Monday, December 31, 2007

I went to Wal-Mart today and wanted to complain about the crowded conditions, the northerners, and the overcrowding...but as I consider what is taking place in my second homeland it all pales in comparison. Kenya, a country of nearly 34 million people, just had their elections, the sitting president has been re-elected, but not without controversy, the hanging chad's of Florida and all the upset of that election are nothing, the Kenyans have taken it to the street! Stores are being looted, buildings are being burned, and lives have been taken. One of my friend has opened his home as a refuge and says that Kenya is close to a civil war, other are sending email requesting our prayerful support. Pray for Kenya, these are wonderful people in desperate need of God's intervention! I love Kenya, have been many times and will continue to go the remainder of my life, how I long for their safety and peace, may God give them grace and may the church of Jesus Christ arise in powerful ministry during these difficult times!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blessed 2 Bless 2B Blessed

The Lord of Heaven blessed me this year with a number of gift cards for Starbucks, people who know me know that it is definitely close to an addiction in my life. Today my wife, our oldest daughter and myself visited one of the Starbucks in the mall, I ordered a tall caramel frap, a tall and a grande strawberry and cream frap, much to my delight the total cost was just over eight should have been closer to twelve! As the barrister went over my order we quickly discovered she had missed mine, the larger one, I told her I'd get my trusty gift card out again to which she replied, "Don't Worry About It!" I was taken aback and insisted, no she said, I've got it! Looking around I noticed the tip jar, assumed it would be split by the many, so I took out a five and said, "Well, you take this!", she tried to resist but I smiled, insisted, and walked off, she stood there grinning and my daughter seemed pleased.

This year I probably received 45.00 in Starbucks gift cards, the one I usually drink is 4.00, that's eleven cups of coffee, that's a caffeine heaven, it also became an opportunity to be be a blessing and to be blessed.

God blesses us in order to be a blessing, nothing is meant to be kept totally, we may not always give all of our stuff away, but once we've been blessed we need to look for the opportunity to bless others. I left feeling like I had given a hundred bucks away, when in truth, it was just a dollar over the price of the drink she blessed me with. There was something about giving that money to that young lady that made me feel like a minister!

I'm not meaning to brag, please don't misunderstand, I use this example because it's fresh to me, I want to be a blesser, to impact others without any reason or without seeking a return, if we do, there will be a return, in fact, it will be instant, you will obtain the joy of giving, of imparting something of value into the lives of others and that is powerful.

What would happen this year if we determined to be blessers? What if beyond our normal giving of tithe and offerings, missions and other types of giving, we looked for opportunities to bless people, whether it be a financial blessing, a card or email, a gift, a book, or just a phone call? Wonder how many people we could encourage in the next 365 days? What if once a month we did something out of the norm? Here's a thought, what if you blessed someone you have had a hard time with, knowing that they may not respond initially in a positive manner? Let's try it and see what the Lord will do in our lives!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas and Children
This has been a busier than usual holiday season, had to do most of my shopping on the run. Finally got it done, or so I thought...Christmas Eve my wife and I went to Golden Corral for breakfast, walked in at 9:00 AM, they're doors are open but they don't open until 10:00 AM, so we go to K-Mart for the 2.79 special, the place was packed, so we ended up at IHOP in Dade City nine miles away. From there we went to Wal-Mart for our weekly grocery shopping, I nearly backslid, had a heart attack and went crazy all at the same time...but we were I thought! We all start wrapping presents and the baby, our eight year old, starts counting presents...I'm back out to Wal-Mart...two of them to be exact, I got what I was looking for, but it took two stores and an hour to get there, and my baby got a brief, but kind reminder from her mother of the need to be appreciative! Today has been a good day, presents were accepted with great gratitude, dinner was wonderful, and I've been busy putting stuff together, batteries installed, and electronics hooked up...I got a clock that I can put my Ipod in and play it through...pretty cool and I've had several opportunities to use my new pocket knife...I am a real Floridian! 2007 has been a good year, I've been blessed with a wonderful family and the Lord has shown me great favor...thanks for being a part of my life this year...see you in the blogs!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I've been glued to the television for four nights watching The Clash of the Choirs. Two hours each night, I even slipped out of the Christmas cookie night at church to come home and set my DVR...Only for Nick Lachey to win...No Way! First of all, we could have got it all done in one hour, but his team while good, wasn't that good...Patti LaBelle and team LaBelle were off the charts...It's unbelievable, my day is ruined...well, that and the fact that I woke up before six this morning and couldn't go back to sleep and that my daughter lost her cell phone and we have to go shopping today...Go Patti!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Need I Say More? Caffe Mocha with a shot of Vanilla on my desk right now!
Eight Random Thoughts
I've been tagged by my friend Barbara on Tidbits and Treasures, check out her blog some time it's awesome. I'm supposed to share eight random things about myself:
  1. I'm 45
  2. I'm the oldest of two...My sister is 3 years younger than me
  3. I'm addicted to Starbucks
  4. I can't stand for the tags in clothing to show
  5. I dipped my cats feet in the bathtub while I was in it last night
  6. I hate Nextel cellular service but continue using it
  7. I love Florida
  8. I've been married 20 years to the most awesome friend in the world!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

O My Goodness!
This past Sunday we had the most incredible experience! We ate at a Brazilian Grill called Texas DeBrazil. There are over 60 items on the salad bar, and then they start bringing the meat out on a spit, they carve you off a piece and then come around again and again and again. I think that there were at least ten different types of meat, we didn't eat all of them, but several...incredible is all that I can say. Then we went to the Bass Pro Shop, not necessarily my style of shopping, but it was I must say a good experience, they have absolutely the most fantastic selection of stuff for the outdoorsman! Christmas time in Florida, there's nothing like it! We're having a cool spell...down to 70 today!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Being Boring Is So Boring!
My children tell me from time to time that I'm old, I so appreciate their kind words...I usually follow up by telling them they're grounded...they appreciate me even more then! I may be old but I don't intend on being boring! It is my earnest intention to remain on the cutting edge, to keep myself up to date, out of the box, across the top, and to make sure I know where I am and where I'm going...I can't stand to be bored and don't want to be boring. Life is an exciting journey filled with surprises, corners to be turned, trials to be faced, decisions to be made, and life to be lived. Life is full of Starbuck's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Cold Stone, Baskin Robbins and my soon to be favorite Texas DeBrazil...all of these places go outside the norm and offer something beyond McDonald's, Burger King and Arby's, their menu, their atmosphere, and their purpose for existence is cross over into area no one else is going. Don't you ever get tired of being like everyone else? Cookie Cutter Christians, Parrot People, folks that just say, do, and look like everyone else, it just doesn't work for me, I want to identify with others and don't want to impose my will on anyone, but I don't want to just be the same, following in someone else's wake, I want to create a wake others can follow...Just don't want to be boring!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

August Rush
My wife and I went to see the movie August Rush this evening, it is absolutely one of the most phenomenal movies I've ever seen. Simple story of a couple that met, got separated, she had a baby, it was given up for adoption unknown to her and a journey begins within all three to find one another. The child is a musical of those destiny type movies, makes you want to shout in the movie! I will buy this one the day it comes out!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I'm Going To Fire My Wife!
My wife works at our school as the Art, Music, and PE teacher, she is pretty and quite incredible! I'm thinking of firing her...think it may put me on the couch? She is working hard to get her Christmas musical ready for two night of performance next week, one week from today to be exact. Two or three weeks ago she requested that we purchase wireless mics for her, I responded no, we will rent some...I've told her this three she asked me if I had gotten the mics wasn't good...I am the chancellor you know...I could fire her...I would be in deep doo doo! I just needed to say it out loud...I'm better now, she's still beautiful, employed and I love her...but if she asks the fourth'll be the same!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm A True Floridian Now!
Being raised in the Chicago area I have prided myself on being quite Northern. Raised by southern parents I eat more southern than northern, except that I love Italian Beef, Gyro's, and Thin Pizza, all Chicago's finest...I have no southern accent, though I have lived and ministered much in the south over the past twenty years...I drink sweet tea with lemons like it's going out of style and have a deep love and appreciation for the south...tonight I became a true Floridian! After finishing a fine Cuban meal of black beans, yellow rice and roast pork, I opened my Christmas gift from our pastoral family at our annual staff Christmas party...A brand spanking new Winchester pocket knife! What every true southern gentleman needs...Even though Florida really isn't considered the deep south...we're deeper than anywhere else...I am now a Floridan!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Florida Christmas
Today it is nearly 80 degrees, last night there was a Christmas parade in the town next to ours, there are Christmas decorations up all over our's 80's! Christmas in Florida seems strange, I love it, but it is really different...I'm trying to get my wife to do away with the Christmas trees and decorate isn't working! The Yankees have returned, in full force and I believe they've brought more with them, our town of 30-40 thousand has now become a town of e nearly 90 thousand and more are on their way. Traffic is slow, restaurants are packed, and the stores are filled with wheel chairs and those little motorized carts...I keep getting stuck in lines at Walmart surrounded by seniors and behind people who have some type of issue that requires the calling of someone or the return of something...I'm trying to be patient and haven't blown a gasket ...yet! Last night I went to a Holy Spirit conference near Orlando, Pastor Ron Phillips was the guest speaker, it was timely and powerful, many were touched. The Holy Spirit asked me a simple question as we stood worshiping, "What are you leaving the next generation?" I'm still working on an answer!