Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Way To Go, Helio!

I have taken some real heat from my buddies about my love of ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Over the past several weeks, my girls (Paige, Ellie, Mama 'Rie) and I have had a pretty rigid Tuesday night schedule. We eat dinner of some description, set the DVR to record DWTS, and head off to Discovery Ice Cream for a little treat. Upon our return home, we plant ourselves in our comfy chairs and watch the show with rapt attention.

We were elated when both the female and male supermodels went home early. Not only were they not that great, America did not know who they were. It made sense. When Sabrina was sent packing, it was the closest I'd come to launching my remote through the TV screen since Mandisa was voted off American Idol. It rivaled Memphis State's 1997 victory over my Peyton Manning-led Volunteers.

On a lighter note, Wayne Newton's lingering on for a few weeks allowed me to develop a pretty solid imitation of his voice. I'm working on "Danke Schoen" (That's Danka Shane for those of you in Minneapolis).

Tonight's finale was great! Celine Dion's solo on "My Heart Will Go On" nearly had me up on my feet proclaiming that "I am the king of the world!"--- Nearly. It was one of the better celebrity performances on the show. A close second to Barry Manilow's lip-syncing train wreck. The only thing that would have made Barry's appearance better would have been to see host, Tom Bergeron, bounce a quarter off of his taut, face-lifted cheeks.

Helio Castroneves was my dark horse favorite from the get go. When Sabrina was sent home too early, I really thought he might have it in the bag. Among the guys, in my opinion, Helio's charisma got the nod over Cameron "Superman" Mathison. However, at mid season I made the statement to Paige that if I could look like another man, it might be Cameron. If I looked like that, I would run for President of the United States in 2012. Paige only nodded, grinned and got a far away, fantasy look on her face. Hmmmmm? I used to want to look like Howie Long. I'm afraid I'm headed toward Huey Long.

Well, it is over. Way to go, Helio! Now I have to find another chic show to fall in love with in order to exploit my feminine side. The beauty of it is when I catch heat from my buddies, they know, deep down, if I wasn't such a sweetheart, I'd just knock them through the wall.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AIDS: The New Leprosy

Tomorrow, some 2000 people are expected to converge on Saddleback Church for the 3rd annual Global Summit on AIDS. Saddleback is home to "Purpose Driven" Pastor, Rick Warren and his wife, Kay. Rick made the decision years ago to leverage the fame, notoriety and financial resources generated from his best-selling books for the purposes of having a positive impact on some of the world's most difficult problems. The AIDS pandemic is near the top of that list.

A new feature at this year's gathering is the first-annual Youth Summit on AIDS to be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 (World AIDS Day). The youth summit aims to prompt students to care for those with HIV and strengthen their knowledge, engage their abilities, and maximize their potential to assist to end the global pandemic.

First of all, I applaud Rick Warren for having the guts to take the stands he has taken on this and many other issues. In a world where people who achieve the kind of success he has achieved generally sit back and enjoy the kind of lifestyle fame and wealth offer, he chose to funnel that wealth toward ministry and making a difference.

Secondly, the church has to understand that the not-yet-Christ-followers are watching to see if we stand behind the Word of God... you know... the Word that commands us to care for the sick, the oppressed, the orphaned and the widowed. The chapter and verses are too many to mention. We have got to have a global vision for not only the spiritual welfare of mankind, but also the physical welfare as well. How do you witness to someone who is too sick to comprehend what you are talking about, or whose stomach is growling so loudly she can't hear the words you speak?

Finally, I can only imagine what my church and most any other church in our area would do if we rallied students to "care for those with HIV and strengthen their knowledge, engage their abilities, and maximize their potential to assist to end the global pandemic." I can hear it now, "You ain't tak'n my baby near them AIDS places!" AIDS is the new leprosy. We can't remain ignorant or uneducated about the disease. We must recognize the role that Jesus would want us to play in this drama. He went, He looked, He saw and...yes, He even touched. We need to love and learn. Imagine what the church could do if we marshaled our resources and "soldiers" in a focused way to touch the world.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ahh Yes... The Perfect Turkey Sandwich

I just settled into the Big Daddy chair with my favorite post-Thanksgiving indulgence.  You take two slices of your favorite sandwich bread and slather on copious amounts of real mayonnaise (Duke's for me...none of that Miracle Whip or fat-free junk.)  Then layer on several slices of cold, left-over turkey.  Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper to taste and you've got yourself an enjoyable few minutes ahead.

As I sit here and watch what has to be the twenty-something football game of the weekend, I am reflecting on my Thanksgiving holiday.  In a word, it was nice.  We only had one mass family feast, so there was not an excessive amount of travel with which to contend.  I had the opportunity to preach this morning and so I had to set aside a few moments here and there to put in the study time, which was not too difficult with a lighter-than-normal holiday schedule.

I would be remiss if I did not point out the wonderful victory my Vols experienced yesterday.  It was a 4-overtime thriller marking consecutive victory number 23 against the Kentucky Wildcats and sending the Big Orange into the SEC Championship game next week.  I laughed, I cried and I cussed (almost :) ), but it was a game for the ages.

Another thing I can add to my thankful list is the fact that my sermon went well.  I addressed a rather controversial topic and received positive feedback.  I don't want to ruin it for you.  I will try to put up an audio link on this bad boy.

Well, I am rambling and I am through with my sandwich and headed for some pie.  I hope your holiday went well also.  Catch ya later.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On This Thanksgiving, Trypto-light-phan-tastic

"Trip the light fantastic"- words borrowed from a John Milton poem, circa 1645, and used often as a humorous way of speaking of dancing or moving nimbly.

Tryptophan- noun- an essential amino acid, (C8H6N)CH2CH(NH2)COOH, colorless, crystalline, and aromatic, released from proteins by tryptic digestion and a precursor of serotonin.

Tryptophan is found in turkey and you will recall that serotonin is the substance (neurotransmitter) which is involved with and promotes sleep. It IS true! Now you know.

I love Thanksgiving. I love to think about all the things for which I am thankful. I love to eat too. I really love to eat while thinking about things for which I am thankful. Marry that with watching football and you have a little bit of heaven on earth. Okay, being with family ain't bad either.

One of my pet peeves is allowing Christmas to override Thanksgiving. There is plenty of time to celebrate Christmas without having it envelop and overpower Thanksgiving. Paige and I have had to work that out over the years. She has been known to sneak a few decorations around the house before Black Friday. We have come to an agreement, a detente if you will, concerning the proper timing of Thanksgiving and Christmas decor.

So tomorrow, on that worthy occasion, gather with family, if at all possible, and thank your Heavenly Father for the bounty of blessings in your life. Here are a few things for which I am thankful this year:
  • God's provision in my dad's recent bout with ill health and his return to normalcy
  • God's continual call upon my life, and His orchestration of new things to show me
  • My beautiful and talented wife whose love continues to confound me
  • The most awesome daughter a father could have, who constantly spurs me on to a deeper understanding of love
  • A family, whose closeness I do not take for granted, and whose love empowers me
  • Great friends
  • A warm and inviting home
  • The sound of music
Happy Thanksgiving and God's Richest Blessings To You and Your Kin!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Did You Hear The One About The 3 Baptists That Walked...

into a convention meeting?

No, seriously, the Tennessee Baptist Convention was held last week right here in Kingsport, TN at the Meadowview Conference Resort and Convention Center. For some time now there has been an undercurrent of unrest in the convention because of the struggle between the moderate factions of the convention and the more conservative factions of the convention. It is really a carry over from the same struggle that has been afoot in the parent organization of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for decades. Things really began to heat up in the late '90's with the redrafting of the statement of faith (don't call it a creed) of the SBC known as the Baptist Faith and Message. The new one was adopted in 2000. Basically, it boils down to a few sentences in two different portions of the document which deal with the role of women in the church and in the family. I do not intend to speak to that issue in this post.

Let me pause and say at this point that I am a proud Southern Baptist. I became a Southern Baptist and have remained a Southern Baptist because the denomination allows me to live out my life as a Christ-follower in a way that most closely resembles the Biblical model we have been given, as I interpret it. Are we perfect? No, not by a long shot. Have we cornered the market on the faith life? Of course not. Do we (the SBC) say and do some pretty stupid things on occasion? Yes. We are but sinners saved by grace just like anyone else. But when you look at what Southern Baptists have accomplished and continue to work toward, the good far outweighs the bad.

With that said, I shall continue.

On the opening day of the convention Pastor Chris Stephens of Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, TN was invited to present the theme interpretation for the convention. The theme this year was "Exalting Jesus Through Fellowship." Pastor Chris was given the task of relating what that means to the convention messengers (members of the many thousand Tennessee churches elected to go and vote at the convention.) Now Pastor Chris is the pastor of a very different kind of church. I know because people I know and love are members and have attended his church for several years now. I also subscribe to their podcast which should give you even more insight into their methods. Faith Promise does not promote nor do they market the name Baptist. If you were to attend a service there and you were from a Southern Baptist background, you might not recognize many things. What they do is reach people. In the last 10 years or so they have grown from a few dozen to averaging around 2300 over the course of a weekend. They offer a Saturday night service and two Sunday morning services.

Part of the message Pastor Chris gave included some of his personal testimony and testimony concerning things his church has had to endure from other churches and, you guessed it, Baptists. Although Faith Promise is not formally affiliated with any denominational body, they choose to associate with many SBC organizations for missional purposes. Even though they are Biblically centered and right in line with conventional SBC doctrine, they have been given the cold shoulder on many an occasion because "they are not baptist enough."

Now do you remember our theme? Exalting Jesus Through Fellowship-- how does that jibe with disassociating with other Christ-followers because they don't wear ties, sing from hymnals or they sleep in on Sunday because they went to church the night before? If it truly means that we exalt Jesus through fellowship only with people and churches that look, talk and act just like us, then I must really reevaluate my place. This speaks directly to the things I have posted about ad nauseum. If we continue to do what we have always done, we will continue to get what we have always gotten. Instead of casting stones at bodies who reach people by "unconventional" means, we need to walk that which we talk and exalt Jesus through our fellowship. There are people all around looking for what we have and they don't even know it. Let's stop the fuss and get them on the bus!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Best and Boldest Political Ad In A Long Time

Okay, so I have been a little out of touch for a week now. Last week I was busy with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. That gave me some fodder for some future posts, but until then, here is a hilarious ad from presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, former Southern Baptist pastor turned Governor of Arkansas. I love it!

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Element: the poll

You will find a new element in the left-hand column. I have decided to start a new poll, which will change weekly. Sometimes it will be light-hearted and at other times it will take a more serious tone. I just like the idea of picking your brain just a bit. My thoughts are here for the world to see. Now I can get a feel for where you stand on issues.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

There Is Something To That Picture, 1000 Words Stuff

I appreciate my good friend and cohort, Randy, for supplying me with this blog fodder. One thing is for sure, this is one way of finding out who is viewing my blog and who is not. This may end my professional broadcasting career, but it is too good to keep.

My radio boss, friend, and Razorback fan, Mike, took his son to the UT game yesterday. By the looks on their faces, you can tell who won.

I used the telestrator to help you out.

Watching the game on High Definition...$28.00

Carry in food during the game...$13.54

Catching your boss in a loss...PRICELESS

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"I Baptize You, My Brother, Maximus, In the Name of ..."

In an article in the December issue of Men's Journal, Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe talks about his intention to be baptized along with his son.

“I’d like to do it this year,” says Crowe, 43,“My mom and dad decided to let my brother and me make our own decisions about God when we got to the right age. I started thinking recently, ‘If I believe it is important to baptize my kids, why not me?’”

Crowe says the baptism will take place in the Byzantine chapel he built
at his country ranch in Australia for his wedding to Danielle Spencer in 2003. The couple have two sons, 3-year-old Charlie and 1-year-old Tennyson.

“It is consecrated and everything,” Crowe says in the magazine’s December issue, now on newsstands. “Charlie was baptized there. And when Tennyson gets baptized there, I will, too.”

Crowe — a reformed Aussie bad boy with a reputation for throwing temper tantrums — is more spiritual than people may think. “I do believe there are more important things than what is in the mind of a man,” he says. “There is something much bigger that drives us all. I’m willing to take that leap of faith.”

I appreciate these sentiments and I can only hope and pray that this "leap of faith" is the genuine article. There are a few things, however, that bother me about this story and similar stories. I have read many stories of describing how people with money, power and influence approach spiritual things. Most of the time, it seems that everything is done on their own terms. I often miss the brokenness, the giving up of self, the repentance, and the sacrificial aspects of the conversion. The desire to be baptized is great, but the real power in baptism is in the public profession, the testimony of the Lordship of Christ and the identification in His death, burial and resurrection.

An actor knows the importance of location and, in my opinion, the ideal scene would not take place in a private chapel in the middle of your 1000 acre ranch. Shouldn't it be done in public where others can be motivated and challenged by your testimony and your brothers and sisters in Christ can be on hand to begin to nurture you and accountability relationships can be fostered?

I am not trying to be judgmental for the sake of argument. I want to use this story to make a point. Too many people believe in "something bigger that drives us all," in other words, some ethereal power "up there" that controls us. That realization forces some to perform acts of reverence or oblation, and make public statements which have the appearance of trying to appease an unseen god. The truth is we serve a very personal God who has revealed Himself in general and specific ways, and who wants to have an abiding relationship with us. The sacrifice was made, but He made it on our behalf, not vice versa. We don't have to do good works to appease Him. We do good works in response to Him.

Heavenly Father, help us all to go beyond the mere acknowledgment of Your existence to the place where we abide in You and You in us. Help us also to live lives according to Your will and Your word, demonstrating the faith of which we speak. For Your grace, love and mercy, we are forever grateful.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This Just In...

MANSON, Wash. (AP) - Charles and Linda Everson were driving back to their hotel when their minivan was struck by a falling object—a 600-pound cow.

The Eversons were unhurt but the cow, which had fallen off a cliff, had to be euthanized.
The year-old cow fell about 200 feet from the cliff and landed on the hood of the couple's minivan, causing heavy damage.

A Chelan County fire chief, Arnold Baker, said the couple missed being killed by a matter of inches in the accident Sunday on a highway near Manson.

The Eversons, visiting the area from their home in Westland, Mich., to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, were checked at Lake Chelan Community Hospital as a precaution.

Everson, 49, said he didn't see the cow falling and didn't know what happened until afterward.
He said he kept repeating: "I don't believe this. I don't believe this."

Tiger's Immediate Thoughts:


-Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow didn't quite make it to the moon.

-"Speaking of moon, would you like a new moon roof in your van, sir?"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Ice Cream Day!

Several weeks ago, the Brooks/Johnson family began a new tradition. On Tuesday evenings we go downtown to Discovery Ice Cream. If you live nearby and have not availed yourself of this little indulgence, you need to. They have great ice cream and the kids will love to be served ice cream by a real robot.

There is something special about having family traditions. If you have not done so already, I urge you to adopt a few that fit your family.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bono: Sounds Like He Found What He Was Looking For

I grew up in the '80's. THE most enduring band, which rose to stardom in the mid '80's and is now still heading on a rising U2. I loved the music, it was powerful, and the names...Bono, The Edge... they were mysterious and engaging. But I came to faith in the mid '80's and was told I ought not listen to THAT kind of music. Then there was the question: Is Bono a Christian or not? He sings about streets with no names, but he does not look or act like a Christian.

Take all the time you need to view this series of videos from an interview that Bono gave to Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek Church. It may take a few days. They average about 8 minutes each. This is very thought provoking and challenging stuff. Also let me know what you think. I haven't had a comment in forever. Can you hear me now? Tap, Tap, Is this thing on?

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight