Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Lesson In Estate Planning

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.

When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

Her natural beauty took his breath away. "I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One Reason Why I Love Texas

One of the reasons I LOVE Texas is because of the weather. No, not the high humidity, at or above 100 degree summer days, but days like today. January and 66 degrees. We have a saying, "If you don't like the weather, stick will change". I have been waiting (impatiently) for a change in the weather for two reasons: 1) it's been too cold these past few weeks and 2) I want to ride my motorcycle. So today, the weather was nice and I got to ride. Since we can't leave Amanda at home by herself, she got to go with me and Brooke stayed at home (can't wait for more warm weather and Friday motorcycle dates with Brooke while Amanda is in school!). There was stuff going on at the Ft. Worth Stockyards today, so we headed in that direction taking the back roads:

Once we got there, I was sorry I did not bring my camera. I did snap a couple pictures with my cell phone, but I would have taken more if I had a better camera with me. The first thing we did was stop and watch a street artist painting. It was fascinating watching him work. Amanda kept saying, "That's what I want to do". As we left the painter and walked on down the street, we saw a cowboy riding a Texas Longhorn. Where else can you see this?

We headed down the street to check out a couple shops and to get some ice cream. On the way back, Amanda spotted this jail and we had to stop for another picture. We have a very 'special' child!

After this, we headed back to the motorcycle. We passed the blue-eyed 'Indian chief' who was posing in full costume with his horse for pictures and we passed 50 or more other motorcycles on the way. We had a great time hanging out and saw some things we want to do another time.

On the way home, I found a park along the Trinity River I want to take Brooke to on our first Friday motorcycle date. We can go for a walk, hold hands and walk along the river. That will be a fun day, too.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Geocaching Comment

Hiding a good geocache requires a bit of thought. First you have to find a good place for the hide, and then it helps to hide a container full of stuff that people would like to find. My favorite geocache that I have hidden is a multi (4 parts - part 1 gives you the coordinates for part 2, part 2 has coordinates for part 3, etc) with a giant Sam's animal cracker barrel wrapped in cammo duct tape. I found a very pretty area to hide it in, but the area is being developed and parts number 2 & 3 probably won't be around much longer. But I put a lot of work in this cache, BINY In My Life -Amanda Kay. It was named after my daughter and holds a very special place in my heart.

So when you put a lot of effort into a cache, it's always nice to receive a positive comment. Here's a comment I received from someone logging this cache today: This was a rockin multi! I really hope this one stays around for awhile so everyone can experience the same enjoyment I did. What a beautiful day for a hike.

It's gonna be a nice day tomorrow. Should I go geocaching or ride my motorcycle...or geocache on my motorcycle?

Be Tough

Tough times don't stick around...
but tough people do.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rethinking the Value of Ritual

Wikipedia (referencing the Oxford dictionary) defines ritual as "a set of actions, often thought to have symbolic value, the performance of which is usually prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community by religious or political laws because of the perceived efficacy of those actions"

I got to thinking about rituals tonight as I was reading where God established the ritual of Passover in Exodus 12.

Ex 12:14 - 'Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (NAS)

Ex 12:24-27 - And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. 25 "When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. 26 " And when your children say to you, ' What does this rite mean to you?' 27 you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'" (NAS)

I noticed two (rather obvious) things here: It was important to God 1) that His people remember what He did for them and 2) that they pass this remembrance along to future generations. He chose a ritual to serve both of these purposes in this passage.

I got to thinking how we in the Protestant church in general and even more so as the Charismatic church have devalued ritual. (I'm not wagging a finger...I understand how/why this started. Rituals can all-too-easily lose their meaning and either become mindless or become the focus instead of a reminder of what the where the focus is supposed to be.) I remember one lady who came to our church for a while asked me if our church held Maundy Thursday services. I told her no, we did not, but I did not tell her I didn't even know what Maundy Thursday was. I knew Maundy Thursday was the Thursday of Holy Week, but I did not know much more than that until I researched it tonight.

Somewhere along the way, I thought about the double standard some of us in the Protestant, Charismatic church have about rituals. We avoid "Christian rituals" often times because they are "dead and meaningless". But if our children wanted to role-play a 'Satanic ritual' from a book, TV show or whatever, we would begin an all-night prayer vigil for their souls and immediately launch into a 30 minute sermon (unless it was an "innocent" cartoon or game that is indoctrinating our children...but I'll leave that for another time). Why is it that we assign "power" to a Satanic ritual and yet no power to a Godly ritual? The Apostle Paul taught us just the opposite (1 Corinthians 8:4-6) talking about food sacrificed to idols.

I will end this post the way I end my daily Bible study...with the question "How do I need to respond?" Here is what I wrote down tonight:
  1. Figure out what are some of the rituals of my faith. Stop and think about them instead of repeat them mindlessly. Research them to appreciate the meaning more fully.
  2. Perhaps read more about some of the rituals of the Church that I no little or nothing about.
  3. Consider what I am passing on to Amanda as far as rituals of the Hurt family's faith.
If you are a Christian, what meaning do rituals hold in your life?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One Semester of Spanish - Spanish Love Song

I've had just enough Spanish to find this absolutely hilarious!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We Love Volunteers

At our church, Vine Fellowship, we LOVE our volunteers. Last year, we even did a video to show how lost we'd be without them. As I was looking at our video on YouTube, I found this volunteer appreciation video done at Saddleback Church. I loved it and thought I'd share it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

On the Verge of Something WILD

I read this blog post, "Everything Is An Experiment" by Mark Batterson, a blogger and pastor I have been reading the past few months. This blog posting pretty much summarizes the guy's life. He's a "grab the lion by the mane" kind of guy. Seems to be pretty much my opposite personality-wise, but God has been challenging me BIG TIME through some of the stuff this guy has been writing.

I get ideas, don't get me wrong. And some of them, I guess, could be labeled "creative". But I don't consider myself a particularly creative person. I get things done, but I don't know about being creative.

Something has caught my attention for the past three to four months...a drive to be a creative (and effective) communicator. God directed me to a couple books and several blogs that have stirred up this new-found passion. I felt God working something in my heart, and I didn't quite know how to put it into words. I asked Him about it, and the drive got stronger, but not any clearer. I began to wonder if the drive was to take me into areas of ministry where I never pictured myself (senior pastor). Some of the people I know, not knowing what I was experiencing, had encouraged me in that direction (said they could see me there one day). But that just seemed so opposite how God has made me (I believe I have an armor-bearer's calling on my life).

In December, I was sharing with another good friend whose opinion I respect very much. I was trying to communicate what has been on my heart. I told him I was confused because I didn't know where God was leading with this all-consuming passion. As we talked, he finally came right out and said, "I can't picture you being a senior pastor" and I just felt a flood of relief. I was looking for somebody to confirm what I felt in my heart. I didn't want to "hold out" on God, but I know how He has made me and stepping out of my armor-bearer calling just did not feel right.

And then at the first of the year, we had our annual staff retreat. One of my favorite parts of the retreat is where we spend a couple hours as a staff praying for one another. One person sits in a chair and others pray for him/her. During this time, we allow time for God to speak a word of direction, wisdom, encouragement or prophecy to us, through one another. When it was my turn to be prayed for (to be honest), I expected to hear some of the same things that have been prayed over me in the past (you are faithful, loyal, man of integrity, etc). I was blown away when God started speaking to me about increasing my teaching ministry this year and having to trust Him by stepping out in a bigger way. Everything that was said was one confirmation after another. I had been hearing God, He would be opening the doors, and what He was working was going to be much bigger than I would have envisioned myself. I was afraid to even share what God has been speaking in my heart, yet here God was saying it OUT LOUD through my pastor and my peers.

So I still don't know what ALL this means. I have been praying. God has made it clear that there will be a sacrifice of time required and that I will have to step out in faith. What He wants to do with me is bigger than me (doing something bigger than my talent wouldn't take much). I'm still praying and seeking.

Right now, I feel like God is still saying, "It's coming." I'm not sure what all "it" is. I'm both excited and nervous. I'm excited because I feel God has spoken that He is going to use me in a specific way. I can see where He has lead me to this point. I'm nervous because He has also made it clear that this will be Him in me and not me in my own strength. I know (better than anybody else), the limited talent I draw from. That part makes it easy to rely on also makes it hard because He has said this will take me out of my comfort zone.

I'm still asking God how it starts, when it starts, what does this all mean. I don't know when the time will be or even how I'll know it's time, but I sure get the feeling I'm on the verge of something WILD.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I was watching TV late Tuesday or Wednesday night and saw an advertisement for an Arenacross race at Reunion Arena. Brooke had been with my Dad and I once before and liked it, and I figured Amanda would be game for it at least once. I checked with Brooke and bought the tickets next day. We went to the race last night and had a good time. I'm ready to go back in March, but the girls suggest it might be a good "Guys Night Out". They both enjoyed it, but it was more of a "once-is-enough-for-me-right-now" deal for them.

Anybody wanna go to Supercross at Irving Stadium on Saturday, April 5th? With surcharges, tickets are $13 nosebleed seats or $35 for good seats (I'm up for either). Let me know.

500 Geocaches

My goal was 500 geocaches by my birthday this coming Thursday. Well, I made it! Brooke and Amanda went with me yesterday and we found caches #498, 499 and 500 (pictured here). Amanda has not cached in a while and 'caught the bug' again, so we went and did two more. Amanda has 321 and says she wants to get to 400, so that will be our next goal.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dangerous Dave and Brutal Bob (Time Waster)

Click the picture to play the game.

To play the game, click your mouse once to get Dangerous Dave to appear on the screen. Click a second time to send Dangerous Dave toward the click and back swing Brutal Bob's bat. Click a third time as Dangerous Dave comes by so Brutal Bob can help launch him over the cliff. My record is 867.5 meters after getting help from several gophers.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Here's the Headlines I'm Following

Along the right side of my blog, there's a section with the header "Here's the Headlines I'm Following." This section shows the last 5 stories/blog posts I have shared with Google Reader. I put it there because it gives a little insight into things that interest me or catch my attention.

Anyway, there is now link to an interview Rob Bell did with Relevant Magazine. I wanted to quote just one part of an answer he gave to the question, " By being innovative, you face critics. How do you deal with this?"

Thirdly, there are around a billion people in the world who don’t have drinking water, and 46 million Americans don’t have health care. That means if they get sick, they don’t have anywhere to go. Half of the world, 3 billion poeple live on less that two American dollars a day, so the world is an emergency. It’s on fire. It’s drowning. It’s an absolute crisis, and when followers of Jesus can think of nothing better to do with their time than to pick apart and shred to pieces the work of other followers of Jesus who are trying to do something about the world, that’s tragic, and I don’t owe those people anything.

The world is desperately in need of people who will break themselves open and pour themselves out for the reconciliation of all things. When a Christian can find nothing better to do with their time in the face of this much pain and heartbreak, you start realizing that some Christians need to be saved. How a person would have energy to take shots at other Christians is just mind-boggling. You have to be so totally disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow a redemptive use of your time.

I tried to link to the whole story, but the Relevant site was having a few difficulties when I posted this. You can go there and look around yourself if you wish. I just thought this was an insightful response.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

From My Bible Reading Tonight

The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days (AFTER raining for 40 days/40 nights). BUT GOD REMEMBERED Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in th ark... (Genesis 7:24-81)

Just a good reminder for me when I wonder if God 'remembers' me in my "situations".

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Logging a Geocache

For the uninitiated, Geocaching is a sort of treasure hunt. You can check out my Geocaching links along the right side of my page if you would like more information. But to appreciate this post, you have to understand "logging". A person uses a GPS to find the geocache, they sign the log (a little piece of paper located inside the geocache container) and then log onto and "log" the find there. You basically go to the cache listing, click on "found it" and then write some little note about your experience.

Some people find, say 25 caches in one day. They will log "found this cache today with GeoFred" and they copy/paste that for all 25 logs. BORING! People like to read stories about how you found the cache, funny things that happened, how you struggled to find it, etc.

So I found The Liar's Cache yesterday and went to log it today. This cache owner has very specific logging requirement to log your find. They said, "
Your mission is to seek out and find this simple 1/1 cache, but to log it as if it were a difficult 5/5. And I expect detail! I want to hear, in just the on-line log, about broken limbs, four mile hikes uphill both ways, days of searching. I expect creativity! I expect ingenuity! And most of all, I expect substance!?"

In other words, you are supposed to make up (LIE) a story about your find. What a fun idea! My log is quoted below. (I's LONG. If you can't handle long, just skip it).

You see, I had to go pick up a chain saw from the repair shop yesterday, and the shop was on the other side of town. Since it was a bit of a drive, and since there were a few caches between here and there (if you plan your route correctly), I figured I could grab a couple. I originally planned on 3 geocaches, but the going was so good yesterday, I ened up logging nearly 400 cahces in just two hours! Only problem was, I did not have CacheMate with me...all I had was the GPS. When I found this cache, I was not sure what was going to be asked of me as far as logging requirement, but I see you cleared that up for me. So here's almost the truth, part of the truth, and little of the truth, please forgive me, God.

As I approached the cache, my first mistake was overestimating my car's ability to cross what I thought to be at shallow creek (the murky water hid it's true depth). I totally ruined the new $275 tennis shoes my wife bought me at Payless for Christmas as I had to get out of the car to retrive the jack. Of course, water flooded into the car as soon as I opened the door. I retrieved the jack only to discover that I could not find a solid part of the car frame by feel, so I made a make-shift snorkel out of a McDonalds straw (something I learned from MacGyver) and went under water trying to find a solid spot for the jack. Once again, the murky water was not it looks like I have a piece of cottage cheese in the corner of my eye and my wife fears it is some sort of infection!

Fortunately for me, I thought to take off all of my clothes before attempting this work under water (something I learned from Bear on Man vs. Wild), because it took me 30 minutes to find enough large rocks to prop up under the jack to enable me get the car out of the creek. I was nearly hypothermic by the time I got dressed, but I was more determined than ever to grab the cache at this point.

Obviously the engine flooded sitting in the creek that long, but thanks to my subscription to AAA (Alabama Automotive Advice), I knew I could coast down a hill, pop the clutch and get the car running again. Well, you know that "little hill" near the cache? I figured I could use that to get the car started. I put the car in neutral, stepped out to get behind it to start pushing and the danged car rolled down the hill without me! I found it impossible to put the car in gear and pop the clutch while running behind the car down the hill. Did you know that creek you cross first coming in off the main road (the one where my car got stuck originally) feeds into the river at the bottom of that hill? Is that strange coincidence or what?

This time, I knew there was no using the jack to get the car out...I'd just have to call the wife and have her bring the sled dogs later. But I could see the cache from where I was standing and knew I had to take care of business first.

Seeing how high up the tree the cache was, I knew I was going to need my climbing gear. This was rather disappointing since I was still cold from my last swim and I realized my climbing gear was in the trunk of the car. But I figured I was already committed by this time, so once again, I disrobed and started swimming toward the car. Half way there, I realized my keys were still in my pants pocket. I was going to swim back to get them, but about this time, three waitresses from the diner next door were getting off work and walking by. I took a deep breath, dove down to the car and waited in there, breathing from an air pocked trapped near the roof, until I figured they were gone. While doing this, I saw the chain saw sitting in the back seat, and that gave me an idea. I took a deep breath, grabbed the chain saw and headed toward the surface. Fortunately, the waitresses were gone...unfortunately, they took my clothes with them!

But hey, you don't get to 1,000,000+ caches like I have by giving up easily. I swam to shore, walked up to that big 'ol tree, fired up the chain saw (it just came out of the shop, so it fired up the first time despite having been under water...who'd have thunk it?) and cut that gosh danged tree to the ground. Since the cache owner was not kind enough to leave a pen in the cache, I fired up the chain saw one more time, took off just a thin layer of the pointer finger on my left hand and signed the log in blood. OK, it was my left hand, so PLEASE EXCUSE ME if it's a little hard to read.

But that's when my luck turned bad. Suddenly, that wafer-thin layer I had taken off my finger started to GUSH blood...I mean it was everywhere. I saw my shoes lying there (don't know why the waitresses didn't take them) and I was trying to fashion a tourniquet from a shoestring when I must have passed out.

Next thing I knew, my wife was laying next to me, I tasted terrible morning breath and the clock on the nightstand said 7:02am. My wife looked at me and asked, "Were you dreaming? You were thrashing about mumbling something about your shoes being ruined and never eating there again."