Thursday, February 28, 2008

Grab a Tissue

I'm usually not one to share videos but Jenny had this link on her blog and after watching it, I couldn't help but share it with you. It's a little long but well worth the time if you have high-speed internet.

A Pastor's Story

Some years ago, I walked into my office after a Sunday morning service
to find a sandwich bag on my desk containing three chocolate brownies.
Some thoughtful and anonymous person who knew my love for chocolate had
placed them there, along with a piece of paper that had a short story
written on it I immediately sat down and began eating the first brownie
as I read the following story:

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go the theater to watch a
movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about
the movie on the Internet, he denied their request.

"Aw dad, why not?" they complained. "It's rated PG-13, and we're both
older than thirteen!"

Dad replied: "Because that movie contains nudity and portrays
immorality as being normal and acceptable behavior.

"But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That's what our
friends who've seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and
those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It's based on a
true story and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming
themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie review websites
say that!"

"My answer is 'no,' and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay
home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the
good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and
watch that film. End of discussion."

The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped
down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the
sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon
recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one
of the teenagers said to the other, "Dad must be feeling guilty, and now
he's going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we
can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and
persuade him to let us go to that movie after all."

About that time I began eating the second brownie from the sandwich bag
and wondered if there was some connection to the brownies I was eating
and the brownies in the story.. I kept reading...

The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate
of warm brownies which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Then
their father said, "Before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love
you both so much. "The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing
glances. Dad was softening.

"That is why I've made these brownies with the very best ingredients.
I've made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic.
The best organic flour. The best free-range eggs. The best organic
sugar. Premium vanilla and chocolate."

The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a
little impatient with their dad's long speech.

"But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I
added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from
our own back yard. But you needn't worry, because I only added the
tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the
portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let
me know what you think."

"Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before
we eat?"

"Why? The portion I added was so small, just a teaspoonful. You won't
even taste it."

"Come on, dad; just tell us what that ingredient is."
"Don't worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients."
"Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is poop."

I immediately stopped chewing that second brownie and I spit it out into
the waste basket by my desk. I continued reading, now fearful of the
paragraphs that still remained.

Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began
inspecting their fingers with horror.

"DAD! Why did you do that? You've tortured us by making us smell those
brownies cooking for the last half hour, and now you tell us that you
added dog poop! We can't eat these brownies!"

"Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of
the ingredients. It won't hurt you. It's been cooked right along with
the other ingredients. You won't even taste it. It has the same
consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!"

"No, Dad...NEVER!"

"And that is the same reason I won't allow you to go watch that movie.
You won't tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you
tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not
lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain
ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds
that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?

I discarded what remained of the second brownie as well as the entire
untouched third brownie. What had been irresistible a minute go had
become detestable. And only because of the very slim chance that what I
was eating was slightly polluted. (Surely it wasn't...but I couldn't
convince myself.)

What a good lesson about purity! Why do we tolerate any sin? On the day
of the Passover, the Israelites were commanded to remove every bit of
leaven from their homes. Sin is like leaven - a little bit leavens the
whole lump (1Corinthians 5:6, 7), faith and sin, don't mix.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Psalm 23 - For Work

Psalm 23
(For the Work Place)

The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want.
He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray and do all things without
murmuring and complaining.

He reminds me that He is my source and not my job.
He restores my sanity every day and guides my decisions
that I might honor Him in all that I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system
crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping
co-workers , discriminating supervisors and an aging body
that doesn't cooperate every morning, I still will not stop---
for He is with me! His presence, His peace, and His power
will see me through.

He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me.
He claims me as His own, even when the company threatens
to let me go. His Faithfulness and love is better than any bonus check.

His retirement plan beats any 401k there is!
When it's all said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer
and for that, I BLESS HIS NAME!!!!!!

Job's Miracle

I will be leaving this post at the top until February 22 - so scroll down for new posts.

Job McCully lives in Bigelow, Arkansas. He received a double lung transplant on December 11, 2007. My church family, as well as countless others across the country, has been supporting Job and his family in prayer for several years. Now I am asking for a little support from you. As the time finally approaches for Job to get to come home, his house is in need of many repairs before he can live there. An application has been made to ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and with support from people like you, it could inspire them to makeover the McCully home.

All you have to do is send a postcard between February 11 & February 22 to:
Lock & Key Productions
c/o Family Casting
PO Box 38670
Los Angeles, CA 90038

A brief message written on the postcard in support of the McCully application is all that is needed. If you would like to learn more about Job and his miracle check out his web page at

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

There were no cut flowers, no chocolates, no balloons, no teddy bears - no none of the traditional gifts most people expect to get on Valentine's day. Brian has always been good at coming up with the most original gifts. I received this cute t-shirt with the Chinese symbol for love on it - personalized with our names and anniversary. He also gave me a personalized coffee cup with the symbol for eternity on it. The kids each gave me a miniture rose bush that hopefully I can keep alive long enough for spring to arrive so I can plant them outside.

I gave Brian the shelf you see behind me in the photo. My mom and dad built it to hold ALL of the cd's and dvd's that we have. The sad thing is that after loading everything in it there is only one empty shelf left. Luckily the shelves are adjustable and I have already requested a few more. The funny thing is that it has been sitting in my parents' living room where Brian has seen it almost daily as they worked on it. He never once suspected that it was for him. In fact, earlier this week he asked my mom if they could build a shelf to go on top of our entertainment center to hold our dvd's. She found that quit amusing and told him it would have to wait until they finished some other projects.

So there you have it - our Valentine's day in a nutshell. Now if I could just remember to smile when I am having my picture taken.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - EZ Bake

Chef Skylar

Skylar recently received her replacement Easy Bake oven - the other one was recalled - so she was eager to bake an Oreo cake for her cousin JD's birthday.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thankful Thursday

As my prayers continue to go up for the people who have suffered in the storms this week - some just 20 miles from my home - I am most thankful for God's hand of protection on my family and friends. As I said in yesterday's post, I have family and friends living in Atkins who were not even touched by the storms. I am also thankful for everyone who is making an effort to help those in need. I am touched by the outpouring of donations of money, time and supplies by so many people especially my good friends at the Clinton Sonic. It's sad that it takes a disaster to bring people together, but I am so glad that we do come together when something like this happens.

For more Thankful Thursday check out Sting My Heart.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Long Night

Last night storms passed through our area. We were blessed that they weren't close to our house, but they did go through a small town where we have loved ones. The town of Atkins was hard hit by a tornado. At least four people in that community lost their lives. We spent most of the evening trying to get word about people we know that live there. While all of them made it through alright, I know they still need our prayers today as the community begins to see the real extent of the damage.

From Atkins the storms moved northeast through the northern part of our county. A tornado touched down in the Cleveland area. That is where my mother grew up. While I don't know anybody in that area anymore, my prayers are still with them as they struggle with their losses.

Next the tornado moved to the town of Clinton. And while I don't personally know anybody there, one of our clients owns a store there. As they talked about the damage, I couldn't help but think that of the forty or so employees of that store, surely one was effected in one way or another. I haven't heard yet this morning if there was any damage to the store, but I am praying that all is well.

The storms continued to move through the state, killing eleven before it was over. It made for a long night, as we watched tv in awe of everything that was happening. I am still praying for all of the families who are dealing with the devastation this morning.

Tornados amaze me with their seeming randomness. While one house is demolished, the one next door is left with no damage at all. It reminds me of the scripture in Matthew 24 where it talks about the coming of Christ.
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the
coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall
be taken, and the other left. Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill;
the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know
not what hour your Lord doth come. Matthew 24:39-42
And while we can prepare for tornados, watching their paths unfold through the amazing technology of radar and dopler, we can't know exactly where they will land. The same goes for the coming of Christ. While we can watch for the signs as given by the Bible, we can't know the exact hour he will come for us. It may be today for me, tomorrow for you, or next week for the entire world. However we can be prepared by knowing Him and having Him in our hearts, so that when that day comes, we will know exactly where we will spend eternity.