Wednesday, January 26, 2005

It's Hard To Hit A Moving Target!

I spent 21 years serving my country in the US Air Force. I enjoyed most of my time there. I am very proud of my service in the Air Force. But, in the 2 years I have been retired from the military I have changed jobs 4 times. I am only running an average of 6 months per job, and I am very embarrassed about it. None of the changes are due to being fired, but are self initiated changes looking for the "right job".

I did it again. I start a new job on Monday with another company. The company is Science Applications International Corporation, also known as SAIC. They do lots of military related IT. I worked for SAIC for 5 months right after I retired and I would still be with them if not for a personality conflict between my boss and myself. Now I am taking a different job with them. They are a wonderful company to work for and it will be very challenging work. I will be the Program Manager for Air Mobility Command's Expeditionary GeoBase Program. This means that I will be in charge of coordinating information needs between AMC and all the airfields overseas that we fly to or think we will fly to in the near future. I have really enjoyed working for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, but this new job is something I have trained for most of my life.

Anyhow, now one will ever accuse me of being part of the status quo, because I haven't stuck around long enough to qualify! Hopefully, this will be the right job, although in the back on my mind I know I will end up in full-time ministry and I only view whatever job I am in currently as filler time until the Lord tells me the time is right.

Wednesday Night At The Gate

Tonight will be the first time I have had a chance to be at our college ministry (The Gate) since Halloween! It has been a long absence that I have hated and I am ready to get plugged back in. I miss worshipping and hanging out with my brothers and sisters at The Gate and it will be good to get back there.

Back from Louisiana

It was a long 2 week trip with lots of hard work, but I am back! I'm sorry that I haven't blogged much over the last couple of weeks, in fact I haven't blogged much while I've been gone the last couple of months. I'm back for a while now and that will change. I don't have any pressing trips on the calendar, so I will be able to enjoy being home for a while. Thanks for those of you who were praying for me while I was gone.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Blogging From Louisiana

Well, on my quest of continuous business trips I made it to Shreveport, Louisiana, Bossier (pronounced Bozyer) City actually. Not a bad place. It is pretty and about 20 degrees warmer than back home in St Louis. Bossier City it is going to be sunny with high of 44 and a low of 27. It is a little colder here than I thought it would be. I didn't even bring sweat pants or a sweatshirt to exercise in! I spent some time at the local YMCA exercising yesterday. Back home in St Louis today it will be a high of 21 and a low of 5.

At least the Holiday Inn here has a fast, free internet connection in each room.

Whenever I'm on trips I normally try to attend Calvary Chapels, but there aren't any here, so yesterday I attended First Baptist of Bossier City. It is a huge church (8,000 members) that did a great job of integrating media, drama, music, preaching, and community into the service. The preaching was pretty traditional, and the rest of the service was well integrated. I learned a lot.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

It's Official: The Rams Were Put Out Of Their Misery

They struggled all year long, and just when we began to believe in them the Rams died. Actually, they sucked! 47-17. I guess I've turned into a Colts and Vikings fan for the rest of the season, and they will probably both fall tomorrow. At this point in the season I normally turn to hockey and cheer for the Blues, but that season was over long ago.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Life on the Seesaw

We have had a very blaah winter. So far the weather has mainly been in the 40s with a lot of rain. We had 2 inches of snow a week or so ago, but it melted the next day. It makes for a very boring, long dreary winter.

The last 2 days though have been pretty exciting. Last night we ate dinner on the back deck. The temperature was 70 degrees and the sky was overcast. It was a real nice day and we could have worn shorts comfortably. I went home for lunch today. The weather has changed dramatically! It is 30 degrees and there are 2 inches of snow in my front yard. I can't believe how quickly the weather changed. It is beautiful, exciting, and anything but the same old routine boring.

God tells us the same thing. I have been studying the book of Revelation pretty hard the last month or so. In the letter to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-16 God tells us,

14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

I know it is a stretch to compare being a luke-wearm follower of Christ to my local weather, but as I was driving through the snow on the way back to work today I was thinking about how much more beautiful and exciting it is to live in a place where the weather is always changing like here in St Louis, rather than the standard, warm, ho hum weather I grew up in back in Los Angeles. Maybe a lame comparison, but one I can claim in my simple mind.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Johnny Lingo and His 8 Cow Wife

This is one of my favorite stories I heard when I was younger. I'm sorry it is so long, but it is well worth the read. It really speaks to me about the value we place on the lives of others and how much we can affect the self-esteem of others through our actions. I have to believe this is what Christ has done for each of us who truly know Him. We were worthless, but now have found worth thorugh His action.

Thanks to Ashvil's Blog for posting it.

Johnny Lingo's 8 Cow Wife

- condensed from Woman's Day Patricia McGerr

When I sailed to Kiniwata, an island in the Pacific, I took along a notebook. After I got back it was filled with descriptions of flora and fauna, native customs and costume. But the only note that still interests me is the one that says: "Johnny Lingo gave eight cows to Sarita’s father." And I don’t need to have it in writing. I’m reminded of it every time I see a woman belittling her husband or a wife withering under her husband’s scorn. I want to say to them, "You should know why Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for his wife."

Johnny Lingo wasn’t exactly his name. But that’s what Shenkin, the manager of the guest house on Kiniwata, called him. Shenkin was from Chicago and had a habit of Americanizing the names of the islanders. But Johnny was mentioned by many people in many connections. If I wanted to spend a few days on the neighboring island of Nurabandi, Johnny Lingo would put me up. If I wanted to fish he could show me where the biting was best. If it was pearls I sought, he would bring the best buys. The people of Kiniwata all spoke highly of Johnny Lingo. Yet when they spoke they smiled, and the smiles were slightly mocking.

"Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and let him do the bargaining," advised Shenkin. "Johnny knows how to make a deal."

"Johnny Lingo! A boy seated nearby hooted the name and rocked with laughter.

"What goes on?" I demanded. "everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. Let me in on the joke."

"Oh, the people like to laugh," Shenkin said, shruggingly. "Johnny's the brightest, the strongest young man in the islands, And for his age, the richest."

"But if he’s all you say, what is there to laugh about?"

"Only one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!

I knew enough about island customs to be impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair-to-middling wife, four or five a highly satisfactory one. "Good Lord!" I said, "Eight cows! She must have beauty that takes your breath away." "She’s not ugly," he conceded, and smiled a little. "But the kindest could only call Sarita plain. Sam Karoo, her father, was afraid she’d be left on his hands."

"But then he got eight cows for her? Isn’t that extraordinary?"

"Never been paid before."

"Yet you call Johnny’s wife plain?"

"I said it would be kindness to call her plain. She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow."

"Well," I said, "I guess there’s just no accounting for love."

"True enough," agreed the man. "And that’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact that the sharpest trader in the islands was bested by dull old Sam Karoo."

"But how?"

"No one knows and everyone wonders. All the cousins were urging Sam to ask for three cows and hold out for two until he was sure Johnny’d pay only one. Then Johnny came to Sam Karoo and said, ‘Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter.’"

"Eight cows," I murmured. "I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo."

"And I wanted fish. I wanted pearls. So the next afternoon I beached my boat at Nurabandi. And I noticed as I asked directions to Johnny’s house that his name brought no sly smile to the lips of his fellow Nurabandians. And when I met the slim, serious young man, when he welcomed me with grace to his home, I was glad that from his own people he had respect unmingled with mockery. We sat in his house and talked. Then he asked, "You come here from Kiniwata?"


"They speak of me on that island?"

"They say there’s nothing I might want they you can’t help me get."

He smiled gently. "My wife is from Kiniwata."

"Yes, I know."

"They speak of her?"

"A little."

"What do they say?"

"Why, just..." The question caught me off balance. "They told me you were married at festival time."

"Nothing more?" The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.

They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows." I paused. "They wonder why."

"They ask that?" His eyes lightened with pleasure. "Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?"

I nodded.

"And in Nurabandi everyone knows it too." His chest expanded with satisfaction. "Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita."

So that’s the answer, I thought: vanity.

And then I saw her. I watched her enter the room to place flowers on the table. She stood still a moment to smile at the young man beside me. Then she went swiftly out again. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right. I turned back to Johnny Lingo and found him looking at me. "You admire her?" he murmured. "She...she’s glorious. But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata," I said.

"There’s only one Sarita. Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata."

"She doesn’t. I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."

"You think eight cows were too many?" A smile slid over his lips. "No. But how can she be so different?"

"Do you ever think," he asked, "what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two?" This could not happen to my Sarita."

"Then you did this just to make your wife happy?"

"I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands."

"Then you wanted -"

"I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman."

"But —" I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."

What A Way To Go

Thanks to Donald Sensing for bringing this story to our attention on his One Hand Clapping blog. Link. I would think most pastors would like to finish up this way.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Drinking Coffee Can Help Tsunami Recovery

Donald Sensing in his One Hand Clapping blog tells us how drinking coffee can help the Tsunami disaster economic recovery effort. Link.

Jesus: A Model For Missional Ministry

Darryl Dash has a short, but nice, post on Jesus as our model for missional ministry on his The Dying Church Blog. It is located here. Link.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Extreme Makeover

The weather here in St Louis has been rather warm most of the Winter. We had a week in mid December where we were really cold, in fact colder than Saskatoon. I'm not sure if we were warmer than Saskatoon because we were so cold or Saskatoon was unusually warm for a few days. Anyhow, we are used to some pretty cold weather, but so far it has been warm this year. It has given us a problem this year. Normally we have all of our yard work done by late October or early November, and our lawnmower and weed eaters are tucked away and put to bed to rest for a couple of months. But, with the warmer weather the grass and weeds have grown and made our yard a mess. I don't want to get the lawnmower and weedeater out of hibernation, so I have decided to live with the yard like this until March or April when the annual Spring ritual of prepping yard equipment gets started.

Last night though we got our first real snow of the year. Wewoke up with 2-3 inches of snow on the ground, and the yard looks great again. All the unsightly weeds and unkempt grass have been covered and now look good because of the universal covering of white snow. Everything looks beautiful again. Even though the weeds and long grass are still there they are covered up and unseen.

This reminds me of what Christ has done for us. We are all sinners, to the very root of our being. We all have sin in our life, and we know it is there, and because we are humans we will continue to sin as long as we are alive, but for those of us who have made the choice to follow Christ as our Lord and Savior, the sacrificial blood of Christ covers the payment of that sin for us. Christ paid the penalty for us so that the instant that we turn to Him, from that time until eternity, when God looks on us all he sees is that universal white covering, that purity we have been provided by knowing Christ.

Christ has given us the ultimate Extreme Makeover. We are transformed in God's eyes from unsightly weeds and long grass, to a universal covering of white.

Psalm 103:11-12. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.


Biscotti has a fantastic post on love. I think it is one of the best pictures of love I have read. Makes you think about the time and effort you have invested, or wasted, in relationships. It is located here. Link. Great post Biscotti!

Friday, January 07, 2005

Amazing Before and After Tsunami Pictures

Here's a link for some incredible before and after Tsunami pictures. Link.

Whenever I see something like this it makes me realize how futile it is for us to really think we are in charge of our destiny. God is definitely in control and we aren't.

Psalm 36:7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

Protect each of them and protect us with your power and love oh Lord!

Fine Tuning My Goals For 2005

3. Physical: Take better care of my body:

- "Stop eating ice cream after 6:00pm. "

Change to "Only eat ice cream after 6:00pm during celebrations."

My daughter made the Wolf Branch School 5th grade girls basketball team (only 20 of 40 who tried out made the team). I thought it was more important last night to celebrate with her than to keep my goal! I'll get back to the goals later!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

My Goals for 2005

I don't make very many New Year's resolutions, but I do make a list of goals each year. Here is the list I've made for 2005. I'm posting them here for all to see because if I see them on a regular basis that will help keep me accountable to each of you and to myself, and if you see them you can help me be accountable. So, here goes:

My Goals for 2005:

1. Family: Develop deeper relationships with my wife and kids:

- Start a weekly family Bible study
- Marilyn: Have a night/lunch out with Marilyn at least twice per month
- Matthew: Go with Matthew to Student Life Camp. Support him better at Boy Scouts
- Bethany: Take Bethany to lunch monthly

2. Faith: Take the love of Christ to the unchurched:

- Find a compassion oriented organization for The Gate to partner with for student ministry projects
- Continue to direct The Gate student ministry
- Continue to pursue church planting directions. Become an ordained minister and an approved Acts 29 church planter this year

3. Physical: Take better care of my body:

- Average at least 10 minutes per day exercising. Be able to run the Scott Air Force Base running trail loop (6.5 miles) nonstop by August 1.
- Stop eating ice cream after 6:00pm. I can't go cold turkey on ice cream, but I can limit my intake.

4. Community: Foster relationships in the real world and in cyberspace:

- Average at least 1 blog entry per day.
- Continue developing a deeper relationship with the brothers and sisters in the Acts 29 network

5. Intellectual: Make a major push to complete my PhD:

- Complete my PhD dissertation by Christmas 2005

Monday, January 03, 2005

A New Year's Prayer

Jordon Cooper quotes Thomas Merton in a prayer for the new year. Link. Merton's prayer speaks to my heart.

Lord, I don't know where you will take me, but I'm in this for the long run.