Oct 30, 2012


       Disney has been buying up the rights to creative properties for a while now. They have bought: The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Muppets, Power Rangers, Marvel, and now STAR WARS!

        I will admit that I was sceptical when Marvel was purchased, but The Avengers put my mind at ease as Disney crafted the greatest Super Hero movie ever. Now Lucasfilm has been bought and an Episode 7, 8, and 9 are coming down the pipeline starting in 2015. As a fanboy I am more excited than you can possibly imagine.

        I think this has been brewing for a while due to the recent move up dates of the 3D releases of Episode 2 and 3. I believe that the potential of more episodes was the bait needed by Lucas to snag 4.05 billion dollars for his beloved empire.

        We have until 2015 to speculate on what storyline will be for Episode 7, but until then all we can do is dream. I would personally like to see them use the same technology they used with Tron to make the older actors digitally younger through computer graphics and body doubles.  If anyone could afford to do it well it is Disney.

        I am looking forward to many great years to come as a fan. My kids absolutely love Star Wars, especially the newer stuff and at this rate so will my grandkids.

Sep 11, 2012

911 Eleven Years Later. Are We Better Off?

I can still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that the first tower of the World Trade Center had been hit. I remember the gut wrenching feeling I had when I saw another airplane crash into the second tower. I remember the uncertainty of not knowing what would be next as reports of other unaccounted for aircraft came in.

Out of all of the things I remember feeling the strongest emotion was anger. I wanted justice! I was somewhat relieved When President Bush told us that we knew who the terrorists were. They were the Taliban who were in charge of Afghanistan.

The mission should have been simple, right? Go in and topple their regime. We should cripple their infrastructure. The solution we heard was different though.

We heard that we would start a war on terror. That we would not rest or tire until every terrorist on the planet is brought to justice. I was confused by this use of logic. Logic that says someone tripped me so I will trip everyone who has ever tripped someone. However, I was just angry enough to be glad we were doing something.

After all, these terrorists were restricting their own people's freedoms, torturing people, and attacking others nations unprovoked. And then something switched. The terrorists got what they wanted. We began to live in fear. Fear that they would somehow get us.

Even though we are more likely to die from almost anything other than a terrorist attack we altered our lives and let go of our freedoms. We are invasively searched at airports by the TSA. No warrant or probable cause is required. The Patriot act allows our government to spy on its own citizens without a warrant.

The NDAA bill goes even further. Now our government can indefinitely detain, incarcerate, and even use lethal force on us without ANY due process of law whatsoever. No lawyers, no phone calls, just martial law type justice.

And what crime will we find out that our loved ones are guilty of if they are killed or detained? None. It is a matter of national security. So in other words you could be an actual terrorist or someone that a higher up just wants to silence.

So where are we eleven years later?  Now we are the ones restricting our own people's freedoms, torturing people, and attacking others nations unprovoked.

On this anniversary of 911, I am thankful that President Bush lead us to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. I am grateful that President Obama gave the order to go after Bin Laden. I mourn with our nation for those we loss and I also mourn for what we have lost.

From the halls of history Benjamin Franklin reminds us that "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."

Jul 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers Have Identical Plots

Let me start off by saying that the victims and families of the Colorado shootings are in my prayers. I decided to wait until today to do a review of The Dark Knight Rises because I could not bring myself to even think about the actual movie.

Earlier today though as I pondered what I had seen I realized that the plot was VERY similar to that of The Avengers. So I am going to show all of the similarities between the two movies rather than doing a review. Although they have VERY different tones the have essentially the same plots.

SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW!!! You have been warned!

Bane has a serious problem with our Free Society
Loki actually says he wants to free us from freedom

Both villains get caught on purpose

Both villains escape from custody while on an aircraft.

Both villains capture a scientist and make them work for them.

Loki scatters our heroes: Thor falls to earth in a steel trap, Hulk falls to Earth, Colson is killed, Black Widow is shaken etc.
Bane scatters the heroes: Bruce is in a pit, The police are trapped under ground, Gordon is in the hospital, Catwoman is shaken and conflicted ect.

Both movies have a female in skin tight outfit with serious fighting skills and NO super powers. Who both miraculously only want their records wiped clean.

Arguably the main hero of both films is Iron Man and Batman. Two billionaire playboys with No powers and serious gadgetry.

Bane unleashes an army on the city by breaking all of the inmates out of the Asylum, while Loki brings an army to earth called the Chitauri.

We do not get to know any characters of either disposable armies.

Both sets of heroes rally together to face the evil armies.

Loki and Bane both have characters working for them that switch back to the good side by the end.

Jim Gordon and Nick Fury both have a secret that they have chosen not to share with the other good guys that eventually gets out causing doubts in their leadership. Both are revelations are overlooked for the greater good.

Both groups of heroes aren't fully assembled until one of them arrives on a motorcycle.
Banner in The Avengers and Catwoman using the Batcycle to free the police force in The Dark Knight Rises.

Police and heroes work together to take on the armies in both films.

During the battle Batman goes toe to toe with Bane
Iron Man goes toe to toe with Loki
Neither of these two can defeat their foe as the Hulk and Catwoman step up respectfully to finish the jobs.

Both Bruce and Tony have been working on clean energy solutions and their technology is hijacked by both villains.

Both have a new flying toy. Tony has a flying suit that can attach using autopilot and Bruce has an aircraft that can use autopilot as well.

Bruce's technology became a nuclear bomb that he had to fly out of the city before it exploded and he almost died.
Iron Man had to fly a nuclear bomb out city before it exploded and he almost died.

We find out that Thanos and Talia Al Ghul were really pulling the strings behind Loki and Bane respectively.

Our heroes scatter at the end but not before sitting down to eat in a deli in both films. (In Avengers after the credits).

The John Blake character is the only enigma in the comparison charts, but as there are rumors of Bucky returning in the next Captain America the Robin angle may soon be rectified.

Did I miss any?

Jul 12, 2012

When your children change your phone settings...

Recently I needed to get a hold of my wife and couldn't. Every single time I called her phone my cell asked for my password. When I entered my password it went straight to voicemail.

Needless to say I was perplexed. I turned off my phone and turned it back on again. Nothing! I tried calling from the office phone and my personal cell phone rang. I was thoroughly confused.

A little later Debbie texted me. Apparently texts could still come through.

It turns out that my children had been playing with Debbie's phone. They had forwarded all of her calls to me.

There are times when prayer can seem like this. We can pray and pray but feel like our prayers do not make it past the ceiling.

Try to remember that external circumstances can make us feel alone, but we never are. And the texts still come through. Rely on God's word during these tough times to show you the way.

Jul 4, 2012

Thoughts on this July 4th

Today is the birthday of our basic freedoms.

Freedom of speech - eroding through bills such as the hate crimes bill that polices thought.

Freedom of the press- stifled by naming everything an interest of national security

Freedom of religion-which was to keep the government out of the church not to offer tax exemption and threaten to take it away at every turn.

The right to bear arms- originally to secure a free nation. The people are now hopelessly outgunned if the nation becomes tyrannical.

The freedom that ensures that no one can be denied liberty without due process: there are several bills since the Patriot Act that reduce this right to a joke.

If you give up a little liberty to gain security you deserve neither and will lose both-Benjamin Franklin.

Happy birthday America. You are still free...for the moment.

Jul 3, 2012

Andy Griffith dies at 86

My wife and I visited Mount Airy, NC this year during our 10 year anniversary. I had know idea at the time that both George Lindsay (Goober) and Andy Griffith would pass away this year.

The Andy Griffith show has been my favorite television show my entire life. Sure there have been times where I felt like another show was my favorite but they all passed with each show passing.

Examples of these shows include MacGuiver, Full House, King of the Hill, and 24. Only Andy Griffith and Everybody Loves Raymond have endured for me.

My heart goes out to the entire Griffith family. My family was already planning on attending Mayberry Days in Mount Airy this fall. Now the experience will be even more emotional.

We will miss Andy for both his role as Sheriff Taylor and as Ben Matlock. And my hope and prayer is to see him again.

Jun 22, 2012

India Entry 2

Written 4 days ago. We have little Wi-Fi access.

As I write this I am sitting on a bus for a 12-17 hr bus ride that is looking more like 17 by the moment.

We were following some very narrow 2 lane roads through the mountains when we encountered delay.

By delay I mean complete gridlock. Many of the trucks around 3am decided to stop to sleep. No one in India seemed annoyed by this at all and we have been sitting for 3&1/2 hrs.

We are definitely in culture shock. We are a push a button and get your need met society that abhors inconvenience.

Being still is a lost practice. Well maybe not as lost as I thought.

Jun 18, 2012

Team India is headed out!

Well we have prepared, read, watched Slumdog Millionaire (or at least I did), and eaten India food.

We gathered this morning for prayer and loaded up. After all the shots, passport and Visa fun, and fundraising we are ready. Well ready as we can be.

We really would appreciate your prayers as we go through customs today. We will not arrive until tomorrow.

We are almost at the airport now. Excitement and apprehension are swirling with in us as the battle between faith and fear pushes us toward reliance on a good and loving God.

I will be posting again when I can.

Jun 12, 2012

Christians and Politics. Taboo?

This is the first time I have ever responded to a commenter (especially an anonymous one) with a whole post. I feel it is warranted based on the fact that my motives and character are called into question (the Bible calls this judging). I regularly get into civil debates with atheists through my blog who are less attacking.

The original post and the full comment I am referring to are HERE.

Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name),

You have called my post political as if that is somehow sneaky and underhanded. I will draw your attention to the tabs at the top of my blog. I have a political tab and the post Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer is on it. 

It is also on the 20/20 Hindsight tab where I say upfront: The purpose of this series is to show God's hand of providence in the lives of people throughout history. Sometimes God works His good through a person, sometimes He does it in spite of that person, and sometimes their lives merely teach us a lesson.

None of this is underhanded. I am completely transparent and as this is called Randumblog I am not pigeonholed into one area. The reason all of the posts have Christian undertones is because Christ is the center of my life (see About page).

I digress. There seems to be an overwhelming lack of understanding about what Christians/pastors are "allowed" or "should say" when it come to politics. This mainly stems from the separation of church and state which is not in the constitution. 

The constitution actually bars the federal government from establishing religion or prohibiting it. But you sir/mam (this is why it helps to use your name) have brought up the fact that I admire the constitution or am proud of my country as a negative thing for a Christian to have.

I couldn't disagree more. And since you said there is NOTHING in the bible to support anything I have written I will draw your attention to a few verses. 

Romans 13:1  Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Paul is talking to believers in Rome. You know, the place where Christians were routinely thrown to lions. Now lets examine our "powers that be". We are a contitutionally limited republic. That means that the constitution is the power that be.

Our constitution allows us to participate in the process, and bars the elected officials from operating outside of its jurisdiction. To realize this is to recognize that Abraham Lincoln was operating outside of the power given to him by the constitution.

Despite his violation of Romans 13, God worked through him to free the slaves (which could have been done through legal means as I pointed out in my post). Here is the direct quote from my post: But in hindsight God worked through a bloody mess of our own making to set people free.

Now as to your assertion that -- 
"This logic applied to the rest of the world says that we should in no way come to the aid of those suffering in other countries, because in doing so we would be imposing on that countries sovereignty. Therefore genocide is acceptable."

You seem to be saying that our government should stop bad things from happening while at the same time saying-- "
"...Instead it speaks loudly to a god of a political system - a human construct that is flawed and is NOT God. It is worship of nation, of constitution, of political idealism. This is not God, and throughout the bible and history, those who worshiped their nation over God have never fared well."

My friend, God has placed the church here as His change agent. This is what I am trying to say. Slavery would have ended anyway. But you have given God attributes that the Bible does not--
"This post in no way speaks to a God who is love, a God who would work to end suffering, to hear the cry of those oppressed and free us from the bondage of sin."

You have made a God who is only loving if He steps in to end suffering. Suffering exists because of sin. He sent Jesus to cure the root problem, but this side of heaven there will ALWAYS be suffering. Would a God who's goal is to end world hunger say, "the poor you will always have with you." No because He heals spiritual hunger.

As to the slavery issue. You cited Moses as a reason that God always opposes slavery and genocide. Are you aware that Abraham had slaves when God called him and was never commanded to let them go? Are you aware that Saul was punished for not destroying every last man, woman, child and baby of the Amalakites?

In the New testament Paul speaks specifically to slaves and their masters: 

Ephesians 6:5-9 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Slavery is used as a picture of our relationship with Christ as well as marriage is. "We are not our own, we are bought with a price." These are recurring scriptural themes.

American slave owners reached all new lows in their violation of Ephesians 6. Historically we know of many brutalities that were done against the slaves. These issues were not the only cause the Civil War, but God used it anyway to end this oppressive system.

Remember you can't have your cake and eat it too. On one hand you want Christians to stay in church and out of conversations about government and in another breath you want us to advocate to play global cop around the world. 

Whatever the case, God has blessed us and we have a big responsibility. We can wield it in the wrong way and cease to exist like other nations, or work within the rule of law. 

One last thing. You said about my post--
"Applied to history, this logic says Hitler's holocaust was a sad necessity because as chancellor of his country, he had the sovereign right to do whatever he wanted to his own citizens."

I would say that according to you the Christians in Rome should have revolted. Hitler was taken down legally by countries he and the axis powers attacked. I believe God used the allies to do this and that He even unwittingly used Hitler himself (see my 1st post in this series on Hitler).

Thank you for your comment. Let's not let opinion divide His church as I believe it is both of our goals to see people come to Him.

Jun 11, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer. Really?

20/20 Hindsight

Obituary Entry 4: Abraham Lincoln

Every Monday I look into the life of someone from the past and see how God worked. Today I want to talk about President Lincoln. Even with a new "biography" of his life hitting theaters, I believe something can be learned.

When I saw the posters and trailor for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer I couldn't believe it. Then I heard that the author also wrote Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Now it all makes since.

The funny thing is that Lincoln's life was already exciting. He was president during the bloodiest time in American history, freed the slaves, and was assassinated. Honest Abe doesn't need to hunt vampires to be remembered fondly by history.

I believe God works through people and sometimes in spite of them. In Abraham Lincoln's case I know that God worked, but I'm not sure if it was through or in spite of.

For starters every president swears to uphold the constitution which does not give the federal government the power to "preserve the union" or "free the slaves." It does give states any powers not specifically given to the federal government. This means they can secede or even have slaves.

The constitutional way would be for the Northern states to have allowed the south to leave over the many grievances that they had. Congress could have also defined personhood and then everyone of all ethnicities would be covered under the Bill of Rights (making the slaves free).

Regardless of his ability to lead or follow the constitution some good things came out of Lincoln's legacy. I still believe that all of the bloodshed was unwarrented and that the states should have been allowed to secede. But in hindsight God worked through a bloody mess of our own making to set people free.

Anyway you slice it freedom is a good thing. Lincoln took us one step closer towards freedom and equality. And to think he did it without have to slay any vampires.

View other 20/20 Hindsight posts  

Response to Anonymous commenter is Here

Jun 9, 2012

An Update on Luke's Neck Injury

We were in the E.R. Until midnight last night. It is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (not going to the E.R., having my child injured). And a neck injury is no joking matter.

It began with us simply shopping at Lowes for some parts to our playground. We were outside in lawn and garden looking at fencing options. Kids are prone to stepping inside clothing racks at stores, balancing on anything that looks like a beam, or climbing anything with a grip. This was far simpler than that.

Lowes has shelving units that hold different items. In front of each shelf it two eye hooks and a 1/4 inch metal cable spanning the distance loosely. The manager told me they are strong enough to keep any products from falling out and landing on their customers.

I had just walked around the aisle to look at something else when Luke (my six year old) stepped onto a shelf. The shelf was only about a foot off of the ground. I guess it looked inviting since the items normally displayed there were out of stock.

My son stepped up followed by his sister. Seconds later Debbie (my wife) told them to get down. Leia stepped down just fine because of her height, but Luke jumped. When he did his neck hit the cable and he was suspended for a couple of seconds before his head slammed back into the shelving.

He started wheezing trying to breath and Debbie yelled "Nate!" I ran to where they were and scooped him up. His neck was covered with surface abrasions and getting deeper red by the minute.

When we arrived at the hospital they surprisingly got us in quickly. They determined that he needed a CAT scan and fitted him with an IV. Which he did not like one bit.

Right before my pastor's family came to take our daughter, Leia walked over to Luke and started praying. This was so awesome since Luke had asked me to ask people on Facebook and Twitter to pray and even wanted me to put a picture on so they would know what to pray for.

When a throat surgeon came to talk with us, our hearts sank. Then he let us know he was off duty but wanted to see the results. It turns out that there is no internal damage although his neck looks like it has road rash.

I learned a little more yesterday of what God must go through as a father. He has clearly warned us to stay away from certain things that are destructive. Yet, when we choose them anyway and get hurt He has compassion. After all He sent His son to give His life for us, because we have messed up.

The justice side of me wants to say, "See son thats why we don't climb on things. If I've told you once..." However the love of a father for his son ALWAYS overides my lecturing side and I end up taking him into my arms.

He is taking it easy today and I found myself giving him a toy that was supposed to be a birthday gift. Did he earn it? No, but that is what grace and love are all about. I'm still teaching my son, but my Heavenly Father is still teaching me.

Thank you for all of the prayers. Please continue praying for a fast healing. I will be reading any comments to Luke as I have done with Facebook and Twitter. It really makes him smile.

Jun 7, 2012

Never Say Sorry!

What is the difference between repentance and saying you're sorry? Is there even a difference?

I believe there is.

Saying your sorry is looking to the past. It's saying that you regret doing something. "If I could do it all over again..."

When you repent you are looking ahead to the future. You consider the present in light of your past.

Repentance is not mourning over what could have been it is deciding what will be. When you turn from something you begin to walk in the opposite direction.

No regrets, only resolve.

Jun 6, 2012

Does Your Dog Have Small Dog Syndrome?

Starla the Palmeranian Terror

Does your dog have small dog syndrome?

I was at a family gathering recently when a large boxer-hound mix raced past me and under the table. I turned to see what large animal had given chase to the frightened mutt. There before me was a tiny Palmeranian named Starla.

The tiny dog could easily be taken out with a well placed mouse trap or a small sheet of flypaper. Yet somehow Buster (the mutt) was unaware of his superior strength. In his mind he was the small dog running from a predator.

What about you? Do you have small Christian syndrome? 

Do you worry about whether every little thing out of your mouth is "politically correct?" Do you shield those you love from the truth in order to make life more "comfortable?" If so, you are living like a small Christian.

Paul told us in Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." John said in 1 John 4:4, "You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

You are a big dog! Act like it and get out from under the table. Live Boldly! Love Boldly! Speak Boldly!

In what ways do you forget your strength in Christ? 

Be sure to subscribe to my posts through email. Thanks for reading.

Jun 4, 2012

20/20 Hindsight: A Bright Idea!

Obituary Entry 3: Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison lived from February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931. He was a remarkable American inventor. Contrary to popular belief he did not invent the light bulb (his patent was on an improved filament). However, he did create the first long lasting marketable light bulbs that would light for 1,500 hours.

The road to his discovery was a long and trying one. He tried some 6000 different materials for use as a filament. It is said that he actually tried between 1000 and 2000 types of designs for the bulb the filament would be used in.

Thomas Edison believed that what we call God is simply nature and that there is no all knowing, loving being responsible for our creation. This is sad due to the object lesson of the bulb before him. How long and hard it was to create something and how difficult it would be to come about by natural means rather than intelligent ones.

What we can learn from Edison in spite of his views on spirituality is to never give up. Proverbs 24:16 tells us, "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked." The best advise I can give you after falling is to get back up. The same is true in life and faith.

View other 20/20 Hindsight entries

Jun 2, 2012

5 Cases of People Eating Each Other in 1 Week

So after five flesh eating incidents in one week I have to ask--is the zombie apocalypse upon us? Seriously though do not listen to advertisements from Bath and Body Works that intice you to smell like fruit. This is the worst time in U.S. history to smell like anything eatable.

Although I do not believe in an imminent attack by the undead, I do not put a chemical induced psychosis out of the realm of possibility. Even a communicable virus that affects humans like rabies affects animals is possible. Likely no, possible yes.

In the mean time regardless of the reason people are munching on others we should be thankful we have the second amendment. Don't have a gun? Well then you are the free samples at Walmart.

What do you need to survive an attack of the flesh munchies? A Shotgun, shovel, and an ax. At least that is what I have gleaned from hours of Zombie films and AMC's The Walking Dead. Either way if you tan regularly you will survive longer. After all beef jerky takes longer to chew.

Jun 1, 2012

Green Lantern is Gay

Green Lantern is gay or at least in a parallel universe. DC Comics announced that the character will be mighty, brave, and openly gay.

This is another example of the entertainment industry shoving their views down our throats. This time going after the minds of our kids. It's one thing when there is a gay character in an adult show, but a superhero that kids look up to is something different altogether.

It may sound politically incorrect but I am tired of 5% of this country making the rest of us walk on egg shells or be called bigots. I can't think of one person I hate. And no one and I mean NO ONE can convince me that disapproving of behavior is equal to hatred. Otherwise every parent hates their own children.

Shame on you DC Comics.

May 31, 2012

5 Ways to Manage Stress

Stress can be a killer. Literally! Much of what we deal with is beyond our control, but quite a bit is often self inflicted. Our plates become fuller and fuller. Healthy boundaries will protect you from becoming another victim of stress.

Here are 5 ways to maintain boundaries when it comes to stress:

1. The art of NO

You cannot do it all. The worse case scenario is that something goes undone. Trust me when I say, the world
will keep spinning.

2. Punch Out

No, I don't mean hit someone, although that is probably a stress reliever on some level. Do not take your
work home with you. I for one struggle in this area and sometimes it is unavoidable.

Try to make a habit of checking your email at the end of the work day and early in the morning. Turn off
the email alert features on your phone in the evening.

3. Unplug Completely

If you are anything like me you continue to work even in your mind. The stress of deadlines, failures, and
Current work load can leave you exhausted. Much of our deadlines and work are of our one making. If you are
your own boss or make your own schedule remember not to take advantage of yourself.

Allow the hamster to get off the wheel for a little R&R. Spend sometime with your family. You only have one
go at life don't waste it. You can read a book, do a project, or watch a movie. Anything that engages your
mind on something else prior to sleep.

4. Take a Mental Health Day

Occasionally if you have enough sick days you can ask for a mental health day. Use this day for mental
rest. Do something relaxing, but not depressing. Don't sit around and mope about how stressed you are. Take
a hike, sit by a lake, or walk through a park. Enjoy God's creation and breath in the fresh air.

5. Watch your health

Stress can lower your immune system terribly. I have recently gone through quite a bit of stress and
actually got shingles at the age of 32. Ouch!

Choose healthier options while you are dealing with stress. The normal thing when
experiencing stress is to go for the comfort food. This only makes it worse in the long run. Instead it a
light healthy snack and go for a jog. You would be surprised how much energy will be channeled from
frustration to exercise.

While you are at it do not forget your spiritual health. It is easy to forget about prayer and neglect
the Bible and church when you need God the most.

What ways do you use to help you manage stress?

May 29, 2012

Bring Back My Pie!

I walked into McDonald's the other day to get another one of their baked strawberry cream pies. To my surprise they had stopped carrying it. Yet, somehow they still wanted me to order something. Order what?

Bring back my pie!!!

Let me tell you the power this pie had over me. First of all my family and I hadn't been to McDonald's in quite some time before I heard the pie had come out again. When we arrived I found out they had added cream cheese. Finally, I ordered and ate five of them before I my palette was completely satisfied.

Fro several weeks I found excuses to swing through the drive thru. "If everyone behaves in Walmart we will go get a pie!" I even found us eating food at one place only to end up at McDonald's for dessert. Now it is gone and McDonald's no longer has anything on their menu that would entice me to frequent their establishment.

We can be like this with faith. After going to a camp, conference, or experiencing revival we get into the word and feel close to God. Then a new season hits and we stop reading His word, and finally lose the desire we once had.

The difference is that God's word and the relationship he wants with us to have not been taken off the menu. We are the ones who stop frequenting the establishment. We live as if He has closed up shop and indulge in less fulfilling things while He still offers closeness and unity.

The flavor never changes, but sometimes our taste buds adjust to the lesser tastes the world has to offer.

May 21, 2012

20/20 Hindsight: Just a Phone Call Away

This is 20/20 Hindsight. I am posting a new one each Monday. The purpose of this series is to show God's hand of providence in the lives of people throughout history. Sometimes God works His good through a person and sometimes He does it in spite of that person.

Hindsight Obituary Entry 2:

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell lived from 1847 to 1922. He was the inventor of the first practical working telephone. The telecommunications industry was born through his passion and hard work.

His design continually changed throughout his life from a phone that had to be shouted into even for short distances to one that would span a continent. The New York Times had this to say after a ceremonial debut of a new design in 1915:

On October 9, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson talked by telephone to each other over a two-mile wire stretched between Cambridge and Boston. It was the first wire conversation ever held. Yesterday afternoon [on January 25, 1915] the same two men talked by telephone to each other over a 3,400-mile wire between New York and San Francisco. Dr. Bell, the veteran inventor of the telephone, was in New York, and Mr. Watson, his former associate, was on the other side of the continent. They heard each other much more distinctly than they did in their first talk thirty-eight years ago.

Bell could not have foreseen the advent of the cell phone or the fact that just about everyone would have one. He also would not have understood why we would choose to go back to texting (essentially a telegraph). Skype and FaceTime were probably the furthest thing from his mind, but yet he made all of that possible.

The telephone has gone from mere wires to satellite and towers. It has made the world much much smaller. How has God used this invention to further His good news? Because communication is the heartbeat of relationship. We were created to be in relationship with God and others. The telephone and all of the technologies that followed (remember the Internet began using phone lines to log in) have brought us closer together and enabled us to share God's truth with others.

We no longer have to wait weeks to correspond with a foreign missionary. It can be done in an instant. The phone has given us amazing opportunity. What about you? Is it just another gadget, or a tool to share your faith? Let me leave you with this challenge. Think of someone you care about that has not decided to follow Jesus. Now, take out your phone and call them. You can use this blog as an excuse. Tell them that you read a blog that told you to think about someone you care about who has not decided to follow Christ and they were the first person that came to your mind.

Tell them how you became a Christ follower and ask if they would like to do the same. I led a friend to the Lord the very 1st time I tried it. Let me know what happens.

Read other 20/20 Hindsight entries

May 14, 2012

20/20 Hindsight: Evil Redirected

I am beginning a new blog series entitled 20/20 Hindsight. I will have a new one out every Monday. The purpose of this series is to show God's hand of providence in the lives of people throughout history. Sometimes God works His good through a person and sometimes He does it in spite of that person. Our first subject falls into the latter category.

Hindsight Obituary Entry 1:

Adolph Hitler

Adolph Hitler died on April 30, 1945. He and his wife of 2 days Eva Braun committed suicide to avoid capture. But it is before his death that Hitler made a name for himself. He was a decorated World War 1 veteran who turned to politics. Eventually he turned the German Workers Party into the Nazi Party.

As leader of the Nazi party Hitler changed Germany into a one party political system and rose from chancellor to dictator. During World War 2 he occupied most of Europe and North Africa. He also called for the systematic killing of over 11,000,000 people. The Jews were among the people targeted for extermination by the Nazis. Over 6,000,000 Jews were killed.

Today we still use his name when speaking about evil. It seems that there is no other person who universally embodies pure wrong like this man. Where was God in all of this? Why did he allow such things?

Hindsight is truly 20/20 as we can now see the two cosmic players in this event. The first is sin. Hitler gave into it, was consumed by it and served it. Sin was his master and a lot of people get hurt when sin is chosen. The second was God. The same God who gives us free will to sin if we choose to also will work good even thru bad situations (Romans 8:28).

Where was God? He was working through the allies to put a stop to this madman. God also fulfilled prophesy in using the United Nations to bring the Jewish people back to Israel. They even chose to call it Israel. It is simply amazing that God would work good in spite of such evil.

Hopefully the world will not see such evil again, but if we do there is a God who is in the recycling business and will bring good out of trash any day of the week.

Read other 20/20 Hindsight entries

The Avengers SMASH More Records

The Avengers continues to shatter box office records. This weekend it earned the second highest grossing week ever with 103.2 million. Only a week ago it grabbed the highest first weekend with 207.4 million. This weekend it also joined the exclusive billion club by pulling in my that a billion dollars worldwide.

I can honestly say this is the first film that I have come home contemplating whether or not it was the best movie I have ever seen. It is the first movie I have seen 3 times aat the movies since Revenge of the Sith (I can't remember whether I saw Toy Story 3 two or three times). In a word, AMAZING!

The Avengers is not great because of an intricately woven story or blindsiding plot twists. Several critics are baffled at its success because of these missing elements. No, the Avengers is great because of YEARS of planning. No other non sequal movies has ever had 5 films preceding it to tell backstories, develop characters, and get us attached to the characters. This is there true success. They started a movie with characters we already loved. It is a comic reader's fantasy and the fanboy in me was geeking out the entire 2 hours and 22 minutes.

In my opinion the X-Men series failed miserably because of lack of character development. They only gave us time to know Wolverine, Professor X and Magneto. The rest were extras. Avengers is a movie that has learned from the mistakes of all who have gone before it. The Eric Bana Hulk movie can finally be laid to rest in landfills everywhere.

The comedy in the Avengers is often unexpected and spot on. If not for the last 45 minutes of action I would think I was watching a superhero comedy done to perfection (take not Green Hornet writers. The Avengers also reminds us that a superhero movie can stay true to the comics and still be successful. Re-imagined realistic and often sadistic darker takes that I cannot bring my children to see (ahem Dark Knight) are not the only ways to bring heroes to the silver screen.

I will not spoil anything here, but I will tell you that this movie is worth the 20 dollar ticket. What's that you say? tickets are not $20? That is correct, but I'm telling you it would be worth it if they were.

May 9, 2012

Braveheart: A Lesson in Politics

I 'm aware that Braveheart is not exactly true to history, but it is a great movie. What if Braveheart was a commentary on the current political two party system in the United States? Who would the major players be? What political philosophy would they hold to?

King Edward I Longshanks would represent the Democratic Party, specifically President Obama. I am not saying that the Democrats are ruthless people, I am pointing out that they and Longshanks are both for BIG government.

The Republican Establishment would be the nobles. This is NOT because they are noble by any means. It is because they fight over the scraps from Longshank's table, pretend to be for the people and cater to themselves and the wealthy.

Ron Paul would be William Wallace. Hear me out on this. Wallace is Scottish like the nobles but he sees hypocrisy in their big government leanings. They will not fight for personal freedoms and so he must.

Wallace wants simply to be left alone, but cannot when an oppressive government overtakes his personal liberties. The "right" of the government to sleep with a new bride was the final straw. Wallace did not want to lead, but chose to anyway when the nobles wouldn't step up to the plate. He even told Robert the Bruce that he would follow him if he would simply lead them to freedom.

Paul is no different. He will fight for freedom until another will lead the charge. So far Mitt Romney and President Obama have not made liberty a priority.

The interesting characters in Braveheart however could represent you. Princess Isabella (a big government person her whole life) came over to Wallace's side because of her admiration for his integrity and consistency. Robert the Bruce eventually left the "establishment" and led the charge of freedom when he understood the passion that drove Wallace.

Who are you? Could you be a Princess Isabella or a Robert the Bruce?

Here are some memorable quotes:

William Wallace: There's a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it. 
Ron Paul: The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George...Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security.

Princess Isabelle: The king desires peace.
William Wallace: Longshanks desires peace?
Princess Isabelle: He declares it to me, I swear it. He proposes that you withdraw your attack. In return he grants you title, estates, and this chest of gold which I am to pay to you personally.
William Wallace: A lordship and titles. Gold. That I should become Judas?
Princess Isabelle: Peace is made in such ways.
William Wallace: Slaves are made in such ways. The last time Longshanks spoke of peace I was a boy. And many Scottish nobles, who would not be slaves, were lured by him under a flag of truce to a barn, where he had them hanged. I was very young, but I remember Longshanks' notion of peace. 


Ron Paul:  Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

Robert the Bruce: Lands, titles, men, power, nothing.
Robert's Father: Nothing?
Robert the Bruce: I have nothing. Men fight for me because if they do not, I throw them off my land and I starve their wives and their children. Those men who bled the ground red at Falkirk, they fought for William Wallace, and he fights for something that I never had. And I took it from him, when I betrayed him. I saw it in his face on the battlefield and it's tearing me apart.
Robert's Father: All men betray. All lose heart.
Robert the Bruce: I don't wanna lose heart. I wanna believe as he does. 


RonPaul: The most basic principle to being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions. We do not have the right to rob our neighbors to make up for our mistakes, neither does our neighbor have any right to tell us how to live, so long as we aren’t infringing on their rights. Freedom to make bad decisions is inherent in the freedom to make good ones. If we are only free to make good decisions, we are not really free. 

Apr 30, 2012

Are We Living in the Last Days?

I've always been annoyed by presumptuous pastors who plot the demise of the human race with more detail than even the Bible predicts. Something in me always seems to be drawn back to Jesus saying that "No man knows the day or the hour." Yet there has always been a subtle intrigue by which believers regard Revelation.

If a church does a series on Revelation the attendance will go up. When a book is published on this subject it could sell in the tens of millions. Even a movie that is apocalyptic in nature will have a healthy haul at the box office. So, am I writing this post to increase web traffic? No, although it probably will. I just want to point out a few things worth noting.

When I was a kid I heard that Saddam Hussein may be the antichrist (this was during the first gulf war). Then President Clinton was elected and people said the same thing about him. President Bush and President Obama have had similar rumors. So do we just always suppose everyone in power is going to become the antichrist?

President Obama was perhaps the most interesting of the comparisons. People were skeptical of his birthplace and even his religion. Many still claim that he is a closet Muslim. For the record I do not believe he is. The reason this is interesting is that Christians over the years switched from believing the Anti-Christ would come out of the U.S.S.R. or the Catholic church to someone from Islam.

What reasons would we have to suspect Islam? Well lets look. Antichrist literally means counterfeit Christ. They are both supposed to be the God of Abraham, the "only" god, and the sole creator of the universe. Sounds counterfeit doesn't it?

Well, no not really. You see the Muslims consider it an abomination to say that the Father has a son. They may have a counterfeit god, but definitely not an counterfeit Christ.

So what prominent religion clearly worships a Jesus that is not the Jesus of the Bible. Until recently there wasn't a prominent religion that did this, just some misguided views in different belief systems. But now Mormonism has moved into the public eye. With commercials on TV that give "hope", a prominent TV personality (Glenn Beck), and even a presidential candidate (Mitt Romney).

Are they a Christian denomination? You tell me. Here are some of their beliefs:

-God the father used to be a man on another planet who became a god through good works.
-God literally had sex with Mary to produce Jesus.
-Jesus and Satan are brothers (Satan wishes that he was on Jesus' level)
-If you are male you can one day be the god of your own planet.
-Each person on your planet will be created through having sex with many wives to produce the spirit babies for insertion into the humans.

My friends this is a cult. Those who pledge themselves to a cult and follow its teachings are prone to demonic influence. The antichrist doesn't start off as a "bad" guy, he becomes possessed by Satan himself after coming to power.

While some are still worried about our current president being a Muslim, I suggest they think twice when considering who to vote for for president this year. If these are our choices I will highly consider an independent or third party. Not because I believe I can stop the rise of the antichrist or even that someone running will be the antichrist. I just don't want to end up in heaven as one of the few duped into helping him rise to power.

Again for the record I am not saying that Mitt Romney will be the antichrist. In fact we may not see the rise of the antichrist for thousands of years.  I do believe we should be discerning in these areas and weigh the risks and consequences of every decision. What do you think? I would love to discuss this with you below.

Apr 19, 2012

Are You Swimming in Your Own Filth?

I have to change my turtle's filter about once a week. It is constantly being clogged with his waste and scrap food. The filter needs to be clean to do its job.

If I ever became tired of changing the filter I could decide to take it out completely. Of course this decision would lead to my turtle's death. Good old Donatello could never survive swimming in his own filth without me.

The same is true in life. Living in our own filth leads to death. Romans 6:23 tells us that we deserve death because of sin, but can live because of Christ. 

As we abide in Christ and in His word we are constantly being cleansed of sin. The Bible points out areas we need to turn over to God and jesus forgives us. 

Aren't you glad He does not grow tired of cleansing us? What if He simply turned off the filter and walked away? Isn't it great that He loves us more than I love my turtle?

Apr 17, 2012

How to Use Facebook for Evangelism

Facebook has become a place where gossip spreads, untruths circulate, and marriages fall apart. So is it all evil?

Actually, far from it. I believe Facebook is one of the greatest tools for Evangelism the world has ever seen. If you live your faith it is obvious to others.

However, if you do not live it out you can do irreparable damage to your testimony. A lot of Christian's lives are the very excuses for others to reject Christ. "The church is full of hypocrites" is their popular mantra.

Let me just say that posting random Bible verses is only compelling to Christians. In fact Facebook does not put some of your friends in your news feed. The algorithms that control Facebook put the people with the most in common with you in your news feed.

The people that you want to see the verses you post probably won't anyway. So how does one go about reaching those without Christ online?

Try making a "Hit List" of 5 to 10 people that God has put in your life who do not know Christ. After you have your list make sure you click on it at least once a day. You will see the news feed of only those people.

Pray for your list and interact with the people on it. Like their pictures, comment on their status, but do not preach at them.

You will earn the right to speak into their lives by doing this. They will begin to look at your feed more as well. And perhaps most importantly, you will train yourself to periodically leave your Christian bubble.

Mar 24, 2012

Answers for Churches Struggling Financially

Are you tired of being broke as a church? Do you wish you could add that new staff member who could take your church to another level but you can’t afford him/her?

It is time for church leaders to take action to address this issue and ISS is here to help. On April 19th, we are putting on a FREE event in the Charlotte area to help churches FULLY-FUND vision.

There is no cost and no excuses. Our generous partners have under-written the costs for you to come. We have assembled an all-star lineup of some of the nation’s best Christian leaders who will teach from their own experience how to resource highly effective ministry.

Some of the speakers include:

*Perry Noble, NewSpring Church, Anderson, SC - who has seen the amount given per person at NewSpring Church increase by $10 or more each of the last several years.

*Bishop Walter Thomas, New Psalmist Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD - whose church completed a $55 million relocation during the worst economy since the Great Depression.

*Casey Graham, Founder of GivingRocket.com - Has helped thousands of churches increase their operational giving through systematic approaches to growing generosity.

*Mike Madding, The Cove Church, Mooresville, NC - ad over 120 people give their life to Christ during the commitment phase of their capital campaign.

*Claton King, Crossroads Worldwide, evangelist, and campus pastor of Liberty Universtiy

Pastors and church leaders; your church needs you here, your community needs you here, and the Kingdom needs you here.

This one-day experience will change your ministry forever! Space is limited so click HERE to register your team now.

Mar 19, 2012

Top Ten Things Overheard on Noah's Ark

10. Grizzly Bear: I owe some free swim lessons to the porcupine that burrowed down in my straw bed last night.

9. Elephant (screaming): Noah, tell the mice to stay on their side of the ark.

8. A T-Rex to his mate: It's a good thing we made it before the door closed. We might have become extinct.

7. A female opossum exclaims that her mate has died. After a long pause the male stands and takes a bow saying, "Thank you. Thank you."

6. Are we there yet?

5. Skunk: If the hippos pas gas one more time you're all going to get it.

4. Noah organizing yet another search party to look for the Chameleons.

3. On day 39 of the flood several animals surround a single crab. "Let's get this straight, you can swim, you're here alone, and you're using our space and food supply?"

2. A rumor was spread that every few days Noah decides to throw an animal out of the ark. An hour later Noah is seen carrying a dove towards the window, yet returning empty handed.

1. Panicked screams when a nervous ostrich propels his head through the bottom of the ark.

What other things might have been heard on Noah's Ark?

Mar 12, 2012

5 Products Chuck Norris Should Approve

A new "Era" laundry detergent comercial is boasting that it has so much fight it is Chuck Norris approved. When I think of movies like "Missing in Action" and "Lone Wolf McQuade" the last thing I think of is clean clothing.

So I started thinking about what would be great products for Chuck Norris to endorse or approve. 

Here are five:

1. "Kix" cereal- For a limited time Chuck would grace the cover of this cereal box performing a kick. The slogan? Kid tested, Chuck Norris Approved.

2. Air Norris: Cowboy boots finally designed for athletic wear, complete with laces and non-marking soles. Chuck will borrow from the "Toms Shoes," one for one philosophy--for every pair sold another pair will be used to roundhouse kick a criminal in the face.

3. Norris Home Security: Statistics say that the mere sight of an "ADT" sign in someone's yard deters most criminals. I am guessing that a sign that says, "This house protected by Chuck Norris" will deter every criminal.

4. Chuck Norris Pound Cake: Each of these round cakes with an imprint of a fist in the top of each one.

5.  The Texas Ranger: This product is a walker for seniors that sports a shiny Texas Ranger badge right in the front (remember Chuck is 72 now).

I heard Chuck Norris speak a couple of years ago and actually got his autograph on the shirt I was wearing. In REAL life Chuck approves of Jesus and is not ashamed to openly endorse his Christian faith. 

Is it obvious that you approve of Jesus to those around you or are you only passionate about other things?

I am sure Chuck would approve of a missions trip to India I'm taking with my church this summer. I am finally parting with my Chuck Norris autographed shirt to raise part of the support. There is only one and it is $30. If you would like it click HERE to order.

What other items should Chuck Norris approve? What do you approve?

You may also enjoy:
Don't Make Chuck Norris Angry
Karate Chop Jesus