Monday, July 31, 2006

Campmeeting Time Again

Last week we atended the Hillsboro Family Camp. We have only missed a few times since 1987. It's always fun seeing old friends and hearing great preaching. I preached on Thursday night. I was quite nervous. They have a clock next the pulpit that counts backwards (HFC is known for staying on schedule). So if you isten to the CD, I'm talking very fast (I probably tried to cover too much material).

This week my son and I will join some other guys from our church at The Northmen. This meeting has a much different "flavor." It's all men & boys, camping out in the middle of the woods in northern Michigan (the nearest town is 12 miles away). No electricity or indoor plumbing (bathing is done in the creek). And the weatherman says that it will be in the 90's -- wow! But this too, is a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with old friends. More importantly, it's a great time for father & son bonding.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Still Crazy After All These Years

I enjoyed this bit of commentary by Richard John Neuhaus in the Aug/Sept issue of First Things.

Former President Jimmy Carter has written another book on American values. He is deeply saddened by the way the “religious right” uses religion for partisan political purposes. In an interview with an Atlanta magazine, he explains his concern: “Carter fittingly used a parable to illustrate how he’d like to see the political/religious debate unfold. ‘I was teaching a Sunday school class two weeks ago,’ he recalls. ‘A girl, she was about 16 years old from Panama City [Fla.], asked me about the differences between Democrats and Republicans. ‘I asked her, “Are you for peace, or do you want more war?” Then I asked her, “Do you favor government helping the rich, or should it seek to help the poorest members of society. Do you want to preserve the environment, or do you want to destroy it? Do you believe this nation should engage in torture, or should we condemn it? Do you think each child today should start life responsible for $28,000 in [federal government] debt, or do you think we should be fiscally responsible?” ‘I told her that if she answered all of those questions, that she believed in peace, aiding the poor and weak, saving the environment, opposing torture,…then I told her, ‘You should be a Democrat.’”

Jimmy Carter is deeply saddened by the way religion is used for partisan political purposes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hillsboro Family Camp

Probably won't be blogging for awhile. We're leaving Monday for Hillsboro, Ohio. I will be preaching at Family Camp on Thursday night. I have a lot of fond memories of Family Camp. We've only missed a few times over the past 19 years. When I was a newbie preacher, Hillsboro had a huge impact on me. And I have made many friends there over the years.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Vacation Bible School

VBS started last night. I love VBS. So many people come together to love kids and share Jesus. I'm amazed at the number of people from our church who get so excited about this. It takes a lot of folks to really pull it off well (including many who work behind the scenes). How can a kid not love VBS? The snacks and drinks have come long way since I was a kid. We used to have that nasty "Church of Christ Kool-Aid" -- you know the stuff that never had quite enough sugar in it. The only thing worse was the "Church of Christ coffee" -- the stuff that sat in the urn and cooked for hours. Yuck!

Memorable moments of the night: I spent 20 minutes looking for a kid who disappeared. Six or seven other guys and I fanned out around the property -- this is a big building -- lots of places to hide. The kid has an attitude, he doesn't want to be here. We finally found the little rascal hiding out on the Day Care playground. I was starting to think about how I was going to have to call his Mom: "Um, Ma'am did you want to pick up the same number of kids that you dropped off?"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rock 'N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

Bon Scott, the famously dead lead singer of AC/DC - would have turned sixty this past weekend. Sixty! Wow. Bon died from being so drunk that he inhaled his own vomit and drowned (what a way to go, eh?). Then AC/DC got a new lead singer and produced one of the best-selling rock albums of all time.

C'mon, you children of the 80's -- you know you loved it.

In God We Trust

My friend Frank Weller gave me a heads-up on the new License Plates being offered by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Kinda cool. But as Frank says, "Of course, if you purchase these tags, you won't be able to speed, gesture profanely or honk your horn at the curb-hugger ahead of you without looking like a total hypocrite."

That reminds me of seeing a crumpled heap of twisted metal (that used to be a car) on the side of the highway, with the still-legible bumper sticker: God is My Co-Pilot. "Uh, dude, maybe you should have let him be the Pilot."

Maybe the Cubs Will Sign This Guy

83 Year-Old Man Makes Minor League Plate Appearance

Last night, 83-year-old Jim Eriotes led off the game for the Sioux Falls Canaries against the St. Joe (Mo.) Blacksnakes. He took four big swings -- even fouling a pitch off -- before striking out.
The at-bat made Eriotes the oldest man to ever play professional baseball. It was his only at-bat in the game. Sure he struck out, but a lot of the Cubs are doing that anyway.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Aarrgh! The National League Blew It Again

Being a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan means that I choose to root for the National League in the All-Star Game. And that means that over the past couple of decades I have come away from the mid-summer classic disappointed (they have won just four times since 1985). Last night, it looked like the NL was finally going to turn the tide, but they didn't. The NL has won 22 times in my 40 years of life. But lately it has been tough going.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Please Pass the Parsley

Last night I was flipping through the five television stations that we receive and I stumbled upon Rod Parsley. He was preaching and sweating and shouting and dancing and acting like a total nutburger -- and the crowd was eating it up!

I remember when Rod's star first started to rise. He was a young preacher who was frequently featured on Lester Sumrall's programs. I think we are about the same age, so I enjoyed watching this new young preacher (even though he wouldn't recognize the gospel if it bit him on the butt). At first, he was relatively tame, but as his church and fame grew, he became wackier and nuttier.

A quick Google search will reveal that he has at least as many detractors as fans: check here and here for examples.

Sometimes I wonder about my nonChristian friends and family members. If they catch a bit of Rod's act, do they think that's what happens at Cedar Creek? Do they think that most Christians are like the mind-numbed puppets at World Harvest Church. I sure hope not.

It just occurred to me that Rod Parsley is like the Anti Joel Osteen. Joel never talks about sin and judgment and the wrath of God, while those topics are Rod's bread & butter. If there is ever a Christian Celebrity Wrestling Smackdown betweeen those two, my money would be on the Ohio Bible College dropout. I think he would snap Botox Boy like a twig.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Snapple and Vernors

My two favorite drinks are Raspberry Snapple Iced Tea and Vernors Ginger Ale. Being a Michigander, I've been drinking Vernors since I was a kid (my southern friends have never even heard of the stuff). When I was in college, a classmate worked at the bottling plant and he would often bring cases of it back to the dorm (thanks Nate!). Yummy!

Several years ago, I decided to give Snapple a try. Rush Limbaugh recommended it, so it had to be good, right? I've tried several flavors, but Raspberry is my all-time fave.

So on a hot summer day, raise a glass of the good stuff! And remember that ol' Uncle Soren wouldn't steer ya wrong.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 4 in Leo, Indiana

Yesterday was a great day. We had fun celebrating our Nation's Independence with a bunch of friends and church folks. Cedar Creek had a very visible presence at the local fireworks party. Our Praise Band played for a while at the park. Our youth distributed pop and water. Some of our folks helped with the kiddie games. And we gave away Cedar Creek pens and other trinkets. Several of us were wearing red "Celebrate Christ at the Creek" t-shirts. When my father-in-law arrived, he said that it looked like a sea of red. And a good time was had by all.

Monday, July 03, 2006

NACC Update

I got home from the North American Christian Convention on Friday night. The week was great. I saw so many people whom I haven't seen in years. The preaching and workshops were excellent. And I had a blast with my friend David Willis. He is a true kindred spirit.

One of the highlights was meeting my friend John Dobbs. We have known each other (through cyberspace) for years, but we had never met face-to-face. John blogged about our meeting (and the NACC in general) here. Below is a picture of the two of us: