Friday, July 29, 2005

Yes, I Rule the Planet

I have become an idol, an object of worship. It's lonely at the top.

A person Katie works with has had email trouble for years, ever since she started at the company. Katie mentioned to me yesterday that one of the problems is that she is unable to open attachments when they arrive.

Once I confirmed that the co-worker uses Outlook Express, I said, "ok, click on 'tools', 'options', the the 'security' tab and make sure to uncheck the box that says "do not allow attachments to be saved or opened...'"

I just got a call that said "THAT WAS IT!" and now I've hung the moon.

Wish all of lifes issues were as simple as unchecking a box.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tape to CD, I Did It!


I have all the tapes tranferred to CD that I wanted to get done. I was even able to clean up some of the recordings to sound a bit better, although, these tapes have been around for around 20 years, so how good can they get?

I did want to share a snippet of a recording that I tranferred. This is the introduction of the trumpet section at the Aquinas Jazz Festival on April 12, 1987. I'm introduced third, then Mike Stewart, *ahem* thats DR. Michael P. Stewart, who I know went on to grand things as a composer, conductor, and an in-demand professional musician in the Chicago area. Roland Paolucci, the director at the time, does the intros.

Click to listen.

You'll hear a "pyramid effect" around the 33 second mark, I'm the third trumpet to enter in that pyramid which is at/around the 35 second mark. I was just having fun reminiscing! Maybe someday I'll post a recording of myself performing that is current and not from 1987!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It Was Made to Sound so Simple!


I was surprised to learn, while researching how to go about recording some of my old tapes to CD, that it is just a simple case of hooking up a Stereo "Y" adapter from the "output" on the amp to the "input" of the computer's soundcard.

Couldn't be simpler than that. HA! I bet it would have been simple had I transferred ALL of the stereo components to the "studio" that is my kitchen/computer room.

I thought I'll make this easy on myself and only transport the amp and cassette deck from the stereo component cabinet. So I did just that and attempted to hook up the "output" cables to the "input" jack on the computer. No luck. I couldn't even determine which jack was the "input"! It's dark and scary back there! I tried to use a mirror to reflect light on the back of the computer so I could determine which jack I needed, but no luck, my head kept blocking the light!

So, then I tried taking a digital picture of the back of the computer. I know, I'm a genius! Nope, didn't work...the flash reflected off the silver plate on the back of the computer and made it unreadble. Ugh.

Then I Googled for a diagram of the back of my Gateway. Google does it again! I don't know what I'd do without Google!

So, to make a long story short, I went to Walmart and purchased the "Y" adapter I'd need. Had to transfer every single bit of the stereo components to make this deal work. I had to try about four-hundred different set-ups, and then about three hours after I started the project the kitchen is a mess with electronics all over the place.

Finally I got the set up to work! So, now I am sitting here recording my old cassettes. I started with the cassette I have of the University of Akron Jazz Ensemble when we went on a road trip to Notre Dame and Aquinas College in 1987. Our Notre Dame performance was so-so, but Aquinas kicked! Woohooo! I still feel the excitement of that set!

Only musicians can understand that feeling when everything just sets into a "groove". Every note, every pitch, every nuance, the rhythm, it all just fits perfectly and the whole band feels it. Solists start really taking chances and it all flies! There is nothing like it and it is moments like that a musician will say, "THAT'S why I'm a musician!" Of the hundreds of gigs I've played, I can think back to three or four that I still remember, because it was those performances that made those musical markers in my's almost like an out of body experience!

Well, I'm going back to have fun transferring all these files to CD. The hard part, setting up the stereo to the computer, is over and the fun has started!

Monday, July 25, 2005



I'm on vacation!

So far, it's been great! I'm not going anywhere special, I'm just staying home and enjoying the quiet since the kids are on a mission trip in Florida. My only committment is Jury Duty. I need to keep every day this week open in case I'm needed. I just called the circuit court and found out I am NOT needed again tomorrow! Yay! (I do want to serve on a jury, just not during vacation...know what I mean?)

It's so nice to listen to WayFM all day. I can do that fairly uninterrupted when I'm home alone, and because I'm on vacation, I have many hours home alone! Yay!

The lawn mower is broken again. Ugh. It's too hot to mow, but I still have to deal with getting that thing fixed, or replaced. I've taken it to get it repaired twice this year already. I did call a lawn care service, but they haven't called me back.

I did go outside and clean up around the yard a bit. I picked up some large dead branches that have fallen from the huge maples in the backyard. One branch fell a week ago into our neighbors yard, so I cleaned that up too. It was too hot to stay out for very long, so I came inside to play some Battlefield 1942.

I started playing Battlefield 1942 almost two years ago and I have to say, it has piqued my interest in things WWII. I've even purchased some videos that three years ago would not have interested me. Last week Katie and I watched Tora! Tora! Tora! and learned a bit about the attack at Pearl Harbor. I have yet to watch The Sands of Iwo Jima and Midway. I even purchased a documentary set of WWII videos, but they were so poorly produced, after one in the set of ten DVDs, I just couldn't watch anymore. I sold that set back and bought the above movies instead.

I was able to declutter my "junk drawer" in my chest of drawers and load up a bag to drag out to the trash. It's amazing how much stuff we clutter our lives with. I did get excited when I found a Walmart Gift Card in the drawer, but, unfortunately it had no balance on it. I had already started dreaming about how to spend it all too.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to hook up the amp and cassette player from my stereo, to the computer so I can transfer some old cassettes to CD. Most of what I want to transfer are homemade recordings of some band concerts in high school and college. I have a couple of excellent Sunday messages I want to transfer to CD as well. I'm hoping I'm tech saavy enough to accomplish this without too much stress. I'm on vacation, I don't want stress.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Porn Sunday - I Still Can't Believe It

I Googled for other blogger's thoughts on Porn Sunday and was surprised that the majority of what I found agreed with the guys behind and supported their ministry. I did come across some though that do question the methods, as I do.

I just don't understand the reasoning. Yes, I know that pornography is a baaaaaaaaaaaaaad problem. Yes, I would agree that the subject is "taboo" in the majority of churches, and I would say that any church not dealing with the "taboo" is not a relevant church. Pornography is sin. It destroys marriages, and it can destroy lives. I would even say that pornography is epidemic and when one considers the images we see today on television, album and magazine covers, or in fashion, it is obvious that sexual titillation is the main goal because, unfortunately, sex sells.

It has been argued that "Jesus ate with 'sinners'" and that is supposed to validate the methods of and their documentary "Missionary Positions" which is shown in the evening portion of Porn Sunday. Jesus did hangout with the "gluttons and the sinners", however, he did not encourage them in their behavior through shock value, or by handing the woman at the well another man! He was the sinless example, and remained that way in every environment he was in. People were drawn to him where He was at because of Who He was and what He taught, NOT because he "tricked" them into visiting his website, showed the woman at the well what "Missionary Positions" is all about, or advertised his hangout with a 25ft inflatable Wally the Weiner! Come on, do these antics really please God?

I do believe Christians need to be courageous and meet non-believers where they are at in life. We can't avoid leaving our comfort zone if we do the work of Christ. Katie and I recently went to a bar, and we did get to see someone come to know the Lord a little more than he did when he showed up to the bar that night. We were in a bar, amongst the "sinners", yet, we did not resort to using the "tactics" of the people there to get a message across. We did not start passing out beer cans labeled "Jesus loves alcoholics" too...yes, he does love alcoholics, but to the non-believer what kind of message would those antics send? What kind of message is this Porn Sunday sending to non-believers? As I read and explore the website, while one can certainly read "testimonies" of people caught in pornography, or are now free from it, I don't read a lot about their growing relationship with Jesus Christ, or how they came to know Him at all! If they have, why isn't that presented in a more celebratory way on their site then?

I do not believe putting the images that one sees at the site in front of a porn addict does anything but encourage more impure thoughts. What are they replacing those impure thoughts with? The "doctrine" of the xxxchurch which says "uhhhhhhhhhhhhh, we believe what Billy Graham believes." ??? Uhhhhhhhhhhh, thanks guys, I see you stand on a firm foundation. Oh, you'll probably play with the term "firm" in that last statement. Yes, the xxxchurch loves the "shock and awe" campaign!

Talk about the evils of porn, and how God intends the sexual act to be. Download and install Internet filters to protect your family. Monitor what kids are listening to and watching on tv. I don't think we should learn to be Godly by incorporating ungodly images or ungodly language.

I can admire the mission of the pastors of, but it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to support their methods.

A list of thoughts on this subject from other bloggers, both pro and con:

Porn Sunday at Hit the Back Button to Move Forward and the comments section has points of view pro and con.

Brian is all for it!

I found this quote from a Nashville resident, s-townMike, the blogger at Enclave, interesting:

"...give these evangelicals--who are just a little too preoccupied with sex--much more room and they may just spin "Palm Sunday" to mean something uncouth."

Matthew Paul Turner seems to appreciate the effort of the guys at

my Blue trike Life also supports Porn Sunday and many of his commenters do as well.

A quote from Damian Alexander in the comments of a post at Ethos:

"went to see the movie. it sucked. where was the story? where was the ministry? where was the point of this movie? I'm not sure how on earth this movie is going to aid in stopping porn. i think the People's Church would do itself good to keep preach Jesus and him crucified ... "

I have already pointed people to Ron's thoughts at Shanktified!

Saturday, July 23, 2005


I called Katie from work today to help me locate a song. I could hear it in my head but couldn't come up with the title of it, let alone the artist, on the limited computer at work.

The customer who called me gave me a snippet of the melody and lyric, which I recognized, so this is what I had to go on.... a song from the 70s, light rock...
"And even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with ya honey,..."

"And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes, And tell me everything is gonna be alright."

It was driving me crazy! I took the customers name and number and told him I'd call back in 15-20 minutes because I knew I'd be able to come up with it. I could sing parts of the song! When I couldn't locate it I called Katie for help.

After a few minutes of her searching Google (and after I was frustrated because she wasn't finding it and I asked her "are you sure you are not Googling the desktop?" and she realized she wasn't going to find the answer on our own computer, LOL!) she finally found the answer Googling the Web!

I called the customer back and told him what and who it was.

He asked "how did you find that?" and I said "we Googled it" and then he said "I've been Googling for two days!"

So, the story ends happy and then I got to weird the words "Google", "Googled" and "Googling" sound! LOL It really is funny sounding! Just a few short years ago, those terms and the way we use them were non-existant. Now, at least to those of us who spend any amount of time online, those terms are just part of pc/Internet vernacular.

Ever wonder where Google got that weird sounding name? I found the answer on the Google website:

Google is a play on the word googol, which was coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, and was popularized in the book, "Mathematics and the Imagination" by Kasner and James Newman. It refers to the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. Google's use of the term reflects the company's mission to organize the immense, seemingly infinite amount of information available on the web.

So, are you wondering what that song is? Go Google it!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Carole King

Carole King

Wow! This is why the Tapestry album is a classic! Do you know what being a "classic" means? It means something is timeless, that what was good then (at its creation) is appreciated now and will be in the future, like Mozart, Shakespeare, a 57 Chevy, and Carole King's Tapestry. That's what it means to be classic.

The twelve year old has discovered Tapestry in my CD collection and she is dancing and singing along with it, the whole thing, every single song! She knows the words better than I do! TWELVE years old! This album was released in 1971! TWENTY-ONE years before Tif was even born!

"I feel the earth...move...under my feet..."

This album just reminds me of summertime. It's a summer album to me, because I used to listen to it while I sat in the warm sun on the deck out back of one of my homes while I was reading or just sitting there contemplating life. The album art says summer to me as well. Light, airy, relaxing and warm. Good stuff. A classic.


Tif just walked by with a load of laundry and noticed me blogging. She saw the pic of the Tapestry album that is now playing It's Too Late in her room. She asked, "Is that her?"


"Does she look the same, or is she older now? Is she still alive?"

"yes, she's alive, she just released a new album"

I took her to the website and showed her the CD and Tif said "I'm gonna buy that! I really like her songs, a lot of them I've heard on tv shows and movies."

Yep,'s a classic!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Successful Church

What makes a church successful? What does success look like at your church? These are some questions being considered over at Wayne Newcomb's blog Equipper's Network.

Wayne says that we can measure success by examining "the priorities of Jesus and the New Testament writers." and "to study the lives of people in the Old Testament who were considered pleasing and favored of God."

He also says that to be a successful church it must:

  1. Have a heart after God's
  2. Be obedient to God's Word
  3. Make disciples of all nations
  4. Equip God's people

Wayne has more to say on the subject so go read his post HERE for the details. His post got me thinking about my own church, (and it will probably have you measuring the success of your church too!).

The PLT (Pastoral Leadership Team) at Northbrook is always evaluating the success of the church, which is good. One of the PLT members happens to be my SaLT leader, and Walt is always asking for feedback on just this subject, and I'm not shy about giving it!

At Northbrook, we have a Statement of Faith, and a purpose statement:

Northbrook Church is dedicated to leading people to
connect with and commit to the living God and the local church.

We exist to be a healthy, biblically functioning community of Christ followers that lives out a covenant love for God, a Christ-like love for people, a passionate commitment to truth, and an effectiveness in advancing God's kingdom.

We also a have some goals: Joyful Service, Effective Evangelism, Dynamic Teaching, Creative Worship, and Deep Community.

We are challenged to remember those five goals at all times and recently while studying The Purpose Driven Life, it was noted that those goals fit very nicely into the package of Purposes Warren lays out.

A successful church would have all five of those goals in a perfect balance. Can a church always have all of these things in balance? I think it can come close, and what is difficult is maintaining that balance. Consider the church's in the New Testament...some really struggled, they may be strong in one area, yet Paul had to write letters admonishing them for weakness in another, possibly the fact that deep community was threatened when believers started breaking into factions; following Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and Christ. He pointed everyone to Christ, as it should be!

At Northbrook we have VERY dynamic teaching. We have very scholarly pastor's and teachers, most of whom are either alumni, or currently employed in some teaching capacity at Union University, one the the top private Christian universities in the nation. I'd say we have an element of creative worship through music, dance, drama and the emphasis that worship is not limited to just those aforementioned things, but also worship is prayer, study, and service. That is creative worship and currently the church is seeking to take worship "to the next level" (whatever that is) and working toward that goal. I think we have deep community at Northbrook and it was probably the first thing that drew me to this church, the obvious love for people, especially hurting people. An effective compassion ministry is an outcrop of that as well as a strong and growing missions ministry.

While there are many servants at Northbrook, I have mentioned to WaLT, a PLT member and SaLT group leader, when asked, that Northbrook's areas of needed improvement would include joyful service. We have a few people who are known for serving others, yet these are the people who are always called upon to help when there is a need. I think as Christ followers we are all called to serve! (I'm talking about me here too, because I fail to get up from this chair and help others as I should.) How can a church encourage the Body to serve, to have a servant's heart?

Another area we could improve in is evangelism. I posted about not seeing numbers last month in a post titled Numbers DO Matter! To quote myself "A healthy church teaches the Good News, the GOSPEL, it shares the faith! If a church is functioning biblically as the early church did in Acts, THEN THERE WILL BE NUMBERS! There will be numbers added daily, weekly, monthly and yearly! If a church is functioning Biblically it would only be natural that God would use it to add numbers to His Kingdom!" This is a point that Wayne made as well with his third point about a successful church which is to "make disciples of all nations".

What I have seen happen in some church's, is that when an area of weakness is identified, steps are made to correct that. But, eventually the scale just tips the other way. Now we have that same church being very strong in a once weak area, and then flailing in an area that was once strong. We need to strive for balance!

It is imperative that ALL members of Christ's Body pray for church leaders. God has given them an awesome responsibility and they can not do it without our help!

It is not the pastor's job to attain a successful church.

It is not the church secretary's job to attain a successful church.

It is not the deacons' job to attain a successful church.

It is the job of all believers to attain and maintain a successful church through prayer, study, service, sacrifice, worship, evangelism, etc. It is the responsibility of each individual believer to, as Wayne states so simply:

  1. Have a heart after God's (seek God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength!)
  2. Be obedient to God's Word (study His Word and obey Him!)
  3. Make disciples of all nations (tell others about what Jesus means to you!)
  4. Equip God's people (mentor other believers!)

A successful church starts with the individual believer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

New Look

It's almost been three years with the same basic look to this blog. It may still be "hideous", but at least it's different! LOL

The original template design "Grey River" comes from and was designed by Martijn ten Napel, an obviously creative mind, humble too since he doesn't even require a link back. Of course, I personalized it with permission through the Creative Commons License, which allows one "to make derivative works". I went searching for a lot of templates and came across one that I enjoyed because of the simplicity and the ability to "tweak it". Some designers don't allow any changes to their template designs, so I am quite thankful to people like Martijn ten Napel, artists and web designers, who are willing to share their creation, which spawns even more creation.

Most of the linkage remains the same, although I did lose some things like "rate my blog" stuff which is in the grand scheme of things, well...stupid. LOL I don't think anyone ever rates the thing anyway.

I'm expecting some bugs to creep up, but for the most part, the template is fairly complete. Maybe someday I'll get busy and transfer this template to all pages on the website to maintain continuity, but for now this will do. If you notice any "bugs", please let me know.

The background image, "Shadows on a Walkway", is a picture of Katie's and my shadows on a walkway outside Marshall County Courthouse in Marshalltown, IA. We had a roadtrip there last April for a wedding I attended and on our last day we scoped out the city of Marshalltown and visited friends. I took the picture as we walked and noticed the Son shining down. In the silhouette, you can see me holding the camera up to snap the shot.

I gave the shadows a green tint because green is my favorite color and thought it would create a "mood", I'm not sure what mood, just a mood. Theaters all have a "green room" which is the place actors/actresses all hang out to calm nerves. Maybe it's a "calming mood". I also used the "paint" program to blot out the giant white spot of bird, bird...., ummmmmmmmm...bird doo-doo, that was in a very conspicous spot on Katie's shadow! LOL

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Weblog Review

The Sisters' Weblog was reviewed! Overall, I'm pleased with the review...some people like it some people don't. I thank the staff at The Weblog Review for taking time out to review our blog.

It was reviewed by three people and we received a rating of 3.7 out of 5. That is actually better than I expected! :-)

I know the design is simple, but I like simple designs...I'm simple. The content will not appeal to everyone, no one has a blog that does. Having Christian content and having that reviewed by those in the secular world is not usually going to be a favorable thing, but the reviewers were fair, for the most part.

As a result of the colors being identified as "hideous" and hard to read by one reviewer who was very critical, I tried to tweak it temporarily to make things easier on the eyes, by lightening the background. I'm starting to get motivated to play around with the template and change the look of the Sisters' Weblog soon. I'm on vacation next week...maybe then I'll play around.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Vineyard Experience

Today church was very worshipful, God was glorified! Overall we had a good experience at Milan Vineyard church today, we only had a slight disappointment.

We weren't welcomed as warmly as we had hoped. That is one think my church is big on, meeting new people, introducing ourselves and making people feel welcome. I was disappointed in that aspect of the visit, but it was the only disappointment. One man did introduce himself and then after the service one woman came over who had remembered seeing us at Northbrook when she visited there a few months ago. We had some conversation with these people and that helped take off some of the edge of the disappointment when we were not being warmly greeted when we arrived.

The service focused on worship. Katie LOVES THAT! There was much freedom in worship and hands were raised, waving and the youth enjoyed dancing to some choreographed steps in a couple of the tunes. The music was mostly Hillsong type stuff and I was introduced to a new song I hadn't heard before, liked it so much, that I came home, looked it up and purchased a CD. The song is The Revelation Song. I found the song online and downloaded it to listen to while I await my CD in the mail! Woohooo! I can't wait!

The message today was very good. The pastor talked about how "back in the day" the people would erect monuments and memorials to God and His mighty works. They would build holy temples. Today, however, our bodies are temples and we should "etch on our hearts" those God-moments we have. We should learn to remember those moments that God revealed Himself to us in new and personal ways. I really liked how he compared the old way of building monuments to how we should "etch our hearts".

He also spoke of Joshua being told numerous times to "be strong and courageous". The pastor encouraged us to "be strong and courageous" in our worship of the Lord. I really enjoyed the message and how it all tied into the worship of God today. The pastor also explained that in worship, it is important to be sincere, and that one should worship publicly just as they do in private. That is an important suggestion to heed! Sometimes people can get caught up "worshiping" for show, or to bring attention to themselves, yet at home their worship would be different because no one is around to watch. Also, sometimes people can really get fired up at home, yet stifle the Spirit when in public. It is a good guideline to remember that we should worship the same in public as we do in private.

At the end of the service, we sang The Revelation Song again, and people were encouraged to "be strong and courageous" in their worship of God in whatever way they felt led. It was powerful and moving. Many bowed to pray, some laid prostrate before the Lord, others sat quietly in prayer, many hands were raised and eyes were closed focusing on Him. It was a neat experience, to see the Spirit alive and active at Vineyard today.

I did enjoy the visit to Vineyard today, but I must say I'm a bit reluctant about the church because of the tie ins I know Vineyard has with the word of faith movement and other questionable "practices". I didn't witness anything non-biblical at church today, but I was just visiting, and worshiping the Lord under a different roof! He was pleased I'm sure!

Visiting the Vineyard

In a few minutes Katie and I are leaving to visit Milan Vineyard church. Their website is under construction and wasn't really informative, so I emailed the church with some questions, this was the reply I received:


Thank you for looking at the site and making contact. We have a team of guys trying to implement ideas for the site and hope it will be more friendly in the future. But, I will attempt to answer your immediate questions for now. The 10am service is correct. We are located at 1076 Wahl St in Milan (the old Army National Guard building ). We have a fairly contemporary service, as far as the worship and ministry are concerned, but, we are very traditional in values, that is, we understand the Bible to be true, and the message of the Good News to be relevant today. Thus, we may have a hymn every so often, but use a lot of Vineyard, Hillsong, etc. type of music for the purpose of relevance to the community and the context of society. We
attempt to be both "seeker friendly" and "user friendly". Being in the community we are, the blend is necessary. We understand that we are all "seekers" to a point, but that the majority of people coming on a given Sunday are "users" that is, they have become "new" in Jesus. For that reason we don't have an alter call every week but do have time for ministry and fellowship. We are laid back about services, but are very serious about the Kingdom. We are fairly casual in dress, street clothes are certainly acceptable, but one could come in a suit and tie, or formal dress if they
wanted. It's the heart not the clothes that count. Our pastor wears blue jeans over half the time.

Presently we have a good sized youth group, about 12 went to Honduras in June, another 21 are in inner City Washington D.C. as we write. We place significant resources and value in our kids. Our women have a monthly meeting called "Intimacy with Jesus", and they get together for a variety of events. We base much on relationships.

This is a fairly short description of the local Vineyard in Milan, you can find out more about philosophy, doctrine, values, etc. at and go the the "about us" section at the top, then click on "beliefs". (we hope ot have this info. on our site soon) If you have further questions please contact me again.

In Christ Jesus,
Robert M Freese'

A lot of the things in this reply are very similar to the principles of my church, Northbrook. I especially like the part that says "We have a fairly contemporary service, as far as the worship and ministry are concerned, but, we are very traditional in values, that is, we understand the Bible to be true, and the message of the Good News to be relevant today." and "We are laid back about services, but are very serious about the Kingdom." I too am serious about the Kingdom!

The marriage series is continuing at Northbrook, and today's message is on intimacy in a marital relationship. Next week we hear about pleasing our wives. Neither of these message topics thrill me, or Katie, and then there will be a message on pleasing our husband. *sigh* So, we are visiting some other churches in the area and seeing what else is going on around here, and how God is moving.

This is rather exciting for me because one may not realize it, but it is so easy to become so comfortable in your own church, your own circle of Christians, that you close yourself off from other believers. I don't ever think it is good to close oneself off from other believers! God is everywhere and I'm going to enjoy worshiping Him anywhere!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Response to Porn Sunday

This is the email I sent to my pastor and the other leaders in my church as a response to him asking for our thoughts on participating in Porn Sunday. (See posts below for more info on that.)
My reply email had a picture posted at the top. It is of Wally the Weiner which you can see by clicking HERE. (I didn't feel it appropriate to post the pic on my blog, but I did include it in my email to the pastor.)

My intent with my reply was to be as "in your face" as the guys of XXXchurch.

To Quote Wally the Weiner..."Do you have the balls to" do this?

I understand that pornography is a very serious issue, and that it is a tool Satan uses to attack the Church. I'm just not sure that the person struggling with the issue needs to have images as the one above thrown up in their faces. To help recovering alcoholics do we tour local bars?

I looked around the site and viewed some videos/trailers and read some of the material. I admire the mission, but I'm not sold on the method. I think the upcoming talks on pornography will most likely cover a lot of the same statistical information that the shares about the dangers and traps of pornography, and hopefully will offer constructive methods to meet this problem head on...without Wally the Weiner's help, or by using
Missionary Positions.

If I say "don't think about purple elephants dancing in yellow polka-dotted tutus" what do you naturally think of?

Let's pray more, and focus on loving God and loving others.

I let you know my thoughts.

Ron had some things to say at his blog Shanktified! See his post HERE.

Do you have any thoughts to share? Share them on your blog or in the comments section here. I am so curious to here what others have to say about this.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Participate in Porn Sunday?

My pastor is asking the leaders in the church if we think we should participate in "Porn Sunday"?

I've already sent him my response, and I am curious to hear what others think about it.

Glory has already commented on the post below and offered her thoughts. Paul knew about the pastors of XXXchurch prior to seeing it here and also pondered their ministry by posting a comment.

What about you? Will you participate in Porn Sunday? What about your church? Is it something your church should, or will, participate in?

I've sent my response to my pastor already, and eventually I will post that here, but before I do I wanted to hear from some readers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

#1 Christian Porn Site

Hmmmmmmmm? Any thoughts on this one?

"We have organized a national campaign called "National Porn Sunday" to be held at hundreds of churches around the country on October 9th, 2005."

"For some it is ludicrous to link three X's with church. For others it's long overdue. The one undeniable truth that we can't ignore is the blatant push for all things sexual in our society. It is out of control, from Saturday morning cartoons to the prime time line up on the networks and cable channels. PornSunday seeks to drive the conversation about pornography in our churches, families and lives. PornSunday wants to bring healing and recovery to those struggling with pornography."

More info: and Porn Sunday.

Abraham and David's COB

A COB you ask? A COB is a Crisis of Belief. I coined the acronym "C.O.B." while doing the Blackaby Experiencing God (links blogrolled under title "Books") study years ago. A Crisis of Belief is when one comes to a point that faith in God, or what God is calling one to do, requires action. It is that period that many Christians can doubt they are hearing God correctly and can sometimes "second-guess" and become confused. (Remember though, who is the author of confusion?)

Last night while Katie and I were viewing segment 4 of Beth Moore's Believing God study (links blogrolled under title "Books"), Moore talked about the crisis of belief that Abraham may have had, and also the COB of David. It was really thought provoking to me.

Segment 4 was all about believing that "I am who God says I am". Moore uses Ephesians 1:3-8 to give us some of the things that identify a person who is "in Christ". First of all, God loves all of His creation, all mankind, and in Christ we are blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven. Moore was stressing that we must always remember that we are all these things, we are who God says we are! (and this is just from a few verses!)

She went through and explained in more detail each of those aspects of who we are in Christ and what some priority results of believing that we are who God says we are are. At one point she talked at length about transgressions and that Psalm 32:1-5 defines transgressions as "willful" or "premeditated" rebellion or crossing the line of God's law. Transgressions are forgiven and are not counted against us. In fact, God counts each opportunity we have to believe Him (to forgive) and adds those up! Even if we willfully sin, God forgives when we repent and are broken-hearted, that is a chance to believe Him, believe Him to forgive. God also forgives general sin, those that we don't mean to do, but do. God forgives all transgressions!

Abraham and David both committed horrid sin against God. These were willful transgressions. Abraham had this problem with truth-telling and adultery, and David too had an adultery problem and tried to cover up his indiscretion by having a man murdered. Both of these men are considered great men of faith, however, Moore brought up something that was very interesting to me, she said that it is quite possible that these men suffered their crisis of belief when they questioned if they really were who God said they were.

I can say I believe God, and if I truly do, I will believe what God says about me! God says I am loved, blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven! I've always thought about a crisis of belief as something that makes me doubt God's way, or will for my life, but a COB could mean I don't believe I am who God says I am. That whole concept is so profound to me!

God is who He says He is!
God can do what He says He can do!
I am Who God says I am! (loved, blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgiven!)
I can do all things through Christ!
God's Word is alive and active in me!

I'm believing God!

I've posted once before on this subject when I considered my "worth" according to the Bible. So, if you want some more to think about, click HERE. In that post I did explore the "fact" that I am worth $1,593,542!

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Journey of Self - Emptying

I have recently come through a period of deep depression that made getting out of bed one of the most difficult tasks of every day. I don't know exactly how it started. I believe it was a combination of things.

During this time I found it difficult and pointless to pray. I just enjoyed my daily pity-parties and self centeredness....or did I???? I wanted to be free, so I began crying out to God and getting back into His Word.

While watching the video that goes along with "Believing God" by Beth Moore, My sweet Jesus instantly delivered me from myself. I can't remember the exact moment or words but I do know that the next morning, I awoke for the first time without that familiar heaviness and lack of desire to get out of bed. Then another day went by, and another and a week and now several weeks. I truly believe I have been delivered.

Since that time, God has been alive and active in me moment by moment, day by day. I am back to work at the place I love, doing the job I love, where I have the freedom to share my faith and testimony about how God has delivered me so many times from my own self centeredness.

I am participating in several studies, readings, etc...that all seem to have one common thread....Love God and love others. One of the books is called Descending to Greatness. It's all about self-emptying and God's filling.

My prayer life has improved, and I'm still working with God on making it better. I am trying to focus less on "me" time and more on working as if unto the Lord. The more of me I give to Him the more of Him he gives to me!

I am who He says I am! I am a princess! I am a counselor! I am His daughter and I want to proclaim it to the World. He is Wonderful!!!!

I will continue on my journey of self-emptying and I expect to have many opportunities to share the wonderous, amazing acts of God in and around me. I want to shine His glory so that others will see Him better!

"Hear O Isreal! The Lord our God is one! Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind and all of your strength! The second is this! Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

Everything else falls into place when we are under the umbrella of God's love.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

De-Cluttering Idea

Katie just had an idea. We all seem overwhelmed with the task at de-clutter the house. She came up with the idea to throw away ten things each day.

So, everyday, all four of us is instructed to throw ten things away. We plan to do this for a month.

At the end of the month, this house should have 1200 less things in it taking up space.

It's a good plan because it is not overwhelming, and in fact, it is kind of fun walking around the house trashing things and counting 1...2...3...

I'm hoping this will work to help us get rid of all the stuff we aren't using and that we don't need around here!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Doing Love

I read something cool yesterday as Katie and I were reading "The Jesus Creed; Loving God and Loving Others" by Scot McKnight:
"Love, a term almost indefinable, is unconditional regard for a person that
prompts and shapes behaviors in order to help that person to become what God
desires. Love, when working properly, is both emotion and will, affection and
I like how McKnight says that love "prompts and shapes behaviors", that is, love is action (on the part of the person doing the loving.) It is not a matter of simply saying "I love you" and leaving it at that, as if that is good enough. Biblical love is a matter of acting on, or doing, love.

McKnight, in the first couple chapters of The Jesus Creed, is making the case for Biblical love. He says that the Jews of the Old Testament were taught to "love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" and when Jesus came along, He amended that, or added to it, when answering a question posed by an expert in the law. The question: "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

When Jesus answered, he answered reciting the Jewish Shema, the creed that the Jewish people learned and practiced all their lives, and then added "Love your neighbor as yourself." There is no commandment greater than these." This was revolutionary because it identified that loving God actually would include loving other people! It was no longer a "God only" idea! You can't love God without also loving those He created.

Obviously Jesus lived these commandments, and taught the principle through words and deeds, and even non-believers would have to admit that. Loving God is not complete if we do not love our neighbor as well. Jesus was always "others focused".

Part of being focused on others means that we aren't focused on ourselves, and when we aren't thinking about ourselves, we are free to put our love into action. Our love for others should manifest itself in ways that serve to help those we love become the person(s) God desires them to be.

How can we help another become the person God wants them to be? The first, and most important thing, is that we should always pray for others. Pray for your friends, family, leaders, and yes, even your enemies. We should always seek to help the neighbor in need, not just wait for something to be obvious, but intentionally look for opportunities to serve. We should always seek to encourage and edify others with kind words (not flattery, flattery is sin because it involves lying, but that's another post for another day) and/or deeds. There are a whole host of ways to "love your neighbor as yourself", just think about how you would like to be loved, then take a step toward that person and love them.

Our pastor pointed out this past Sunday that when you take a step toward another person to love them, it is then we are most like God.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Jesus Creed

The Jesus Creed; Loving God and Loving Others by Scot McKnight is the next study SaLT with WaLT will tackle, and it seems that a few other SaLT groups are doing the same. It looks to be very intense. I've only started reading it and after just a few pages I see that a lot of this is what Katie preaches to the framily on a daily basis, and exemplifies the best she can in her everday life.

The book serves as a tool to foster spiritual transformation. From the description of The Jesus Creed at "(The Jesus Creed) explores how Jesus connected the ancient Jewish commandments to "love the Lord your God with all our heart, soul and strength" and to "love your neighbor as yourself" in order to create a creed that transforms his disciples' lives. "

Already it is helping me to internalize the two greatest commandments and see how Jesus practiced it and taught it. Katie hasn't read as much yet, but I know she is going to love it because she is passionate about Mark 12:30. In fact, over the years she has posted on the very subject a few times:

I can't wait to really start digging into this book, chewing on the ideas presented and digesting all it has to say. I'm praying God will use this to ignite a fire and a passion for Himself at Northbrook Church!! I can't even imagine all that He could do with a Body of people sold out for Him!

The Jesus Creed

"Hear, O Isreal,
the Lord our God is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength."
The second is this:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
There is no commandment greater than these.

This creed is intended to be recited at the beginning of each class discussion and then the class is to end with the Lord's Prayer. I'm really praying that this experience will be very enlightening and together with the Believing God study, God will undoubtedly reveal Himself to me in new, amazing and wonderful ways!

Katie has been walking around saying she is not being fed spiritually...all that is changing! Woohooo!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Christian Bloggers


I just sent an email to ask to be included on the Christian Bloggers Blogroll. This was exciting to me because it led me to find some new Christian Blogs out there. I've been blogging close to three years and over time some bloggers have retired their blogs, slowed down posting significantly and/or have just moved on to other things in life. I've been looking for something fresh, and from the blogs I've seen here so far, well, there are some good reads.

For example:

Over time this roll will inevitably grow, so this is a good time to surf it!

Watermelon Mishap

I love watermelon. Katie picked good one too! Yum! Sweet and juicy, a great summer treat.

We use a tub for the watermelon that once was filled with ice cream. It's a plastic bucket of sorts that works very well for watermelon because you can cut the watermelon into bite size pieces, keep it in the bucket that has a lid on it, and it can stay cool and fresh in the refrigerator.

Because of the handy handle on the bucket of watermelon, I just take the whole thing with me. Today, I had it resting on the the desktop while I surfed. I reached for the fork for another bite, and it was obviously a little too close to the edge. The entire bucket of watermelon flipped over and landed in my lap!

It was COLD! I was startled for a moment, not sure what to do. I wanted to try to avoid having to mop the floor, so I thought about wheeling in my new chair over to the door, but it was too late. Watermelon rapids were forming over the edges of my new computer desk chair already making puddles on the floor.

I stood up to go get the cleaning supplies. I looked down and my new shirt was drenched in pink water and my jeans shorts were soaked! I started laughing because a few seeds, (from the seedless watermelon?), were stuck to my leg! It had to be quite a sight! I'm glad the kids didn't react to my initial scream of surprise, intense cold, and inane stupidity and come running out of their rooms to see what was the matter! LOL

I'm feeling pretty sticky so I think I'm going to grab a quick shower and get my clothes in the washer soon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Jury Duty and Ice-Cream Follies

I had jury duty today and was the first one called to take a place in the jury box. Yay! I really want to actually serve on a case and do the whole jury thing for the trial, so I was excited and nervous. This was a drug case and the defendant was accused of "possession with intent". He apparantly doesn't argue the fact that he did possess cocaine, the problem comes in when he claims that he wasn't going to sell it.

Then came the lawyers questions to the jury. I was asked by the defendant's lawyer, "Susan, tell me about yourself." I wasn't expecting such an open ended question so I was caught somewhat off guard. I said "I work as a manager in a retail store at the mall. I have lived in Humboldt for four years. I am from the Midwest."

I was excused.


Tonight, Tiffany, Katie and I went on an ice-cream run. We went to Baskin Robbin's and chose a few of those 31 flavors to enjoy, yum! I got one scoop of mint-chocolate chip on a sugar (or dark) cone. As I was standing in line to pay, I was licking the ice-cream. It was sooooo good, and sooooo cool to eat on such a hot and humid day!

Suddenly, I had a "blow-out"! As I was licking the ice-cream, my cone shattered! The back of the cone broke off and pieces went flying! My "softball star" reflexes kicked in, even after 15 years, and with my right hand I swooped down and caught the scoop of mint-chocolate chip before I hit the floor! It was amazing if I do say so myself!

So, with ice-cream melting in my hand, I calmly walked to the counter and asked for another cone. LOL I actually got a whole brand new ice-cream cone! The other customer waiting in line for some ice-cream was obviously disturbed by the ice-cream dripping down my hand and arm and grabbed a napkin and handed it to me! LOL It was pretty funny!

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Well, we are almost halfway through the marriage series at church. Ugh. I've never felt so singled-out as a single before. The messages have been good, but a lot of them are obviously directed to married couples. I think a lot of the stuff does need to be addressed, but thirteen weeks is an awful lot. Today's message was on biblical communication, and one can apply a lot of what was taught in this one which is good. Last weeks message was "The Bedroom: Battlefield or Playground?". I got NOTHING out of that one!

I can't get Disciple's latest release out of my CD player! That thing really rocks! Every song is good! I especially like the stadium rocker "Rise Up" which I've come to learn is the NBA's Atlanta Hawks theme this year. Disciple will be one of the bands at Shoutfest this year and that excites me! I can't wait to hear "Rise Up" at an outdoor ampitheatre with the crowd signing along! It should be powerful! Another fav on the disc is "Worth", because of the lyrics:

Forgetting what is behind I'm moving straight ahead
and I will run with a passion till I reach the end

I won't let my eyes move left to right
I'll run with all my heart, I'll give it all I got!

It's a song about "running the race" and that all the pain and struggle is worth it all "if I can just see You, feel You." Good stuff! One reviewer, and I don't remember the name, but I saw it in a CCM Magazine, said "if this isn't Disciple's best selling CD this reviewer will eat a bug." Ewwwwww, grooossssssssss, but I don't think the reveiwer has anything to worry about! It's going to be one of Christian music's best hard rock releases this year without question!

Shoutfest has a great line up this year and comes to Jackson's Casey Jones Ampitheater on September 3. I'm most excited to see Disciple and Skillet, but some other great bands will be there too including:
  • KJ-52
  • Skillet
  • ZOEgirl
  • Jump5
  • Grits
  • Disciple
  • Krystal Meyers
  • Kainos
  • Carried Away
  • Talitha and Acacia

It's gonna rock! Woohooo!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Things You See While Driving Down the Road

While Katie, Justin and I were on the way to see Tiffany in the play "Annie", we saw something most unusual. Now, imagine driving down the road and checking your rear view mirror, and then as you glance to your right side, you see, oh, I dunno, a SKELETON STARING BACK AT YOU?

I must say, I was quite startled in that instant! But, then I said "get the camera!" which we just happened to have on hand since we were going to a picture worthy event.

We snapped a few photos of this most unusual site. A motorcycle dude and his buddy just rolling down the highway! What we didn't get a picture of, which I really wish we had, was of Bones waving at us! LOL

It was quite the sight to be driving down the highway next to a skeleton who raised his boney arm and hand into the sky to "say" hello! LOL

I said to Katie, "Do you think that could be a missing person?"

She just said I'm morbid.


Then again, I did go to a halloween party once when I was in college with a "friend".

Oh the things people do!