Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

May 10, 2011

Sitting is Killing You

I found this very interesting. My office is in need of some new furniture.

Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

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February 1, 2011

February Wallpaper

For those in our 1 John study at church I thought you might like this. A real nice desktop picture for your computer found at Challies.com. You can get it with or without a calendar – and of course it has a connection to 1 John. Check it out here.

September 9, 2010

Getting Ready for Tonight’s Game

In celebration of the Superbowl Champs kicking the season off against the Minnesota Vikings I would like to differ to the picture below, which the vikings posted on their website before the end of the NFC championship game.  Thank you for such good memories Vikings!

OUCH!!!

August 19, 2010

Thank YOU Brett Favre

August 11, 2010

Starting to Get Excited…

It is a little early, but I am starting to get excited. Last year for Katrina, this year for the Gulf oil spill…

June 17, 2010

Vuvuzelas: Love them or Hate them

Do you hate the vuvuzela? Not to worry Hitler is on your side.

Love the vuvuzela? These people do. Check out how serious they are about playing them at around 2:00 (and at 6:50 mark)  in the video.

Want to buy one?

June 14, 2010

NCAA Football Fiasco

The Big 12 Controversy has thrown me for a loop. I can’t seem to figure out up from down, north from south or  Nebraska from Ohio State lately. What really has me perplexed are two facts that have left me bewildered: Fact #1: The Big 12 is the only conference in the last decade that has legitimate claim to the best collegiate football conference outside of the SEC. Fact #2: Teams like Nebraska and Missouri have legitimate issues with the domineering bullying of Texas primarily. Fact #3 (who cares if I said there were two facts, its my blog): Who cares about Colorado? This tells you it is not about football, but markets.

Since the second strongest football conference is this vulnerable it made me think about other venues/businesses/organizations/leagues that are unknowingly over-exposed. Let’s take a look at some scary hypothetical scenarios…

  1. NASA announces it is no longer invested in space exploration. Gives me the shivers.
  2. Both Serena and Venus Williams outed early in a tennis tournament. Combine that with Federer not even making the semi-finals in the same tournament. That would totally be twilight zone.
  3. Mac comes out with an overpriced and useless piece of equipment that only die-hard mac-onites would buy (or maybe we should call it bie for buy + die; consider it cruel and unusual punishment). Lets call it the iPad.
  4. Oil company would rather see its value plummet then actually make legitimate effort to stop egregious oil leak. Oil company then comes up with brilliant idea to sell siphoned oil off for charity purposes.
  5. Within the same year – New Orleans Saints with the Superbowl, mid-major makes NCAA basketball national championship game with home court advantage, Lakers about to lose NBA Finals to a .500 team since December 2009, Chicago wins the Stanley Cup and Tiger Woods is a non factor in golf.
  6. All incumbents, regardless of party affiliation, are underdogs in their campaigns with a third party posing the possibility to have major impact on future elections.
  7. Southern Baptist Convention meets with expectations high to discuss the Great Commission.

Yup, those are all some crazy parallels just as unthinkable as the Big 12 Shuffle. Glad they are just hypothetical…

June 10, 2010

Penatrating the Lostness: Contemplating the Great Commission Resurgence

“I am a Southern Baptist who thinks the Southern Baptist Convention needs to change the way it approaches ministry” is like saying “Health Care in our country needs reform.” Everyone agrees in this respect; however, the issue of how we (Southern Baptists) are to seek change with the guidance our Lord Jesus the Savior of the world is where the real discussion begins. Enter the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

For those who do not keep up with such things the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force is going to be a hot topic at this year’s convention which meets next week in Sunny Orlando, FL. This seems appropriate with Tom Ascol’s early years’ guidance into have a study done on the topic. As some are projecting, this may be the most important convention in a decade if not longer. If you would like to listen to (a bit long) or read it you can find the report here. The best article I have read that is concerned with the GCR proposals is by Earnest J. Kelley. The one that epitomizes the sentiment best on why we need a resurgence is by David Platt.

So, what are we to make of this report? Are we going to, like Al Mohler asks, flinch? I think we already have, but before I get there let me confirm the commonalities among all SBCers.

  1. Everyone is committed to the Great Commission in the conversation. To be for or against this recommendation is not a denial of the Great Commission, but is a denial of the remedy recommended. Simple enough.
  2. Everyone wants to utilize the giving of Southern Baptists the wisest way – especially as it concerns itself with the Mission endeavors globally.
  3. The Cooperative Program is the single best thing that Southern Baptists historically have accomplished (my opinion, but I think we would find majority consensus for this).

However, we have come to this point because we have egregiously lost track of how to do 1-3 effectively. Hence the report comes in to help us reevaluate. And reevaluate it has. As Dr. Mohler asked before “will we flinch?” My answer: we already have.

I have a lot of affection and admiration for this endeavor. I really think we need to do some serious searching as a convention. In that sense I am overwhelmingly for this report. While I think this report has some minor concerns, there is one major gaffe. For me, it is the primary issue to be addressed in fixing our spending problems in relation to the advancement of the Gospel. Spending is clearly a major concern in the report.  The report doesn’t address the obsolete nature of state conventions and local associations. And while I’m not sure if the task force believed they didn’t have the right to comment on those two types of entities, if these two entities as money pits didn’t come on their radar screen or if they didn’t want to bite the hand of the sacred cow that feeds the national convention (so to speak), but for some reason it seems like no one is asking if we even need these organizational sloths.

In fact, I would dare guess (and it is a guess since I was not part of the process) that the whole reason cooperational relationships with the states and NAMB are under review is because of the perception that the Cooperative Program (CP) has become a behemoth that no longer runs efficiently. I would submit that we flinched and diagnosed the wrong symptom. Truth is I didn’t even think about it until I read the report. Why do we feel we need a convention per state or an association per county as is generally the situation?

But before we get to how state and local associations are a reflection of a bygone era, a word on why the perception that the missional spending behind the CP is untrustworthy in its current state may be a misconception. While a local church may be able to account for every cent it gives if directs its giving solely to its missionaries on the ground and its missionary endeavors abroad then my concern is that likely we will spend a lot of money on a lot of things that we don’t need to spend it on because we simply don’t know any better. We will then have a perception that comforts us because “we had to spend this money” to get into the country, etc, when in reality we have experts and conventional representative authorities on the ground who can navigate these financial pitfalls for us. Simply, we need to trust our grunts to do the ground pounding in the missional field, which also includes their own financial decision-making as an entity. In the long run, I really think by local churches trying to govern finances autonomously in international missionary endeavors we are going to lose more money. The missionaries will have less accountability with how they spend money and when we join them on missionary endeavors, if we have missionaries join us when we go, our spending will border on the foolish.  This is not to say that IMB and NAMB can’t do a better job of spending their money, just that it is not the unaccountable problem that seems to be target behind the mindset of some as they relate to this report.

However, there are two organizational entities that in large part are unaccountable in the report.  I am talking about the local Baptist Association and the State Baptist Convention. I think their days have come and gone. It is interesting to me that Ronnie Floyd in his discussion acknowledges that it would be nice if the State Conventions could get 50% of their funding to the SBC.  I think we can get over 75% to the SBC with a little retooling. Lets look at a couple of the problems and then what I think is a good solution.

State and local associations: The problems

  1. State and local associations do a poor job, if they accomplish their purpose at all if their purpose is one of aiding and equipping the local church in strengthening local ministry and equipping churches to have broader perspectives on ministry, discipleship, missions and evangelism. In sum, most state and local associations act like they exist for themselves. Much of their resources are invested in property and employees that are for the most part never seen by the local pastor nor does the local church experience any benefit from these organizations in any other manner other than being part of what generally has become a politico-religious group. Obsolete. Owning property so your local association can have softball tournaments is not a good expenditure of money, for example. My personal experience has been that DOMs attribute nothing to the local ministry. My suspicion is that this experience is normative.
  2. These entities were created when travel, technology and communication were all entirely different than they are now. Travel is now easier, technology makes communication more accessible.  We can operate with a different setup that is slimmer: less employees, less money invested in land and more money made available for missions.
  3. The call to penetrate lostness when considering the statistic that 2/3 of local missional funds stay within our 1/3 regional pocket shows the dysfunction of state & local associations. The report calls for a “decentralized” approach that looks to decentralize starting at the national level. It doesn’t make any sense to me when we have countless local associations and 50 state conventions still vying for their piece of your Great Commission dollar.  Considering who is doing a better job of evangelism & missions. NAMB is doing better than the state associations. NAMB is the expert. NAMB has the invested people. The call to undo cooperative relationships, I do not see, as giving NAMB new leadership opportunities, but less (much less).  It amazes me that we can argue for combining NAMB and IMB because of the global situation, but not recognize how antiquated state and local associations are. Reducing denomination infrastructure extends to states and local associations. This is really my point isn’t it.  If you disagree with me all you have to do to prove me wrong is show how the local church needs these two entities to accomplish the great commission in relationship with the SBC where regional associations, if they were in existence, could not do a better job. That is all you have to do.

Solutions: While the SBC does not have the authority to disband state and local associations the call certainly should have gone out in this reported that it behooves churches to reconsider the need and way we should band together in associations and conventions in regional fashions.

  1. Instead of having state conventions and local associations have a regional office. Break the country down to four or five different regions. Have that region be the point of collection for funds to forward to the SBC. Have all state schools owned by the region with trustees appointed in accordance to the state the school is in. Sell of all the excess land, etc…
  2. Use the overabundance of new found resources to hire “marketing representatives.” It is a bad term, so someone else can come up with something better. I hate to turn to corporate America for the answers, but it boggles my mind that they can figure these things out but we can’t. Companies nationally for the last 10-15 years have been reorganizing into regions instead of state offices since technology now allows for the money saving move. Marketing representatives from the regional offices go and meet with each local vendor and personalize business goals and how to achieve those goals even going so far as to help in a niche they see lacking in competitors in the local area. Now we are not in competition with other local churches, but we sure act like it. Imagine have evangelistic mentors who go out and build intentional relationships with pastors and churches and come up with discipleship programs to compliment the other programs by other churches in the area so we are working together instead of apart. Then all the local pastors become missionary strategist and contextual evangelist as the report suggests. But they become it because we are actually investing in their lives, not talking at them from a national podium.
  3. The sleekness of the regions make them more accountable. If they aren’t aiding in the equipping of the local churches, cooperating in their relationship to one another or to their cooperational relationship with the SBC it becomes abundantly clear. Five regions nationally (six counting Canada?) makes the expectation that those we place in positions of responsibility to accomplish their task in a more visible way.
  4. The regions join in cooperational relationships with IMB/NAMB in the dispersment of funds and missionaries, knowing their regions intimately. Then the regional directors can actually meet annually also and communicate better with one another. More people would be on the same missional page. Seriously, I’m totally dumfounded we aren’t talking about this.
  5. The value of the Cooperative Program is it is the bind the Holy Spirit uses between local churches, their region association, NAMB/IMB and seminaries. Accountability on spending will become easier to track, with oversight and transparency easier and more readily available.
  6. SBC in conjunction with the five regions create a sabbatical ministry that focuses on four things: educational growth of the pastor, spiritual renewal of the pastor, marital strengthening of the pastor’s family and vitality of the local church while the pastor is gone. This means having available ministers who come in to shepherd the flock while the pastor is on sabbatical as well as having relationships with institutes of higher learning for special programs oriented toward times of renewal, a getaway site with counseling provided for marital strengthening, etc… We can afford this type of ministry now. Think of the small churches. This is where this ministry is most needed, and where it it is most likely never to be available.

In summary, a grassroots effort seems to be the biggest need, which translates for me in a better representation of the type of pastor and laity found in churches.  Grassroots efforts means an abandonment of mass produced materials and replacing it with representatives that can build visions within local churches and work alongside the pastor/ministry teams to accomplish these missions. The biggest push from this report is to untie all that money being used in denominational bureaucracy and free it up for the making and discipleship of believers. Well, more money is tied up in state and local organizations. It is time to let them go.

June 8, 2010

Test Your Focus

Remember this old commercial?  If they were to redo this commercial today they might consider this approach: “This is your brain. This is your brain on computers. Any questions?”

I just took a focus test via NY Times. The article that it came with is here. Take the test, let me know your results and then I’ll tell you mine…

June 4, 2010

Greatest American Sports Rivalry Ever

The Lakers versus Celtics match-up for the NBA finals has me thinking about the greatest match-ups in sports history.  I picked who I think has been historically the greatest rivalry in each major team sports league in current existence along with collegiate marquee match-ups.  I was surprised by my  final order. Here then is my top ten all time American Sports Rivalries. You can vote for the number one rivalry in my poll.

10. Cowboys & Redskins: I almost picked Green Bay and Chicago as the greatest rivalry in the NFL. Either way, this was the only league whose rivalry wasn’t a clear pick making it last on the list. The modern era rivalry between the Colts and Patriots show how desperate this league is to come up with a marketable rivalry that makes sense. Perhaps the Colts and Saints will meet in the Superbowl again next year. Maybe then we will have the makings of a modern day rivalry in the NFL that has some longevity.

9. UCLA vs USC: The schools are in the same town. USC owns the “edge” in football – 11 national championships to UCLA’s 1. But UCLA is the greatest basketball program in college so its a flush. Now if they could just come up with some of the antics like Duke and North Carolina like the speedo guy. This rivalry needs some fresh air. Probably is the weakest of the rivalries on my list, but it is clearly the PAC-10 rivalry. MY OPINION west coast – I don’t need no death threats G.

8. Oklahoma vs Texas: This rivalry probably would have made it higher on the list, but the Big 12 South is a rivalry. It was hard to pick one rivalry over the next. Oklahoma State versus Oklahoma, Texas Tech or Texas A&M with Texas, or each other. That is why this rivalry suffers. You need to be able to focus all your hatred onto one enemy, but the Big 12 South tries to multitask its rivalries and that just doesn’t work. Perhaps this is proof again that no one really multitasks…really…. Of course, Oklahoma’s championships (12 I think) are impressive and Texas is REALLY easy to hate. In fact, the easiest college football team to hate is Texas and I’m an SEC guy. Go figure. In the last decade this game has as much impact on who plays for the National Championship as the LSU vs Florida game.

7. Duke & North Carolina: More of a modern rivalry with the success of the two basketball programs since the 1980’s. But don’t tell them that with the schools only eight miles apart. Even with this rivalry only in its infancy the future looks as bright for this rivalry as any. North Carolina is 1st in the ACC with regular season championships in basketball, Duke is 2nd. Duke is first in ACC Tournament championships, with North Carolina second.  North Carolina is first all-time in appearances to the Final Four, Duke is third. North Carolina is third all time in National Championships and Duke is fifth with both looking to continue to move up the list in future years. But rivalries need duration to amount to anything, which is what this one lacks, but in twenty years it maybe the marquee rivalry.

6. Red Sox & Yankees: This series has been on the upswing the last few years with Boston’s newly rediscovered ability to get to and win the World Series; something that New York does better than any other team in baseball. This rivalry goes down as perhaps the most dangerous of all pro-sport rivalries, which is really saying something since baseball has become the American version  of croquet. We take our family out to the ball game to get a spot o’ tea and munch on some English muffins as we watch a baseball match-up like civilized ladies and gentlemen – that is unless it is Yankees vs. Red Sox. Then ITS ON! Who knew danger lurked in New England? If I went to one of these games I would want to buy a shirt that read “neutral’ so as not put myself  in danger. However, that would only make things worse. You would become the target of both sides like Finland, Sweden or Switzerland. Everyone wants to know why they’re not good enough for you. Now add a few beers to the mix along with a Boston accent or a Brooklyn dialect. You can’t even communicate with the locals. Blood will be spilled, bones will be broken – best to watch from somewhere safe like your house.

5. Maple Leafs & Canadians: They are in the wrong league. It is only hockey or they probably would have made it higher on the list. The oldest NHL rivalry that includes match-ups similar to the Lakers & Celtics, with a history of the Stanley Cup being handed out to the winner of this match-up five times in the peak of this rivalry. Add to this the attraction of close proximity like the  Red Sox & Yankees rivalry and it is impressive indeed. Again, I can’t get past it being hockey. My consolidation is that Canada is in North America (in case you forgot) so they count. Who knew Canada would have one of the leagues’ greatest rivalries? I didn’t.

4. Army & Navy: When the winner of this match-up gets a trophy called “The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy” you know you are in for something special. While neither team is now a powerhouse, both have been in the past. Combined with 110 meetings going all the way back to 1890 between the first two branches of our armed services and we realize some games are just more important than others. Quick fact: This is the only game I watch every year that makes me misty-eyed (Shh, it is a secret). Maybe you have to be a soldier to get the connection. These men become brothers-in-arms at the end of their collegiate careers with their lives, their families securities and their nation’s freedom as their burden to carry.  This game ends the way all games should end every year. Watch next year to see for yourself.

3. Ohio state & Michigan: aka The Game, when played is a tribute to longevity as an important ingredient in any good rivalry (why I considered Green Bay & Chicago over Cowboys & Redskins).  Looking for longevity brings us to the prime example as these two teams have been competing for 113 years (since 1897). The only reason they are not higher on the list is two-fold: lack of championships for the duration of the rivalry and they are just too civilized (I’m just saying!). I would not fear for my life wearing an Ohio State shirt at Michigan or vice-versa on game day. However, for both my 1 & 2 fear would definitely be a factor in wearing my colors if the game was at the opponents’ location.

2. Alabama & Auburn: If the only criteria in choosing the top rivalry was “hatred for one’s opponent” then this rivalry would have won. The Iron Bowl (the game they play annually) should be called Appendages Bowl or Organ Smorgasbord. Okay, it doesn’t resonate like”The Iron Bowl.” But it is an ugly affair and only people 18 years old or older should be allowed to watch. I don’t even want to talk about it. It gives me goosebumps.  I’m just saying… The reason this rivalry didn’t make the jump to number 1? Lack of championships on Auburn’s side. Another impressive part of this rivalry are all the one liners fans have for each other in this state. I think someone should put a book together.

1. Lakers and Celtics: The fact that the these rivals have nearly half of all NBA titles between them is what makes this my pick for greatest rivalry. Some of the greatest players ever to play the game played for these two storied franchises. The historic showdowns that include the likes of Bird and Johnson for championships  just cement them in this spot. Almost as much hatred for each other as the Red Sox & Yankees have for each other. If they were closer in proximity and played more games in the regular season then this probably would be the most feared of professional games. They have the hatred, they have the duration, they have the hall-of-famers and they have more titles combined for their sport than any other rivalry.

So what do you think?