Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review and Reflections on "Expelled"

Today, Pastor ROC and I went to preview the Ben Stein documentary, Expelled, which revolves around the continuing debate between Darwinists and those who subscribe to the intelligent design theory. I blogged about the movie sometime ago.

I am giving it four out of a possible five stars. It was a bit slow starting out, but brought it home in the end. However, I will wait until it comes out on DVD to introduce it to my students because some of the dialogue was a bit too scholarly and would quickly be lost on most kids in the context of the movie theater. Half of them would be texting about the Iron Man preview twenty minutes in. Make no mistake though, the movie was extremely compelling.

The film follows the stories of how highly credentialed university professors and research scientists have lost their jobs for simply entertaining the thought that intelligent design could possibly explain things that Darwin's evolutionary theories could not.

The director and editors did a masterful job of weaving the storyline with images from the Berlin Wall (drawing comparison to the ways in which Darwinian scientists disallow other ideas and thoughts from entering their theories on the origin of life) and images from Hitler's Third Reich (comparing Darwin's "survival of the fittest" concepts with Hitler's goals of "cleansing the human race".)

There were a few things that characterized the evolution camp. One was that they had absolute disdain for religion, more specifically, the Christian God. One individual (a Tennessean no less) told the sad story of how he had been a person of faith until he went to college and was challenged by a biology professor. He subsequently denounced God and came to the conclusion that when life ends you are simply gone- ceasing to exist. Another leading voice on the evolution side was Richard Dawkins, the celebrated British atheist and author of the best selling book, The God Delusion. He had a some venom to spew about God, too. But then when Ben Stein pressed him for a theory on how life began, he came up with a really interesting theory.

This was news to me, but apparently there is a seed theory. It states that intelligent beings from another galaxy might have come to earth at some point in the past and "planted the seeds of life here." Talk about your leap of faith! Are you kidding me? You scoff at the idea of the Judeo-Christian God, yet you have enough faith to believe that aliens came to plant life on earth. Utterly ridiculous.

The bottom line is that learned people try to prop themselves up with enough smoke and mirror theories so that they do not have to believe that there is a God who is the ultimate authority in the universe and from whom comes absolute truth. This would mean the underpinnings of their miserable lives would be jerked out from under them and they would have to face the consequences of their actions. The sad part is that these views will continue to find footing so long as open debate on evolution vs. intelligent design is quelled by the scientific and media establishment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eureka! The Thing I Need To Stimulate More Weight Loss!

The ladies in the office just made me aware of a new, state-of-the-art piece of equipment that might be the answer to my problem. I have the diet part down. The difficulty I was facing was finding time to exercise and develop a good work out routine in the midst of my busy schedule. Low and behold, I have found it! I can now work out WHILE WORKING. This fabulous, break- through, technological wonder was recently profiled on The Ellen Show. While this is certainly no endorsement for the Ellen Show or Ellen's way of life, she certainly knows top-quality craftsmanship when she sees it.

If you are interested, let me know and perhaps we can work a bulk rate discount.

By the way, this is milestone post number 100 on and I can think of no better way to celebrate than to hopefully contribute to your quality of life by letting you in on this.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Brooks Family Hobby: Canoeing

After thinking about this for several years, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a canoe. What does a guy do when he has no diversions? Most guys my age play golf, or racquetball, or tennis, or go fishing or, well, something slightly less moral.

After trying a few of the aforementioned activities, for some strange reason I decided that it would be interesting to try canoeing. At first Paige scoffed. Then we went out and tried it. As you can see from the picture, she has become a believer. This picture was taken tonight just as the sun was setting on Fort Patrick Henry Lake. That is not a bad picture for having been taken on a phone, while trying to not tip over- I even got the light to frame her face- or is that just her countenance (HMMMmmmmm!) Notice the hot pink life jacket. Ellie was seated in the middle and didn't make the picture. Ellie was sporting her Barbie life jacket.

The cool thing is that we live 1.2 miles from the lake and can be on it in 15 minutes- including the time it takes to get dressed and load the canoe into the truck. When the warmer weather hits and the lake becomes a bit too crowded for canoes, we will hit the rivers around here. I am kind of pumped about our new hobby.

First "No-Loss" Weigh-In, HHHMMMMMmmmm?

Well, there are a couple of reasons to which I can point that may help explain my lack of weight-loss.

1) Meet, Greet and Eat!- Last Wednesday night, following my Wed. morning weigh-in, Chef Wayne prepared hamburgers and all the fixings for the students. It just wouldn't have been right for me to subject my kids to that and not make sure that everything was on the up and up.

2) Mama's House- Friday night the family went over to mom and dad's house and grilled out steaks complete with broccoli mom's special hollandaise sauce and potatoes au gratin.

Hey, I'm dieting, not dying.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Fresh Look At "Amazing Grace"

Have you ever been flipping through the channels late at night and come across something that just blesses your socks off? I flipped through and landed on one of the Bill Gaither Homecoming broadcasts one night. Now if you know me you know that I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to music. I like a variety of things from opera and classical to contemporary Christian, bluegrass and southern gospel. When I run across a Gaither show the Holy Spirit compels me to stop and sing along.

On that particular night I saw this "performance" by Wintley Phipps and was blown away. Today, I received an email that reminded me of it and was able to find this on You Tube. If you have 9 minutes- this will bless you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Friday

Today was another good Friday.  We are just a few weeks removed from Good Friday, but I am at a time in my life when every Friday is pretty darn good.  With my schedule of work responsibilities and what I call my "ministerial extra-curriculars," it just so happens that Friday is just about the best day for me to take off every week.  When you are in the student ministry, however, Friday is often a day that becomes taken up with activities.  In that event, I take some "comp time" on some other day.

As I was saying, Friday's are great right now because Ellie is not in school, yet she is old enough to take out and have a great time.  Our routine consists of going to gymnastics and then for a late lunch at a place of her choosing. La Carreta, a local Mexican restaurant chain, is one of our favorite haunts.  That is where we went today.  For the past several years, Ellie's main entree of choice there was the children's cheese quesadilla.  Today, though, she specifically wanted a taco salad with no tomatoes.  My baby is growing up.

After lunch, we go by and see mommy at work, and possibly pick her up if she happens to get off early.  Then, if nothing else is planned, we try to get into some kind of "adventure."

I treasure this time because Ellie starts school this fall.  Everything changes then.  That's when this thing called life starts to kick in the turbo boost.  I have spent years around teenage girls. Some of whom have less than ideal relationships with their fathers.  After witnessing that for some time, I have determined that I never want to close the lines of communication with Ellie. She tells me everything and she thinks her daddy has the answer for everything.  Will that change?  Of course.  But, the more proactive I can be as a daddy, the less distance comes between father and daughter. 

I have found that intentionally spending time with Ellie intensifies her learning process.  When I am gone, she takes serious notice.  She also knows when daddy is away from her it is either to go to some country to tell people about Jesus, or to go spend time with some of my "big kids" who need love too.  She is now understanding the priority of Christ in our lives and in the life of our family.  She is developing a compassionate heart toward people in need as well as the desire to give in order to try to meet needs.  If I sound a bit prideful toward my kid... so be it!

Today was even extra special as WCQR wound up Spring Sharathon by blowing past our goal of $250,000 to the tune of $267, 000+.  That means several things that were not included in the operating budget for this year can now be thrown back in--- like promotional items and the like.  To do this in light of rising gas prices and the nay-sayers who force feed us propaganda about a "struggling economy," is quite an accomplishment.  One that could not be possible if not for the grace of God working through faithful listeners.  

I have a passion for my radio ministry and if you would like to contribute to something that impacts thousands of people each day with the love of Christ, you can do so here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Post of Personal Privilege

After having checked with the Board of Directors (that would be me, Ellie and Scout, the wonder dog,) I was granted a post of personal privilege.

I am part of the Dobyns-Bennett Class of 1988 20 Year Reunion Team. My first major duty was to design a website to serve as a way for our classmates to contact us and for us to disseminate information.

Here is a link to it for any of my classmates that happen to read this blog:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reflections on The Conference and "Influence"

Last weekend was worth its weight in gold. Now you won't hear that falling from the lips of many student ministers, especially after sleeping with a seventh graders knee in your back all weekend, but I am here to tell you, we had a great time at Ridgecrest!

First the funny stuff.

What I failed to mention in my first blog was the Youth Worker Dance Off on Friday night. There were about 1600 students representing 64 churches in upper East Tennessee at this shindig. At the opening session an adult representative from each church was asked to come to the stage. We had no idea why and I almost sent one of my adult volunteers, but at the last minute I went. When we got down to the stage we found out that we were going to have a dance off. If you know me, you know that I wasn't too scared.

The music started and we all got our groove on. They quickly cut the numbers to 10 and I made it. Then we went to the individual dances. I was to be the last to go and I was quite confident as I sized up the competition. Then it happened. The guy right before me was a volunteer from a church where a friend of mine is the student minister. When it came his turn he started dancing like an extra from the movie, "Breakin'." I mean this guy was good. He busted out the whole can. I knew I had my work cut out for me. They said go and I started by bouncing my pectoral muscles to the beat of the music. I was trying for an edge. I went through my repertoire and then commenced a few dances that I would probably not allow a student to do, but I was desperate. When it was all said and done, I was clearly in second place, but I had well represented my church and fat guys everywhere.

Now to the more serious stuff .

As I had indicated in my previous post, the theme of the conference was "influence." It dovetailed well with some of the things regarding disciplemaking that I had already been teaching since I came to Indian Springs. In essence, we as Christ-followers are to try to influence our unbelieving friends for Christ while erecting safeguards within our relationships with unbelievers so that we would not be influenced toward "the dark side." Last night, I reiterated the topic in our lesson so that I could help get those who did not go to the conference on the same page with the rest of us.

Now one of the drawbacks to ministry is the fact that sometimes it can take time before you can begin to see the fruit of what you have sown into your disciples. It can take years in some cases. For whatever reason, however, God has seen fit to show me some immediate affirmation. Tonight as I sat down to dinner I got a text message from one of my students. He had just mustered up the gumption to talk to his friend about Jesus, which led to a conversation, which led to that friend praying to receive the gift of salvation from our Lord Jesus Christ. HALLELUJAH! My dinner was even better.

To see a student beginning to live the faith he or she talks about-- really putting it into practice-- well, to steal from an old beer commercial, it doesn't get any better than that!