Sunday, November 30, 2008

College Bowl Pick'em

The Bowl Games will not be announced until Sunday, December 7, but I wanted to go ahead and invite you to join my Yahoo! Sports College Bowl Pick'em group.

To join my group, just follow this link. For reference, here's the group information:

Group ID#: 11467
Password: christy

-- College Bowl Pick'em

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cole's Poll, November 29

Going into today, I knew I could be really happy with the results or really, really disappointed. Joy came at watching Mizzou get knocked off by KU. Nerves set in watching Baylor almost upend Tech. Reality set in watching Bama roll over Auburn and Florida bite FSU. Then OU started playing and order was restored. Here is my updated poll:

1. Alabama
2. OU
3. Florida
4. Texas
5. Texas Tech
6. Penn State
7. USC
8. Utah
9. Cincinnati
10. Ohio State
11. TCU
12. Oklahoma State
13. Boise State
14. Ball State
15. Georgia Tech

 It is hard to believe how bad Notre Dame is, but they have a shot to end their drought by winning a sorry bowl.
 It is funny how Mack Brown thinks that Tech should be eliminated from consideration... but what do you expect a coach to say about a team that beat him!
 If OU were in most any other conference, they would have secured the tie-breaker by point differential with the 3-way tie atop the standings.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wish List Update

Chistmas shopping has begun, so it is time to update my wish list.

The point of this is for those of you who read this blog is to alleviate my annoying tendency of never knowing what I want for Christmas or birthday.

For ground rules, there are 3 things that will not make the official list, they will be givens if you will. Those 3 things are: 3 million dollars, my mortgage paid off, and an Acura TL 3.2 (although I would be more than happy with a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Prius - Black with Tan Leather Interior).

Without any further delay, my list:

1. Restaurant Gift Cards: This is a safe gift and always appreciated.

2. I know I am going to need a new lanmower, but unsure if I still want this one: Black & Decker Electric Lawnmower MM875 ($230)

3. Not sure that we need one of these now, but if we got a new grill, this is what I would like to have: Brinkman 810-8410S Gas Grill ($200 Home Depot)

4. 32" Plasma TV (Best Buy has a Samsung for $499 right now, but it is hard for me to justify spending that much on TV, although it would be great to have during football season).

5. Cable TV: We are one of the 4 families in America without some form of cable TV... I would like to have it, but wonder if it is worth $40-50 a month.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3 Words from Satan: Shut Your Mouth

During our trip to Athens our team only had three bad things happen… and they all happened to me. My luggage was lost by the worst airline ever, Alitalia. On our first full day in our neighborhood we are working with, I rolled my ankle to the point where I did not think I would be able to walk (God healed that ankle too!). Then on our best day, the day where the municipality officials invited us back for future trips to work with them, Satan spoke to us.

My initial response was not this strong, but Cody J’s words on Sunday night confirmed those thoughts. That Thursday, we were invited or allowed to go into the schools and observe the kids in their activities. To our surprise, the instructor allowed our team to lead the basketball sessions, which was awesome. Following the basketball, we went to watch Athens take on their rivals, Istanbul.

During the game, the athletic director invited our contact to sit with him and introduced him to the mayor. The assistant athletic director spoke to me at half-time and gave us multiple dates when they would like us to come again. It was an awesome scene and incredible night for all of us… then we got on the bus to head back to the hotel.

Some were seated and a few of us were standing on the bus. This elder gentleman about 60 came on the bus and the following happened:
Cole: Hey, how are you doing?
Satan: You talking to me?
Cole: Yes, how are you doing?
Satan: Do you know me?
Cole: No.
Satan: Shut your mouth!
Cole: Excuse me?
Satan: Shut your mouth (as he takes his seat)!
Cole to Jamie: Did that just happen?
Jamie: Yeah, I think it just did.
- about 20 seconds pass although it feels like days –
Cole to the group: Well, every time God does something great Satan rears his head.
Justin: Yeah, but you don’t expect him to wear a suit.

It was a really odd situation. The only time on either of my Greece trips where anyone has been blatantly rude. Sunday night, Cody spoke of the event in closing. He said something along the lines that he knew we were supposed to be there because of the what happened while we were there and how God used him in different ways than he expected (he and his brother Justin did great sharing their testimonies). For him, the final confirmation came when Satan spoke to us through that grumpy old man those three words he has been telling people for centuries, “Shut your mouth.”

All of me wants to be like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.) and the apostles, (Acts 4:20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard). Satan wants us to shut our mouth, Jesus in us makes that impossible! May we keep our mouths open sharing the Good News.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cole's Poll, November 22

1. Alabama
2. OU
3. Florida
4. Texas
5. Texas Tech
6. Penn State
7. USC
8. Oklahoma State
9. Mizzou
10. Ohio State
11. Georgia
12. Utah
13. TCU
14. Cincinnati
15. Boise State

• Notre Dame lost to Syracuse, SYRACUSE!!! I wonder what Charlie will be doing next year.
• Lloyd Carr must be laughing at the Michigan fans right about now.
• I thought OU would beat Tech by double digits, but that beating was way unexpected.

Lighting a Legacy Review

This fall we had a capital stewardship campaign called Lighting a Legacy. Our campaign verse was 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Our hope was for our people get connected to God in a life-altering way.

We initially decided to use a capital stewardship company and here is a breakdown of what they said they could raise with fees ranging from $25,000 - $60,000 + printed materials and food:

BGCO – 1-2 times annual budget
CSSI – 3-3.5 times annual budget
Generis – 1.5-3 times annual budget
RSI – 2.5-3.2 times annual budget

In the end though, we decided to run our campaign ourselves. For over a year we prayed, researched, planned, prepared, and worked on this great task, and God abundantly blessed the work of our hands. Incredibly, we took more in than the experts had told us was possible (and raised $3,658,643.94); proof that God was in it and that only He can get the credit it for it!

There were many incredible facets of Lighting a Legacy. It was awesome to watch people step up and get involved in the campaign. Justin J. amazed me with the quality of his branding/design work and willingness to serve. Mary D. was extremely organized with a fun spirit setting up meals. Ron M.’s testimony was simply incredible.

First Baptist Jenks’ participation was fantastic too. From preschool to senior adults, everyone participated in the effort. Our youth had pink flamingo flockings to raise funds for the relocation; our preschoolers culminated their gifts walking into the sanctuary singing “This Little Light of Mine;” and our testimony-commitment Sunday service left everyone in tears as we saw how God moved in Jerry & Demie’s heart.

Lighting a Legacy was simply incredible, but it is not over, it is just beginning. God has started a new work here. This work is simply leading the way for us to SHINE in the coming year. I am grateful to be a part of this and pray that God will continue to do that which only He can get the credit for!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lighting a Legacy Video

We are in the relocation process here are First Baptist Jenks. This is what our new building will look like with the exception of some colors. We are really excited about the direction God has given us as a church.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Romo, Romo, Romo...

Tony Romo is one heck of a guy. Today on there is an article talking about how he served and befriended a homeless man named Doc. There is also mention of him helping a couple back in September, on his way home from a football game, change their tire on the side of the road. Not only is Romo fun to watch, this makes him easy to root for… at least for anyone who has common sense and a hint of kindness!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Swatch

I think this is somewhat funny and amusing... to me anyway. I own a new watch, and it is a Swatch! While on our Athens trip my luggage was lost (for 3 days), had no watch and was late twice on the same day, thus decided to just purchase a watch. Here is what I got:

Why a Swatch? Why not! It is the sort of thing I would never buy myself, so when my insurance luggage came into to play, a Swatch it was… I also bought a black pair of Pumas, another thing I typically would not have purchased. Thank goodness for American Express travel insurance!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cole's Poll, November 15

Here is my poll for this week. My rankings are based upon what teams deserve, not where I think they will end up at the end of the year. For my prediction on their final ranking entering the bowl season, look in parenthesis.

1. Texas Tech (4)
2. Alabama (6)
3. Florida (1)
4. Texas (3)
5. Oklahoma (2)
6. USC (5)
7. Oklahoma State (9)
8. Penn State (7)
9. Mizzou (13)
10. Utah (8)
11. Georgia (12)
12. Boise State (11)
13. Ohio State (10)
14. Michigan State (15)
15. Ball State (14)

• LSU is ridiculous… Getting pounced by Troy, somehow they score 30 in the 4th to win the game!
• Michigan and Notre Dame are embarrassing to their own tradition…
• The next few weeks of college football are going to be awesome!

Sick, Sick World

We live in a sick, sick world! Today I was looking at a few things, giving a friend a hard time then came across this article, “POLICE RAIDS REVEAL ALLEGED NETWORK OF 'BABY FARMS'”

You have got to be kidding me. The depravity of people around the world is disgustingly mind-boggling! Here is the article I am referring to in which police discovered a baby farm where pregnant girls were tricked into giving birth, and their babies were sold for cash… I hope this doctor and the rest of these people find themselves in a prison for the rest of their lives. Part of me wants to wish bigger on these sick people, but it would probably be best for me stop short.

As if this story was not troubling enough, a little research showed that this is one of many so-called “Baby Farm” across Nigeria and Africa. One articles started off by saying, “Police Raid Another Baby Factory”… ANOTHER one! Good grief our world is sick!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Biblical Predictions

Last night we did a study on Islam. One of the things I found interesting is that there are zero predictions in the Qu’ran, zero! To contrast, here is a breakdown of predictions in the Bible:

The Bible has a total of 31,103 verses, 8,352 of which are prophetic; they speak of things yet to come. All biblical predictions about the future can be grouped into 737 different predictions. Of the 8,352 verses, 6,312 (or 522 different predictions) have already happened exactly as God’s Word said they would.

- Taken from J. Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Studies

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Scripture Comes Alive in Corinth

On our trip we went to Corinth and it was really cool. Although I have never been geeked about archeology my time in Corinth made me really appreciate it. We got to see many things mentioned in 1 & 2 Corinthians and Acts, which was awesome in that is makes Scripture come alive.

We also witnessed the filth and degradation of the people of the time. They had all different kinds of immorality going on back in the day, to the point where an insult to one acting poorly was to call them a Corinthian… maybe like saying they have a sailors mouth. Anyway, we saw the market where Paul probably sold tents during his year and half there,

the bema seat,

the alter where burnt offerings were made to idols and more,

but my favorite part was where the racers would practice.

There were starting blocks, really more like indentions made in the stone for the racers. It made the passage all the passages about running the race come alive in my mind. It was also neat to see how Paul was able to use real examples from his day to help explain the Word of God. The starting blocks were in a part of town where Paul could very easily overlook them as he was working.

Our guide was great to show us these things and explain the significance of the area. God’s Word is awesome, and being able to experience the ruins of where the New Testament speaks of will impact me forever. God is great!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cole's Poll, November 9

I'm doing my best to stay awake before my flight, so two posts closer together than usual. Having limited information from yesterday's games, he is my latest edition of my college football poll:

1. Texas Tech
2. Alabama
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. USC
7. Utah
8. Oklahoma State
9. Mizzou
10. Georgia
11. Penn State
12. Ohio State
13. UNC
14. Ball State
15. Boise State

• OU will beat Tech and hope to climb ahead of Texas.
• Florida will beat Bama in the SEC Championship.
• I will never like Boise or Ohio State!

Alitalia: Worst Airline Ever

So Alitalia Air lost my luggage... for the second time this trip!

The flight home was actually not bad as the seat next to me was empty, which allowed me to stretch out. The stewardesses were actually nice this trip, as opposed to the way over there, which was a pleasant change. Having movies on my ipod was also a big plus... but I would never fly with them again.

Over 20 people had their luggage lost in Athens and Chicago. Their seats are cheap, the food is worse than typical bad airline food, and they have old school single movie viewing (as opposed to your own mini screen).

Anyway, stay away from Alitalia Airlines if at all possible!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Headed Home

Although in Tulsa it is Saturday, November 8 at 10:55 PM, it is 6:55 AM Athens time. Right now I should be headed to Rome, where I will spend 2 hours and 5 minutes. Then I will fly 11 hours to Chicago, where I will spend 8 hours before jumping on my final plane landing in Tulsa at 10:10 PM, Sunday November 9.

I am so excited about seeing Christy, Chloe and Coleman!!! Please pray for safe travels. Christy, give the kiddos hugs and kisses for me and tell them I will see them soon!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Incredible Partnership Started!

Thursday we had the opportunity we prayed for over the past several months. We were able to go into the schools and come alongside their sports programs… the best case scenario, unbelievable.

Once we arrived in the schools for the basketball program the director looked at us and so something like, “okay, you lead them now.” Unbelievable! We proceeded to lead in basic basketball drills, which we had not prepared, but it worked out great. Later, we went to a professional ladies basketball game where a Athens played a team from Istanbul; Istanbul was supposed to crush them, but Athens played tough and only lost by 3.

The most incredible part of the day (trip) was that evening. Kostas, the sports director, invited the main man we are working with to sit by him… incredible. During the game, Niki, the assistant sports director, told me she had heard wonderful things from her people and wanted to know when we were coming back. She was so excited about our work that she listed dates in March, June, and other summer possibilities… incredible!

Anyway, today was a good day, great even! We were able to get into the schools again and had a great day leading basketball again. All of the kids (and parents) were elated to see us. The city officials invited us back again, asking us if and when we can come back... totally incredible. We have been blessed as a group and are really excited about the partnership that will last for years to come. This has been an incredible week!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Huge Day in Holagros

Today at 11:00 AM we are having our meeting with the community/school leaders in Holagros. Our main hope for this trip is to lay a solid foundation for a partnership that will last for years. As of now, we are supposed to go into the schools, coming alongside of the work they already do (specifically with basketball), for the purpose of leading future events (such as basketball tournaments) in the future. Here is a picture of city hall:

If everything were to work out perfectly, we could eventually bring our own basketball team in to compete and have exhibition games against their teams. This should open the door for our group to do other things, like teach English within their schools. Here is a picture of their school:

Pray for an equal excitement and desire to work with one another… the possibilities are truly grand.

p.s. Thanks to my AMEX lost luggage policy, I get to replace most of my clothing that has yet to arrive!

Mars Hill Message

Right about now, I am delivering a really cool message. A group of people from First Jenks are in Athens shining and sharing this week. On the eve of our first day, we are going to be on Mars Hill sharing God’s Word, singing and praying. If you are missing the impact of the setting, read this from Acts 17:

16Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean." 21Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. 22So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.' 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." 32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, "We will hear you again about this." 33So Paul went out from their midst. 34But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

Twelve others and myself will be returning November 9th, your prayers would be considered (feel free to pray that I/we stay out of jail this go around too)!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cole's Poll, November 1

The eyes of Texas are filled with tears; Penn State is filled with jeers; more losses for top 5 school is near. My Top 15 with comments/prediction:

1. Texas Tech (will lose at least once)
2. Penn State (will finish undefeated)
3. Alabama (will lose in the SEC championship)
4. Texas (is crushed)
5. Oklahoma (will finish the regular season with one loss)
6. Florida (see OU)
7. Oklahoma State (will lose two more times)
8. Mizzou (got lucky against Baylor)
9. USC (Pac-1 champ has no heart)
10. TCU (lone loss to OU is respectable, even if they got beat down)
12. Utah (should be afraid of TCU)
11. Georgia (tuck tail and run)
13. Ohio State (pretenders should be glad they play in such a sorry conference)
14. Boise State (Overrated…)
15. Ball State (No, I am not serious about this one)

• The BCS championship game will be Penn State vs. Florida or OU.
- OU will have to pound OSU and Tech to the title game.
- Florida just has to win out and beat Bama by more than a touchdown.
• Tulsa and Ohio State are the same: they fold against real competition.

Decision 08: Abortion

I have been flabbergasted by the lack of prominence abortion has taken in this election. The future of Roe v. Wade is at stake, and it seems as though no one is talking about it... why? To be clear, McCain is Pro-Life and Obama is Pro-Choice.

McCain has been clear to say that life begins at conception, while Obama states that, "Whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade." Above the President of the United States pay grade?!?!? Anyway, here are some articles on the issue:
TIME: McCain and Obama on Abortion
WASHINGTONPOST: Obama's Abortion Extremism
WORLDNEYDAILY: Why Jesus Would Note Vote For Barak Obama
POLITICO: Obama Ad Slams McCain on Abortion Rights

For me this has been a clear question on what is most important to the voter, because the positions on social issues are crystal clear. So what is the most important to you? Economics, Iraq, Global Warming, Family Values, or Human Life? Vote your conscience on Tuesday.