Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shoulder Surgery #2

Ever since my initial shoulder surgery, I have lived with a constant popping noise and mild to moderate pain when my shoulder moved up and out. At first, my physical therapist and doctor thought it would naturally fix itself. However, after 7 months my doctor decided to take more aggressive measure to determine what was causing the issue.

Thursday, December 10, I had a shoulder appointment that resulted in me having an MRI with dye to examine my shoulder. On the following Monday, the doctor’s office called to inform me the MRI did not reveal anything that required surgery. Wednesday, I called for more information, and was told I had a severe case of bursitis, which was great news as it is treatable without surgery.

On December 17, I went in to receive an injection that would address the issue… instead, we scheduled surgery for Monday, December 21 to explore what was causing the issues and fix it! Obviously, there were lots of emotions, and I left feeling as though I had taken a cheap shot to the gut.

Christy and I were immediately in scrambling mode as we had to figure out who could and would watch our kids, what we would do about our Christmas, and what we would do the Christmas and holiday break in general. We decided to do our family Christmas on Saturday morning, which was great fun (). Then we setup a drop of the kids with her parents in Atoka on Sunday, and reserved a hotel room in OKC for my 6:30AM surgery time.

To start off of Monday morning, we woke up at 4:00AM in order to make it to the hospital on time. The good news was that we were right on time; the bad news is that we went to the wrong hospital!!! Thankfully, we made it in time and the staff did not seem too irritated with us.

The arthroscopic surgery revealed I had two major issues in my shoulder. First, there was, “a ton” of scar tissue. Second, one of my ligaments was too tight, so they sliced it in order to release the pressure/tension. After my operation, the doctor prescribed some pain meds, nausea meds, and a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine… aka torture device!

With all of this, there is a great deal of good news. They have fixed my shoulder (I hope). This surgery was mild in comparison to the first surgery. We will still make it Dallas for Christmas with our family. While the CPM is very time consuming (6 hours a day), it rotates my shoulder 160* adduction/abduction and 80* internal/external rotation (it took 3-4 months to get to that point last time). While there is still a great deal of swelling, the pain level does not require constant pain pills, and I do not have to wear the sling unless I am in public (so people can see my shoulder is not normal).

All in all, I am still very pleased with my doctor, Jimmy Conway. His staff has been incredible to work with, and they never seemed annoyed when I call with my list of questions. This surgery turned out to be relatively minor (compared to the first surgery), and it looks like the recovery time will be much shorter too. So why my initial thoughts were a Scrooge-ish merry Christmas to me, now it is a legitimate Merry Christmas to me… and Merry Christmas Everybody!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

4 Book Reviews

It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Kee...
Craig Groeschel

Groeschel offers up practical information on what churches and leaders need to make a significant difference for God. While "IT" is not easily definable, it is simply more of Jesus and a heart abandoned for Christ. You may not be able to know what it is, but everyone will know if you do or do not have it! The founder of (Edmond, OK), witnessed a powerful presence from God that he calls It at work in many churches. What is this transformational force? How can you and your ministry get—and keep—It? Combining in-your-face honesty with off-the-wall humor, this lively book tells how any believer can obtain It.

Holy Ambition: What it Take to Make a Difference for God.
Chip Ingram

Holy Ambition provides the reader with a practical guide on how to live and do great things with God. He is looking, desiring, wanting people to use, and if we seek to be useful for His Kingdom, we will be used! Each chapter is insightful and well thought through. My only critique would be that his final chapter seemed a bit lackluster.

Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God
Voddie T. Baucham Jr.

Baucham is seen as anti-youth ministry, when he is in reality pro-family and pro-discipleship. His approach and view on church angers many, threatens most everyone, but should challenge all. Through the entirety of his work, Voddie places the utmost importance on the family as the setting for true biblical discipleship. Not only does he mention this, he gives practical guidance for family worship, reciting and study of catechisms, Bible study, and other methods of true family discipleship. While I agree that what we are currently doing in the church is not nearly as effective as it needs to be and that the family is the primary place for discipleship, I am not a fan of his fully integrated model. This is a really good book that should be read by any parent who falsely thinks it is the youth or children’s minister’s job to disciple their kids… Home is the Key!

The Necessity of Prayer
E. M. Bounds
Prayer is the key to unlocking God power in our lives. Bounds is the master of communicating the role of prayer in every aspect of our lives as Christians. He is able to integrate Scripture and other examples to prove his point. This is a classic work on prayer... and free through the Logos iPhone ap.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

AT&T is the Worst... There's a Map for That

A few weeks ago Verizon debuted one of the best advertising campaigns I can remember. Taking a page off of Apple’s patronizing of the PC, they counter the iPhone’s “There’s an Ap for that” and created “There’s a Map for that.” AT&T (my guess would be Apple) responded with a lawsuit trying to get the ads removed from production… ironic to say the least.

AT&T’s pathetic claim was that the advertisements were misleading although it was very clear they were comparing the 3G coverage. Today, an article was posted on citing consumer report that rated AT&T as the worst cell phone service provider, which is anything but shocking to an iPhone and AT&T user.

The most humorous part of the survey was that Verizon was rated #1, again AT&T was dead last. If I were offering my opinion and advice to AT&T, I would like them to drop their attempts to argue that their service coverage is good and invest in making it better. New and/or improved cell phone towers would at least get rid of “There’s A Map for that!”

Here are some of those TV ads:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Obama Leads a Movement of NOPE

That didn't take long! According to the latest Gallup poll, Obama's job approval rating is the lowest level ever recorded for a president at this point in his term. To all of you who were fired up about the movement of hope, it appears that the majority of the country is now seeing it as a movement of NOPE.

During the post campaign addresses his staffers were bragging about how they controlled the media and were able to get them to cover what they wanted covered. Obama used his fantastic rhetoric to overshadow his inexperience and lack of what the country needs most, quality leadership. That matched with a lame duck in John McCain gave him the Whitehouse. Now, it appears as though the majority of Americans - understand this includes many people who voted for him - are not only unimpressed, they are ready for a change.

The bad news for our current President is that it is only going to get worse for the party of nope as health care legislation is discussed and cap & trade lingers, understand that the democrats and their policies are just making it easier for the Republicans to regain control of everything. What seems unreal in his epic slide is that it has all taken place when Obama and his party have a death grip on the House and Senate. They could have done whatever they wanted as the conservatives sat by helpless, instead the democrats have fumbled around and made a bigger mess of things on Capitol hill than what they “inherited.”

Optimism on economy fading.
Democrat (Reid, Nevada) makes ignorant remark about slavery.
Obama's approval below 50%.
Obama, "Nation must spend it's way out of recession."
10 million could lose employer-based coverage under Senate health care bill.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cole’s Poll (Week 14)

1. Alabama – After spanking Florida, they have earned the top spot!
2. Texas – Barely, barely, barely survived McCoy’s worst decision ever… and that dude named Suh!
3. TCU – Will lose if they play Florida, by a bunch
4. Cincinnati – What a way for this team to remain undefeated, reminiscent of the Iowa Hawkeyes run.
5. Florida – Tebow, there’s no crying in football!!!
6. Ohio State – Yawn…
7. Boise State – Congratulations on beating one quality team all year.
8. Iowa – Got into the BCS after a great season and will have their horses back to showcase if they deserve it!
9. Oregon – Most of me would like to remove them from the top 10 for losing to Boise to kick off this football season.
10. Georgia Tech – The way the run football is old school and fun to watch!

• Kudos to the BCS this year for the imagination and getting it right. Sure Texas looked pathetic in the Big 12 championship, but no one can rightly argue any of the big bowls. They also put the matchups together that people want to watch.
• I am interested in watching TCU verses Boise State, Florida verses Cincy, & Texas verses Bama. Last year TCU snuck past Boise in the Poinsettia Bowl by 1 point, it will be another good game as the Broncos return to the spot of their greatest moment. Florida verse Cincy has the making of a letdown game for the Gators, a la Utah’s destruction of Bama last year. It will be interesting to see how Tebow goes out… and aren’t you glad the messiah coverage will be limited this year! Texas for Bama will not be a blowout as many experts are predicting. It will be a competitive game, just remember back to Bama verse Auburn. As much as it pains me to repeat this, kudos to the BCS!
• Outside of the Oregon and Ohio State, nobody cares, but that is preset… and it’s about time do away with the Rose Bowl tradition. Also, the Orange Bowl is perfect too, Iowa verses Georgia Tech is fitting. The Heart attack Hawkeyes verse Ramblin Wreck will be a good game and measuring stick for both teams.

Lay 'em Down


WisdomHunter93 † | MySpace Video

Friday, December 4, 2009

AI, The Answer, Is Back!

Some people cannot stand him, they call him selfish, a ball-hog, and many other things. I, however, have always liked watching him play... and his AI3 shoes are still the best basketball shoes I have every owned. Anyway, The Answer is back with Philly and it makes me happy. Here is his most recent press conference and his most famous press conference:

He's Back!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Avoid Fatal Attractions by Rick Warren

Pastor, it breaks my heart to see ministries ruined by unfaithfulness. Unchecked lust in the life of a pastor is incredibly destructive to the ministry of the Church. You and I are human. We're subject to the same temptations everyone else is. But sexual sins can be fatal to a ministry. Here are six actions to remember as you battle "fatal attractions."

1. Make a commitment to keep God's standards.
You've got to be willing to do what the Bible says. Psalm 119:9 (NIV) says, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." There are a lot of places you can look for values and standards to base your decisions on: self-help books, television, movies. But, pastor, if you don't want to fall victim to a fatal attraction, you must decide once and for all to make a commitment to keep God's standards revealed in his instruction manual, the Bible.It won't lead you wrong.

God says we're to enjoy sex within the context of marriage. Some people get confused on this point. They wonder why God restricts their freedom if he loves them. But as a parent, you wouldn't let your children do whatever they want. Why? We love our kids. We want to protect them. Our rules are for their good. God's rules are for our good, too. Decide today that you'll obey God's truth or none of the other steps will matter.

2. Maintain your marriage.
If you want a strong marriage, you've got to maintain it. You need to rekindle the romance. Proverbs 5:18-19 (TLB) says, "Rejoice in your wife. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone fill you with delight."

The Bible tells us to "rejoice" in our wife, and then "be satisfied." In other words, don't compare your spouse. There's no such thing as a perfect mate. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence; it's greener where you water it. The problem is in most married people have no spontaneity in their love life. There's boredom in the bedroom.

While you're married, you will be attracted to other people. But God says redirect that attraction toward your mate. Rejoice in your own mate.

3. Manage your mind.
You need to understand how temptation works. James 1:14-15 (TLB) says, "Temptation is the pull of our own evil thoughts and wishes. These...thoughts lead to evil actions." The battle starts in the mind. If Satan gets your attention, then he gets your feelings. If he gets your feelings, then he gets your actions. Some say, "I'd never do this. I'm just dreaming about it." Who are you kidding?

Thoughts determine feelings, and feelings determine actions. The key to avoiding sexual temptations is to control your thoughts. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, "Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Adultery starts in the head before it gets to the bed.

Lust isn't physical attraction. It isn't being aroused. That's just being human. You see a nice-looking person and you're attracted. Lust is the desire to possess. In other words, "If I could, I would." It's not the initial feelings and reactions. That's just part of humanity. God gave those instincts to you, but you must manage them.

4. Monitor your media intake.
We are in a sex-saturated society. We are bombarded by visual and verbal stimulation every moment of the day. In advertising, sex sells everything from bingo to batteries to bananas. Lust is big business. Most "love" songs are really lust songs. You pick up a magazine or a novel - and it's everywhere.

Studies have shown that the vast majority of sex on television is between people who aren't married. Every time you watch these escapades, your guard drops a bit. The Bible says that the eye is the gate to the soul. Matthew 6:22-23 (NIV) says, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness." What you see is what you become.

If you're serious about dealing with sexual temptations, you're going to have to give up about 80 percent of the movies that are out there today. Some of you are saying, "I can watch that stuff. It doesn't affect me." Don't believe it. 2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT) says, "Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts."

If you're sitting in a movie and realize you've made a mistake, get up and walk out. If you put in a DVD and realize it's not something you should watch, don't watch it. I've walked out of a lot of movies, changed the channel on a lot of TV shows, and returned a number of PG videos. If you're serious about dealing with this issue, you've got to monitor your media intake.

5. Minimize the opportunities for temptation.
If you want to avoid a fatal attraction, don't allow yourself to be in situations where it happens. Matthew 6:41 (GNB) says,"Keep watch, and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." Jesus gives two preventative measures in this verse: keep watch and pray.

"Keep watch" means be alert and wise. Know the situations that tempt you so you can stay away from them. Are you aware of what trips you up? One area that trips up many people today is that couples spend much less time together than ever before. With both men and women working, and both working long hours and traveling, our quality time - or quantity time - is lower than ever. If you typically struggle when you or your spouse is out of town, then maybe you need to limit the amount of time you are away from one another.

Maybe for you it's a certain set of friends that always lead you down the wrong path. It's simple. Stay away. Friends that lead you to lust after someone who is not your spouse aren't really friends.

6. Magnify the consequences.
You need to ask yourself, "Is this worth it?" Temptation is incredibly short-sighted. There are enormous consequences to breaking God's laws. Pastor, I'm sure you've heard the hurtful cries from spouses hurt by unfaithfulness. You should understand this. When we break God's laws, they break us. It always causes pain, bitterness, and masses of problems. It's just not worth it.

James 1:12 (NIV) says, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." I want one of those victor crowns someday. He's saying, "Deny the lesser to gain the greater."

I have only "known" one woman in my life - my wife. By the grace of God I intend to be faithful to her the rest of my life. Why? I love Jesus Christ, and I owe everything I have to him. To hurt him is unbearable. Second, I love my wife and kids. I cannot bear the thought of hurting them. But also, I fear the wrath of God. Unfaithfulness is a serious issue with God. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:6, "The man who fears the Lord shall avoid evil." That's a healthy fear. God does not let people get away with lust and unfaithfulness. Why? He loves us too much to let unfaithfulness destroy our relationship.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cole’s Poll (Week 13)

1. Texas – I think they will lose the championship game, but they, unlike Florida (see where the refs gave them the game against Arkansas) earned an undefeated season.
2. Florida – Should handle Bama and it will not be close.
3. TCU – Too bad there is not a 4 team playoff so they could lose in the 1st round of it and know they are where they should be.
4. Alabama – Saban will be made as satan’s residence after he loses again to Tebow’s gators.
5. Cincinnati –Pittsburgh should not beat them. This will leave them on the outside looking in, able to complain, and hoping they don’t have to prove their argument by playing one of my top 4 teams.
6. Ohio State – Yawn…
7. Boise State – Does anyone think they could beat anyone in my top 5 or Ohio State… I think not!
8. Iowa – Will win whatever bowl they play in, unless they play someone ranked higher than them in my poll!
9. Penn State – Not really sure who else to put here.
10. Oregon or Oregon State – They can play each other for this spot in my poll… and a trip to the Rose Bowl!!!

• Forget all the allegations, Mark Mangino deserves to get fired for the way he handled the final 2 minutes against Mizzou… it was the worst time management of the year. Yes worse than Harvard vs. Yale and worse than the Hat from LSU against Ole Miss!
• Charlie Wies deserved to get fired last year, if not the year before… it was long overdue.
• FSU should be ashamed to have forced out the man who made them into what they are or were last decade….

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cole’s Poll (Week 12)

1. Texas – Be sure not to overlook A&M, who has won 2 of 3 from the longhorns
2. Florida – FSU is hungry to prove Bowden belongs
3. TCU – As good as a non-BCS school has ever looked
4. Alabama – Great win over Chattanooga… seriously, Chattanooga?!?
5. Cincinnati – At Pittsburgh in 2 weeks, but don’t overlook a Cuse team that just beat a top 25 team yesterday
6. Georgia Tech – Will face Clemson for a BCS birth
7. Ohio State – Yawn…
8. Pittsburgh – 2 tests the next two week: @ WVU then Cincy for a Big East title
9. Boise State – Still do not like them in my top 10, but they finally dominated a doormat opponent
10. Oklahoma State – My feeling is that this will only last for a week due to their weak offense!

Watching Texas last night it made me think of the highly touted QB’s going into the season, here are my thoughts:
• Colt McCoy will be the next Mark Bulger
• Tim Tebow will be the next Kordell Stewart
• Sam Bradford will be the next Phil Simms

Friday, November 20, 2009

BA Mission Trip: Wednesday & Thursday

Our last day in Argentina started early. Mark woke up around 3:00AM with a stomach bug or food poisoning, and struggled with that all day. Around 10:00 or so we went to La Boca, a tourism site, but were only able to stay briefly due to Mark’s illness. It was not really disappointing to miss out on the sightseeing as tourism stuff is not a big deal to me.

Aaron and Stacie Bray were gracious enough to let us crash at their house so Mark could rest and feel better. While he was sleeping, I went to a local restaurant to eat lunch and read. It was comical to order my lunch through an iphone app as the waiter spoke zero English and my Spanish was not good enough to communicate either!

Upon my return to the missionary’s apartment, Aaron took me to our hotel to collect our luggage. I really enjoyed the time listening to his heart and desire to serve God globally. He and his wife are waiting to find out what they will be doing long-term in missions. Please pray for the doors to be opened and for clarity in the process for them.

Once we collect the luggage, we headed for the airport. The trip back was my best flight experience ever; a special thanks to Mark’s friend who gave us free business class upgrades. A lady in business class looked over to Mark and said, "Sir, those socks are pathetic." Albeit hilarious, the funniest part was the utter rudeness from the lady, and how clueless she was in regards to her words. Mark was not quite sure how to respond, but I had no problem piling on my buddy! Anyway, on the flight we were served a 5 course meal including filet mignon and ice cream; we sat in reclining seats that almost went flat; instead of junky headphones, they provide you with a Bose headset; we were given a normal size pillow and blanket, and a complementary toiletry bag including a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, eye cover, earplugs, and mints… coach will never be the same!!!

Argentine Insights:
* Instead of knocking on a door, they clap and call for whomever they’re looking for.
* They always kiss on the cheek with a greeting
* When they get an ice cream cont they don't lick it (and they'll laugh at you if you do), they scoop the ice cream with mini spoon
* At a restaurant, they won't bring your bill until you ask for it
* Yes doesn't always mean yes, will tell you what you want to hear in order to be polite
* If property goes unclaimed for 2 months families can claim that land for free and it is illegal to remove them if they have children, they are referred to as squatters
* Argentines' traditional drink is called Matte. It is a tea that some have described as tasting like grass clippings. You drink it community style from the same straw. Your turn last until there is a slurping sound, at which point the cup is refilled with scolding hot water. You are expected to take at least two turns, once you've had enough you say "gracias," if you say it beforehand they will skip you in order to be polite.
* Argentine food is really bland. They do not use a lot of spices or salt, which is the opposite of what most people would expect. Also, the two primary meals are steak and pasta.

Ironic lesson:
Our translator, Nestor, told us Mexico is disliked by South Americans and Hispanics because they are known for torturing and mistreating illegal immigrants.

Meeting with Javier was a huge blessing for me. He has had some tough church experiences in the past and it was great to encourage him. He seemed genuinely appreciative of our time together. Hopefully, he will get plugged into a local church again.

It was also great reconnecting with my longtime friend Mark Spence. We grew up together, and have not spent quality time with each other in years. His vision for the ABBA project and love for Jesus was inspiring. I really enjoyed the time spent with my friend.

The trip in general was a blessing to. Being a part of the ABBA project has left me more inspired in my work with our partnership. Hopefully, we will see the same results as Mark and NRHBC has seen with theirs!

This was our breakfast everyday... the glorified croutons were referred to as toast, and the coffee tasted like meat!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BA Mission Trip: Tuesday

Today was another good day. We started the morning off by meeting with the Team Leader for Argentina. He and Mark discussed strategy, exploring the possibility of renting an apartment for two years. Obviously, there are many considerations and this was an exploratory conversation, but the fact that it was even discussed speaks to the level of commitment NRHBC has to the Adopt a Barrio strategy!

For lunch, we traveled downtown for lunch and ate at Hard Rock Café. Afterwards, we went to Recoletta cemetery to visit the tomb of Ava Peron, aka Evita… don’t cry for me Argentina.

We then had four great meetings. We went back to Esmeralda & Lucas’ place to have another Bible study on assurance of salvation. Their desire to learn and willingness to lookup various verses was great to witness. Mark had me lead this study, which I really enjoyed.

Our next meeting was with Armenda, an 83 year old believer who has a passion to reach her neighbors, friends and family for Christ. Our time with her was primarily to encourage one another and pray. It was very interesting to hear her talk about everyone who lives around her, and their spiritual state. She said her goal in her house was to always use it for the glory of God and that she believes she has been blessed because of that. She asked prayer for her nephew Anibal to rededicate his life to Christ, and for her neighbor Hugo to be saved.

Javier and Maribel had us over for a second time on our trip… but this time planned! We brought some sodas and cookies over to eat as we visited. Javier is a great man who seemed to be genuinely encouraged by our visit. He has had some past hurts with church experiences, but his faith and relationship with God is being restored and made new. Please pray that they would both draw near to God and find a revived passion for our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!

Ikor and Veridiana were our final meeting of the day. I was not sure what to expect when we got there, but as soon as we arrived the led us inside, departed momentarily and returned with their Bible’s in hand to go through a Bible study together. It was obvious from their quick ability to find each verse that they have been spending time studying. This study was on Jesus as Lord and the ramifications of that in our daily lives. Please pray for their continued growth and maturation in Christ Jesus. I really enjoyed this and every visit today; it was great to be a part of!

Dinner: Penne pasta with pesto sauce.

Monday, November 16, 2009

BA Mission Trip: Monday

Today was a day of encouragement. We spent the morning visiting with 3 career missionaries: Randy, Young, & Mark. Randy is the lead and has 3 of his 4 children and 2 grandchildren living in the States. He and his wife will be able to finally meet their 2nd grandchild (6 months old) Friday, as they will arrive to celebrate Thanksgiving with them for a week. He is from Oklahoma and has the misery of being a poke fan. Young is originally from Korea, but immigrated to the USA to study at Liberty University, followed by a second Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife have not been able to have children, but his parents still live in Seoul and celebrated their 60th anniversary last year. Before moving to Argentina, he pastored a Korean church in New Jersey and served briefly in Venezuela before coming to Argentina. Mark is from Arkansas. He was an electrician who went on numerous short-term mission trips, served as a deacon, and taught Sunday school when he felt God was calling him to full-time missions. At that point they went through their training and have been in Argentina for a little over a year now. He has two girls, 5 and 7. All three of these men have made enormous sacrifices for the cause of Christ and I would encourage you to pray for them.

Lucas & Esmeralda are both new believers. Esmeralda accepted Christ in February and Lucas accepted Christ in July. Today, we had the opportunity to go through a follow-up Bible study on being saved. We went through separation of God through sin, the gift of salvation by grace through faith, and the new life we have in Jesus. It was a blessing to watch them study the Scriptures. Esmeralda helped Lucas figure out how to look up passages and he seemed genuinely happy to study. Tomorrow afternoon we will return to study assurance of salvation; it will be great. Pray for their continued maturation as they grow in and closer to Jesus.

This evening we met with Tiby, a seminary student at the Word of God Institute here in Argentina. He is from Romania and became a believer 5 years ago, July 24, 2004. The following year the same group came to his country and he volunteered with them, he soon developed a heart for Argentina and is now studying during the week and ministering on the weekend. He has asked that people would pray that he would have assurance of what God’s will is for him, and for his father (Deenes) who is not a believer.

Dinner = Salmon topped with some sort of almond cream sauce and spinach soufflé.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BA Mission Trip: Sunday

This morning we went to a local Baptist church. Their worship was very expressive and genuine; encouraging to be a part of. During the middle of the service the pastor recognized us. He had us come forward and then I was put on the spot without a clue of what to say or do. Through our translator, I thanked them for having us and told them it was a pleasure to be with them. The pastor wanted me to say more and I'm not sure what came out next, but it was something about how we are to shine and share the love of Jesus.

After church, a local missionary couple had us over for lunch: Jason & Kelly Frealy. Their presence alone is inspiring as they have a 4 year old girl Daniela and 13 month old boy named Nicholas. It was nice to spend the afternoon with them and listen to stories about daily life here, seminary, and what their life was like back in the States (he was a police officer with lots of great stories).

In the afternoon, we hosted a soccer watching party at a restaurant. 4 or 5 people from the neighborhood came and fellowshipped with us. Mark shared his testimony and the Gospel with those present at halftime. One of the guys present asked for prayer for his family at the end of the game. He seemed overwhelmed with gratitude for the prayers and it was obvious God was moving.

After the event, we actually went to a soccer game. With all the riots and murders and insane fans, I was a bit nervous about going, but the fears were unwarranted for our experience. The home team, River Plate, won 3-1. All of the fans stood, sung, jumped, and danced the entire game. It was crazy to watch and I think I was more entertained by the atmosphere than the game... not that the game was bad, especially for soccer!

River Plate Soccer Game

For the first time in my life I went to a soccer game, although they call it futbol here in Argentina. It was crazy to watch as the fans were on their feet singing, chanting, dancing, and yelling the entire time the game was going on. River Plate won the game 3-1 with all 3 of their goals coming within about a 5 minute span. Although I am still not a soccer fan, I will say that I loved the sporting atmosphere and now have a favorite Argentine team. Here is a video from the game:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BA Mission Trip: Friday and Saturday

We made it to Buenos Aires and checked into our hotel on Franklin D. Roosevelt Blvd. We had a good flight, even though I was stuck in coach while Mark traveled big time in business class… what a jerk... I'll take this back once we head home, he did get me the free upgrade to business for that flight!


Anyway, after a short rest and a bite to eat we had the opportunity to go to the Barrio (neighborhood) and meet some friends Mark and his group have made in their previous trips. We walked about 2-3 miles and attempted to visit 8 families or so, inviting them to watch a soccer game Sunday afternoon, and eat pizza with sodas.

The best part of the trip was visiting with Javier and his family. He is a believer who invited us to visit with him. He opened up his home and served us Pepsi, followed by maté, traditional Argentine tea. It was a great visit and we will be able to see him again on Tuesday.


Other interesting things about day 1 that started Friday and ends Saturday:
• There is only a 3 hour time difference between BA and Tulsa.
• G.I. Joe and Land of the Lost are mindlessly entertaining movies… yes, I watched both of them on the way here.
• Our translator, Nestor, is a graduate from a Baptist Seminary in Argentina started by Southern Baptist.
• Restaurants do not start serving dinner until 8:00, and it can last for 2-3 hours.
• Hulu does not work in Argentina!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adopt A Barrio Buenos Aires Trip - November 13-19

Today I will be leaving the States to head south to Argentina on a mission trip. I will be joining Mark Spence and NRHBC who has an ongoing work in Buenos Aires. The primary responsibility for reaching its adopted population segment is strategizing, guiding the work, and mobilizing people to get involved.

NRHBC has adopted a barrio in Buenos Aires over a two year partnership. They act as a Strategy Coordinator church, developing a long-term strategy for reaching this barrio (neighborhood) by sending multiple teams or individuals over two years to do evangelism, training, discipleship, while initiating a church planting movement in that area.

I am really looking forward to learning from their work and meeting those whose lives have been changed for eternity. Hopefully, I will be able to post daily about what we are doing. Our flight departs today, Friday, November 13 and we return Thursday, November 19. Your prayers will be appreciated!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting People in Small Groups is Not the Goal

I'm sitting in a conference listening to a real-life case study. A pastor from Texas presented his problem: "How do we get more people in small groups?" He went on to explain that only about 500 of their 2200 attendees are involved in small groups.

The conference participants then helped this pastor find a solution for getting more people in small groups.

But to me, it seems like the wrong question. Why is the goal to get more people in small groups? I'm sure his goal is bigger than just getting people in close proximity to each other. There must be something that happens in small groups that he really wants people involved in. Perhaps it is Bible study, or deeper relationships, or perhaps he knows that spiritual growth happens better in the context of those relationships.

Asking "why aren't more people in small groups" seems like a newer version of the question, "Why can't we get more people to attend Sunday school?" It doesn't really get to the real desire.

Maybe it would be better to ask, "How do we get more people to study the Bible?" or "How do we get people to take spiritual steps in deeper relationship with others?"

Maybe the answer isn't Sunday School...or small groups. Maybe it's something we haven't even thought of. Maybe it is 50 different answers for a church of 2200 people.

It is so easy to get stuck on a method. That which is innovative today can become an idolatrous method tomorrow.

from Tim Stevens

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cole's Poll (Week 10)

1. Texas – Only 35 against UCF… really?
2. Florida – Tebow is getting into form with another title in his sights.
3. TCU – They get the nod over Bama because I think they would beat them.
4. Alabama – Their offense is offensive.
5. Cincinnati – Perfect place for their perfect record.
6. Georgia Tech – I am ashamed to put them here, but who else deserves it?
7. USC – See Georgia Tech, back in and up a week after their worst loss in the Pete Carroll era!!!
8. Ohio State – In the driver’s seat for another Big Ten title…
9. LSU – Only losses are to Florida and Bama.
10. Boise State – This goes against everything in my reason, but they did beat Oregon… the only team they played this year and have look ordinary against pathetic “competition”!

• OU, Notre Dame, USC, OSU, Va Tech, Ole Miss, Cal & Georgia should all be ashamed of themselves and their seasons.
• Northwestern topples Iowa… shameful!
• Hawaii should be ashamed of letting June Jones get away, SMU has won 5 games so far this year, 5!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Church: Grace for the Disgraced

This video is a perfect picture of what church should be about: Grace for the disgraced, where they know God exalts those who have been humiliated, where God uses their life and their story of redemption in the life for hope to others who have been humiliated… because God is wonderful. My friend posted this on his blog and I wanted to follow suit:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Logos Bible Software iPhone App

The world's most popular Bible software is now available in the palm of your hand -- on the iPhone. A free download from the App Store, Logos Bible Software for iPhone lets you read, search, cross reference, compare versions, and even set up reading plans to keep your daily Bible reading on schedule.

iPhone Features
• Free access to many of the Bibles featured at
• Tap-and-hold on a Bible word* to see the underlying Hebrew or Greek.
• Text Comparison lets you quickly see a verse in multiple versions, with differences highlighted.
• Linked cross references allow you to click footnotes to reveal the reference text.
• Use Logos' powerful search functionality to quickly find relevant verses in an instant.
• Download and keep track of a custom reading plan, just for you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cole’s Poll (Week 9)

1. Texas – Looked like the best team in the country for the first time this year
2. Florida – Dominated a bad Georgia team and seem to be hitting stride at the right time
3. Alabama – Had a bye week for people to remember how they escaped Tennessee
4. Cincinnati – Outside looking in
5. TCU – Hoping to be out Boise in the BCS poll!
6. Iowa – Unreal 4th quarter saved their season… Ohio State is around the corner.
7. LSU – The start of the default teams in my top 10
8. Penn State – Only loss is to an undefeated Iowa team.
9. Georgia Tech – Do they really belong in the top 10?
10. OU – not going to define which OU this is…

• Saturday hope – Louisiana Tech upsets Boise Overrated State, LSU upsets Alabama… neither are very likely!
• End or regular season hope – Cincy, TCU, & Iowa all undefeated
• Cotton Bowl hope – Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day

Reformation Day commemorates Dr. Martin Luther's posting of his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This act triggered the movement in world history known as the Reformation. While the historical date for the observance of Reformation is October 31st, most churches celebrate it on the last Sunday in October.

While it had profound and lasting impacts on the political, economic, social, literary, and artistic aspects of modern society, the Reformation was at its heart a religious movement. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the doctrine of justification, that is, the good news of salvation by grace through faith.

For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption. Since most ordinary Christians were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance. Tragically however, monks, priests, bishops, and even the popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory and salvation through good works. Spiritually earnest people tried to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions, but they were left wondering if they had done enough to appease God's righteous anger and escape His punishment.

The truth of the gospel -- the Good News that God is loving and merciful, that He offers each and every one of us forgiveness and salvation not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has already done for us -- was largely forgotten by both clergy and laity. The Holy Spirit used an Augustinian monk and university professor named Martin Luther to restore the gospel to its rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We Gave Up On Life... and Bought a Minivan

Christy and I just made a huge life decision. One that will affect our lives forever, one that we will never be able to change, because it is done… we are just purchased a minivan. I will be honest, neither of us ever saw ourselves as minivan people, but then we had kids and we would like to have more, and it just makes sense… Yes, it makes sense... Seriously, quit laughing, it makes sense… and all it cost me was money and my man card.

We had a Honda Pilot, which we loved and never had a single problem with, but it was not as practical as we had hoped. Our original thought in purchasing the vehicle was that it would be a great family vehicle that we could use for years; after all it had 3 rows and could seat 8. The reality though was far from factual for a young family that requires car seats for our 2 kids under 4. In order for us to have more than 5 people in the vehicle at once we were forced to either have someone crawl over the middle row (because our kids need to be separated by the middle seat) or crawl through the rear door (which is just pathetic to watch/observe/do) or remove a child seat every time we got in our out of our vehicle (no chance that was going to happen).

Due to the Pilot not working out for us, Christy & I began looking at alternative vehicles.

We initially thought Tahoe or Suburban, but friends of ours commented on the difficulty they have getting their kids in and out of the BIG SUV *excuse*. I was also not a fan of the gas mileage they got, 10-16 on a good day *excuse*. We also looked at minivans, and we impressed by all the cup holders *joke*, ease of access with automatic doors, space, storage, and gas mileage. For those we have decided to purchase a minivan, that’s right a minivan.

We settled on a 2007 Honda Odyssey. Some people might say reason has won out in our decision, I say we have given up on life!!! Going with the practical over the cool, purchasing the logical car instead of the beast, giving up on life instead of clinging to something we lost a long time. So when you see the white flag flying over my head, you now know what happened… we purchased a minivan… or as we like to call it; we got a sweet new ride.

Here are some pictures of our new Honda I’m sure you will want to print off and hang on your bedroom walls as you fantasize about your dream vehicle: