Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Meet The Robinsons - Complete Surprise

I recently watched Disney's "Meet the Robinsons," just, I thought, to see the animation. I was pleasantly surprised to find a very wonderful story. Sure, it is filled with silly kids' stuff (to make it marketable), but underneath it all was a story line about a young boy's critical decision on his world view, especially with regards to being backward looking (to the past in an attempt to find his birth mother who left him on the orphanage's doorstep for some "unknown" reason) or forward looking.

The plot centers on Louis' attempt to build a memory scanner so he can unlock deep memories of his birth mom. He is a scientific genius at 12, and therefore has not been adopted since he's a little too "special" for most people. He is visited by a strange teen-ager from the future, Wilbur, who insists some evil guy is after him and his memory scanner. Louis then becomes obsessed with using Wilbur's time machine to go and meet his birth mom, but Wilbur is obsessed with getting Louis to the science fair with his scanner. The whole struggle is that one kid wants to go back because he "thinks" he can fix something, but the other kid, from the future, has something Louis doesn't have...the truth...and he knows Louis future is dependent on something (the science fair) that Louis in his ignorance thinks is unimportant. all reminded me how often we ignore God's truth and embrace our own ignorance.

I can't tell you how many people I've met who are "stuck" in the past in regret, or bitterness, and their lives are paralyzed. The statement that kept being repeated throughout this story is "keep moving forward," sort of like what Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-14. At the end of the movie, Louis has to make the decision whether to meet his birth mother or embrace the future. All in all, it was a great message, even though you have to wade through a fair amount of silly stuff to get to it. Here is the video of one of the best songs in the soundtrack that sums up the movie's message....

Romans 8:28 Lived Out in Nick Vujicic

For when you "think" you're having a bad day, or tempted to be overwhelmed by circumstances, remember Romans 8:28 and Nick Vujicic!

For more of Nick, go to and and search for Nick Vujicic.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Monopoly Game with No Cash!? Give Me A Break!

Can you believe how far our culture (or the credit card companies) will go to shame us into using more and more credit cards, and less and less cash (and responsibility!) As if all those commercials where everything is running smoothly as people wave, tap, or swipe their credit cards weren't enough. You know, the ones where the poor, responsible soul with...gasp....CASH (or check) is shamed as everything stops for people to gawk, sneer and condemn their lack of debt and the slowness of their transactions.

Well, now our kids can learn at an even younger age how to amass huge quantities of debt with ELECTRONIC Monopoly, complete with its own credit/money card swiper! OH, and yhou start off with a balance of 15,000,000 bucks...great for a generation that all too often feels like its parents owe them a new sports car at 15! If you want to see it yourself goto:

We may be the last generation that will even be able to count and make change, not to mention the implications this has for the fulfillment of Revelation 13:16-18: He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666..

The Cook Family Made It to Zambia!

Ricky, Niki, Austin, Coby, and Kelsey made it to Zambia last Thursday. Their blog is:

Pray for them as they begin their 40/40 experience today when they will spend the next month getting to know the people of Zambia. Part of the time they'll spend at the seminary in Lusaka, in tents out in the bush, and with a Zambian family. It should be quite the eye-opening experience!

Don't Hurt Feelings - Wait And Attack Their Character!

Anyone who has worked on a committee in a church for any length of time has come across what Patrick Lencioni is talking about in this video. I heard him at a conference this summer, and he is excellent.

What he is talking about is Ephesians 4:15-16 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We can choose in a meeting to be honest in love (that is the best interest of the person) by discussing the merits of an idea or an issue, or we can be selfish (not wanting to experience the momentary awkwardness of confrontation/conflict) under the guise of "not hurting their feelings" and wait until we're "safe" with others who agree with us as we talk about them behind their back, assessing not simply their ideas, but in some cases, attacking their character. So we end up not hurting their feelings in the meeting, but hurting them in the long run and by being deceptive at the same time.

Need some more challenge? Goto:

For more of Patrick Lencioni, just search

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pray For The Cooks!

Last night I joined the Cook and Abstance families as we said good-bye to Ricky, Niki, Austin, Coby, and Kelsey as they began their 30 something hour trip to Africa! They will arrive tomorrow morning (Thursday the 18th) in Lusaka, Zambia. In a little more than a week they will go on an orientation experience which will involve some time living in tents and then with a Zambian family.

They will manage the "missionary house" in Lusaka where missionaries will come for rest, conferences, meetings, etc. Ricky and Niki will also have weekly opportunities to be part of the local missionary teams in a variety of ministry and outreach opportunities.

Right now, just pray for their safe arrival and their safe and successful completion of their month-long orientation. Pray also for both their families who had to say good-bye last night, and for their pastor as he seeks to minister to them!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Need Counseling? Try This?

Having majored in psychology, I found the following approach to therapy very interesting! Some call it "Cognitive Restructuring;" I call it funy! It does give us pause to stop and think about taking responsibility for the things we need to change in our lives, and the futility of always blaming our difficulties on others while ignoring our responsibility to change what we need to change about ourselves. Enjoy and be careful about employing this technique to those who may come to you for help. Better leave it to trained professionals!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Catalyst Conference was Cata-Rific!

From Richmond, I headed about 600 miles south west to Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference. This is a leadership conference for church staff and lay leaders. It was a great two days of worship, fun, and thought- provoking instructions and testimonies from a wide variety of great speakers.

Here are some pics that don't do the conference justice. I sat in the "horn" section on Friday. We were all given horns to join a Guiness Book of World Records for largest symphony! Last year they had the world's largest pillow fight (you can see it on youtube).

The camel was given to John Maxwell, Christian leadership author for a lifetime achievement recognition. Two years ago they gave Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, a cow. It was an unexpectedly "cool" moment!

Memorable Quotes:

God, give me the ability see myself for who I really am. I’m a fool to think that I could ever fool You. Give me the eyes to see myself clearly. As painful as it may be… I don’t want to be a part-time Christ-follower who calls others out of casual Christianity yet chooses to stay casual. I don’t want to be a practical atheist. Jesus, I want to believe in You with all of me. All of it. Go ahead, Lord. Disturb me. Amen. Craig Groeschel (Pastor of Life Church in Oklahoma)

“If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave his church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment.”
Francis Chan
(Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA)

Stop trying to change culture, just create it. - Rick Warren

I learned that the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. - Rick Warren

Most of the time, the church is known for what it’s against and I intend to change that. I want the church to be known for what it is for. - Rick Warren

A practical atheist is one who believes God exists but behaves as though he does not. As pastors, sometimes we believe God exists but we do ministry as though he does not. - Craig Groeshchel

“It’s not so much about what I need to do in leading my church, it’s more about who I need to be.” Francis Chan

For more on Catalyst goto: (October 4th - 8th)
For video clips of past conferences goto:

My Vacation in Richmond

Okay, here is about as brief a report as I can give on my recent vacation in Richmond, VA.
  • Getting re-acquainted with the Trail boys (always enjoyable).
  • Spending time catching up with Kittie and Randy, who were nice enough to take a day off to show me some of the sights, including a tour of the oldest plantation (Shirley) in Virginia.
  • Getting up early Saturday to take pictures of Patrick and Thomas' soccer match
  • Helping Ben find a bargain laptop after his was stolen at school
  • Going to church and seeing my first stain glass rooster
  • Touring the IMB (International Mission Board) where Randy and Kittie serve as candidate consultants...the rotating stone globe fountain was cool.
  • Having lunch with a college buddy, Rick, from Clemson days, who I haven't seen in many, many years (He is the best guitar player I know.).

And then there was my time at the ILC of the IMB of the SBC! (That's the International Learning Center of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention)

My other reason for going to Virginia, was to see Ricky and Niki Cook as they finish up their orientation before heading to Zambia for a two year term as missionaries along with their kids Austin, Coby and Kelsey (who endured a broken wrist while there). I was able to be at their commissioning service which was a great bonus. I have known them since they were teen-agers and am very proud of their commitment to the Lord and their willingness to serve Him in Africa.

While there, I not only toured the ILC, but got to be a part of the school's open house which showcased projects the Cook kids have worked on for two months. I also sat in on the parent's conference which was pretty interesting in terms of how to be supportive of first-timers as they prepare to leave the U.S.