, it should be.

So, how do you tell your children about our President's Proclamation of "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month?" What are we supposed to do with that? I've been wrestling with this for weeks.

Can your child's teachers explain our President's Proclamation to your kids?

"What's the President's Proclamation about?" the 3rd Grader asks. "I don't get it."
"Oh, Honey, that just means some boys like boys."
"You mean like my brother and me? We're best friends!"
"No. You're talking about brotherly love. This is about all Americans being proud of a different kind of love."
"Oh. You mean like
God's love? Like we learned about in church?"
"No. This isn't about
selfless love. It isn't about unconditional, self-sacrificing love."
"Then, what are we supposed to be proud about this month?"
"Well, this is about sexual desire and sexual love..."

(It's here in the conversation with an elementary school child I would find myself stumped. With other Presidential Proclamations I might have less difficulty, but this is where I don't think I know what to say to fresh-faced young Americans. I've thought about it, but I'm not sure my answer would help. I don't want to recommend homosexuality to my kids, much less take a whole month to publicly celebrate it with pride.)

What could I say?
Should I say this?
"I guess our President wants all Americans to take pride in the fact that in America
anyone can have sex with anyone. If men satisfy their sexual desire for men, with men, that's fine. If women satisfy their sexual desire with women, that's fine too. And if they don't really know whether they are men, or women, since gender doesn't really matter, we can all take pride in the fact that they can have sex and it doesn't matter whether they're having sex with women or men. It's all about sexual release Sweetheart. It's all about satisfying any sexual desire you have. No rules. No limits. No old-fashioned injunctions restricting sexual freedom. Our president is leading America into the future. Isn't that nice?"

Not a single world religion endorses homosexuality as a source of community pride. Not one. Homosexuality is not allowed by Islam. Hinduism doesn't exalt it. The Dalai Lama, world-revered leader of millions of Buddhists and Nobel Peace Laureate, declared from a Buddhist point of view, lesbian and gay sex is generally considered sexual misconduct. Sexual intercourse between two men is forbidden by the Torah, and is a capital offense. In Orthodox Judaism, neither the Sifra, nor the Talmud, affirm homosexual acts. Confucians are expected to marry and have children; that is their responsibility to their ancestors and their country, so homosexuality is not praised in Confucianism. For the first 2,000 years of the Church, Christians did not declare homosexual behavior to be the best path for individuals, or society in general.

I will have to admit that Wiccans support the idea that acts of love, pleasure and beauty are sacred -- no matter which people happen to be participating -- so witches (not normally included in a list of major "world religions") are very accepting of homosexuality.

The President's Proclamation is suggested to be about justice and equal rights. Maybe it is. But it's about more than that. Much more. Read it. It's about the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act (which makes explicit what has been understood under federal law for over 200 years; that a "marriage" is the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and a "spouse" is a husband or wife of the opposite sex). It's about more than the rights our Constitution guarantees all Americans. It's about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride.

Let me ask:
Is lifting up a homosexual orientation, as a source of national pride, really helpful? Is this the pathway to becoming "a holy nation," or have we veered off course and - in the secularization of our lives - abandoned all true religion?

How about it?

1 Peter 2:9-10 - But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Pastor Michael now writing ~ Interesting and excellent comments by Pastor Mark Beeson. There are times in life when we need to focus on what is really important. The President is way off base on this. We should love everyone, not condemn anyone, but to endorse a month to celebrate sexual freedom, is more than we need. Your thoughts?

Friday, June 11, 2010

John Wooden's Legacy

I found this article to be a great read regarding John Wooden. He recently died at the age of 99. He is considered the greatest college basketball coach ever and was vocal about his faith in Christ, using that whenever he could but in a gentle and loving manner.

The article below is from ESPN.com.

I thought it was a good and easy read.

Wooden set the bar hi

By Rick Reilly
ESPN.com

John Wooden
Malcolm Emmons/US Presswire
.
Rick Reilly reflects on the late, legendary coach John Wooden.

The awful thing about knowing John Wooden was that when you left him, you realized how weak you were as a man.

Every time I left his little 700-square-foot condo in Encino, Calif., full of books and learning and morals, it would hit me how far short of him I fell.

He made me want to be more principled. This is a man who once turned down the Purdue head-coaching job because he felt the university was treating the fired coach "terribly. I wouldn't stand for it."

He once turned down the Minnesota job he and his wife, Nell, wanted -- and accepted the UCLA one instead -- because Minnesota hadn't called with its offer by the 6 p.m. deadline he'd set. Turns out a storm had knocked down the phone lines. Didn't matter. He went to UCLA and won the Bruins 10 NCAA titles. No other coach has won more than four.

He abhorred stardom and showmanship. He was against jerseys being retired at UCLA, even the one worn by Lewis Alcindor (later: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.) "What about the youngster who wore that number before Lewis? Didn't he contribute to the team?"
Rick Reilly and John Wooden
Last fall, Rick Reilly visited John Wooden at his condo in Encino.

One time I asked him, "How many championships do you think Kobe can win?"

"None," he said, flatly.

"None?"

"Kobe doesn't win championships. The Lakers win championships."

He made me want to be more humble. In the most self-obsessed city in the world -- Hollywood -- he was selfless. It only made him stand out even more, like a priest at a Chippendale's convention. He would hardly even get out of his chair during games. He and his blue eyes and his farm-boy haircut would just sit there and watch his toy spin. I asked him once what he thought about coaches in their Armani suits strutting up and down the entire game, coaching every dribble. "I don't understand it," he said. "What do they do in practice?"

He made me want to be more courageous. For instance, I'm terrified of dying. He used to laugh about it.

One of his favorite stories was about the time he took his great-granddaughter to get her ears pierced. She was 11. They drove home from the mall in his old 1989 Taurus -- "greatest car I ever had," he always said -- and she was practically unraveling with joy.

"Oh, Papa," she said. "I hope you live five more years so you can take me to get my license!"

He liked to kid about my occasional visits. "Last time I saw you [at 98], I was walking. This year, I'm in a wheelchair. At 100, I'll probably be on a stretcher." If only.

He made me wish I read more, thought more, listened more.

I started noticing something on my visits. The TV was never on. He was always reading. Poetry, history, the Bible. Never sports. Never novels. He knew hundreds of classic poems by heart. Yet when he found himself coaching a bookish 7-footer named Alcindor in 1966, he memorized the poems of Langston Hughes, the black modern poet. It didn't go unnoticed.

Wooden made me wish I read more, thought more, listened more. I started noticing something on my visits. The TV was never on. He was always reading. Poetry, history, the Bible.

He was a nut for Lincoln, yet not for a second did he realize he, himself, was sports' Lincoln, a boy who'd learned to read by the light of a coal lamp, a man of simple wisdom whose pithy nuggets of good advice -- "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can" -- will be quoted for the next 100 years.

Me? Great books stack up at my bedside while I watch "The Bachelorette."

Look, John Wooden wasn't perfect. He may have stopped swearing for good at 14, but he said plenty to refs. He'd put his head down and yell things at them into his program as they'd run by. "Their big fella is fouling Nater every time down! Why can't you see that?"

And it's not true he never drank. He did, at 22, with his Purdue teammates. He had a half a bottle of beer "and threw up six," he remembered. That was the last time.

He made plenty of mistakes. He let Alcindor score 60 points in his first collegiate game just to put fear in the rest of the Pac-10. "I'm ashamed of that," he once said.

He and Nell's relationship wasn't perfect. Once, when he was just out of college, they had a huge fight and he left. Started hitchhiking west. Didn't care where he went. Got as far as Lawrence, Kansas, where he got a job helping to build the football stadium. Then he went back home. "I just got a little confused," he said.

At UCLA, he didn't pay enough attention to realize a booster named Sam Gilbert was lavishing his players with gifts and cars. But I will punch any man in the mouth who says Wooden knew. He couldn't have known it or he'd have stopped it. He'd have sooner cut off his own hand than cheat.

He made me want to love more deeply.

He took me into his bedroom once, in 2000. The clocks were all wrong. He stopped them at the time of Nellie's death, 15 years before. Only one side of the bed was slept in, and above the sheet, not under them, and hadn't been since the day she died. On her pillow were hundreds of little letters in envelopes tied up in bundles by yellow ribbons. He wrote her every month telling her how much he loved her and what all the kids were doing. Did it right up until the last few months of his life, when his eyes stopped working.

"Coach, were you never tempted in all those years to go on a date?" I asked him once. "Didn't other women come flirting around after you?"

"Oh, yes," he said. "But there's no one else for me."

She'd been dead 24 years by then.

Once, when he was missing Nell terribly, one of his great-granddaughters -- she was 5 at the time -- saw how sad he was, tugged on his pants leg and said, "Papa, I know you miss Mama. So I'm going to rent you an airplane so you can fly up in the clouds and see her."

Here's to Coach for finally getting back with his girl -- no airplane necessary.

And here's to all of us striving to be half the person he was.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Last Christian

I am not a big sci-fi reader, however, The Last Christian was a book I had a difficult time putting down. Without giving the entire story away, just picture it is the year 2088, that’s right we’re working into the future. Christian America has ceased to exist, people are living life with amazing scientific discoveries, culminating in the ability to have neural implants put in their brains, and brain transplants, which enables them to live in a Virtual Reality (VR). The transplants can also lead to living forever and losing an opportunity for a relationship with God.

Because of these implants people can process information at lightening speed, they can read books in minutes and are able to communicate through a grid system. With all this going on in the world, Abby Caldwell revels in her work in Papua, New Guinea as a missionary. However, the people in her village which is a protected environment die of a mysterious illness, which she and a doctor friend cannot figure out.

Abby ultimately comes to the United States, stays with her sister, who has high political aspirations and doesn’t want her sister near her. The plot thickens with many twists and turns. It’s a fun book, but one that really points out some of the potential hazards of technology.

Abby comes across with a wonderful innocence which never gets lost, even though she is lost in becoming part of American society. She continually talks to people about God, with a powerful grace and childlike faith which is missing today.

This is not an easy to read, relaxing book. But . . . it was hard to put down at the same time.

You can purchase this book at www.christianbook.com

or Multnomah Press

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, May 17, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With the confidence of a coach and the passion of a preacher, Zach Lipson has spent much of his teenage years telling anyone he meets about his plans to join one of the nation's elite college basketball programs.

It didn't matter to him that he'd never played a minute of organized hoops. Or that he stood little chance of ever being more than 4 feet tall. He still gave the same speech to just about everyone he met, whether he was chatting at a dinner table full of strangers or sitting across from a skeptical guidance counselor.

He was born with a spinal deformity, so he already had overcome long odds. What was to stop this Nashville resident from proving people wrong once again?

Zachary Lipson's passion has him headed to Kentucky as part of the basketball program.
"It's an amazing story, pretty incredible," Lipson acknowledged. "Whenever you have a goal in life, there are always going to be some obstacles that try to stop you. There will be people who try to tell you, 'No, you can't do it.' But you can't let it beat you down."

Lipson's story proved inspirational enough to earn him a spot as a student-manager at Kentucky. He is expected to live at Wildcat Lodge - the same building that houses the players.

That represents a stunning turn of events for someone who has overcome more obstacles in his 19 years than most people face in their lives.

Lipson was born eight weeks premature and weighed less than 2 pounds. He required CPR in the delivery room. He has undergone more than 30 surgeries. And if that weren't enough to make him curse fate, Lipson also has a twin brother who is healthy. Lipson doesn't need to wonder what might have been: He has a walking reminder in his home.

Lipson has resisted the temptation of self-pity. He instead has faced every challenge with the same upbeat approach that has helped him serve as an inspiration to friends, family members and classmates. Kentucky's latest recruit won't develop into the next Tony Delk, but he just might become the next Tony Robbins.

"I wouldn't be the speaker I am today without my deformities," Lipson said. "I've used them to make myself a stronger human being. That's a very radical idea. That's how I want to be an inspiration to people.

"I want to tell people you don't have to fall and beat yourself up over your problems. You can take them and help them make you stronger. You can turn a losing situation into a winning situation."

Born to inspire

He wasn't always this upbeat. Lipson remembers being teased by grade-school classmates who didn't know any better, and he occasionally would look at his brother and wonder why he couldn't be blessed with a healthy body.

Former Vanderbilt star Drew Maddux calls Zachary Lipson a student assistant coach.
The turning point came when he was in first grade. Lipson, a devout Christian, had an epiphany. He was in a hospital room when he started to understand how he could make the most of his situation.

"I learned humility at that point in my life," Lipson said. "I realized my true purpose here on Earth is to share the gospel, to share my story and to be an inspiration to people."

That's when it dawned on Lipson that he wouldn't get to live an average life. He was being called to do much, much more. He would tell his story to anyone who would listen. He doesn't consider anyone a stranger.

"I noticed when we go to places, if we were sitting at a table, he'd end up not sitting at our table," said Lipson's mother, Susan. "He'd be sitting at a table with people who he didn't even know. He'd get to know them, talk to them, encourage them. They'd say, 'Wow, what an amazing story. I can't believe what he's been through.' "

He eventually found a way to spread his message through sports. Lipson grew up hating athletics because his health problems prevented him from playing organized sports or from joining his classmates in playground activities. His attitude changed after he took over as a student-manager for the football team at Christ Presbyterian Academy, the Nashville school he attends.

He caught on so well that he also became the student-manager for the basketball and soccer teams. And he made himself into the best manager a school could possibly have.

When a coach wanted him to do something during a game, Lipson would sprint to wherever he needed to be. He commanded such respect that CPA basketball coach Drew Maddux never called Lipson a manager and instead labeled him a "student assistant coach."

"He's like one of my sons," said Maddux, who played basketball for Vanderbilt from 1994-98. "I've really grown to love Zach."

Not only did Lipson perform the typical managerial responsibilities of fetching water and collecting equipment, he also gave locker-room speeches and even assisted Maddux in advance scouting.

Lipson's pep talks were so legendary in the Nashville high school ranks that officials at rival school David Lipscomb High asked him to give an inspirational speech to their entire student body.

Bleeding blue

Lipson fell in love with his manager jobs so much that he wanted to continue on what he considered the best and biggest stage of all - the University of Kentucky. But he considered this goal more than just a dream; he saw it as his destiny.

"People describe me as a passionate person," Lipson said. "I have such a love of life. What better basketball program than the University of Kentucky, which has so much tradition and passion? I think that's what was drawing me there."

Zachary Lipson has given some legendary pep talks in Nashville.
Lipson speaks with the authority of someone twice his age. He's a history enthusiast who has treasured the opportunity to visit more than 25 countries. He's teaching himself to read and write in Russian. How many other teenagers would discuss leadership by referring to Napoleon's attack in the Siege of Toulon?

But for all his obvious intelligence, Lipson still lacked the necessary grades and test scores to get into Kentucky as an out-of-state student. In fact, when he mentioned his goal to a college counselor, she indicated that wasn't a realistic possibility.

"She said he needed to look at Plan B," Susan Lipson said. "Well, there was no Plan B for him. I saw how he took his knuckles, gripped his chair and said, 'I will go to Kentucky.' "

Lipson did everything in his power to improve his grades. He spent his lunch hour studying in his school's locker room and took countless hours of ACT preparatory courses. All that extra work allowed him to qualify academically. Then, a remarkable chain of events brought his goal within reach.

Kentucky fired former coach Billy Gillispie after the 2008-09 season and replaced him with John Calipari, who in turn hired Martin Newton as the school's director of basketball operations. Maddux's father, Ray, and Newton's father, former Vanderbilt basketball coach and Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton, were friends and had helped found "The Rebounders," a club for former Vanderbilt basketball lettermen.

In addition, before being hired at Kentucky, Martin Newton had worked for Nike alongside Tim Thompson, a former Vanderbilt player and one of Maddux's closest friends.

Maddux used his connections to get Lipson an opportunity to work at Kentucky's basketball camps last summer. Lipson wasted no time making a name for himself with his work habits and his indefatigable spirit.

"I had never been to Lexington," Lipson said. "I didn't know anyone. I was a little ... not shy but a little afraid and nervous because I'd never been to the campus before. But I worked, helped out in the team camps and put my name out there."

Lipson apparently made quite an impact. Kentucky utilizes about six to eight student-managers each season and annually receives at least 50 applications for those positions. Lipson's application stood out.

"Zach's story is a unique one, not only because of what he's overcome in life but also because of his passion for Kentucky basketball," Newton said. "This is a young man who absolutely loves University of Kentucky basketball. He lives in Nashville. His mentor is Drew Maddux, a guy who played at Vanderbilt. Yet it never squelched his passion for Kentucky basketball.

"The combination of the type of person he is, the things he's overcome and his passion for Kentucky made it a really easy choice."

Student-managers are an integral part of just about every program across the country, but that's particularly true at Kentucky, where longtime equipment manager Bill Keightley played such a vital role that an honorary jersey in his name hangs from the Rupp Arena rafters.

The student-managers work the same hours as the players. They're present for team practices and weightlifting sessions as well as participating in more menial activities such as laundry duty.

Lipson is ready to perform these tasks to the best of his ability, but he also believes he can offer something extra. He wants to encourage Kentucky's players and his fellow classmates the same way he has inspired just about everyone else he has met.

"The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is working with people," Lipson said. "I feel like I'm going to be a big impact in their lives. I'm going to influence the way they think and look at things. I can show someone a positive influence.''

And if Calipari ever needs someone to help out with a pep talk, he won't have far to look. He need only turn to his new manager, who can go into painstaking detail on how various financial moguls made their fortunes or discuss the personal traits that caused Winston Churchill to succeed and Adolf Hitler to fail.

Better yet, he simply can tell the story about his improbable path to Lexington.

Zac Smith

I read about Zac on another blog and watched this video of him. He died yesterday with a very powerful story.

It is only a 4:30 second video. You can watch it below. Click HERE to take you to the video.


You can also read Zac's blog at here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Untamed


In their book Untamed, Alan and Debra Hirsch talk about a time when their small community of believers was building relationships with a group of prostitutes. They would knit clothes, provide food and more for these “working girls.” They write,

“Our intention with these women was ultimately for them to know Jesus. So we began to disciple them. Did they know we were doing that? Absolutely not—I doubt they would have come at all if they did. Rather, our discipling of them was to expose them to the values of the kingdom and the heart of Jesus for the outcast. These women knew that we were believers, but we never abused our relationship with them by imposing our views or inappropriately “evangelizing” them in the narrow understanding of this term. We exposed their hearts to the issues of injustice and serving others, and helped put the poor on their radar. Most of these women started as professional women concerned with becoming affluent, getting bigger and better homes, and living more comfortable lifestyles. Discipling for them meant that over time they began to look more like Jesus by embracing values that were more in line with the kingdom, and as this transformation began questions about God and Jesus started taking place.” (pg 148-149)

The authors contend that we make a mistake by keeping discipling limited to followers of Christ. It’s as though we consider everything pre-conversion as evangelism and everything post-conversion as discipleship. Yet they say, “Discipleship is not just for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior—it’s for everyone! We believe it is a great mistake to restrict discipling to just Christians and keep it within the confines of the Christian community. We as believers are called to disciple everyone who comes into our orbit of influence.”

Interesting thoughts, yet, that's how we should be acting everyday. I call it lifestyle evangelism. Are you doing that? Do you even agree with their premise?



Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Obstacles Welcome

Obstacles Welcome is a great title for this easy to read leadership book, which also packed a good punch. Ralph de la Vega recounts his life story as he migrated to Florida from Cuba. He recalls the struggles, even the issues he had to deal with as a child and how they shaped him into the leader he is today.

de la Vega is the President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. He came to the United States without his parents and was raised by friends of his parents. Then after he settled into a new way of living life, his parents arrived in the United States and he had to help acclimate them.

This is an inspiring story about the decisions he had to make along the way to becoming the CEO of AT&T Mobility. While this is not a church leadership book, many of his principles are universal and can be applied personally or corporately.

There were many personal stories de la Vega told which were interesting to see how the corporate giant AT&T operated. He gives practical insight into how we went about making decisions, even when he was unsure about a situation, he walks you through his process.

I also liked this book because, unlike many books on leadership that tend to be all theory and not practicality (which is fine, to a point), de la Vega gives good, practical advice on creating actions plans, taking calulated risks, vision, recognition of obstacles as opportunities, unlearning "old-think", etc.

I would recommend this book to those who are interested in ways in which others face conflict, calculate risk in decision making, seek vision, and use obstacles as a means for opportunities in their personal, as well as business life. This was an encouraging book to read.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reading opportunity

If anyone enjoys reading books by Jane Kirkpatrick, I have a new copy of An Absence so Great. If you like I will give it to you, if you will write a short review of it.

Let me know if you would like a copy. The review must be finished by April 2.

Thanks!

Liz Curtis Higgs ~ Here Burns My Candle

"Here Burns My Candle" was a wonderful combination of the book of Ruth and a fictional story set in Scotland. Liz told the story of Ruth and Naomi in a way which brought their story to life. It was obvious Liz did a great deal of research, Biblical as well as historical. For me, this helped the book become more alive.

At times Liz used Scottish dialect in order to enhance the story. I will warn you, you will have to use the glossary which was thankfully put in at the end of the book. The book is long, over 450 pages, and at times, it could get a little slow.

In the end, it’s a powerful story about a widowed mother in law, her two sons and their wives. There is war, there is worship of a pagan God, there is questioning of God’s plan and purpose. There is conflict, yet in the end, God’s love rules supreme. If you like Liz Curtis Higg’s books, you will certainly like this one.

You can purchase this book at . . .

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781400070015

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Zachary's writings

Last night, after returning from Alabama, Zachary was still up and I went into his room, and he showed me what he was doing. He had just finished writing some thoughts, below is what he was writing. It sounds like parts of some songs, but he put them together.



If you can't read this, this is what Zachary wrote . . .


I try to be as Christ-like as possible. Even though it’s impossible, I do my best. I really do. More than anything the Holy Spirit got hold of me. I find that the closer I get to Christ, the better I feel. I have a purpose, everything I have, everything I’ve been given, comes from the Lord. I want to do the best I can with them, and then remember that He let’s me do this. He’s given me the opportunity to do things with the ability He’s given me. I shouldn’t take any credit.


I was impressed and proud!!

Sweet Home Alabama

The boys and I just returned from Alabama after the death of Debbie's dad. His illness and death were sudden, it's a relief he did not suffer much, but there was no time for Debbie and her family to really say good-bye. I feel badly for Debbie, although she was able to get to Alabama before he died.

Now comes the difficult part for her and her sister and brother; as they go through his belongings. Since none of them live within 450 miles (we live the closest) they are going through and making decisions on who gets what and what to do with everything. Gladly, they have been in agreement on the major decisions since he died, which makes a stressful process more bearable.

Keep them in your prayers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Joshua Drumming

Click on the title to watch Joshua play his drums at the school talent show.



He's pretty good, in my opinion, especially for a kid who is not taking lessons.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A great 30 second sermon

What do you think about this . . . ?

Giving: From A Child's Perspective from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.



I think it's great to see giving from a child's perspective.

What is your perspective on giving?

To watch the video, click on the header title.

Beer and Bible

So, what do you think about these guys and their ministry?

They are planting a church in a town in Utah where it is 80% Mormon and there is not one Protestant church. Talk about unchurched!

Before I tell you what I think, what do you think about two guys starting a Beer and Bible study to launch a church?

Watch the video, it's only 2:30 long.



Are they off base, or are they willing to do what it takes to lead people to Christ? Click HERE to watch.

Friday, February 26, 2010




When Debbie walked into Zachary's room last night while he was sleeping, this is what she found. . .

He had written on his whiteboard.

Is this kid a romantic or what? He's definitely going to woo some girl someday.

Of course, you know where he gets it from, don't you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FORGIVENESS

As I have been preaching through forgiveness, I've been asked a few questions and will talk more about these questions, plus what I was thinking about this Sunday, then conclude forgiveness on 2/28.

If you have any questions which I can answer for you or try to answer, please let me know. I'd be happy to help.

You can email me at mishana826@yahoo.com.

All questions will remain anonymous.

Blessings!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Leadership Lesson

This is a great and fun 3 minute video . . .




Are you the lone nut?

Remember to watch click on the title Leadership Lesson

You can also go to http://sivers.org/ff

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LOVE and WAR

I have to admit, I read this book expecting it to be excellent; and I was not disappointed. John Eldredge is one of my favorite authors, and has a wonderful and powerful way of putting to words what is in many hearts. I have read his books and now would say I have a new number 1 John Eldredge book.

John and his wife, Stasi, write what is possibly one of the most open and honest Christian books about marriage. There is no subject which they don’t touch. There are no hidden agendas for John and Stasi. They are both more vulnerable than in any other book they have written individually.

As John writes, “A marriage that bears the signature of God's heart is an incredible gift, and it is worth fighting for.” Those are power-filled and truth-filled words. What God has brought together no person should be asunder; or better yet, what God brings together no person, even husband or wife, should desecrate and trash.

So, in their book, Love and War, John and Stasi walk the reader into the larger story that God has for us in marriage. As a pastor I appreciated some of the words John uses in wedding ceremonies which he performs. I was struck by his candor and wisdom. This is a book of hope which draws us to step out of the small stories and battles that often fill our lives, and into the realm of wanting more that God has for us in marriage.

John and Stasi don’t offer tips and techniques helping us to do the right thing, instead they offer transparency so that we would learn from their story. They desire for each spouse to experience the greater love story God offers them individually and as a couple; where we not only experience love from the Author of love, but become the givers of love as well.

This is a great book. I would encourage couples, older and younger; and even engaged couples to read this book. It is one I will pass out and recommend.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

You can purchase this book online at ~
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385529808

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ANGELS - Book Review

When I saw that I had an opportunity to review one of David Jeremiah's books, I was excited, and when I read the title of the book, I was doubly excited. David is a wonderful scholar who writes in plain English, enabling all people to understand his points.

I was not disappointed in reading this book about Angels. David provides the reader with a very thorough study of what angels are and what they are not. He is quick to point out that angels never deserve our worship, that is reserved only for God. Yet, he spells out the positive and negative (satan) side of angels.

Angelology, or the study of angels has become very popular in our current pop culture. Angels are misrepresented and misunderstood according to who and what they are. Because of this and current television programs and pop books, David gives the Christian reader and excellent book.

At times the book moved a little slowly as he trued to make his point, but overall this is an excellent book. I could give so many examples of new learnings or new ways to look at angels because they are Biblical examples. A word of caution -- you may be disappointed in this book because David will break some of our worldly stereotypes of what we think angels are, as opposed to who they really are according to the Bible.

You can purchase this book at

RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS OR

AMAZON.COM

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Male Factor Book Review


As I review this book, I need to start out by stating a disclaimer . . . this book was written for women in the workplace and I am a man (duh!).

As a result, I felt this book was interesting because it helped reinforce some of the difficulties men and women face when working alongside one another. Men and women view life from different lenses, which leads to miscommunication and potential conflict. My perspective from reading the book may be different simply because I see things as a man, while the book was targeted for women.

There were times when Shaunti surprised me with some of the differences between men and women at work. So, I see this as a valuable book for men and women. It helps both to better understand one another in the work place.

Among other topics she writes about

* how men, with rare exception, view almost any emotional display as a sign that the person can no longer think clearly (as well as what men perceive as emotion in the first place)
* why certain types of trendy attire may actually sabotage a woman’s career
* which little-known signals ensure that a man’s perception of a strong female colleague is positive (“assertive and competent”) instead of negative (“difficult”)
* specifics about giving a conclusion upfront
* more specifics about dress (appropriate and inappropriate)

Shaunti offered wonderful insight based on a great deal of research and experience. Many of the topics are good for both men and women to be aware of.

This book is helpful to men who don’t understand women and over generalize about them. Most men assume women think and react like they do and cannot understand why there are differences. Yet we are created different and unique. I also appreciated the Christian reminders at the end of the book which point the focus toward pleasing God rather than ourselves or others.

There was a great deal of research used to complete this book and at times that can be overwhelming to read, yet it is necessary to help Shaunti make her points. Overall, I think much of the information is very important and helpful.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

You can purchase the book at AMAZON.COM

or

RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS

Excellent Teen NKJV Bible

I found this new NKJV Study Bible for Kids to be a really great looking and useful Bible.  While it is paperback, the colors on the cover ...