Hello NBC. Did I Miss Your Call?

31 Jan

Well, Tuesday has come and gone and NBC must have lost my phone number! 😀

I didn’t really expect to get a call but I think it would have been fun to continue in the process.

So, I have a couple of options. They will accept video applications until mid-February so I told Patti that I would make a video and send it. I also found out that the YMCA in Blair has a weight loss program/contest kind of like The Biggest Loser. You sign up and they put you on a team. A trainer will help you plan your work outs and help you with a diet plan. They will also monitor your progress. At the end of a certain amount of time, the team with the most weight loss gets some sort of prize. I guess they expect you to work out at least six days per week so they are pretty serious about it. We know a couple of people who are doing it now and they like it. It cost $50 so I better be serious about it.

One of the questions the casting directors asked us was what slogan we would put on our t-shirt for the show. I said that I would put “I want to ride a roller coaster”. There is a story about that. Last summer I took my kids to an amusement park and it was Sarah’s first year where she was big enough to ride some of the big roller coasters. I was excited to ride with her. After standing in line for a while, we finally got to get on the coaster. I was too big for the safety harness to lock into place so I couldn’t go. Sarah was too little to go by herself so we both had to get off without getting to experience the ride. I was embarrassed as was Sarah. I told myself that I couldn’t allow that to happen next summer.

So, I now ask you for your prayers. Not that I’ll lose the weight. I need your prayers and support to keep me focused and dedicated. It’s too easy to get discouraged and too hard to stay motivated. That is where I need the most help.

Shoot – if I can stand in the cold rain for six hours just to talk to a casting director for 5 minutes, I should be able to lose this weight! Right? Am I going to blog my progress? Sure – why not! Stay tuned!

I’m A Loser (Wannabe)

30 Jan

Today I had an interesting experience. There was an open call for the NBC TV show, The Biggest Loser, in Omaha today. Since I am a very large person, I thought that I would go down there to check it out. Who knows, right?

It was scheduled to go from 11am to 4pm. Not knowing how many people would show up, I thought I’d drive down there about 8am to see what the crowd looked like. If it was short, I would go catch some breakfast. As I drove to the site, I saw the line. It wasn’t short!!! I decided to get into line at 8am. As they started handing out applications, I was number 268! That was 3 hours before it started! Anyway, as the morning progressed, more and more people started showing up. There had to be 1000 people there. The rain also showed up!! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think it was going to be very cold today so I just wore a hoody. Boy was that a mistake!

Anyway, about 1:45 pm I finally made it into the interview room – along with 10 others. They asked us to introduce ourselves and then asked the whole group a couple of questions, like which trainer would they prefer etc. You had to be pretty aggressive to get the casting director to notice you. The whole interview lasted about 5 minutes.

So, how did I do? Who knows. They will have call-backs in Omaha and if they are going to call us back for a follow-up interview, we’ll know by Tuesday. So, I guess the wait is on.

Was the 6 hour wait in the cold and rain worth it? Sure! I met some new friends. I learned about Famous Footwear and some of the challenges of teaching children with learning disabilities. In line with me were people from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and who knows where else. If I get a call back, it will just be a bonus. I count the day as a positive experience!

*********** UPDATE *****************

Here’s a news clip about the open-call in Omaha. Click Here To Watch!

Religion Can Go To Hell

18 Jan

I just read this article entitled “Religion Can Go To Hell“. It was written by a college student at the University of Buffalo. It disturbed me. My first gut wrenching reaction was that I should rush off and write an email to the guy and tell them that his friends are right and that he’s going to hell. That his ideas about having a relationship with Jesus are so whack that he’s going to miss the eternal boat!

After regaining some sanity, I realized that this author is not unlike a lot of people today who have turned off Jesus because they have been turned off of religion. The overly judgemental attitudes of some “Christians” end up leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who are starving for something to fill the emptiness inside them. In this case, those bad experiences just reinforced his own faith commitment that there is no God.

You see, every person has a faith commitment. The difference is what they have faith in. I choose to have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my sins as a means of gaining eternal life. He chooses to put his faith in his belief that there is no God. That once his life ends, that’s it. Nothing else. He says that I can’t prove that there is a God. I say that he can’t prove that there isn’t a God. We both have faith commitments.

So, the question is out there. As a Christian, I know that I am supposed to tell others of the salvation of Jesus Christ. I know that the old ways of condemnation – “scaring the hell out of you” – don’t work. The key is to enter into a dialog with people through real and intentional caring relationships. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Once they trust you, they will be much more open to “hearing” you. They will honestly start considering what you have to say because you have invested time in building a relationship with them. G. K. Chesterton said, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” That means that you can’t shut your mind on something solid unless you open it first. Building the relationship is the first step in getting your friends to open their minds to the possibility that their faith commitment may be flawed. It will allow them to question their beliefs and other beliefs. This is the time when you can present Jesus in His true light. That as a Savior that is waiting for them to answer the knock. In his case, Jesus is waiting to come back to him.

I will be praying for this guy. Who knows, maybe he’ll run into some other Christian who just wants to be friends.

(A good book for skeptical college students to read is “Ask Me Anything” by j. budziszewski (aka Professor Theophilus).

Moving From 13 to 30

17 Jan

I sometimes wonder where God is. I feel alone. Abandoned. I take inventory of my life and I believe that I have been faithful to God but where is he when I need him most? I feel like I’m at the end of my rope.

I think I feel like David must have felt when he wrote Psalms 13. Listen to what he wrote –

“O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?”

Boy do I feel like that! Is there an answer to the way I feel?

Of course there is! I wouldn’t be writing this if there wasn’t! We get a hint in the last part of the chapter –

“But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.

I will sing to the LORD
because he has been so good to me.”

David knew that God is always faithful. In our self-pity, God is always there. As I look back over my life, I can see countless times when I thought that God was absent when in fact, he was right there with me. It was my lack of faith that caused me to be miserable. I need to take the focus off of me and turn my focus to God.

When I am down, I tend to read the Psalms. The words are so honest and emotional. They could almost be written today! They show me that I am not alone with my feelings. So I read on. In Psalm 14, David stops being so pitiful and starts worshiping God. Psalm 15 -17 is acknowledgment that God is his God. In Psalm 18, David was feeling better. He was thanking God for rescuing him from Saul! Psalm 19. David is into full fledged worship! His is conducting one big personal praise service. The praise service continues through chapter 21. I’m beginning to see a pattern.

Psalm 22. David has a setback. Self pity enters into his conscience again. Woe is me!
Psalm 23 – Worship begins again.
Psalm 24 – Acknowledge that God is the one true God.
Psalm 25 – Honest Prayer.
Psalm 26 – Confession.
Psalm 27 – Worship.
Psalm 28 – Worship and Praise.
Psalm 29 – Praise.

Now we finally reach redemption. In Psalm 30, David says –

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever! ”

So that is the key. We are all in the same boat. From Psalm 13 to 30, David showed us that when we think God has left us, there are ways to get back on track. God doesn’t leave us. For a moment, we leave God. When we reach our 13, we have a path to follow to get to our own 30.

This is where I am at. I’m moving from 13 to 30. I’m ready for some joyful dancing!

Why Do You Go To Church?

12 Jan

Here is a quote to think about.

For many of us, going to church is like getting directions to a place we never plan on going.
Matt Brown, Pastor at Sandals Church

He goes on to say that it is like if he would give sermons each week on how to drive to Siberia. It wouldn’t make sense but yet, that’s what it is like for some people. They think they only need to come to church on Sunday’s. 80%-90% of the New Testament is about living life together, experiencing life together. We preach about it and talk about it but for some of us, we never intend on doing it. He is speaking about small groups and why a lot of his church doesn’t participate.

Patti and I have wanted to start a small group in Blair. If anyone is interested, let me know!

Christian TV Clowns

10 Jan

I just read this article that talks about some of the past comments made by the Reverend Pat Robertson and reading it brought up feelings I have about TV evangelists in general. If you are going to go on national television and call yourself a Christian, don’t make a fool out of yourself! People that are not Christians get their idea of what it means to be a Christian from you! I for one wish Pat Robertson would stay off of the TV.

I don’t know whether the author of the article is a Christian or not. That’s not the point. The point is that in today’s society, Pat Robertson is what most non-Christian people think Christians are like. It’s embarrassing. It makes being a Christian in today’s world that much harder. Personally, I think Pat Robertson is a bozo! I suspect that the fact that he owns a television network has reached his head and he thinks that he now has some sort of divine connection to know what God is doing. His comments about why Israeli Prime Minister Sharon had a stroke are stupid and presumptive. To suggest that the United States should assassinate Hugo Chavez is not what I would consider an appropriate opinion of any Christian.

Pat, please stay off TV. In fact, stop speaking entirely. I’m not perfect. In fact, as believers in Christ, we know that we are just normal people trying live life as Christ showed us. We are going to make mistakes. We will all say stupid things. The problem I have with Pat Robertson is that he presumes to speak for God and the media will give him a lot of rope to hang himself. When he makes a fool out of himself, it reflect poorly on Christians in general. My Favorite Preacher!Think about it. If you were a person today who had never been raised in a church or had a bad church experience, would you want to identify with Pat Robertson? I wouldn’t.

So, in honor of Pat (let’s nuke the state department) Robertson, I have provided a fun video of another of my favorite TV preachers. Just click on the picture to see the video!

PRAY – Updated

8 Jan

PRAYEvery once in a while, I will be so dogged that I can’t seem to think of anything to pray about. I sit there with a blank mind. I actually don’t feel like talking to God but I know I should. I usually end up complaining to Him.

A while back, Pastor Bart shared an acronym that can help you get through those times when it is hard to pray. I’ve been using it and it has helped me out. I created a PDF file that you can print off and keep it with you or put it next to where you have your quite time with God.

Download the file here.

********* UPDATE ************

After I originally posted this, Bart shared with me that he recently he began using this with a scripture. Here’s an example:

Philippians 2:5-11, “5Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. 9Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NLT)

Praise

Lord, I praise you for setting such an incredible example for me to follow. You truly are the Lord of all.

Repent

Forgive me for being so prideful. Forgive me for all the times I’ve refused to serve others, and failed to show them Your love.

Ask

Please fill me with Your Spirit and give me a heart of humility and service.

Yield

As I wait on You, show me what I need to change and who You want me to serve.

Ministering To The Gay Community

5 Jan

Brian LePort at the Fog City Narrative posted this recently. It is a subject that I have been giving a lot of thought to lately.

http://leport.typepad.com/fogcitynarrative/2005/12/question_how_sh.html

I think that it is imperative to remember that Jesus forgives all sin. Swiping a pen from work is as much of a sin as homosexual sex is. In ministering to the homosexual community, it is important to establish genuine relationships. If I come across as damning right away, it will just put them on the defense. What kind of a conversation could we have then? By establishing a caring relationship (demonstrating genuine friendship) with them, a time will come where the spiritual consequences of their actions will come up in conversation. The dialog will be more productive because of the trust already built-in through the relationship.

To paraphrase a popular saying – People don’t care how much you know if they don’t know how much you care.

Pithy Melchizedek

4 Jan

MelchizedekI’m sitting here trying to write my commentary on Chapter 7 of Hebrews for the study we are doing at church. We take the chapter and divide it into short daily readings and then I am supposed to come up with some pithy comments that help make what they just read more meaningful. I confess, I am struggling with Melchizedek. Believe me when I say that I have read volumes of speculation on who Melchizedek was. Although the author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to compare the priesthood of Aaron with the priesthood of Melchizedek, I think the whole point is lost in the words themselves.

Here’s what I mean. As we read the words today, we don’t receive them the same way the original audience would have received them. The basic reason is context. The intended audience of the book of Hebrews were second generation Jewish believers steeped in the Mosaic law. They knew the Law and they knew the history. They had lived their whole lives under the Law. Then the Apostles come around mess everything up. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah but with the threat of persecution, they were trying to decide whether or not to go back to practicing Judaism. The author was left with the task of convincing them not to make an irrevocable decision similar to Esau(Heb 12:16-17). The author’s method was to show the superiority of the Messiah (Jesus) over the system of Judaism they were considering going back to. All of the examples using Abraham, Aaron, Melchizedek were used because the author knew the audience would understand. By using figures that were so central to the Mosaic Law, he could show the superiority in the New Covenent established by Jesus.

So, back to my original problem. The whole chapter is about showing the superiority of the Messiah (Jesus) over the Levitical priesthood of Aaron. If I can sum up the whole chapter in one sentence, how am I supposed to have a commentary for each day?

Oh the quandary I am in!

Want to see the results of my struggle? I’ll be covering Chapter 7 beginning next Monday (Jan 9,2006) at Grace Learning Center!