Archive for February, 2012

Mitt Romney and February 29

Posted by    |    February 29th, 2012 at 6:45 am

Mitt Romney is accompanied by his wife Ann as he prepares to address supporters at his Michigan primary night rally in Novi, Michigan, February 28, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch)Mitt Romney solidified his frontrunner status last night with a narrow victory in his home state of Michigan and a strong win in Arizona.  However, Rick Santorum will still win nearly half of Michigan’s delegates, while Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are preparing for Super Tuesday on March 6.

As they seek an edge in the presidential race, it’s a shame none of the candidates was born today.  (I checked–none was even born on a leap year.)  He would be one of only 200,000 leap year babies in the United States and 5 million worldwide.  However, the odds of being born on February 29 are about 1 in 1,461.  It’s no surprise that no president has ever been born on this day.  (Our first president came closest.  George Washington missed it by a week–he was born on February 22, 1732, a leap year.)

LOOK OUT!

Posted by    |    February 29th, 2012 at 5:40 am

There’s a new driver in the Morgan family. Connor passed his driving test yesterday and is itching to go somewhere … anywhere … without a parent in the car with him.

Connor has taken over driving the old Firebird. Even though it’s on its second motor, it still cleans up nice and gets 30 mpg while running down the the highway.

Be safe out there, Connor.

"The Artist" wins best picture

Posted by    |    February 27th, 2012 at 6:45 am

“The Artist” won five Academy Awards last night, including best picture.  I agree–it is a creative and powerful movie.  The first silent film to receive such an award since 1929, the movie portrays an actor who cannot transition to the era of “talkies.”  While it’s set in the past, it’s all about the future.  Or more specifically, our fear of it.

Today’s “fear not” speaks to this issue.  Moses has sent 12 spies into the Promised Land.  They return with glowing reports about Canaan, but 10 are terrified of the inhabitants’ size and strength.  The assembly, upon hearing their report, revolts against Moses and decides to return to Egyptian slavery.

Praising God in a wheelchair

Posted by    |    February 26th, 2012 at 5:40 am

Joni Eareckson Tada preaching at Park Street Church at Downtown Crossing in Boston MA, July 10, 2008 (Credit: Rachel Ford James via Flickr)Joni Eareckson Tada is one of my faith heroes.  Paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident when she was only 17, she has lived 46 years in a wheelchair.  Her strength, courage and faith have inspired millions.  Yesterday I read an article by her in which she cites 2 Corinthians 4:17, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  She describes ways God has redeemed her suffering, then quotes a friend who rested his hand on her wheelchair one day and told her, “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.”

What is your wheelchair this morning?

Meet Brenda … She’s 14 and Had a Baby Last Year

Posted by    |    February 25th, 2012 at 5:40 am

I love Brenda's smile

Brenda is a regular at the dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Life is not easy for 14 year old girls that spend time in the dump. Just last year Brenda had a baby. She has no parents, lives with other family but nobody closer than an aunt. Thankfully last year the dump fund, money that was raised on Dump Day 2011, helped Brenda with prenatal care, with vitamins, and things she needed to deliver a healthy Anthony David. She is able to leave her baby outside of the dump because others help her with his care and because we are able to provide baby formula for him. Thank you for blessing her.

Also … did you know that there were just over 26000 meals served at the dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras in 2011? That was made possible by those who gave on Dump Day last year! Yes, the poorest of the poor got to eat because you and I gave last year. We’d love to see those feedings continue this year, but it will only happen if we give on this year’s Dump Day … May 2, 2012. Please share Dump Day with your service club, church, business, etc and lets make Dump Day 2012 the best Dump Day ever. And may our prayer be that someday Dump Day isn’t necessary because people are no longer at the dump.

One way you can help is by clicking the “Facebook” or “Twitter” button below and sharing this story about Brenda with your friends. The more we spread the word … the better.  Also, if you’re new around here and not sure what ministry we do at the dump … here’s a little history on the dump: http://vimeo.com/36269242

Dump Day 2012 and the 30 Hour will be May 2nd. Be watching for more details. 

Tim Tebow and Ash Wednesday

Posted by    |    February 23rd, 2012 at 6:45 am

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (Credit: US Navy/photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May)Tim Tebow is back in the news this morning, after Denver’s backup quarterback criticized him in a GQ article and said, “We’ve had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply.”  Brady Quinn, who is a Christian, also said that the way Tebow expresses his faith doesn’t “seem very humble to me.”  He has now apologized directly to Tebow and states that the quarterback “deserves a lot of credit for our success.”

When you play a team sport, you need the rest of the team.  Yesterday I experienced the team of faith when Janet and I attended our first Ash Wednesday service, complete with ashes.  We took part in Highland Park Presbyterian Church‘s noonday service, led by Dr. Ron Scates.

17 Signs Your Church Might Be Dying

Posted by    |    February 23rd, 2012 at 5:40 am

You may have already read these, but according to Barna, 3500-4000 churches close their doors every year… AND recently the Christian Chronicle just published a report saying that in the past nine years that church attendance has dropped by more than 100,000.

Just a few days ago I visited with a man that was very concerned about the church where he was attending. His exact words were, “We’re dying and the sad things is … some don’t care, and the others don’t know what to do about it!” He and I got to talking about some of the signs they were seeing that pointed to their church dying out. We made quite a list, and of course a few were tongue-in-cheek. I thought I might share a few with you today. Of course I’m no church growth expert, but I’d bet that most are generally true.  So, here are “17 Signs your Church may be Dying.”

  1. If your church does nothing to reach the community where it is located.
  2. If your church believes doing church is something that takes place inside the walls of the building on Sundays and Wednesdays … instead of outside the walls in the community during the week.
  3. If your church’s sermons are issue oriented or not relevant, instead of being relationship centered and Jesus focused.
  4. If your church is afraid of change, making changes and taking risks.
  5. If the only thing your community knows about your church is where it’s located.
  6. If the only thing that seems alive in your worship service is the greenery at the front of the auditorium.
  7. If the song you sing most on Sundays is, “Tis so sweet to Rust in Jesus,” or something close to it.
  8. If your worship is quiet because there are no children.
  9. If the only new members that are ever added to your church are people who have moved into the area … instead of people from your community.
  10. If your church is content with just keeping its heads above the water.
  11. If your church is out of touch with the current generation.
  12. If your church’s leadership’s motto is, “But we’ve never done it that way before.” 
  13. If your church has money in the bank that could be used to reach the lost and serve the poor, but it’s being saved for a rainy day or an emergency.
  14. If your church’s biggest fear is criticism.
  15. If your church’s leadership doesn’t set the tone, and is more concerned with supporting the system than shepherding the people.
  16. If your church promotes outreach as an option and not a necessity.
  17. If your church lives in the past not in the present.

Honestly … It makes me sad that the topic of churches dying is even a topic that is trending…

Plastic surgery and discouragement

Posted by    |    February 21st, 2012 at 6:45 am

Chittagong, Bangladesh (July 2, 2006) – Operation Smile volunteers Janet Casabon Benowitz and Dr. Bill Pond anesthetize a young child before undergoing corrective plastic surgery on his cleft lip aboard U.S. Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), during the ship’s visit to provide humanitarian and civic assistance to the people of Bangladesh (Credit: US Navy/photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph Caballero)This headline caught my eye today: “Plastic surgery does make you look younger, study finds.”  I hope they didn’t spend much money to reach such a shocking conclusion.  Continuing to state the obvious, Reuters reports that “cold-water baths may soothe aches. And anyone who has tried to parent a teenager could have written this headline: “How much sleep do teens really need?  Maybe less than you think.”

The obvious isn’t always so obvious.  A teacher commented about Woodrow Wilson, “He is ten years old and is just beginning to read and write.  He shows signs of improving, but you must not set your sights too high for him.”  Abraham Lincoln‘s elementary school teacher said of him, “He is very good with his studies, but he is a daydreamer and asks foolish questions.”

4 Things I Learned This Week…

Posted by    |    February 21st, 2012 at 5:40 am

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding…”~Proverbs 3:13

Life is about learning. Learning from mistakes, victories and others makes me a wiser and stronger person.  I’m always trying to learn things from everyday events. Little lessons hidden among daily events and activities. Some of the things I learn are beneficial and others are not. But as I see it … as long as I’m learning, I’m growing. So here are the things I’ve learned this week …

  • LESSON 1: If you’re going to go on your first EVER small plane ride, avoid eating a large bowl of spicy green-chili carne guisada just before boarding the plane. I’m not sure if it was the food or the the bouncing plane, but boy, nausea hit me about 45 minutes in and I was looking EVERYWHERE for something to get sick in. In a plane that small, it would have been ugly. We finally spotted a barf-bag about the size of a sandwich baggie. Holding it made me feel much better, but I kept looking at it and thinking, “There’s no WAY it’s all going to fit in the little bag.  Thankfully we landed, and I was able to keep all the food down. I loved the plane ride, but the terror of getting sick in my friend’s plane was more than I could imagine. I don’t know how many times I repeated in my head, “Thank you, Lord.” (more…)

“Fall” by Chris Neil

Posted by    |    February 19th, 2012 at 7:32 am

We take notice any time Salomon Ligthelm posts a video produced and directed by someone else.   Dallas faithful will enjoy the production values incorporated into this video, but the message is worthy of contemplation and the reason to take the time to watch this video.