Thursday, July 28, 2005


Once upon a time there was a beautiful family who lived in nice house in a wonderful neighborhood. These were good looking people mind you who loved to talk about what a tight knit family they were.

"I'm so proud to lead this family!" Father would announce as he straightened his tie.
"I'm so humbled to serve this family!" Mother would announce as she put on her perfume.
"I'm so honored to be part of this family!" Sister would announce as she combed her hair.
"I LOVE this family!" Brother would announce as he played his video games.

Then one day the grass in the yard began to grow.

"That yard is looking a bit unkempt and I don't like the looks of it, not one bit!" Father announced as he straightened his tie.
"I'm tired of living with that long grass." Mother announced as she put on her perfume.
"I wish our yard looked as good as the neighbors yard." Sister announced as she combed her hair.
"Doing yard work is not really my gift." Brother announced as he played his video games.

All the while, a perfectly good lawn mower sat untouched in the garage.

Finally, the yard grew so long that it began to grow up over the beautiful family in the nice house in the wonderful neighborhood.
"Well, if no one is going to do anything about that yard, I'm going to find another family to lead." Father announced as he straightened his tie.
"I'm going to find a family who appreciates me." Mother announced as she put on her perfume. "I'm going to find a family who understands my needs." Sister announced as she combed her hair.
"Who needs a family? I'll be just fine without one." Brother announced as he played his video games.

So, they took their finely tailored, sweet smelling, beautifully coifed and coordinated selves and went their separate ways.

fam-i-ly: Two or more people who share goals and values and have long-term commitments to one another.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Manufactured Anger

I was watching a documentary last night about the history of punk music and its influence on rock music today. From the underground scene of the 1970's (Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols, Ramones) to the further underground scene of the 1980's (more Ramones and other bands I'd never heard of) to its coming out party into the main stream in the 1990's (the last gasp of the Ramones) when bands like Nirvana changed everything. You can still hear their influence today in bands like Greenday and Blink 182.

Anyway, one of the people interviewed for the film was talking about the difference in culture now and 30 years ago. He said that punk rock was born out of genuine anger. Nowadays nobody cares enough to be genuinely angry. It's all just manufactured anger and the results are not the same.

That struck a chord with me. To be angry about something you have to be passionate about it. We are not a passionate society. I believe that is because we hate being wrong, politically incorrect and on the losing team. You risk all of that when you follow your passion. That, and we are simply lazy.

Many people I know who consider themselves to be activists are more interested in being an activist than they are in the causes they claim to be fighting for. They want to put derogatory bumper stickers on their cars about President Bush, but they don't want to make any effort (like get out and vote) to change things; they insist on better schools, but they don't want to pay taxes; they beat you over the head with the Bible, but they don't want to sacrifice anything to help the helpless. We are a society filled with people who say they care, but rarely act on it.

Manufactured anger is a waste of time. Lazy anger is simply depression. It does nothing to help society and produces boring music. If you don't believe me, turn on your radio to any main stream pop/rock station. Sweet dreams.

If something makes you genuinely angry, get involved and do something about it! Write about it, paint about it, get your hands dirty and fix it. Write a song about it and maybe my band, the Depressed Time Wasters will play it at our next gig. That is if we ever get a gig. We're too lazy to go out and audition, but we're angry about the fact that no one will give us a chance. Not really.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Bushel Man of San Antone

Just returned from three fun days in San Antonio! I led worship at the Northside C of C Wednesday night. My theme was "A Passion for Jesus." I had a great time. They were very receptive, good listeners and they love to sing! Fun seeing Don and Chris Portell, David Allen, Andy Behrends (Kristin's dad) and others. I'm glad we caught the Portell's before they move to Nashville, but I also know they are anxious to get there.

Stephanie and Rainey went with me and we stayed for a couple of days at Sea World. We all enjoyed the water park. Steph was a bit self conscious because she is at that stage of pregnancy where you don't look pregnant, you just look like you have a gut, but I was loving it that she is starting to show a little bit! Rainey loved the roller coaster and other rides and we saw some great shows with amazing animals (give it up for Shamu!).

On the drive home last night Rainey was singing her version of "This Little Light of Mine" in the back seat. She combined two verses and sang, "Don't let the Bushel man pffft it out, I'm gonna let it shine!" I imagined what a bushel man might look like. Sounds scary to me.

Prayer request: Steph's grandmother suffered 4 "minor" strokes and is in the hospital in Idaho. Please remember her and Steph's dad and his brothers as they make difficult decisions about how to care for her.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Old Friends

My phone rang this morning at 8:30. The unmistakable voice on the other end of the line belonged to none other than Ty Lovell. My history with Ty goes back to high school and even beyond. He told me he needed a fourth for a golf tournament this afternoon. Since he is an old friend, I thought I'd help him out (yeah right, I never turn down free golf). Anyway, when I arrived at the course I found out we were playing with another old friend from high school and college, Jimmy Reynolds. What a treat! I had not spent time with Jim in years.

Ty and Jim and I played sports together, sang together, acted together and literally have so much dirt on each other that none of us would dare start mud slinging. We didn't play all that well today, but we laughed. A lot. References to old girlfriends, old teachers and tremendously stupid things we used to do kept us in stitches all afternoon.

What a blessing to have grown up with these guys. Today was about laughter, but I was also reminded how much these guys love Jesus. Ty is the Senior Pastor at a church in Decatur. He is the proud father of FOUR and is madly in love with his wife Rachel. Jim and Deanne are expecting their FIFTH child early next year and are preparing to go to Turkey as missionaries. I'm proud of both of them and thankful to call them my friends.

Thanks for thinking of me today Lovey -Boy. I can think of few ways I'd rather spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Super Blaster Fire Peanut Girl

When it comes to female super hero's, I tend to kick it old school as the kids say. Wonder Woman, the female half of the Wonder Twins and my two favorites from the same series, Bat Girl and Cat Woman are the best. I rank Cat Woman #1 because she was bad, but had a soft spot for the good guys and let's face it, she was H-O-T HOT! These days I dig the female Incredibles and Lava Girl is okay, but they can't touch those 1960's and '70's funkadelic super beauties.

Yesterday my daughter informed me that she is actually a super hero with formidable super powers. Her name? Super Blaster Fire Peanut Girl. Rolls right off the tongue doesn't it? I'm not sure what all powers she possesses, but I do know she can blast fire from her finger tips and she is a strong kicker. Perhaps the "peanut" part refers to her diminutive size. I just hope she will use those powers for good and not be tempted to join the dark side.

I also hope she will use them to protect her younger sibling from harm in the future. Stephanie had another sonogram today and it appears we have an active kid on our hands. He (and I'm only using the male pronoun here because Rainey thinks it's a boy, we don't plan to find out early) played lasso with the umbilical cord, waved to us and gave us a somewhat sarcastic salute. Do you think I'm reading a bit too much into it? Anyway, the doctor measured him at 13 weeks and 6 days which is farther along than we thought, but it's not an exact science. We'll welcome him sometime after the New Year.

In the mean time, I'll keep myself busy working on a theme song for Rainey.

If you are in danger or there's trouble in your world,
Have no fear, she is here,
Super Blaster Fire Peanut Girl!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Booster, booster be a booster. Don't be grouchy like a rooster. Booster, booster be a booster and boost our Bible school!

I don't know what that means. I never have. But it's fun to sing. We are two days into our four day VBS (or as Rainey calls it, PBS). It's a Jewish marketplace theme. Our auditorium has been turned into a marketplace with 7 different shops and the kids are enjoying making all sorts of things at the pottery shop, carpentry shop, weaving shop, musical instrument shop, spice shop, jewelry shop and candy shop. They also attend synagogue school and play at the village playground.

So many people have worked hard to make this a fun week and it has been so far. We need to take that spirit of cooperation and work ethic into other areas of ministry. Can I get an AMEN?

It's so different than the VBS I attended as a kid. I have memories of fun singing times, long periods trapped in a classroom, stale cookies and drinking bland kool-aid in a communion size cup in an attempt to re-hydrate after playing in the parking lot in 100 degree weather. (Insert grouchy old man voice) We also had to walk to the church building up hill both ways...and we liked it that way. We loved it!

Pregnancy Update: All is well. We are back with our regular doctor and coming to the end of the first trimester. Steph is getting some energy back and feeling better all the time. She still has to administer two shots a day and that is getting OLD, but so far so good. Praise God!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Great 4th

Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July, I certainly did. We spent a lazy morning sleeping, playing and cleaning house. Okay, I slept and played, Steph slept and cleaned house. I did help take our bed apart, try to fix a squeak in the frame, turn the mattress and put our bed back together. As is usually the case when I'm involved with such projects, the squeak we tried to fix was louder and more frequent when we finished.

We had a cook out in the evening at my brothers house. Hot dogs, hamburgers and pool volleyball. Hard to beat that. Then it was off to see fireworks. Only about half of the people at the party wanted to go. My mom insisted on going. She is a traditionalist and superstitious. Black-eyed peas on New Years Day and fireworks on July 4 have served her well for 69 years and she's not about to mess with a good thing.

I've never been a fireworks nut, but it is fun to watch Rainey watch the fireworks. She thinks they are pretty cool and it means staying up late which is a big treat. She was wound up last night! We parked in a friends driveway a few houses down from the park where the fireworks were being set off (thank you Miss Diane). It made for a relatively easy entrance and exit from the festivities, something for which I am truly grateful. I hate traffic inconveniences.

I am thankful for the freedom we enjoy in this country and pray that we are responsible receivers of such a gift. I'm more thankful for the freedom we have in Christ and pray for that freedom to ring throughout the world!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Political Confusion

I must admit I am probably not as involved in the political system as a good American should be. But I was born in Canada, so maybe my roots are more socialist than democratic. I do live in Texas however and I have found there is no better place to observe the sport of politics. From LBJ to Dub-ya, Ann Richards vs. Clayton Williams and my favorite current candidate for Governor, Kinky Friedman whose campaign slogan is, "Kinky Friedman for Governor. Why the hell not?" The game is never boring.

I have been amazed and confused lately as I've watched people who claim Jesus become more and more active and powerful in our political system. That's not to say we should not be involved, but I sense a hunger to be in charge and "right" that sometimes runs much deeper than a hunger to know God and walk in the paths of Jesus. And it is extremely confusing to those we are trying to introduce to Jesus.

Philip Yancey writes, "Increasingly, U.S. evangelicals have allied themselves with conservative politics. Many rallied around Ronald Reagan, the nations first divorced President, who rarely attended church and gave little to charity, while viewing with suspicion Jimmy Carter - a devoutly religious President who taught a Baptist Sunday School class throughout his term in office."

And what about European believers who feel they must support liberals in order to see social justice carried out? Or brothers and sisters in China who are communists? It can be a bit confusing.

Seems to me if God's children were actively doing the things Jesus called us to do, much of the confusion would go away. But what do I know? I'm just a young Canadian/Texan enjoying the show. For now, I'll simply say to all you Texans, and anyone else for that matter (I doubt he would turn down an extra vote or two from outside the state), Vote Kinky for Governor 2006. Why the hell not?