Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'll Pass on the Mass!


Thanks to Martin Luther on this day 480 years ago...We protestants broke free from the Catholic Church! To learn more about the Reformation click here. Don't celebrate Reformation Day with trick or treating, costume parties, or scary movies...instead, fire up some sausage, heat up the sour kraut and read Luther's 95 Theses as a bed-time story! HAPPY REFORMATION EVERYBODY!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ten Steps to Consider

I read this list today from another blog called the outflow. This is really cool. Hope you enjoy it.

10 Tips For Preventing Scandal
1. Live a humble, transparent life.
2. Stay open to correction.
3. Audit your actions regularly.
4. Stay in touch with the real world.Ministry is about loving people. But you will never develop compassion unless you are close enough to the grass roots to smell the poverty, lay hands on the sickness and cry with those who are in pain.
5. Don’t allow people to make you a celebrity.
6. Make family a priority.
7. Live modestly and give extravagantly.
8. Don’t build your own kingdom.
9. Develop keen discernment.
10.Maintain your spiritual passion.People who experience moral failure almost always lose their spiritual passion first.

Not only are these tips good for preventing scandal but they are just good principles to live by. Living this type of lifestyle is what God is calling us Jesus Followers to.
What do you think? Would you add to the list?

G.I. Joe the Non-American Hero?

Well I was listening to Glenn Beck this morning and was pretty mad as he was at Hasbro's desire to change the emphasis on the classic G.I. Joe's "Real American Hero" to "Global Integrated Joint Operative Entity" WHAT?????? An "American" company is going to rid itself of being American! The new G.I. Joe will answer to the UN! Beck sees the danger in making our kids grow to love the U.N. and answer to them and not being American! Shame on you Hasbro...I don't have kids but I along with Beck will not support (buy anything) from them. How can you as an American support American companies like this who are throwing away our Pride, Heritage, and Dignity? Let's hurt Hasbro this Christmas season by boycotting them...maybe they'll change!

"I hate Hasbro...and the U.N."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stuck In The Book Of Job

Hey guys! I think I had mentioned before that I am reading the Bible straight through from cover to cover. I have studied all the books before but actually have never taken the time to read them in order. All the books aren't necessarily in chronological order but I think the reader gains a deeper understanding of the New Testament by reading the Old Testament first. After all, Jesus was the fulfillment of the O.T. so why is little emphasis given to it? I seldom hear sermons based on Old Testament passages. I try to incorporate the O.T. with the N.T. fulfillment when I preach.

For that last few weeks I have been stuck in the book of Job. Besides the fact that it is a very long book and I've read it before, I have had difficulty getting through it! This book is probably one of the vital, must read, spiritual uplift anyone can lay eyes on in the Bible and I'm just not motivated to finish it. I have had no discipline in my spiritual life lately. I hate excuses but I do have some. I have been so caught up in the events of my ministry to set aside time alone with God. for the last few weeks I had been stressed out about my cat's failing health and then dealing with putting her to sleep. Perhaps the biggest excuse is that I have been too lazy. Looking back for the past few weeks, I have spent time watching T.V. I have spent time online, reading magazines, playing Guitar Hero 2, etc. but have had no desire to dive more into God's word and finish the challenge of reading the whole Bible.

Distractions are a tool that Satan uses to tempt us to fall. Laying all excuses aside, it is time to get refocused and finish the race. Sometimes it takes something like a pet's death to make you realize how much of your time was devoted in the care of it and how little time you actually spend alone with God. Is anyone else struggling with distractions or having the desire to get into God's word? What are some things you do to keep yourself on track?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Memory of Our Precious Princess Kitty

Lucy Marie Blackrick 2005-2007
Lucy Marie Blackrick – Born March 17th 2005 (St. Patrick’s Day) left us eternally October 25th 2007 in Bradenton, Fl. Lucy, a domestic short-haired multi-color house cat will be missed by all who loved her and took care of her. Although your time here on earth was cut short, your life will go on in memories never forgotten, pictures scrapbooked, and hairballs to be found in future cleanings. Lucy’s life was that of constant struggle, being orphaned at birth she was adopted by her loving parents Bill and Jessica Blackrick, both of Bradenton, from the Humane Society of Bradenton, Fl. Lucy lost a three month fight for life from her immune deficiency disorder. Lucy was very fond of taking naps, chasing bugs, smelling flowers, looking out the window, cuddling under the covers at night, and playing fetch with her toys. Her purr could be heard from across a room and her nose was very cold and wet when she kissed. Her cuteness and very lady-like personality will be deeply missed. Lucy always enjoyed new company and would always want to be the center of everyone’s attention and lap! Lucy’s favorite foods were tuna, liver, and chicken. Her favorite T.V. show was “I Love Lucy” her favorite song was “Forgetful Lucy” by Adam Sandler. Lucy lived up to her name which means Light. Lucy brightened each day for everyone she loved on. Lucy’s family wishes to thank all the doctors and staff at Pet First Animal Hospital for their dedication and hard work. Lucy will be cremated and services will be private. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society of Bradenton, fl. Final arrangements entrusted to Belspur Oaks Pet Crematory.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Loving The Creation Is Causing People To Get Burned

O.K. guys I might get some nasty comments from some tree-huggers out there but here goes...

I was listening to The Schnitt Show yesterday afternoon on my way home from the office and an interesting view on all the fires in California was being discussed. Schnitt had a California firefighter on the show talking about the problems and how bad things were. There is no doubt that this is a huge problem, but what caught me and Schnitt for a surprise was that it all could have been prevented if it were'nt for orginizations like PETA, GreenPeace, etc. who oppose ANY controlled burns and brush clearing!!! They claim that it is an unnatural process that hurts the creation and animals living there. This firefighter claims they have stopped about six years worth of brush clearing and this "Dead Drop" is now adding up and is fueling these fires out of control. "Dead Drop" is all the leaves, trees, brush and so forth that dies and falls to the ground. Over builds up and if it catches fire...well...look at California. Especially in the Sierra area...people built there homes just inches away from the trees not wanting to cut down any and clear a safe barrier for their home from the forest. Now look! If you want to see more about this interview or about the very controversial Schnitt Show I have a link on my blog can even tune in and listen sometime.

My point in all this is that activists have become huge worshippers of the creation and not the Creator! Since they have allowed there beliefs on nature to overrule common sense and safety, people are losing there homes and there lives are threatened. Stop worshipping creation or you might get burned!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Getting Away From Distractions

Well Jessica and I are back and attempting to recover from taking our youth group camping this past week! Even though we both are exhausted, it was a awesome time! Some highlights and funny things that happened was the late-night hike in the woods (it's always fun when you get a youth to hide back in a bush and jump out and grab someone...ahhh the ear piercing screams!) Of course there were campfires and S'mores! Swimming in an alligator habitat was fun and fearful at the same time! The last night we were there it stormed and my tent and another one of the guy's flooded out! Needless to say I crammed all the guys in one tent and I literally slept under the stars and was awoken by raccoons only twice!

Amongst all the craziness, wetness, lack of sleep and stress, the more important thing that took place was the bonding of our group with each other and with my wife and I. We had a total of eight youth come! (for those of you think 8 is no big group was only 2 youth in July!) I had some cancellations at the last minute which could have brought the total to 10. It's awesome to see numerical growth but that is not nearly important as spiritual and relational growth in the group. My church supports me in this philosophy of youth ministry and they are just as excited as I am.

During the camp-out we took time to focus on getting away from the distractions in life and think about those less fortunate to have all the luxuries teens have today. There's no better setting than in the middle of the woods with no electricity, video games, computers, ipods, television, phones, or radios to learn about focusing on God's purpose in there life! We live our lives with countless distractions. Work, family, money, politics, and even church eats away at our time alone with God. Our distractions become our idols! Let me challenge you to spend three days without any electronics, phones, etc. and spend that time alone in God's word and prayer just like my group did this past week!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Be Back Monday

Bye everyone...Jess and I are off to our camping back monday

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sound Off Campout!

Hey everyone...I haven't been able to spend much time lately posting new material and I apologize. I have been preparing for a campout with FUSION this week and things are getting crazy! As of Sunday, my total for youth wanting to go went from 5 to 12 !!! wow! I don't know if they all are actually going to go until Wednesday Night but it is exciting to see a group finally have some numerical growth along with the spiritual.

This campout with actually be a fasting time from all media devices like video games, cell phones, ipods and such. The time spent away from media will be turned into discipleship. We leave Thursday after school and will be camping till Saturday. Hope no one gets eaten by alligators!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monopoly -vs- The Lottery

I got lucky today at McDonald's...Two free McFluries and a Free Breakfast Sandwich! Basically for the price I paid for the meal I got the equivalent in free food for later! This reminded me of a debate in one of my theology classes about gambling. Most Christians will agree that gambling is sin. It is! Is going to McDonald's and buying certain products for the chance to win food, money or other prizes any different than going to the store and buying a lottery ticket? I don't think it is but I have never heard a Christian say I won't play the monopoly game and try to win the million bucks! Part of my debate in class was about the stock market investing and gambling. I understand that Jesus told the parable about the servants and the money they invested (Matthew 25:14-30) so investing is not against the Bible. But is being a bad steward of your investing a sin? The stock market as we know is not a stable investment (Great Depression ring a bell?)
The correlation I am making is that if Christians are willing to put there money in a stock with the "chance" it will make them money, then what is the difference in putting money in the lottery, dog races, or a weekend in Vegas? Obviously the issue is the addiction to gamble. Aren't people addicted with finding the last game piece on monopoly? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Little Warning!

Well I've never had any trouble with the law before...that is until today! I was bored with my usual airport viewing area so I decided to look around for a better spot. I found an awesome place behind an empty hangar! Well I parked my car and was able to see the planes actually glide down the strip and even could see which terminal they steered towards. I was carelessly talking to Dan Browne on the phone for about 10-15 minutes when I noticed the Sheriff's car coming my way rather quickly. Ah Crap! I knew I was going to be in trouble. Apparently Airport Security noticed me and called the cops! I was lucky to just get a verbal warning not to come back here and I apologized. To be honest with you, I don't think the sheriff really cared but you know how the FAA is!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Numbing Down?

This past Saturday Jessica and I went to Sarasota Jungle Gardens Park for a time of relaxation and fun. We both had a great time watching many different animals. Jessica even got to hold a 4 foot alligator! The most interesting thing for me was the flamingo exhibit there. These flamingos acted like they didn't even care about the human presence. I was actually able to sneak up on one while it was sleeping! After it woke up it gave a very nice pose for my camera!

This got me thinking that these wild birds who are instinctively afraid of humans have been numbed due to overexposure. Are we as humans the same way? We have been exposed to the world so much over the years that we are becoming like the flamingos and not fearing sin, immorality, injustice, and evil around us. We are not to love the world or the things in it says 1 John 2:15-17. I love the illustration on how to boil a frog. If you wanted to boil a live frog you can't simply drop it in boiling water because it will feel the heat and jump out immediately. You have to place him in cold water and gradually raise the temperature to boiling and he will never jump out. We humans have been slowly boiling in this world and are getting more and more numb to the spiritual battle that is before us. Don't be like this flamingo!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sit Down, Shut Up, and Enjoy the Ride!

Hello all! This is my first post on my own. You will be reading about what we went over in the Bible Study I lead on Monday Nights for women. I pray that it speaks to your heart also.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth."

The title of this note comes from some great words of wisdom imparted from my dear friend Lisa Mead. One day I was complaining about all of the things that I wish I could be doing for God and wishing I were on a faster track to finding true joy in Christ. That is when Lisa flat out said "Just sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride". Immediately I was flustered by this comment and her boldness, but then I realized she is so right!! This is what all of Psalm 46 is speaking of.

Do I want God as He is, or do I want to fit Him in my box? I want Him as He is!!! Why do I doubt Him continually? In this chapter of the Bible, we are reminded that God has all power and authority. We should not be looking to this world for stability or to our own visions for encouragement and passion, we should be looking to the Lord, God Almighty. "Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea." (v.2) "God is within her, she will not fall." (v.5a) We have to choose to stand firm in our relationship with God and say:"I know that He will provide for me in the way that will glorify His name best, and I am okay with that. I do not need all of the things of this world. All that I need is my relationship with the Lord!!

"I am currently reading a great book entitled The DNA of Relationships by Dr.Gary Smalley. The chapter I am reading now specifically deals with the common misconception that if we are in Christ everything will work out just as our heart wants it. This is not necessarily true because God's plans are greater than our own. Chapter 9 in the previous mentioned book says: "So let me say it one more time. I have no magic pills. No secrets of guaranteed relationship success. Even so, I do have some solid and strong reassurance for those who may feel uneasy at the thought of a world without guarantees. I feel so confident because the reassurance comes straight from God's Word. And it drips with sweet serendipity:
'Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! He will make me as surefooted as the deer and bring me safely over the mountains.'" Habakkuk 3:17-19
I pray that these verses help give you the desire to change the way you view life. We need to view in the spiritual and not in the natural!!

Lord, please strengthen our relationships with You!! We want to have our focus only on You, and not on the things of the world which continually fail us. Lord, we love You and thank You for your promises to us. We know that You are who You say You are, and we praise You for it!!! Amen!!
-Written By Jessica =)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Aren't All AddictionsThe Same?

My Addiction is Coffee...ooohhhh I'm a minister that is an addict! Why am I not being scolded at church for visibly guzzling half a pot of joe each morning? Church has warped their theologies into believing that some addictions are more evil than others. An addiction to caffeine or chocolate is no worse to God than Alcohol or even Sexual addictions! The addiction wagon rolls through my life each day as it does with everyone. I have a hard time hearing people in my church or even abroad that judge alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers, people dealing with pornography, etc. when they battle with addictions too. Sin is sin, anything that devotes our time, health, or money from being Christ-Centered is an addiction. Are there good addictions? Absolutely! We should be more addicted to Scripture, Prayer, and meditation on God than any substance on earth. Can some addictions be good and usefull for God? Yes! drinking coffee and conversing with strangers at a coffee shop like I'm doing right now as I got this idea for this post at Java Moon can be a wonderful tool for God. What are your addictions? How can you use them for good?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bird Watching...Well Big Metal Bird Watching

Lately I have been taking my lunch break from the office and driving down to Sarasota\Bradenton International Airport (which is only 2 miles from my office) and watching the birds fly into town and land. You might think I'm crazy for religiously parking my Dodge Intrepid right in line with the landing strobe lights making sure the jets pass ever closely to my vehicle. Perhaps its the rumble I feel when the engines' exhaust hit my car, perhaps the noise level, perhaps the excitement and awe that I have whenever I contemplate the achievements that have been made in aviation in the last few years. Perhaps I just want to get away from the ordinary sitting in a Mcdonalds with 20 other strangers gnawing away at their dollar menu items. I enjoy, and need, for that that matter the time away from all interruptions and endless planning for church. The airport has been my place to not only think about airplanes and how I wish I took the licensing school when I had the chance, but a place I can think about God.

Do you have a place you go to when you need to be alone? Jesus went on his own to pray for others and for himself (Matthew 26:36-46). I often wonder where God would go in this world to "get away" and watch the birds. What place on earth did God set aside as his most prized piece of creation in which he finds the most pleasure by gazing on it? Some stake claim on it being their home state, while others claim it to be on a mountain top or the ocean floor.

God doesn't need to get away from it all because unlike us humans, He can handle all the pressures of the world. Perhaps He gave us wondrous things, places, views, and even airplanes to help us appreciate life a little more.

God want us to spend time with him alone as much as possible. How else can you truly get to know someone unless you do? Find that spot that no one else can bother you at, look around in creation, marvel at God's work and enjoy life to the fullest.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Graham Formula Book Review

As often as I can I enjoy reading a good book. This one wasn't that great but had some truths that need to be affirmed to everyone. The overall theme of this book was about the dangers of "alter call" evangelism made popular by early evangelist like Billy Sunday and Charles Finney. This book addressed the need for personal counseling of individual while leading them to a "born again" experience. Salvation is more than "coming down the isle" and reciting the "sinner's prayer" it is a decision of the heart that transforms the life of the individual. Pat McIntyre uses the Billy Graham formula that SALVATION + COUNSELING + FOLLOW UP = DECISION and that only about 25% of these result in a true salvation experience.
The issue I have with some of this guy's beliefs are that he feels that all evangelism holds true to this model and that someone can't truly be saved by saying a prayer. He states that he has a hard time believing that a missionary can preach one sermon and a whole tribe converts! I refer to the thief on the cross who only asked for Jesus to remember him in paradise! Did Jesus tell him he must go through counseling and have a follow-up before he would be saved? NO!!!
Evangelism is different for everyone. Some people need years of counseling before a decision is made, while others only need to hear the gospel once for it to change their lives forever. I will agree that it is vital to the life of new believers to receive discipleship from a church but to say that a true decision is only made by the above formula is wrong. What's your view on evangelism?

Monday Morning Quarterback

Some Let Downs...Some Joy!

Auburn vs. Florida ...well, all I can say is...that Auburn somehow did it again, but must I remind everyone that they were the only ones to beat us last year and we still are National Champions!

Awesome Job Bucs! 3-1 and looking good. Too bad about Cadillac Williams though.

NL EAST CHAMPIONS !!!!!!!!!! OH YEAH!!!!!!!!

Click Here to read about the exciting comeback!