So my buddy, Tim, loves buffets. MCL. Old Country. Golden Corral. China Buffet. And the list could go on and on and on. He'll do all-nighters with Jr. High guys where they start off the night with a classic all-you-can-eat buffet. I wish he's post about which he restaurant is the best, but that's another story.
Anywho...I found this article: Mastering the Art of the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet. It's outstanding! I thought of all the people out there that are wanting to NOT cook after a season of cooking/making turkeys, hams, stuffing, casseroles, cranberries, etc, but still want to eat and eat and eat...this is the article for you.
Here is a teaser. Funny stuff and Happy eating!
The Fourth Plate is almost always a good idea before you do it and a bad idea afterwards. It’s the helping after the helping after. It’s the Greatest Hits Plate, a star-studded collection featuring the most popular items from Plate 1, 2, and 3, coming together for the reunion tour, the last hurrah, the final dance at the dinner table.
The Fourth Plate is also a famous mark of a Buffet Amateur, because it can be the sign of someone who realizes that Plate 2 was the best plate and they really just want more of Plate 2. For years, I scarfed down The Fourth Plate at the Indian buffet near my college. Buttery, pillowy-soft naans piled high, thick and creamy Butter Chicken, and spicy, simmering lamb in a hearty broth. It was just too much. I caved in every time and walked away with a curry-busting gut and a samosa hangover.
(bu to my bro, Matt, here at the dinner table)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
So my buddy, Tim, loves buffets. MCL. Old Country. Golden Corral. China Buffet. And the list could go on and on and on. He'll do all-nighters with Jr. High guys where they start off the night with a classic all-you-can-eat buffet. I wish he's post about which he restaurant is the best, but that's another story.
Monday, December 29, 2008
This is what music education should look and feel like. Look at the faces of the kids who sing. Watch their physical expression. They feel the music. They get the music. And bet is big and small ways it moves them at a heart level and motivates them in their core academic subjects. This is why keeping the arts in school - private or public - is so vital.
The song is "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. The Coldplay video can be watched here. But this is way better. Sweet and awesome all at the same time!
(bu to BRaves via email)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
A little reminder in case you've lost sight of the meaning, here is a tender reminder of what this Day is all about.
Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth and on whom His favor rests!
I love this time of year. The smell of the Frazier fir. The sound of Christmas carols. The taste of fruit cake. The sight of Christmas lights. And the feel of another letter filled with the blah, blah, blah of our lives. Are you ready? Here we go! Parker (4) is our showoff in a Spidey costume. He loves to shake what his momma gave him during snack time at preschool, jump his two-wheel BMX bike off curbs, cut stuff, and run around the house randomly dive-bombing anyone sitting on the couch. Sarah (6) is our artist-in-residence. She loves to dance, write books, make crafts, and work it out like Sasha Fierce. Kindergarten has been great except for the horrendous teacher report that she likes boys! We are now homeschooling. Kelly (36) is woman hear her roar. She never ceases to amaze us with her abilities as chief tickler, master gardener, gourmet chef, and interior painter. She is hoping to land a permanent job at DP&L in the next couple of weeks. Her only real weakness is her addiction to Facebook. The kids and Daddy want Mommy back. Seth (wondering where his last 29 yrs have gone) can see the light at the end of the graduate school tunnel: one more semester, baby! He’s a grad asst. at UD helping urban kids pursue their dreams. He’s back in youth ministry at their church serving in the crazy world of jr. highers as their primary weekend teacher. He also loves playing the part of the Green Goblin, fantasy football stud (finals in 3 out of 4 leagues!), and king napper. Check us out at www.helduphigh.blogspot.com. So from our family to yours, we pray that, like the young virgin, Mary, you would treasure this season, this gospel and this Jesus in your hearts. Treasure the truth that he loved us so much that he gave up heaven for a manger. He gave up the company of angels for the company of shepherds. He gave it up because we matter to him. He loves us that much. May you know, experience and celebrate that love this year.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
My favorite Christmas song - Little Drummer Boy. My favorite rendition of my Christmas song - Bing Crosby and David Bowe.
On this Christmas Eve, our finest gifts we bring not just to one another, but most significantly to Him. The Christ Child. The Savior of the world. The might king. The prince of peace. Our finest gifts could be gifts. Money. Time. Talents. Resources. But most importantly He desires of us our pursuit of justice. Our love of mercy. Our humble, simple, and meaningful communion, relationship with Him.
Peace on Earth. Can it be? Hallelujah, yes! Because of God's finest gift...Jesus. May He bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you this Christmas season.
Come they told me
A new born king to see
Our finest gifts we bring
Peace on earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on earth, can it be
Can it be
Pretty thing isn't it
The kids are bouncing off the walls with expectation here on Christmas Eve. One of the fun things I love to do is track Santa with Google and NORAD Santa Tracker. If you have small kids and do the Santa thing, then this is pretty cool. Even gives you video postings of interesting places Santa has been on his voyage of gift giving. And you can see how close he is to your house!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Found this cool image of a painting over on a great blog, nakedpastor. It's hard to find thoughtful, honest, and beautiful artwork of Christmas (maybe I'm not looking in the right places), but when I saw this, I, like the blogger, was struck by its poignancy. It's not your classic Christmas story of the virgin Mary, stable, shepherds, angels, Magi, and the like. However, it is very significant and profound in the narrative of the life of Christ and his family. And so I share with you, Resting on the Flight Into Egypt, by Luc-Olivier Merson.
Click on image for larger view.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The artist of this picture wrote this:
"...sometimes i do wonder ‘why a man‘? i do sometimes wonder ‘why not a woman?’ i know that jewish tradition was patriarchal, still is at heart i guess and also jesus’ lineage was important culturally. so then, why this point in history? why not wait for a time when women might get a hearing and come as a lady?"
A bit of a mute point, but still an interesting question. One that may give us of some insight into the mind and heart of God. Just something to think about. Nothing more. Nothing less.
(bu to ASBO Jesus)
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
This has been a fun day at the Rings house filled with sleeping in, cartoons, the ballet (The Nutcracker), and a movie (The Tale of Despereaux). So for day 5 of the 7 Days of Christmas Image series, I give you a fun game to relax with on this December evening: Santa Balls 2. How could you pass a game up with a title like that!
Santa Balls 2
Have festive fun by matching 3 or more matching balls.
|Play this free game now!!|
Friday, December 19, 2008
7 Christmas images - pictures, videos, art, etc - in the next seven days. Some funny. Some serious. Some just because. Just a little something to get us thinking, feeling, and seeing this Christmas season through different lenses and then experiencing it in fresh ways.
So next in line is a video from Advent Conspiracy. This organization is challenging people, families and churches to think, act, and give differently this holiday season. The video is well done, but gets some mixed reviews (along with some thoughtful dialog) on its message here at the Out of Ur blog.
We as a family have tried to stepped up to the plate recently to expand our giving to the poor and orphaned of the world by giving to and through World Vision and Asia's Hope. It's been a really cool thing as we give and pray for Jamilia and Onel at dinner and at bedtimes. This organization takes the issue of poverty and challenges us to not only view our money differently and specifically view our Christmas giving differently. Check out the video and tell us what you think about it.
What are you, your family, or your church doing differently/uniquely during this advent season to share your lives and resources with those less fortunate in your communities and in our world? Are your patterns of spending, giving, and getting changing as you respond to the poor of the world? Be sure to check out the Out of Ur discussion, too.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
If you visit my blog with any frequency, you know I love visual images: pictures, art, photographs and, in particular, videos. So in light of that, I am going to bring you 7 days of Christmas images that I've come across that speak to the majesty, madness, and/or mystery of this sacred season.
First off is an amazing song performed by Faith Hill. Although I am not a huge country fan there is no doubting that Faith has a great voice and that this is a great song. I'm sorry to say that the video she put out is a bit lame and, as my wife pointed out, distracts from the great lyrics of the song. So if you need to, close your eyes and allow the words to create your own image to what this awesome song communicates.
On a personal note, I couldn't agree more that this baby has changed everything. The rules we live by. The systems we live in. The relationship we form. The life we lead. It has for me, at least. Not to the width or depth I desire, but we are getting there: slowly and surely. Some people have called this change being saved. Being transformed. Being made new. Being made whole. Others have called it being wrecked. Finding peace. Experiencing grace. Starting over. Getting a second chance.
I don't know about you and what you would call it. But for me, I'd have to say yes to all of the above. He's changed everything. He's changing me everyday...sometimes in big ways - ah ha moments that are significant and wow. These are can't miss. Sometimes the changes are in little ways - subtle and subversive. These changes are easy to miss and may only be recognized years down the road or by the insight of a friend.
Thanks, God, for changing everything. Lost now Found. Old made New. Stranger called Friend. That Baby surely did change everything. Amen
Monday, December 15, 2008
Just a little update on where I'm at in the school time line here. As of the end of this Fall '08 semester, I have completed 38 of 48 credit hours of my master in education program. And let me say this, it is good to have this semester done.
I've been reading, studying, counseling, sharing, etc. for over 16 straight months. My brain is tired. But it's good to be learning, growing, and expanding my understanding of how to help kids. I get to learn ideas, praxis, philosophy, and theory that not only helps children, teenagers, and adults, but as internalize it, it helps me, too. God is giving me more and more insight into who I am: my strengths/weaknesses, my being, my issues, etc. It's been good. Not easy, but good because I'm growing and not settling for the status quo.
Along the way, I have met and become friends with some great people. I have sat in the class of professors who have forgotten more counseling stuff than I'll ever know. I've networked with some quality professionals whom I respect and have learned a great deal from. It's always more about the people I come into contact with in each setting where I've studied, worked, worshipped or lived. That is no different here in this this season, at this place.
But this break will be good, sweet, and needed. I'm looking forward to extra time with the kids and my family. I'm looking for a little brain shut down. I'm looking forward to getting my Wii on. I'm going to be doing some reading, but nothing that relates to education or counseling. I'm going to re-read The Shack. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm really excited about Christmas this year...the kids really are at a great age for the awe and wonder that fills this divinely mysterious season.
I've rambled enough. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Finish strong. Finish strong!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I worked at a pretty special place. The Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) is a charter high school (with 7th grade this year) that has a vision to give urban students an opportunity to go to college through personalized learning programs, rigorous study, and a small educational environment. It has a been a joy to be a very small part of the team that helps students and families achieve their dream of going to college (most likely the first in their family to do so).
Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked the top high schools in America. DECA was recognized with a Bronze medal which is awesome. Dedicated leadership and committed, creative teachers are a huge reason why DECA was recognized with this honor. The other reason is the awesome students and families that push through tons of obstacles to graduate and grow into bigger and better opportunities.
Here is a link to the DECA stats on U.S. News. Read more here at link to an article written by the University of Dayton who sponsors DECA. Here is a teaser from the UD link:
DECA is no stranger to national attention. Places such as Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Jobs for the Future and The Chronicle of Higher Education have studied the school's innovative approach to education.
The Center for Secondary School Redesign has called DECA "a concrete response to convince and prepare urban learners to go to college," and invited the school to participate in the 2007 and 2008 Breaking Ranks Secondary School Showcases. Schools are chosen based on their outstanding reputations for quality and innovative approaches with challenging populations.
The U.S. News ranking comes just six weeks after UD and DECA received the national Urban Impact Award from the Council of the Great City Colleges of Education. The award recognized the schools as an exemplary partnership between an urban school district and a university that has had a significant impact on teaching and learning. It was the first time an early college high school had received the award.
Big Ups to all those that make DECA such and amazing place. Thanks for all you do for to make this world a better place for kids. It is my priviledge to be apart of the ride!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
We had a great time with Kelly's side of the fam for Turkey Day. Kelly's mom and dad do a great job of hosting. Super kid friendly. Lots of family: brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, in-laws, grandmas and grandpas. Too much great food. I spent the morning working on a paper and then went down later. It was a fantastic time and a reminder that I have much to be thankful for.
One of the things that is so essential for people is to find some form of community in life. Whether that community is found at work, school, neighborhood, gym, book club, or church, we all need it and pursue it whether we know it or not.
We have found and pursue these kind of relationships with friends via a small group that is a big part of our personal community that we are able to serve and be served, love and be loved, know and be know, and celebrate and mourn with in all sorts of circumstances. It has been a joy to grow with these people as friends, people who follow Jesus, and those that are looking to make a difference in their world.
Here's a few pics of these fun, funky, and funtastic peeps (minus the McCrays and Bakers)!
So we were at Kelly's mom and dad's house this year for Thanksgiving along with the rest of her side of the family. My sis-in-law, Jackie, told me that I had forgotten to update my blog with some family photos lately (she uses them for a family calendar she puts together for my in-laws. It's really fun!).
I was like, "No way. I update that stuff with pic all the time." So I went to check it out and was, " Whoa! I haven't updated in a while."
So here I go: updating you the few the proud HeldUpHighers that visit my blog and those lucky enough to stumble across it with some family photographs.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool..
Opening Credits: Man's Final Frontier by Arrested Development
Waking Up: Almost There by MercyMe
First Day of School: Rain In The Summertime by The Alarm
Falling in love: Live Out Loud by Steven Curtis Chapman
Fight Song: How You Love Me by Bebo Norman - now that's funny!
Breaking Up: Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer by Nat King Cole Trio
Prom: Stick With Me Baby by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Life's OK: Jigga What/Faint by Jay-Z and Linkin Park
Mental Breakdown: When The Time Has Come by Huey Lewis & the News
Driving: San Fransico by John Phillips
Flashback: Hear Our Prayer by United Live
Getting Back Together: Trash, Trampoline, and The Party Girl by U2
Wedding: Girls And Boys by Good Charlotte
Birth of Child: I Want To Be A Popstar by Jamie Cullem
Final Battle: Beautiful Day by U2 - Amen to that!
Funeral Song: River by James Taylor
End Credits: It's Easy by Boston
(bu to Kelley Marie H. via Facebook)
Friday, November 28, 2008
It's the day after Thanksgiving and I sit here in the house thinking to myself, "Holy Wow! I have so much to be thankful for."
- Kelly, my wife. Yikes. Who would I be without her? Scary. I am amazed by her ability to love, serve, care, and have fun in every role in her life. Amazing!
- Sarah, my daughter, for her thoughtfulness and sensitivity.
- Parker, my son, for his silliness and little servants heart.
- I'm thankful for my parents who have stepped up in major ways to help us get through this season with as little debt and much support for our kids as possible.
- For our church that is hurting place. But it's also a place God is still redeeming for his glory and kingdom purposes.
- For my bro-in-law, Don, who's desperate enough to give the ex-youth ministry guy a chance to love kids and share with kids the love of God.
- I'm thankful for our little tribe of brothers and sisters known as our small group/house church. Deep, meaningful community and belonging takes time and commitment and these peeps are taking the steps to make it happen. It's sweet to be apart of.
- Thankful for school as a time to detox, re-think, reflect, and pursue the call of learning about helping kids.
- For Onel and Jamila, the kids we sponsor through World Vision and the chance we have to have an impact on their lives.
- I am grateful Bo Pelini and the restoration of Husker pride and the Blackshirts.
- I am stoked about the Wii and the fun our family has playing, cheering, and laughing together.
- right this very moment, I'm thankful for re-runs of Family Guy...funny stuff.
- For a chance to work at a crazy, creative place like DECA and the crazy kids of dV8 at Far Hills Community Church.
- the Matt Maher CD, Empty and Beautiful. It pushes and pulls me closer to Jesus.
- The Shack. A wonderful novel about seeing God fresh and anew as we walk, struggle, and commune with Him during the dark hours of our souls.
- cherry coke and strong bow cider - the nectar of the gods!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'm not going to lie to you...this is some funny stuff. Jon Stewart and crew on The Daily Show put out amazingly funny stuff. Their turkey day takes are no less hysterical. Click here to enjoy a laugh between helpings of cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, turkey, and mashed potatoes. This top 8 is turkilicious!
(bu to Mental Floss Blog)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
...this would be the way I would do so. And it almost (heck, maybe even might of! ha!) happened to me today.
So it's the first day of Turkey break at UD, DECA, and Kettering Fairmont High School. I have tons to do this week like hang with the family tomorrow for Thanksgiving (can't wait!), a student connection Saturday morning (can't wait, again!), and, oh, there is this little thing called my research paper due next Tuesday (can totally wait!). So what did I do today? I decided to procrastinate on that and be a good hubby and daddy by hanging Christmas lights outside. Go, me!
It was a beautiful day. Sun was out. It was balmy hot...43 freaking degrees! I almost busted out shorts. So I took advantage of the weather. I gave myself the goal of getting it done by the time my sister's family came to the house to drop of their black lab, Harley Sioux as they leave for northern Indiana.
Anywho, I am busting along with the lights and making good time getting them up. I get them where I wanted. Placed in just the right spots on the shrubbery and bushes. While I am doing this I think to myself...hey! Shouldn't these lights be on? I mean they are plugged in. But I don't pay much attention and keep putting out more strands of lights.
When I finally go back to plug everything in (remember the above self conversation)...they are already plugged in! It's the first thing I flipping did! I think quick. GFS? Not tripped? Bad bulb? NOOOOO...how am I going to check over 1200 lights, Clark Griswald? Blown fuse in house and in light strands. Nope. All good.
Every strand is effing bad...six freaking strands. Nuts.
So what did I learn? Porn won't get me. Money issues probably won't get me. Women prayerfully won't get me. But what will? Those damn Christmas lights! They will most definitely take the Christ out of my Christmas.
So take my advice and DON'T put up Christmas lights this year. You just might lose your faith or never find one!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Over the next couple of weeks postings could be few and light. I'm in the last two weeks of the semester here at UD as I pursue my masters degree in education - school counseling. It's also Thanksgiving week and Kelly, Sarah, Parker, and I will be dog watching (my sister's family dog, Harley Sioux), heading to Cincinnati on Turkey day to party like it's 1999 with Kelly's family, writing my final copy of my research paper (looking at high risk kids, dropout, and how a small group intervention concentrating on relational, academic and family skills impacts attitude about school), finishing up a teaching series for middle school students on the book of Galatians.
Catch you on the flip side!
Monday, November 24, 2008
An interesting report about surfing the internet, playing games and hanging out on social networks are important for teen development, a large study of online use has revealed. Link to article here on the BBC.
"The report counters the stereotypical view held by many parents and teachers that such activity is a waste of time. More than 800 teenagers and parents took part in the three-year US project. 'They are learning the technological skills and literacy needed for the contemporary world,' said the report's author, Dr Mimi Ito. 'They are learning how to communicate online, craft a public identity, create a home page, post links. All these things were regarded as sophisticated 10 years ago but young people today take them for granted,' Dr Ito told the BBC."
This interesting stuff to think about and consider as we look to shape the next movements of youth ministry and education for teenagers/students.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well¯beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Found this addicting little game while I should have been writing more for my research paper. Procrastination why does thou tempt me so!?
One click is all you need. Chain reaction is the key to winning! The objective is to burst the number of bubbles every level. There is a minimum number of bubbles to burst to proceed to the next stage. Try to predict where the cluster of bubbles will go. Just click around, sit back and enjoy the show! Left click to fire a burst and start a chain reaction.
I got as far as the level where you have to get 40 out of 50 color bursts. Not bad for a slacker.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It's been a while since I posted my blog of the month (really like blog for a season by the time I get to it). In light of the last post and since I've actually had this blog linked in the Blog Of The Month link above, I might as well highlight The Sports Hernia Blog.
This is one sports blog that doesn't take itself too seriously. It pokes fun at players, owners, management, coaches and fans. It's full of whit, sarcasm, and the occasional inappropriate comment, headline, or photo (no nudity). It's all meant in good fun while humbling an industry that thinks a little too much of its own importance.
So while you are enjoying the watch for where your favorite college football team will play a bowl game or wondering if your favorite college basketball team will make it into the field of 64 or if your hometown pro football, basketball or hockey team will make the playoffs, take some time to enjoy the lighter more sarcastic side of the sports world.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
On Sunday, I was irritable. More like grumpy. Maybe even a jerk. Not sure why, other than a lack of sleep the night before, but that's still no excuse to be harsh with people, especially your kids.
All day I found myself getting super annoyed at the little things the kids did: talking too loud, running too fast, asking too many questions, fighting too much, blah, blah, and blah. I was quick to be exasperated. I was quick with an irritated look. And I was all too quick to raise my voice.
But as the night went along, God keep nudging me to make things right with the kids by swallowing my pride and asking for forgiveness from them for being a jerk daddy. Just before we read our story at bedtime, I had Sarah and Parker on my lap and said, "I need to ask for your forgiveness today. I wasn't very kind, patient or understanding of you today. I was grumpy entirely too much and ask for your forgiveness for not treating you like I would want to be treated - with love, patience and kindness."
Well, Sarah was quick to throw her arms around me, nuzzle her head in on my neck and say, "I forgive you, Daddy."
I looked over at Parker and he had his head down not looking our way. I could tell something was on his mind.
Me: Parker, I'm sorry. Will you forgive, Daddy?
Parker: more silence
Me: What do you say, buddy?
Parker: I don't know.
Me: What don't you know (in an inquisitive tone)?
Parker: Well...It's just a hard decision.
Me: That is so true, my son. Daddy knows that very well. It is a hard decision.
Truer words were never spoken. Forgiveness is so hard to give at certain times in our lives and to certain people in our lives. But we must. It takes times. A long time sometimes because it's a hard decision. But we must. Not so much for them. But more so for us. For in forgiveness we find freedom.
May you and I learn and grow in forgiving as we have been forgiven.
p.s. Not five seconds after Parker said it was a hard decision, I simply said that it was time for bed (which it was) and he was all over me, squeezing my guts out, giving me a big fat kisses, and telling me he loved me. That just may have been his answer. I couldn't have asked for a better way to get it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Continuing in our series on Galatians: Faith, Freedom, and the Produce Aisle, we now look at a the issue of family as it relates to Paul's letter.
Text: Galatians 3:26-4:7
Title: "All In The Family"
Family. It brings out the best in us and worst in us.
Here I gave two illustrations in my own life from my own family
The Good: Sunday lunches with strangers and outcasts
The Bad: Season of betrayal
We all long for the good in family life. We don't always get it because you, me, parents, brothers, and sisters can be pretty jacked. Some of us come from really good families where we are loved, cared for, and made to feel special as only family environments can do. But even in the best of families, ugly stuff can come out. Others of us have families that fall short of that and it leaves us wanting something more, something deeper, something stronger. Even if we come from strong, healthy families, we want that, too.
(Today we are going to be looking at how) faith in Jesus connects us to a new spiritual family dynamic - one growing in unity and intimacy.
1. Unity - with brothers and sisters in Christ
2. Intimacy - with God, our Father
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I started a repeat/running post here about stories of death/sacrifice awhile back. Here's another great exchange/golden thread story I've found - once again by Bill Reilly.
Here's the full story of a guy names Barry Scott who made his life about sacrifice - a golden thread. A snap shot:
"Barry, the 145-pound Hummer gunner vs. the hell of Baghdad? He was nearly blown up twice, yet couldn't wait to get back on Skype to tell his wife, Amber, about it. "I'm still breathing!" was his motto. "That's what counts!"
Barry, the tiny cop vs. the mean streets of Maryvale, Phoenix's most violent precinct, where he lived and worked? He'd come back from some close shave and call his best friend, Derek Frader, at 3 a.m. to tell him about it. "We'd hear gun shots every night," Amber says. "Everybody told us to move." But Barry loved the idea of helping people in trouble. I'm still breathing! That's what counts!"
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
To all the men and women - past, present and future - from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for serving me, my family, your family, my neighbor, your neighbor, and the stranger so very well. Words cannot express my gratitude for sacrificing so very much so that we could live so very well. In your loneliest night or darkest hour may you know the thoughts and prayers of millions of Americans cry out to a God who loves you so very well.
And to my brother, Matt, thank you for so very much for representing God, family and country so very well as you serve in the Navy and help fight for freedom and justice on behalf of these great United States of America. I love you, bro!
Sunday, November 09, 2008
This has got to be one of the great scenes from The Office. I was laughing out loud when it first aired and then cracked up again watching it a second time. The classic micro form or management called microjamin. Too funny!
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, November 07, 2008
I don't know if this is really cool or all a bit sad, but I found this video site (powered by YouTube) called Totlol that has videos that are all dedicated to kid: infants, toddlers, younger kids, and tweens. It seems as thought they are trying to make it very safe, kid/family friendly, and fun/entertaining. Here is what they tout on their opening page:
"Totlol is a video website designed specifically for children. It is community moderated. It is constantly growing. It is powered by YouTube. All videos were submitted, screened and rated by parents. The selection is huge and if you like, you can participate too."
I'm not sure, but do our small kids need more videos? But anywho, if you are a parent, work with small kids, or are simply entertained by silly/annoying videos and music, this is the place for you! From what little I've searched, it looks to be very fun, silly, and safe.
Here is one of my kids favorite songs/videos that is on the site. Not sure where we first saw it, but they did say over and over again, "Daddy, can we watch that elephant video again?"
This was week 2 of our series on Galatians: Faith, Freedom, and the Produce Aisle. Last week we focused on Galatians 1 and how Paul's own life communicates the radical nature of what faith is.
This week we focused on Galatians 2 zeroing in on Paul's confrontation with Peter and issues of circumcision. In the words of Michael Scott this week on The Office: Psych! Just reading/hearing about circumcision makes me cringe and giggle at the same time. Can you image what it would do to middle school boys!? Yikes!
No this week we continued to talk about what faith is by focusing on Galatians 2:20.
I got them into groups of 2-4 and had them work through this scenario: aliens have come to Earth where they find you and ask to talk to you about confusing words that we as humans use. Then giving them only about 30ish seconds to chat in their groups, I had them talk about these words: love, hate, popularity, beauty, weird, and cool. Then those same aliens know that you go to church and wanted to find out what these religious words mean to religious/spiritual people: worship, justice, gospel, kingdom, compassion, and faith
Transitioned by talking about our Big Idea from 2 weeks ago (which they couldn't remember...oh, and the couldn't remember that we were talking about the book of Galatians either. MSers really know how to encourage and give confidence to their leader/teacher! haha!).
Galations 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Here (because of time I had to chop off a bit of content prepared) I focused on "...I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." I talked about this Jesus and his love - who and how/how much.
Then I showed this video to illustrate the how and how much. I struggle with whether or not to show this video (which is a fairly well done version of the classic "Bridge" illustration you may have heard or used before). The reason I struggle with using it is because it's fairly emotional and didn't want to manipulate the emotions of emotional middle school students. But in the end I felt like it really illustrated the how much of God's love for us. The illustration breaks down at many levels, but it communicates the how much very well (almost too well?).
I walked them through the Big Idea: Faith is putting my life in the hands of Jesus who loves me and died for me so that I might experience real life (here and now and also yet to come for all eternity).
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Let me just say that I am voting and I am excited to do so! What a great right and responsibility that we have as free Americans!
However, to further clarify the issue: I will NOT be voting for either Obama OR McCain. Both candidates stink and I would like to vote for a do over in order to get new candidates. You can ask Kelly, I have pained over this for quite some time. There are things I like about both candidates and things I detest.
I love the fact that America is on the cusp of electing the first black man to the office of president. That simple fact is huge for American does well to communicate to the world that we are changing. That will be a great day for America. However, I hate the fact that Obama will begin instituting the failed economic policies of socialism and tax structures of France and Germany. I hate the fact that he has voted to legalize partial-birth abortions and life birth deaths (not sure what that term is). But at the same time, I admit that he might just have the best policies that will reduce abortions by helping the poor and funding education (poor women are 4x likely to have an abortion that non-poor women). Why can't you vote against such things and still bring economic justice to the poor and uneducated so as to fight abortion on both fronts? That my family seems hypocritical to me and not the kind of leader I want in office.
I like that McCain will fight to finish the war in Iraq. I hate the strong feelings I have that McCain will continue to seek out others to pick fights with on an international level whether that be or or some other nation. No fact to back that just a feeling I get as I listen to his us vs them mantra in his speeches about the war. I love the fact that McCain is anti-abortion, but hate the idea that he will probably do nothing to reduce abortion outside trying to eliminate roe v wade. I also can't stand that McCain voted for the bailout (with pork and all) and the very next day that stated even though he supported the bailout it would be something he would veto as President. That my family is hypocrisy and not the kind of leader I want as president.
So at the end of the day, who will I be voting for? I will be writing in . He will not win, but I have to vote my values and this man and his ideas/philosophies best represent where I'm at at the moment. Say what you want about pulling votes away from one candidate or another. My country gives me this option and thus I will exercise it. It is what it is.
That, right now, is where I am being lead as I prayerfully consider ALL the issues and understand my kingdom values as a follower of Jesus and American citizen. I hope that clears things up. Here are a couple of post from a godly thoughtful theologian that gives me hope in these times:
It's a great country we live in where we can actively participate in the political process and communicate our feelings/values about that process. May God guide and lead all of us not along Red or Blue lines, but along the kingdom values He cares about and the discernment He gives us about things He does not communicate about (taxes cuts/hikes, abortion, war, government size, etc).
To God be the glory!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Found this fun little web site - Wordle - that makes word clouds out of whatever text you give it. In my case, I used my blog and here is what it came up with. You can change, color, font, or text to your liking. Pretty cool. Pic is kinda small so click on the pic below to take you to the larger image.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Great video about injustice in the world and people living in extreme poverty. More specifically, if we steward our money, budgets (personal, household, ministry, or business), and resources wisely how we might use some (if not most or all) of the surplus to battle injustice and help people around the world living in extreme poverty. Here is the link to the World On Fire website that details where the money went that was saved in making this $15 dollar video.
The video hits close to my heart because of the time I spent in Kibera, Kenya, over three years ago. I walked the tracks and streets in the video and met the beautiful people of this unimaginable place.
And so the question after watching is, "What little, insignificant things can you and I give up in order to make a huge difference in the lives of people like this?"
(bu to Mighty Mike via Facebook)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Couldn't leave the blogsphere today without wishing my mother a very happy birthday! Kelly, the kids, and my sis, Marcie took her out to Tumbleweed for a fun little, food, and laughter that only comes with being with my mom.
I had her walk us down memory lane by telling where she was at at age 25, 35, 45, 55, and 65. It was quite a ride full of craziness, kids, family moves, nursing jobs, and love. And through it all my mom has been a living example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, a strong woman, life-long learner, devoted and sacrificial wife, faithful friend, and nurturing mother. Not to mention that she's a wild woman who loves to give you advice whether you want it or not, diagnose your illness whether you need it or not, mumble directions under her breath whether you hear it or not, mispronounce the most common of words whether you catch it or not, and pass gas then disguise it as humming whether you smell it or not- outstanding!
It makes me shudder to think where I might be if not for her steady, passionate, and godly influence in my life. Mom, you are simply the best. I am blessed to be your son.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Two bumper stickers caught my eye today. One I had seen before and another I had never seen.
First one was "Hate is not a family value."
The reason this caught my eye is I began wondering who this is targeted at. Child/spouse abusers? Politicians? Or religious people? If I was a betting man, I'd say it's pointed squarely at us religious types, specifically, evangelical Christians and the religious right. And when I re-read it again in these times of heightened emotions surrounding the presidential election, it broke my heart. When did we religious types start on this slippery slope? How did we let it get to this? How did we let our politics, language and actions start making people feel like we didn't care? It breaks my heart. And I have to ask how did I contribute to the hostile climate where bumper stickers are sold to communicate how a large segment of our culture thinks/feels about so-called Christian? This bumper sticker makes me sad and tells me I/we have a long way to go to change the perception that non-Christ followers have of Jesus people.
The second one was "Vote the Bible."
What the hell does that mean? Is that a non-partisan bumper sticker? Doubt it. Is there a ballot I ask for where I can re-up Issue 10 on Ten Commandments? Is there section on my ballot to keep the Beatitudes going? Does it mean vote simply pro-life/anti-abortion? Does it mean vote Republican across the board? Dare I say yes to all of the above? Here is something that is shaping my take (borrowed from Sojourners) on what "voting the Bible" means to people who call themselves Christians:
1. Compassion and Economic Justice
2. Peace and Restraint of Violence
3. Consistent Ethic of Life
4. Racial Justice
5. Human Rights, Dignity, and Gender Justice
6. Strengthen Families and Renew Culture
7. Good Stewardship of God's Creation
You can find out more about these seven points at Sojourners website. Look for the "Voter Issues Guide." You might not agree with every sub-point underneath these seven major issues, but it should definitely shape how you and I pray and then vote about the who and what on our ballots.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, October 24, 2008
In light of the fall classic, I decided to try my hand at some baseball games on Miniclip while I lay sick here in bed. This is a pretty fun game. It's the bottom of the 9th and your team is down by two runs. Can you mount a comeback for the win? I wasn't able to, but that doen't mean I won't keep trying (what better things do have to do?), The arcade version of the game is lame. But the bottom of the 9th game is where it's at.
It is bottom of the ninth; rally your team to win the game with only 3 outs left
|Play this free game now!!|
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We started a new series in the middle school ministry I serve in called Galations: Faith, Freedom, and the Produce Aisle.
Here's the flow:
Get in groups of 2-3 and share an experience that changed how you felt, thought, and/or what you believed about something. music, parents, school, friends, family, religion, etc
(b/c of time I could do this...had to adapt)
Divide into three groups one for each of these passages: Gal 1:6-10, 1:11-17, and 1:18-24. Then answer this question. What do you think this tells you about their faith?
Camping out on this section in Gal 1:23-24
1. Faith is a response to a radical revelation of Jesus that completely changes our life.
A. What do you think Jesus revels about us?
B. What do you think Jesus revels about Jesus?
C. What is the appropriate response to those to truths? Trust and Follow.
2. Faith is influenced and easily derailed by people/groups of people that don't care about you, or you following Jesus.
- by either: A. Taking us away from it
Adding things to it
Big Idea: Faith reveled by God is pure and simple, but never easy; it always changes us in radical ways.
I've got to do a better job of illustrating. That's an area I need to double up on so as to explain something better, flesh out a point, or make it more tangible and real to where a middle schooler is at in that moment.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I posted here on how God was leading our family and what God was leading us to do as it relates to fighting poverty in our world. I received this email from a dear friend on some really cool things their church was doing to fight poverty and share the love of Jesus in tangible and powerful ways in their community. I asked if I could post it and they graciously agreed.
This is the kind of thing the Church and people of God need to do more of in our communities, nation and world.
"Hi Seth and Kelly!
Thanks for this great story! We have found poverty right here in the town next door. We are involved with sponsoring about 30 kids with an after school program. This all began with the Episcopal Church that I go to observed that there were all these children in the streets after school let out and had no where to go. Both parents were working and very tired when they finally came home after dark. The church had a room and hired a teacher/actress and another woman to walk the kids from school to the church and there FEED them a good meal and then help them with their homework, then play time until their parents can pick them up. There are computers that were donated where they learn computer skills as well as English. The Mothers have also been learning English.
Other older kids come one day a week and are "big brothers and sisters" to the younger ones. This has been a real bonding for them all. Adults also show up to help with individual homework. Money must be raised to pay the teachers and buy the food provided. We have house parties and invite the community to get involved financially as well as with energy. It has been a tremendous success. Graduates of the program come back and tutor. There is a summer program here too to keep these kids engaged and out of trouble during the months they are not in school. They learn to swim... make things.... become productive. It's been fabulous to watch grow. Our Pastor is a woman who did this same thing down in Hobokin, NJ after 911. She took a drug area and a deserted dog-filled-poop lot and had the Church buy the land and the community built a fabulous meeting place to gather the kids. They even had a dance room with a ballet bar and a wall of mirrors and the Dancers form NYC come to teach the kids. How about that for teaching self-esteem!
This church has also gotten us integrated with the Muslims here who are building a temple. We were invited to their construction site and asked to tell them about Jesus and found that they were most interested with the concept of the Trinity. They are coming to our church soon as well to tell us about Mohammed. Last week we meet for Bible study with the African Methodist Evangelicals (AME Church). We've had two meetings with them at both our churches.... a great way to get to know our neighbors. It's been fantastic, these encounters.
I'm really glad you have found this avenue for your family to get involved too!"
Go and do likewise.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
If you blinked you may have missed it. Gov. Palin was on the late night variety show to have and get some laughs. Good for Palin and stepping up to the plate to poke fun at herself and SNL. Though maybe a bit late for her and McCain to boost their campaign, it was a huge boost for ratings. Funny stuff.
Weekend Update and Rap:
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
This is genius. It's from Seth Godin's blog.
Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set.
Today, of course, yelling doesn't work so well.
What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they'd like to go. Connecting them to one another.
I say relatively because there are few products that need everyone in order to succeed. A tiny sliver of the market is enough. Bill Niman used to run Niman Ranch, a cooperative raising meat for fancy restaurants and markets. That was already a sliver of the huge huge market for meat. He moved on to start BN, a 1000 acre farm raising goats for a subset of that subset. It's enough.
It's enough if the tribe you lead knows about you and cares about you and wants to follow you. It's enough if your leadership changes things, galvanizes the audience and puts the status quo under stress. And it's enough if the leadership you provide makes a difference.
Go down the list of online success stories. The big winners are organizations that give tribes of people a platform to connect.
Go down the list of fashion businesses or business to business organizations. Same thing. Charities, too. Churches, certainly.
It's so tempting to believe that we are merely broadcasters, putting together a play list and hurtling it out to the rest of the world. Louder is better. But we're not. Now we're leaders.
People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Rings clan of Dayton wanted to share that exciting news with y'all! It was easy to find a child that touched our hearts. It only takes a few minutes to begin a relationship that will make a difference in the life of a child. I encourage you to start a sponsorship relationship with a needy child today!
We've been talking about it a long time. Then today was BlogActionDay talking about poverty (I posted about it here). So at dinner tonight Kelly and I shared with the kids what we were thinking. And after much clarification (no toys are being sent to them...just money), the kids were all for it. Kelly and Sarah chose a 6 year old little girl from a HIV/AIDS infected area of . Her name is Jamila. Parker and I sponsored a 4 year old little boy from a HIV/AIDS infected area of the . His name is Onel.
What a powerful experience simpling choosing these kids (knowing you were not choosing others). I was over come with tears at the gravity of this moment for us as a family, for these children and their families, and the . And so felt led to share it with you on this day that we bloggers talk and more importantly move to action on poverty. Thanks for listening and may we allow God to use all of us in small or big ways to love those near and dear His heart.
Simply click on the link below to see what you can do to help a child in need.www.worldvision.org
Grace and peace,
Seth, Kelly, Sarah, and Parker
"Once a year, BlogActionDay.org gets thousands of blogs big and small to unite and talk about one issue. This year’s conversation is on poverty." What a great idea! Let's get the conversation started and THEN let's get the action going. That, however, is the hard part. At least for me. BlogActionDay has a spot on its site to read blogs, watch videos, and listen to podcasts. Lots of mediums to get informed and inspired to do something for the poor, needy and outcasts of our nation and world.
One of the things that Kelly and I are wrestling with is adopting one child for each person in our family from a third world country from World Vision or Compassion International. We've got to get on board in a tangible way to fully express our salvation and Kingdom mandate from God in the world. Plus, we desperately want Sarah and Parker to know that following Jesus isn't another self-help program, but a radical shift in heart and soul about how we see the world and respond in love to its needs.
Then we have to get our hands dirty. By that I mean, getting involved in with an organization or people that we can see face to face and touch physically. That's where the rubber meets the road. That's the real challenge for a white, middle-class, suburbanite like myself.
I have some other friends out there that are doing some good stuff personally and as a family:
1. My friend Marko and his family - Walk Their Walk
2. My friend Steve Longest - Loving South Africa
Here are some other simple ways to help via the web:
6. Invisible Children - I posted on it here.
Does anyone in the Dayton area know of anything that is happening in our neck of the woods? If you are visiting from other cities in the US, what is happening there?
Here's a cool piece I watched the other night on ESPN on how one LA rescue mission is using basketball as a tool to help the homeless.
Found this interesting article entitled "Political Science: What being messy or neat says about political leanings." Very quick read, but very telling at the same time. It's funny how accurate these things are. Here is a teaser from the first part of the article. Check out the rest for some interesting findings.
Researchers insist they can tell someone's politlcal affiliation by looking at the condition of their offices and bedrooms. Messy? You're a lefty. A neatnik? Welcome to the Right.
According to a controversial new study, set to be published in The Journal of Political Psychology, the bedrooms and offices of liberals, who are generally thought of as open, tend to be colorful and awash in books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia.
Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials in their personal spaces, according to the study. Their bedrooms and offices are well-lighted and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags—especially American ones.
(bu to mental_floss)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
This past weekend I finished up our series in Transit called The Real Deal: What it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. The outlines for the other two talks are here and here.
This week the title was "Just Do It."
Big game of shoe chaos (hadn't done a game in awhile so it was fun to play!)
Three Legged stool - the stool doesn't function right with just one or two legs. We need the third leg to complete the stool so that it can DO what it was created for.
So it is with our spiritual life. KNOWing God and BEing the gospel are not enough to be who God wants us to be. He wants no part of our selfish spirituality that simply gathers religious knowledge or self-centered spiritualists. We must DO in order to fulfill our mission on earth.
Text: Micah 6:5-8, James 2:14-26
Mainly stuck with the Micah text and asked this question, "What does it mean to do good?"
Act Justly - Fight for what's right for those who cannot fight for themselves.
Illus: Superman - Fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.
Love Mercy - Caring for those who no one else cares about.
Illus: Lonely kid at school befriended by other kids who saw his need.
Walk humbly with God - All of this can only be done when we choose to daily follow Jesus so as to know Him, be like Him, and live as He did.
Illus: Parker and Sarah holding my hand in dangerous places
Monday, October 06, 2008
I found this interesting post of "a Swedish adman and former CEO Dag Soderberg [that] is leading a team called Illuminated World that's reinterpreting the Bible as a magazine - complete with sidebars, coverlines, and subheads. He's using the straight text, for the most part, but embellishing it with Bennetton-style photos and pull quotes."
The Book: New Testament is being backed by the American Bible Society and is another interesting endeavor pursuing new avenues to communicate the truth of God's word. It has a Fall 2008 release time frame. I would love to see how they handle the text. But I will also be intrigued as to how they use photographs and imagery to communicate, highlight, or enhance the words.
Here is the organization's mission statement that is putting this project out there for the world:
"To introduce today’s audience to a revolutionary contemporary Bible, one that encourages dialogue and is culturally relevant, readily accessible and easily digestible for any reader regardless of religious, economic, racial or social background.
Illuminated World does not support or endorse any specific religion. We have no religious agenda. It is simply meant to be a unique vehicle for reacquainting today’s reader with the most important historical text ever written and capture the greatest story ever told as no one has seen it in 2000 years."
Here's a link to the FAQs. I love stuff like this. It's so out of my normal box.
(bu to Boing Boing)