Archive for the ‘Randomness’ Category

No Matter What Happens

vote-button.jpgBarack Obama? John McCain? Oprah? No matter what happens today…I am proud to be an American. I am thankful for the privilege I have to grow up with the freedoms that we get to enjoy everyday. I am thankful that we live in a country that allows us to vote.

I love the fact that God knows exactly who is going to be our next president. I love the fact that God knows exactly where we will be in four years…eight years…twelve years.

Does God “choose” the president? Good question. What do you think? I do have an opinion on that, but there’s not enough space and it’s not really the point. The point is that we do our part no matter what.

What I do know is that whether we are talking about us as individuals or are talking about us as a nation, we reap what we sow. We “end up” in life or as a nation based on the decisions that we have made and the habits that we have developed. We reap what we sow.

Some will choose to vote based on how their wallets will be affected. Some will vote based on moral issues etc… Either way, we are responsible personally and as a nation for what we decide.

That being said, I am on my way to the voting shack (I live in a small country town).

By the way, I love Ed Young‘s recent series Politicked!

I wish you the best as you vote!

Don’t forget to get your free Shanes Rib Shack meal, Starbucks coffee, and Ben and Gerry’s ice cream! Anything else for free today? Tell me tell me tell me!

Video: Baby Got Book

Have you ever heard of Dan Smith? He is the senior pastor of Momentun Christian Church in Cleveland. He’s a DJ, storyteller, comedian and everything else!

This video has been around for a few years. Very clever. Have you ever seen it? Let me know what you think! :)

Where Did Halloween Come From?

Come back this weekend! I will be posting a couple of funny videos. I know that I just made your day, but please hold back the loud cheers out of respect for those around you..

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Somewhat Special Edition:

QUESTION FROM A STUDENT

(Click HERE to view other questions)

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QUESTION: Where did Halloween come from?

I don’t know. Google it! Okay…just kidding, I’ll google it for you…

No! This is not a post about what Christians should think about Halloween. You have to make your own decision. I am just presenting the facts. I will not give my opinion on here (even though it’s my blog and I can if I want to :) ). If you want to know my opinion, feel free to ask and I will tell you outside of the blog world. If you can really care less about the history, then scroll down for some interesting Halloween facts!

Here we go:

halloween_image.jpgHalloween can be traced back through history over 2,000 years to the ancient religion of the Celtics in Ireland (not to be confused with the Boston Celtics and it’s actually pronounced “keltics”). The Celtic people were very conscious of the spiritual world and had their own ideas of how they could gain access to it.

The Celtics (no…no…no…don’t forget it’s “keltics” not “seltics”) celebrated their new year on November 1st, along with the United Kingdom and Northern France. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On thesamhain_1.jpg night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain (pronounced sah-ween), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. These prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. Also, they believed that these spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived. Frightened villagers tried to “appease” these wandering spirits by offering them gifts of fruit and nuts. They began the tradition of placing plates of the finest food and bits of treats that the household had to offer on their doorsteps, as gifts, to appease the hunger of the ghostly wanderers. This is where the “trick or treat” tradition got it’s roots.

Turnips (pumpkins were eventually the desired subsitute) were cut with faces representing demons and was originally intended to frighten away evil spirits. It was said that if a demon or such were to encounter something as fiendish looking as themselves that they’d run away in terror,thus sparing the houses dwellers from the ravages of dark entities. They would have been carried around the village boundaries or left outside the home to burn through the night.

bonfire.jpgTo commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebrationsnap_apple_web.jpg was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

You get the picture…over time as different cultures collided, the night of October 31st came to have different meanings to different people. Either way, there seemed to always be a connection with the dead.

Immigrants that came to America brought their different traditions with them. For the most part they kept some of the same ideas from their ancestors, but practiced them more as a “party” and “celebration”. Later, it turned into community parties and a way for neighborhoods to unite.

halloween13.jpgWhile there are still people in the world that take this holiday seriously and use it to “connect with the dead”, for the most part it is just another reason for people to have parties and share candy. Parents just love to dress their kids up in dinosaur costumes that don’t fit.

Here are some other facts: (Yes…I know this has been long!) :)

- Halloween is second only to Christmas in spending. Consumers will spend over $2.5 Billion during Halloween. That’s a whole lot of candy, costumes, decorations, and party goods.

- Halloween is the third biggest party day of the year behind New Year’s and Super Bowl Sunday

- 86% of Americans decorate their homes at Halloween.

- Approximately 82% of children and 67% of adults take part in Halloween festivities every year.

- The official Orange and Black colors of Halloween came from orange being associated with fall harvest and black symbolizing darkness and death.

- More than 93% of children, under the age of 12, will go out trick-or-treating.

- 90% of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids’ Halloween trick-or-treat bags.

- Over 10% of pet owners dress their pets in Halloween costumes.

Someone Help Me!

The time has come. I need to take action. If one more person looks at me and says, “Ooooooh…wooooowwwww…Congratulations! How far along are you?”, then I might loose it. No, I’m not pregnant! Is that even possible? I know it was possible with Arnold Schwarzenegger once (Junior), but not me. Leah isn’t pregnant either! :)

I know that I’m being somewhat facetious (a little), but I know things need to change. I used to run three miles a day and weigh in at 155 pounds wet and fully clothed. Now, I weigh in at an astronomical “mind your own business”.

All I’m trying to say is that I need to eat better and exercise more! I want my calories burned to be greater then my calories eaten. I ran a lot this summer, but my knees were about to buckle under the pressure. Well…not really…but they still hurt.

This is where I need your help… I’m going to make an attempt to join a gym so that I can get into a better routine. Also, I know that if I spend money on something, then I’m not going to just let it go to waste and never use the membership. I’m trying to see if I can use some birthday and Christmas money from relatives for it. Kind of like I am sixteen again.

Where do you go? Or…what have you found to be the best investment?

golds_gym_logo_91_large.jpgGOLD’s GYM:

They recently re-packaged their membership package to make it look like you are only paying $19.99/month. Brilliant marketing! Here’s the scoop…

Pay a one-time $100 fee, plus a yearly $25 fee in June. Then, it’s $19.99/month. In the end, you are pretty much paying the same amount as you would before their new promotion. Requires a two-year contract. $345 total for one year. $490 for the two years. If you join with a friend then you split the $100 fee between the two of you.

SUMMARY: Most buff people to make you feel inadequate. Best equipment and options. Average price. Clean facility. Still too much money. :(

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planet_fitness.jpg PLANET FITNESS:

$60 up front (40 plus 20), and then $10/month at their basic package with limited access, but only requires a monthly contract. All-access is $19.99/month, but requires a one-year contract. $180 or $300 total for the year.

SUMMARY: Not the best equipment. Come as you are judgment free zone. Great staff. Cheapest price. Still too much money. :(

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village-people-ymca-23090.jpgYMCA:

$100 one time fee. $50 / month after that. Full access. $700 / year? Whaaaat? If you live in that particular community, then it’s around $39 / month. So…then it’s $468 /year.

SUMMARY: Full access, but will never use all the sports etc… Nice atmosphere. They have the whole “village people” thing going for them. Still waaaaaaay too much money. :(

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What to do…what to do…What would you do? I won’t ask what Jesus would do, ’cause I think I have an idea. I have never joined a gym, and would love to. What are your pro’s and con’s etc…? Someone help me! :)

VIDEO: For All The Youth Workers Out There!

For years now, I have known of The Skit Guys.  I’ve gotten to meet them a couple of times. They are hilarious. Visit their website to see more from them.

This video is of one that they did for youth workers at a conference a few years ago. It’s called, “The Chair”. Pretty funny. If you work with students, then you might appreciate this! :) Today is the un-official “Adult Leader Appreciation Day”. You guys rock! Have you ever considered working with students? It’s fun and well worth it! (It’s not really as bad as the video says! haha)

One Of “Those” Weeks…We All Have Them!

We all have weeks where it seems like everything goes wrong. Right? I’m not having one of those weeks, but it seems like everywhere I turn I am talking with people that have crazy stories about an unfortunate situation that is out of their control.

Death, fire, destruction, illness, separation and many others seem to top the list for this week.

One of the latest stories that I’ve heard has to do with my sister and her family. This week, my sister, her husband Joe, and their two daughters Hayley and Amy got home together and sat down to eat. All of the sudden they hear a BANG, then some screeching tires, a few more crashes, and then an even louder BANG! They were practically thrown from their seats at the table.

What happened was that their neighbor across the street with a four year old daughter, was drunk and got in her car. She put it into drive and hit the gas. She slammed into her house, and then put the car in reverse. She then floored it! She drove across her property, went into the street, across my sister’s property, and crashed through their house! Unbelievable!  This lady crashed right through the aresa of the yard where my neices normally play with the dog. Anyway, the lady was passed out from drinking (not the crash).

You never know what will unfold in a day.

Anyway, to make a long story short, they just bought the house a couple months ago. Now, the damage is so severe that the integrity of the foundation has been compromised! The crash also caused a couple gas leaks. The end result is that they are homeless for the time being, and are staying in a hotel for now.

The lady that crashed, seems to have skipped town after her release from jail. She was only renting the house across the street. The insurance situation does not look good.

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A pic of me and my sister. Hopefully she won’t be too angry with me for putting it on here! :)

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The point to all of this is that we never know how our situations will change each day. If your world would turn upside down overnight, how would you handle it? Are you spiritually prepared to get through? Will you only seek God in a tough situation? My sister and her family are a great example. They have already forgiven this lady, and have said that they just care about her getting the help that she needs. It’s going to be tough, but they are pushing through.

Always look to what God has to say:

YOU SAY: “I can’t figure things out.”
GOD SAYS: “I will direct your steps.” Proverbs 3:5-6

YOU SAY: “I can’t do it.”
GOD SAYS: “You can do all things through Jesus who strengthens you.” Philippians 4:13

YOU SAY: “I’m not able.”
GOD SAYS: “I am able.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

YOU SAY: “It’s not worth it.”
GOD SAYS: “It will be worth it.” Romans 8:28

YOU SAY: “I can’t manage.”
GOD SAYS: “I will supply all your needs.” Philippians 4:19

YOU SAY: “I am afraid.”
GOD SAYS: “I have not given you a spirit of fear but a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7

YOU SAY: “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
GOD SAYS: “Cast your cares onto me.” 1 Peter 5:7

YOU SAY: “I feel all alone.”
GOD SAYS: “I will never leave or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

ALCS Track Record

redsox.jpgOver the past five years, the Red Sox have proven to be able to beat horrible odds.

In 2004, they came back from a 0-3 ALCS series against the Yankees to win the series.

In 2007, they came back from a 1-3 ALCS series to win.

Now, in 2008 they were down 1-3 against the Rays and won an amazing game last night.They were down 7-0 in the 7th inning and many of the Fenway faithful headed to the exits. Many people, including myself last night, turned off their TV or changed the channel to watch Dwight from the Office give birth to a watermelon. What did we miss? One of the great comebacks in playoff game history. The Red Sox came back to score eight runs and win the game!

Track Record!They have done that so many times in the past five years (especially now that the curse of the Bambino has been lifted :) ), but no matter what, many fans just give up when it seems like they are going to fail. Unbelievable!

Maybe they won’t go on to the World Series…maybe they will…either way, I’m going to watch till the end.

I’m sure if we really wanted to, then we could find some spiritual application in the Red Sox ALCS stories. :)

How many of you would be honest and say that you gave up on them last night?(Red Sox fan or not) Raise your hand! (Or comment)

INVESTing

You can WASTE your life!

You can SPEND your life!

You can INVEST your life!

I’m sure we can all come up with ways to WASTE or SPEND our lives. I want to talk about INVESTing our lives.

Last night for UNITED, we split Middle School and High School and talked about INVESTing our lives. We can all be self-centered at times. We get in a zone where we don’t care about anyone else but ourselves.

When someone asked Jesus, “what is the most important commandment of all?”, Jesus replied by saying to LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS! (Mark 12:28-31) The two are connected. Don’t say that you love God if you don’t love others. Jesus said that every law ever given can be summed up in LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS. Also, the act of putting others before ourselves is the best way to let people see what being a Christian is all about! (John 13:34-35)

This is where INVESTing our lives comes into play. INVEST it into something that outlast it. Hmmmm…that’s a cool thought. Right?

Read Matthew 25:14-30 where Jesus gives a parable about talents and investing your life.

Here is what we can grab from that:

1. Everything I have belongs to God.

2. God has given me some talents.

3. God expects me to use those talents. Someday he’s going to ask me, “What did you do with what you were given?”

4. It is wrong to bury what God has given me.

5. Fear keeps me from using my talent. When you cut through all the excuses, it’s fear that keeps you from using your talents.

6. If I don’t use it, I’ll lose it.

7. If I use it wisely, I’ll be rewarded.

8. Whether we identify all of our talents right away or not, we can still do things to INVEST our lives.

I’m so proud of our students! Last night I asked the High School students about some ways that we can INVEST our lives, and they spoke right up. Two girls actually stood up and talked about a friend that is going through a rough spot due to a fire that broke out at their home. All of their possessions are lost.  The end result is that our students are going to help this student and her family by meeting some of their current needs. They are INVESTing.

If you would like to make a small donation towards a couple gift cards, then let me know! Anything we can do to INVEST in this family would be awesome!

Either way, what are you doing this week to INVEST your life for God?

VIDEO: MLB Testimonies

900.jpgIn honor of another fine season in Red Sox baseball, I have decided to post this video that I compiled a few years ago (shortly after the 2004 World Series).

The 2004 World Series was crazy! The Red Sox won their first one in 234 years (or so it seemed). Throughout that season, there were over fifteen players on the Red Sox that were strong Christians. They would pray and have a devotion together daily. Anyway, after that World Series victory, they made a video called Reversing the Curse, which featured their testimonies regarding baseball and their faith. At the end of that video, the players led the viewers through a prayer of salvation. This video is some clips from that presentation.

For you guys that are Yankee fans, I have added a short clip about Andy Pettite and his faith. Also, there is a clip about J.D. Drew who is now on the Red Sox.

Some other players featured are: Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Bill Mueller, Mike Timlin, Trot Nixon, and Tim Wakefield.

Check this video out! (Ignore the “amateurishness” of it) :)

Video Blog: Inner Strength – George W. Bush

This has hardly been a blog that features any kind of political thoughts or ideas (I mean, look at my last post for crying out loud), but there is something that has been on my mind a lot lately while watching the news. It’s how George W. Bush (GWB) has been portrayed about how he “ruled” during his presidency.

I have always been a big supporter of GWB. Most of that support has come from the fact that I knew there was a man in that office that loves God more than America. Some would say that that would “disqualify” him, but I think it makes him even more qualified. No president is perfect. No president will make all the “right” decisions. GWB had what some say is one of the toughest presidencies since WWII.

Anyway, I’m not going to rant and rave, but just watch this video and let it speak for itself. Especially if you’re a Christian and have ridiculed GWB, then I just hope that this sheds some light on where he is coming from.

I’d be interested to know if you knew about any of the information in this video. Take time to watch the whole thing. It’s worth it.


Inner Strength – The Public Faith of George W. Bush from Kevin Murrell on Vimeo.