Thursday, May 31, 2007

White Cloud Toilet Paper
My wife is the most awesome woman in the world, that's a true statement, fact not fiction, reality, not faith speaking, she is great. But when it comes to toilet paper, she's cheap! I don't want her to break the bank buying something that we go through quickly, but couldn't we have some that actually comes off the roll without a struggle? Have you ever tried to pull some off in the middle of the night when you need to sneeze and it just hangs on and when you pull tighter it breaks? Too thin, not soft, but it's $2.68 at Walmart, so it must be a good thing...Wrong! Get me some Charmin or Northern Quilted, if need be, get the cheap stuff for you and the girls, I need comfort and the fast rolling stuff...I sneeze every time that I get up in the middle of the night...Baby I love you, but White Cloud just won't do!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Madness
Last week I decided we needed to go out of town Sunday afternoon for Memorial Day. After spending several hours combing web sites to find a place to go, I decided we would just stay at home. We're leaving on vacation in June, my cheap side kicked in, my family wanted to go to Busch Gardens where we have season passes, I couldn't see spending over a hundred bucks to spend the night twenty minutes from my own bed...what a dilemma? Of course, the only dilemma was within me, they wanted to go to Busch Gardens, no one else cared where we slept! So off we go Monday morning, making a nice stop at the IHOP and then on to the park! The parking lot is packed, but the park isn't bad, we jump on the Montu within fifteen minutes and are flying high, across the park on the skylift and to the world famous Shiekra, now that's a roller coaster! Three girls behind me decided they didn't need to wait with the rest of us, crawled under the bar and cut in line, I considered ratting them out, but my oldest daughter told me that was mean, I was in a bad mood so I didn't want to be mean, but line cutting is a serious offense in my amusement park opinion. We were there from 1:00-6:00 PM and I rode three rides, my baby and I rode the bumper cars together, she's seven and can't ride by herself or drive, but I did let her steer a couple of times and most certainly bumped whoever she told me too! It was a good day, ended by a nice family meal at Pancho Villa's in Zephyrhills...Aaah, what a day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And The Winner Is.... And You Doubted Me?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Daddy Daughter Dates
School is out tomorrow, as the chancellor of a Christian School I have to say...I can't wait! You can tell it's the end of the school year, it actually feels different after Christmas and Spring Breaks, the countdown begins, the field trips flourish, the nerves rise to the occasion, and both students and teachers are ready for the break. Certainly I'll miss the children, but my favorites are the 3 year olds and many of them stay for our summer program, so I'll have my fill of babies...they are so cute! What I'm really excited about is the Daddy-Daughter dates I'm arranging with my girls! My girls are Momma's girls, they always have been, they take me in a pinch. Lately I've noticed they're friendlier towards me and actually seem to miss me when I'm gone. I'm out of state every month and out of the country at least once, this year it appears I'll be gone at least one more time to Africa and possibly twice, they make think I'm great by years end! Thursday my oldest daughter and I are off to see Pirates of the Caribbean, and we're doing it in style, going to the Imax at Channelside in Tampa...It's going to be great! We're already purchased our tickets and are ready! Friday, the youngest and I will take off to the local theatre to view Shrek 3, not my choice, but it is the choice of my seven year old. I figure we'll also stop by her favorite place to eat...Taco Bell. I can't wait, these are going to be two awesome days, what a way to start our summer!
Vote Jordan!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Me You Can't See
I recently read a book entitled "God's Generals", it's the story of great men and women of God in the last century that were used of God to bring healing and revival to the world. It's an easy read with nice pictures and interesting facts, stories about men and women like Katherine Kuhlman, John Lake, A.A. Allen, Alexander Dowie, Charles Parnham and others.
The interesting and frightening thing that spoke to me throughout this book was that many of these people had real issues, things that often overshadowed their ministries, things that hindered and almost destroyed their lives. Many of them were able to overcome the rumors or items haunting them, while others lived with the questions and complications the remainder of their lives.
Ever since I finished reading the book I've found myself searching my life, asking God to help me to not allow there to be anything in my life that would be displeasing to Him, nothing that would taint or tarnish His anointing upon me, nothing that would keep me from Him.
It's not the big things that hinder us, nothing is huge when it begins, no, it's not what you see or hear, it's the me that you don't see that can destroy me. I may speak with the tongues of men and angels, have prophetic ability and insight, have great results in my outward life, but if the inside of me is wrong the outside will eventually reflect it. We are called to bear fruit, and that fruit is expected by God to be good, the true life of that fruit is inside, where you can't see what's growing. Perhaps this is why Jesus said to either make the tree good or to cut it down, lay the axe to the root.
I'm not being critical or judgmental of the people in this book, I'm using it as an opportunity to learn, a plumbline to ensure that my life and ministry does not fall into the same trap. I want to hear Him say, "Well Done!", or at least, "You did good son!"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Wife...Her Cell Phone...My Question?
I am married to the most awesome woman you can ever meet. She is beautiful, loving, serves the Lord with all of her heart, is a great Mom and a hard worker, she's the best! We've been married twenty years and are best friends, we talk about everything, hide nothing, enjoy being together, and look forward to our golden years, this is absolutely the most fantastic person on the face of the earth...but for some reason she cannot seem to keep her cell phone charged! It drives me nuts!
My cell phone is on 24/7, it is almost always within reach and I have a charger in my car, home, and office and do my best to keep a charge on it daily. Julie on the other hand charges hers about once a week or whenever she realizes she has allowed it to run out of charge. Then when you call her she doesn't have it on or can't talk because she has no charge...It drives me nuts!
There's a spiritual side to this, sometimes we're like that phone, we've lived our lives in such a busy manner that we fail to take the time to charge our spiritual batteries. We know we should, need to and mean to, but we've got other things to do and don't take the time to stop and recharge. The problem is when we need power we don't have it because we forgot to charge our batteries and now we don't know what we're going to do.
I'm hoping Julie will start charging her phone and that I will learn to stay connected to the Lord in the way He desires for me!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

And Then There Were Two...
Was I surprised last night at the results of American Idol or what? I had imagined that the results would come down to Jordan and Melinda, and though I am a huge Jordan fan, figured Melinda would probably win...and off she goes! Thrilled I am and determined that Jordan should win next week, we'll see, hope and pray for Ms. Sparks! My name is Neil Smith and I am an American Idol addict! I'm off for Chicago this afternoon, going to do a Hungry Pastor's Conference for the Church of God and preach for my friend Rick Sexton this weekend in Bourbonnais at the Church of God Worship Center. Looking forward to being back in my home state and seeing friends.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Washed My Cell Phone!
My wife noticed that we have some wasp nests forming in the entry way of our home, they're about 20-25 feet high, but nonetheless they are there and of concern to us all. This evening I bought some wasp killer spray, the kind that shoots 22 feet, got them all, but the stuff was falling back down before I could get out of the way. So off to the shower I go and then to the washer my clothes go...and unknown to me, my cell phone! I had placed it in the side pocket of the shorts I was wearing and never gave a thought to it until I was taking the wet clothes out to put in the dryer and there it was in the bottom of the washer! Thankfully we have a spare phone at the office and this is a Nextel, so I simply needed to trade simms cards, but I did lose my pictures, my kids, some friends, and of course, Reverend Al Sharpton that I took when we were at the same terminal in Charlotte, NC. My heart is beating close to normal again, but what a mistake I made this evening, I'll never live this one down at the office! It just powered up but is now stuck in Airplane Mode...Guess I'm still using the spare!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Can Christians Really Survive?
I've just watched the finale of Survivor and am jacked up over this Dreamz guy. Don't misunderstand, I know it's a game, that it involves manipulation and maneuvering, but this guy takes the cake. He tells a guy how bad he needs a truck, the guy asks him to give his word he'll give him his immunity at the final four and then reneges when he arrives at the final four. To top it off, one of the guys calls his Christianity to mind, saying that he believes he is a Christian, but an immature one and that some day he will mature. When they arrive in New York they still can't get a straight wore me out just watching! I've watched this show from the start, know how it works and what all it involves, but when being a Christian came into view I expected the man to model the One he represented. Guess that's asking too much. This past week I read a statistic that said that between 44-49% of Americans attend church on a regular basis, the percentage of people confessing Christ is closer to 60%, but it tells me we've got a problem and there's much work to do. I realize Survivor is a game, I'll get over this Dreamz guy, but I'm concerned that Christianity is lacking integrity in today's world, that Christ is soon to return, and what is that He is returning for? Soon is a cliche', after all, the Lord's return has been prophesied, preached, and promoted for thousands of years, and it may be thousands more before He returns, but on the other hand, he may return before I can get this posted. Preaching, Teaching, and Programs are not going to make the difference our world needs, they may assist, but changed lives change lives! The reason the early church was so effective was that people saw Jesus in their daily lives and it was obvious that they had been with Christ because it was said that they turned their world upside down. In the letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul said that those early believers had made such an impact that his arrival really wasn't necessary, from them sounded the news of Christ and His impact on their lives. Daily life and little stuff does count. The guy on Survivor didn't need to preach, pray over his food, really his Bible in front of them, or say christianeze all the time, he simply needed to live it out with integrity...what he did was show that the world is right, everybody has a price! I don't want to be for sale!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Fortune Cookie Says...
I'm learning Chinese by reading Fortune Cookies, at least that's my excuse for frequent trips to local Chinese take outs...I'm actually just eating and getting fat...more diets to soon come! Today I grabbed a Fortune Cookie on my way out the door and got inspired as I read these words: "Goals are just dreams with a deadline!" I love it, God puts a dream in our spirit, we turn it into a goal and determine that we won't just talk about it, we're going to do something about it! Reminds me of Luke 17, 10 lepers come into contact with Jesus, they cry out to Him and as they went they were made whole...they walked out the revelation! I'm going to give my dreams some deadlines!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm Moody Today...
Have you ever had one of those days when it was just one of those days? Nothings wrong, but nothings right. You feel like taking a week long nap, will get over it tomorrow, before the week is over, but today you're just tired. That's how I feel today. I came to work before 7:30 AM this morning, which in work standards isn't all that early, took of the daycare and early morning school rush and am not sitting in my office...desperately needing a nap, or to fire someone, either or both. Tomorrow I may be in a great mood and want to hire someone new and give everyone raises, well, I probably won't feel like giving a raise. Human nature, natural feelings, moodiness and all those emotions that comprise our makeup, they either get the best of us or we get the best of them, today I am determined to win over my feelings. Perhaps I need prayer or Prozac, maybe both, prayer will be the best route, but if it doesn't work...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Let The Little Children Come!
I have this every morning habit, the first thing I do when I enter the school at our church is head to the kitchen for a cup of know, the best part of waking up is Folger's in your cup! On my way I stop by the three year old class and find out what's happening in their day, and they want me to know! One tells me of a cock a roach in his Dad's car, while another complains because the little boy he gave his snack to actually took it, and another shows me his new toy. My day starts off so awesome, those are my babies and my day would not be the same without them. Today as I was preparing to leave for the day I found out that Nora, a little Russian girl that we've had for three years, is leaving for Russia tomorrow, her grandfather is sick and she's going to visit him. As I hugged her the other little ones gathered around me, so I got to hug a few more, heard some stories, took their picture on my phone and went on my way. I'm not the most huggable person, not a real smoochy type of man, but those babies get my heart and I cannot imagine a day without seeing them. When I was in Kenya for almost two weeks I couldn't wait to see them and hoped they hadn't forgotten me...they didn't! Do you think this is what the Lord was trying to get across when He invited the little children to come to Him and instructed the disciples to not forbid them to come? He said that the Kingdom of God is much like little children, there is something about the relationship between childhood and christianity that speaks volumes to me. After all, children don't have all the baggage that we adults do, they are forgiving and much more resilient than we, and their world though often filled with pain can be improved almost instantly with a hug. There's something else about this I was thinking about, if I can't imagine one day without stopping to talk with my children, how does the Lord feel if I don't stop to talk with Him?