Sunday, September 30, 2007

The young Diamondbacks baseball team is fun to watch.

They have a motto: "Anybody, Anytime." They mean that anybody on the team can be the one to step up and that they can do it anytime. This is not a one man show–it's a team. That’s why they win.

Two nights ago they moved into the playoffs. Yesterday they won the Western Division of the National League. I would like to see them move on in the playoffs—but even if they don’t, they are my team.

Way to go boys!


Saturday, September 29, 2007

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1).

Sitting upstairs in front of my computer I am looking outside at the sky. It is beautiful beyond description. Glorious!

This makes me think of the greatest and goodness of God. It makes me want to obey the first and second commandments to Love him with all my heart, soul and mind and to love my neighbor as I love myself. I don't want to just think about it--I want to do it!


Friday, September 28, 2007

Cooler weather has moved into the Valley of the Sun and I have moved outside. I cooked dinner on the grill last night. The steak was grilled to perfection and the potatoes were delicious. Corn and a green salad rounded out the meal and we finished with a hot cup of coffee.

It’s nice to be able to turn on the light in the pool, sit on the patio and listen to the water from the waterfall dropping into the pool.

Scrabbled eggs and hash browns will soon come from the grill now that cool mornings have returned. It wasn’t all that long ago that it would be 90 or above when we got up in the morning.

Headin’ up to Sedona in a few days. We love that beautiful red rock country.

Pumpkins, Thanksgiving and even Christmas are on the horizon. I love the fall!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

If you ever watched Jerry Seinfeld on television you know about the Soup Nazi.

Let me tell you about the Biscuit Nazi at the local McDonald’s. I like McDonald’s biscuits,with something on them besides butter and jelly. My wife likes them with just butter and jelly. Last week I ordered my favorite with no problem. I also ordered a plain biscuit for my wife. The young man looked confused. I repeated the order. He asked, “What biscuit?” I said, “Don’t you sell plain biscuits anymore?” He finally said, “Yes, but I’m new and I’ve never sold one.” An older employee came over and helped him complete the order. I left with the biscuit.

A few days ago I was back in that same McDonalds ordering the same thing. This time an older lady took my order without any problems. I heard her tell a young employee two times to be sure to put the biscuit in. The young lady put my bag on the counter and I started to leave. The older lady stopped me and said, “We better check.” We checked.

If you want a biscuit—bake it yourself at home!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yesterday I read a fascinating lecture by Dr. Joseph Dongell titled, “How Bad Is It Doc?” In his lecture he talks about an interesting book, The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker. Booker examines such stories as, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, King Kong, Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, The Three Little Pigs, and many more. He concludes that nearly every story we tell will fall into one of seven basic plot types; he calls these Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth.

The part of his lecture I found most interesting is this: Booker goes on to describe one particular character appearing in most of the 7 plot types: a character he calls “the Monster.” He claims that the one supreme characteristic of every Monster that has ever been portrayed in a story is this: he or she is egocentric. This ego-centrism makes the Monster (in his inner soul) heartless and unable to feel for others, although this may sometimes be disguised beneath a deceptively charming, kind or solicitous exterior. The Monster’s real concern is to look after its own interests, at the expense of everyone else in the world. The Monster sees the world through the tunnel vision of its egocentric desires, meaning that most of the time, the monster is blind to its own perversion and blind to true reality. So fixated is the Monster upon itself, that it has difficulty belonging to anything greater than itself.

I ask along with Dr. Dongell, “How bad are we Doc?”


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chris Simning was born with a nearly imperceptible case of cerebral palsy, and then stricken with an extremely rare muscle and nerve disease in the eighth grade. For four years he was confined to a wheelchair and unable to care for himself. Later he experienced improvement that allowed him to finish his undergraduate degree from college as well as earn a Master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University in Clinical Psychology. Today his body is still twisted but he is able to walk. His speech is terribly corrupted but he can be understood if you listen carefully.

Chris preached at our church Sunday and I was amazed and uplifted. I drug into church thinking about myself. I went home thinking about God.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

I have found a six-pack I can endorse. Drop by your Christian book store and pick up a shrink-wrapped pack of Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ. You could just buy a single hard cover copy if you want one for yourself. But if you would like to give your friends a copy of the best book that presents the historicity of the New Testament—then give them this one.

If you are into apologetics you may want to pick up one or more of Lee Strobel’s other books, The Case for A Creator, The Case for Faith, etc.

Regardless, do your friends a favor and pick up this six-pack of Strobel.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

It has been so long since I have seen it that I can’t be sure—but it looks like rain.


Ah, but it has already stopped falling whatever it was.

There was a time when I dreaded the days it rained. Now I long for them—pray for them!

If I haven’t told you lately, we need rain in Arizona. Will we get it? Probably not.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Summer is over. School is back in session but I won’t be there. Still I feel the need to give a “Show and Tell” about how I spent my summer. The only out of town trip we made was to a resort on Coronado Island in California. It was a short trip but absolutely wonderful. It was a great reprieve from the endless day and night heat of Arizona.

This has been the longest, hottest, driest summer on record for the Phoenix area. But we made it through. Sunday is the first day of fall. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! We now enter our “heavenly” season. This is the first summer we have not had relatives come for a visit. In fact, we have only had two friends come through. Hopefully more will come now that the weather allows you to be outside without catching on fire.

It was a good summer. I read a lot, so hopefully I know a little more than I did this time last year. The best book I read was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I intend to read his second book this fall. My wife has made 19 beautiful DVDs which we have enjoyed watching. Some friends enjoy watching them and some don’t, and tell you so. Therefore I will leave out the “Show” part and just tell about my summer.

All in all this summer of my 72nd year has been a good one. I hope that yours was too!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Christ Church of The Valley is big! They average 12,000 in attendance each Sunday. They are well organized and innovative. One of their new projects is a new congregation in Scottsdale. They meet at the Desert Springs Bible Church just a few blocks from our house. The most innovative thing they do is—they meet on Monday nights. That’s right. Monday, not Sunday.

Well, I’m a Sunday kind of guy so I will not be joining their congregation. However, I do plan to attend a few Mondays to see if I can help them get things off the ground. Hey, I just live down the street, why not? No, I haven’t forgotten about Monday night football but that won’t keep me from attending. But I’m practical minded enough to think that it will keep a lot of other guys away. CCV has always put a lot of emphasis on reaching men. By reaching men they know they can reach the entire family.

If you were gambling, where would you place your bet, on Monday night church or Monday night football? After a hard day of work would you want to drive to the church building, settle in on a pew and take communion OR flop on your couch, pop a cold one and watch football?

Hey, I’m not a gambler and if I were I would probably lose my children’s inheritance but my chips are on RED—Monday night football!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I like what Michelle Malkin said in her article, "Sally Field Doesn't Speak For Me." Sally said, "If mothers were in charge there would not be any G-- D-- wars." Michelle is a mother and she disagrees. I am not a mother but I know a lot of them and I disagree too. Sometimes you have to speak up and confront bullies and that means war. Everybody has to do it--even mothers!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A mother looked out a window and saw Johnny playing church with their three kittens. He had them lined up and was preaching to them. The mother turned around to do some work, but soon she heard meowing and scratching on the door.
She went to the window and saw Johnny baptizing the kittens. She opened the window and said, "Johnny, stop that! You'll drown those kittens."
Johnny looked at her and said with much conviction in his voice: "They should have thought of that before they joined my church." (from Mikey’s Funnies)________________


Monday, September 17, 2007

Our friends of forty years came on Friday and left after church on Sunday. They live hundreds of miles from us and will not be home until sometime late this evening. We don't know when we will see them again. Life is short and all four of us are getting close to "the off ramp."

Our friendship with the male member of this pair is nothing short of amazing. He is controlling and irritating to the point of making you want to scream. He is arbitrary, stubborn and does his own thing regardless of who disagrees with him. And yet, in the face of all this--he is one of our dearest friends. We can't imagine life without him. Does he affect others in this way? Yes. And many retreat. This makes me sad for all concerned. Everybody is missing a lot, especially him.

Will he ever change. No way! He would say with Popeye, "I am what I am".

I heard a sermon yesterday that makes me want to stop trying to control everything and everybody and leave it/them up to God. I will do what I can do and ask Him to do what only He can do.

"God help me to live each day with more kindness and grace." Amen!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Someone else writing this blog may have said, “Company is coming today.” I choose to say, “Friends are coming.” They will be company but since we have been friends for almost forty years, I prefer the word friends. And friends they are—friends indeed.

They have been staying in Palm Springs for a week. Their home is several hundred miles north of there. This morning they got up around 6:30 and started driving east toward Phoenix. Now Phoenix is a nice place but it is a four hour drive in the wrong direction from their home. They have absolutely no reason for coming here except to see us for a couple of days.

These friends mean everything to us. We know that our lives over the years would have had paltry meaning had not one day our lives connected with the lives of these people who have turned out to be our most treasured friends.

If you have such friends you know you should be glad!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

What in the world are we going to do about the war?

The President doesn’t know what to do, the generals don’t know, congress certainly doesn’t know, Rosie doesn’t know—nobody knows.

The old song says, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus…”



Tuesday, September 11, 2007

REMEMBER 9/11 prayers and tears.

REMEMBER 9/11 with hope. Our hope is in God.


THE ARIZONA CARDINALS FOOTBALL TEAM visited the beautiful city of San Francisco last night. The last two years they have started off their season by beating the Forty-niners. Not this year! Even though this year's team appears to be our best team ever, they found a way to squander a 4 point lead with just a few seconds left.

THE ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS BASEBALL TEAM also visited the city by the bay last night. The situation looked hopeless for the snakes as they trailed in their last at bats in the ninth inning. Jeff Salazar strode to the plate and knocked a three run home run to beat the gaints 5 to 3.



Monday, September 10, 2007

As a child I was taught to respect all those in authority: teachers, policemen, crossing guards, ministers, and the list goes on, including anybody and everybody older than me. I diligently obeyed—then and now!


Naiveté comes in with me thinking that all these people deserve respect. Why flip, some of these people haven’t got sense enough to get in out of the rain (of course that isn’t a problem in Arizona). And some of them set such a sorry example that you can’t look to them for leadership. I see this especially in our United States Congress. What a bunch of country bumpkins on both sides of the aisle. Just being ignorant isn’t as bad as being down right dishonest.

AM I BEING CYNICAL? I hope not. One can be cynical to the point of sin. I certainly don’t want that. However, I don’t want to continue being naïve.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Something always needs fixing—or as they would say back in Oklahoma, “Somethin’ always needs fixin’.” If you are a home owner, you know this is true. Fix one thing and something else breaks.

Early in the morning I have to take my pool cleaner in to get it repaired. It’s broken again. It shouldn’t be—but it is. The part that is broken is plastic and plastic breaks. It just does. I think it is under warranty by a few days but they may show me the “fine print” that says, “No” or “No way!”

Tomorrow—or maybe later today, it will be something else. My stuff is not old (I’m old, but my stuff is fairly new, as stuff goes) but stuff is on a schedule to break and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Tuesday I will get up early and put our flag out in remembrance of 9/11 and how some idiots broke our country. As I said, some things just naturally break, but we shouldn’t be going around breaking stuff—especially other people’s stuff.

Yes, stuff breaks, but I’m glad to live in a country where we have so much stuff to fix. America is great!


Saturday, September 08, 2007

"People just want to know that somebody knows, and cares." --Dennis P. LeStrange


Friday, September 07, 2007

Company is coming. We have to spend some time on meal planning. Big problem! Can't decide.

Well, not this time!

Our friends from California called ahead and made a request. Not for steak, turkey and dressing, pies, cakes, champagne or caviar.



(Not just any kind of ol cornbread--fire roasted chilie cornbread)


Thursday, September 06, 2007

*It is suppose to be cooler by now—but it’ not! However the weatherman says it may be under 100 today.

*The Diamondbacks are back in first place in the West.

*Long time, best friends are coming for a visit.

*After years of being at another church and me being retired for a few years, a young, Christian mother still considers me her pastor.

*I have my annual, complete physical this month to see if everything is still working.

*A new pastor was “called” to our church this month.

*We will fly our flag on the eleventh.

*God is great, life is good and we are grateful!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

GLOOM! Where does it come from? It just seems to come from out of nowhere and overwhelm us.

It is not easy to live a life of joy, wonder and rest, but it can be done.

We must let go of the attitudes that drag us down. We have to stop being afraid of inconvenience. We must stop the need to constantly compare. We must refresh ourselves in the simple joys of being alive.

“Let go and let God” is an old—maybe even trite statement, but it is medicine for the soul.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Man, where I live, this has been and continues to be one hot summer!

The weather man says, and you can’t believe a word he says, rain and cooler weather is on its way to the Phoenix area. This is a big area! It can rain in Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale and all around and be as dry as dust in Scottsdale.

But I know, unless something very unusual happens, that in a few weeks, the heat from the sun will not be quite so intense, the water in the pool will begin to cool, the temperature at night will begin to fall—and it will begin to feel like FALL.

A wise old gentleman told me when I first came to Phoenix that we have about four months of “hell” and about seven or eight like “heaven.”

Heaven never looked so good!


Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes yearly national tribute to the contribution workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our country.

Every day we are told about the great contributions being made by the illegal workers in our country. We are told that they do jobs that those of us here legally will not do. We are told we could not get along without them. If this is true, and since we are not ever going to enforce the immigration laws, we should drop the laws altogether and leave these people alone. If we are not going to do this, and I’m sure we are not going to, then we need to change the name of this day to Illegal Labor Day.

Let’s hear it for Illegal Labor Day!

Today when you have your pool parties and cook-outs, forget the hamburgers, hot dogs and ribs—have tacos, burritos, and enchiladas instead.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

A little boy was playing outside when a preacher came along and asked him the way to the post office. After the boy gave him directions, the preacher invited the lad to church on Sunday. "I'll tell you how to get to heaven," the preacher promised. The boy thought about that for a moment, then said, "But you couldn't even find your way to the post office!"


Saturday, September 01, 2007

My first job, for which I got paid, was working in a small grocery store. It was at Mac’s Grocery that I learned to deal with the public—the politics of saying and doing the right thing. Man, was I ever ignorant of the ways of the world in my early teens. But Mac was patient with me and taught me that the customer is always right. That was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. Or I should say, “For me to accept.” I knew that some of the idiotic things the customers were saying and doing were not right. But I had to let them be right. I even had to do it with a smile.

I learned a lot in that little grocery store and I continued to learn as I moved on to a bigger store. Now, I’m not saying that all the things I learned were valuable lesson for life. I learned some things that I didn’t need to know. At one time I thought I knew more dirty jokes than any kid my age. Of course, I probably didn’t, but it seemed that way.

The things I learned helped me a lot when I went on to work with the church—even the jokes (I’ll explain that to you sometime). I will always be grateful to my brother for making me take my first job. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

How about you-- any stories to tell about your first job?