Tuesday, December 27, 2011

PRIVATE SELECTION!!

Went to a party prior to Christmas and thought we'd use our Private Selection coupons to purchase our food. We bought Southwest Style chicken trumpets; Pepperoni and roasted garlic pizza; and Vanilla Cream Puffs (30 of them). We supplemented our selection with the Petite Quiche and Fire Roasted Veggie Pizza.

We wanted to see the reaction people had regarding the food we brought for the party. Needless to say, they were impressed with the food selection and the quality. When we told people it was all store bought from the frozen section, they were surprised.

The food didn't last very long, the verdicts ~
  • SW Style Chicken Trumpets ~ were a top choice. They were meaty and cheesy and excellent!!
  • The Pepperoni and Roasted Garlic Pizza ~ was another hit. Although, it was not my favorite, as I really prefer deep dish or stuffed pizza, but to use this pizza as an appetizer would be great. It's too small to feed a family on one of these.
  • The Vanilla Cream Puffs were excellent. We drizzled some chocolate syrup on some and left some without. They were all excellent. They were not totally thawed through, but people quickly ate them and raved about them anyway.
Overall verdict of the test items was very positive. The coupons were all handed out and many said they would purchase Private Selection in the future. Some didn't know what Private Selection was, but said they would look for them at the store next time they were at Kroger.

I told people I was a BzzAgent, which also got some interest.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

The Final Summit, by Andy Andrews, is the second in a series of books, the first being called, The Traveler. I have not read the first book. But you can still jump right into The Final Summit and not feel like you've been left behind.

My attention was captured pretty quickly, as I was not sure what to expect from this book. There were times, though where it was difficult for me to keep my interest, even though I liked the story line.

David Ponder is a Traveler, one who goes through time and meets some of the famous people from the past. In this book they all meet in Heaven where they are given a chance to save humanity. They are given five chances to answer a question from Gabriel. His question is this, and it's a great question ~ “What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?” We hear from a few people from history, as they attempt to answer this question.

I wondered how some of the people from history were included, but that adds a little to the book and really shouldn't take away from what Andrews is trying to accomplish. There are some great conversations and decisions which are made during the course of the book. It is also a politically correct book. You can appreciate the research into history and the personalities which Andrews put into this book.

http://www.christianbook.com/the-final-summit-andy-andrews/9780785231202/pd/231201?item_code=WW&netp_id=833723&event=ESRCG&view=details

I review for BookSneeze®

The Final Hour

The Final Hour is the fourth and last in a series of Christian fiction called the Homelanders series. The main character, Charlie West, is a teen who has decided to take a stand by agreeing to go undercover in a homegrown terrorist group in order to catch them and stop their plans to terrorize America. The series is action packed and moves us from adventure after adventure as we learn how Charlie deals with this new life. He is alone and has to face his fears and anxieties as he runs from the police and the terrorist group he has joined. Charlie has to believe that most everyone is out to get him, or at the minimum, they are not his friends. There are a few exceptions to this.

In this last book of the series, The Final Hour brings all of the adventures to a close. We finally learn whether or not Charlie will be successful and how he will live his life after this drama has ended. Will he be victorious, or will he become a villain? The Christian aspect comes in as we learn that Charlie and his sensei, Mike, are Christians. Because of his Christian faith we are given a minimal access into the decision making skills used by Charlie and Mike. Sometimes we need to assume we know Christian values. I would have liked it more if their faith in Christ was brought out a little more. Maybe that would hurt sales, but it would have been interesting to have a better blend in the story.

At times it seemed his values came more from karate than his Christian faith. There were a number of great issues brought up which cause the reader to look at, for example, issues of faith, politics, patriotism, personal risk. Overall, it was a fun and engrossing series to read. I would highly recommend the books and will see if my children would read these as well. There are discussion questions in the back of the book which helps if you are trying to do a study or a group study.

You can purchase this book from http://www.christianbook.com/the-final-hour-homelanders/andrew-klavan/9781595547156/pd/547156?item_code=WW&netp_id=872806&event=ESRCG&view=details

or

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1595547150/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program.

I review for BookSneeze®

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Private Selection

What a great cookie I ate!! You've got to try the all new Private Selection Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are much bigger than other packaged cookies and taste homemade.

Next time you go to Kroger (Pay-Less) you need to go to the cookie aisle and pick up a pack or two!! Happy dessert eating!!


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Romans 9

In Romans 9, Paul wrote these words,

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Can you imagine willing to be accursed, sent to hell, so that others you don't even know could know the love and grace of Jesus? That's a powerful statement about Paul. How do you feel about those who do not yet know Christ?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

PRAYER

This morning on K-Love I heard this prayer . . . it's a powerful prayer if you slowly read it and meditate on the words.

For the next 11 days, I plan on sending out a daily post. I know it's been awhile but from
11-1-11 to 11-11-11 I want to send out something inspirational . . .


"Lord Undo Me" via K-LOVE Radio

I don’t really worship these days
I don’t really stand up to praise you with songs
Or prayers or actions
or with anything
I am full of all the right moves
I am full of all the right words
I am full of all the right religion
But it is all just illusion
I am really
Lonely
Lost
Calloused
Jaded
Cynical
Too religious
Too realistic
and well really just to lazy
to worship you anymore
I have lost my first love
I have lost the joy of your presence
But most of all I have lost the fear of your glory

Father I need to see you again
Like Isaiah I want to stand in awe of your glory
To fall down at your feet
To come face to face with your
Perfection,
Radiance,
Goodness,
Holiness,
Awesomeness
I want to stand before you and see you for who you are
and me for who I am
I want to be undone

I want to know me for who I really am
I want to see the depths of my heart
And know that you are the only way
You are the only truth
You are the only life
I want to see me and understand
What it really must have taken for you to
Love me
Care for me
See me
Speak to me
Want me
Communicate with me
Die for me
Die for me
Die for me

Lord, I want to stand in that place where all I can see is your glory
And my sin
Because in that place I can’t help but worship you.
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
Lord, undo my heart
break down these walls that I love so much
No, wait don’t,
I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this
don’t
But I can’t live this way anymore
I can’t stand here in this half-life
this going through the motions life
this not really alive life
Father, I need you so come in and do what you must
Cut out the tumor on my heart
Break down the walls that I love
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
let me worship you again

*Blake Williams

Monday, July 04, 2011

Lincoln's words to slaves

In the last days of the Civil War, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, fell to the Union army. Abraham Lincoln insisted on visiting the city. Even though no one knew he was coming, slaves recognized him immediately and thronged around him. He had liberated them by the Emancipation Proclamation, and now Lincoln's army had set them free. According to Admiral David Porter, an eyewitness, Lincoln spoke to the throng around him:

"My poor friends, you are free—free as air. You can cast off the name of slave and trample upon it …. Liberty is your birthright."

But Lincoln also warned them not to abuse their freedom, saying, "Let the world see that you merit your freedom. Don't let your joy carry you into excesses. Learn the laws and obey them."

That is very much like the message Jesus gives to those whom He has liberated by His death and resurrection. Jesus gives us our true birthright—spiritual freedom. But that freedom isn't an excuse for disobedience; it forms the basis for learning and obeying God's laws. Which ultimately is found in His grace, for the law no longer holds us and constrains us, if, and it's a big if, if we live according to His grace!

Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

LAST POST?!

Will this be my last post ever? It will be according to a recent prediction. It’s been the buzz all week, so perhaps you heard it.

Christian radio host Harold Camping states that the Rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will take place on May 21, 2011 at 6 p.m. local time. The rapture will sweep the globe time zone by time zone) and that the end of the world as we know it will take place five months later on October 21, 2011. Devastating earthquakes will occur throughout the world, worse than the one in Japan, Camping stated.

It’s been the subject of jokes, and teasing, and possibly some concern. What if it were the end?

Lots of people have been impacted by this prediction. People have quit their jobs and tried to go into the world to proclaim it's judgment day. It is important to note that the end times discussions are serious issues. Because for each person, there will come a day when it is our final day.

I’m reminded of the concern of Jesus’ disciples following the resurrection. Consider Jesus’ answer in this passage from Acts 1:6-8:

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

For the believer, this should never be a time of stress. I’m leery of anyone claiming to know a date, but Jesus said it would be soon and we would know the signs . He also reminded us, however, that we should not be afraid, that we could cast all our burdens on Him, and that He was with us to the ends of the earth. I’m not stressed today, not because I don’t believe Camping, even though I don’t, but because I have a faith in the person of Jesus Christ, who raised from the dead!

Part of my concern is the way so many in the world will look at Christianity. Jesus said in Matthew that nobody, not even the human Jesus knew the date of the end of the world, so don't get freaked out about it. Just be ready when the time comes, because we all know . . . it will. Have your light on, be ready, be prepared. It will be a day of glory for all those who are Christ followers.

If you serve a risen Savior, let me hear a hearty AMEN!

So, it looks like I'll see ya'll tomorrow!!

Blessings,

Pastor Michael

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Past is Dead! Or is it?

Reading today from Josh Linkner ~

Josh wrote . . .



We all face incredible challenges in our lives. Difficult people. Ruthless competition. Time constraints. But so many of us succumb to an imaginary and impotent demon that strangles our potential and restricts our progress. This fictitious monster is called simply ... the past.


While the past can be a great teacher, it can also shackle our imagination and relegate us to thinking small. Imagine carrying around a backpack full of rocks; each piece of stone representing some past injustice or setback. As that weight increases, playing your best and highest game becomes impossible unless you're able to release the burden and liberate yourself.


Regret is the worst human emotion, since there is absolutely nothing we can do to change history. Dwelling on the past can eviscerate your ambition and is a fast path to unachieved dreams.


It reminds me of an ancient fable:


Two Zen monks were on a journey when they came to a river bed. At the edge of the river was an elderly woman who was unable to cross the river by herself. The older monk put her on his shoulders and across the river they all went. On the other side, the monk put her down and she went on her way and the monks their way. Several miles later the older monk noticed that the younger monk was obviously troubled by something and so he asked him about it. The younger monk stated that according to the tenets of their beliefs, they were not permitted to touch women and yet the elder monk had carried the old woman across the river. The younger monk could not let it go and was angry and upset for several hours. To this, the elder monk replied. "I left the woman at the riverside. Why are you still carrying her with you?"


It's time to focus on the present and commit to a brighter future. It's time to stop dwelling in a pit of despair, moaning over squandered time and lost opportunity. It's time to release the burden of the past and seize today's opportunity. It's time to drive change and create your best life.


In the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca, "Don't stumble over something behind you."

Michael's conclusion: So, friends, how are you doing with the past, with the present and with the future? Which one holds you back? Which one excites you? It doesn't matter what your age is. This will tell you more about yourself than you might realize!!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Becoming a Disruptor

This is not a review!

Josh Linkner is the author of this book. It is a creative and stretching book which leads you to think a little differently. Below is today's blog from Josh. I thought it was particularly good.

YOUR NEW JOB: DISRUPTOR

The iPod disrupted the music industry. eBooks disrupted traditional publishing. The internet disrupted just about everything. And more than likely, the disruptors in your company are the ones that are getting promoted and reaching their dreams while the rule-following automatons remain frustrated at their cubes.

In the past, your job was to do what you were told. Follow instructions, keep your head down, don’t make waves. But today things are very different. Today, we live in a world where playing it safe is irresponsibly dangerous.

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, working hard and doing a decent job are no longer enough. Competency, good service, and professionalism are now merely the ante to play. We now live in a world with exponential complexity and dizzying speed. A world where standing out is more important than fitting in.

We are taught to follow the rules, do what the boss says, and that mistakes must be avoided at all costs. Yet this traditional approach is a surefire path to mediocrity. Today, an entirely new set of skills are needed in order to win.

In addition the job title on your business card, you need to add the title of Disruptor.

Disruptors challenge assumptions. They shake the status quo. They are curious and creative. They adapt and improvise. Disruptors push the boundaries and shatter conventional wisdom. They’d rather forge new ground than blindly salute the flag of the past.

Disruptors squirm at phrases such as “we’ve always done it that way”, “that’s just the way things are done here”, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They know that speed and innovation now trump rigidity and conformity. They know that discovering fresh solutions and unleashing new ideas are top priority for both success and sustainability.

Disruptors wonder. They dream, explore, harass, discover, challenge, vex, disturb, rattle, break, upset, imagine, push, shatter, drive, offend, risk, and poke. Disruptors also win, get promoted, earn more, make a bigger impact, reach their dreams and change the world.

In the words of Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, “If the rate of change on the outside is greater than the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

The next time you’re at an event and someone asks you what you do, try responding with: “I’m a disruptor.” Besides better conversation, it will empower you to drive change and make a difference. Stop hoping and start pushing. Stop complaining and start doing. Your company and your career depend on it.

Disrupt or be disrupted. Simple as that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Excellent Reading about Marriage

Ever since reading my first John Eldredge book, I have appreciated his writing and seminars. The main benefit I found in this book was the openness and vulnerability, which are characteristics in all of John’s books. In this book, Love and War, John and his wife Stasi, collaborate on a book in which they discuss the joys and pitfalls of their marriage.

This book is open and honest. They don’t hold back. That is not their style. They want the reader to gain a greater understanding of the joys and hardships, the love and yes, war of marriage. This is not another ‘self-help’ book which details the 10 steps to make your marriage perfect, nor does every chapter start with the same letter.

We all come to marriages with a great deal of history. We often don’t admit our issues which hold back our marriages. As a result marriages suffer for years, maybe throughout an entire marriage, because we never learned to communicate our wants, needs and hurts. Again, John and Stasi don’t tell you how to do it, but they demonstrate their vulnerability in all rooms in the house.

The only real solution they give is this advice. We must realize that life is a battle, and marriage can also fall into the same category. With that in mind, we must let God use our lives, and our marriages to help us change and become transformed into the holy man or woman God has called you to become. We must always keep in mind that we are in a spiritual battle.

In the end, we are called to find a passionate life in Christ, deal with what is broken in our lives, and to understand the battle for our lives (heart and soul).

There is a great deal of biblical wisdom in Love and War. As well there are many honest, humorous, and difficult (open and honest) stories many of us would never share. Yet, this is part of the power of this book.

I have used it for premarital counseling and believe it is an excellent resource for couples to have and read through together. Then discuss, discuss, discuss . . . with openness and honesty.

This book was provided by Multnomah Press. All opinions in this review are personal.

A Family Movie worth Watching

There is nothing extraordinary about this movie, yet, it’s a powerful and wonderful movie to watch as a family. It’s a movie about priorities, forgiveness, family, and more. Dean Cain stars in this movie, you may remember him from his role on television in the program Louis and Clark.

As you watch the movie it becomes pretty clear we are dealing with a family who has a multitude of problems. There is tension between the husband and wife, there is blaming, guilt, bitterness. As the family gets ready to leave on a vacation, the husband, Dean Cain, becomes distracted and their young son runs off into the woods and disappears.


They become panic stricken as they wonder if someone took their son, did he drown in a nearby pond, will he be found. Many questions surround this couple, but the local small town starts moving which is a great representation of how the local church should act.

While the focus is on this family, we see how the lives of others are also greatly impacted and lives become changed, transformed because they were willing to step into the messiness of life.

We watched this movie as a family and found it was not cheesy, but portrayed Christianity in a very healthy and positive manner. I would recommend this movie for a family who wants to watch a good movie with a message. This would also be good for a family for Christmas (even though it is still months away).

This book was given to me for review by Book Sneeze, but the review and opinions are my own.

I review for BookSneeze®

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mushy Middle

How's that for a title? I read an interesting short article from a man named Diego Rodriguez. He is a partner at a company called IDEO.

IDEO (pronounced “eye-dee-oh”) is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. They envision new companies and brands and design the products, services, spaces and interactive experiences which bring them to life. They help organizations build creative culture and the internal systems required to sustain innovation and launch new ventures.

Diego wrote the following, which I thought was insightful and helpful to churches.

It is so important to have a strong point of view. Let me repeat: it is so important to have a strong point of view. You've got to stand for something.

If you don't have a point of view, you won't know what you don't stand for, and so you'll be tempted to try and do everything, because "no" won't be in your vocabulary. Trying to appeal to everyone by playing in the mushy middle not only will make you less appealing over the long haul (because being boring is not attractive), it also makes it very difficult to get started (because the enormity of the task makes everything too daunting to tackle), and makes it really tough to ship (because you have to do so much in order to meet the needs of so many people).

Having a point of view is incredibly liberating. It takes more energy and more time to get to an honest understanding of what you believe in, what you need to do, and what you won't do, but it is well and truly worth it.”

The mushy middle is no fun. Where there is no priority of purpose or strategy, folks will begin trying to pull towards their personal passions. People will polarize around their preferences.

Unity develops around strong vision. (Strong vision will make some people mad.) We think we’ll bring people together if we try to make everyone happy, but that tactic ultimately leads to dissension and division and in the end, nobody is really happy.

Just a thought on a Wednesday morning.

Friday, January 28, 2011

GROUPON

What's that? It's a way to purchase daily specials along with others at great discounts.

Sign up at Groupon.com

For example, today's deal is 2 oil changes from the Butler Auto Group (near Indy) for $19. That's a great deal. Just click on the link below

BUTLER AUTO GROUP

Sanctus Real - Lead Me

Click on title Sanctus Real and watch a great video and song, called Lead Me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Top 100 Christian Books of 2010

I receive a daily blog from Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He posted a list of the top 100 Christian books of 2010. There were some new titles and some very old titles on that list. What books did you read in 2010 that you found helpful in your life?

Click on this link to look at his list.

http://michaelhyatt.com/the-100-bestselling-christian-books-of-2010.html?isalt=0&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+michaelhyatt+%28Michael+Hyatt%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

The Courage to Grow!

I appreciate devotionals which are real and relevant.  This devotional perfectly meets that requirement.  Annie Downs has written a powerf...