Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God At The Movies Starts This Sunday

Dear Friends,

Welcome to God at the Movies, a three week sermon series beginning today. Jesus was a story teller and he used stories to help people understand truths about the Kingdom of God. In our generation, story telling often takes place at the movies so, over the next three weeks, we will be using story lines and scenes from recent movies to help us understand God’s truth today. The movies are not “religious” or trying to communicate a religious message...they are merely stories of our time that can be used to illustrate truths from God’s Word.

Illustrations for today’s message are taken from the movie 127 Hours. If you are familiar with the real-life story behind this movie, you know it’s a pretty shocking story...and that’s precisely why we are referring to it today. We often like to quote Jesus when he said things like “Love your neighbor” and “judge not lest you be judged”, but sometimes we forget that Jesus called people to do some pretty radical things. Jesus was killed because of what he taught, and today we’re looking at one of the less tame teachings of Jesus.

For those of you who like it a little more tame, next week Pastor Philip’s message will be illustrated with the movie Tangled and will be kid-friendly as our children will be staying with the adults during the sermon. Then our series will conclude on August 7th with Pastor Matt using the movie Tron Legacy.

We are going to have a great time and I hope you can join us for the whole series. Be sure to pick up a bag of popcorn on your way out today and be sure to invite a friend next Sunday!

(This post comes from the Pastor's Note column in Sunday's bulletin, 07-24-11)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shooting With Daryl Parker

Today I cashed in my Father's Day present and got my two hour private shooting lesson with Daryl Parker from Top Shot, Season 2. I learned a lot and had a blast (literally...but more about that later). There was nobody else there besides Daryl and me, so I only got the one picture. Getting just one picture was the only thing I regretted.

I met Daryl at the future location of his Top Shot style shooting competitions. It was not a range with bays, concrete, backstops, etc. It was a wooded area surrounded by berms and ideal for shooting. When I arrived I saw a stand for paper targets, three different style steel targets and a line with coke cans hung on it.

My first exercise was a dry fire exercise so Daryl could give me pointers on my grip, stance and trigger pull. He said my grip was fine but gave me a few pointers on my stance. Then it was time to shoot!

Most of our shooting was 5-9 yards I would guess. I first shot at a bullseye target from 7 yards or so. All my shots were center mass, but quite a few were low and left. Daryl said this was common for right handed shooters and meant that I was jerking the trigger and probably holding the pistol too tightly with my pinky fingers. I adjusted for the next magazine and went right...a common over-compensation for what I had just been told. Basically I was limp wristing. I then shot at different point numbers on the target at the 12,3,6 and 9 o'clock positions. Again, the majority were going left and low, but not as low (slight improvement after a few rounds of this).

Next were the larger steel targets. I have shot these at Texas Combat Shooters, so I did OK. There was one steel plate that would swing back and forth after being hit it and I was supposed to hit it, let it swing and hit it again as it was swinging back away from me. The drill was for timing and accuracy. When I tried to focus on both of these...they BOTH suffered. But I got better as I went on.

After that, Daryl asked if I had ever drawn from my holster and shot from my hip. I have not, so he showed me what to do and let me give it a try (maybe 5 yards). I hit all 5 shots in center mass.

From there we went to the dueling tree. This one made me nervous because I have not done so well the only other time I tried these at Texas Combat Shooters. I hit about 50%. Daryl gave me some pointers and then we did a modified duel. I did not shoot his targets, but he shot mine back after I would turn them. No competition there, but it was fun.

After that, Daryl pointed to the coke cans hanging on the line and suggested I give those a try. I REALLY did not have much confidence that I could hit these. To my surprise, I hit the first one with my first shot. It was not luck because I hit others, but I was still missed plenty hitting only 4 of the 7 cans using 8 rounds during my best attempt.

At this point I had shot about 100 rounds and we took a break because it was HOT outside in Texas (imagine that). We talked mostly about the Top Shot show and what it was like being in the house and on the show. That was interesting.

After the break, Daryl put up a hostage target which was a challenge to me because the guy is holding the gun in his left hand meaning a miss to my typical low, left would hit the hostage. I did pretty well making my head shots but I was not too quick. I drew and fired 2 good shots in 2 seconds. We practiced a couple different drills with this target.

The next exercise was a 4 stage run, two shots at the larger steel target, run to the next stage and put two rounds into the head of the bad guy on the hostage target, run to the swinging steel target and hit it twice and then hit the coke can behind the swinging target. On my first run, I could not count when I loaded my magazine so I ran out of ammo before my coke can shot. I ran it a second time and got a perfect score. I just barely grazed the coke can but Daryl said a graze counts as a hit, so I'm sticking with my story.

Lastly, Daryl had me practice some magazine changes. One round to the head of the bad guy on the hostage target, drop my magazine, reload and another round to the head. He gave me some pointers for smoother, faster magazine changes and this is something I need to work on.

So my lesson was over but Daryl told me he had a surprise. He brought out a rifle chambered for .17 HMR and a video camera. I have never shot this round and did not know much about. The bullet is smaller and much faster than a .22 long rifle. Anyway, he brought out the rifle, the bullets and all the stuff to mix...EXPLODING TARGETS! There were some the size of a half dollar that I got to shoot from about 60 yards and then some that produced serious concussion. The small ones were not as loud, but they were pretty cool because there was a lot of flash. Watching them explode through the scope basically blinded you from seeing anything else when they first exploded. My first shot at the larger explosive container was a hit only after a ricochet off the table so it did not explode. The container was compromised and even another shot did not set it off. Daryl brought the container up closer to where we were shooting pistol. I asked him if he wanted me to video tape since he was shooting this one but he said no because he did not think it would explode. Boy do I wish we got that on tape. A HUGE explosion that totally destroyed the paper target stand that was holding it! After that Daryl let me shoot the magnum exploding target...4x louder than the one Daryl shot up close. I think it took two shots to hit this target, but when it did...KA-BOOM! And the coolest part of this...Daryl captured this part on video and said he would be posting some of the footage on his Facebook page. I will post a comment/update when the video is online and/or I have posted it to my Facebook page.

My only regret today was not getting a few more pictures and some video. I learned so much and had a great time. I hope I will be able to show an improvement next time I shoot with Texas Combat Shooters. Daryl was a true professional and a very nice guy. I got every penny's worth of the money Brooke spent to purchase my lesson. I believe this was the best Father's Day gift I have ever received.