May 31, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

Saw Kung Fu Panda 2 with little man yesterday.

I loved the first Kung Fu Panda. In fact, the first movie blew me away because I went in with no expectation. I figured I would put in my time as a daddy to four kids. But I loved the first movie. It was sooo good.

I'd read some reviews about Kung Fu Panda 2 and most claimed that the sequel was better than the first. So I had some big expectations before I saw the movie.

And that's the thing. Very rarely do movies live up to the hype and the expectation. I would much rather have the movie going experience where I was expecting nothing and then come away pleasantly surprised than going in with huge expectations and coming away disappointed.

I wasn't disappointed with the movie. It's just it wasn't that great for me.

  • Visually, the movie is stunning. I did not see the 3D version but even the regular version of the movie was visually awesome. 
  • The story line was good too. It had everything, loyalty, love, friendship, good vs evil, love between parent and child, etc. 
  • As far as children's movies go, this was fantastic.

But then why am I not raving about the movie? I think it's because my expectations were too high.

Kung Fu Panda was fun. Definitely a movie where both parents and children will enjoy. But for this guy, I still prefer the original Kung Fu Panda.

May 28, 2011

On This Memorial Weekend...Thank You

I've never lived in a military town before.

I am not sure if Lakewood would be considered a military town. All I know is that there are many military and retired military in my church in the community.

Having lived my life in the midst of so many soldiers and their families for the year or so I have come to an even greater appreciation for the incredible sacrifice of time, effort, and even life itself of our soldiers.

Our warriors do so out of their love for our country, family, and our God. They will continue to give their best and their lives whether the country for whom they sweat and may even die for will ever recognize them for it or not.

Truly, our warriors are our heros.

But we can't just stop there.

As I have been pastoring a congregation with many soldiers, it has become abundantly clear, it's the spouses, children, and parents of our warriors who also make incredible sacrifices.

So as one who benefits from the sacrifices of so many, please here my words as I say from the bottom of my heart:


As your average citizen beneficiary pastor of your sacrifice, please know I consider it my privilege and honor to say prayers for you and your family.

God bless you.

Dressing Like It's Winter for a Baseball Game???

I love the Pacific Northwest.

Don't get me wrong.

I love being the pastor at the Little Church on the Prairie.

But, hello!!! It's May 27. It's almost June, and to go to a baseball game, we had to bundle up like it was winter and my family was still freezing cold.

I'm just not used to being this cold so late in the year. By now, we're experiencing 80-90 degree weather in Dallas. That's what I've gotten used to for the past 15 years. It's still strange for us to bundle up like this and it's almost June!!!

We love living here.

We love the people here.

We love the church here.

It's the cold, wet, rainy, overcast weather we're not used to yet.

Perhaps, one day, we will learn to love bundling up in late May for a baseball game...maybe.

May 27, 2011

Thank God for the Presbyterian Church

Two Sundays ago my office in the church was robbed during one of the morning worship services.

This morning, the church office received a phone call from the prosecutor's office that the young man who was caught on video surveillance has been apprehended and will be arraigned today. Unfortunately, for the young man, he has a history with the prosecutor's office. 

So the question that I've been trying to wrestle with this morning is, "Now what?" What does the church do to be the church of Jesus Christ for this young man? How can we help him without becoming enablers? 
  • Do we prosecute? 
  • What about forgiveness? What about restoration? What about redemption? 
  • Is prosecution - having this young man facing up to the consequences of his actions - incompatible with forgiveness? 
  • How can we be the church of Jesus Christ for this young man?
As I was wrestling with these questions this morning, it made me so grateful to be a presbyterian. 

First, I called one of my mentors and pastor friends who I respect greatly to talk through this situation. He has been in the pastorate far longer than I have and has tremendous wisdom. I thank God that there are people I can call to talk things through with. 

Thank God for the close relationships, connections, and friendships that have been forged through our denomination. Without a connectional church that forces us to engage with people from all over the country, there is no way I would have a close friend and mentor in upstate New York.

Second, Presbyterians don't have to figure these things out on their own. We have a marvelous pool of wisdom built into every church called the session. While we may not know what to do as individuals, together, as we seek God's guidance and listen to the counsel of other wise people, God leads us to know how we might be the church for this young man.

Isn't that great? 

There are issues in life that are too difficult and confusing to tackle alone. That's why God gave us the church. We're supposed to figure things out together. We really are supposed to listen to one another and help one another seek the way of Christ. And that pathway is discovered, more often than not, in the counsel of peers.

Thank God for the church, and thank God for the Presbyterian way of doing church.

We are far from being the perfect church. Our issues over 10-A (ordination debate) make that crystal clear.

However, as messy, difficult, time-consuming, and all those things about being Presbyterian, I wouldn't want to do church any other way.

Thank God for the Presbyterian church!

May 21, 2011

Pray for Those Who's Hearts Are Broken

For most of us, 6pm May 21, 2011 came and went by without much fanfare or heartache.

I was at a baseball game when 6pm came and went, and I was so caught up in the game I didn't even notice.

However, there were literally hundreds and thousands of people who believed in the ravings of a fool and gave their life savings to him and his ministry.

For them, today was absolute heartache and devastation.

I am not sure what makes people believe in such things. The Bible is crystal clear that even Jesus doesn't know the time of the end of the earth.

Just because someone is on the radio or television, even Christian stations, doesn't mean that they are worth listening to.

I wish this guy only spent his money. But the reality is that hundreds and thousands of people raised the millions of dollars to put this man on radio and purchase all those billboards and ads.

And as the hours came and went, so did their life savings. And all that they are left with is their broken hearts and their broken spirits.

Because of what I know about Jesus Christ, I know that their hearts weren't the only ones broken. God's heart was rendered today.

Please, no more making fun of those who are hurting and lost. Pray that we could all come to a better understanding of the heart of God.

May 20, 2011

It's the End of the World as We Know it...May 21, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know sang REM.

Unfortunately, Harold Camping of Family Radio Network has also been saying the same thing. They even purport to know the exact day when it will happen. They spent more than 3 million dollars taking out billboards and advertising.

Listen, it doesn't matter how many billboards a person puts up, it doesn't matter how much money a person spends, not even the Son of God knows the exact time and date when the world will end.

Jesus said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32).

If Jesus doesn't know, no fool with no amount of money to print up all these bill boards can know.

Christians, since the day Jesus ascended into heaven have been waiting for Jesus to come back.

So, it is perfectly fine to pray daily, "Come, Lord Jesus." In fact, I pray that daily.

But anyone who claims to know the exact time and date is a fool.

I just wish this fool would have spent his money helping the poor or buying mosquito nets or anything else that would have helped the cause of Christ instead of making Christians look silly.

May 19, 2011

16 Hour Cell Phone Talking Woman...Do You Make Your World a Better Place or a Bitter Place?

Have you seen this?

You can read the full story here:

She boarded the "quiet car" at 10pm in Oakland and kept talking for 16 straight hours until she was finally arrested in Oregon after threatening passengers who complained to her about talking straight through the night and most of the day.

How annoying!!!

How can we get to a place as a society where a person has such disregard for everyone else?

  • Did she not know that she was on the "quiet car" where signs are posted about not talking on the cell phone? 
  • Did she not see that the other passengers who were wanting to sleep through the night? 
  • Did she not care that her conversations were bothering everyone around?
It's really sad.

And even after other passengers and train crew asked her to stop, she refused to stop talking and kept at it for hours after.


So, here's the deal. 

There will always be ill-considerate people. 

I for one vow not to allow the actions of another human being determine my treatment of others. 

As far as I can help it, I will choose to make my environment a better place because Jesus is present wherever his disciples are. 

Not only will I choose to live this way, I will do my best to convince others to do the same. 

Friends, let's make our world a better place because Christ is present through us.

May 18, 2011

Visiting with the Pastor Is Better than a Visit with the Dentist

Although I've been the pastor at the Little Church on the Prairie for about 15 months, I am still getting to know folks here.

I get to see many people on Sundays but depth of the conversations is at best limited to mutual greetings. "Hey! It was so good to see you! Trust all is well! Have a great day. See you next time!"

I am all for friendly greetings and I truly am glad to see folks on Sundays. But at some point, we're going to have to go deeper in relationships with one another.

I love hearing people's stories. I love to hear about how we've come to where we are in life. I find it so encouraging to hear stories of God's faithfulness and interaction with people throughout their lives.

To aid in getting to know the congregation and to grow deeper in relationship with each other, I have been meeting with folks one on one. So if I have not seen you yet, your turn is coming!

It's been interesting to hear the varied responses to people finding out that the pastor guy wants to visit with them.

Some people welcome the opportunity to visit.

Some are very cautious about the potential visit.

Some people treat the visit as a necessary evil.

After a visit recently I had a person tell me, "Well, visiting with you was better than going to the dentist!"

I guess that's a complement.

I'm glad spending time with me is better than the experience of a dentist drilling one's teeth.

May 17, 2011

T-Mobile G2x - First Few Days

Because my phone was stolen this past weekend, I've had to buy a new phone. My wife knows how much I hate getting new gadgets - wink, wink.

After doing some research, I've decided to go with the T-Mobile G2x.

Here are some impressions:

Wow! The phone is super fast! I don't mean just fast...I mean super fast. Whatever dual chip processor may mean, what I know is that it's super fast. There's never a lag on anything. It just does what it's supposed to do.

It's actually a pretty good phone on top of all the stuff that the Android market offers. Sure, it's a good organizing, calendaring, planning, todo listing, emailing, facebooking, twittering tool. But it's still a phone and it is a far better phone than my previous HTC HD2. The sound is more crisp and easier on the ear.

Android market is amazing! I had a windows mobile phone. That's like admitting I had a Beta player. The windows market was a joke. I'm not even sure why anyone's bothering with the windows phone when the Apple App store and the Android App store is around. Both the Apple and Android operating system is so much more intuitive and easier to use than Windows mobile.

I love the voice command tool. That's just really cool!

I've not  been experiencing a huge battery issue that some reviewers have been complaining about. But I've only had the phone for a day or so now. I'm sure you'll hear about it if it is as bad as people say.

I am also appreciating the pure Android experience over the HTC sense or some other packaging system that most smart phones are coming out with. I will configure the phone the way I want to thank you.

So far, I have not had the G2x long enough to find any complaints. I am sure hoping this phone is less buggy than the HTC HD2.

May 16, 2011

I Was Robbed!

I was robbed!

No. Really. I was robbed.

It happened this past Sunday.

While I was in the sanctuary during the first worship service at around 9:30, a twenty-ish looking young man entered my office, took my laptop, cell phone, two Montblanc Fountain pens valued at around 1k, and my computer bag.

How do I know all this? It was all caught on tape.

The likelihood of catching this particular individual is slim to none.

The thing that hurts more than anything else is that the guy literally took off with my brains. Almost everything that I've worked on plus all my calendar and schedule is either on the phone or on the laptop. The only reason why he didn't take off with my kindle and ipad was because I didn't bring those things to the office. 

Thank God, I've got everything backed up!

Here's the thing. It's just stuff. Sure, it's a pain. Sure, it's going to be a big time hassle getting a new computer loaded with all my stuff. Sure, it's going to cost big time money to replace all those things. But, in the end, it's just stuff

But the soul of this young man - bold and desperate enough to enter into church, walk the hallways when there were loads of people around, enter into the pastor's office and take off with all this stuff - is not.

He gets one shot at this life thing. 

As you are reading this, pray for this young man. 

This time, no one got hurt. But if this persists, eventually something bad is going to happen and he's either going to get hurt or he's going to hurt someone else. And then, it's not just petty theft. 

Pray that he comes to know Jesus. Pray that God touches and changes his heart. Pray that he changes before he gets hurt or before he hurts someone.

Pray also for is our community. People are really hurting. The times are really hard. The local food bank has been helping more people than ever before. 

Something needs to change. Pray that the economy picks up for everyone around.