Friday, March 31, 2006

Gas jumped from 2.55 to 2.64 in a couple hrs in waxahachie 2day

--

Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com

You can take it with you?

The BBC reports that many people are now being buried or cremated with their cellphones, Blackberrys and laptops.
More people than ever are asking to be buried or cremated with their mobile phones when they die, say researchers. The trend, which began in South Africa, has now spread to a number of countries, including Ireland, Australia, Ghana, and the US.
The idea began in South Africa apparently where people feared being placed under a spell and beingburredd by mistake while they were asleep. They wanted to have the phone with them when they woke up.
Think Cingular has service 6 feet under the ground?
I wonder how this will affect the cliche' sermon illustration about never seeing a Hearse pulling a U-Haul.
Speaking of a hearse - here's a fun site for ya.
"Don't let your first ride in a hearse be your last" - Amy the Hearse Queen

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Let's all get free iPods

So you've seen the ads, you've thought, "No way... they're not going to give me a free iPod."
But this one looks quite legit. This guy just got one and is now working on getting a free Apple laptop computer.
You've got to complete one of the offers - i.e. Discover Credit Card, Blockbuster Movies, Game Arcade, etc... then get five of your friends to sign up. Many of the offers are free - just snoop around.
I've already started, and you can too... just click this link: http://ipods.freepay.com/?r=21064022 so we can both get our iPods.

You know you want to give it a try. Seriously, take five minutes - what's the worst that could happen?

Breeder Talk

Here's a fun blog/podcast for all you moms out there.
I doubt it has much for me, but it looks like it could be a good site as more content is added.
Welcome to the first edition of the Mom-Co Breeder Talk.
No, I do not mean dog breeding, I mean mom breeding. You know, the kind that produces children or kids, rugrats or migraines, whichever way you want to look at it.
This is going to be a place to find information on all things related to the never ending job of motherhood, working at home, working outside of the home, and bla bla bla as my two year old would say copying me of course.

Students marching in Ennis suspended

According to school administration, 19 6th graders, 50 Jr Highers and 28 high schoolers left Ennis schools this morning to march against immigration policy.
The students are suspended until Monday, when a parent's conference is required for students to be re-admitted to the school.
The school principals warned students yesterday, when rumors first circulated, that they would be suspended if they walked out of class.
The students apparently left the school after they first arrived this morning and did not attend any classes.

MSN attacks me?

I did a search for myself on MSN Search and had some interesting results.
Luckily I'm not the only one.
Looks like Allman, Rolly, Aaron, my dad and my sister Kara where also hit.

Ok, so maybe that's not the whole truth... The guys over at MSN Search have published the returnt of MSN' Search Spoof for April Fools.

Don't Come Knocking synopsis


From the official website:
DON’T COME KNOCKIN’
A farce, a family story, a road movie
Synopsis by Wim Wenders
Howard Spence has seen better days. When he was younger he was a movie star, mostly in Westerns. At the age of sixty, Howard uses drugs, alcohol and young girls to avoid the painful truth that there are only supporting roles left for him to play. After yet another night of debauchery in his trailer, Howard awakens in disgust to find that he is still alive, but that nobody in the world would have missed him if he had died.
That morning Howard is absent from the film set. Instead, we see him galloping away on his movie horse in his costume – full cowboy regalia.
But there is no camera filming him this time. Howard is fleeing, from the film and his life.
At an old train station, Howard trades in his costume for the shabby clothes of an old ranch hand. He rides the train for a while and then he rents a car. Eventually he catches a Greyhound, after discarding his credit cards and cell phone. Finally he arrives in Elko, Nevada, the place that he ran away from years ago and where his 80 year-old mother still lives.
Mom takes him in, even if she hasn’t seen her only son for more than thirty years. Although she’s only seen his face on the covers of tabloids, and received nothing but a handful of postcards from him, it’s as if he had only left for a moment to buy a pack of cigarettes. She treats him as if he were still a boy. Perhaps Mom realizes that Howard is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. With her dry humor and matter-of-fact approach to his failed career, she awakens Howard to his self-loathing and self-pity.
Meanwhile, the film shoot that Howard has abandoned is interrupted. The insurance company is furious about the costly damage, which increases daily. They hire a private detective, Sutter, to find Howard. Sutter is a sort of bounty hunter. Like Howard, he is a figure from a different world. In the following scenes, we always see Sutter on Howard’s trail, in hot pursuit.
Howard, an alcoholic, doesn’t stay sober for long at Mom’s house. One night he wanders into the city and ends up in a crummy casino, drinking with an old school buddy whose pitiful existence mirrors his own life even more painfully. They get thoroughly drunk, have a mindless fistfight, and end up in the gutter where they get scooped up by the cops.
Howard wakes up in a drying-out cell. This police incident brings Sutter dangerously close to him, but Mom bails Howard out in the nick of time. Afterward, they finally have a real conversation about the past. Mom remembers that more than twenty years ago a young woman called her up trying to locate Howard. Mom figured that the girl was pregnant. Howard is shocked at the thought that he has a grown child somewhere. This child seems to be a ray of hope, a possible salvation from his narcissistic and meaningless life. When Sutter appears in town, reminding Howard of the reality he has escaped from, he flees again, this time to find his child
In 1900, Butte, Montana was the biggest city west of the Mississippi. Now it is a place of deep depression. Downtown Butte is a ghost town, barely recognizable as the setting of the film shot there 25 years ago, a movie that catapulted Howard to stardom. Many affairs and one-night stands took place during that shoot. Doreen was one of Howard’s flames then. She’s still working at the same coffee shop where she met Howard as a young, blooming beauty. She has a son, Earl, a rock musician and singer living in Butte.
Howard meets Doreen again. She reacts very calmly to the sudden reappearance of her old lover and the father of her son. Howard’s meeting with Earl, on the other hand, is quite violent. Earl completely rejects this unknown father who appears too late in his life. Saddened by this encounter, Howard is ready to give up and leave Butte again, when out of nowhere a young woman named Sky appears. She is exactly the same age as Earl. She is in fact, Howard’s daughter, the product of another short fling that happened during the filming of the same movie. She is Earl’s half-sister. These siblings do not know about each other. That’s when the real complications of this American family reunion begin...
For the first time in his life, Howard tries to do something unselfish. He tries to put this disconnected family back together. But he has little success. In the end, he is relieved when Sutter appears to forcibly escort him back to his role on the movie set. At least there he has written dialogue, a schedule, and an order to keep that he is incapable of mastering in real life. But even if his mission as a father is a failure, he has managed to bring a brother and a sister together, and mother and her son closer to each other...

Dont Come Knocking with Bono and The Edge


Missed this last week, but Wim Wenders new movie, "Don't Come Knocking" was released on the 16th in New York and LA.
The film, a western starring Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange and Tim Roth, won rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.
Bono and The Edge wrote the title track for the movie and recorded while touring last year in Amsterdam.
With Edge on guitar and Bono - joined by Andrea Corr - on vocals, the track was produced by Garret Lee in a hotel in Amsterdam when the band were playing the city last summer. It was a close call according to Wim, who said that Bono and Edge had been planning to write a title track for the film but the pressures of the touring schedule nearly made it impossible.
"Our deadline was coming closer and closer and it was a very simple one. When we had to start making release prints, it would be too late. I kept that date open as long as possible and never gave up the hope that things would work out in the last minute. And they did! Literally in that last minute the song came in!"
But it was worth the wait, he says.
"I got goose pimples when we first heard it and saw it with the picture. It has heartbreaking lyrics and the duet with Bono and Andrea Corr is stunning... I can't wait for you to all hear it!"
Watch a trailer from the movie here
Or hear a clip of the song here.

Students in Waxahachie protest

About 40 students from Waxahachie High School took to the streets Thursday morning to march to Waxahachie City Hall. The students were protesting recent talks in the House to "criminalize" helping illegal immigrants and the idea of putting up a wall along the U.S. border.
Several students I talked to were very passionate about the issue and said they had encouraged their friends not to walk-out of school unless they knew the issues and were truly concerned.
They also said they dissapointed by the recent behavior of other students in Dallas and Fort Worth, saying they felt many were ignorant and simply looking for an excuse to get out of school.

Willie Nelson Breaks Ground On Pacific BioDiesel Texas Refinery

Got a press release from Willie's publicity folks:
WHAT
Willie Nelson will be holding a press conference and breaking ground on a new biodiesel refinery, Pacific BioDiesel Texas, on a 2-acre parcel adjacent to Carl¹s Corner Truck Stop in Carl¹s Corner Texas. The refinery is the latest clean fuel venture with Willie Nelson and Pacific Biodiesel, Inc. of Hawaii. Carl¹s Corner Truck Stop is owned by Carl Cornelius and Nelson, and will be the main distributor of the biodiesel produced at the facility.
The new biodiesel refinery will process different feedstocks into renewable fuel for diesel engines, starting primarily with locally grown cottonseed oil. In keeping with Pacific Biodiesel¹s philosophy of promoting community-based biodiesel production, the venture has partnered with a nearby cottonseed crushing mill and hopes to offer longevity to an industry that has been struggling.

WHO
Joining Willie Nelson for the ground breaking refinery are Bob King, President of Pacific Biodiesel, and Mike Nasi BCOT (the Biodiesel Coalition of Texas).

WHEN
Saturday, April 1, 2006
1:00 PM Central

WHERE
Carl¹s Corner
Highway I-35 Exit 374
(South of Dallas near Hillsboro)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New phones

I just got test versions of Sprint's Smart Device PPC 6700 and a Treo 650. I'm looking forward to testing the heck out of them.
I'll post my results as soon as I finish.

ASCI around the house

43 folders found an old ASCI file, with helpful tips for around the house.
The file comes from an old BBS. Remember those? Pre-internet. I remember spending hours surfing various BBS's in the Dallas area on my 24k dail-up.
Oh the memories.
  • A Tea Party for Windows - Leftover tea makes a super window and mirror cleaner--the stronger the tea the better.
  • Silence! - A squeaky floor is usually caused by two or more boards rubbing against each other. Silence the noise by sprinkling talcum powder over the boards and sweeping it into the cracks.
  • Make Your Own Cleaner - Here's a homemade formula for window cleaner that cleans away stubborn spots. Mix two cups of kerosene into a gallon of warm water. When you wipe the glass, the kerosene leaves an invisible film.
  • Helptimgo.com

    My friend, Tim, from UMHB has put together a new website to keep people updated on his plans to go to India this year.
    It's not mentioned on the site, but he's plugging a new t-shirt he designed on myspace.
    Hey guys, I'll make this quick...I'm going to India this summer and I'm not good at asking for money so I thought, well people buy clothing anyways, so why not combine a natural event of shopping for clothes with helping someone go on a Mission Adventure Course thing to India. So here's what I did, I designed this shirt and am selling them for $15. So if you want one, go to www.helptimgo.com and click on India on the map, then go to donation and scroll down to make a donation. Simply do a paypal donation of $15 (or more if you so choose) then shoot me an email at timothyivey@yahoo.com with your size and address and the shirts should be in in a couple weeks. I know that's kind a long process but since I don't have an online store that's the only way I could do it...thanks guys...
    So check it out, it's a cool looking shirt for a good cause.
    And don't forget, revenue from all the advertising on this site goes towards my trip to Nigeria in October, including revenue from all shirts purchased at Randomshirts.com (as long as you follow the links from this site).

    rejection

    My buddy Brian and I were chatting about God and life tonight and somehow we got on the topic of dating.
    Brian wins the best quote of the week: "Rejection is just like telling a joke that no one laughs at... it sucks but no one remembers."

    House of Prayer update

    In case you don't keep up with all the comments here, my post on a House of Prayer has been getting some good discussion. Check it out and throw in your input.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    My Bright Idea - Scrubs

    Hey, I'm very interested in finding out what the final song on tonight's episode of, NBC's sitcom Scrubs was.
    The show was My Bright Idea where Turk finds out about Carla's pregnancy before he did.
    I think I've heard it before but didn't recognize it. It mentioned Jesus and said something about lifing up my hands.
    Any ideas?

    EDIT: Just found this cool website: http://scrubs-tv.com/music.html. Apparently it was a song by Kutless. Sweet. Gotta love Christian artists getting some love on secular TV.

    Students protest

    Students from Irving, Dallas, Plano and Mesquite ISD protested at City Hall for a 2nd day today.
    The students were protesting new measures discussed by the House to make helping illegal immigrants a crime.
    Many Hispanic leaders are asking the students to remain in school now, after two days of walk-outs and protest on Saturdays and Sundays.
    After thousands of North Texas students left classes for a second day in response to proposed legislation that would make it a felony to enter the country illegally or to help illegal immigrants, community leaders issued a plea Tuesday afternoon for the students to take more "constructive" action.
    In a quickly-arranged news conference in City Hall's Flag Room, the leaders talked about the need for students to end the walkouts, and gave several students the opportunity to speak about their feelings.
    "The walkouts have been very effective, but it's time for everyone to go back to school and start writing letters and making phone calls to your senator or congressman," said Domingo Garcia, a Dallas lawyer and current National Civil Rights Chairman for LULAC.
    Garcia said a civil rights march will be held in Dallas on April 9, and encouraged students and others who felt strongly about the issue to plan on taking part in that event rather than missing additional classes.
    I wonder how much of the protest was heard about in Washington. And sadly I wonder if it has made any difference.
    An interesting sidebar: KVTT had video of several students saying they were organized by using Myspace.com. Makes you realize how powerful a tool it can be if used properly. Several thousand students organized the rally on Dallas City Hall with Myspace. It's a powerful tool for sure.

    Complete Restoration

    National Community Church recently completed the complete rehabilitation of an old diner in D.C. for a new coffee house and church location.
    They're getting great word of mouth advertising, but are also running the above ad in the April issue of the Hill Rag. The Hill Rag is the Capitol Hill newspaper.
    I love this idea, I love the concept and I love the design and rehabilitation.

    Grace

    Thomas Victor Lehmann (Feb 11, 1947 - March 23, 2006)
    Sitting at Tom's funeral today brought one thought and one song through my mind the entire service. Grace. Tom was moved and changed by grace. I hope and pray that I continue to be. Christ came to save the world, not condemn it.
    I had not heard this story, but when Paul and Tim (Tom's eldest sons) where young they got in trouble for something, but neither one would confess to who did the crime. After some time passed, Tom stopped. Took off his shirt. Took off his undershirt. Took off his belt and handed it to Paul. He told Tim to get another one. He started to bend over and told his sons to whip him with the belt. "Someone has to take the punishment for this sin. If neither of you will, I will."
    What a perfect picture of grace and Christ's sacrifice. Taking the punishment of our sin upon himself so that we don't have to. "Grace keeps giving me things I don't deserve Mercy keeps withholding things I do" - Wayne Watson
    Grace by U2
    Grace, she takes the blame
    She covers the shame
    Removes the stain
    It could be her name

    Grace, it's the name for a girl
    It's also a thought that changed the world
    And when she walks on the street
    You can hear the strings
    Grace finds goodness in everything

    Grace, she's got the walk
    Not on a ramp or on chalk
    She's got the time to talk
    She travels outside of karma
    She travels outside of karma
    When she goes to work
    You can hear her strings
    Grace finds beauty in everything

    Grace, she carries a world on her hips
    No champagne flute for her lips
    No twirls or skips between her fingertips
    She carries a pearl in perfect condition

    What once was hurt
    What once was friction
    What left a mark
    No longer stings
    Because Grace makes beauty
    Out of ugly things

    Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

    Andrew card resigned today

    --

    Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    New Life Church

    A new church, Life Church, is starting in Midlothian on Easter Sunday.
    Their website doesn't say much about them, but they are a new pentecostal church for Midlothian.

    Mean Joe Greene

    Photo by Jonathan Blundell
    Waxahachie city councilmember Chuck Beatty meets with former NFL teammate and college rommate, "Mean" Joe Greene, at Waxahachie City Hall last week. Greene and Beatty played football together at the University of North Texas and for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Greene was in town to discuss plans for the 6th annual Steel Curtain Golf Classic, benefiting UNT.

    Abdul Rahman update

    I heard on NPR and BBC at lunch that Abdul Rahman is seeking religious asylum once he is released. No specific country was mentioned, but the BBC said it was likely to happen.

    The Dallas Skyline

    A Frontburner reader found a site, listing the top city skylines in the world.
    I've always been partial to the Dallas skyline, but we placed 18th.
    We got beat by Pittsburgh - not sure I understand why.
    Anyways, lots of great pictures.
    What are your favorites?

    Global Night Commute


    Sign up for Global Night Commute

    Tribute

    Aaron's posted a fitting tribute to his dad on his blog.

    Afghan Christian to be released

    Fox News and other agencies are reporting that charges against Abdul Rahman have been dropped.
    Fox reports that charges were dropped because Rahman was mentally unfit to stand trial.
    It's unknown as to when Rahman will be released.

    Edit:
    One official said freedom might come as soon as Monday for Rahman, who became a Christian in the 1990s while working for an aid group in neighboring Pakistan.
    Muslim extremists, who have demanded death for Rahman as an apostate for rejecting Islam, warned the decision would touch off protests across this religiously conservative country. Some clerics previously vowed to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if he was let go.
    His life doesn't look to be much easier if he's released in Afghanistan.

    Wrestlers bringing religion to the mat

    I've seen several different versions of this story, this one seems to be the most complete...
    Miami Herald
    GREG BLUESTEIN
    Associated Press
    Chase ''Darkness'' Cliett eagerly straddled the rope above his opponent, a dazed-looking wrestler in a red, devil's costume. Flashing his tongue like a rock star, Cliett spun backward and snapped both his legs toward the horned wrestler, a convincing thud echoing his acrobatics.
    Later, a few matches after the devil got knocked out, the pastor of the Wrestling for Jesus ministry, took center stage of the community center gym and preached.
    ''If you don't have peace in your heart, when are you going to get it?'' said Steve Vaughn, who also doubled as the emcee of the event in August, Ga. ``There's a bigger plan, a greater scale -- someone who's greater than you. When are you going to finally get real with God?''
    His question begs another: Can professional-style wrestling really be the next frontier for Christian outreach?
    Small bands of masked evangelists, clad in tights and armed with biblical names, argue it is -- and bring their message into the squared circle almost every week. The violence and intensity of wrestling, they claim, can be the perfect way to attract the alternative, younger crowd.
    ''I'm not going to sit here and listen to a shirt-and-tie preacher. But I might listen to a guy in spandex because he's like me,'' said Timothy ''T-Money'' Blackmon, who wears tight black shorts with a ''T'' on one buttock and a dollar sign on the other.
    TRAVELING SHOW
    The group he owns, Wrestling for Jesus, based in Beech Island, S.C., has a core of a dozen wrestlers who perform in community centers, churches, neighborhood festivals and anywhere else that books them. Started in 2003, the group travels to as many as 50 shows each year, most attracting no more than 100 curious fans.
    They're not the only wrestling group to heed the call.
    Texas-based Christian Wrestling Federation boasts a board of eight preachers in addition to a core of dozen entertainers that use each match as a ''tool'' to entertain a crowd while preaching a religious moral.
    Ultimate Christian Wrestling, based in Athens, Ga., features a glitzy show backed by pounding music and special effects. Funded by a host of local sponsors, the group attracts as many as 500 a show and headlines big-name wrestlers such as ''Glacier,'' a former WCW star.
    Each wrestler for Ultimate Christian Wrestling is expected to live up to a code of conduct and must graduate from a wrestling academy before stepping in the ring.
    ''We want people to know we take this very seriously,'' said Rob Fields, a school teacher who wrestles under the name Rob Adonis. ``This isn't for us to go out there and play. It's a lifestyle, a commitment you've got to make.''
    It's a sharp contrast from Wrestling for Jesus, which trains its wrestlers at a rustic backyard ring near Burnettown, S.C., where chickens cluck angrily at each visitor. The wrestlers, many fresh out of high school, often sport tattoos and piercings that they say give them more credibility with the audience they try to reach.
    If not the glitz of a more professional match, the group's shows meet a lot of the other standards: Prattling announcers, cheesy nicknames, tag-team matchups and, of course, heckling fans. Many in the crowd of 50 were jawing at the wrestlers throughout the recent show in Augusta, and more than one hot dog mysteriously found its way onto the ring.
    DIVINE ASPIRATIONS
    But rather than plots revolving around money and sex, the Christian wrestling matches aspire to be more divine.
    At the beginning of some shows, Cliett is strapped to a massive wooden cross on stage as piercing music is played. A group of evil wrestlers beats and bloodies him before the good guys dramatically come to his rescue.
    In another plot, a wrestler about to face a feared champion is injured, and a weaker character volunteers to take his place.
    After the match's end, the injured wrestler asks why the other saved him. ''Because Jesus did it for me,'' comes the response.
    Vaughn, the group's pastor, calls himself an ''oddball'' who has always searched for different ways to outreach. ''If you spin that attitude with a Christian message,'' he says of wrestling, ``it works.''
    Not completely. Many churches won't even consider letting them perform. Once, a disgusted group of deacons barred the troupe from ever returning after seeing a show, said James ''Hunter'' Barrett, the group's vice president and one of the show's stars.
    LED ASTRAY
    And there's always the danger of a live performance going disastrously awry. During the Augusta show, that's just what happened: Blackmon got into a squabble with a spindly 17-year-old referee that soon got out of hand.
    Before long, the two were really fighting, with the teen angrily cursing while Blackmon pounded on his back. Babies began screaming, organizers froze and the confused audience of 50 awkwardly looked on.
    Soon, the teen's parents had ditched their posts at the concession stand and jumped in the ring to break up the fight, helped by confused performers who had long-since changed into street clothes.
    Before the red-faced announcers dismissed the stunned audience, a panting Blackmon took the mike, blaming the fight on personal problems.
    ''I'm supposed to be a man of God and I wasn't,'' he said, kneeling in the center of the ring. ``To show that I am, I want to get down in front of everyone and pray.''
    After an uncomfortable silence, he stretched face-down on the center of the ring and wept.
    Sometimes, even the wrestlers who aim to bring their audience closer to God can be all too human.

    Thomas Lehmann - Feb 11, 1947 - March 23, 2006

    LEHMANN,, THOMAS VICTOR 59, went to be with his Lord and Savior Thursday, March 23, 2006. Tom was born Feb. 11, 1947, in San Diego, Calif. to Robert and Lorraine Lehmann. He met his wife Susan Hinton in front of the Dixie Dog Stand in Sulphur, Okla., where both were attending a church camp revival meeting. The two married soon afterwards in Dallas at the Boulder Drive Church of Christ on Jan. 19, 1968. Tom was a traveling evangelist and he and his wife started their new family as they served at at various churches in Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, California and Texas. The two finally settled in the Dallas area in 1971. For the next 31years Tom worked in route sales including a 16 1/2 year career with Little Debbie. Tom was an active member at Metropolitan Bible Church in Dallas for over three decades. He served as a youth worker, deacon, and Sunday school teacher. Tom was known among his friends and co-workers as a man of integrity with a great sense of humor. He was a humble, sweet spirit who loved his entire family, especially his grandchildren, but most of all the Lord Jesus Christ. He often expressed himself through his music and humor and showed demonstrative love to everyone he came in contact with. His parents, brother Robert, and son's fiancee Amy Blundell preceded Tom in death. He is survived by his wife, Susan, four sons and their families; Paul and Naomi of Mesquite. Tim and Amber of Rowlett, Aaron and Keri of Cedar Hill and Matt of Waxahachie; five granddaughters; one grandson; two step-granddaughters and two step-great-grandsons, and sister Darlene Lehmann of Lakeside, CA. Visitation will be held 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. March 27, at Grove Hill Funeral Home in Dallas. Funeral services will be held at 10a.m., Tuesday. March 28, at Metropolitan Bible Church in Dallas, with Rev. Keith Treadway and Rev. Charles R. Diffee officiating, Interment will follow at Grove Hill Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to the Amy Elizabeth Blundell Memorial Camp Scholarship at Metropolitan Bible Church. 8501 Bruton Rd., Dallas, Texas. 73217 Dignity Memorial Grove Hill 3920 Samuell Blvd. Dallas (214) 388-8887
    View/Sign the guestbook

    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship

    Phil and I visited Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, with pastor Dr. Tony Evans this morn.
    It was a great experience I thought. Definitely a church with it's finger on the pulse of the community.
    This is a church that's been reported on in several places for it's outreach to the community. I've always thought that a church should be judged on the impact it makes on the local community. If the church were to suddenly close down, what type of effect/impact would it have on the local neigbhorhood. Is the church really reaching out to its neighbors, or just benefiting the saints?
    A surprise to the visit was a visit by Fred Hammond. The church didn't advertise him coming or being there, he just came out mid-service. Dr. Evans said, "Look what you would have missed if you had stayed home. And some people will say, 'But you didn't tell us Fred was coming.' That's right, we wanted you to come to church for God not Fred. There's no telling who will show up next week."
    Good stuff.
    Anyways, Dr Evans had a great message on Luke 4:1-13, about Jesus' time in the wilderness. Thought I'd share some of my notes.
    Luke 4:1 - "Jesus full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness."
    We should be constantly be under the influence of the Spirit
    The Spirit was in full control of Jesus
    The Spirit led him into the wilderness
    So many times we get frustrated about being in the wilderness, but sometimes the Spirit will lead us into the wilderness
    The Spirit led Jesus/leads us into a hot, barron, isolated wilderness
    Luke 4:2 - For forty days, being tempted by the devil.
    Satan came to tempt Jesus in the very place the Spirit had led Jesus
    The Spirit gives you a test, but the devil will tempt you
    Often tests and temptation can happen side by side
    Luke 4:2,3 - And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn to bread."
    Jesus had given up what He craved to get what He really needed
    This was great - God/The Spirit will lead you to the devil, not so the devil can defeat you, but so you can defeat the devil
    Satan called on Jesus to meet His own needs, independent of God
    Satan will tempt us to fix our own problems without God's help
    Jesus found a parallel situation in scripture to find the solution for His problem
    In the wilderness God will show you He is God
    When you don't develop in the wilderness, God won't lead you to your destiny or the promised land
    Luke 4:6,7 - And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours."
    Satan told Jesus that he could bless Him
    God didn't give the world over to Satan - Adam did
    God gave Adam the rule over the world, but Adam gave that over to Satan when Eve and Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden
    Often our blessings come from Satan
    We walk around saying "Blessed! Blessed!" when the blessings are not from God
    The blessings of the Lord bring no sorrow
    If the blessings bring sorrow - we may be enjoying blessings from the wrong blessor
    Luke 4:12 - And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
    You don't back God into a corner to make Him do a miracle
    Then Evans went Kayfabe on us with a wrestling illustration, that got everyone up and fired up.
    He asked if anyone watched professional wrestling. I think I may have been the only one who raised my hand.
    "Let me let you in on a secret," Evans said. "The winner is chosen before each match. But they have to entertain the crowd. They have to show you how the victor became the victor. They have to make a profit. So when the match starts the victor already knows he's going to win. That's why when he gets power slammed it doesn't really phase him. When he gets body slammed it doesn't really phase him. If he gets a litle bloody, that's OK because he knows who's going to win in the end."
    We already know who's going to win in the end. We already know we'll win in the end -- as members of God's kingdom. So when the devil attacks and slams us to the mat - we know it's not that bad, because we win in the end.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    House of Prayer/Community

    Richard, Phil and I met this morning at the Waxahachie IHOP for coffee, fellowship and discussion on this "new thing" we've begun.
    I don't know if any of us are sure on how we should classify it. Is it a house church? Emergent church? House of prayer? It's so fluid right now and exciting.
    I jotted down a few notes and thought this would be a good place to keep track of them and maybe get some feedback.
    Here are some ideas/visions we discussed:
    No building - the church is not a building, its the people. We want to think out of the box with meetings in homes, not a big spacious auditorium.
    A heart of ministry and worship - maybe self explanitory, but we want to have a heart that's reaching out and ministering to people while we worship God.
    Relational - we don't want anyone to feel like a number, or just a dude sitting in a pew, seat whatever. We want to build relationships and in that fellowship, learn from each other and grow together.
    Constant communication - we want to build a community where people feel comfortable sharing ideas, prayer requests, concerns, needs.
    Diverse
    Smaller groups - in each house church group we invision smaller groups that meet outside the typical "community meetings." Such as women's groups, mens groups etc.
    Christ seekers - we don't claim to know everything. We're just souls seeking God and a Christ-like life.
    Multiplication - we invision the community growing and multiplying. How great would it be to know that every Saturday or Sunday people are getting together in a house in each neighborhood in Waxahachie, or Dallas, or Texas or the US to pray and draw close to God.
    Ministry - we need to be involved in doing ministry in our community regularly. Whether we have 3 people or 30 people, we need to be out working in our community and sharing God's love.
    10-15 people ideal - each house group will grow till 10-15 people are gathering weekly. From that, smaller groups will split off and start their own house groups in their neighborhood.
    Monthly corporate meetings - each month all the house groups will gather for worship, sharing and testimony to share how God is working in their lives/groups/communities.
    Ownership of faith - group members take ownership in their faith and put it to use.
    Tithing - each person should be responsible for tithing to the church/community. This brings up a whole other topic of issues that we're not familiar with. Non-profit organization, bank accounts, etc. Something to study and look into: what is tithing? Is 10 percent scripturally required, or is that "man's standard?"
    So those are some of our thoughts and ideas we discussed this morning. I'd love to hear other ideas and thoughts. Especially from those of you already involved in the emmergent church movement.

    Take action

    World Vision has set up a form letter to send to your U.S. Senators and Congressman on the war and child abductions in Uganda.
    I'm not normally a fan of form letters, I've been told by most congressmen I've met, that they don't read them, but it never hurts to take a minute or so to remind them that you're concerned about a topic.
    So take some time and educate yourself on the issue, then take a minute, fill out the form, change the letter if you'd like (at least change the subject line) and let Washington know you're concerned.
    Then take the next stop and make a phone call. Find out who your representatives are in Washington and let them know you care with a phone call.
    Be polite, be graceful, and show them the respect you would want.

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    Word on the street

    Word on the street is that they're shooting parts of the new "A House Divided" pilot with Dylan McDermott in Waxahachie this week.
    Don't know if he's on the set or not. I think they're out by FM 1446 if anyone wants to try and sneak past security.

    Which comes first?

    Question for everyone...
    Which comes first - evangelism or discipleship?
    Expound.

    Thought for the day

    "Consider the possibility that a church should own no property at all"
    Larson, Osborne, The Emerging Church (1970), p51

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Urgent prayer request


    I just got a call from my best friend and roommate Matt.
    His father passed away sometime tonight.
    I don't have any details, Matt didn't know anything when he called, other than that Tom (his dad) was found in his truck sometime this evening, already gone to glory.
    As you may recall, Matt's fiance, my sister passed away March 21, last year. So this is a huge blow to his family and mine.
    Tom leaves behind his wife Sue.
    As well as sons Paul of Dallas, Tim and wife Amber of Rowlett, Aaron and wife Keri of Cedar Hill and Matt of Waxahachie. He also leaves behind six grandchildren and one grandson.
    Please pray urgently for the Lehmann family and our family.
    Home Free - Wayne Watson
    I'm trying hard not to think you unkind
    But Heavenly Father If you know my heart
    Surely you can read my mind
    Good people underneath the sea of grief
    Some get up and walk away
    Some will find ultimate relief

    Home Free, eventually
    At the ultimate healing we will be
    Home Free Home Free, oh I've got a feeling
    At the ultimate healing
    We will be Home Free

    Out in the corridors we pray for life
    A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife
    Sometimes the good die young
    It's sad but true
    And while we pray for one more heartbeat
    The real comfort is with you

    You know pain has little mercy
    And suffering's no respecter of age, of race or position
    I know every prayer gets answered
    But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
    Oh Lord, not mine, but Your will be done

    Beautiful Road - Wayne Watson
    If I had my way, I must admit
    If I called every play of the game
    I'd pray for good times, blue ky and sunshine
    And I'd avoid with a passion any pain
    But with every blow from an engry wind

    And with every dark shadow that falls
    There's a better view up around the bend
    Where this puzzle makes some sense after all

    Mistakes and misfortunes will come and go
    For you to try and still fail is no disgrace
    Sometimes a rough and rocky road
    Is gonna take you to a beautiful place

    Is there anyone out there looking back through you rfaith
    That can deny that your Father knows what's best
    Oh but at the time and place for the life of you
    You saw no reason, no good for the test
    But now remembering as you watched His hand
    Put the color to your black and white dreams
    Maybe one more time past what you can see
    Oh the trouble of the moment ain't as bad as it seems

    Sometimes the unspoiled beauty of the wisdom of God
    Is lying there in the wilderness
    Up there beyond the easy reach
    Where the journey takes a little more,
    just a little more faith I guess

    New Categories

    Some of you may have noticed, new categories under each posting and on the right hand side of the page.
    Lablr is still in Beta, but so far is a super cool tool that lets you add categories to Blogger blogs.
    Now some of you are saying, "Big Deal. Just switch to Wordpress or Typepad and you can already do that."
    Yeah, you're right, but I've tried both of them and don't really like them.
    I like Blogger and have no intention of changing. And with Lablr I can have my cake and eat it too.
    Blogger is my favorite blogging application, partly because of their good looking templates, partly because they are free, partly because their rich text editor is very well done. Another reason we might be stuck with blogger is the fact that they came early in the blogging scene with their free hosting service, and since now we are using them, all our data is stuck with them, as well as our blogger blog might be popular, reader following already reading it, having earned good rankings in search engine indexes, having got linked by all over the blog. Or may be we just love Google!
    Another advantage to Lablr is that each category gets its own RSS feed. So if you're only interested in reading my posts about U2 you can subscribe to the Zoo TV feed, or if you want to only read about art, you can subscribe to the Every Artist is a Pest feed.
    I've been adding my old posts to categories as I can, but it may be a while before I get them all done. So please be patient if you're not seeing a lot of posts in certain categories... its coming.

    Master of perception

    Found this guy tonight...Amazing! Julian Beaver is a master of chalk art and perspective. Check out these pictures. Each picture is drawn flat on a sidewalk.








    Coffee Talk

    I'm interested to see what some of my readers think about this. Specifically some of the comments made in the story.
    From the WDL:

    By JONATHAN BLUNDELL Daily Light staff writer
    Thursday, March 23, 2006 1:05 PM CST

    They’re Democrats, but they’re not DrinkingLiberally - unless you’re referring to their morning coffee.
    For a group of 10-12 local Democrats, Friday morning is their choice for meeting over doughnuts and coffee to discuss local, state and national politics.
    “We’re the guys who can’t drink liberally anymore,” Larry Wilson said, referring to The Thursday night gatherings at the College Street Pub.
    The group began meeting about five months ago at the Ellis County Democratic Headquarters on Main Street.
    It’s an informal gathering, where people come and go freely and Democratic candidates stop in on occasion.
    “We just sit and drink coffee,” Larry Harris said. “There’s no (written) agenda and we just come and go as our schedule allows us.”
    Members of the group said everyone is welcome, but not everyone may be in agreement with their politics.
    The topics vary week to week, but group members joked that at least a little Bush-bashing will come up most weeks.
    “Strategizing might be a strong word for what we do,” Bud Brannon said. “We just sit around and talk about the news and politics.”
    And while Republicans outnumber Democrats 3 to 1 in Ellis County, the group says they expect to see more and more voters changing sides in the next few years.
    “The Democrats used to be the majority party in Ellis County and I think we’ll see the tide start to turn,” Harry Grier said. “I think people are disgusted with both sides.”
    “Nationally there’s no clear cut leader for the Democrats,” Brannon said. “There’s no one ready to take advantage of all the administrations foul-ups.”
    “It’s hard to step out when no one else will back you,” Mike Hollenback said. “Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) stood up and called for censure against the president, but no one would back him.”
    Several names were dropped as possible leaders for the Democrats, but there was no general consensus among the group.
    “They don’t necessarily have to be someone in the House or the Senate,” Hollenback said. “We just need someone to step forward and lead.”
    “No one heard of Bill Clinton before he declared he was going to run,” Harris said.
    Brannon said that President George H. Bush had a high approval rating before Clinton announced his candidacy.
    “President Bush had the highest approval ratings ever after Desert Storm,” Brannon said. “Then Clinton took a role leading the party and won the presidency.”
    Grier said he believed the political tide could change quickly both locally and nationally.
    “It wouldn’t take much to lead a turn of the tide, locally or nationally,” Grier said. “I think people are getting frustrated. People want a change. I really think Chuck Beatty (Democratic candidate for county judge) will do real well.”
    “But we’re also looking at a lot of statewide candidates who aren’t properly funded for their campaigns,” Joe Gatlin said. “It’s hard to win campaigns without proper funding.”
    Several in the group said they felt Democrats have let the Republican Party paint the Democrats as anti-religious and anti-morality.
    “There are a lot of church-based people who still hold to the idea that the Democrats are only about gay marriage and abortion,” Brannon said. “But I think people are starting to realize there are other issues out there besides those two. There are issues such as school funding, the price of gas, medical care, health insurance and other areas that involve taking care of people.”
    “How can any person in their right mind claim to be a Christian and vote for Bush?” Grier asked. “It doesn’t matter to them that he started a war where thousands of people are getting killed.”
    “The GOP has done a good job of grouping us together as baby killers and anti-morality,” Harris said. “And we’ve just let them do it.”
    “They’ve let them define us and that’s our mistake,” Brannon said.
    Harris said there are a number of misconceptions about Democrats that the party needs to overcome.
    “Morality is the biggest misconception,” Harris said. “People also think we’re the big spenders and for big government. We’re the party for the people and for helping people, and we’re for government that works.”
    Wilson pointed out that despite the notion that Republicans are for smaller government and less spending, the Bush administration has approved raising the cap on the national deficit four times during his term in office.
    “It’s a big deal that Congress is voting to approve increasing the national debt,” Wilson said. “They say ‘We’re going to control spending’ and then they turn around and make huge budget amendments, sending us further into debt.”
    The Friday coffee club meets at 9 a.m. each Friday at the Ellis County Democratic Headquarters, 215 E. Main St. in Waxahachie.
    The group says everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of their political affiliation.

    Coat of many colors

    Eric had a great post on Joseph the dreamer.
    He brings out many interesting thoughts and ideas I've never considered when looking at the Old Testament narrative.
    I've always enjoyed the story of Joseph because it reminds me of God's faithfulness to His promises.
    I've spoken with friends on this several times, but I always feel like I should be doing something more for God and "the kingdom." But as Eric points out:
    My father is a graphic designer, and sees Joseph as a businessman and as an outsider relating to the world. As a freelancer, my father’s work places him both deep within companies and at their margins. He supplies ideas, consultations and overhauled images, but he is always an independent contractor. The power of Joseph for him is the power of being second in command, a returning concept in Jewish history from Maimonides, to Albert Einstein, to Joseph Lieberman.
    Read this way, the Joseph story is a very conservative one — that through smarts and personality, anyone can get themselves from the pit to the tower. There is a flip side, though. The consultant is always accepted and treated with skepticism at the same time. Ultimately, Joseph’s success in Egypt creates the foundation for the Jews to become enslaved under a new Pharaoh. In other words, the consultant can often make greater changes than those in power, but the ground is always less stable and the future is harder to see (even with prophetic dreams).
    It's not always easy being second in command, but many times that is what God calls us to be.
    I also remember an e-mail my dad sent me back in July.
    1. Abraham was 99 years old before he received God's promise of a legitimate heir.
    2. Joseph was enslaved, imprisoned, and an outcast from his brothers for 13 years before God used him to fulfill his mission in his family's life (as this devotional mentions.)
    3. Moses spent 40 years in the back side of the desert before God could use him to lead the Israelites to the promised land.
    4. Joshua, who was told how to continually be successful, watched Moses for most of 40 years while Joshua's contemporaries died, before God used Joshua to lead Israel to overcome the inhabitants of their promised land.
    5. Gideon "fleeced the Lord" twice before he was convinced God would use him to drive the Midianites out. God even gave him a special spy trip to get the inside scoop on the thinking of the Midianites on the the night of the attack, as I remember.
    6. David (as recounted in this devotional) was hounded and harassed by Saul for years before God fulfilled His promise to make him King of Israel.
    7. Jesus was born a baby, raised to adulthood, and thirty years old before He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and began His public ministry.
    ...in His time...God makes all things possible in His time.
    How good it is to know that God is faithful to guide us and lead us to where He has called us.

    Colour Red


    I don't know quite what it is, but I really like this art piece. It's part of an installation in Belfast.
    I think it would be really cool to do something similar to this on one wall in my apartment/house -- just as long as it's portable to move again elsewhere.

    Invisible Children


    For those of you in the Waxahachie/Ellis County/Dallas/Fort Worth area this Saturday, we'll be watching the Invisible Children Rough Cut Saturday night in Waxahachie. If you're interested in joining us, let me know.

    People2Pray


    There's a new service getting Beta testing right now called People2Pray. Thomas beat me to another cool tool. He says it's like Flickr for prayer.
    You can list your prayer requests and build a community of prayer partners.
    The system will also archive your requests and let you keep track of how the prayers were answered.
    It's still in Beta testing, but you can sign-up now to get info for when it goes public.
    I will remember the deeds of the LORD - Psalm 77

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    1/3 of adults not attending church

    A new report based on its annual tracking survey by The Barna Group reveals that one-third of the adult population (34%) has not attended any type of church service or activity, other than a special event such as a funeral or wedding, during the past six months.
    Adults disassociated with a conventional church have a wide range of beliefs, some of which are biblical in nature. Some of the perspectives held by half or more of the unchurched population, either strongly or moderately, include the following:
  • 50% agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
  • 66% agree that their religious faith is very important in their life today.
  • 64% contend that Satan is not a living being but is just a symbol of evil.
  • 62% believe that a good person can earn eternal salvation
  • 51% believe that Jesus Christ sinned while He lived on earth.
  • 61% say their single, most important purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul.
  • 55% argue that they are totally committed to having a deeper relationship with God and will do whatever it takes to get and maintain that relationship.
  • 66% say they are completely committed to making the world, and other people’s lives, better.
    Having studied the growing numbers of unchurched adults in America for more than two decades, George Barna indicated that we are approaching one of the two times of year when massive numbers of the unchurched alter their pattern and attend a church service. “Every year, many previously unchurched people return to a church for one or more Easter season services. More often than not, this is the result of one of two motivations: the compelling invitation of a close friend who accompanies them to the service, or a personal crisis that compels them to seek God more fervently. Impersonal marketing efforts generally have limited impact in persuading the unchurched to break their normal Sunday morning habits.”
  • Cool shows coming to town

    Jamie Cullum is extending his US tour and will be playing in Dallas and Houston in May.
    Jamie will play May 14 at the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas and May 15 at Warehouse Live in Houston.
    I've already got my tickets to the show. I'm stoked. His show in Austin last time through was easily one of the top 3 live shows I've been to and I missed him at SXSW this year.
    Monk and Neagle will also be in Fort Worth March 26 at TCU for Praise Fest.

    Bono to speak in Dallas

    Bono will be speaking in Dallas May 5 at the Music Hall at Fair Park.
    From the World Affairs Council:
    The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth will present Bono, lead singer of Irish Rock Band U2, humanitarian and co-founder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), on Friday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Hall at Fair Park. This TIME Magazine Person of the Year in 2005 has used his celebrity worldwide to influence the powerful to the benefit of the poor. Bono will speak on his work to bring attention and resources to the fight against global AIDS and poverty in Africa.
    In 2002, Bono co-founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) to raise public awareness of these issues and put pressure on wealthy governments to increase the quantity and quality of development resources for Africa while improving policies which impact African countries. Additionally, DATA works with African leaders to improve democracy, accountability and transparency to ensure aid is spent wisely.
    From his participation in Live Aid and subsequent trip to Ethiopia in 1984 to last summer¹s Live 8 concerts, Bono has been an ardent supporter of Africa. In 1998, he became a spokesperson for the international Jubilee 2000 'Drop the Debt' movement where his involvement drew public attention to the debt burden in the poorest countries and his intensive lobbying of politicians helped leverage a promise from wealthy nations to cancel $100 billion worth of poor countries' debt.
    Recently, Bono and DATA helped launch the ONE campaign in America. To date, nearly two million Americans have joined this campaign to make poverty history. ONE played a pivotal role in raising American voices in 2005 to secure promises of near universal access to life-saving AIDS medicines, debt cancellation for 18 of the world¹s poorest countries, and a doubling of aid for Africa by 2010.
    The New York Times cited Bono¹s work as one of the reasons why President Bush promised to increase U.S. aid by nearly $30 billion over five years, including a major new initiative to fight AIDS in Africa. In 2004, this promise resulted in the largest increase in U.S. foreign assistance in 40 years.
    U2 has received extensive recognition for their music including 22 Grammy Awards. Bono has appeared on the covers of TIME Magazine (three times), Newsweek, Vogue and Rolling Stone (twelve times).
    I'm working on getting press passes, but if anyone would like to throw $50 bucks my way, it will insure me going and I'll gladly report the story here too.

    Cingular releases slick Smartphone

    Jonathan Blundell
    Staff writer

    After playing with the new Cingular 2125 Smartphone for a little more than a week, I haven’t decided which I love more, the phone itself or the new Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system.
    This is slick Cingular branded phone operates on GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks worldwide and is only available to Cingular customers.
    One of the first thing most people will notice is the beautiful 2.2-inch 64k color screen (320 x 240) that shows crystal clear graphics and text, including pictures taken from the 1.3 mega pixel camera on the phone.
    The only downside with the screen is the screen ratio, it’s longer than it is wider. Web pages will likely load by default in columns, rather than the entire width of the page at once. But users can change the way pages load to suit their personal preference.
    You’re also likely to notice the absence of a rocker button (pad) to move between options and menus.
    The rocker button most users have likely become familiar with on other phones, is replaced with a cool directional joystick, similar to the TrackPoint mouse found on old IBM ThinkPads.
    It takes a little getting used to, but I really missed it when I went back to my old Motorola phone.
    With the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS, you get a number of Windows standards built in, including Windows Media Player 10, Internet Explorer, Pocket Hotmail and MSN Messaging, as well as the option to sync with your desktop Outlook for e-mails, calendars and contacts.
    While traveling, you can also use Xpress Mail, Goodlink, or a POP3 service to get your e-mail on the go.
    And the phone comes with ClearVue software, which lets you view Microsoft Office files from Word and Excel.
    And as part of the Mobile 5.0 OS, you can customize nearly every part of the phone, including sounds, backgrounds and images to display for each caller.
    The Internet Explorer web browser is quick and effective for surfing the web.
    On the Cingular EDGE network, average download speeds are from 70 Kbps to 135 Kbps, much faster than a dail-up connection.
    Utilizing the TI OMAP 850 processor (200 MHz), I was amazed to see some pages, such as Myspace.com profiles, load much faster than they do on my desktop computer running Mac OS 9.
    The Windows Media Player played Microsoft media files and Mp3’s flawlessly. Unfortunately the phone only has a 24MB hard drive to store files on, but you can add additional space with a mini-SD card expansion slot.
    Mini-SD cards currently come as large as 2GB for $150, which is larger than many basic Mp3 players on the market.
    This phone may not replace a Trio or Blackberry just yet, but it’s a great mid-range model, for those not ready to shell out hard earned money for the high priced devices.
    And at a light 3.74 ounces and only 4.57-inches tall, 1.81-inches wide and .69- inches thick, you won’t mind the extra padding left in your wallet.

    --
    Features:
    Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 software
    TI OMAP 850 Processor (200 Mhz)
    64MB Flash ROM/ 64MB SDRAM
    GSM/GPRS/EDGE Network Compatible
    Mini-SD card slot
    2.2” 64K Color LCD Screen (320 x 240)
    1.3 Mega Pixel Camera with camcorder
    Bluetooth/Infrared/Mini-USB connectivity
    Speakerphone
    1150mAh Li-ion Polymer battery

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    In Memory of Amy Blundell Dec. 22, 1980 - March 21, 2005

    A Life Worth Living - written March 22, 2005 (published the following week)
    Last week as many of you may know, my family buried my sister Amy. I never dreamed that day would come. I don’t think anyone did.
    Amy was full of life, energy and love for her friends, family and most importantly her Lord and Savior.
    I was honored to write Amy’s obituary, but I felt inadequate as I finished the biography of 24 years.
    How could 24 marvelous years be summed up in 329 words?
    We sat on Tuesday afternoon going through boxes and boxes of photos Amy had collected during her short life.
    If a picture is worth a thousand words, how could 329 words suffice?
    I began to wonder how long my obituary might be.
    I’m certain its length would be longer. I am two years older than Amy and she always considered me the “social butterfly” of our family. While I was always ready to jump into the next big thing, she was quietly memorizing scripture or spending time with her closest friends.
    I remember after I transferred to The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Amy would be frustrated when people knew her as “Jonathan’s little sister.”
    After all, she did arrive at UMHB an entire year before I did.
    She was never the outgoing, outspoken member of our family.
    As a middle child I think she gave up trying to steal any talk-time or spotlight away from our youngest sister or me.
    But a long obituary means nothing. A life worth living is measured by quality and not quantity.
    I may live to be 99, but I will always question if my life was any where near worthy of hers.
    Only 329 words for an obit, but those boxes and boxes of pictures really do say so much more.
    As you look through them they’re not a “who’s who” of Mesquite, Belton, Dallas or anywhere else. But they’re a “who’s who” of who really mattered to Amy.
    No matter how many boxes you went through, you didn’t find too many new faces.
    Amy’s group of friends were small – but they were so very close.
    She wasn’t out to be involved in every club in college. She wasn’t interested in making a name for herself.
    She never set out to be Ms. Popular or Ms. I Know Everybody -- but her funeral was a testimony that Amy impacted everyone she knew.
    She was just here to help those nearest and dearest and live a life worthy of Christ -- and in the end she made an impact on everyone she came in contact with.
    Because while the faces in Amy’s boxes were few, the lives she touched were anything but.
    Everyone who knew her loved her. And to be a part of her close circle meant you were something special.
    I never understood why while growing up I went through girlfriends like dirty socks and Amy never dated at all.
    It’s because she knew what she was looking for and she wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
    She had her list and checked it twice.
    If you didn’t meet her expectations, see you later, you won't get her attention.
    That’s why I know God placed her fiancĂ© Matt in her life. She wouldn’t take anything less than God’s best.
    When Amy was hitting her early teens I was reminded how she was so worried about how she looked and how no guy would ever want to date her.
    My best friend Matt consoled her saying, “Amy you’re beautiful. Someday your prince will come and take you away.”
    That meant the world to her and she waited expectantly for her prince.
    Her prince finally arrived nearly 10 years later.
    Matt came into her life on a white horse and stole her heart away (much to the frustration of a way-too protective older brother.)
    But despite any fears or doubts, Matt was Amy’s Proven Prince.
    They were so in love. Not only with each other but with their God and Savior.
    And as Amy laid in hospital beds and rested at home over the last month, Matt proved himself over and over again to everyone.
    There is no one else I would have rather have had standing in my place protecting her from the world and its hurts and pains.
    But while Matt was Amy’s Proven Prince here on earth, her Heavenly Prince Jesus Christ comforted her so much more.
    She loved nothing more than reading His love letters to her and talking with Him.
    She talked about Him constantly. She did everything she could to make Him happy.
    And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that when she walked through the pearly gates of heaven her Heavenly Prince said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Welcome home.”
    My parent’s pastor told the Easter Sunday congregation that he had received an e-mail shortly after Amy’s funeral.
    The e-mail said that the writer had never really known Amy but they regretted that tremendously after attending her funeral.
    The writer said that Amy was a true example of a life given to Christ and a lifestyle of evangelism.
    Amy’s life was a testimony to Christ and a testimony to lifestyle evangelism.
    She often wondered how she could reach her co-workers for Christ and how she could reach those around her. But she did it the best way she knew how -- living a life focused on Christ.
    For many of us, it takes 20, 30, or maybe even 70 or 80 years to figure out this thing called life.
    But I’m quite certain Amy had it all figured out when she was three years old, sitting in a bathtub.
    She made a decision that would affect the rest of her life, by accepting Christ as her Lord and Savior.
    There was no evangelist breathing fire and brimstone down her neck, no flashy media presentation, no pressure to walk the aisle with her friends, just a burning desire in her heart to be like the Christians she knew and more importantly -- to be like Christ.
    Yet even as I wrap up this column I feel like 1060 words are not near enough.
    I could write many more volumes on my sister, Amy Elizabeth Blundell. And even still, she would be embarrassed with the little I’ve written here.
    I love you Amy and we all miss you greatly.

    Amy Elizabeth Blundell


    BLUNDELL, AMY ELIZABETH, 24, went to be with her Lord and Savior, Monday, March 21st at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas after a month of complications. Amy was born in Dallas, December 22, 1980, to Fred and Margery Blundell. She graduated from Poteet High School, Mesquite, in 1999, and also graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Mary-Hardin Baylor in 2003, and was awarded the Golden Cross Award, awarded to the nursing student displaying a "Christian Attitude" in all he or she does. Amy returned to Dallas after graduation and worked as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at Presbyterian Hospital until her death. Amy was an active member of Metropolitan Bible Church in Dallas, where she worked with AWANAS and taught Sunday School. She also participated in the Bible Study Fellowship International and served as a camp counselor at Hidden Acres Retreat Center in Kaufman for several years. She served for a month with The Evangelical Alliance Missions in Germany teaching English as a Second Language to German students. She also volunteered at the Downtown Pregnancy Center in Dallas. On December 28, 2004, Amy was engaged to Matthew Lehmann of Dallas, the two were to be married in May. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, John E. and Rosemarie Blundell. Amy is survived by her parents, Fred and Margery Blundell of Mesquite; her older brother, Jonathan Blundell of Belton; her younger sister, Kara Blundell of Mesquite; her fiance', Matt Lehmann of Dallas; her grandparents, Deryl and Oleta Knotts of Dallas and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Visitation will be 6:00 to 8:00pm Friday, March 25, 2005, at Grove Hill Funeral Home. Funeral services will be 10:00am Saturday, March 26th at Lake Ridge Bible Church in Mesquite, with Rev. Charles R. Diffee officiating. Interment will follow at Grove Hill Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to The Downtown Pregnancy Center, 1707 San Jacinto St, Dallas, TX 75201. Dignity Memorial Grove Hill 3920 Samuell Blvd. Dallas (214) 388-8887
    Published in the Dallas Morning News on 3/25/2005.
    Leave comments below, or sign the guestbook on Dallasnews.com

    Gore reinvents himself


    Common Sense reports on an article by The American Prospect that says Al Gore has been reinventing himself and using "viral marketing" to get his message out.
    I'm still wondering why people in ministry haven't caught on to this.
    Common Sense write:
    The most important thing here is that he learned from his mistakes last time around, something the current crop of Democratic leaders seem incapable of.
    But this is more than Al just changing himself to be more pleasing to people. It goes much deeper than that. He has spent the past 5 years not just reinventing himself, but reinventing the way people learn about him so he can be the Al so many thought was presidential.
    From The American Prospect:
    So Gore sought a way to bypass the filter. Every time he gives a speech under MoveOn’s auspices, a guaranteed 3 million MoveOn members get the address blasted directly in their inboxes, where it can be read in full. From there, the speech gets e-mailed around, promoted on the blogs, passed from friend to neighbor -- what tech types call “viral marketing.” At no point in this process does a news editor or television producer decide which sound bites will be emphasized for ratings. MoveOn allows him to speak on his own terms and individuals to distribute his speeches on theirs. It’s Gore Unplugged, and everyone’s got a ticket.
    I'm telling you, if you can find a way to make people passionate about your message or product, they do the work for you.

    Dang - I missed the free day


    Dang. We all missed out.

    Way cool tool


    I almost hate to give this away, but the North Central Texas Council of Governments hosts www.dfwmaps.com, which will give you great maps and arial photos of the North Texas area.
    The arial maps are within 75 meters I believe. Amazing detail.
    The only downside is that it's not as scrollable as Google maps or MSN, but otherwise it looks great. It's got better photography of North Texas than either Google or MSN.
    The picture above is of the doomed Super Conducting Supercollider outside Waxahachie.

    CNN report on the Invisible Children

    Watch a CNN report on the Invisible Children

    U2 hits

    I finally added a site counter to my blog last week. I decided I wanted a better understanding of who visits and reads my blogs.
    There's some interesting results.
    I noticed today someone from the Department of Justice visited. That's a little worrysome.
    But I also noticed that most people who came from a search engine, were looking for something related to U2.
    So maybe I should be writing more about U2. You know, Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton.
    The best band in the world, U2.
    Or maybe I should focus on other subjects to attract other audiences as well.
    Or maybe I should just write like I always do and not worry about traffic so much. I think I like that idea better.
    Except traffic on your blog is somehow like friends on Myspace.
    Somehow you're a better person with the more you have of both.
    Or so "they" say.

    New music Monday


    Why wait till new music Tuesday, when Thomas has info on a new album from Times Promises Power.
    The whole album is free and downloadable at http://www.backporchrevolution.com/release.php?id=21.
    It's got a great ambient, electronic sound that's just right to get me writing (or dancing) today.
    Check it out.

    Style guidelines

    As a reporter, we're always following AP style guidelines. And we dream often of a day when someone will put together a patch for Word and Office products that will change the auto-format, correction etc., in the software to go along with AP style, rather than MLA, or whatever style Microsoft has chosen to use.
    Churchmarketingsucks.com has an article this week encouraging churches to adopt a style guide as well.
    If you have any sort of background with words you understand the importance of a style guide. Is it Gospel or gospel? Are pronouns referring to God capitalized? Is it Church or church? Oxford commas, or no? In many cases either option can be correct and it's a matter of opinion. But having both options in the same brochure would be kind of silly. Consistency is the key, and for that you need a style guide.
    I think this is a good idea for anyone who does any type of publishing.
    You can start from scratch or adopt and amend exisiting style guides.
    Here are some pre-existing guides:
    Wired Churches
    AP Stylebook
    Eats, Shoots and Leaves

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    War is Over

    Very Rare U2 video singing Merry Christmas (The War is Over)

    Weekend treat

    Thought I'd throw a bone to everyone else chillin' at home tonight without anything to watch on TV. Maybe I should throw on a disclaimer here, but oh well. So here's a couple random videos for ya.

    Chinese Boys sing I want it That Way
    Baby farts powder
    Simpsons Theme Unplugged
    Boating in the office

    Prayer talk

    Interesting comment on On Prayer
    Check it out and see what you think.
    Agree? Disagree? Why?

    No access

    Well, I was without Internet access all day. Wow. It's amazing how dependent you can become on it. I have no idea what's going on in the world.
    I'll have to try and catch up now.

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Pilgramage to Metropolitan Tabernacle

    Andrew recently took a trip to C H Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tablernacle.
    He has pictures of Spurgeon's pulpit and other interesting things in the church.
    I was very intrigued by his thoughts on the trip...
    After meeting the current pastor, Dr. Peter Masters:
    I introduce myself and my baptist heritage, as well as my current interest in the emerging church. "The emerging church", said Dr Masters, "from what I have heard, is so diverse that no one really knows what it is." Thats exactly right, I said. Good to see he was on the right track.
    And while the church sermons can be heard on podcasts:
    Sermons here are old skool. No visual media. Just Bible reading and preaching. King James prayer language also. Its refreshing to sit there and imagine what it was like in the days of Charlie - not too different, I suppose.
    On the church's hymnal:
    So has the ministry changed to meet the times at all? And where have those contextual changes taken place?
    Probably in the hymnology. Peter Masters has written an excellently worded apology in the preface to their hymn book:
    "Our Own Hymn Book has therefore served as a model for the present selection of hymns and their arrangement, but we have employed a degree of editorial intervention which Spurgeon would never have countenanced in his day."
    WHAT INTERVENTION?
    "We feel that language has changed for more in the 125 years since Spurgeon's hymnbook than during the 150 years which seperated Spurgeon from Watts. We are now confronted with numerous quaint and jarring words or phrases which ought to be edited. Editorial changes have aimed at achieving instant comprehension whenever possible, thus enabling worshippers to honour the apostolic principle - '"I will sing with the understanding also' [Dr Peter Masters, Preface, Psalms and Hymns of Reformed Worship, 2003, Wakeman Trust]
    Wow - If i had to explain the contextual approach to ministry for the emerging-missional church to Dr Masters, I would probably start with his own words here.
    And of the church organ?
    And I thank the kindly and informative ushers and elders (Chris Law) who answered all my questions, including the one that went... "what would Charlie think of the organ?"
    Of course, he wouldnt approve. But sometimes you have to step out from nostalgia and into the real world with the timeless Christ.

    100 percent




    Bono and the Coors at Live-8

    Found a video from with Bono and The Coors singing when the Stars Go Blue.
    Bono's such a stud.

    U2 - The Wanderer (Live)

    My boy Aaron found video of performing The Wanderer for the Johnny Cash tribute last year.
    It's a really fun version with Edge busting out some crazy background vocals.
    They recorded it while touring last year in America.

    The zone

    So... apparently I was more in the zone last night than I thought.
    We weren't down one run last night when I went to bat. We were down three runs, with the bases loaded.
    I hit three runs in, not one. All I saw was the guy standing on first - I didn't see the other two runner.
    Yeah. I had no idea we were down 7-10 when I went up to bat. And like I was telling Edward, I know someone was talking to me before I went up to bat, but yeah - no idea what they said.
    So here's my season record now: .333 with 3 RBI's.
    Weird.

    Church goals

    Mark Batterson blogs on Christ cursing the fig tree and what his church has set as their goals:
    We have two goals for everybody who attends NCC: plug into a ministry & plug into a small group. It will never be more complicated than that. Ministry is where we get our spiritual exercise.Small group is where we get our spiritual food. We want to keep offering more and more small groups. So on one level we're expanding exponentially. We have sixty-one groups this sememester. But we try to keep it simple. We want NCCers to do two things: get excercise via ministry and get discipled via small groups.
    So many times I've seen churches do great at one or the other, but not both.
    In further talking about the fig tree, Mark writes:
    One of my favorite Jesus sayings is this one: "Wisdom is proved right by her children." In other words, the proof is in the pudding. If you want to buzz you can't just talk the talk. You've got to walk the walk.

    Willie for Kinky radio ads

    Kinky and Willie Nelson discuss renewable energy on Willie's biodiesel-powered bus. Photo by Brian Kanof.
    Willie Nelson has given his voice for run for governor.
    The Texas music legend recorded a 60-second spot for Kinky pushing "clean energy and clean government."
    From :
    The idea that Texans (and Americans in general) should be getting its energy from renewable, stable sources, has been a Kinky campaign theme since the beginning.
    “Renewable energy stabilizes prices, creates jobs, reduces pollution – and will bring us new revenue sources that can go directly to our schools,” Kinky says. “But our leaders continue to support reliance on dwindling fossil fuels instead of investment in renewable, sustainable technologies. Texas buys more energy than it makes. Why aren’t our leaders investing in Texas?”
    The ad is scheduled to run on more than 150 radio stations between now and the May 11 deadline for Kinky to get over 45,000 signatures to be placed on the November ballot.
    “With a little imagination, Texas can lead the nation into energy independence,” Nelson says in the ad. “I support Kinky Friedman and I support biodiesel fuel, because they can give us the two things we desperately need in Texas: clean energy and clean government.”
    Many have commented that this may take Kinky away from his "one-liner" campaign and start showing Texans more on the issues he's concerned about.
    Listen to the ad

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Dirtbags win first game of season

    The Dirtbags won their first game of the Spring softball season, 11-10 over the Athletics, tonight at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.
    The Dirtbags made a great turnaround to win the game in the 6th, after trailing the entire game.
    The slow start worried Dirtbag fans as the team (1-0) fell 7 runs behind by the 2nd inning. But with a fired up defense, the team began their comeback, holding the A's to only 3 runs for the remainder of the game.
    The Dirtbag hitters also came out swinging in the third and closed the A's lead to only 3 by the 6th inning.
    Down by one, with no outs, Jonathan Blundell, who was pulled from his spot in right field after the 2nd inning, knocked a line drive over 2nd baseman, scoring a run and rounding 2nd to third after several errors by the A's.
    With the game tied, Blundell waited on third as his right field replacement and roommate, Matt Lehmann stepped up to bat and drove his second single of the night right over the 2nd baseman's head.
    On the dropped ball, Blundell scored, giving the Dirtbags their first win of the 2006 season.
    --
    Ok. It probably wasn't near as glorious as that sounds. But I have to tell you, I wasn't having a good game or much fun until I knocked that line drive into the out field right over 2nd base.
    I stopped at first, but after the runner scored and the catcher fumbled with the ball I took off running to 2nd, where another bad catch let me round the base and get to third.
    I was completely out of breath when Matt drove the ball right back over the 2nd baseman. I took off running and beat the throw at home by mere seconds.
    I was 1 for 3 for the night with one RBI.
    Matt was 2 for 3, with two singles and the RBI.
    And yes, they pulled me from right field after the second inning, which was fine, because I'm no good there and I hate playing outfield.
    But everyone always says, "You may not play that great, but you play with all you've got."
    I've got a nice cut on my arm from where I ran full steam into the fence while chasing a ball that just missed going foul.
    I'd give you everyone else's stats, but I really didn't pay any attention. If anyone else on the team wants to comment on their stats, feel free.
    So there you have it. My big fish story for the week.
    I've got to say, it's been a pretty good week so far, "and it's only getting better."

    Softball starts tonight...

    Softball starts tonight... yesssss.
    If you're in the 'hatchie tonight around 8 come watch me bomb out.
    And by bomb, don't worry -- I don't mean bomb in the normal softball since. I mean it more like Mac Technicians when their computers won't start.

    Weirdest lunch ever

    I went home for lunch (as usual), fixed myself some chicken and rice and accident's spilt some rice on the floor.
    So once I finished eating I went to get my vacuum to clean up the rice.
    I plugged it in, turned it on and then BOOM! my vacuum bag exploded everywhere. Me and everything within a 10 feet radius was covered in dust and dirt.
    Unbelievable.
    There went my lunch time nap. Dang.