Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some "Feel Good" (Make that "Great") Talent!

Anyone who watches "American Idol" knows about Simon Cowell, the nasty, cold-hearted, British music critic who thinks nothing of destroying a person's hopes in front of millions of people. Granted, sometimes...okay, often, the talent is just not there, and Simon's cold, no-nonsense critiques are part of his image. This year he served as a judge on England's version of "America's Got Talent," and these three contestants actually brought a smile to his face, and they probably will to you, too!

This clip is of 6 year old Connie Talbot singing, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow:"

This one is of 13 year old George Sampson doing street dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa-6QAvosb4&mode=related&search=

This one is of a cell phone store manager singing opera...the best clip in my opinion...

For other clips go to www.youtube.com and search for "Britain's Got Talent." ENJOY!

Does Your Anger Make the World a Better Place?

I showed my Sunday night group Rob Bell's latest Nooma video entitled "Store." It was excellent, reminding us that anger is an emotional that always leads somewhere, often to a petty, destructive place, but in Christ's case, His anger always led to healing and restoration. See Mark 3:1-6 for an example as the religious leader cared more for their traditions than for the welfare of a person in need. How it must break God's heart even today when we get angry by putting our traditions, or worship preferences (traditional vs. contemporary), or prejudices ahead of the welfare of people in need.

Bell points out that the choice is in our reaction to our anger. Do we give in to our selfishness and complain, get bitter, or try to get even (Who ever gets "even" anyway?)? Or do we allow God's Spirit and word to transform us into people who get angry at what Jesus got angry at.... injustice, poverty, etc.

It is quite sobering to ask ourselves, "where is my anger leading me?" Or "is my anger making the world a better place?" It can you know.

Take the case of Arissa Gonzalez of Las Vegas, NM. Around Thanksgiving of 2006, a drunk driver slammed into her family's van killing her THREE sisters and both parents! Goto: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3338511&page=1
for the complete story. Out of that tragedy, Arissa and her extended family have become crusaders against drunk driving in New Mexico. They could have all become bitter, giving up on life extending the damage this one careless person caused, but they didn't. Their heartache, depression, and anger are leading them to make the world better, so it can be done.

Goto http://www.nooma.com/Shopping/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=322&Mode=WMV&PMID=237
to see a preview of Rob Bell's Nooma video about this! NOTE: you can see other previews and full versions of other Nooma's (the 17th one comes out at the end of July) at http://www.youtube.com/

Now, go and get angry about something that matters...something that will make the world a better place!

Monday, July 02, 2007

An Amazing Weekend

For all my friends who still think Denmark is boring. It's not. Never has been. Never will be!

Friday: Made my last two visits to the two World Changers teams which were working on homes in our area. We adopted them for the week, feeding them, etc. Both groups, for those who are not acquainted with WC, were made up of about 10 teen-agers and a couple of adults from churches around the southeast (some from Texas and Virginia, too). The groups only have two teen-agers from the same church so the kids will form a unique group where they are all newcomers. It does work well.

My favorite quote was from one of the kids on one of my member's crew. He's the kid on the ladder. Billy (also in the picture) was the crew chief, directing these ten kids in putting a roof on a house. Billy is unique, sort of like a tamed grizzly bear. He enjoys being gruffer than he really is, and he does have a heart for missions and young people and does very well with them. His wife Cathy was the crew encourager on the same crew.

As the group was dispersing to return to work after their lunch time devotion, I asked some of the kids how they had enjoyed Billy. One of the guys said something to the effect that he was great, cool, or something like that. I made the comment that Billy was sort of like the peanuts in crunchy peanut butter...you know...some might not like the feel of them, but they add flavor. This kid, Bradley, responded without missing a beat, "Yeah, he's EXTRA CRUNCHY."

During the last World Changers worship service, I got a call that one of my youth leaders who had gone with the group to Columbia had fallen out of the church bus while it was moving. She was sitting on a stool talking to the driver ( a good friend), when they took a sharp turn, throwing Beth out the door into a four lane highway. She was okay! The ambulance came with various firemen and troopers, too. She hurt her lip, scraped her arm, and had some bruises, but that was it. Yep, a miracle...a big one, and we're thankful....very thankful. They all went on to play putt-putt and skate, and returned to the church for the rest of the evening and Saturday morning as it was a lock-in.

The group returned at 2:00 am, and I went over to the church (nope...I didn't sleep before they got back from Columbia)...and drove the bus for my photo scavenger hunt team. There was lots of screaming when one of the other teams were spotted...we visited two cemeteries (at 2:30 am no less), local businesses and locations taking assigned pictures. Can you see me up in the corner of this picture? I think we came in second place, but it was fun for the kids. I finally gave out at 5:30 and slept till 12:45 Saturday afternoon.

I found out late Saturday afternoon that my chairman of deacons' house was struck by lightning... didn't burn down, but it ruined a good bit of their electronics (you know how painful that is for me!) He and his wife and I went out to eat Saturday night. Normally I would have been freaking out about my sermon, but I didn't prepare one!

Today we had the Lord's Supper, and though it was difficult, I decided NOT TO prepare a sermon. I had told a couple of my deacons that I was toying with the idea of having an open mike for spontaneous testimonies focused on what difference Jesus Christ is making in their lives right now (i.e. in addition to heaven). One of my deacons dared me, and was the first one to jump to the mike!

To make a long story short, our service went to 12:45 pm and there were NO lags; people just kept coming up to speak wonderful words of gratitude for Christ's gift....even a visitor shared! Several of those who shared were unexpected, and very powerful in their words of affirmation, referring to the table with the elements, expressing gratitude to Christ for what He means to them. Several people commented that they hadn't even noticed the time. I was humbled in the people's responses. It was one of the best Lord's Supper we've ever had.

So that's what my typical weekend in Denmark was like! Hope you had a great weekend, too! If nothing noteworthy happened...well, make something noteworthy happen this week!