Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Random Thoughts

I've tried to keep posts to one subject, but there are too many little thoughts that don't deserve their own post, yet deserve to be mentioned. Well, I guess you'll be the judge of that.


Just finished reading a long discussion about the upcoming General Council of the A/G and the Relational District Resolution on the FutureAG blog. Interesting. I understand the reasons for the resolution, but I'm not convinced this (re)solution is the best one.


Mark Teixiera and a pitcher for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and five other players. I hate losing Salty. I think he's going to be great. But I hope it works out for the Braves.


Much has been said and written about When Bad Things Happen to Good People. But why do Good People Do Stupid Things? {sigh}


I am reminded almost everyday that our time with all our children in the home is growing shorter. This is a golden time.


Speaking of our children, Sam and Shae are working hard, getting ready for next week's National Fine Arts Festival. They are performing a sketch (along with their friend, Adam). Shae also has a Book Chapter entered. We leave Monday.


I have been sitting on an idea for a new podcast. For about a year. Sometimes it's hard to pull the trigger.


A new poll is on the right side of the main page. If you don't know what the poll is asking, choose "Neither".


Many people participated in yesterday's prayer and fasting for families. I'm looking forward to hearing some testimonies. I already know the enemy didn't like it.


I feel sorry for Barry Bonds. I wish he wasn't going to break the record, but I still feel bad that people treat him as an object, instead of a human being.


I haven't done a new episode of the Bible Quiz Podcast since I went to Arizona, and I really need to. Hopefully soon.


We had a GREAT episode of the Church Drama Podcast on Sunday. Maybe it wasn't so great - but I laughed much. It should be posted soon. (It's taking forever to encode the video.)


I still like my iPhone. And next week - the new iMac!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We are His hands

Here's a nice idea someone implemented...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer @ Eleven

It's one of those big days around here.

Summer is eleven today. Time flies. It seems only last week we were celebrating her fifth birthday in Rock Springs, Wyoming. (Never forget that big cowboy hat.) Of course, that was six years ago.

But she still has the big grin, unlimited energy, and wide open nature. We celebrated with chicken quesadillas and dirt cake. Then she opened her presents and was brought to tears by her new fish - the most recent names given to them were "Jess" and "Leslie".

She is a blessing to our family, and true summer sunshine when she smiles.

Have a great birthday, Summer!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Call to Prayer and Fasting

The following is a letter Trudi recently wrote:
I received a phone call this week that distressed me greatly. A marriage was falling apart with a spouse choosing to break their promise and walk away. This is always a troublesome thing to hear, but even more so now. It was the fifth call my husband and I have received in the past six weeks. In every case but one, these couples actively attend and are involved in a home church where they live. My heart’s cry is ENOUGH! Satan has always attacked the home but seems to be doing so at an increasingly aggressive rate. He knows - where there is division, there is weakness. And where does he desire for there to be weakness more than in the body of Christ?
In praying for these marriages, I felt God leading me to call for a day of prayer and fasting. I haven’t done anything like this before, but I’m proceeding as obediently as I know how. I asked God to lay the names of twelve women on my heart to join with me in this endeavor. That is why you are now receiving this letter.
First, let me say you may not be able to join me or have a desire to join me and that is perfectly okay - you owe me no explanation. You can still pray. However, if you can join me, I’m asking that you respond either by phone or by e-mail using the information below, so I know that at least twelve will set that day apart for this specific purpose. Feel free to invite others, both male and female, to join us for this special day of intercessory prayer.
I’m not setting specific guidelines for your fast - whether it is one, two, or three meals; full fast, partial fast, etc., - that is between you and God. But use this day to focus on Him with this clear purpose in mind: waging spiritual battle for homes and marriages.
Since she wrote this letter, we have heard of several more couples in the same situation, and even more people that are very concerned about the marriages of friends and family members whom they know.

The original 12 have told their friends, who have told their friends - at this point we don't know how many people will be joining in this effort, but we know the number is growing.

I talked to someone Sunday whose marriage is in serious trouble. I was able to tell him - you're not alone; there are people that are praying; God is about to do something that will surprise you.

I believe God is ready - but are we willing to seek Him? Are we willing to make the effort?

This is your invitation to a day of prayer and fasting, to wage spiritual battle for homes and marriages - Monday, July 30th.


Before I got my iPhone, I had been highly anticipating the ability to listen and watch podcasts on the phone. I previously had an iPod Shuffle, which lost a battle with a sharp object, rendering it useless. When I had the Shuffle, I had been able to listen to podcasts while grocery shopping. (Grocery shopping? you say. That's a story for some other time.)

But I also have video podcasts that I subscribe to, and I wanted to get a video iPod, then they announced the iPhone. So I've been waiting.

Alas...some video podcasts do not work on the iPhone. Formatting issues.

However, I very much enjoy the ones I get to watch. Which brings me to the subject of this post. Even though the podcast I'm going to tell you about isn't a video podcast at all, but simply a good audio podcast.

The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary has a couple of podcasts and I've been listening to the Chapel service podcast. Very inspirational. I especially liked the message by Earl Creps from October 2006. Check it out if you get the chance.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quick Trip

It was a quick trip Saturday night to see Rick, Cherie, Autumn, Tammy, Terry, Luke, Mom, and Dad. If you don't know, that would be my brother-in-law, sister, niece, sister, brother-in-law, nephew...and I think you know the rest.

Due to a pre-arranged friend's birthday ice skating party, we were unable to spend the day in Lakeland with the rest of the bunch, instead leaving just after 3:30pm for a quick and rainy drive. After a few hours and a couple of pieces of pizza with the fam - plus a plethora of pictures - it was back in the van for the return to North Fort Myers and a 11:30pm arrival.

5:53am came early the next morning, but we had fun and it was good to see everyone and T&T's new house.

(Pictured: l-r Dad, Autumn, Cherie, Luke)

Friday, July 20, 2007


If you haven't seen it, there's a very interesting blog about the upcoming General Council and the election of the new General Superintendent. As blogs tend to be from younger people, this is a blog by younger ministers. Find it at FutureAG.blogspot.com.

CDP #43 is Available

If you haven't already seen/heard, episode #43 of the Church Drama Podcast is now available. We had a lot of fun. It was Mary-Jane's birthday so we got a little loud with the party horns. Sadly, Trudi didn't bring any underwear. (You'll have to watch to get that inside joke.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Everybody Ought to go...

...to Sunday school, Sunday school, Sunday school.

The men and the women and the boys and the girls, everybody ought to go to Sunday school.

That was the sketch, these were the people. From left, Tim, Mark, and Anne as the little kids, and Trudi as Mrs. Longhoofer.

My favorite line - "Jimmy you better watch it that seat has a crack in it and you'll pinch your bottom."

Those were the days.

Small World 2

That didn't take long.

After my last post - which I posted early Saturday morning - I boarded my connecting flight in Houston on Saturday afternoon and discovered that I was sitting right beside Bernie and Marti, a couple from our church. They were on their way back from an Alaskan cruise and ended up in the same row as me.

This picture is from my visit to Old Tucson Studios. This is in front of the mission, which was used in several old westerns, including Rio Bravo.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Small World

Somehow I don't think this will be the last post with this title. It always amazes and delights us when we run into someone we know that either, a) knows someone we know, b) has lived/lives somewhere we have lived/live, or, c) all of the above.

We - Ray, John, Paul, and myself...four Bible Quiz guys - headed to The Gallery today for a round of golf. Paul rode along while the other three of us played.

The interesting thing was, while we were driving to the course, Ray started talking about his son. I've known his son for a long time, and I knew he had recently moved from his church in South Carolina to a church in Texas.

Before I finish that story, I need to add that my roommate here in Tucson, Josh Weber, recently moved to the Tampa area from Nashville. He attended Cornerstone A/G, where a guy named John McKinzie used to be on staff. John is now lead pastor at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, Texas.

And it wasn't until today, when Ray mentioned again about his son that I made the connection. His son, Scott Berkey, is children's pastor at Hope Fellowship, not only the home of John McKinzie, but the new home of another old friend - that I've mentioned in this blog - Mark Lunsford.

Small world, indeed.

{Picture is of Scott Berkey's dad, Ray}

Friday, July 13, 2007

Colorado Wins

In Bible Quiz news - isn't that why you read this blog in the first place? - Church at Briargate, from Colorado Springs, Colorado defeated Cedar Park A/G from Bothell, Washington to repeat as Teen Bible Quiz National Champions.

After each finishing regular competition at 17-2, they played off for the championship. Tied after 17 questions, Briargate clinched it with a correct answer on the 20th (and last) question of the match.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I've Been Working...Really

I'm in Arizona for the Assemblies of God's Teen Bible Quiz National Finals. I'm representing Peninsular Florida in my capacity as District Bible Quiz Coordinator. National Finals began with some preliminary activity on Sunday, then a qualifying day on Monday with nine rounds of quizzing. That has been followed by the main competition on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today is the last two rounds of quizzing, followed by playoffs and some individual and exhibition quizzing. My role in this has been to help officiate.

It has gone well, but there have been some long days. However, I have also been able to get in some golf.

Sunday afternoon, John Sullivan - from Houston - and I played at the Resort course here - a very nice and expensive, mountainous course. It was a lot of fun, but my game fell apart over the last 3/4 of the round. I think I shot about a 105 - after opening with two pars.

Yesterday, we traveled to north of the city to play at the Pines, a very nice, but cheap, course that is Arizona's only quarry golf course. Up and down with lots of shots over ravines and gulleys.

It was a GREAT day. I shot an 81 - first time doing that in a very long time. And we played from the back tees.

I'm off to quizzing. And another round of golf tomorrow at the Gallery, where they play the Accenture Match Play Championship. We will be playing the south course, where they actually play the tournament.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

You Never Know, part 2

The very long sad tale in my last post was leading towards a big finish...then I got sidetracked and never made the point I was headed for.

Which - before I get sidetracked again - was this...{drum roll}...you never know.

That's it. "You never know."

You think you know. You think you will know. You think that surely God would give you a hint, a sign, a feeling...something. Somehow, someway, with all the circumstantial evidence and bits of data, you think you would be able to predict, to piece together all the clues.

Have I completely lost you yet?

The whole departures/arrivals theme is fresh in my mind due to being on this current trip, plus other personal departures and arrivals that I have (and in some cases, have not) blogged about.

And, ever since the passing of my friend, Bob, this thought has percolated, finally taking shape this weekend - you never know.

I didn't really know when - or if - any of my flights would depart. I didn't know when they would arrive. I wasn't in control of any of it.

That's so true in so many ways in the departures and arrivals we experience in life.

People depart - and it's not always in our control, no matter how much we wish it was.

I don't have an ending for this...so I'll stop now.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

You Never Know

Here's one for Pastor Goss's Sunday school class.

Yesterday (the 6th), I left Fort Myers, headed for Tucson and the Assemblies of God Teen Bible Quiz National Finals.

The trouble began when I checked my luggage. I hadn't paid attention to the weight, and my suitcase was 13 pounds too heavy. I also had a golf bag, so I had to open my luggage and try to redistribute some items from the suitcase to the golf bag. Kind of embarrassing to do all that right there, but at least there wasn't a line behind me.

While I was trying to figure that out, the ticket agent said, "Mmm. I don't think this is going to work. Your plane is running late and I don't know if you'll make your connection in Houston." Turns out the weather in Houston was stormy, and ALOT of Continental flights were affected. My flight, scheduled for a 5:18pm departure, was going to be delayed by at least 2 hours.

To speed up my connection in Houston, which would be two concourses apart, the agent asked if I would like to move up...from my comfy exit-row-window seat to a middle seat in the front of coach - which would still give me room, but I hate the middle. But it would move me up 12 rows, so I took it.

Finally, I got the suitcase down to 48.5 pounds, which put the golf bag EXACTLY at 50 pounds, and off they went. And off I went to the gate.

On the way, I got the opportunity, for the very first time, to be selected for additional security screening. This trip was starting to gain too many negatives.

The plane from Houston came in, we boarded quickly, and it looked like we would get off in good time, with the computer estimating that we would be in Houston at 7:50 local time, one hour before my connection was to leave. There was also the possibility that my connection might be delayed, too. AND the woman that was supposed to be on the aisle moved to the middle - to be by her husband - so I had an aisle AND good leg room! Things were looking up!

We got ready for takeoff, the pilot gunned it down the runway...then lifted off the throttle...and we coasted...to the end...of...the...runway. Some warning lights had gone off in the cockpit, so they wanted to check it out. We taxied back to the gate, so the mechanic could inspect the plane. (The mechanic is the guy in the red.)

They told us that nothing was wrong with the plane - other than a secondary warning light going off when it wasn't supposed to - but now we WERE delayed and didn't leave Fort Myers until 8:18pm.

I completely missed my connection in Houston, waited in a very long line at customer service, received standby status on the 10:55pm flight and confirmed status on a 7am flight for this morning.

The 10:55 flight was delayed until 11:57, I DID get on, but my luggage didn't. The plane didn't take off until 12:20. After discovering in Phoenix that my luggage didn't make it, I was given a complimentary travel kit with toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, deodorant, razor, etc. and I was off to Hertz to pick up my economy car.

Which the nice lady upgraded to standard with a free tank of gas. Nice. Impala. I arrived at my hotel and finally hit the pillow at 2:30am...local time...which made it 5:30am Fort Myers time.

This morning I went back to the airport, my luggage came in about 10 minutes after I got there, and I was happily on my way to Tucson.

So...I mentioned Pastor's class. Why? Because his current topic is: Is it God? Is it Satan? Or is it just me?

I asked those questions a lot yesterday. I didn't really answer them.

But I thank God for his blessings and hope to make wise decisions along the way.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Poll is closing soon

Thanks to you if you voted on the Web Site poll. Time is running out, so please vote before it's too late. Thanks, again

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fireworks and Loud Music

Fireworks and loud music.

I'm sure that's what every signer of the Declaration of Independence had in mind 231 years ago.

On the philosophical side of things - isn't that the way it is with most things? No matter what the original purpose and intent of your actions, there are always unexpected consequences and tangents that are created later because of what happened.

Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving...I'm sure that everyone that first celebrated those events - from the early Christians to the Pilgrims and others - would be astounded on what happens on these holy-days. Likewise, many of the things we take for granted as being part of the Independence Day tradition weren't even dreamed of back then. Hot dogs. Baseball. Lee Greenwood. Mall parking lots.

So, there we were last night - the 3rd, not the 4th of July - in the parking lot of the Miromar Outlet Mall, listenening - and sometimes trying not to listen - to very loud blues, jazz and rock 'n roll by the Mambo Brothers Blues Band, waiting with thousands of other people for the fireworks. It was scheduled for "dusk" - which really meant 9:30pm.

<---Mr. Happy smiles for the camera.

It was a very good show, when it finally started. These are a couple of pictures from my iPhone.

After it was over, and we got back to the van - it was another 45 minutes getting out of the parking lot through the mass of cars. We were very glad we went. Another great family outing.

Happy 4th!

Below: Trudi, Shae and Sam put up with Dad, although Sam can't figure out what I'm doing.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cost Analysis

Remember when we used to take prayer requests in church - out loud?

Maybe you're in a church that's still small enough to do that. It's been years since we have. Now, prayer requests are turned in via "Communication Cards", then shared weekly via the "Prayer Sheet." It's efficient and I like it better - most of the time.

But I've noticed that it's cut out an old favorite from the "Does anyone have a Testimony or a Prayer Request?" days. The unspoken prayer request. Someone always had one. And that invariably led to the pastor saying, "Does anyone else have an unspoken prayer request? Just raise your hand."

We all knew that meant there was something serious, but personal, that you were praying about.

Tonight, my hand's up. Can't talk about it. Definitely can't blog about it. I can only tell you it's not about me or my family, it's not deadly, but it is serious.

And it led me to this thought - happiness is expensive.

Many of our prayer requests have a similar goal - our own personal happiness. But that leads me to ask:
- in what areas of your life would you like to be happy?
- in what areas of your life could you be less than happy?
- how happy would you like to be?
- how will you know when you are genuinely happy?
- how long would you like to be happy?
- can anyone else be happy along with you, or is it only you that can be happy?

You can't make everyone happy.

But it's pretty easy to hurt a large number of people.

I've done that.

Sacrifice = personal pain + relational gain.
Selfishness = personal gain + relational pain.

What I'm trying to say is that the more I've acted like Jesus - in being selfless and sacrificing - it usually was pretty painful for me personally, but it improved my relationships 100%. Not just the relationships I cared about - ALL my relationships.

On the other hand, every time I'm selfish and focus on my own wants and desires - which is quite frequently - I'm able to achieve personal happiness, but my relationships suffer. Not just the relationships I don't care about - ALL my relationships.

Trying to create my own happiness is a fairly expensive deal, usually exacting a very high relational price.

So, anyway, I'm praying, hopeful that this will end up like an unspoken prayer request did for a girl in our youth group many years ago, when she said, "I've got an unspoken praise report!"