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