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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Good Day!

One of - if not the greatest - radio personality has died...Paul Harvey. I grew up listening to Paul Harvey, well, kinda sorta. My Dad listened to Paul Harvey. I think he listened to him everyday. At first as a typical "too cool for school" kid, I thought that this radio station/guy was lame. But as I grew up, I found myself hanging around for more and more of "the rest of the story." He seems such a wise and gentle man on air and simply had amazing way of telling you a story and then selling you a product without ever feeling manipulated. He was a master.

As one observer puts it:

Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, said that Harvey was "like the oldest and still the tallest redwood in the whole forest, a living reminder of the power of words on the radio — and of silence. Most talent in radio rushes to fill 'dead air' but Paul understood the value of the right pause at the right time. You'd sometimes literally hold your breath to see what 'the rest.. .of the story' was.

Said Taylor: "Paul had absolutely no equal when it came to the sheer art of how to use a radio microphone, and several generations of radio newspeople studied his delivery. He tried television but it wasn't his medium. Radio was, and he owned it.When Paul was speaking, how could you not listen, even if you disagreed with his commentary."

Good day, Paul Harvey. Good day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Talk About Your Spike!

I've been writing and creating this blog for about 3.5 years. It's been really fun...I feel like Seth Godin as it relates to this post about his blog. However, I don't have nearly the ideas that he has. He oozes thoughts and ideas. I also don't nearly have his traffic.

On my average days I get anywhere from 10-15 hits. On a good day, hits increase to the 20-25 range. My best day had been around 80 (I think).

But Sunday, I had my biggest day yet - by a long shot: 150. 1 freaking 50, 1. 5. 0. Wow. I guess the prayer of the weak was much needed that week or people have really started to spread the word that this Seth Rings guy has something to say OR Conan O'Brien was spiking in internet searches. I'm going with the last one.

No biggie. Still pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Talks in Transit

Last year I started posting this series for students and parents of Transit (the middle school ministry of dV8 the student ministry of Far Hills Community Church - how about that for a parenthesis full!). I was doing pretty good until finals at UD and the Christmas season hit at the end of the year. It was pretty much straight down hill from there. I stopped about halfway through our series on Galatians. If I can find my notes for chapters 4-6 of that series I'll post them. Until then you'll have to talk with some of the awesome kids and leaders of Transit to see how it finished up.

I am going to revive the series for me and you. I'm going to cut the posts in half to get to the core of the outline in the various forms they come in as well as give the big ideas of each talk and core text that we use.

So we kicked off the year with a series called: My Anthem

Week 1
Seek and Stand

Text: Psalm 1

New Year's resolutions

New Year's resolutions in the grand scheme of things are declarations to self, others and the world that this is what is changing in the new year. It's an anthem communicating this is how I will live.

Definition of Anthem

What are the anthems for significant groups that represent middle school students?

Observations from Psalm 1:1-6 that might guide us as we sing/live our anthem in 2009
1. Choose your relationships wisely.
2. Delight in all things godly b/c of 1) growth b/c if we don't 2) delight in the rest of the stuff won't last.
3. Keep everything in perspective.

Big Idea: May our lives declare that we seek after and stand firm in the way of God

Week 2
My Loser Anthem

Matthew 16:24-27

Review what is an anthem and looked at what some pop culture people might have as their anthem for 2009

Read aloud Matthew 16:24-27

We looked at the three things that make up the loser anthem according to Jesus and how/why it is important for living them out in our lives. The three key components of this anthem are:
1. Deny self
2. Take up your cross
3. Follow me

We unpacked this in large group where I facilitated basically four questions to the group about each of those three things:
1. What did Jesus mean?
2. Why did he say it?
3. What does it look like in the real world?
4. How could we apply that to our own lives?

Big Idea: This "loser" anthem demonstrates how we can follow Jesus in his way of life.

Week 3:
I can't find my notes but revolved around MLK and was titles something like My Dream/My Anthem. I'm such a loser and not in the above way! sorry.

Next up: The I Heart U Revolution - Series about love.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prayer Of The Weak

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Last of Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien

Though I rarely stay up late enough to watch Conan, every time I have I am never disappointed. The guy is genius. I'm stoked he's moving to the Tonight Show and will push my man, Letterman, to step his game up. Here are a couple of bits from the last night of Late Night with Conan O'Brien. See his farewell good night address here...very cool.

Some best of clips:

Conan's favorite bit of all-time:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What the World Needs Now

Is love sweet love! I love Burt Bacharach (not really but I thought I'd try and get that song stuck in your head).

Even though the world could always use more love, one of the things I am noticing is that world also needs more strong parents. I sit and listen to kids at urban and suburban schools and kids at church and hear the same thing over and over: my parents aren't strong enough.

Oh, they never say those words. But if you listen deep enough, you can hear the longing in their voices. If you look deep enough, you can see it in their body language and eyes. They are longing for strong parents to love deep, wide and strong enough to help them make sense of the crazy and confusing world that teenagers live in today.

What the world needs now is strong parents. Not controling parents. Not powerful parents. Definitely not weak or passive or permissive parents. I'm not totally sure that "strong" is the word that hits the nail on the head, but it's close. I'm in the ballpark just not sure I'm at the plate. But here are some initial thoughts (incomplete I know) about what I think it means to be a strong parent.

1. Strongs parents know who they are

2. Strong parents are humble and know they don't have all the answers thus open to growing and learning

3. Strong parents stand up for what is right
4. Strong parents communicate.

5. Strong parents create gracious homes where it's ok to make mistakes and fail
6. Strong parents demonstrate love at all times.

7. Strong parents live with the tension of freedom and boundaries
8. Strong parents understand that more is caught that taught
9. Strong parents live out honor and respect to the other parent whether married or not.

10. Strong parents are honest parents about self and with child.

What am I missing? What would you add to the conversation?

Monday, February 16, 2009

God's 25 Random Things List

There is this craze that has swept Facebook that has you write down 25 random things about yourself. It has slowed down a bit. Here is mine. The genius writers at The Wittenburg Door have put God's random things on a list...very funny!

1. Jeez, I never thought this "25 Random Things" deal would get so big when I first started circulating it.

2. Why's that airline pilot getting all my glory? After all, I put the Hudson river there.

3. I love getting up in the morning to watch the universe rise.

4. My Addictions: Coffee, "Lost," ultra-marathons (40 years is my limit), my crackberry, wreaking vengeance.

5. TODAY'S TO DO LIST: Start interfaith dialogue (always forgetting this), clean up environment, take out that terrorist training camp at 34 degrees 33'56.80 N 73 degrees 56'31.25 E.

6. I'm really sorry I took a short vacation--just a long weekend, really-- and caused that world financial crisis. Last time I took a vacation I came back and found Bush had stolen the election. Darn! But don't I deserve some time off?

7. Found out this week the music of the spheres is in the wrong format to load on my iPhone. Wouldn't you know it?

8. And yes, I have both a Blackberry and an iPhone. Are you really surprised?

9. My secret fear is that my solution to the problem of evil won't stand up to peer review.

10. I miss the Neanderthals.

11. Prosperity preachers may be surprised that I spend most of my time talking to chaiwalla slumdogs.

12. Don't worry, I'm planning to explain everything on the 400th anniversary of Darwin's birth.

13. Using the Sumerian numerical system, shouldn't I be through now?

14. I'm still a little nervous about that Large Hadron Collider.

15. Can someone please tell me where I left the Ark of the Covenant?

16. Lately I've been stitching together random DNA strings. Started out as a bracelet, but who knows what I'll end up with.

17. Sometimes I flash on being a sunflower and imagine I'm looking at myself.

18. I've been tinkering around with a new moral code. Here's an example: You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours... until you beg for mercy. (Hey, it's just a draft version).

19. What if I were the god of a universe that was really tiny and inside a much bigger macro-universe, controlled by a much bigger god? And what if that god were me, too? This is the kind of thing I think about just before I go back to sleep.

20. I'm tired of this. So I'm reversing the arrow of time, recalling all the world's "Random Things" postings, renaming them "20 Random Things" and chopping off the last five items to conform to what is now my new template. You'll never know the difference. (Most people don't realize it, but I do this sort of thing all the time).

(bu to The Wittenburg Door Magazine)

I Live in Emptyville

Yes, I live in the one of the emptiest cities in America. Dayton is number 5 on the list lead only by:

4. Greensboro, NC
3. Atlanta, GA
2. Detroit, MI
and #1...

Las Vegas, NV

My city slogan: Find a house...make a difference! What am I thinking? Move to Denver, San Diego, or Portland, ME. Housing markets are taking a beating there, too, but at least there a lot of great stuff to do in those regions!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Simpsons New Main Title After 19 Years

From a half-hearted Simpsons follower to all my die-hard Simpsons friends, I bring the first time in 19 years that the main title has changed.

Prayer Of The Weak

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Room of Grace

My brother, Blane, forwarded on to me a very thoughtful and impactful talk a few weeks back. It's by a guy named John Lynch. I finally got around to listening to this 43 minutes message from the heart and for our hearts.

Click here to listen to the message.

This is the email that I sent my brother back after listening to these words


Thanks for sending. Maybe the one or two messages (not specific talks, but content) that never grows old. Never ever. So great to hear and so good to feel for my heart and soul. No doubt my past, country, culture, family, and personal experiences draws me to find safety and security in the room of good intentions and performance. Most everyday though I find that it's a hard, cold and empty room. Some days are enticing though and it's easy to enter in. I find that my only alternative is the love of God in Christ. Jesus. His room of grace, however scandalous it may be, is so refreshing and empowering for the life of faith that is both difficult and wonderful to live in. At least for me.

Thanks for thinking of and loving me by passing this along.

Your brother,


So if you have some time, grab a cup of coffee and a quiet spot and listen to these words of grace. And if you don't have time, maybe you could carve out some time and listen...for this may be just for you. It was for me. It is for me. And it will always be a word I need to hear.

TrueFaced/Leadership Catalyste website.

TrueFaced book on Amazon.

Boogie Boogie Hedgehog

I dare you to get this song out of your head today!


Chimpanzee Riding A Segway


Cat Flushing A Toilet

Or the power ballad

Soccer Ball (In The Face)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Taste and See

The Lord is good. I love these words. It was sweet to read and reflect on them this morning. May Psalm 34 give you comfort and/or inspire in you courage for whatever season in which you may be walking. May David's story and subsequent song be an example to us that Peace is out there. Our job...pursue it.

Psalm 34 - New Living Translation

1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sign of the Apocalypse

Twilight. It's big in the world of teenagers, especially teenage girls. I'm mean it's big, real big, huge, and even ginormous! Books are bestsellers. Movies are blockbusters. Anyone and everyone associated with the book and/or movies is at the top of google searches.

But this is a bit much and, I believe, a sign of the apocalypse. It's a felt version of one of the character's (Bella) womb with detachable baby inside. FELT people! Call me crazy, but I thought the church single handedly obliterated the felt "recreation" industry. Who knew?

Seriously. Pack your bags. Jesus is pulling into my driveway as I type.

(bu to Craftastrophies)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Xmas Karaoke - Sonny and Cher

And last, but certainly not least, in fact, more like first place...the best karaoke performace of the Rings Christmas Competition was none other than my crazy sister, Marcie, and my equally wild niece, Ana Kay! This performance was the best of all categories: costume (that's permanent marker for a mustache on my sis!), performance, and singing. Though they didn't win the overall competition, they certainly won this by a pretty good margin. Singing Sonny and Cher's I Got You, Babe...MCats and Kakes!

Check some quality past performances:


Man, I Feel Like a Woman

B-52's (my personal favorite)


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Prayer Of The Weak

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Best Flash Game Ever

Seriously. Don't play this addicting game: The Best Flash Game Ever. It's the biggest waste of time ever (but a total riot because I am this ridiculous). Once you start you can't stop (my time: 8min 5sec). Seriously.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Xmas Karaoke - Grease Style

With all due respect to my nephew, Hayden, my bro-in-law, Don, gets the top "drag" award for our karaoke Christmas competition. Don and my niece, Mel, brought a stellar performance to the table one that will be talked about for a long time! A wella wella wella oomp!

What's Church Look Like To You?

There are a lot of hot button topics in the church today. Social justice issues. Women in leadership/teaching. The place of politics. Consistent ethic of life. And the list goes on, but there maybe no hotter topic that figuring out what the church is? Or what should the church be/do? Or what does the church look like? Or what is it's role in culture and world? All are really good questions.

Today just flipping through some of my bloglines, I found this string of posts in the cyberworld about this very issue. I thought I'd share them with you to so as to get us to think to yourself, wonder outloud, listen to each other, and ask God to give us his light and wisdom on the subject. I do NOT share this with you to cement you in your present thinking or to entrench you further in your current position ecclesiology or institutional dogma.

I simply want to think about things that are near and dear the heart of God and hear what He has to say to you about this.

Found this on subversive1 by Keith Giles:

1- Giving 100% of our money to the poor
2- Love for one another
3- Love for others
4- Making disciples
5- Serving others
6-Encouraging one another
7-Knowing and using our spiritual gifts to bless one another
8-Sharing meals together
9-Learning to be the family of God

Which lead to this one at 9Marks by Mark Dever:

1. Expositional preacheing
2. Biblical theology
3. Biblical understanding of the Good News
4. Biblical understanding of conversion
5. Biblical understanding of evangelism
6. Biblical understanding of membership
7. Biblical church discipline
8. Promotion of church discipleship and growth
9. Biblical understanding of leadership

That makes me think about these thoughts/quotes about recalibrating concepts of church at man.of.depravity:

1. “So much of church is creating a sub-cultural bubble but not engaging with culture.” Dan Kimball
2. “Everything has to be mission. There is a heaven and there is a hell.” Dan Kimball
3. “Organic church life is not native to this planet. It began before time in the Godhead.” Frank Viola
4. The winning of souls is not the end it is the beginning.
5. “Leadership is not just something that someone brings into a room and accomplishes.”
Mary Kate Morse
6. “Most churches teach that the church is a living organism, but in my experience it is pious rhetoric.” Frank Viola
7. “We need to do ministry to the body and be missional to the world.” Len Sweet
8. “If the cutting edge is not Jesus Christ, you are chasing trees that have no squirrels.” Frank Viola
9. “God does not exist in order for people to be saved.” Frank Viola

So these thougths and insights beg the question, "What do you think, feel, and believe?"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kid on Drugs After Dentist

What kind of sick parent video tapes their child in this state and then uploads it to YouTube for over 3 million people to view in less than 10 days? The kind of parent I want to hang out with and get to know! This little video of a kid after having been sedated at the dentist's office is a riot!

I so can't wait to do this to Parker.

Here is the metal version remix.

Here is the Darth Vader version.

(bu to BoingBoing)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Gospel of Both And

Even though we live in a world that can be very black and white in how it looks at religion, politics, sports teams, etc., it is also a world that has a hard time getting out of the gray zones: culture, spirituality, philosophy, etc. Even in the areas that seemingly black and white there can be tinges of gray and vice versa.

So today I was reading Matthew 11 from the Bible and began understanding that the message of Jesus is a gospel of both and. It's crazy almost. Read the passage for yourself and see what you come away understanding and feeling about this Savior and his Kingdom.

Here are a few of my observations on this gospel. It's both:

radical and restful
violent and peaceful
gracious and judgement
turn away and come to me
contradictory and connected
great and least
what the (John in jail) and how can (we come and rest)

This gospel is not always:

one or the other
this or that
right or wrong
work or wait
law or grace

But here's the crazy thing, this Jesus and his gospel: are always love and true. It's what we need when we need it even that is hard to hear, see, feel and experience given our circumstances effecting us at any given time. May God give us discernment and understanding in these situations as we pursue him and his perfect way in our life.

Xmas Karaoke - Man, I Feel Like a Woman!

This was a total team effort. Morgan carried the singing and Hayden carried the dress! Awesome!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


When we were in FL a year and a half ago, my bro and sis-in-law got us hooked on Guitar Hero. I say us because Kelly loves to rock out just as much as I do.

So I recently came across the online, web-based version of this a couple of days ago, JamLegend, and it's petty stinkin' fun. Same concept. Same addiction factor. Different jams with an Indie Rock feel. Very cool.

Rock on!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl Predeciton - A Response to Ed Noble

Ed (see his prediction here),

You know I love you. You are a brother, friend, and mentor to me. I respect you. I think you are one of the wisest, godliest men I know.

But I have to say...back away from the crack pipe!

I do love an underdog story (Cardinals, K. Warner, etc.) as much as the next guy, but having pastored in PGH for 4 years, you can't help but fall in love with the way they run the team, create coaching/team stability, and play tough no matter what!

Tomlin is a stud. I was bummed with they didn't hire Wisenhunt in PGH (stud coach...look what's he's done in AZ), but he was a known commodity. Tomlin was a classic Rooney hire with an unknown, young guy, but then he practiced what he preached and hired a person of color to keep the Steelers' tradition train rollin'. Amazing hire - love it - big ups!

But I digress...bottom line: running games and defenses win championships. Why? B/c they control the clock which is where the Steelers will dominate this game. Ben will be better than his first super bowl (which he won). Fast Willie Parker will run for about 120ish yards and Harrison will have at least 2 sacks and Polamalu will have at least one pick and a couple of bone jarring hits (wr and rb). Ike Taylor is big enough to neutralize Larry Fitz.

I don't think Larry Fitz will have a big game, but A. Boldin could be a beast esp. in the red zone. But it will not be enough to win the game.

My call: Steelers 26 Cardinals 20

There you have it. Take it as gospel, but don't take it to Vegas! haha!

p.s. If AZ does win, though I will be mostly bummed, a small part of me will smile for the exact reasons you are pulling your bandwagon jump.

Xmas Karaoke - B-52's Style

OK...this was one of the most fun and embarrassing videos ever. But in the great tradition of the first annual Ringsfest competition, I present to you the least prepared, most energetic show of the karaoke portion of the games.

Oh, and one side note, it's the most exhausted I've been in a long, long time...sweating like a pig! Thanks for carrying us, Toni!

Part 1

Part 2

Prayer Of The Weak

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Hunger Site

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