Archives For May 2006

Credibility

Mike —  May 30, 2006 — 3 Comments

Gman, this one’s just for you if you haven’t seen it already…

This has been debated on CBSportsline, Slate, and tons of other sites, but, check out this claim. Haven’t seen this trick since my days in Jr. High gym class! In attempting to sell his shake, he’s sold any semblance of credibility as well.

A Crack in the Wall

Mike —  May 26, 2006 — Leave a comment

When you own a home, there are a certain number of ‘projects’ that are always lurking for you. When these are done, several more will rise up in their place. Having just bought a house, here are a few of my projects: refinish old wood floors, remodel bathroom, install flooring in kitchen and dining room, put up fence in backyard, resuscitate grass, uncover window that was boarded up for no apparent reason, re-rock fireplace, paint, replace fake wood paneling… These are not all short-term projects, but things that we’d like to get done in the next few years. None of them are absolutely essential, just things we’d like to do.

LuAnn and I have talked about another project, as well. Our kids will be using the basement, so we’d like to put in an egress window (basically a window close enough to the floor, and big enough, that you can escape a fire – or more accurately, so that a fireman can climb in and drag you out). This involves a pretty substantial removal of basement wall concrete in order to install the larger window. Translate that – big, hairy, & expensive. This is something that we’ve decided can wait a while.

That changed Wednesday night. Instead of hitting golf balls with friends as I had planned, I was tearing out soaked carpet (and the tile it was glued to) and shop-vac-ing (yes, I know that’s not really a word) water out of the basement. (Eric, thanks a ton for your help!) Apparently, the wall between the inside bedroom and the outside flower bed is not watertight. Who knew!

As we proceeded to clean up, we took some panel off the wall to discover a gaping hole in the wall. (Ok, it wasn’t gaping, and it was more of a crack than a hole, but… that’s where the water was coming in so I’ll call it a gaping hole if I want to.) And, once the wall is repaired (still waiting for bids on how that job will go), that’s where the egress window will go.

It’s funny how something you’d been thinking about doing can become something you must do NOW. Maybe there’s something going on in your life like this. Maybe God’s just revealed a huge spiritual crack in your wall that’s begging to be fixed. Maybe you’ve got a hole that’s letting things leak into your life that don’t belong there. Maybe there’s some area of ministry you’ve been thinking about for a while, and NOW is the time to act.

Stop thinking about it. Do what you must do.

Speaking of College…

Mike —  May 19, 2006 — 1 Comment

According to a note on CNNMoney.com dated May 2, 2006,

“Nearly 2/3 of college students now use loans to finance their education, up from 46% in 1990. The class of 2004 graduated with an average loan debt of $15,622 for the public school students and $22,581 for those who went to private schools. A 2006 graduate with a consolidated debt of $40,000, they will owe a payment of $243 a month until they are 52. As they begin eyeing their senior discounts, they will have paid over $47,000 in interest alone on that loan.”

Yikes! And that’s just under-grad. I hate the thought of so many students marching proudly into such a deep debt. That’s a decent car payment. So skip college and buy yourself a new car every few years instead. Just kidding! (The angry parent letters are already starting.) The education received in college can determine or at least shape much of a student’s future. Very seldomly would it be a good idea to skip it!

But it’s expensive. Maybe it would be better to take it a little slower (forget about graduating in 4 years) and leave yourself some time to work. Find a job (as humble as it may have to be) and pay for school as you go. Work summers. Cut back on what you don’t really need. Spend what you have wisely. Save. Graduate in 5 or 6 years with a student loan payment of zero.

Or maybe you’re fortunate to have parents paying your way through school. If so, appreciate it. Don’t take for granted that gift. When you get your first post-graduation paycheck, call home and thank mom and dad for making sure you won’t be paying for your education til you’re ready to retire.

Or maybe I’m out of my mind! Maybe there is no other way than the ‘way of Stafford’… nah, there’s gotta be a way. Hope you find it…

Scrambled Code

Mike —  May 18, 2006 — Leave a comment

One of the aspects of conservative Christianity that I really don’t care for is our penchant for banning. Afraid our children will be led astray by the latest Pied Piper??? Never mind teaching them to think critically and make good choices… just ban him. Ticked off that some company’s policies will benefit some group you don’t like??? Don’t try to reason with them, don’t examine your own heart toward that group… ban the company.

In this case, it was a movie. Now this bandwagon was far from full, but the debate has been pretty hot. With the Da Vinci Code showing up on screens this weekend, things are coming to a head. But wait! What’s this? The movie stinks, you say?

How much free publicity did this movie get because so many were so eager to picket and ban and rail against a movie that probably would have flopped on its own anyway?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s vital for Christ’s body to stand up and proclaim Truth, and to point out the deception our enemy uses to dupe the masses. But, can we find a better way?

going home

Mike —  May 17, 2006 — Leave a comment

We just got back from about a week long trip for graduations and receptions and to visit some missionary friends who are staying in IA til their new baby has his passport. Scott and Kelly and baby Nathaniel are doing well (despite the laryngitis and pink eye) as they prepare for a few last visits with family and supporters, then the return to their language and literacy work in Papua New Guinea. We had a good visit. Scott was a very good friend growing up (as well as LuAnn’s cousin) and it was great to see them again before they take off.

It was also great to see the graduating students from my former ministry. These kids were just starting in Jr. High when I started in Auburn. One of the girls was baptized on our first Sunday there – you could just see her head popping up over the edge of the baptistry, now she’s flipping her tassel. It was humbling to see how they’ve grown and how God continues to work in their lives. I had promised them when I came here that I’d come back for graduation this year. I had enough barbeque sandwiches to last for a really long time (at least ’til next year’s receptions). Lots of late nights piled together and topped off with an overnight drive to get back, though… I’m tired.

Even if it was 4:00 in the morning, it was a great feeling to come back from our trip to our house instead of the apartment. Just felt more like coming home. It’s a funny thing we have with this idea of home… When we first went to Auburn, I definitely felt like a stranger in a strange land, but it became home – those people became family. And now, a new home is developing for us here in Scottsbluff. Our family is expanding.

Kind of reminds me of scripture talking about being foreigners. We have a better home. We’re on our Way there now. And the family we’re bringing with us should keep expanding…

Fire/Water

Mike —  May 9, 2006 — 1 Comment

“More than 2,200 wildfires have burned over 44,000 acres in Florida since Jan. 1, according to the state Division of Forestry.” – from an AP story Tuesday

That seems strange in a state that is nearly surrounded by water (1100 miles of coastline), and nearly submerged in water. Home of the Everglades. The highest point above sea level is less than 350 ft high and the mean elevation is only 98 feet. There’s water everywhere – but the equivalent of 70 square miles has burned this year alone.

I think often we fall into a pattern of living that is very much like these fires in FL. Surrounded by the Living Water to sustain life, but still burning out. Stop and drink. Drink deeply and live. Drink, and be satisfied.

Ok, now breathe…

Mike —  May 3, 2006 — Leave a comment

Spring Thing 2006 has officially concluded. There are a few loose ends to tie up as far as reports and expenses and evaluation, but the weekend went well. (Any of you who were there feel free to disagree if you want to.) Couple weeks ago, I asked our congregation to be praying that the Spirit of God would blow life into the skeletal schedule of events. They did. He did. Here’s my article from this week’s Westway newsletter…
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According to the “Human Anatomy Online” website “The average human adult skeleton has 206 bones joined to ligaments and tendons to form a protective and supportive framework for the attached muscles and the soft tissues which underlie it.”

In the last couple weeks, when I asked you to pray that the Sprit of God would blow through Spring Thing, giving life to the skeleton that had been planned, I had no idea just how He would do that. Ezekiel was amazed to see a valley of bones come to life – I got to see something very similar this week. Look at this math…

3 states + 11 cities + 15 churches = 206 students and student loving youth leaders at 1 great weekend! The Holy Spirit was definitely present, joining us together in His Body and breathing life into us all. On the very first night, our speaker, Tory Satter, commented to me about the overwhelming sense of community that he could feel in the students and adults that were present. It was not natural. We had been joined by the ligaments and tendons of your prayers.

Thank you for praying. Thank you for opening your homes. And special thanks to those of you who cleared your schedules to be here and help. Nancy, Missy, Andi, Joel, Joe, Marcia, Greg, Matt, Cody, Trevor, Drew, Adam (& crew), Rodd, Aaron, Scott, Dave… I can’t thank you all enough.
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For me, this was the first of what I hope will be many such events. There were a few things that I’ll do differently next time, but this time overall went very well.