Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Incredible iBand from North Point Community Church

This defies explanation. Just watch and enjoy.

I hope Santa brings me one of these.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall Break Get-Away...So Far

I was able to get out to Barnes and Noble tonight and borrow some Wi/Fi so here are some highlights of my family vacation thus far:
  • We brought Ellie's bike and we rented a couple of cruisers for the week. Money well spent. We have had a ball pedaling all over the island. Sunday, Ellie's bike either hit something or the handlebars were knocked out of her hands, but she stopped as if hitting a brick wall, went flying over the front of her bike straight into the bike path and the bike flipped up on top of her. I was following and I jumped off and snatched the bike off of her. She was shocked more than anything. PRAISE THE LORD she had nothing wrong but a few scrapes that didn't even bleed out. It was quite amazing to see. We are very thankful.
  •  The weather has been amazing! Sunny and 75 degrees everyday. Very few folks out on the beach.
  • Two best meals so far have been at Dye's Gullah Fixin's and Chef David's Roastfish and Cornbread. We are trying places we have not tried before. Many friends have asked for a list of favorites so I will compile that at the end of the week.
  • Ellie asked a great question tonight at dinner. It is Wednesday and normally I would be standing in front of a "SAC'ful" of students exegeting the Word of God... and Ellie knows that. She asked, "Daddy, which is more important, church or vacation?" I commended her on a great question and began to tell her how much value Jesus placed on BOTH. He went to great measures to teach people AND He made sure to steal away time for Himself and His disciples. We should never forget the importance and necessity of both of these worthy tasks.Very grateful for Wayne Strasser for filling in for me tonight and a host of student ministry volunteers for keeping on keeping on.
  • As important as it is for me to rest, relax and renew, my heart is heavy for some situations back home. I hurt for friends and I'm angry with Satan (what else is new?) But at the same time, I am super excited about what God is doing at ISBC and in our community at large. Anticipating amazing things as we approach the holiday season.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Talk of My Town: Salt Water Willy's Bayou Cafe- A Review

My friend, Wayne Michelli, longtime proprietor of Kingsport's Riverfront Seafood Company Market and Grill, has opened Saltwater Willy's Bayou Cafe, located in the old Amato's building on Jack White Drive in Kingsport. As you could probably figure out by the name, the specialty is Cajun/creole recipes and seafood.

I am going to begin this review in a rather odd way by addressing two issues that some would consider negatives. First, Wayne has earned quite a reputation around town as "The Seafood Nazi," a moniker borrowed from the great Seinfeld episode about the Soup Nazi. This nickname was earned because, well, how should I say this... sometimes Wayne handles confrontation a little clumsily. Rather than acquiescing to the customer when disputes arise, he stands his ground. I am not going to argue this point or pass judgment. Can't help but think of a story that culminates with, "He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

All I know is Wayne is a committed Christian businessman who treats his employees well and now owns two establishments that make some AMAZING food. I've never had an issue, nor do I expect to.

Secondly, one of the first complaints people will voice about Saltwater Willy's will be the prices. This is NOT a chain restaurant in the vein of Cheddar's, O'Charley's, or Chili's and it should not be judged against those. The pricing is roughly as follows:

Appetizers: $5-$10
Sandwiches and Po' Boys: $6-$10
Entrees: $9-$25 and some market priced seafood specialties
Desserts: $5-$9

The recipes are authentic. The real deal. The Cajun dishes utilize some ingredients only found in the Louisiana area and no short cuts are taken. The seafood is fresh. The meats are prime. In my opinion, the food is WELL WORTH the price paid. Kingsport needs more places that offer "something special" and not another dozen Mexican restaurants or Chinese buffets.

Now for the good stuff! AAAAaaaahhh EEEEEEEEE! Dat some good food, dare!

If you only sample one appetizer, make it the Crawfish Pie. It is out of this world. The frog legs and calamari are great too.

One entree that is sure to please and probably become a star is the "Voodoo Pasta Jambalaya." It is a mix of pasta Alfredo with Cajun spices, crawfish, shrimp and sausage. It would make a guppy slap a whale! All the usual suspects are present too. Crawfish and shrimp etouffee (I had the crawfish etouffee tonight), gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, as well as many others.

Lay aside any misconceptions that Cajun food is too hot and spicy. There are PLENTY of choices that are mild and many other things that are not Cajun at all.

Paige had the Louisiana catfish with a crab reduction sauce and a side of Cajun cheese grits that was something special. My father enjoyed a man-size portion of a stuffed pork chop entree with baked sweet potato, most of which ended up in a to-go box. My mom and sister enjoyed their Po' Boy sandwiches, which are authentic right down to the French baguette bread.

Two desserts, among many, not to be missed are the Jimmy Lee Pie w/ ice cream (a recipe borrowed from the original Saltwater Willy's that was on New Beasonwell Road in Kingsport 20 years ago) and the bread pudding.

They offer a reduced price lunch menu, as well as, a children's menu.

The Bottom Line
I love Cajun fare and this is great Cajun fare! I am super excited about having another original restaurant that offers excellent food and service. You definitely need to give it a try. You will not be sorry.

If you see Wayne, tell him Tiger sent you. I ought to, at the least, get dessert out of this.

Grace and Peace

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Great Quote

As if new University of Tennessee head football coach, Derek Dooley, needed to do anything else to further endear himself to me, he did.  When asked to elaborate on his offensive line play he had this to say:
“It’s hard,” Dooley said. “Offensive line is a thinking man’s game, I hate to say it. You have to combine some great physical toughness and endurance, but you have to be so mentally sharp. It’s very difficult to play offensive line if you can’t think quickly and react.”

And with that quote, Coach Dooley moves into Tiger's Pantheon of Coaching Greatness (thanks to Keith Coates for that little nugget.) Coach Dooley speaketh the truth. As a former lineman, I grow weary of all the dumb jock, "Football been very, very good to me," mumbo jumbo. Almost without fail, look at grades/academic performance of any college football team and the linemen will be at or near the top. 

Yes, we have a good one here, my friends!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chris August's Candy Song

Chris August is a rising Christian music singer/songwriter. His album, "No Far Away," is in stores now. It is great and you need it!

When Chris came and performed at our church last Monday (with Chris Sligh), he performed this little diddy which was written to proclaim his love for candy. I asked him if he had recorded it yet, officially, and he had not. He probably needs to because it is a real crowd-pleaser.

I was able to find it on YouTube. It was recorded at a live performance at what appears to be a small venue in Texas.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Casting Crown's Mark Hall Prays for Sullivan Central High School

Following the shooting at Sullivan Central High School and the heroic actions of Deputy Carolyn Gudger and others from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, Mike Riddles, afternoon host and production director at 88.3fm WCQR, had an opportunity to speak with Casting Crown's lead singer, Mark Hall. Mark offered a prayer. Mike then produced this piece with Casting Crown's latest song, "If We've Ever Needed You." How appropriate!

Many thanks to Mark for his compassionate heart and to Mike for his thoughtfulness and sacrifice to produce this very meaningful audio.

To God be the glory! Great things He has done!


Posted via email from Tiger's (Pre)Posterous Ponderings

Saturday, August 21, 2010

iSBC Student Ministries Launching New Mentoring Initiative

iSBC Student Ministries is looking for a few, good men...and women who want to impact the world one student at a time. If that rings your bell, read on.

In recent years, much research has gone into, and many books have been written on, the slow fade of student ministry. When the infamous study came out a few years ago that addressed the numbers of students who graduate from youth ministries across the nation and then decide to "graduate from church" as well, more than a few heads were turned. We have since learned that the statistics may not have been as bad as first thought, nevertheless, those of us who have been in the ministry a few years faced the fact that we could be contributing to a fragmented church body. The senior adults do their thing, the children do their thing and the youth do their thing. In some circles, the students never have an opportunity to worship with the rest of the local church body. Examination and reflection was in order.

For the last 18-24 months, I have prayerfully considered some strategies and models already in place in other churches, taking into consideration the opportunities and obstacles that exist in our own church. After numerous conversations with my ministry assistants (past and present), as well as other adult mentors in our ministry, we have come up with what we pray is a strategy that will help us have a dramatic impact on our students and, by extension, our world. A mentoring initiative called:   3:two:1 Contact!

For our purposes, understand that I am equating mentoring with "disciple-making." Perhaps you recall Jesus COMMANDING us to be involved in making disciples. I have a deeply held conviction that parents are to be the primary spiritual mentors for their children. In practice, however, this is not always the case. Some parents unintentionally, or possibly intentionally, abdicate this role to the church "professionals." We want to turn this trend around. We want to come alongside parents (represented by the "two" in 3:two:1) with four other people who can assist in the mentoring process. This also includes support for the parents in terms of equipping with resources and skills to enhance the mentoring process.

The "1" would be one of our "seasoned citizens." We have a treasure trove of senior adults at ISBC who are willing and able to "adopt" one of our students and build a strong relationship with him or her. Drawing upon priceless life experiences, these seniors can pray for, write to, cook with, eat with, build with, love on and counsel with a student; offering things which neither mom and dad nor I could.

The remaining spots in our equation will be filled by three of the following: one or more of the student's Bible study leaders, the Minister to Students (yours truly) and/or an at-large adult member of ISBC.

Only time will tell, but I can imagine that four adults plus two parents pouring themselves into a student for 6+ years (I can see these relationships lasting far beyond graduation) will pay some astronomical dividends.

If you would like more information about this initiative, feel free to call me at my office 423-323-2187. If you would like to be involved with a church that is endeavoring to cultivate eternal relationships for the sake of the cause of Christ, I invite you to come visit us at Indian Springs Baptist Church.

Click here for more student information: iSBC Student Ministries on the web
Click here for the main ISBC site

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Love People Who "Get It"

Today was Ellie's first day of second grade. As with just about every kid, there is a little bit of trepidation leading up to the first day back. We complicated matters a little this year by being on vacation the week before and missing the "Meet The Teacher" day that was offered. Although we had a name, Ellie had no idea who her teacher was (and neither did we) so this amplified everyone's anxiety.

This morning we got up and took our traditional trip to Waffle House for First Day Breakfast and then we took Ellie to school. After waiting in a long line with kids and parents to enter the school (still unsure of why that was), we took a long walk to the hall on which Ellie's new classroom is located. There, standing outside the doorway, was Mrs. Harris.  She was greeting all the kids and parents as they arrived. When it came our turn here is the rough transcript of what was said:

Mrs. Harris: "And who might you be?"

Ellie: "Ellie Brooks"

Mrs. Harris (Bending down and putting arm around Ellie): "Oh Ellie! Mrs. Slaughter (first grade teacher) has told me so much about you. She said you were so smart and kind and attentive. I am really looking forward to having you in class this year."

Ellie (Beaming from ear to ear): "Thank you."

Ellie walked on in and didn't even give us a chance for the long goodbye hug. She had just received exactly what she needed. Paige (now tearing up) and I (handing hanky to Paige) then introduced ourselves to Mrs. Harris and she made sure one of us would be picking Ellie up this afternoon and indicated we could talk more then.

I don't share this in order to brag on Ellie, although I am not above that. I share this to demonstrate and give an example of someone who gets it.  I will be sensitive here by saying that Mrs. Harris is more mature then many of the new, young twenty-something teachers that seem to be dotting the landscape of the educational system more and more. (That is a blog in and of itself--- all my teachers were older, weren't yours???) It would appear that she has been there and done that if you know what I mean. I know nothing about Mrs. Harris and have never met her before, but after this morning I know that she gets it.

It is vitally important for all of us, no matter what profession or vocation we are involved with, to understand our role. We must realize and discover how to perform to the highest levels and how to strive to meet and even exceed the expectations that we have for ourselves, as well as, the expectations others have for us. I think one of the highest compliments that we can receive from others is, "He (or she) gets it."

Do you get it?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

All We Needed Was a Lion

It was bound to happen. After six months of hiking Bays Mountain nearly every week, we had tempted fate long enough. On Friday, June 4, 2010, Paige and I experienced our first bear encounter. More on that in a minute.

This morning, we set out to accomplish a goal. We have hiked every trail around the nature center, many several times, from the radio towers to the fire tower, all around the lake and from ridge to ridge. The left side of our official Bays Mountain Park map, however, had nary a highlighted trail. We had limited ourselves to radii that could be achieved within two hours, mainly because we were too busy to give it any more time than that. But today we were going to through hike from Bays Mountain to Laurel Run Park. We had previously hiked the Laurel Run Trail up to where it joins the Kiner Hollow Trail, but that was as far as we had made it. We drove down to Laurel Run and parked Paige’s car and then headed up to Bays Mountain in my truck.

For those that care, our trail route was as follows: Lakeside, Sweet Gum, Lake Road, River Mountain Road, Bear Run (should have been our first clue), Indian Pipes, Pretty Ridge, Kiner Hollow, Laurel Run Trail. Everything was hunky dory on all the trails leading up to Bear Run, as we had traveled those many times. Bear Run was not as well marked and we nearly missed it, but caught it in time. After connecting to Indian Pipes, we met another couple and exchanged pleasantries with them as we assured each other that all the spider webs had been collected along our respective journeys and that it would be clear sailing from there on.

Not quite.

Within a few minutes, it happened. We were walking along and heard the sound of rustling branches and leaves nearby. Paige was leading the way because she always complains that she can’t see anything when she is following me (imagine that). I reached out to grab her when we both saw and heard what it was. A mother black bear and what appeared to be two cubs clawing at a tree just 20 yards in front of us. They did not hear or see us. Of course we froze and then began to back up.  I unzipped my hip-don’t-call-it-a-fanny-pack so that I could access my equalizer if need be, but then we came to our senses and decided to do what they always tell you to do- make noise in hopes of chasing them off. I yelled and Paige clapped her hands. Heads raised as we caught their gaze and we stared at them. For a split second it was a standoff. Praise the Lord, a second later, momma took off and the cubs were on her heels. With renewed vigor, we continued on, looking back over our shoulders for the next mile or so. All we were missing was a lion and we would have fulfilled the song, “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!”

I have always imagined what that might be like. It was a definite rush and I will live a long and happy life if it never happens again, but, I have to say, I really felt like we were living life to the fullest in those brief moments. It reminded me of the great canoe trip of 2008. I blogged about that too if you want to search the archive. If my momma had anything to do with it, I would never have hiked the first time for fear of finding the wolves that escaped or, yes, even finding a bear.  But if I chose to give into fears — or even the fears of others — Paige and I would have missed some of the most precious moments of our marriage hiking together over the past six months.

There are spiritual applications for this too. If I you want to play it safe with your faith and never face rejection or anger from people, then by all means, don’t tell anyone about Jesus. However, if you want a blessing unlike any other, and if you want to live in obedience, take a chance. Share your faith. Give a word of testimony. You just may end up helping someone find what they were always looking for in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways: A relationship with their Creator through Jesus Christ.

Perhaps we try to be too safe in life. Maybe we try too hard to NOT have to depend on God to protect and provide. When we let go and live- not with reckless abandon- but abandon our lives to Him, we just may find that abundant life that Jesus promises us.

As Nike says--- Just Do It!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Solution to the Airport Scanner Controversy

Received this in an email from a friend. Sounds like a winner to me. What do you think?

Here's a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports.

Have a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you.

It would be a win-win for everyone, there would be none of this hassle about racial profiling and this method would eliminate a long and expensive trial.  Justice would be quick and swift. Case closed!

This is so simple that it's brilliant. I can see it now: you're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, "Attention standby passengers we now have a seat available on flight number..."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Personal Invitation

Hello, friend! If you do not have a church home or perhaps you are searching for the Truth found only in Jesus Christ, I invite you to Indian Springs Baptist Church this weekend for one of our worship opportunities in which we celebrate the resurrected King Jesus.

Friday night we will have our Good Friday service at 7PM. We will share in the Lord's Supper and be led in worship by our choir and orchestra. Pastor Roc Collins will bring a message.

Sunday morning, our Bible Studies will meet at 8:30 (adult), 9:45 and 11:10 (both hours feature fully grades classes for all ages.)  Our 9:45 Worship Celebration offers music by our choir and orchestra while the 11:10 service, known as "The Spring," offers worship led by The Spring Praise Band. Pastor Roc will be preaching a dynamic, Spirit-filled message in both hours.

For more information or directions, please click HERE!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tiger's Take on #DWTS (Subtitle: Tiger's Guilty Pleasure)

I think this season of DWTS will be an interesting one to watch. Here are my observations on the cusp of tonight’s first elimination.

  • I like this season of pros. I don’t miss Karina Smirnoff at all. I wish Ashley could get a decent star.
  • Kate Gosselin is about the worst I’ve seen in a while. Yes, Jon was terribly immature and made some bad, bad decisions, but I wouldn’t have taken Kate to McDonald’s much less marry and have a legion of children.
  • Either Buzz needs to blast off or Kate needs to skate.
  • I was over the “hero worship” / “respect your elders” thing after the first 3 minutes of Buzz’s segment. He is a great American, but this is shameful and hard to watch. If he and his wife, Lois, had their faces stretched any tighter, Kenny Rogers and Joan Rivers may sue for trademark infringement.
  • Evan Lysacek and Nicole Sherzinger are my early favorites. They both have an unfair advantage, in my opinion, but they have been very good early.
  • Watch out for Niecy Nash! She has huge likeability factor and broad audience appeal with her wide and varied television/motion picture repertoire.
  • Not sure I like the change with Brooke Burke instead of Samantha Harris. Sure, Brooke is easy on the eyes and all, but she is a bit tentative and nervous in the interview.
  • Tom Bergeron is worth whatever they are paying him. His quick wit and ability to laugh at himself really comes off well.
  • Pam Anderson needs Jesus.
  • Chad Ochocinco is one of the worst athletes they have had in recent years. He may have a big upside if they can tame his ego, but don’t hold your breath. The Bengals and the NFL have tried for years to no avail so I don’t think Lynn will have much luck either.
  • I like Erin Andrews. She is beautiful, tough, funny and has some raw dancing ability. She could be a dark horse if wives don’t vote her off to get back at their ESPN-salivating husbands.
  • As a dancer, Jake the Bachelor is a great pilot.
  • I don’t know how Shannon Doherty made it doing anything. I don’t know of anything I ever liked her in... Including DWTS.
  • Finally, Aiden needs to bring it down a notch. Not enough people know him to be a jerk and get away with it. You better treat Edyta right or I’m coming!

There you have it friends, Tiger’s DWTS Handicap. Meaningless drivel with no eternal value... kind of like recent presidential addresses. Enjoy.

Posted via email from Tiger's (Pre)Posterous Ponderings

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UT Media Complaints About Practices Comical

As I read the twitter posts from any of a number of University of Tennessee sports beat reporters, the tension almost leaps off the page. It seems that everyone has their panties in a wad over trying to gauge the degree to which Coach Derek Dooley will allow access to the football program. The man has only been on campus for three months and many in the media are demonizing him simply because he hasn’t become their best buddy yet. Give me a break.

I am as passionate about UT sports as the next guy. During the coaching search, I spent WAY too much time at my lap top.  It was embarrassing. I crave information like everyone else. However, the University of Tennessee and I have placed our faith and trust in Coach Dooley, whatever his policies are related to media access, I am going to be okay them. I want him to be comfortable and in control. The day some 20-something, up-start, blogging, radio wannabe begins to dictate media policy to the school is the day that the trouble will begin.

It is greatly akin to complaining when your favorite restaurant abandons buffet service and adopts table service. You can no longer just walk around, grazing the pasture for something to eat. You are forced to sit there and be served whatever the special is that day. Yes, Mr. Reporter, you will have to work harder for your story. Sorry. Yes, Miss Rabid Fan, you may have to wait for the news you so desperately seek after. Nick Saban is the name du jour when it comes to a clamped down media policy. Many speculate that because Dooley is a Saban disciple, his policies may be similar. All I can say is--- as much as it pains me--- things seem to be working pretty well in Tuscaloosa.

Let Coach Dooley run this program as he sees fit. If it goes south, then have at it. But until then, I for one, will be supporting this coach and his policies. I will sacrifice news immediacy for program integrity.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reflections of a 40-Year-Old

Yes, yes, the rumors are true. I turned the big 4-0 today. We have all heard tales of this milestone birthday all our lives. Having now reached it, I must ask, "What's the big hairy deal?" It has really been anticlimactic on the "Oh, you are getting old" front. I honestly don't feel older. Thankfully, I am in the best shape I have been in since my early 20's.

However, from the standpoint of celebrating another year of life with family and friends, it has been OVERWHELMING!  In this age of social networking, telecommunications and radio waves, it seems that word travels fast. My cohorts at WCQR have announced it to the whole tri-state listening audience. I have so many Facebook wall posts that I could never hope to have the time to answer them, individually.  Then there's all the calls, texts, voice mails and emails. Whew! I am so blessed. Every single year on my birthday my phone will ring at 11:20AM, the exact time of my birth, and the voice on the other end is that of my sweet momma wishing me a happy birthday. I also got great birthday songs sung to me via phone and voice mail from various family and friends.

To all my family and friends who cared enough to take the time to wish me a happy birthday, regardless of what form it took, I am humbled and honored. Thank you very much for the encouragement. 

There was one voice mail, however, that was so unique I just had to share. My long-time friend, Debbie Johnson, happens to be the music teacher at Jefferson Elementary. This morning she had the chorus sing me a little birthday diddy that was so awesome I just had to share:

Debbie BDay by RevTiger

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tiger Tried & True: Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

For those who may wonder about the narcissistic nature of the title let me explain. It's not that I think that my opinion on anything means anything to anybody, however, it is my nature to share with others the wonderful discoveries that I have enjoyed. Shucks, I have dedicated my life to sharing Great News with folks who need to hear it so I guess you could say, this is the natural outgrowth of that.

I have shared everything from great food and great restaurants, to great music and great coffee mugs. Today I wish to share with you a great experience and, possibly, a great opportunity for you and your family.

First, let me share how this came to fruition. About two weeks ago, Ellie came home and reported that she was given a line in an upcoming school production. Her line was, "Bays Mountain is a 3500 acre nature preserve and the largest city-owned park in the state of Tennessee." Paige and I have memorized it too. I reflected on the fact that my daughter was now experiencing what many thousands of us who were raised in Kingsport experienced-- the yearly journeys to Bays Mountain Park on the school field trips. I always loved those days. But like many of you, after 12 years of traveling to Bays Mountain, I began to think I had experienced all there was to experience there.

I have never been so wrong.

The same week Ellie walked in with her big one-liner, I had lunch with several former high school classmates including Rob Cole, who now serves as the Operations Coordinator for the park. During our conversation, which ranged from the good old days to University of Tennessee recruiting (it was National Signing Day and we were watching coverage in the restaurant), we began to talk about Bays Mountain. I learned that a family could join the Bays Mountain Park Association for $35 per year and that included the following perks:
  • Unlimited complimentary entrance to the park for your vehicle
  • Invitations to attend special events
  • A one-year subscription to The Interpreter, our member's quarterly newsletter
  • Ability to check-out videos from our large collection of National Geographic, nature, space and related programs
  • Families may receive as many as 6 tickets to any public program (including planetarium and barge rides) each time they visit the park
  • Unlimited access to the hiking trails (my addition, in case it wasn't obvious)
Allow me to interject here that this blog post is completely unsolicited. Neither Rob nor anyone else at Bays Mountain had anything to do with this and there was no remuneration, although I am open to negotiations (LOL).

When I began to think about the cost to adventure ratio, I figured it was the cheapest entertainment I could think of for my family over the course of one whole year. On top of that, Paige and I are in the midst of a wellness resurgence of sorts and the many hiking trails would be a nice change of pace.

So last Friday we bit the bullet, suited up, drove up to Bays Mountain, bought a family pass, waded out into rainy, thirty-eight degree temperatures and did something we had never done in our soon-to-be forty years on this earth-- we hiked to the fire tower on top of Bays Mountain. It was A-Ma-Zing!

Today we decided to hike up to the ubiquitous radio antennas which have stood their post like a sentry over Kingsport for longer than I can remember. How many times I have seen those and wondered what the view must be like from there and never once ventured up to see it-- until today.

Our plan is to continue to take excursions up there, as schedules permit, until we have hiked every trail they have. Considering this and the many picnics and planetarium shows we will enjoy when warmer weather arrives, I think we have struck gold as a family.

If you live in East Tennessee or Southwest Virginia, I HIGHLY recommend that you rediscover Bays Mountain. If you have never been there, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Honor of Black History Month

At least I think they still call it Black History Month. We always did when I was in school. What I am about to share with you arrived in my email inbox yesterday. It is an email that was sent to the aunt of a coworker of mine. This moved me deeply. When things move me, I like to share them with you. It made me reflect on many things and after I share the context of that email, I will elaborate.

I took the liberty of removing specific names to protect privacy:

Hi Mary Beth,

Before I tell you who I am, let me say thank you and God bless you for your kindness. The year was 1967-1968.  The place was Lincoln grade school. The time was the civil rights struggle in America. It was the first year of integration for the W.V. school system. I was a frightened 11-year-old black kid going to a school with white children for the first time in my life. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy would both be murdered that historic year. The very first day of school that year it was your kindness that let me know everything was going to be alright. You said 4 simple words that only took a second but has lasted me a lifetime. "'HI I'M MARY BETH!" I am now a Bishop over the Ohio- Kentucky district of our church and I often mention your kindness in my sermons and the difference one simple act of kindness can make in a persons life. I have often wondered about you and how you were doing. When I found your email address on the ____ _______ web site, I thought it was a thank you 44 years overdue. I will never forget you and your next door neighbor ______ _____. I would love to hear from you and just know that you are well. May God richly bless you and your family and you will always be in my prayers. Oh, by the way, I don't know if you will remember me but I'm Michael _______. I now live in ______, Ohio and often visit your area. Perhaps someday I'll have a chance to meet you and your wonderful family. GOD BLESS YOU MARY BETH AND THANK YOU!!!!!!!



"Hi, I'm Mary Beth!" How hard is that? When I think about race relations and the issues that are STILL facing our society with respect to race, I am convinced that we severely complicate matters. When conversations turn to racism and bigotry I believe, as a white American, our first inclination is to scroll down our mental Rolodex of "Black Friends" and think to ourselves, "See, I'm not racist." When we do that we deceive ourselves. My belief is that our goal should be to drop the labels. We need to simply do what the Bible says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." MLK, Jr. echoed the words of Lincoln when he reminded us that, "All men are created equal." 

Mary Beth did not say, "Hi, my new black friend, I'm Mary Beth, your new white friend." She simply said what she probably had said thousands of other times before and since.  Why do we have such a hard time simply being kind to ALL the people we encounter EVERY day of our lives? If EVERYONE did this, the world would be changed in short order. I really don't see this as some "pie in the sky, by and by" dream. This is something that each of us have control over and it costs us nothing.

Everyone wants to talk about change today, but too few want to be changed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Man of His Word

ATTN: Tennessee Fans, turn back now!!!

This is my payoff on the friendly Chick-fil-a Bowl wager I made with Nate Moock, the Hokie.

A Man of His Word from Tiger Brooks on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tiger Brooks Removes Name From Consideration in TN Coaching Search

Dear People of Earth (Shout out to Conan!):

I am honored to have had my name mentioned in some circles (the car I was riding in yesterday) as being a viable candidate to take over the head coaching job at the University of Tennessee. While I have been a Tennessee fan since the womb and would be fascinated by the opportunity, I must take my name out of consideration at this time.

Much like a football coach, in my present vocation as Minister to Students at Indian Springs Baptist Church, I have the high honor and privilege of coming alongside young people and walking with them during a very pivotal time of life. I model, teach, train, encourage, support and, above all, offer the love, grace and truth of Jesus Christ. The nature of this relationship requires more than the two years that I have presently been on this job. The same could be and should be said of a college football coach who has also been entrusted by students and parents.

Much like the tenures that we are seeing in the present climate of college coaching, the "youth pastor's" tenure has historically, notoriously averaged 18 months or less.  Many voices are saying it is completely unreasonable to expect longer tenures-- that people are always seeking the next rung on the "ladder" or pursuing the almighty dollar.  That maybe fine for the person who basically works in a vacuum. The person that pushes papers around a cubicle or crunches numbers or tightens bolts on an assembly line, whose job does not call for meaningful relationships, may be able to hop around until they land their "Dream Job."  For people who are called to vocations like coaching, ministry, teaching, etc., in my humble opinion, opt out of that luxury.

I am not saying that all people will be like Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Mike Morgan (if you know him, you get it) or other people who spend decades in the same place. I am simply saying there is something to be said for planting and investing one's self in a given job for an amount of time sufficient enough to bear fruit.

In conclusion, I wish all the best to the University of Tennessee in their search for a new head coach to lead them into the future. As a fan, I pray that God would lead them to the right man for the job. However, for all of the aforementioned reasons, I will not consider leaving one of the best and most rewarding jobs in the world.

Kindest Regards,


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WWJD? Here's What Josh Did...

On January 3, 2010, rising Christian music singer/songwriter, Josh Wilson, found himself in Newark Airport with a few associates only to discover all flights were canceled. Have you been there? Not in Newark, per se, but in a situation with hundreds and hundreds of angry travelers trapped in an airport. I have. Nerves are on edge. Tempers are flaring. Attitudes and personalities are tested. What do you do?

Watch what Josh did:

Some of my fellow Christ-followers would wonder aloud, "Why would you not want to sing a song about Jesus Christ while you have a captive audience?"

Some of my more marketing-driven peeps would ask,"Why would he not want to sing one of his originals and maybe put his case out for donations, or sell product right there on the spot?"

"What a wasted opportunity," some say.

Well, let's examine what he did. Knowing a little more of the story, some of his buddies didn't think he would take the challenge of just busting out the guitar and bellerin' out a song. But he did. He chose a song by one of the most popular bands of all time. A song with a great hook everyone in the airport over 25 would recognize.  He "took a sad situation and made it better."  Did you see the smiles on the faces- the black faces, the red faces, the white faces, and the yellow faces?

Here is the rest of the story. This link has been twittered by a who's who of famous twitterers from Ryan Seacrest to the founder of Twitter himself. It has been picked up by Fox News, NBC and CNN.  Before it is said and done, millions will be exposed to the music and ministry of Josh Wilson because of his act of kindness- simply using his gifts to make a the most of a bad situation. Jesus Christ will ultimately receive the praise He so richly deserves.

If Josh had pulled out his guitar and sang "Amazing Grace" he, no doubt, would have made a few folks happy. Several Christian travelers would have had a cute capture on their smart phones. But you and I would not be talking about it and millions of people, in the quietness of their homes, would not be researching what Josh Wilson is all about-- and the God he serves.

Something to think about.