Sunday, December 31, 2006

Early Birthday Present

It is 2 weeks before my birthday, and today I received an early birthday present. We went down to Guitar Center to pick out a starter Electric Guitar set for our son Matthew. We found him a Fender Squire Strat starter set that includes the guitar, amp, strings, instruction booklet, and most importantly, headphones so we don't have to hear him practice. It was offered at a good price. It was such a good deal that after we picked out a set for him I picked out a Fender Squire Bass Guitar starter set for myself. I have played the Acoustic Guitar off and on for about 30 years, but have always wanted to learn the Bass Guitar. Happy Birthday Rick! I promise I'll learn how to play quickly. I promise!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Youth Encounter 2006

Wow! Marilyn, Matthew, Bethany, and I all attended Youth Encounter last Thursday and Friday in Springfield, Illinois. We went with our church's Youth Group. There were about 3,000 High School and Jr High School kids at Youth Encounter and aroound 200 came to know the Lord personally there. The speakers and the bands were all top quality.

The speaker was Doug Herman of Vertical Ministries and PureRevolution. What a great testimony Doug has. In addition to his testimony we was a very polished and captivating speaker. He had the youth riveted to and listening for every word. Very motivational and convicting.

The worship leader was Joel Engle. I've heard Joel a couple of times at our church, and thought he was good, but he was fantastic at YE. He truely is a gifted worship leader and his testimony had our youth talking late into the night.

Other music playing at YE were very good also:

Inhabited kicked things off and played again on Friday. I thought they were extremely talented, but our kids wished they had more audience interaction. Music was great!

The Afters closed things down on Thursday night with an hour concert. I thought the music from Inhabited was a little better, but our kids liked The Afters a lot more because of the way they interacted with the audience.

KJ-52 finsihed off YE on Friday afternoon. Although I am not a rap music fan he did a great job getting the crowd involved and building excitement. My daughter was part of the mosh pit and she couldn't quit jumping up and down all day. By far KJ-52 was the kids favorite act of the conference.

All in all the Illinois Baptist State Association put on a top quality event that provided entertainment for our High School and Jr High School youth and at the same time gave them an avenue to think about purity and loving God.

Good job Charles Campbell for putting on such a great event.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Movie Marathon

We spent a good part of this last weekend watching movies that had a Christmas theme. I think we may had OD'd on Christmas movies. Almost all of the one's we watched were made in the last 20 years or so. I can't believe how many movies are out there that are made in the last 20 years that have a Christmas setting. Here's a list of the ones we watched this weekend:

- Home Alone! 1
- Home Alone! 2
- Christmas With the Kranks
- The Santa Claus 1
- The Santa Claus 2
- Christmas Vacation
- Miracle on 34th Street
- Jingle All The Way
- Its a Wonderful Christmas, Charlie Brown
- The Grinch
- Elf!

My favorite Christmas movie of all time: Christmas Vacation

The Christmas movie that surprised me the most: Chrtistmas with the Kranks. I didn't think I would like it, but it is a great movie and it was a lot of fun to watch.

The Christmas movie that I don't care to see again: Jingle All The Way.

I still have not seen It's a Wonderful Life and I don't plan to. If our paths cross I will watch it, but whenever they run it on TV it seems like we are too busy to watch it.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Great Sunday

I had a wonderful Sunday today. I am still on a business trip to New Jersey and I was a little homesick and missing my family. So, I thought I would make the best of it and drive a couple of hours south to join Adam and Kim Feldman and worship with them in their new church plant Metanoia in Ellicott City, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. It was an anointed time and just what I needed. The music was passionate and the message was inspired. And the children playing were beautiful. They have created a great sense of community within the Metanoia family and in the local community. It was exactly what I needed this morning. Keep up the good work and God bless you both.

I took a long detour back to New Jersey and stopped by my family's old home in Dover, Delaware to take some pictures. Marilyn, Matthew, Bethany, and I lived there from 1991 through 1995. Matthew and Bethany were both born in Dover, and we loved living there for what seemed like a very short 4 years. We feel at home now in the St Louis area after living here for 11 years, but it took a long time to feel that way because we had a deep attachment to Dover as home. The last 11 years has been kind to Dover as the town has grown substantially, but it still has a small town feel and looks wonderful. We really miss the Easter egg hunts, 4th of July fireworks, and Christmas caroling at the Governor's House, the great beaches, and the warm people.

I still miss my own family terribly, but meeting the family at Metanoia and seeing our old town looking so good makes me feel a little bit better. Hopefully I'll make it back on Thanksgiving Eve and get to spend a long weekend at home.

Game of the Century, Part II?

Well, the Ohio State/Michigan football game was almost as good as the hype. It may have been the game of the year, but it is still too early in the century to bill it as the "Game of the Century". Time will tell.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Game of the Century?

I'm sitting in my hotel room waiting for the Ohio State/Michigan football game and I am tired of all the hype. All week we have heard a bout how this will be the game of the century, but I am tired of hearing about it. First of all wait until the game is over to see how good of a game it was. Second, wait until a little later in the century to label this one the game of the century. Ohio State and Michigan are good teams, but they play in a weak conference (Aside from Ohio State and Michigan the Big 10 is a flop this year) which helps them pad their stats. This year, just like all the others, screams for a playoff system to determine the national championship. I have believed for many years that Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Miami have been the recipients of an East Coast media bias that makes them sound better than they are. A playoff is the only way to determine the true national champion.

Saying all this, I will watch the game and if I have to eat my words I will. But, I don't see this as the game of the century. I see it as a game between two better than average teams that live in a weak conference.

2 Weeks in New Jersey

I spent the last week at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey attending the Expeditinary Site Survey Process Course in the Air Mobility Warfare Center. The electronic mapping portion of the course is part of the program I manage at Air Mobility Command. I'll be here one more week helping to re-write the course syllabus and curriculum to make it more realistic, and to update the curriculum to incorporate changes in the way we do business today. I have wanted to take the course for the last couple of years and it is good to finally get here. I hope I can help with the re-write next week.

I always enjoy coming to central New Jersey. Growing up on the West Coast I thought New Jersey was just suburbs for New York and Philadelphia, but this part of central New Jersey, the area around Wrightstown, is very rural and beautiful. We drove down to southern New Jersey on Thursday for our course practicum (surveying the municipal airport in Millville), and it was beautiful and very rural also. I could retire here and be happy.

Tomorrow I plan to drive to Baltimore to attend Metanoia, Adam Feldman's new church plant. I met Adam through blogging, but haven't met him in person yet. I am very excited to finally have an opportunity to meet him and worship with him and his new church. From Metanoia I then plan to go on down across the Chesapeake Bay to Dover, Delaware to see all the changes that have happened since we moved to Illinois from there in 1995. We loved living in Dover and really hated to move. I have heard that I won't even recognize Dover any longer because it is growing so fast. So, I can hardly wait to poke around and re-explore my old stomping grounds.

It should be a fun week, although I don't look forward to the mad rush to get back home on Thanksgiving eve. I have a 4:05pm departure out of Philly on the busiest travel day in America. It will be a pain of a day to fly, but I will be happy to get home and be with my family for the holiday.

Monday, October 30, 2006

We're Number 1

What a terrible way to follow up a World Series win. Yahoo has an article on St Louis being the most dangerous town in the US. The article is located here. Link. On this same subject, my project manager at work had her purse stolen out of her car during the World Series win celebration in downtown St Louis on Friday night. Downtown is a mess.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's A Winner!

The Cardinals did the unexpected last night and finished off the Detroit Tigers to become the World Series Champions for 2006. Major League Baseball chose David Eckstein as the World Series Most Valuable Player. It was a good choice, but if they could have given him the award my choice would have been Tony LaRussa. I have believed for the last 10 eyars or so that LaRussa is the best manager in baseball. This year proved it. He did a masterful job with a team that was less talented than the last two years when the Cardinals had the best record in baseball. Tony, you're the man! As the late Cardinal broadcaster Jack Buck would say, "It's a winner!"

So, today officially begins my baseball vacation. But the Nebraska Cornhuskers play against Oklahoma State on TV at 2:30 and I will be glued to the set for the entire game. So long "Field of Dreams" and hello "Remember the Titans"

Friday, October 27, 2006

Slip Sliding Away

The World Series seems to be slipping away from the Detroit Tigers grasp. The Cardinals haven't been doing anything outrageous, but have been playing solid, mistake free, baseball while the Tigers have been making mistakes in every game. It was just enough to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory last night. My gut feeling is that the series will close out tonight (if the weather cooperates) with the Cardinals winning in 5 games.

The weather forecast for tonight's game: Showers early, then partly cloudy overnight. Low around 40F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Looks like about a 50/50 chance of playing.

Go Cards!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

The World Series game last night was rained out. The weather wasn't too bad, it was a steady light rain and a little cold, but you want to have games as significant as the World Series played so that the weather isn't a factor in the outcome, so I applaud MLB's decision to postpone the game.

But, the problem is that the weather doesn't look to be getting any better here in the near future.

Here's the weather forecast for today and the next couple of days:

Tonight: (St Louis) Rain showers this evening, becoming a steady, soaking rain overnight with a few rumbles of thunder possible. High 54, Low 47F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.

Friday (Normally a travel day fo the World Series, but not this year with the rain out): (St Louis) Cloudy with rain likely. A thundershower is possible as well, especially in the morning. High 53F, Low 40. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a half an inch.

Saturday: (St Louis): Mostly Sunny, High 64, Low 39 (Detroit): Showers/Wind, High 51, Low 37

Sunday (St Louis): Sunny, High 68, Low 49 (Detroit): Partly Cloudy, High 48, Low 39

Monday (just in case) (Detroit): Partly Cloudy, High 59, Low 48

Looks like tonight's game could be a wash. Tomorrow is iffy. My best guess is that game 4 will be played here in St Louis on Friday, Game 5 in St Louis on Saturday, Game 6 in Detroit on Sunday, and Game 7 in Detroit on Monday. I believe the Cardinals will win in 5 games, so game 6 and 7 in Detroit won't be needed. but, you never know what will happen. So, we'll see.

It is pretty hard to play ball this late in the year when the weather is so unpredictable in the midwest. I tip my hat to both teams.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

2 Down, 2 More To Go!

Chris Carpenter was dominating last night as the Cardinals beat the Tigers handily 5-0. Tonight the Cardinals second best pitcher, Jeff Suppan starts. I think momentum and pitching are on the Cardinal's side.

The biggest factor that may slow them down is the weather. According to Yahoo Weather, tonight's forcast is: Periods of rain. Low 44F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a half an inch.

Looks like it will be difficult to get tonight's game in, but it is supposed to rain again tomorrow night, so I know they will try!

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Attempt to Get My Life Back in the Box

My palm Pilot died a few months back and after being slaved to my computer and Outlook ever since I have been a little starved for a place to put my contacts and calendars, not to mention synching up my work and home computers. So, I went shopping the other day and got a Sprint Pocket PC.

So far it seems like a pretty good mix of phone and PDA, although it is a bit quirky when I put it away after making a call. sometimes it will call the person back while I am putting it away. Do any of you have any good info on the Sprint Pocket PC? Any good success or failure stories?

Did He or Didn't He?

Did Kenny Rogers use pine tar or didn't he? Yahoo has a good article on the "Good Old Boy" network that still exists in Major League Baseball. It kind of goes beyond did he or didn't he? and asks the question of what should have been done?

The Cardinals come back home winning 1 of 2 in Detroit. They have their 2 big guns pitching the next two games. It should be interesting.

Go Cards!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

1 Down, 3 More To Go!

The Cardinals just won game 1 of the World Series. Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and Scott Rolen have come alive. I hope this continues. Game 1: Cardinals 7, Tigers 2.

The Cardinals Go To The World Series!

The Lord still gets our attention through miracles, and in this case the St Louis region benefits from His providence. The Cardinals looked horrible for the last month of the regular season, but somehow have turned it around and find themselves in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers. Because of this our plans for Thursday night Worship might change a little. For now we still have a traditional worship service planned, but if the World Series we may change it to a time of fellowship. So, please stay in touch and we will keep The Gate's website updated to let everyone know what we have planned for Thursday night.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Working Out of a "Third Place"

It is a sign of the times to see people working from wherever they feel comfortable. With free wireless booming in our cities and suburbs the office has become wherever we are. USA Today has a great article on those people we see who aren't working from home, or the office, but from a "Third Place" such as Panera Bread Company. It says a lot about today's business culture and even more for our thirst for community.

I have tried working from home, working from the office, and an occasional day of working from a "Third Place". I really enjoy working from anywhere but the office, although I find I am a little more distracted from both home and in a public place. The office is still my most productive place.

The article is located here. Link.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

FBC O'Fallon Ministry Fair

Thanks to all who helped today at the FBC O'Fallon Ministry Fair. We had a chance to talk to a couple of students that didn't know we were there to serve McKendree, and we also met a couple of parents who want to make sure their students know we are there for them. Thanks George, Kelly, Matt, and Anthony for helping out today.

On the down side, the Cardinals gaime against the Giants this afternoon was rained out and we got nothing for our money except for drenched!

The Gate's Evangelism Conference

The Gate hosted a great Evangelism Conference this past Friday and Saturday. Phil Nelson from Lakeland Baptist Church in Carbondale, Illinois came and shared with us about his thoughts on living an evangelistic lifestyle. Phil believes our actions speak so much louder than our words, so evangelism is a lifestyle that results from Christ peermeating our lives rather than just a verbal proclamation of the gospel. The verbal proclamation of the Gospel is the result of an overflow in our lives. We look forward to hosting the Evangelism Conference every Fall and seeing the difference it makes in the lives of our students throughout the year.

We are also thinking a bout hosting a Walk Thru the Bible Conference in the Spring. You can find more information on Walk thru the Bible at their website located here. Link.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Local Christian Concerts

I wanted to pass on some of the local concerts that will be happening in the area over the next couple of weeks. There is some great talent coming to the local area.

The Robbie Seay Band, will be at Bethel Baptist church in Troy, Illinois on August 25 at 5pm. Bethel Baptis's location is here:

This concert is targeted to high school students, but the bands is top quality and I am sure you will be welcome if you show.

The second concert is very local, in fact it is on McKendree's campus on this Sunday August 27 (the day before classes begin). The group’s name is Ineloquent and they are from Dubuque, Iowa. For more information on the band their website is located at . They will be leading worship at 10am in Bothwell Chapel and will be in concert at 3pm on the McKendree Quad. Tim Harrison assures me that "They are exciting and should have a lot to say as we start the year off!" It sounds like a great way to kick off the new school year. The concert is free and there should be some food there as well.

I hope to see you there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Passionate Christianity

Passionate Christianity started yesterday at church. It was a pretty good lesson, but I really don't like the 40 days of...I think it tries to make God into s 12 step program.

In Donald Miller's Searching for God Knows What Miller makes the statement that (I'm paraphrasing now) the Bible is God's love letter to us, and that coming to know Jesus Christ in a personal way is very similar to falling in love with your spouse. I think that is a wonderful way of describing the Christian life. I didn't come up to my wife and try to capture her love all at once, it was a process that takes time and effort. A lasting relationship with Jesus Christ is the same way. Thumping someone over the head with your Bible until they submit isn't the way to win someone to the Lord. It may be a way to force them to say the prayer, as if they wre saying "Uncle". But leading them into a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe and the Savior takes time and can't be packaged into a 40 day journey.

I'll strive to keep an open mind and see where this goes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Passionate Christianity

Our church is starting another 40 days of.... This time it is Passionate Christianity. I don't normally care for the 40 days of...., and I find it hard to get on the enthusiasm bandwagon, but this time I have seen a difference. My fairly conservative church has decided to throw its hat in the ring and stand up a Passionate Christianity website and of all things it even includes a blog (although it is more like a bulletin board). I never thought our church would get to the point of having a blog, but I have seen positive changes happening in the last year that I like. I am impressed that even our senior Pastor has contributed to the blog. This is a great sign.

My Apologies For Not Writing

I apologize for not writing much this summer in my blog. It was so busy and I just needed to take some time off. Working more than full-time, running a ministry, working on my Ph.D. dissertation, and trying to spend time with my family got me to a point where I had to take a break. Anyhow, I plan to be posting a couple times a day.

The Gate Website

I can't believe the reduction in price and the increase in capability in the technology world in the last couple of years. I was looking for a very basic, low cost website for The Gate (the McKendree College Baptist Collegiate Ministry) and came across Ipower. For no set up fee and only $7.95 per month we were able to set up a scalable website with E-mail capability. It doesn't include anything fancy, and there isn't a whole lot there so far, but we will add capability as my students get more involved in building the website. I know there must be some other good deals out there, but this one I couldn't pass on.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another Conference

Hello from Manhattan, Kansas. I am attending the Army's Integrated Training Area Management Conference this week on the campus of Kansas State University. (I can't get the website to work, so I hope they are just doing maintenance on it)

The Army does a good job understanding the environmental implications of owning large areas of land. Some are native grasslands, some are forests, others desert, but they all have conservation programs in place that ensure they will be as undisturbed as possible. The ITAM program helps the Army manage these training areas. The Army's ITAM program uses our electronic mapping software extensively and have been good customers.

I am enjoying the conference for a couple of reasons.

First, I have an opportunity to meet lots of great people who I develop relationships with as as customers. ESRI places a large emphasis on relationships rather than purely as sales opportunities.

Second, I am completingt my PhD dissertation on John Steinbeck's book The Grapes of Wrath and I enjoy any chance to enjoy the culture of the great plains.

And third, as a diehard Nebraska Cornhusker fan, I have always wanted to come and visit KSU's campus. For the last 15 years or so the Cornhuskers and the Wildcats have had a good rivalry. I have had a chance to see the campus up close, and eventhough I got a $50 parking ticket, it has been a wonderful experience.

I'll be home tomorrow evening and back to work in the office on Thursday, but for today life in The Little Apple of Manhattan, Kansas has been good.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Phantom Father's Day

For Father's Day we went lawst night to see The Phantom of the Opera at The Fabulous Fox Theater in St Louis.

We have seen Phantom 5 different times and I believe this was the best one yet. The Phantom was played by John Cudia, who has a one of the strongest voices I have heard. Christine was played by Marie Danvers, and Jim Weitzer was Raul. They were all fantastic and the visual effects were incredible. I still like Michael Crawford as The Phantom the best, but this cast worked very well together and put in a very strong performance. I can't imagine a role that is more physically demanding that playing The Phantom.

The Fox Theater is the perfect venue to see The Phantom. We have seen The Phantom 3 times in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and now twice at the Fox (No one can keep up with my Dad's wife Sharon who has seen The Phantom over 75 times, mostly with Michael Crawford in the lead part). It is hard to find a playhouse with as much character and appeal as the Fox. The auditorium is very unique and contains carvings and statues with an Indian/Asian theme wherever you look. The lobby has large columns and lots of carved figurines also.

It was a great gift and a very good day.

Lance Marcum Signs With The Cardinals!

In my earlier post I mentioned Lance Marcum, one of our collegiate ministry interns from McKendree College, was hoping to get drafted in the Major League Baseball draft at the beginning of June. It didn't happen and I was pretty surprised. But, the Lord had more in store for Lance than he could ever imagine. Last week Lance was offered a free agent contract with the St Louis Cardinals ( a dream come true) and Lance has reported to their State College, Pennsylvania minor league ball club. Lance used this opportunity to share his faith in the artlicle located here. Link. What a great young Man. The Cardinals organization won't know what hit them and Lance will have the opportunity to affect the lives of a huge number of people. The Lord is really using Lance and Lance isn't afraid to give Him the credit.

Thanks Stacy for the tip!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bowing My Knee

I am attending the Air Force GeoBase Compass Conference in Denver this week. The Compass Conference is a conference about the Air Force's capability to use electronic mapping capability. As I arrived at the Denver Airport I noticed a family of three getting off the airport tram and heading up the escalator. They had a daughter who looked about 3 years old who tried 4 times to walk up the down escalator. Every time the parents would tell her that if she would just go to the correct escalator she would be able to get to the second floor. It didn't matter, every time she would turn and go up the down escalator. This continued until she got so tired that she had to give in and go up the correct side.

So many times in life I feel like I do the same thing to God. I am running as fast as I can, but not making any progress. God is there telling me, "If you just follow the path I have set before you you will make progress". But it never happens until I get so tired of living for myself that I have no choice but to follow God. Kind of reminds me of Romans 14:11,

For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God.

I can either choose to bow now out of respect for the Lord, or I will be forced to bow later.

Friday, June 02, 2006

If The Bible Had Been Created By Dogs

The Wittenburg Door bills itself as "The World's Pretty Much Only Religious Satire Magazine". I have been a subscriber for years and as I was plowing through the current May/June 2006 issue I found the following article and thought it was clever. On page 21 the article "If the Bible Had Been Written By Dogs" states,

In the beginning, the People created the grass and the birds and the squirrels. And the World was without Dinner, and Treats; and the People left, so it was time to sleep.

And the People came back, and said "Let there be Dinner": and there was dinner.

And the Dinner was good: And it divided the sleeping-time from the eating-time.

And People called the Dinner "Food", and the sleeping-time they called Night-Night.

And the eating and the sleeping were the first Day.

And the People said, "Let there be a fence in the midst of the World, and let it divide the Outside from the Go Home". And the People divided the grass which was inside the Outside from the grass and vehicles and squirrels and birds which were outside the Outside: And it was so. And the People called the Outside "Home", and set within it a Get In Here, with all the power and righteousness and Food and Night-Night.

And the People said, "Let the Outside bring forth squirrels, and rabbits, and interesting little bugs": and it was so. And the People blessed them saying, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the Yard, but do not enter the Get In Here, even though ye be dead and flat and matted.

And the eating and the sleeping and the chasing were the second Day.

And thus it was and would be for all eternity.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lance Marcum Named an NAIA All-American

I'm pretty excited that one of my collegiate ministry interns has been named an NAIA All-American Baseball Player. Here's a link to the article. Link. Great job Lance! Lance has been called into the ministry and is a fantastic witness to those he plays with. It couldn't have happened to a better young man. I'll be waiting to hear some good news on Major League Baseball draft day.

Friday, May 19, 2006

All Points Blog Quote Of The Week

It's nice to see that the founder of the company I work for made the "Quote of the Week" in the All Points Blog.

The Quote of the week is from Jack Dangermond, President and Founder of ESRI. The quote was made in his Crafton Hills College graduation address:

"It's embarrassing for a dumb guy like me to be so successful. But how I got there was so bloody simple."

"Be interested people. I don't care whether you're interesting or not. But be interested."

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Whirlwind Weekend

I had a weekend like Adam Feldman's week. Link.

On Friday my brother Steve and his wife Tracy came into town in their motorhome all the way from Las Vegas. I've only seen Stgeve and Tracy once in the last 5 years and they have never been to our house since we moved to St Louis 11 years ago. It was great to have them here, but unfortunately at the end of the kids school year it is incredibly busy. Here's what our schedule looked like:

Thursday 8:00pm
Collegiate Ministry Internship meeting

Friday 5:30pm
Steve and Tracy arrive from Nevada

Friday 6:00pm
Yearly Middle School Chorus Performance

Saturday 10:20am
Bethany competed in the Illinois State Vocal competition (She received a 1st!)

Saturday 2:00pm
Bethany performed at the FBC O'Fallon Children's Choir Performance of Promise U

Sunday 8:30/9:45/11:00am
Matthew played the French Horn in FBC O'Fallon's Church Orchestra for all 3 services

Sunday 1:00 Steve and Tracy pulled out of town to head back to Nevada

I tried my hardest to explain to Steve and Tracy that they just happened to hit us on a bad weekend, but then again most weekends are a little crazy here. It is hard to appreciate life when you are so busy.

I was very happy though because for the first time since my Mom past away 26 years ago my brother was in church. And he was there two times in less than 18 hours. Praise God! I'm sure they had a long quiet drive to Kansas yesterday. Lots of time to think. A great opportunity to plant seeds.

One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 55:9-11:

9 "For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat,

11 so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it [to do]."

God's Word will accomplish His purpose! Amen

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Ups and Downs of Collegiate Ministry

Last night I had my final meeting of the year with the ministry leadership interns of our collegiate ministry at McKendree College. It is always a sad time for me. Most of my interns are Seniors in college, and although I know we have helped to equip them to take the baton and run the good race, it is difficult to see them go. It gets me thinking about collegiate ministry in general and how difficult it is. Here's a few random thoughts on collegiate ministry:

1. It is like trying to put together a collegiate sports team. Every year the group has a different dynamic. The Seniors from the prior year are gone and replaced by Freshmen straight from High School. Stealing a line from Forest Gump, collegiate ministry is like a box of chocolates....

2. We go full speed from the end of August through the beginning of May. There is no let up during the school year, and with minimal staff it is always challenging to get everything done. Planning is difficult; when we have time to plan (during the summer months) all the students are gone. When we have our students (during the school year) it is too late and we are too busy to do strategic planning. It seems like we are always playing catch up. It does make for a very fluid ministry where we are able to do a lot of experimenting on-the-fly. I just have to trust that the Holy Spirit will lead us where He wants us to go.

3. There always seems to be a mad sprint to the end. The Seniors realize that they only have a limited time left in college and want to make as big of an impact on campus as possible before they move on. I commend them for this, but sometimes we settle for a short-term impact rather than aim for the long-term results. It is hard to get Seniors interested in strategic, long-term, thinking when their time on campus is coming to an end.

4. I am very impressed with today's college students. They are much bolder in their faith than I was in college, they want to make a significant impact on their campus and those around them, and they have so much energy. It also seems like they don't have to study nearly as hard as I did when I was ini college. I think that is my problem, not theirs. I have always been very dense when it came to having concepts sink in. A quick 2 x 4 to the head has worked much better on me than persuasive language.

I'll post more later, but for now those are the few unconnected thoughts running around in my hed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

2nd Annual Christ on the Quad Celebration

Brothers and Sisters,

It is so exciting to know that time is counting down on our semester. This week and one more is all we get. I know the Seniors are saying "Praise God!" Although we only have another 2 weeks left we have some great things planned:

Thursday April 27:

Our 2nd Annual Christ On The Quad is this Thursday. Can you believe it? All events will be held on the McKendree College Quad. The Weather looks awesome; it should be 70 degrees and partly cloudy. Here's what the CotQ schedule looks like:

7:00 a.m. PRAYER WALK
10:00 begin setting up & prayer
11:00 Open (Aaron Povolish/Amber Schafer)
11:10 - 12:15 Bastian (Katie Hub message in middle)
12:20-12:50 Lance
12:55-1:15ish field day events
1:20 - 1:50 Noah
1:55-2:15 buffer time/raffles/games (amber & aaron)
2:20-2:45 Sudarsun message
2:50-3:15 Keish & Sudarsun & Allison (rap)
3:20-3:35 Emma
3:40-4:00 Chapel Praise Band

After CotQ we will be meeting at 6:00 at The Gate for a time of praise and worship and relaxing and just hanging out. We will provide free pizza and drinks. Everyone is welcome.

If you haven't been to The Gate we are located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois. Here's a link to a Yahoo Map of The Gate's location. Link.

It will be a wonderful day, so please pass the word around to your friends to be there.

God bless each of you.

Agape Music Festival

There's a great lineup at the Agape Music Festival in Greenville near the Greenville College campus on April 28 and 29. Relient K, Kutless, Skillet, BarlowGirl, Thousand Foot Crutch, Falling Up, House of Heroes, Bastian, and my favorite The David Crowder Band will all be performing. Every year the festival seems to get better and better. This year Bastian will perform at the Festival the day after they help us out at the McKendree Christ on the Quad event. I will be posting about the CotQ tonight. More information on the Apage Music Festival, including ticket prices and line up can be found on the festival website. This is really a great concert event every year.

Here's a link to directions to the Bond County Fairgrounds. Link.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Please Pray For Us

I have to apologize. Although I am good at praying for others throughout the day I seldom ask others to pray for me, my family, or our ministries. We have a lot going on in our collegiate ministry at McKendree College and we could use your prayers that God will use us to be faithful in telling the lost about His love.

Our ministry continues to grow inspite of our weaknesses and we are beginning to have a significant impact of the McKendree College campus. We are undertaking some large events over the next couple of weeks that we can use as a vehicle to reach those who do not know the Lord.

In this light, there are several things you can be praying along with our ministry for:

1) Monday night April 17, in celebration of Resurrention Sunday, we will be having our yearly Stations of the Cross night. The students take a 10 foot tall wooden cross and carry it all over Lebanon, Illinois stoppinig to read scriptures about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We then come back to our building and celebrate with a symbolic "nailing your burdens to the cross" quiet time followed by Communion. Last year the students told me this was the most incredible thing we did all year. Please pray that unbelievers show up and begin to not just hear but also "feel" what Christ has done for us.

2) Thursday Night April 20 we will be hosting Phil Nelson, IBSA Collegiate Evangelist and one of the more dynamic Christian apologists I have met. Phil will give the students some training and insight into evangelizing their fellow students. Please pray that Phil can help the students learn to present the gospel with boldness and without fear.

3) All this plays into our 10 day blitz on the McKendree Campus that culminates on April 27 with our students are holding "Christ on the Quad", which is an all afternoon music, testimony, and preaching concert. The gospel will be presented several times. Last year our students held the first "Christ on the Quad" and we received lots of opposition from the McKendree College Chaplain. Although he is a Methodist minister he is very politically correct and doesn't believe that Christ is the only way to heaven. He knew we would be presenting the gospel in a no-nonsense way, so he did everything to stop us, but the Lord still made "Christ on the Quad" a success. We estimate we had 700 students walk by while we were worshipping. Each one of them heard Christian music, testimonies, and the gospel. Please pray that the gospel will be preached and that McKendree Campus Ministries won't try to interfere again this year.

4) Lastly, please pray for our graduating seniors. We have about 4 of them who are desiring to go to seminary or serve on the mission field next year. Pray that God will open the doors to show them what His will is as they move past this major life event.

We are also in desperate need of adults who want to be involved in the BCM at McKendree. My wife and I are the only two adults who have been there and the students need to have more adults around who will commit to mentoring them, spending time with them, and loving them. If anyone is interested please contact me. Our primary time of worship is Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 9:30.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Lesson From Shirley

I about fell over in amazement the other day.

We are in the process of moving to O'Fallon, Illinois, about 7 miles from where we currently live. Our house is on the real estate market and we purchased a new and wonderful home in O'Fallon. My Mother-In-Law, Shirley, who is a wonderful person that I get along with very well, came out from California to help with the move. And, she has helped out tremendously. But you have to understand my Mother-In-Law, she is very old school. Her family lost everything during the Dust Bowl and moved from Colorado to Los Angeles in the 1930s. She has lived through losing everything and as a result has become very wise in saving and investing her money. Anytime we make a significant financial decision we go to Shirley for advice. She is also a little suspicious of technology. She has a computer and is getting more and more capable on it, but still primarily uses it just to send E-Mail.

Flash back to April 4 when Shirley got off the airplane from California. We get home and she starts playing with one of these. Link. A Garmin Street Pilot Global Positioning System (GPS). I couldn't believe it. She was familiar with the town we have lived in for 11 years now, but didn't want to get lost trying to navigate around O'Fallon. So, God bless her, she bought a GPS to use in the car. We have been in the process of working with Shirley to teach her how to use it, and it turns out to be a great tool.

The Garmin Street Pilot will display a moving map keeping you in the center and will give you verbal directions to get you to your destination. So Shirley can see where she is and hear how to get where she wants to go. Pretty cool tool. I have had several GPSs over the years, but this one is the easiest to use and presents information in a very usable format.

Anyhow, to say the least, I was impressed with Shirley's decision. Working in the Geospatial Information business I would have picked a toy like this, but I didn't know she had it in her.

Way to go Shirley!

The Future of Paper Maps

Thanks go to the All Points Blog for directing us to an interesting article on the future of paper maps. The article is locate here. Link.

To sum it up, the paper maps industry is booming. I thought that with everything going digital that the paper map industry would be struggling, but the opposite is true. As happened to me in college, once I got a taste of maps in my geography courses, I wanted more.

In a short excerpt from the article, Chris Fisk, vice president of JIMAPCO states,

"We are concluding that the products you get on the Internet, such as MapQuest, are helping to educate people about maps," she said. "So people who have never used a map before are inclined to check out something on MapQuest and it appears they are becoming acclimated to maps and going out and buying them."

David Fisk, Chris' husband and president of JIMAPCO states,

"Even dashboard GPS navigation systems wound up making people want maps more, instead of supplanting them."

Pretty amazing that the digital mapping industry has started a boom in the paper map industry.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Australia to Purchase Up To 4 C-17 Globemaster III Aircraft

Thanks to the ASD-Network for publishing this article. The article can be fround here. Link.

The C-17 is replacing the aging fleet of airlift aircraft in the US inventory. It is a very capable aircraft and is very technologically advanced. This is a reward for Australia "hanging in there" with us during the Gulf War, but it also helps us. Now the Aussies won't be dependent on US heavy airlift to get them to the fight. This is a win/win situation, not to mention the $2 Billion revenue in foreign military sales.

I disagree with one of the comments in the article. The comment, "Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific" is only partly ture. I personally believe that Australia is our most important ally period. They are strategically located where they can impact a part of the world that desperately needs stability, they have a history similar in many ways to the US, and Australia and New Zealand have been our good friends since the ANZUS Treaty during WWII.

This is a good deal for both countries.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Obese Man Crosses U.S. to Shed Pounds

Yahoo News has a link to this story of an obese man who began walking across the US in order to lose weight. The link is here. Link.

This is a very interesting story. Mr Vaught walked through our town a few months back without much fanfare. I think the only TV news that carried his story is the local Fox affiliate. I admired him then and I am happy to see he is continuing on to New York.

How many of us are fed up with sipritual obesiety? How many of us would benefit from stepping out in faith and as Nike says, Just Do It!? I know I am spiritually obese and need to shed a few pounds of spiritual fat. I just pray that we have the courage to step out and start conforming our lives to God's Will. As Mr Vaught says,

It is amazing how hard it is to find good, healthy food while on the road,

As Christians we should be feeding from God's table and using the energy to spread His good news to the lost, not feasting on the fast food provided by the world and then sitting back and watching the world pass us by because we are lazy.

Lord give us the nourishment and courage to choose to follow Your will.

A Powerful Eye In The Sky

There's a good post on the All Points Blog about uncovering insurance fraud after Hurricane Katrina. They link out to a Times-Picayune article located here. Link. But I particularly like the All Points Blog's analysis. The Blog's post is located here. Link.

The Quest for the Right Map

Thanks to the All Points Blog for pointing us in the direction of a great article on how TeleAtlas keeps their street and highway database information rapidly updated on web-based maps. The article is located here. Link. Sounds like a pretty sweet job driving a high-tech van like Comi's all over the country. TeleAtlas is hiring interns for the summer! If I was in college I'd apply.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Spirit of "Emerging Baptists"

There is a great article posted by Joel Rainey on The Spirit of "Emerging Baptists" and how the Southern Baptist denomination is a natural fit for the emerging generations. It is located here. Link.

Monday, March 20, 2006

This Week at The Gate: March 20

Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome back from Spring Break! Congratulations, there are only 7 more weeks of school left before the end of the year. Paul talks about "running the good race" and I want to encourage you to keep working hard until the very end.

Here's what we have planned this week:

Monday March 20:
Women's Bible Study
at 8:30 at The Gate
Men's Bible Study at 9:00 at The Gate
Prayer Meeting at 11:00 at The Gate

Thursday March 23:
Thursday Night Alive!
Worship Service with Mike Cariker from FBC O'Fallon. Mike is the Minister to Students for FBC O'Fallon's Jr High, High School, and Collegiate Ministries. He has his hands full with student ministry. He is a great guy and a true servant of the Lord. I know the Lord has put something on his heart to share with us that we can all apply in our daily lives. And, if you feel you aren't being used to your fullest potential Mike has many places at FBC O'Fallon where you can mentor and minister to youth.

Down the road a while:

April 6: Pastor Doug Munton from FBC O'Fallon

April 7/8: IBSA's Spring Leadership Training Conference. The state-wide BCM Leadership Training Conference (LTC) will be held in Charleston, IL on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, April 7-8. Cost for the conference is $25. The worship sessions will be led by Jonathan Peters (Bible Study) and Mark Warnock (music), both from Columbia Baptist Church. Breakout session will deal with issues such as Worship, Fellowship, Prayer and Fasting, Evangelism, and Stewardship. For more information contact Serena Butller at Registrations should be in by March 31.

As always you can check us out at our blogsite located at:

Take care and God bless you all.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

No Thursday Night Alive! Movie Night Tonight

Brothers and Sisters,

I know most of you have already heard that due to McKendree's Spring Break starting tomorrow we decided to cancel the Thursday Night Alive! Movie Night planned for tonight. I just wanted to make sure everyone knows.

We will not have any services next week also due to Spring Break. Our next events will be Men's and Women's Bible study on March 20 and Thursday Night Alive! with Mike Cariker from FBC O'Fallon on March 23.

Have a great break and I look forward to seeing you when we all get back together on March 20th.

Your brother in the Lord,

Rick Marshall

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Something New...

I started my new job today with the Environmental Systems Research Institute, also known as ESRI. I am a Defense and Intelligence Account Representative for the St Louis region (Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa). So far it seems like a great place to work. I would be worried if I didn't feel this way after my first day! I work within the St Louis Office, but work for a Supervisor in Washington DC. There will be lots of strange chain of command relationships to navigate through, but it feels like it will be an interesting ride.

The office is in St Charles, Missouri, and although it is an hour drive from my home in Illinois, it is located in a beautiful old historic town and is right across the street from the Katy Trail. I can walk out the back door of the office and ride my bike on the trail all the way across Missouri to Kansas City. Hopefully I will have enough time to take advantage of the good bike riding and running possibilities.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Touch and Gos

Great post over at the Google Earth Blog on using Google Earth and GPS to track where you have flown. The post is located here. Link. Google Earth is helping the world see the capabilities inherent in visualizing what we do on a geospatial platform.

Culture Wars

Answers in Genesis has a great blog post today on the culture wars going on between secular humanism and Christianity. The post is located here. Link. I believe your view on creation versus evolution is at the base of all differences in the current worldview and the Christian worldview. How do we solve this problem?

Check it out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This Week at The Gate: Feb 20

Brothers and Sisters,

I hope you were as blessed by what the Lord spoke through Jonathan McIntosh as I was last week. What a great evening! This week we have another great evening in store from McKendree's own Pine. They will be in concert at The Gate on Friday evening. I can hardly wait to hear them sing and minister to us.

Here's a little better breakdown of what we have planned in the near future:

Monday February 20
Men's/Women's Bible Studies at The Gate. I am sorry that I am a day or two late again on publishing this, but the Bible Studies are going great!
Prayer Meeting

Thursday February 23
There will be no Thursday Night Alive! service this week. But, The Gate will be open from 7:30 until 9:30 if you would like to come and hang out.

Friday February 24
McKendree's own Pine will be in concert at The Gate at 7:00pm. For more information on local concerts visit the WIBI website located at:

Thursday March 2
Thursday Night Alive! at 7:30 with our guest speaker Marc Sikma. We are really excited to have Marc with us next Thursday. Marc is a McKendree grad who is planting a church in St Charles County called Matthais' Lot. You can get more information here:

We'll see you there!

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois, 62254. Here is a link to a Yahoo Map of the Gate's location. Link. God bless you all.

Dick Cheney's Accidental Shooting on Google Earth

The Google Earth Blog has a post on Dick Cheney's accidental shooting. The schematic now shows up on Google Earth. The post is located here. Link.

Thanks to the Jeremy W. Crampton of the All Points Blog for the link.

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Latest Read: Mere Christianity

I started reading a new book today. I can't believe I have been a Christian this long and haven't read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis yet. I know it is required reading in a lot of Seminaries, but I just haven't quite gotten to it yet. Today I made it thorugh the preface. I am bogged down in good stuff already. C.S. Lewis amazes me with his insight and illustrations.

Two of my favorite quotes from the preface come from the last two paragraphs. Lewis talks about Christianity being a series of hallways and rooms. He wrote,

I hope no reader will suppose that 'mere' Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions- as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not in the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in... (p. xv)

And then Lewis adds in the final paragraph,

When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house. (p. xvi)

Wow, what insight and what a great illustration.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Gay Marriage—How Should A Christian Respond To It?

Answers in Genisis posted an article yesterday on the Christian response to gay marriage. After I read the article I realized it was part 10 of the series War of the Worldviews, an advertizement for Ken Ham's new book. The article states,

This message of tolerance for gays and lesbians comes not only from Hollywood, but also from our public education system. The gay marriage issue is at the center of the worldview wars...

Read more here. Link.

I wish the article would have gone a little deeper into the War of the Worldviews, but as a teaser for Ken Ham's book it worked. It sounds interesteing enough to invest the time and money to read it.

The Geo Web

With the unveiling of Google Earth a couple of months ago interest continues to build in the usefulness of geospatial information. GeoConnexion Magazine posted a great article on where the geospatial information industry is going with regards to geographic information on the web. The article states,

The location of all places and things is rapidly becoming an important commodity. Increasingly, locations of all things or places of interest are being published on the Web with multiple identities based on specific community interests. For example, coffee shops with WI-FI connections will be tagged as locations where coffee is served as well as locations where WI-FI is available; one location, many identities...

Read more here. Link.

How Is The Emergent Church "Post-Liberal"?

The JollyBlogger has posted this interesting article over on his blog. The article asks several pointed questions about the Emerging Church. Such as,

I have heard it said that the emergent church is "post-conservative" and "post-liberal," i.e. it seeks to transcend the "modernistic" debates between conservatives and liberals. It offers a third way which critiques both conservatives and liberals.

The "post-conservative" part I get. It seems that, though emergent is still a movement in search of a definition and identity, it is clear in defining itself in opposition to traditional conservative evangelicalism. In other words I often read and hear emergent types speaking of how they differ with the church that has gone before them, and the particulars of the church they are different from usually sounds like the particulars of conservative evangelical churches. Fair enough, emergent says its "post-conservative" so they are being consistent with themselves.

What I haven't heard the emergent folks do is describe wherein they differ from liberalism. It may be that, being a conservative, I have blinders on and am only paying attention to the things they say about my team, and am missing something. And if so, then I would like to know in what ways the emerging church is "post-liberal?" ...

Read more here. Link.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Gate Is Now Open In The Afternoon

I just wanted to get the word out that The Gate is now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 until 6 pm. We have decided to open up The Gate as a place for you to study, rest, relax, listen to music, and just generally hang out. We have spent a lot of time trying to make the building more comfortable for you to hang out in. If we have much of a demand we will look at opening the building more often.

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois. Here is a link to a map of The Gate. Link.

God bless you all and I hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Be Mine!

I remember celebrating Valentines Day in the good old days when I attended elementary school. Life was pretty simple. Before we left for school in the morning my parents never missed a Valentines Day opportunity to give us the little heart shaped boxes filled with Sees candy and a nice card. After we got to school I remember celebrating Valentines Day in class by passing around cute little cards with Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Dino on them that said “Be Mine!” and little candy hearts and chocolate.

We had a sugar “hangover” for a couple of days after “consuming mass quantities” of normally forbidden candy. It must have been a horrible experience for my teachers.

Today as adults we still celebrate with candy, flowers, and sometimes with a fun evening out. Either way, whether in school or at home, we are celebrating what it feels like to be loved. We want others to know we care for them and desire to be with them. And, we are celebrating what if feels like to have others care for us and desire to be with us. But, most of the time, these valentines left me feeling hollow inside.

What left me hollow was the ramp up for Valentines Day. I had a strategy; every year, when I passed out my valentines I always had a list. I ranked my classmates, always giving the best cards and treats to those who were my “real” friends. I gave the left-overs to those I tolerated or didn’t care that much for. And, if I ran out, then the people near the bottom of the list didn’t deserve gifts or candy anyhow. Never once did I go out in search of the perfect valentine card for someone I had a fight with earlier in the year, or someone I was competing against for a spot on the football or softball team, or the guy who hit me in the head with the dodge ball every day at recess. They were always at the bottom of the list.

Lately I have begun to understand that we already have the best valentine of all, God’s Word. The Bible is God’s love story between Himself and his creation. God desired to have fellowship and share His creation with another being, and he created us from the dust just to be with us. Since the creation of Adam and Eve we have constantly turned our backs on God, and given Him less than He deserves, but He continues to pour His love out on us, desires to be with us, and cares for us. God’s Word is the only true valentine; the only one that doesn’t leave us feeling hollow. Over the last year this concept has grown on me a lot. When I read the Word of God, whether it is in Genesis or Revelation, I now hear God say over and over again, “Be Mine”, “I Desire You”, “I Care For You”. We are not the left-overs, we are all at the top of God’s valentine list. We don’t get the crumbs, but the full-course of God’s love. Valentines Day now serves as my day of reinforcement of how much the Creator of the Universe loves and cares for me. I heard Him say several times this morning as I was reading His Word, “I love you”, “I want you”, “I desire You”, “Be Mine!”

Monday, February 13, 2006

Office Productivity Quote for the Week

Directions Magazine, a leading electronic mapping magazine has a blog called the All Points Blog. The quote of the week is a great one. Link. Referring to office productivity it says:

I haven't seen a productivity killer like this since Google Earth premiered and the nation's cubicle dwellers spent the next three days zooming around cyberspace looking for UFOs at Area 51.

The truth is that when Google Earth came out my office was glued to the screen examining the visualization cabilities and seemless transition from large scale to small scale and back and forth. It is great stuff and has kept us pretty busy playing with the program. If you haven't seen it yeat please click on the link above and start exploring.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

An Apology On Behalf Of My Christian Bretheren

Adam Feldman has a great Blog with a super post on how we as Christians may be winning the political battles and losing the war in people's hearts. It is located here. Link.

We have had several local serevice men and women die in the war over the last three years. It is an emotional gut wrenching experience to have family and friends sacrifice everything for our country. I am especially sensitive to it being a retired Air Force Officer. As Christians we have an opportunity to provide comfort and serve the families left behind in their time of grief. One group in particular, the group led by Fred Phelps that Adam cites in his post, has shown unbelievable insensitivity by protesting with anti-gay rallies at service men and women's funerals. As a Christian this infuriates me. We need to show these unfortunate families Christ's love, not use their grief as an opportunity to bash our political beliefs over a grieving crowd. I believe Fred Phelps, although he desires to raise awareness of the anti-gay stance (one that I applaud him on), has chosen the wrong battleground to fight on. It is giving Christians a black eye in the mind of the public.

In John 2:13-16 the Bible says,

(13) The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (14) In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and [He also found] the money changers sitting there. (15) After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers' coins and overturned the tables. (16) He told those who were selling doves, "Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father's house into a marketplace!"

I believe this group has turned an opportunity to minister to hurting people into a political agenda marketplace. As Adam did, I am afraid I must apologize on their behalf for all the damage they have done.

Licensed to Preach the Gospel

During last night's worship service my church, FBC O'Fallon, voted to license me as a minister to "Preach the Gospel". I am very humbled. As the Baptist Collegiate Ministry Director and Campus Minister to McKendree College I appreciate the church's validation of my calling to ministry and the recognition and support it brings to the BCM program by FBC O'Fallon licensing me. It is an important step in others finding worth in has been driving me for the last couple of years. But, I find the wording of the license to "Preach the Gospel" a little awkward. It seems strange to me that you should require a license to preach. Each of us that believe Jesus Christ is Lord are called to spread the good news that only He has ransomed us from death and provided access to the Father.

Romans 10:9-10 says:

If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.

We need to be preaching the gospel if we believe in the gospel! It doesn't need to be left up to licensed professionals.

I know it is purely an administrative license, but to be licensed to "Preach the Gospel" seems a little awkwardly worded.

Thank you FBC O'Fallon for putting your trust in me. I won't let you down.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

This Week at The Gate: Feb 6

Brothers and Sisters,

We had a great time with Danny Walls last week. He was awesome in communicating his view of how the Apostles knew what their role was in ministry and how that applies to our lives. I appreciate Danny sharing with us and look forward to hearing how our guest speakers continue to challenge our Christian viewpoint.

This week we have a movie night planned. We will be watching Cinderellaman on the big screen. I will be bringing snacks and drinks and it should be a lot of fun. Please be sure to invite your friends from school. Everything is free.

One last item. I will be presenting my testimony at FBC O'Fallon tomorrow night at the 6:30pm Worship Service and then the church will be voting on licensing me to preach the gospel (it will be a business meeting tomorrow night). You are all invited and I would love to see any of you there that can make it.

Here's what we have planned in the near future:

Wednesday February 8
6:30pm Worship Service at FBC O'Fallon. The service will be a FBC O'Fallon church business meeting that will include a licensing to the ministry vote for me.

Thursday February 9
7:30pm Thursday Night Alive! Movie Night at The Gate. We will be watching Cinderellaman. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Monday February 13
Men's/Women's Bible Studies at The Gate
Prayer Meeting

Thursday February 16
7:30pm Thursday Night Alive! at The Gate. Jonathan McIntosh from The Journey in St Louis will be sharing with us.

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois, 62254. Here is a link to a Yahoo Map of the Gate's location. Link.

God bless you all.

Monday, February 06, 2006

February 12, Evolution Sunday?

Answers in Genesis has a good article today titled "In Praise of Darwin This Sunday...In Hundreds of Churches". The article starts out by saying,

This Sunday, over 400 congregations in 49 states in the USA will participate in what could be called a “Darwin praise service.” They will be celebrating (yes, that’s the word that could be used for many of the churches) the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. It’s called “Evolution Sunday.”

The article discusses the crusade of Professor Michale Zimmerman of the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh to link science and the Biblical creation account together. The twist is that he is persuading Pastors to give up faith in the Genesis creation account in favor of the Evolution account. It is a very interesting article you can find here. Link.

Another excerpt from the article says,

On 12 February 2006 hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

I find two very incredible items in this article:

First, that you can be a Pastor in a mainline denomination and not believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Personally, if I didn't believe in the Genesis creation account I could never serve in the position of Pastor.

And second, where is the separation of church and state? Pastors are ever increasingly aware that they must strive to be politically correct and vague in their political views or risk inviting lawsuits, but on the other end, this professor is an employee of the State of Wisconsin and yet he can use the university's website and his position to promote his political/religious agenda.

Where is the balance?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It Has Been A Year, And....

I am getting really embarrassed at the way I keep changing jobs. I have been working for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) since Jan 31, 2005. The position I have been in as a Program Manager for the US Air Force's GeoBase Program (electronic map making similar to Google Earth) has been the best job I have had since I retired from the Air Force in 2003. It is a job that was right in line with my Masters Degree in Geographic Information Systems, working in the Air Force's Air Mobility Command where I spent 15 of my 21 years on active duty, and only 12 miles from my house. It was the perfect job, but for some reason that I don't understand I submitted a resume to Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (I know, another 4 letter word), who makes our mapping software and they decided to hire me as their federal representative for the Mid-West region. It is a great job that I didn't think I would get. And, for some reason the Lord led me to apply. So, it is off on another job change on March 1. I have really got to quit doing this and find out what I want to do when I grow up!

Thursday Night Worship at The Gate: Feb 2

Wow, we had another incredible evening at The Gate on Thursday night. Danny Walls, a Youth Pastor from FBC O'Fallon, and a 2003 McKendree College Graduate, spoke about knowing specifically what the Lord has called us to do.

In Acts 6:1-7 The Apostles were called to pray and preach and concentrated on those aspects of ministry. Because they concentrated on what they were called to do and others who were gifted in different ways took on other duties the early church grew at an incredible pace. It was a very applicable message that was exactly what the Lord knew we needed to hear. Danny is a great friend and as McKendree College grad has some pride in ownership of what we are doing at The Gate. As a Youth Pastor, he can also be kind of goofy at times!

We also had a great time hanging out and getting to know one another better. We have been having lots of new students attend on Thursday night and it has been a body building experience to hear each of their stories and become a part of their lives.

The Lord is doing great things in the lives of our students and I am excited at what lies ahead. Bringing McKendree grads back to speak has really blessed me just to hear what the Lord has accomplished through them and to know what the Lord is accomplishing through the lives of our current students. Praise God for what He is doing in their lives.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Establishing Infrastructure in Iraq

As a digital map maker I enjoyed reading the following article. Geospatial referencing is such a big infrastructure enhancement allowing everything from aircraft approaches at airports to designing a transportation network. We don't hear enough good news about what the coalition military forces do in Iraq. Here's a good article from The American Surveyor on how the military is working together with the Iraqi government to set up the Iraqi Geospatial Reference System . Link. The article specifically mentions US, Italian, and British military troops working together with each other and the Iraqi government to enable a geospatial reference system for the Iraqis.

Monday, January 30, 2006

This Week at The Gate: Jan 29

Brothers and Sisters, We have another great week planned this week at The Gate.

I hope you all had an inspired time at Bible Study tonight. I am very excited that we have so many young men and women attending the Monday Night Bible Study. I know God is working in marvelous ways in your lives and knowing how His plan works in our lives is the biggest part of studying the Word of God.

Wednesday Feb 2:

Thursday Night Alive! at 7:30 at The Gate. We have another dynamic McKendree graduate who is in the full-time ministry sharing with us at Thursday Night Alive! Danny Walls graduated from McKendree in 2003 and is the Associate Pastor to Students at FBC O'Fallon. He does great work with the Jr High and High School kids and is deeply involved in mentoring and leadership development of FBC O'Fallon's collegiate students. The Lord has has been speaking to Danny's heart and I can hardly wait to hear what he has to say. Plus he is a real good drummer! Snacks and drinks will be provided.

The Gate is located at 225 N. Monroe St, Lebanon, Illinois, 62254. Here is a link to a Yahoo Map of the Gate's location. Link.

I am looking forward to seeing each of you on Thursday.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Work Day at The Gate: Jan 16

On Martin Luther King Day the Lord blessed us with an unusual 70 degree day, so we held a work day at The Gate. Here's some pictures from the projects we did that day. Everything looks so much better!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thursday Night Worship at The Gate: Jan 19

Thursday night was the kickoff for the Spring semester at the McKendree College Baptist Collegiate Ministry, also known as The Gate. One of my plans this semester is to have a worship service every other week where McKendree graduates who are serving in the ministry come back and speak to current students about how they can make a difference in people's lives. Kind of a "I was in your shoes a short time ago and understand what you are going through and you can make a difference sooner than you think." Our first guest speaker was Noah Oldham, a 2004 McKendree graduate who is a charter member of The Gate and out first student Bible study ledader.

Thanks Noah for helping us kick off our new semester at The Gate. Noah is currently a Pastor at Little Chapel in Harrisburg, Illinois. Noah is incredibly bold in his faith and the Lord has really used Noah to work on the hearts all who meet him.

Music was led by Mike Cheeseman and we definitely felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during the entire evening.

We had about 30 students show up for our kickoff service and we are looking forward to what the Lord wants to do with us this semester.

We will have Danny Walls, a Youth Minister at First Baptist Church of O'Fallon, Illinois with us on February 2. Danny is a 2003 McKendree graduate. There is nothing so satisfying in my couple of years running The Gate than to see young, dynamic Christians make a commitment to the ministry. Praise God.

I bought a new digital camera for our annivesary and promise to post many more pictures this year. These are from Thursday.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Human Ears Evolved From Ancient Fish Gills!

Here's the link to a Yahoo news article. Link.

Just another ridiculous claim that the evolutionists are making that shows me how desperate they are to tie anything that sounds like scientific research to evolution. I don't see much scientific proof in this article.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Sudden Ending To A Great Life

I received an E-Mail from an old Elementary School, Junior High, and High School friend named Jim this morning. He was also back home in Los Angeles for New Year's Day. He left on Friday to go back to Michigan and after his 76 year old Mom dropped him off at the Burbank Airport her car was hit my the Metro Train on her way home and she was killed. The accident was reported here. Link.

I feel so sorry for Jim. I had lots of great memories of his family helping out with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and school events.

God please comfort them in their time of need.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Final College Football Thoughts for 2005

It was a good round of College Football Bowl Games for me. Here's how my teams fared:

Nebraska beat Michigan 42-38
UCLA beat Northwestern 50-38
Texas beat USC 41-38 in the BCS Championship Game. I am not a big Texas fan, but I am a UCLA alum, so I cheer on whoever plays USC.

I came in second in Rob's College Football Bowl Mania group on ESPN.

Nebraska ended up ranked in the top 25 for the first time in over 2 years. They finished out at #24 in both polls. Link.

UCLA ended up ranked #13 in the USA Today Poll and #16 in the AP Poll.

I look forward to an even better year in college football next year. Nebraska looks like an up and coming program again and USC looks like they will lose the heart of their program to the NFL.