Saturday, April 29, 2006

Alma Mater

Yesterday I attended a meeting at Great Lakes Christian College. I must be getting old, because college students look so young to me. Anyway, it was a gorgeous day, and the campus was beautiful. It's always enjoyable to see some old friends.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What I'm Reading

Last night I started reading Mark Driscoll's book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. It's the story of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. (By the way, how many more churches are going to be called Mars Hill? -- You can always spot a non-conformist, they all look alike).

He did admit that the name is stupid (kinda): In retrospect, the name of our church is kind of dumb and sounds more like a cult than a church, which, sad to say, actually benefits us in a city where words like Jesus and Christian are far more offensive than four-letter cusswords.

A couple of other gems:

What my college students needed was to mentor high school students and hang out with singles who had phased from college into the work world and married couples who had learned what kind of person to be and to marry to make a family work. What they did not need was to hang out with the same immature yahoos they spent all of their time playing "pull my finger" with anyway and going to a free event that was like day care for twenty-one-year-old hormonally enraged porn addicts and video game aficionados trying to stretch junior high into the retirement years.

Our rotating cast of worship leader tryouts ranged from screaming punk rockers -- to this day I have no idea why they were so dramatically depressed -- to the kind of happy-clappy Christian praise musicians that youwould expect to find playing on a karaoke machine at a Christian home school co-op reunion for kids whose moms made their clothes.

More Church Signs

So I'm driving around yesterday and I read the following real messages on church signs:

Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire

1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4given

For All You Do...His Blood's For You

What are these people thinking? And they wonder why the world thinks that Christians are a bunch of whacked-out nutburgers.

The Pope, The President, and The Media

The Pope is visiting Washington, D.C., and President Bush takes him out for an afternoon on the Potomac, sailing on the Presidential yacht, the Sequoia. They're admiring the sights when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out into the water.

Secret Service guys start to launch a boat, but President Bush waves them off, saying, "Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry."

Bush then steps off the yacht onto the surface of the water and walks out to the little hat, bends over picks it up, then walks back to the yacht and climbs aboard. He hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.

The next morning, the headlines in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Washington Post, Boston Herald, Buffalo News, Houston Chronicle, Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, Minneapolis Tribune, Denver Post, Albuquerque Journal, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle all proclaim:

"Bush Can't Swim"

Friday, April 21, 2006

Jack Bauer for Press Secretary

At 9:00pm, Mrs. Soren and I will be getting our weekly 24 fix. I stumbled across a funny blog about Jack Bauer replacing Press Secretary Scott McClellan. (Disclaimer: If you do not watch 24, this will not make much sense).

What better way to reign in the White House Press Corps than to install Jack Bauer as Press Secretary? Imagine Jack Bauer trying to sit still while Helen Thomas goes on one of her diatribes.Jack Bauer would put these prima donnas in their place...and do so in a timely manner (usually within 24 hours). If hooking Helen Thomas' jowls up to a car battery or making David Gregory swallow a towel would not get the White House Press Corps in line, nothing will.

Top 10 Changes Jack Bauer Would Bring to the White House Press Corps
10. Positive stories about Bush increase 145% in his first hour alone.
9. Five moles weeded out of press corps by Bauer.
8. Ask a stupid question; get hooked up to the sensory deprivation device.
7. Podium replaced with bullet-proof barrier with gun ports.
6. All press conferences last an hour, with all tough questions coming at 45 minutes past the hour.
5. By the end of a press conference, a minimum of 34 people would have been killed.
4. "No comment" replaced by "We don't have time for that question".
3. Gary Bauer mistakenly showed up to a press conference, once.
2. All comments will be yelled.
1. Blogs4Bauer starts to live-blogs press conferences.

Keith Hernandez

I've never been a big Keith Hernandez fan (I hate the Mets), but an incident that occurred this weekend (and the backlash in the press because of it) is just another example of political correctness run amok. The following story has been on multiple websites and ESPN Radio.

Keith Hernandez apologized Sunday for inappropriate comments he made Saturday night about San Diego's massage therapist Kelly Calabrese.

After Mike Piazza's second-inning home run Saturday, SportsNet New York's camera focused on Calabrese, who was in the dugout wearing a Padres camouflage uniform. "Who is the girl in the [Padres] dugout?" Hernandez asked Gary Cohen, his play-by-play partner. "... I thought she was Morganna [Cottrell, "The Kissing Bandit"] for a minute, but she was a blond."

Cohen wondered if Calabrese's presence in the dugout could have something to do with "Military Night" at Petco Park. Hernandez said Calabrese was with the training staff. Cohen said that a woman trainer in the major leagues is "progressive."

"I won't say women belong in the kitchen. But they don't belong in the dugout," Hernandez said.
Cohen warned there could be "trouble brewing" after that commentary. "I'm only teasing," Hernandez said. "I love you gals out there. I always have."

In the fifth inning, Hernandez returned to the subject of Calabrese, who again was on camera. He referred to his second-inning commentary and elaborated on it. "I stand by those statements. I think this is a man's game and I feel very strongly about it," Hernandez said. "And if anybody thinks when I made that comment about women being in the kitchen, and takes it seriously, well, get a sense of humor."

SportsNet New York officials were not laughing. Sources said Hernandez was reprimanded after the game by SNY executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr. That led to Sunday's apology during the second inning of the Mets-Padres game.

A couple of comments:

1. What do you expect when you have a former ballplayer from the 70's-80's broadcasting your games? These guys are not exactly famous for their sensitivity and appropriate behavior.

2. Why does EVERYBODY have to jump on the "tsk, tsk" bandwagon? I have a feeling that there are LOTS of ballplayers who do not wish to have women in the dugout/lockeroom.

3. Don't we still have the right to free speech in this country?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Church Signs

Church signs are interesting things. Sometimes I wonder what the church is trying to communicate. Few things can make a congregation seem more out-of-touch, corny, judgmental, or redneck than an inappropriate message on its sign. Johnny Leckie has a great post about this. I shudder when I think of the stupid messages that I have put up over the years. But then I will drive by some church in the area and read its sign and think, "At least I never posted anything that stupid or offensive or cheesy."

Leckie has a follow-up post here. The following are some of his suggestions:

The obvious:
  • Update your church sign regularly.
  • Keep your church sign clean.
  • Keep your church sign maintained - change the bulbs when they go out on the day they go out, trim the weeds, etc.
  • If your sign is faded and weathered looking (Unless that's part of the design) it's time to replace parts or it's time for a new sign.

The apparently not-so-obvious:

  • Determine who your sign is for and write for them. (Hint - If it's for your church only, send them a newsletter instead.)
  • Think of your sign as a 24/7 personal billboard for your church, because that is exactly what it is. It is a "front door" to the community that tells them what's "inside."
  • Think through how you will be received/perceived/heard by the people driving by. Ask, "What do we want to communicate about our church? Will it attract? Will it help create interest in what's happening at your church.
  • Do not use the internet to come up with clever sayings to put on your sign.
  • Do not use a "church sign book" to come up with clever sayings to put on your sign.
    Come to think of it, do not use clever sayings at all...It's like the person who tries to tell a joke that's already been told a million times and wasn't really funny the first time. They are usually tired, worn out and corny. And really, do you want to be known as the "clever sayings" church, anyway?
  • Do not "slam the evil doers" on your church sign. You'll just reinforce the negative, judgmental stereotype impression that most people have about churches, anyway.
  • Assume that everyone who sees your church sign has never been to church before. You don't have to "dumb down" to do this, just leave out the words and phrases that only church people would understand.
  • It's ok to be funny, but you'd better really be funny. Get lot's of feedback on something you think is funny before you put it on your sign. Ask people who don't go to your church. Generally, humor that smashes stereotypes about church are better than things like, "CH_ _ RCH - What's Missing? U. R."

American Greed on Display

Have you guys seen this? The network plays it up big-time to increase the drama, but in the end it is simply people trying to go home rich. I love it when they get greedy and wind up with $25.....

You Might As Well Face It, You're Addicted to Lost

Thanks to Netflix, Mrs. Soren and I were able to watch all the seasons of Alias (over several months) -- getting hooked on the show immediately. Although we noticed that the show was starting to "jump the shark" during season four (when J.J. Abhrams was giving more attention to his new show Lost). This year (season five), Alias has taken a long hiatus, although it's coming back on Wednesday night to finish out the season, and then say "good-bye."

So then we got hooked on 24. We watched all of the seasons, catching up to the present (it's on tonight). But last night, we started watching Lost (several of our friends have raved about it). Saw the first four episodes and now we can't wait for the next DVD to arrive from Netflix.

Any other Lost fans out there?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Resurrection Sunday

I am still pumped up about yesterday. It was fantastic! We did a sunrise service at 6:30. About 120 people in our old auditorium. It was very traditional. We sang the old Easter hymns. It reminded me of my growing up years in my little home church. That was followed by a breakfast. Then we had our regular services. Since we did the traditional thing at sunrise, we really cranked it up in the other services. The band was really on, and with about 150 more people than usual, the increased energy was noticeable (we had our third highest attedance ever). We sang Famous One, My Redeemer Lives, Shout to the Lord, Agnus Dei. We showed the That’s My King video clip (it can be viewed at and our lily white church got into it much more than I thought they would -- in fact, I got more postive comments about that than the sermon! A couple of our older teen girls did a great rendition of Nicole C. Mullen’s Redeemer (Joel "Botox Boy" Osteen doesn't have anythig on us). I preached on “What Difference Does Easter Make?” Then we closed out with You Are my All in All and Days of Elijah.

But the real highlight was at the end of second service when a couple came forward. They have been attending Cedar Creek for over a year. We have been trying to win him to the Lord. He has been a tough nut to crack because his Dad is a Lutheran minister (so he has really wrestled with the baptism thing). But we have loved and encouraged them, and yesterday they decided to obey the Gospel. But I had no idea they were coming, so I was stunned & excited and trying not to get verklempt. But there were not many dry eyes in the house. Yay God!

An Oldie But a Goodie

I tried to post this a few days ago, but I was having problems with Blogger. It makes me laugh every year.

Concert Report

JT can still sing and play, but the dude is a GEEZER. He looks like a cross between a very old Dick Alexander and Homer Simpson's boss.

Concert was good, although we were literally at the back of the theatre in the top row (and the guy who got our tickets got them online 10 minutes after they went on sale -- I guess the place sold out in record time).

It was nice to see a legend, but after a while some of his songs start to sound alike (although he did a funky, bluesy version of Steamroller that was great). He is really funny though. His humor is very dry and understated.

His voice was great. And he did all the hits (except for Handyman and Your Smiling Face).

James Taylor

Going to hear James Taylor in concert tonight (another "unofficial" site can be found here).
I've listened to JT's music for years, but this will be the first time seeing him "live."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Now That's a Letter to the Editor

This letter was in the local paper yesterday.

Keep lawbreakers because they work?
Recently, large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is – finally – addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the U.S. might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let’s say I break into your house. Let’s say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave.

“But,” I say, “I’ve made all the beds, washed the dishes, done the laundry and swept the floors; I’ve done all the things you don’t like to do. I’m hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).”

According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family’s insurance plan and provide other benefits to me and my family (my husband will do your yardwork because he, too, is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking-in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends, who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be there. It’s only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do and I’m just trying to better myself. I’m hard-working and honest – um, except for – well, you know.

And what a deal it is for me. I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there’s nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being anti-housebreaker.

Did I miss anything? Does this sound reasonable to you?
If it does, grab a sign and go picket something. If this sounds insane to you, call your senators and enlighten them because they are stumbling in the darkness right now and really need your help.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Way To Go Lefty!

Congrats to Phil Mickelson on winning his second Masters in three years. Being a lefty myself, I enjoy watching him (although I couldn't play like him in a million years). I did feel bad for Fred Couples blowing those putts and letting a chance to give Phil a run for his money slip away.

I like Phil. However, being the cynic that I am, I have to wonder if a goober like Phil would have ended up with such an attractive wife (and thus, some really cute kids) if he were not a multi-millionaire golf superstar.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Not Only Will You CBS, You Might Hear Some Too

Katie Couric announced that she will become the anchor of the CBS Evening News. Our friends at the Media Research Center have been kind enough to compile a sampling of Katie's unbiased quality reporting.

We can all rest assured that Dan Rather's legacy will continue.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm Shocked!

From the Mercury News

And they thought it would last ... a few months longer, at least.
If those lovebirds Eminem and Kim Mathers can't keep it together, what hope do the rest of us have? In what has to be the most surprising relationship news since Brangelina confessed they weren't just friends, the rapper filed for divorce Wednesday -- three months after he and Kim remarried.

Eminem's publicist Dennis Dennehy confirmed that Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, filed the papers Wednesday.

The Grammy- and Oscar-winning rapper and Kim Mathers remarried Jan. 14, a month after the couple announced they were getting back together. Their first marriage ended after two-plus years in October 2001 in an ugly legal fight that included a custody battle over their daughter, Hailie.

Then he wrote some songs about her being a bad mother, stuffing her body in a trunk ... you know, typical break-up stuff. Then he changed his mind. Now he's changed his mind again.
Eminem, 33, and his high school sweetheart, Kim, 30, reconciled in late 2004, and he announced in December 2005 they were back together.

Last August, it was announced that Eminem had entered a hospital to undergo treatment for sleep medication dependency. A month earlier, he denied reports that he was preparing to retire from recording. Come on, Eminem. We're rooting for you to get back to your old obnoxious, mean, unusually-angry-for-a-famous-millionaire self.

American Idol

Good-bye Mandisa! Too bad -- that girl could sing. Props for blessing everybody in the name of Jesus. I just love to see the stunned looks on the faces of people like Ryan Seacrest when people drop the J-bomb on live television.

And what's with Kenny Rogers? Good thing the judges weren't allowed to comment on him. And he should get his money back from his plastic surgeon. Unless he was actually going for the Dennis Hopper look.

Next week they sing the music of Queen. Wouldn't it be funny if the person who gets voted off is the one who does Another One Bites the Dust?

Beware: If You Try To Repress The Crazy Clown-Hair Lady, She'll Hit You With Her Cell Phone And Call You A Racist!

I first heard about this incident on Sean Hannity's radio show, but I got the following commentary off another blog.

"This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman," Mrs. McKinney said during a press conference last week at Howard University. "I deeply regret that this incident occurred, and I am certain that after a full review of the facts, I will be exonerated." No apology, no admission of wrongdoing, no praise for the police officers that protect her. Nice!

You Atlanta people have elected quite a class act! Does she represent all of you or just the black community that is, even when committing a crime, being racially profiled and abused by The Man? And, it seems to me the whole incident was caused by, what police saw as, a person trying to evade a security checkpoint then refusing to stop when commanded to do so. Does the law not apply to her because she is, “a female black congresswoman,"?

And it has nothing to do with color. I’m guessing (though could be wrong) that the cop was white. Had the story been the opposite: white Congresswoman hits black cop, the media and the NAACP would be equating her to Hitler himself.

At the end of the day, she hit a cop. It isn’t profiling if she is breaking the law (and, as the article says, she wasn’t wearing her, “I’m a Congressman” lapel pin – and she had that hairdo; how could she possibly not be a crazed idiot trying to evade security?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Something About This Story Made Me Smile

A couple of weeks ago, in Toledo, Ohio, an abducted 14-year-old girl, finds hammer under car seat and vigorously introduces man's groin to the word NO!

(not girl from story. Just some girl with a picture of her holding a hammer.)

A 14-year-old girl told Toledo police she was abducted Tuesday by a man with a gun but got away with help from a hammer. Police said the quick-thinking teen found it in the man's car and used it to hit him in the groin. According to police, the man forced the girl into his car while she was walking to her school bus stop and said he wanted sex. So, she told him she had dropped her ring in the car and went searching for it. That's when she felt the hammer under her seat. Police said the girl told them she remembered a lesson from school to always search for a weapon in that kind of situation. She was not hurt and ran to her grandmother's house. The suspect is still being sought.

Interesting Numbers

I got an email that pointed out that on Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

That won't ever happen again

But then I got another email that pointed out that back in the summer of 1990, the San Diego Padres started one of their afternoon games four seconds early. Their typical 12:35 p.m. start time was pushed back to 12:34:56 on 7-8-90.

And over the next several years, we will have:
02:03:04 05 - 06 - 07
03:04:05 06 - 07 - 08
04:05:06 07 - 08 - 09
05:06:07 08 - 09 - 10
06:07:08 09 - 10 - 11
07:08:09 10 - 11 - 12
08:09:10 11 - 12 - 13
09:10:11 12 - 13 - 14

In addition, in 2009, we will also have a 12:34:56 7/8/9

And all of those will occur twice on each date . . . unless you're in the military. ;)

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I never cease to be amazed at the power of the word of God. I preached about the Great Commission today. I mentioned that Jesus said that baptism is part of the discipling process ("...baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"). After services, a young man approached me and said, "I want to be baptized." He had never been to Cedar Creek before, but came to the conclusion that this is what he was supposed to do. If we will simply preach what the Bible says, without apology, there are still those who are willing to obey. Yay God!