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Showing posts from 2011

Careful What you ask!

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Image source: rvs.findthebest.com

My late grandparents spent a great deal of their retirement years pulling and Airstream travel trailer and exploring the United States. My grandfather told the story that on one of their many trips across the country, he and my grandmother got into a bit of an argument over the pronunciation of the town they were passing through.
After a spirited argument with no signs of resolution or compromise in the immediate future, they elected to stop for breakfast at a fast food restaurant. When the college-age guy behind the counter offered to take their order, my grandfather saw an opportunity to resolve their argument over the pronunciation of the town's name. So, he said to the guy behind the counter, "Hey, how about solving an argument for us. Tell us how to pronounce where we are and say it real slow." The guy behind the counter shrugged his shoulders, leaned over the counter and slowly said, "Bur-ger King."
I remember several years…

Footnote: The Story of Christmas

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Do you Know the Legend of the Christmas Moose?

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I originally published this story here on my blog three Christmases ago. It seems to get a bit more popular every year. So if you are not familiar with the legend, here it is:
The Legend of the Christmas Moose

Book Review: The Usurper - Cliff Ball

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Book Review: The Usurper - Cliff Ball (Fiction, Thriller, Political Intrigue)



The KGB plots the demise of the United States with various schemes of planned childbirths, planting operatives as college presidents, professors, newspaper editors, and politicians. Some are willing participants while some are blackmailed.

The author ties real events in America's history into this fictional tale to make the reader feel a connection to the story. Conspiracies run rampant through the story line. Every terrorist action has an underlying purpose tied to the KGB's ultimate goal.

The story is believable and kept my attention from start to finish.

Book Review: The Dream Giver - Bruce Wilkinson

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Are you living your dream or just living life? Do you look forward every morning to getting up and going into your job or are you just doing what you have to do to pay the bills?

This book starts with a parable - the story of Ordinary who is a Nobody living in the land of Familiar. One day, Ordinary decides to walk off his Usual Job, break out of his Comfort Zone, and pursue his Big Dream. He has to battle Bullies and Giants before he can thrive in the Land of Promise.

Beyond the parable, Wilkinson discusses how to identify and embrace your own Big Dream, what you need to do to break through your own Comfort Zone, how to deal with Border Bullies, and what it takes to defeat the Giants in your path.

I found this book very encouraging and motivating. Many of us complain about our jobs and continue to question our career paths, but very few stop to question what we were created for and what dream have we been carrying around for years.

Discontented? Not feeling like you are living up t…

The Go-Kart

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One of the greatest things to enter my world prior to obtaining my driver's license was a used go-kart.


My folks had a yard that was big enough to turn some laps in the bag yard as long as you paid close enough attention to dodge the pine trees and our German Shepherd.

Image source: en.wikipedia.org
It was that go-kart that with my Dad's tutelage taught me a healthy respect for the coil on a two-cycle engine. Yeah, Pop always had a sense of humor, and it tickled him to see me get shocked.

One street over from our family home was the remains of the abandoned high school football field. The grand stands and goal posts were gone, but what remained was a flat wide asphalt oval course that circled the old playing field. That asphalt oval made a perfect go-kart track. On the occasional Saturday, my Dad would allow us to ride the go-kart over there and turn some laps around the old field.

One such Saturday, I rode over to the old field and met some neighborhood kids that also had a…

The Summer of 16

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Image source: http://oldcarandtruckads.com

I turned 16 years old in the fall of my sophomore year in High School. A few months prior to the big day, my grandfather drove down from Southern Indiana with a six year old Chevrolet El Camino. It was maroon with a white vinyl top and hub caps. Not the cool El Caminos that you saw at the beach, but I was very grateful to have something other than my mom's car to drive. My brother had turned 18 that Summer, so I could drive to school if he rode with me.

For some unknown reason, he was willing to do it. My first day driving to school did not go so well. As we were preparing to leave, I saw a kid from my class out front of the school in the u-shaped driveway. With my brother's prodding, I pulled up to talk to the kid who began talking trash about my newly acquired ride. He ended his comments by daring me to spin a tire.

Like a foolish kid with something to prove, I took the challenge. I stood on the throttle and spun a tire around the…

Advantages of Living in a Small Town

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Photo Source: http://www.camillaga.com
From time to time someone asks what were the best parts of growing up in a small town. While there are several things that come to mind whenever I ponder that question, one story always replays in my mind.



While in high school, my Mom had bought a Yamaha Champ 50cc scooter. Because it was 50ccs, a motorcycle license was not required to operate the scooter on public streets.


My Dad had ridden a Harley 125 when he was in high school, and the scooter had got him to thinking. He decided he would like to get his motorcycle endorsement on his driver's license in case he ever decided to buy another motorcycle.

In our little Southwest Georgia town, the State Patrol came to the city court house once a month for driver's exams. Otherwise you drove 30 miles to the State Patrol post for exams. Dad elected to wait until the day the Troopers came to town. He rode the Champ to the court house and took the written test. Although the troopers had comput…

The Driver's Test

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The Saturday morning after I turned 16, I drove my Dad to the State Patrol post in Albany (pronounced Aww Benny) to take my driving test. After waiting for several nervous minutes, a mountain of a man in a trooper's uniform and Smokey bear hat walked out carrying a clipboard and a Styrofoam cup of coffee. He paused, looked around and called my name. I could feel my heart race.

We crawled in my El Camino. He set a cup of coffee on the dash, pulled his hat down to his nose and said, "lets go". I looked over at him and said, "Not until you fasten your seat belt." Seat belts were not mandatory in those days, but they were in my automobile. He grumbled, fumbled around, found the seat belt, fastened it, and pulled his hat back down. I started the car, and the trooper explained the rules, "Spill my coffee and you flunk." No pressure.

He directed me out onto the four-lane highway then to a turn lane to change directions. I drove south carefully maintaining my…

Book Review: Our Last Great Hope

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Our Last Great Hope - Awakening the Great Commission By Ronnie Floyd


Ronnie Floyd describes the Great Commission, Jesus command to the 11 remaining disciples found in Matthew 28:16-20 as Our Last Great Hope.
Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
Floyd challenges the reader to perform nine actions: face the truth about yourself, awaken the church, accept the urgency, transform our families, capture our communities, talk Jesus daily, desire it deeply, evaluate everything financially, and act now.
I found the book difficult to read from cover to cover as it did not hold my attention for long periods of time. I found myself reading it, setting it down for weeks at a time, and then picking it …

Book Review: Terror by Night

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Terror by Night by Terry Caffey and James H. Pence

What do you do when everything that matters to you is taken away?

If you believe in God, is your faith shaken when tragedy strikes? Do you question God? Do you turn your back and run as far from God as you can? Do you question if he even exist?

Terror by Night is the true story of Terry Caffey and his journey after his wife and two sons were brutally murdered, his home was burned to the ground, and his daughter was implicated in the crime and imprisoned. Before the brutal attack on his family, Caffey had felt he was called to the ministry. He did not know if he was going to be a preacher or an evangelist, but he was about to be ordained. But then in the middle of the night, someone attacks his family and everything is shattered. It is the story of his struggle to recover from the injuries he sustained in the attack and his mental, emotional, and spiritual struggles to resume his life. Caffey's story reads like a modern day version…

Peanut Gravel

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It was a beautiful Fall day in rural South Georgia 1975. My brother and I had gotten out of school and were peddling our bicycles home like we did everyday. In 1975, we did not have to wear helmets to ride a bicycle or knee pads or any safety gear. The cool fall weather made the bicycle ride more enjoyable.

After crossing the highway that led out of town to Cairo, my brother looked at me and put down the challenge, "Lets race!" That was all I needed to hear. I stood up on the pedals and began pumping my legs as hard as I could. We were side by side as we approached the corner. I shot for the inside of the turn to get the advantage. As we righted the bikes out of the corner, I was flying and had him by just a bit.

The local peanut processing plant in town had machinery that separated peanuts from rocks. The plant would pile these small rocks at the edge of their property and offer them to the public for free. Many of our neighbors took advantage of this generous offer and …

Book Review: If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska

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If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska
by Heather Lende







Heather Lende is a wife, mother and obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska a town of 2,500 situated 90 miles north of Juneau - a town without a stoplight (even a flashing yellow) and practically inaccessible if the ferry is out and the weather too bad for six-seater air service.

She tells the story of living in Haines firsthand with vivid descriptions of the town's characters: the tattooed Presbyterian pastor, the ZZ Top bearded sewer plant manager who rides a motorcycle, the one-legged female gold miner, and the Roy Orbison-impersonator school principal.

The story varies from the humorous anecdotes of the daily interactions among the town people to the sinking of a family fishing boat and the loss of a young man at sea. Mixed in with all of the stories are her vivid word pictures of the moose, the seals, the bears, the mountain goats, and the mountains and glaciers tha…

Book Review: The Principle of the Path - Andy Stanley

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A lot of times in life, we wonder why despite our good intentions and our efforts at working hard, we end up in situations with relationships, jobs, and finances that we never wanted. Nobody sits around and says, "when I grow up I want to have a failed marriage and have a debt load so high that I have to work three jobs to keep from losing my house." So, how is it that if we have positive goals and dreams that we end up so far away from what we wanted if we had really good intentions?

If we could step back a few years in our lives, wouldn't we make a couple decisions a little different now that we know how they panned out? I know I certainly would.

In his book, The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley suggests that our destinations are a result of the path we are travelling on, not our good intentions. and despite how hard we might be praying, if we are headed in the wrong direction, nothing but a change of direction is going to right the situation.
He relates a story of…

House Dedication - Sara Wilson Family

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One of the most rewarding experiences of working on a Habitat for Humanity home build is returning for the dedication when the homeowner receives the keys to their completed home. We have been fortunate to participate in several over the last years, and it always brings us great joy to celebrate with the homeowner and their family.

Today was another of those opportunities. Sara Wilson, a domestic violence survivor, and single mother of two received the keys to her new home this morning - the end of a very long journey for Sara and her two precious little girls.


Sara has toiled along side of all of the construction volunteers since the first day of the build as well as working on the construction of other Habitat homes over the last several months. Today was a celebration of the culmination of all of that hard work.

If the impact of being able to provide a decent place to live does not ring true to you when you are attending one of these dedications, all you have to do is look at the …

In a Texas State of Mind

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For Labor Day, we decided to see the sites of Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capitol of the World.



When we checked into the hotel, we quickly realized that Cabela's was just across the parking lot. So, we spent several hours wandering around inside checking out all of the clothing, camping equipment, fishing gear, and guns as well as the enormous collection of stuffed animals and the impressive aquarium.


a Redtail Catfish at Cabela's - Buda, TX
Of course, eating was on our itinerary, and we found plenty of good places for it. Including the Salt Lick for BBQ.


And if we are gonna eat Texas BBQ, I gotta have some brisket.


Of course, Tex-Mex was also on our menu and Chuy's was awesome.

We ventured North to Round Rock and took a look at Dell's impressive sprawling campus.


And of course, we loaded up on University of Texas Longhorn gear!



Sunday, we visited Northpoint Church in Cedar Park, TX which is a strategic partner of our church here in Atlanta.

All good things must com…

Boot Camp

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Earlier this Summer, I began volunteering as a small group leader in Transit, the middle school program at Browns Bridge Church. For the sixth graders, Transit holds a weekend camp called "Boot Camp" to kick things off after school starts to help create community in the small groups. This is a huge experience for these rising 6th graders as for many, it is their first camp experience on their own.


I elected to implement a special haircut for the Boot Camp weekend.


The response this year was huge, around 200 6th graders signed up, so five buses were waiting at send-off to shuttle us to the FFA campground near Covington, GA. After everyone got signed in, there were tons of Pizza waiting for the kids before we hit the highway.



The buses were electric with the kids chattering and activity on the highway.


Once we arrived at the camp, everyone got introduced to two characters that would be camp leaders for the weekend, Sgt. Peppers and Col. Sanders. The campers were divided up in…

Never Beyond a Second Chance: Scandalous Grace and Insane Forgiveness

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Who Deserves a Second Chance?
If you are anything like me, you have struggled with forgiving the folks in life that have abused you, taken advantage of you, hurt you, have regularly offended you, speaks poorly of you, hurts your family members or someone close to you.

Some folks seem more worthy of my forgiveness than others. So, my natural tendency is to forgive the ones that are worthy of forgiveness and not the rest. That seems justifiable and logical. Seems fair enough, right? There is not any real need to forgive someone that is down right evil and has no desire to change their actions, right?

In 2006, a very tragic thing occurred in Nickel Mines, PA. Charles Roberts, the local milk truck delivery man, stormed into a one-room school house and began shooting. He shot ten young girls, killing five, and then killed himself. The families of the Amish school girls were devastated. We can barely imagine their grief.

If anyone had a reason to withhold forgiveness, it certainly would seem…

Book Review: Rumors of God - Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson

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In a life filled with tension and stress, the promises we read in the Bible seem to be far different that what we experience day to day. Are the promises true? Are the things we read in the Bible just simply rumors of God or are they truths that we can actually experience in our own lives? Is God real? Is He still moving in the lives of those who call out to Him? Do you fell like your life leaves you wanting more? Is there really a "new life" in Jesus like the old television preachers used to talk about? Do you feel jaded by the church? Are you cynical about the power of God in the current day and age?
The authors, Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson, discuss the rumors we have all heard about God, but we fail to see in the world around us. Rumors like justice, hope, freedom, love, community, abundant life, generosity, another life, an unimagined future, and commitment. They invite us to find those rumors are all around us everyday and provide numerous real life stories of everyda…

New Gear

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Last weekend I headed up to Dahlonega to Riders Hill to do some shopping for some riding boots. I have always ridden in steel-toe work boots, but while we were in Venezuela, I really became interested in purposely designed riding boots. Because the weather was hot, sunny, and clear, Riders Hill's parking lot was packed with every kind of bike that one could imagine.

After trying on a couple of pair and checking out features, I selected a pair of Alpinestars Ridge boots. I also have been giving some serious thought to a Hi-Viz riding jacket to increase the visibility during my 42 mile daily commute. Anything to help the cage drivers with their cellphones embedded into the side of their skulls see the guy on the Harley with three headlights. They had a First Gear Mesh-Tex mesh Hi-Viz jacket in extra large, but they were sold out of the size I needed - Large. But they quickly offered to order one for me as he had three other orders for the day for the same jacket.

Thursday I checked…

And Even ANOTHER Venezuela video

What the Heck is Planking?

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Photo source:Bensayin.com
Ok, so I'm not 20 years old any more and I do not keep up with the latest fads. So when we were checking in with our airline for our flight out of Atlanta to kick off our mission trip at like 5am, I see this younger team member, Andrew Kim, lying face down on the tile floor. And, as any curious casual observer might inquire, I asked, "What the heck is he doing on the floor?"

"Planking" I was told. Um, OK. What the heck is planking?

According to Wikipedia, "The lying down game (also known as planking,[1] or face downs) is an activity, popular in various parts of the world, consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the Internet is an integral part of the game.[2] Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play.[2] The locati…