Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How People See the World

I am sitting here listening to the Smooth Jazz station on Launchcast (part of my Yahoo! Music). The window unit AC running in my office, in addition to our central air unit, and I am anxiously anticipating this time tomorrow night. If the weather forecasters are correct, it should be 20 degrees cooler this time tomorrow night! We've been back up to 100 this past week, so the cool air will definitely be welcomed!

TRIP TO THE DENTIST
A number of things have happened since I last blogged it seems. One of the biggest events was Amanda's trip to the dentist...trip one of two to finish up this round of work. She went in to have a crown put on. Although she got two fillings with no problem last year (FYI...she brushes, with help, twice a day), this year's trip for a cleaning was different. After the cleaning, the dentist suggested some sort of medical concoction to help Amanda "relax" before her next procedure. The price for this concoction and my memories of going to the dentist at her age with no problems let me to say "that will not be necessary". No sooner had Amanda gone back to see the dentist this time(the office does not let parents back with their children as a matter of policy), and an assistant said the dentist needed to speak to me. The dentist told me Amanda would not even get in the chair. He again recommended the medication and said if this did not work we would have to knock her out to do the procedure. I politely explained that although their policy does not permit it, if they would let me back there with her, there would not be a problem getting the procedure done. The dentist's polite reply was, "If it makes YOU feel better, we can try that, but our experience shows that bringing parents back does not help the situation." Again, he was polite, but it was clear he did not think this was going to work. Short version...Amanda now has a "gold tooth" (actually a silver cap) that she is very proud of and the dentist told me afterwards, "Dad, you surprised us." We go back in for the last filling on Monday.


VOLLEYBALL OR RACQUETBALL
The next big event has been my foray into sand volleyball. The past few weeks I have gotten together with some friends for a little sand volleyball. The first week I tried it, I pulled something or used some otherwise-never-used muscles and found it difficult to get out of bed and walk the next morning. This was odd since I had no pain that night when I went to bed, nonetheless, it was painful. There was no racquetball for me that week. The next week, I thought, "Eh, it's just a matter of not using those muscles...I'll use them again this week and "get them into shape." That night, my back hurt a bit, but I slept on the heat pad and could get around ok the next day. Brooke was out of town, so there was no racquetball for me that week, either. The third week there was no need to go to sleep on the heat pad and although there was some tenderness, I felt good enough for a racquetball game the next day. Oopps...that was NOT such a good idea. It became hard to get around at the office that day. I am recovering but still have certain movements that suddenly feel like not such a good idea. So I am swearing off sand volleyball. I don't know what it was, but if it's messin' with my racquetball game it ain't for me.


STILL TALKING TO THE HUMANISTS
And lastly, I am still visiting the
Humanist News blog and commenting here and there. I have met with one antagonist and one serious, yet polite, debater (for lack of a better term). I offered one opinion and backed it with research from a book I had read. I found a web site that talked about the book and quoted some statistics from it and referred to this site when I commented. My comment was met with "just because it's on the Internet does not mean it's true" and then a web site that supposedly refuted the web site I used as a reference. I thought it odd that I was being refuted with a web page to tell me "just because it's on the web doesn't make it true." The statistics I quoted from were from government studies (well documented in the book) and not merely from a web site. Oh well. The serious yet polite debater had some good comments to make and some which were hard to refute because he used statistics pointing out the moral decay within the Christian church. Although I could take him to task over the interpretation of these statistics, it was shameful to have to admit that the things he mentioned are rampant in the church and very few within the church seem to be think there is a problem. Anyway, I was told earlier "We hope to use this blog for discussion of current issues from a Humanist perspective, not as a forum in which to argue for or against a particular faith" so I don't know how many more discussions I will be able to have with the folks there before they tire of me, but it has been an interesting and learning experience. I was going to say I am praying for those I have talked with there, but unfortunately that would not be true. I will have to change that tonight. Man, I almost got caught in the same trap they are in...being so "logical" and polished that there is no room for God. I did try to point out that the Humanist mind will never "find" God because "finding" God has to begin with a step of faith "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). This is when I was told they were not a forum in which to argue for or against a particular faith. I don't believe anyone can be "debated" into faith with Christ, but I have learned a few things from visiting the blog and hope I have given them something to consider. For now, I will continue to pray for those who enter into conversation with me, try to ask questions and comment without being a pest and try to better understand how these people see the world.

- Rob

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Five Reasons Why I Love Brooke - #5

Brooke is going out of town for a few days with her brother to visit the family in Alabama. I never like it when Brooke is gone. Rather than just mope, I thought I'd post five reasons (one for each day she is gone) why I love my wife.

Reason #5
Well Baby, writing this each day has helped.  I miss you terribly, but being able to talk about the things I love most about you has made it a little bit easier.  Today, I want to talk about "I love you because of the life we have built a life together."  I think I said it the first day I started writing five reasons...there is no me without you.  It would be hard to define who I am without you.  Yes, there are some things that are definitely "Rob things" and not "Brooke things", but my life is all about the life we have built together.

I guess we were still kids when we met at Christ for the Nations.  Your parents were paying for you to be there and my parents were paying for me to be there. 
That's where our life together started (in separate apartments, of course).  We met while playing those dorky orientation games.  You were just happy to meet all of these people, I was irritated because you were keeping me from winning the game!  Our paths first crossed that day, and then the next in the winding lunch line.  You laugh at me because I would stare at you every time the line wound around and we were next to each other.  I was just looking at your ID badge that said "Angela" and I knew that was not the name you had told me.  So in typical people-loving fashion, you introduced yourself to me again.  I guess that helped me get over my awkwardness enough to start hanging out with you.

We had mutual friends and "the gang" we hung out with that first year.  Things were going great until you messed with my organized little world again.  I was not going to CFNI  to date or find a girlfriend...but then you "happened" to me.  I told God how much I loved Him and how I did not want to be distracted from all He had for me.  Over time, I learned that He was trying to tell me how much He loved me, too, and YOU were part of what he had for me.  (Is that cool, or what!)

And this is when we found "our song" by Geoff Moore Friend Like You.  We knew then that in some areas we were as different as black and white, but we knew we were destined to be together.  We found our church and started working with the youth (weren't those fun days at the beginning!).  I met your family, you met mine (totally different experiences).  And the day finally came when I asked your Dad for permission to marry you.  (Of course, that was the same visit your Dad and I were alone in the living room and some of that good southern cooking came back to haunt me...the intestinal discomfort was was quiet on the way out, but as the wallpaper began to peel, it became obvious what had happened.  And it was just your Dad and me sitting there...it's not like I could act like it was someone else!)  Despite all of this, your Dad gave his blessing.

So the day came I when I got you up on the stage at church under the guise of a youth announcement and proposed to you in front of our church family.  You never actually said yes, but after you quit hitting me and took the ring, I figured it would all be ok.  So our life as husband and wife started about 8 months later, right?  We were off to Puerto Vallarta for our honeymoon and then back to real life at Payless Shoes and Lerner's.

So I guess we slowly started to grow up.  We had our first apartment and the we got Thumper. The apartment was small and the neighbors were "interesting", but life was good.  Eventually we moved and adopted Sabrina.  Then we moved to our house...that was super cool!  Of course it was hard on you because you were so tired all of the time.  And then came another milestone in our lives, the night we found out why you were tired all of the time...Amanda was on the way!  We called our parents scared enough to cry but happy nonetheless.

And so Amanda was born and we became a "family" and not just a "couple".  We learned how to be parents (well, we're still learning that) and we learned how to change a diaper without gagging (you pull your shirt collar up over your nose, and change it QUICKLY!). It seemed like no time at all before Amanda was in Pre-K and we started referring to her as a "big girl".

So now Amanda is a 1st grader, losing teeth and our puppies are Boo and Sully.  We've built 14 years of memories together, and I'm looking forward to MANY more in the future.  I'm so glad I have you by my side as we walk through this adventure called life.  We have no idea what the future may hold, but you can rest assured that God will ALWAYS be there and so will my love for you.

I can't wait for you to get home tomorrow evening.  I miss you, but I've enjoyed having an opportunity to let out a little bit of what is inside my heart for you.  Hurry home, Baby.

Love,
Rob

It's NOT Global Warming!

Max Mayfield, the director of the federal National Hurricane Center said to expect more hurricanes in the next 10 to 20 years.  At a time when everyone is yelling GLOBAL WARMING IS CAUSING ALL OF THESE HURRICANES, the director of the federal National Hurrican Center dismisses these claims and explains that he believes the Atlantic Ocean is going through a cycle of increased hurricane activity similar to what happened from the 1940's through the 1960's.  (More on this at the end of this article)

But you wait and see.  We will be told, again, that "science" shows that it is global waming that causes the hurricanes, even though a premiere expert tells us otherwise.  Hmmm...do you suppose "global warming" could go in cycles like hurricane seasons do?  If you study it out, this seems very possible as well.  But will we ever hear this in the media?  What do you think.

- Rob

Five Reasons Why I Love Brooke - #4

Brooke is going out of town for a few days with her brother to visit the family in Alabama. I never like it when Brooke is gone. Rather than just mope, I thought I'd post five reasons (one for each day she is gone) why I love my wife.

Reason Number 4
I love you because you love me. That sounds selfish...maybe I should say one of the things I love about you is the way you love me. They say opposites attract, which seems to have been true with us. But in real life, opposites cause sparks, too.

I don't think I'm the same person I was when you married me in that I have grown up and matured. But compared to you, I haven't changed much. You have changed the way you wear your hair, the color of your hair (the only thing that has changed more than the way you wear your hair), your weight (where did it go?) , the things you are "into", the way you dress and what you do for fun. So here you are changing who you are (so to speak) every few years, and I'm still basically me. I guess it would be pretty easy to get frustrated with that. OK, maybe you do get frustrated with stuff like that sometimes, but you still love me and just when I need to hear it most, you tell me you love me because of who I am.

And then there is the HIGH need for adventure you have versus the LOW need for adventure that I have. I know that can be a source of frustration for you, but you still make time to have a quiet evening at home with our family. You not only take the time to be home (low adventure), but you take the time to enjoy being with your family. I'm trying to do better on doing the same for you and enjoying the high adventure stuff, but again, you set the standard high.

Then there are times like tonight when I was talking about trying to encourage somebody and you said, "You are good at that. That is a new gift God is giving you." You see the best in me, and you say it.

I have heard it said, and I know it is true for me personally, that a guy's number one need from his wife is respect (well, the other thing you thought of too, but this is a public blog!). When you ask me what I think or ask me what something means, I never look at you as less intelligent...to me it comes across as you trusting me and respecting me. Your input and thoughts are never less important, but the times when you "look to me" for things, it does a lot for me. When you are not sure what to do and you ask me about it then follow my lead, that brings me confidence in our relationship. I know you are better than me in certain areas, but I'm glad there are times you can just trust me.

When I'm with you, you let me be the man God created me to be. You encourage me to do the things I am good at, and you laugh with me instead of at me when I mess up on the things I am not so good at. I love it when you say, "That's why God gave you me, Babe"...'cause I know it's true.

That's what I mean by I love the way you love me.

And I love you...with all that is in me.
Rob

Monday, September 19, 2005

Quote from Isaac Asimov

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.

5 Reasons Why I Love Brooke - #3

Brooke is going out of town for a few days with her brother to visit the family in Alabama. I never like it when Brooke is gone. Rather than just mope, I thought I'd post five reasons (one for each day she is gone) why I love my wife.

Reason Number 3
I love you because your love for people starts in our home. You forever have one more person to help, are always concerned that somebody is not happy enough and all sorts of wonderful things like that, yet you always have time for your family. Every morning, you sit with Amanda and help her get dressed for school. Those of us in the household who are more "practical" know it is much easier and more time-effective to set her clothes out and let her get herself ready, but you take the time to be with her each morning before she goes to school (even when she is cranky from being in that I'm-still-waking-up state).

And then there's the "Boo test". She must know how much you love her and our family. I feed the dog, bathe the dog, cut her hair, trim her nails and scoop the poop in the back yard at least twice a year, but who does she love the most? Her Momma! Of course, Amanda knows this too. Daddies do a lot of "stuff" and are good for playing, but Mommy is the one to go to when you need to be loved (or just have your stomach scratched).

You're always cooking a meal for someone, going to help someone do this or that, pick up something for somebody or whatever else, but you still find time to wash clothes, wash dishes, fold clothes, volunteer for PTA and wait at school for 30 minutes before school is out to get a parking spot so Amanda does not have to walk home (OK, admit it, that part is mostly so you don't have to walk home in the heat!). Yes, you are the better grocery shopper. Somehow you manage to stay close to budget I give you, yet you bring home all the "good stuff" that I'm always looking for.

You almost always come up with the better birthday/Christmas/Father's Day/etc. ideas because you put thought into how to make us feel extra special (I'm working on beating you in this area, but you set a high standard).

And every time you are gone like this, I think about the whole cooking dinner thing in a different light. You always have dinner ready when I come home from work, and I love that. How do you do that? When you are gone, I have all of these great plans for dinner, but by the time I come home from work those great ideas are usually reduced to Spaghetti-Os for Amanda and peanut butter and jelly for me. Where do you find the energy to do that?

And then there's your patience. I'll write more about that where I'm concerned tomorrow, but you're so patient with Amanda. When she spills, I know most of the time it's just a "kid thing", but how do you stop what you are doing and do one more thing for somebody else without it wearing on you? And the snack thing...how many times do you stop what you are doing to feed our human garbage disposal? "You can get it yourself" is much easier, but you choose to serve instead. And where does that "she's sleepy, that's why she's acting that way" understanding come from? I know she's sleepy, that's why she needs to quit whining and go to bed! But you just love on her, let her finish what she is doing and then help her clean up her mess and get ready for bed. Ok, how do you not go insane with the mess in her room, then the mess in living room and then in the kitchen? I know...your servant's/Mommy's heart. I guess that would be the best way to say it...I love your servant's/Mommy's heart. I am thankful God gave you to us.

I love you,
Rob

At Least I Don't Have to Mow

Well, it is now late (11pm). It has been a crazy day. I did not get much of my ToDo list done in the office today. We were trying to update some pictures on the church web page and I had trouble getting our web software, Effective Site Studio, to work with me. It's awesome software, but sometimes it does just a little too much for you and does not give you enough control. Actually, I can only say this is true as much as I know how to use the software and I am definitely a novice. Point being, I spent most of my afternoon trying to re size just one photo!

But then Amanda and I came home for the evening. I cooked breakfast for dinner...bacon, fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. Amanda and I chowed down. Then we read (she read to me) for 30 minutes. After that, it was off to the grocery store. I think Brooke would have been proud of me. I planned on spending $30 and came away having spent just $31.63. (Brooke, you would be happy to know that Amanda took my usual role since I took yours...I went in with the list and she is the one who kept wanting to add other items to the cart that were not on THE LIST). We got home and Amanda jumped in the shower while I unpacked groceries, packed the dishwasher and cleaned up the dinner dishes. Amanda got herself dressed and all and then ate some grapes while keeping me company as I put the groceries away. We prayed and she went to bed. She asked me to play some music while she went to sleep, so I had to round up a CD player and some speakers for her room. By this time, it was after 9:00 PM. I had planned on giving Fluff Dog (a.k.a. Boo) a haircut tonight, but it was too late for that. I need to chill out.

So I got on the computer to chill out. Of course, before I could do that I had to update our church's online prayer chain and a few things like that. I planned to do that, post to the blog and then finish the last 20 pages of my book, but I got side-tracked visiting the Humanist News blog again. I was pleased to find a comment to my earlier comments. I may have found somebody to dialog with me re: my questions for Humanism. I have not heard from the guy bashing Bush for having a day of prayer for Katrina survivors, but I did get a respectful and well-thought-out reply at Humanist News.

And from there, I was again side-tracked to The Panda's Thumb blog. I spent quite a bit of time formulating a comment to an article mentioned there only to find out they use some sort of blacklist and my ISP somehow got on their list. What does that mean? It means I spent all this time coming up with a thoughtful comment and could not post it on their site! I e-mailed my comments to the site administrator and ask them to post it for me explaining the problem, but they probably won't happen. We'll see.

And so it is now 11pm and I still have to post Reason #3 (see previous blogs if you don't understand) before I read the last 20 pages of my book. In all my busyness today, I thought of one thing to be thankful for...it is so stinkin' hot right now that all the grass is dead. At least I don't have to mow! Where would I find the time?

- Rob

Sunday, September 18, 2005

5 Reasons Why I Love Brooke - #2

Brooke is going out of town for a few days with her brother to visit the family in Alabama.  I never like it when Brooke is gone.  Rather than just mope, I thought I'd post five reasons (one for each day she is gone) why I love my wife.

Reason Number 2
I love you because you love people.  We all know I am not a natural "people person", and I'd probably be a miserable failure as a pastor if I did not have you.  You love people enough for 3 or 4 "normal" people I think.  Yes, sometimes I grumble when you cannot say "no" because you always want to help.  No, I don't always understand when you want to give a person "one more chance", but I do better understand God's unconditional love when I watch you.  Jesus loved to hang around people, and so do you.  I know when you get to heaven there are going to be a LOT of people wanting to tell you how much you meant to them and how many times you encouraged them with your bright, cheery smile.  And your acts of service will not go unrewarded either...maybe you'll get an extra somthin' because your husband always complained when you volunteered to help with one more thing!  And I don't know if I've ever said it before or not, but I PROUD of you when I watch you in your "element".  You ALWAYS smile at people and say something encouraging.  You are ALWAYS willing to help when needed and you ALWAYS want to give when you see a need.  I admire your heart for people, and even though I usually don't understand why you do it, I understand enough to know that I would be more like Jesus if I had a heart for people more like yours.  I love you and the way you love people!

- Rob

Just for Mommy

We've put this picture online just for Brooke. Anytime Brooke is not around to get Amanda dressed for church, she ALWAYS asks me, "What did Amanda wear this morning"? Ok, ok already. I messed up one time and now I can never get away from the question? One time (only one time) I put something on Amanda that supposedly didn't go together, and now I get asked "the question" every time. The way I look at it, the kid had clothes on when she went to church, so we were covered (pun intended). I guess women don't look at it that way. And no, I don't think I'm to blame for putting on her Easter dress a month before Easter one Sunday when Brooke was gone. How was I supposed to know it was her Easter dress? Anyway, this one's just for Mommy. We love you!

- Rob

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Hey Bush Bashers, What About This?

One of the hardest things for me to stomach in the aftermath of Katrina is this incessant attack against President Bush. A hurricane is a natural DISASTER for crying out loud...it's not everyday business. While the media was showing people angry because it "took so long" to get aid and help to vicitims, interviews with on-scene doctors who said it was "amazing" that people got evactuated as quickly as they did, interviews with people in California who said things like, "we've been told when the 'big one' hits we should expect to be on our own for a minimum of 4 days before any type of help arrives" and people in Dallas' own Reunion Arena who were so very grateful for the help they got were given pitifully little or no air time whatsoever. And of course, all of this has been blamed on the President in the midst of accusations that President Bush doesn't like black people, that the government is set up to help black people as slowly as possible and that his National Day of Prayer for Katrina victims is nothing more than a diversion or a cover up. And who was blaming Bush the loudest? What's that you say? The governor of Lousiana and Mayor of New Orleans? Yep, that's right. And now we read Lousiana Officials Indicted Before Katrina Hit . Hey Bush bashers, what about this?

- Rob

5 Reasons Why I Love Brooke - #1

Brooke is going out of town for a few days with her brother to visit the family in Alabama.  I never like it when Brooke is gone.  Rather than just mope, I thought I'd post five reasons (one for each day she is gone) why I love my wife.

Reason Number 1
Brookie, you are my best friend and I want to share everything that happens in my life with you.  Some things we experience together, but even the things we do apart I want to share with you.  If I win a racquetball game, I want to come home and tell you about it.  When I go shooting, I can't wait to come home and show you the targets.  If I hear a funny joke, you're the first one I want to tell it to.  If something hurts or upsets me during the day, I want to find you to talk about it. When I watch our daughter growing up, of course I want to find you...nobody else could understand how I feel about that except you.  I want to share it all with you because you are part off my life.  There is no Rob without Brooke.  I know you're not really into racquetball, and I know my gun targets just look like a piece of paper with holes in it to you, but you listen because you love me...and I love you for that.  I'm glad you are getting to visit your family for a few days this week, but I'm going to miss my best friend!

I love you,
Robbie

It's In The Mail


I don't remember how long ago we discovered this little "trick". I think I took Amanda with me to check the mail and church one day and she wanted to see the mail in the box. I lifted her up and and said "Look, you could fit in there." She wanted to see if it was true...and it was. That was several months ago. It's a good thing we took these pictures today because we couldn't keep the door closed anymore...those long legs just keep growing. Anyway, Amanda thought this was great while she was small enough to do it and wanted to get a picture before she got too big. So today we took the pictures and shot the video, "It's in the Mail".

- Rob

Talking with the Humanists

After Amanda went to bed last night, I sat down to blog. As I logged in to Blogger.com, they had a little scrolling marquee with blogs that had been updated recently. I saw one entitled Humanist News so I thought I'd go check it out. No, I'm not searching for answers, but I try to get a glimpse of what non-Christians are thinking sometimes, and I thought this might be a good opportunity. The first article I read was 'Not One Nations 'Under God'. There was a comment there that caught my attention. It said, "Also, we need to remember why 'under God' was put in the Pledge in the first place: for the sole purpose of distinguishing Americans from atheistic communists, thereby establishing that all Americans ascribe to a religion that involves a belief in God." I thought this was wonderful. It was the first time I have ever heard a Humanist admit that our government purposely desired to be Christian. If you've read any of the writings of our Founding Fathers, you know that our great nation was founded on Biblical principles and a faith in the God of heaven. But so many people today try to push the separation of church and state issue to make it sound like America was created to be a religion free country. I was so excited to hear a Humanist admit, in a way, that our government desired to be a nation that acknowledges God I just had to comment on their post. They did not particularly appreciate my comment and two writers from the blog commented. It did not help me look particularly intelligent when I commented on America's 2,000 year heritage! I know it has not been 2,000 years since 1776, so I have no idea what I was thinking! Anyway, posted again to correct my mistake (which they pointed out) and to comment on their comments.

So after this "adventure", I was curious enough to check out some of the links on their site. Next, I went to the American Humanist Association web page. The first article I read there was New National Day of Prayer a Diversion (the link on their site is not working at the moment so I cannot link you to the story). Here's the lead in to the story, "Now the president is manipulating religion and disregarding the rights of those of minority faiths and philosophies in order to deflect criticism from his administration’s poor response to the Hurricane Katrina crisis..." The guy complained that Presiden Bush left out Buddahists and other religions by calling for a National Day of Prayer, and then there was the ever-present attack against President Bush saying he was using this as a diversion because of his supposed failures concerning Katrina. I couldnt' take it anymore, so I sent the author an e-mail. I think I rambled a lot in the e-mail because instead of better understanding how Humanists think, I was more confused after reading some stuff on their web sites. At the end of my e-mail, I asked Mr. Speckhardt:
  1. What hope to American Humanists offer?
  2. How would a Humanist define what is good and bad?
  3. With all of the opportunities to help people and do "good" in America (again, what is the Humanist definition here), why is getting God out of American public life such an important priority?
With all that needs to be done to help Katrina victims (and the Humanists even have a link on their page to help them), is getting President Bush not to have a day of prayer a big priority? And it just does not make sense to me why Humanists would spend so much time and energy trying to kick God out of American public life if they don't even believe He exists? And if they hate God being part of who America is, why don't they go to a country where God is not welcome (there are a lot of them)? I'm not saying "you have to believe like me or leave", but why try to destroy our heritage as a great nation just because YOU have a beef with God? Humanists would say we were a nation founded on their "right" not to believe in God. Ok, I could maybe go along with that. But we were never founded as a nation that turned it's back on God or refused to recognize His divine hand on us as a nation. In America, you don't have to believe in God, just don't try to change our country into something our Founding Fathers NEVER desired...a godless nation.

As I read back over my e-mail to Mr. Speckhardt and my original post on the Humanist News blog, I easily saw that my questions and comments were not nearly as refined as all of their writings. I want to dialog with these people, but as reasonable and logical as my faith is to me, I will never be able to communicate on the level of their writings. This reminded me of what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 (NASB)

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

I'll let you know if anything comes of the dialog.

- Rob

Friday, September 16, 2005

Lazy Day


Today has been a relaxing day. It was Brooke's day to sleep in, so I got up and got Amanda ready for school. After walking her to school, I came home got a shower and sat down to read my Bible. It was nice and cool outside (cool for Texas anyway), so I opened the front and back doors. As I was sitting at the table looking at how nice it was outside I thought how silly it was to sit inside and look outside when have the table and chairs on the back porch. So I went outside and read my Bible a while longer. I had big plans for the day, a lot of stuff I wanted to add to the church web page, but it was SO nice outside I had to take advantage of it. I went inside, grabbed my book (Battle Born) and a snack and sat down to do some more reading. Brooke got up around 10:30am and brought her cup of coffee and book out on the porch to read with me. We read for another hour and it was SO relaxing. Boo and Sully ran and chased each other outside this whole time and have been totally useless this evening doing nothing but sleep.

This afternoon, I did do some work on the church web page. I worked on some forms so people can sign up to help with upcoming Block Parties and worked on an online SHAPE Inventory (more on that another time). We went to pick up Amanda from school, I took a short nap, Brooke fixed dinner and then we did some homework tonight.

I'm going to post this (without the appropriate picture for now I guess) and try to do a little more reading before I turn in for the night. I've gotten to that "can't put it down" part of my book and want to read until I fall asleep. It's been a good, lazy day.

- Rob

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

If We Had Only Recorded The Whole Episode

Well, we have set a new all-time high for drama at the Hurt home. Amanda has had a loose tooth (she has lost one already) for a while and she got it real loose last night. She worked on it after school and then after dinner before homework. We started homework a little late trying to give her time to get the tooth out. After homework, it was so loose I knew she would get it pulled. We were late starting her bath because she was working on the tooth. I thought she was being dramatic then, but there was more to come.

Amanda went to school today with the loose tooth and I knew she would pull it at school for the attention she would get. Brooke and I even stopped by during her lunch time to see if she had lost it. Apparently she now wanted it to "fall out on it's own." When she came home, she thought of little else other than the tooth, but she did not want to pull it. When Brooke and I offered to pull it she would just about go crazy. You would have thought we were asking her if she wanted to be buried alive in a giant fire ant mound! Finally I told her she would have to pull the tooth, let me pull it or miss out on McDonald's with the bus kids tonight (because I did not want to go through the whole "my tooth hurts" scene with her at McDonald's with all the Jr. High students there). This seemed to have hit an emotional chord with Amanda as she instantly broke out crying. I explained to her that she was not in trouble and was not being punished, but I just was not going to go through this scene in public. Then she cried some more because she wanted to go to McDonald's. I told her it was as simple as pulling her tooth. Then she cried because that would hurt.

She ended up making such a big scene I dragged her home. I was prepared to do whatever it took to get that tooth out. Her mother, equally frustrated but apparently fearing what I might do, followed me home. We told Amanda to pull her tooth or we would. She "tried" but could not get it. We told her to hold my hand and Brooke would pull it. This is where the Oscar award winning acting began! Amanda's lip began to tremble, she cried, she hyper-ventilated. I remember thinking, "if she passes out, at least we can get the tooth out". Amanda would not pull the tooth and she fought Brooke when she tried. I finally had to tell her I would pin her down on the floor and pull it if she did not let Brooke do it. She fought once more and I had her laid out on the floor when she begged to let Brooke do it. Finally she grabbed my hands and screamed bloody murder while Brooke pulled it out. There was no yanking, tugging, twisting or pulling necessary...it simply came right out. After what she figured was enough of an emotional reaction to this "trauma", Amanda was laughing and ready to head back over to the church to show everybody her "triumph". If we had only recorded the whole episode, we could have sent it in to America's Funniest Home Videos, won their grand prize and then sent it to Hollywood where Amanda would surely have made it big time...if nothing else they could have used her screaming for a horror movie!

- Rob

Monday, September 12, 2005

We Just Hope Our Friends Were Kidding

Today was an interesting day. If you read yesterday’s blog, you may recall I played some volleyball last night. When I came home from playing, I felt fine. I showered, blogged, read and went to bed all without incident. Things were going well until some time in the middle of the night I noticed I woke myself up in pain every time I turned over. My back started hurting pretty bad. I got up this morning and couldn’t even walk normal. I could tell it was a muscle ache, so I figured it work its way out like usual. Well, this was no usual backache…around 9:30am I was thinking about coming home and trying to lay back down it hurt so bad. Brooke suggested the heating pad, so I got that, put it in my chair at work and things started getting a little better. By noon, I was uncomfortable but at least I could do what I needed to do. This evening, it is still uncomfortable just sitting here, but it’s much better than this morning. Thirty-six is not old, but I sure felt old this morning.

I guess ‘tonight’ was somehow in competition with ‘today’ to see who could have the best story to blog about. Last time we went to Mercardo Juarez Mexican restaurant, Brooke filled out some card and found out she won a free meal…a meal for six no less. Being the good friends that we are, we called four of our good friends and invited them out for a free meal. Oh yeah, I think we forgot to mention the little “fire safety presentation” at the end of the meal. Well, that’s what we thought, anyway. You see, they told us the meal was free and that there was a “little” fire safety presentation we would have to sit through for our meal. I don’t know what Brooke was thinking, but in my mind, it would go something like this: the six of us go out to eat, pick what we want off the menu, enjoy the meal and hanging out together then somebody would come to our table and do a 15-20 minute fire safety/sales pitch presentation. It seems my mind’s eye wasn’t seeing 20/20 on this matter! When we got there, we were ushered into a room with 40-50 other people. The salesman shook our hand as we came in. Everybody got fajitas (so at least the food was good) and then the guy gave us our fire safety lesson and his sales pitch the rest of the evening. We got to talk to our friends for about 10 minutes at the beginning. It took that long for them to find something civil to say to us after they found out what we had gotten them into! The food was good, the salesman had a good pitch and we learned another lesson. We’ve been suckered by Silver Leaf Resorts and now MaterGuard. We just hope our friends were kidding when they said they put our address on their form and marked that they would like a visit!

- Rob

Must be a Quote from a Youth Pastor

I must hurry,
for there they go
and I am their leader

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bet You Can't Find Me


(From the Archives)

Shhh...I'm Hiding


(From the Archives)

Here I Am!


(from the Archives)

I Guess That Leaves Me with the Beanbag

It's been a pretty relaxing weekend for me. Friday night, the church had a lock in for 6-7 year olds. I have relaxed this weekend because I did NOT help with that! Brooke and Amanda were there, so I read almost all day Friday. I finished Monster by Frank Peretti. I've been reading a book by Francis Schaeffer (can't even remember the exact name now), but I've since moved on. I was 80 pages into the book waiting to see if I was going to be able to get anything about it. The quote from Martin Luther below came from this book, but after that I pretty much got lost. Anyway, I'm reading another novel, Battle Born by Dale Brown and I'll pick up a small group book from church tomorrow and read that at the same time. Brooke and I are in a reading mode right now and are really enjoying it.

Saturday was not too exciting. Brooke slept a lot trying to catch up from the lock in. Apparently Amanda got enough sleep because she didn't slow down much. I took a nap and cleaned at church. The lady who cleans our church has her 90 year old mother living with her. Her mother passed away Thursday night so she had a lot going on Saturday. I will be going to the funeral tomorrow while Brooke delivers food from the church to the family and watches kids during the funeral.

Today was church. Pastor preached good message on giving ourselves to the Lord and using our talents, gifts and abilities. After the message, lots of people signed up to for a number of ministry opportunities around the church. We took a nap this afternoon (again, "we" would be Brooke and I) and then we all went to the park to hang out with the Young Marrieds group. Brooke talked and played a little volleyball, I played volleyball and Amanda played with her friends.

Brooke is now in the "reading chair" so I guess that leaves me with the beanbag for reading.

- Rob

Where the Battle Rages, There the Loyalty of the Soldier is Proved

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

- Martin Luther

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Everybody At Bible Study Heard Her Screaming

Today was "the day"...Amanda went back to the dentist to get her teeth cleaned and to look at the chipped molar. The good news is she was a big girl and got the teeth cleaned without a problem this time. The bad news, and it was BAD, is that she has two cavities (despite brushing twice a day) and one will require a crown. The total damage could come to over $700, and that is on top of the $160 today. I'm sure we'll manage, but we are praying for a financial miracle to take care of all of this unexpected expense. But things got better from there.

This afternoon Stan (a fellow associate pastor at the church) and I started working on the bus. The fan switch went out on the air which makes it nice and toasty picking up kids in 100 degree weather. Trying to save the church money, Stan and I attacked the problem with great bravado. Last week we took the air conditioner/heater panel out and found some burned up wires and a melted plug on the fan control switch. Just $35 later we thought we had the parts to fix the problem. Today, we took the old parts off and put on the new. We held our breath, cranked up the bus and then Stan had to slap me and tell me to start breathing again 'cause I was still holding my breath waiting for the air to come on...no air. Oh, I forgot to mention that before our "repair job" the air would come on, but you could not turn the blower up or down. Now, no air came on at all. Being the natural mechanics that we are and looking at all the unplugged stuff still in the little hole where the control panel came from we asked, "I wonder what all of these go to?" After twisting the AC control panel this way and that, we found someplace to plug something in and decided to look for a plug that might fit it. Sure enough, one of those "I-wonder-what-this-is-for" thingamajiggies fit, so we plugged that in. We held our breath again (actually, I kept breathing because I didn't want Stan to have to slap me again), cranked the engine and wa-la...the air came on! We now know the answer to the age old question, "How many associate pastors does it take to rewire an AC fan switch". The answer is two! So we figure we saved the church around $200 and we were quite proud of ourselves.

A few hours later, it was time to trade in my bus mechanic hat and come home. After a yummy spaghetti meal (Brooke makes GREAT spaghetti), Brooke left for ladies' Bible study while Amanda and I hit the books. Since we had a long weekend and since we try to avoid homework on Wednesday nights, we had a LOT of math and reading to do tonight. I got a short video clip of her reading...still seems like she progresses every day. After that, Amanda wanted to go outside and play with the water hose while I ran over to the church and got a book I want to start reading tonight. When I came back through the yard, Amanda wanted me to play with her. How can you play with a child who has a garden hose without getting wet? I, for one, do NOT like the cold, and when you get sprayed with a water hose you definitely get cold. For 20 minutes or so, we took turns chasing each other with the water hose until we were both thoroughly soaked and cold. Amanda came in, got a bath and headed to bed. We talked about the fun we had today, what a big girl she was at the dentist and then we prayed together before she fell asleep.

Brooke got home from Bible study just a few minutes ago. She asked if Amanda was outside tonight and I said "yes". She said everybody at Bible study heard her screaming and having a good time during our water fight!

So now, Brooke is sitting in "the reading chair" reading her book. I'm gonna finish posting this and read a bit myself.

- Rob

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I Think That Was My Favorite Part Of My Whole Day

It's almost 11pm on Sunday night, and I'm just sitting here chillin' listening to David Sanbourn on Yahoo! Music. I switched from Napster to Yahoo! Music just a few weeks ago when we got our new Dell Pocket DJ mp3 player. First of all, Yahoo! Music is cheaper than Napster. Napster was $9.95/month and Yahoo! (probably because it is new) is only $6.99/month. With Napster, I would have had to pay $14.95/month to be able to transfer my "rented" music to our DJ, whereas that is part of the service with Yahoo! Music at no extra charge. I spent some time tonight loading up some good music on the DJ...some good peaceful music for playing at bed time, Jerry Reed, a guy most people have never heard of named Randy Cutlip, some Beach Boys and Hooked on Classics.

I'm also chillin' because I've been relaxing with a good book tonight. I like to read, but as I've shared before, when I read what I call a "good for me" book, I read so SLOW because I underline everything and don't sit down to read that long at one stretch. If it is a book I am reading purely for enjoyment (i.e. I am not going to teach from it, therefore I do not have to underline), I read faster and more in one sitting. Anyway, I have found when I read a book purely for enjoyment, I am so much more relaxed. I can sit and read a computer newsletter online or read a book about small groups (both of which I enjoy), but they do not relax me like reading a non-study book.

I just finished "Under and Alone" which is a true story about an ATF agent who went under cover with the Mongols, and outlaw motorcycle gang worse than Hell's Angels (if you can imagine such a thing). I just picked up the book at the library on Friday and finished it tonight...it was that good. This guy was under cover for 2 1/2 years. I cannot imagine living that lifestyle for 2 1/2 days, let alone 2 1/2 years. It was quite an adrenaline rush. They guy did a great job of writing the book. Since it is written in the first person and you are reading the book, it's kinda a no-brainer to figure out he did not get caught and killed, but he did a good job of giving you a little bit of what it must have felt like to be around people all the time who would have killed you without a second thought if they knew who you really were. The other part that made the book so interesting was the agent's inner struggle after sharing 2 1/2 years of his life with these guys. He knew they were REALLY bad and needed to be in prison, but he had developed quite a relationship with some of the guys he was with. After all the time with them, he had to face many of them in court and testify against them putting them in jail for years. Pretty good book.

We've had people in and out all day. Our church is a drop-off point for supplies to help the hurricane victims who have moved here to the Metroplex. Since the church is closed today and tomorrow, our house garage is the temporary drop off point. We've had a number of people come by today dropping off stuff.

This afternoon, I went and played racquetball with some guys from the church. It was a lot of fun, but I've figured out I'm not much of a doubles player. I could hold my own with the guys I was playing against, but I just didn't do a very good job helping whoever was partner. Spent way too much time saying "I'm sorry" to suit me. But still, it was a great time hanging out with the guys.

When I came home, Brooke and Amanda headed out to a park not too far from the house to hang out with some people from church. I was too wiped out from racquetball, so I stayed home, chilled and read. Brooke and Amanda came home around 9:30pm and then Brooke went back out with the "girls". Amanda got a bath, and then she and I sat on the couch and just talked while eating some popcorn. I think that was my favorite part of my whole day. So Amanda is in bed, Brooke is out, I'm done blogging so I think I'm gonna read more of the small group book I started ("Cell-Driven Church") and listen to the rest of this David Sanbourn CD on Yahoo! Music.

-Rob

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Answer Those Who Cry Out to You

Dear God,

As I read through my posts of the past few days and then I watch the news...I'm convicted. People have lost everything and I'm focused on my racquetball game. It's not that racquetball is wrong, I guess I just know I need to be praying more. Our church is mobilizing to help. The need is just so overwhelming.

Oh God, how can people say we don't need You or act like You don't exist? How can people watch the news and think that man is basically good? Look how scary people get when they are part of a mob. I don't see how anyone can live through this and not turn to You, and yet some people try to blame You. We are a sinful nation, and I repent.

Lord, I pray for those who have lost loved ones. I cannot imagine how that must feel, and then losing your home and all you have on top of that. God, I pray that You will be the strength for those who have no more strength. I pray for the rescue workers as this must be an overwhelming task. I pray for those responsible for making decisions on how to get help out to people...directors of National Security, FEMA, the Red Cross and others. God, I pray for our police officers and military who are putting their lives on the line to serve. Please keep them safe.

And God, as I think of the looters, all I can think about prayer-wise is how David, in the Psalms, prayed that you would avenge him of his enemies and how he prayed for You to destroy them. It's one thing to be in desperate need of food and water, but God, I pray for swift judgment against those who are pillaging people's homes and places of business. I pray God that your judgment would move swiftly.

Why is this not a wake up call to our country, God? How can people not look at this and see how ill-prepared we are to face this one problem. Yes, it's huge, but what would have happened if 5 cities had flooded like New Orleans? What if 5 cities had been nuked? We can't take care of people like we need to, people pillage and riot and the drop of a hat, mob mentality is taking over, people are dying from lack of care and everybody from hospitals to schools are overwhelmed. Oh God, our country needs You like never before! Let this humble us and show us our dependency on You. God, use this to CRUSH our self-reliance...we are totally reliant on You.

Lord, I pray for the children living through this. God, those who have been separated from their parents. Reunite them quickly I pray. Protect the children. Be a Father to those who have lost parents. God, be with those who have nothing on which to build. If Arlington were destroyed, God where would I go? I cannot imagine the hopeless feeling this must bring to so many people. God, let them turn to You. Be their source I pray.

Answer those who cry out to You.

-Rob