Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Big Texas Toy Run 2007

I had to wait a week to blog about our ride in the Big Texas Toy Run because I was waiting to get pictures and video from friends who were there. Here's a video I put together. You can also see all our pictures on Flickr here. What an awesome experience!

We met at Ed's house at 8:00am. The Weather Channel said it was 30 degrees. The original plan was to head to downtown Ft. Worth, get our bikes in line, eat breakfast and then hang out until it was time for the ride to start. When it got so cold, the plans changed and were going to eat here in Arlington in hopes that it would warm up before we had to ride to Ft. Worth. However, since Amanda was wearing her heavy winter overalls and I was wearing 2 sweatshirts under my jacket and three layers of pants, I voted to go ahead and ride downtown rather than have to stop and take off all the extra clothes we just put on. So, at 30 degrees we rode to Ft. Worth. Amanda said her toes felt like they were going to fall off, and that's how each of the motorcycle drivers felt about our fingers, too! More than one of us thought back to the Discovery Channel series about climbing Mt. Everest and the guys who got frost bite on their fingers!

We arrived in downtown Ft. Worth cold but with fingers and toes still intact. We ate at LaMadeline's (only place open for breakfast) and then walked around looking at bikes (bikes, bikes and more bikes!), enjoying the variety of people there (everyone from Christian biker clubs to outlaw bikers, crotch rockets to Gold Wing touring bikes) and seeing the sites including Santa Claus and an "elf" (see the pictures).

We got back to our bikes around 12:20pm. Thirty minutes later, a ROAR was heard as thousands of bikes started. Promptly at 1:00pm the line headed out. Although we could see the front of the line from where we were, it took a while for us to get moving as bikes flowed in from side streets in front of us.

We took a couple turns downtown and then got onto Interstate 30. Bikers rode two-to-a-lane in staggered formation in the lane shut down just for us. Well-wishers lined the side of the highway as well as the over passes...they were everywhere.

As we came to I-30 and Eastchase, we pulled off and said hello to our family who was there to cheer on the bikers and greet us. We stayed there for a few minutes and then got back into traffic for the ride to the Convention Center.

At the Convention Center we parked and went inside. A mountain of toys covered one wall. (You had to pay $10/person or bring a toy to ride...it was a fund raiser for handicapped kids.) They had an opening prayer, the singing of the national anthem and then Santa Claus rode in and up onto the stage. Kids were on the stage who had written to Santa with what they wanted for Christmas. The letters were read and the wishes were fulfilled. I don't know how many kids were there that day, but I know there were not enough kids for all of the toys. I am sure MANY kids from MANY organizations got some great toys for Christmas.

The only problem we have is what to do next year. Amanda wants to go again and now Brooke wants to go to.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taking a "Sip" From a Fire Hydrant

One of my passions is helping people discover how God has shaped them for ministry, to discover how to use the things that come "naturally" to them to serve others and love God.

One of the things I've discovered while observing and reading about different personality types, motivational gifts, etc is that every personality type strength has a negative corollary. Right now, I am PAINFULLY aware of this truth in my own life. Here's why:

I am looking for a church-wide campaign to present at our staff meeting next month...something like the 40 Days of Purpose our church did several years ago. The subject matter (What's my purpose in life?) drew a lot of unsaved people, the structure helped us disciple them and church-wide nature of it (kids, youth, Life Groups, personal reading and Sunday's message) helped bring unity to the church. So I found this book entitled In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day. Pastor and author of the book, Mark Batterson, created a series to go along with the book and has made materials available so that other churches can use it. 70% of their congregation (National Community Church) is made up of people who either have not attended church ever or have been away for a long time. That's the target audience the Lord has laid on my heart, so I thought this book/series might be worth looking into. The seven main sections of the series are: Defying odds, Facing fears, Overcoming adversity, Embracing uncertainty, Taking risks, Seizing opportunities and Looking foolish. I thought this series had a lot of potential, so I download the free preview first chapter of the book and read Mark's blog overview of each of his seven messages.

Having done all of that, I feel the series has potential for what the Lord has laid on my heart. But here's the interesting thing...I've been given no "green light" to pursue or plan this...I was just researching so I could present the idea. I don't know where the campaign idea will go, but it seems God wanted to challenge me personally through this book/series. The whole idea is to be a "lion chaser"...pretty much the exact opposite of me. As a matter of fact, part of the bio I put on our church staff page was "I have a low need for adventure." It's part of my personality...part of who I am.

I changed that part of my bio a few months ago because I did not like the context in which I used it. But point being, it is part of who I am. Here's the positive/negative aspect. On the positive side, I am a very faithful person. If I tell you I will do something for you, you can count on me. And I will not be someplace else next week...I will still be here, doing what I said. On the negative side, if God wants me to do something, He has to make me very uncomfortable to get me to move. In light of the book/series I've been researching, I'm the exact OPPOSITE of a lion chaser!

So I'm pretty uncomfortable right now. I don't know in what areas yet, but God is definitely trying to say something to me about being a lion chaser...something along the lines of Defying odds, Facing fears, Overcoming adversity, Embracing uncertainty, Taking risks, Seizing opportunities or Looking foolish. And because that is so much opposite of who I am, God is not using that "still small voice" they taught us about in Bible college. He is speaking through this book, written by a guy who is definitely a lion chaser. It's like trying to take a "sip" from a fire hydrant...it can't really be done.

So you can pray for me that I won't retreat into my comfort zone and that I won't be so overwhelmed that I do nothing. I know God is doing this for my own good, but I sometimes think He laughs when He does stuff like this to/for me!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's a Family Tradition

It's a little after 11pm, I'm sleepy and wanting to go to bed. But I can't because I have to wait for our "Hot Stuff" to finish cooking. Hot Stuff is the name the Hurt family gave our recipe for Chex mix. We made it every Christmas when I was growing up, and it's a tradition that is carried on in our home now. We've added to the tradition...every year we make our Hot Stuff while watching Sound of Music. Yes, all three hours every year.

So if you want to know why we call it "Hot Stuff", here's our Chex mix recipe:
  • 1 box Cheerios
  • 1 box Wheat Chex
  • 1 box Corn Chex
  • 1 box Rice Checks
  • 1 Can Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 Can Mixed Nuts
  • 1 pkg. pretzels
  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1/4 c. Wishteshire sauce
  • 1 T. celery salt
  • 1 T. onion salt
  • 1 T. cayenne pepper
Melt butter. Add remaining ingredients. Mix over cereal. Bake 1 hr. at 250 stirring every 20 minutes.

I Guess I Just Don't Get It

I first heard about an I-35 "Highway of Holiness" movement a few months ago, but I've been seeing more about it on the Internet recently. Here is the second video news story I have seen on the issue.

I certainly don't have a problem using I-35 as a strategic place to pray for our country, but are there people who really think God had US Interstate Highway 35 in mind when he led Isaiah to write Isaiah 35?

I tried to find out more about this "movement" and visited Generals International. I then visited the official "Light the Highway" web page, but it appears to be a wiki-type page, and it seems to have been 'hacked' with "666 Satan Rules" on many of it's pages. But on the main page on the right side toward the bottom is a section for "I-35 Prophecies". I know God does not communicate to us only in my left-brained, want-it-logical manner, but I don't get it when I read some of these prophecies. I hope somebody is going to hold them accountable for what they have proclaimed in the name of the Lord. Maybe it's me...I just didn't realize that the US, and Dallas specifically played such a major role in prophecy and the end times.

The Lord took me on a journey and He reminded me that several years ago Ruth Ward Heflin wrote a book called “The Glory”, and she said in that book – I marked it and read it half dozen times – that the greatest out pouring of the Holy Ghost – the last day move of God that the epicenter of that revival would be in Dallas, Texas. And then a year or two later I was watching Marcus Lamb’s Sky Angel program and just a few months before she died and when to heaven and she repeated the whole story. She told the story and said she saw in Dallas, Texas – it was a vision and I saw in the vision and a huge stage and on that stage were people being healed, miracles and signs and wonders like it was in the 48 revival in Dallas, Texas – and all of a sudden I looked up and standing on the stage was Mommy Lindsay standing there. Sister Freda Lindsay was standing on the platform and she said that was my vision. And God says – I am saying tonight could that be the fulfillment of this vision."

"He said there was 40 days of fasting & prayer there and Cindy came along and another 40 days. Remember Moses went for 40 days of prayer and fasting – came down and went back up. 80 days – that’s a double, double anointing that’s going to come on this revival. So there has been 80 days of prayer and fasting in Dallas, Texas for this move." (So, if another movement is started and 3 groups fast for 40 days each, will God give it a triple blessing?)

"He said speak to the
Trinity of Dallas the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And I wish I had the Trinity pastor here – He said tell the pastor at Trinity at Cedar Hill – I am going to give you a ride and a great big thrill because I am going by the Holy Ghost and Trinity will explode with the power of God in 2006." (Did this happen?)

"Evangelist Mahesh Chavda prophesies to Texas on October 29, 2005 at Ten Nights of Miracles, an event hosted by Generals International. He declares that Texas is an instrument the Lord is going to use to spread the Gospel across the Earth."

Dallas, Texas! I.E. "The Metro" will see the [new wind] of My Spirit from September to December. Yes, four months of stirring, shifting and sifting! Re-ordering of things to prepare for the downpour of My Spirit! YOU will be called to go all over the Metro! South- Red Oak, Cedar Hill and Oak Cliff. Even Waxahachie! She is on I-35 too! North Dallas to Denton! My Glory will be seen in Glory of Zion! Steve Hill's house will be filled, yes, flooded! Brownsville will be jealous! West-Hurst, Grand Prairie, Irving. Fort Worth and Bob Nichols! Ha! Yes, this will be like the time when Rodney Howard Brown saw unusual moving of My Spirit. Laughter, many slain in My Spirit for many days. Drunk on the new wine as was seen in South Africa in Durban and other cities. Unexplainable appearances of Angels. A true Pentecostal revival, but much, much more this time! Supernatural manifestations of healings, deliverances, callings in the five-fold ministries. (The four months spoken of here is September-December. Has this happened?)

The LAST thing I want to do is mock a true Word of God, but something just troubles my spirit every time I hear about this movement. If you get it, maybe you can explain it to me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Scientists Debunk "Global Warming"

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"

Click here to read it for yourself. Please forward the link to our friend, Weird Al.

Bill Cosby Quote

"A word to the wise ain't necessary -

it's the stupid ones that need the advice."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa Claus:An Engineers Perspective

I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau).

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second --- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them--- Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance --- this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.

The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accellerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Chumby


Here's a neat gizmo that my wife will be glad I did not discover until after were were done Christmas shopping for each other. This is a Chumby. It's something of a small (coffee cup size) wireless-network computer that plays different widgets and works like an alarm clock. My virtual one here is playing a Christmas countdown, weather update, Flickr digital picture frame and a clock. It's like an alarm clock on steroids! Watch my Chumby for about 2 minutes to see it cycle through the channels I have selected right now.

The thing costs $180 (can we say 'saving birthday money'?). One potential "issue" I see...the Chumby Network that provides the necessary widgets is free right now, but their TOS says they can start charging at any point. So if I traded my virtual Chumby here for a real one after my birthday (purely hypothetical), the Network could be free for a month and then I'd have to pay $6.95/month to use my new toy. Although it might be worth this price, who knows what they would actually charge...and that is a bit under handed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Geocaching with a Friend

Mike (half of the "MillerMates" geocaching team) and I geocached at the Cedar Hill Preserve today. We hiked about 4.5 miles up and down the 'hills' and found 10 caches all before it started raining, making for an enjoyable day. I haven't been geocaching in a while and it was great to be at it again. I'm up to 467 finds...will I make 500 by my birthday?

Our Special Daughter

This is Amanda "relaxing with a good book" for the evening. Special.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From the Video Archives

I was looking through some of the church videos I have posted on YouTube and came across this one. It was too fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Save the Planet...Fast on Christmas

OK, I've tried to take a break from the "global warming" posts, but the longer we go without confronting them, the kookier these people get. You can read here about the Carbon Cost of Christmas Dinner.

So if I understand correctly, I should not drive a car, I should not own cattle, I should not heat my house (bless all of those 'earth conscious' people in Oklahoma right now!), I should not have more than one child, I should not use more than one square of toilet paper, I should not pass gas and now it seems I should not eat Christmas dinner (which could also help curb the gas and toilet paper problems, I guess).

How much could we curb our global carbon emission of all of these "global warming" kooks voluntarily left our planet? Of course they would have to use a solar-powered space craft to do this so as not to pollute our planet on the way out. Maybe Weird Al can work on this, too...it shouldn't be too hard for the guy who created the Internet.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Perfect Riding Weather Today

It was perfect weather for a motorcycle ride today...about 81 degrees. No need for a jacket, no sweating and no wind. The license plate came in for my bike today, so I rode the back roads (about a 30 minute trip each way) to the motorcycle shop and back. Awesome way to relax. After I got back, there was still time before I was supposed to pick up Amanda from school (on the motorcycle at her request), so I gave it a quick wash and wax. Had to take a picture after all that work.

Grand Prairie Lights

Push the Play button if the slide show is not running.

We rode to Grand Prairie to see the lights on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It was a great time to go because there were no crowds and we had a great time. Christmas lights, hot chocolate, 2 carnival rides for Amanda and funnel cake!

My Christmas Wallpaper

It has nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas and it looks a little pixelated when I stretch it out on my desktop, but it's fun so I'm using it for now.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pastor Joke #1

Three preachers were driving down the road when they missed a turn and went into the ditch. As they pulled themselves together, a drunk pulled up and asked if they were all right.

"Oh, yes, Jesus is with us," one replied.

The drunk thought that over for a minute. "Well, you'd better let him get in with me, you're going to kill him!"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I Love Texas!

Where else can you go out and look at Christmas lights...on your motorcycle?

Amanda is spending the night with a friend, so Brooke and I went out to eat. We took the car because it looked like rain. When it didn't rain, we came home, got the bike and went out looking at Christmas lights.

I love Texas! (did I mention I love my wife, too?!)