5 Things the Last Day of April 2013

1. One more month til Summer and lots to get done.  Every year I ask the same thing as many of you: how did it get here so fast?  I’m looking forward to all the events of Summer 2013, but I also know there is much to get prepared.  We’ve got our ETC Student Camp coming in June.  That’s a huge project every year but the investment of time and energy is well worth it.  I love to see how God moves in the lives of students and adults during the week.  I love being able to see how students grow up from year to year.  It’s also wonderful spending a week with the adults that we have come to know and love over the years.

2. After a one week break, we get our week of Camp Creek here at Spring Creek.  This is a great time with kids, youth and adults.  This will be our 8th year to offer a full day Camp Creek experience to the families of North Harris and South Montgomery county.  VBS fills the morning and then we’ll have about 100 kids stay for sports camp in the afternoon.  There is nothing like Camp Creek to get your blood flowing, your heart pumping and your legs moving.  Oh, did I mention it is exhausting.  But well worth it.

3. After one more week we are going on our Border Town Mission Trip to Brownsville, TX.  This one week trip is for adults and youth and will include sports camp and a building project.  I think it will be good to get back to the border since we haven’t been in about 6 years.  If you’re interested in this trip, we’re having an info meeting this Sunday afternoon @ 4:30.

4. So maybe you heard that an NBA player, Jason Collins, announced he was gay, becoming the first NBA player to do so.  Lots of news organizations are covering this story and ESPN’s Chris Broussard has started somewhat of a firestorm with his comments made after the announcement.  I agree completely with what Chris says and am very happy to hear such a clear, concise statement made supporting fundamental Christian belief.  Watch what he said here:

5. The TEBA Golf tournament was yesterday.  I played on a team that came in first place!  Wow.  We shot the best 4 man scramble score of any team I’ve ever played on.  Not only did we win, but the second place team was made up of all Spring Creek members: Jay, Matt, Mike Bolen and Jim Murphy.  Both of our teams shot a 55 but we won by virtue of a scorecard playoff.  We had a great time and TEBA was able to raise a lot of money for church planting.

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Movie Reviews and Such

It’s been a while since I updated some of the movies we’ve seen lately so I think it’s time to catch up.

“42” starring Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some bad language.  It’s the story of Jackie Robinson’s first year in the major leagues and the courageous decision of Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford, to sign the first black player in the major leagues.  The movie is entertaining, funny at times and often disturbing.  It’s hard to watch some of the things that happen, knowing that these events were very real and reflected a dark time in our history.  It’s one of the wonders of the movies that they can entertain us while also challenging and informing.  A must go, even if you aren’t a baseball fan.

“Olympus Has Fallen” starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett is rated R for strong language and violence throughout the movie.  Lots of killing in this movie as terrorists take over the White House and hold the president hostage.  I have to say that I enjoyed the action, but I was highly perturbed at the story.  Almost every decision maker in the movie claims to be strong and then gives in to the terrorists.  It was frustrating to watch one leader after another give in to unjust demands.  Wait for the DVD at best, probably just put it on your Netflix queue in about a year.

“Parental Guidance” starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott (from “That Thing You Do”) is rated PG.  This movie is hilarious as it contrasts new parenting and old parenting while also delving into the complicated relationship between parents and their grown children.  Lots of laughs and a sweet movie with no bad language.  WOW.  It’s hard to imagine seeing a funny movie with no bad language.  This is a must go, and if it’s not showing it’s a must rent or buy.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey is rated PG-13 for some sexual content, a drug related scene and some language.  I know it didn’t receive rave reviews, but I loved this movie enough to see it twice and laughed the second time as hard as the first.  Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are Las Vegas magicians who have the same routine for a decade.  They are challenged by Jim Carrey who plays a cross between Criss Angel and David Blaine.  The stunts are hilarious and the ending scene left me in tears.  It’s goofy for certain, but there is a great theme to the movie and a quiet moral to the story.  Also, Alan Arkin is great as the old magician.  You need to see this movie.

Other movies I’ve seen:  “Django Unchained” – Not for the faint of heart. Loads of violence and offensive (but true to the period) language.  “Les Miserables” – Get ready for singing.  “Oz the Great and Powerful” – Odd movie but entertaining.  “Admission” – funny, date movie.  “Safe Haven” – Definitely a date movie, buy your wife the book.

Speaking of books, I just finished reading “The Great Gastby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It’s a classic that I probably read, or should have read, in high school though I don’t remember doing so.  I wanted to read it before the movie came out next month.  It’s a great story with a few twists in it.  I’ll have to admit though, the writing is on a different level than most of the fiction books I’ve read so it takes a little getting used to the vocabulary and the style.  It is a good read that I’d recommend.

“The Overton Window” by Glenn Beck is a modern day Factional book (a fiction based on historical facts) that will really get you to thinking about current events and how they are used by media and the government to move our culture.  It’s a page turner that had me eager to read “just one more chapter” all the way through.

“Killing Kennedy” by Bill O’Reilly is much like his previous volume, “Killing Lincoln” as it dives deep into the presidency of JFK.  I learned some things about historical events and how they fit into the overall narrative of Kennedy’s life.  It’s a compelling story with lots of interesting tidbits from his private and public life.  I recommend it highly.

Tragedy in Boston

It is tragic what happened yesterday as the final runners tried to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  I find it despicable that some would see the taking of innocent lives as some type of virtuous act.  This was an act of pure evil.

But make no mistake, what happened here yesterday happens across the world on an almost daily basis.  Yesterday in Pakistan four people were injured in a blast targeting a political leader.  In Iraq car bombs killed nine yesterday.

We live in a fallen world where those who are without conscience are growing in number at an alarming rate.  I think much of what is happening in the U.S. today is because the influence of the church is waning an the influence of secularism becoming pervasive.  Secularism endangers the world because it denies the existence of God, or at least His involvement in the affairs of man.  This denial allows one to feel exempt from judgment.  Anyone who thinks they can live without some kind of final judgment in the world soon finds it easy to act without limit in this world.

So the church must rise up to make Him famous again in America.  It is the silence of the church that has allowed secularism to flourish.  We must be active and alive in the world today.  It is God and His church which are the salvation of us all, not only in the world to come, but today.  If we want to be of assistance to those in Boston and those around the world, pray for them and share the love of Christ everywhere you step.

5 Things the second week of April 2013

1. It’s Master’s Week.  Yes, the first major golf tournament of the year, and, in my opinion, the greatest of the four majors.  There are high expectations for Tiger Woods to win his first major in a few years and resume his quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus for total number of major wins.  But will Phil MIckelson put it together again this week at Augusta?  His game seems to show up in Georgia.  What about Rory after he finally showed something this past week in San Antonio?  Maybe the recent #1 player in the world has his new equipment figured out.  We’ll find out this weekend.  Believe it or not, but I will DVR the Masters final round Sunday to make sure I see how it all works out.

2. In other sports, March Madness comes to an end tonight on April 8.  Who is your pick for the championship?  The overall #1 Louisville or the strong team from Michigan with so many sons-of-former-NBA-players.  I have some affinity for Michigan, but I think Louisville is going to be too tough to beat tonight.

3. Continuing the theme: Is there anything better than seeing the NY Yankees struggle early this season?  They are the team we love to hate and it is nice to see the big spenders losing.  As a Texas Rangers fan it was also nice to see the Rangers put down the used-to-be-Rangers, otherwise known as the Angels, this weekend.  Though it was sad to see Josh Hamilton leave Texas the way he did and with such sourness toward the fans. 

4. Guy V. Lewis is finally elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.  See the article here.  This is a well deserved though much belated honor for the great coach of the University of Houston, known mostly for putting together the Phi Slamma Jamma teams.  Many congratulations Coach Lewis.

5. Finally, I don’t care for the Nebraska Cornhuskers either, but they did a great thing at their Spring football game.  Watch this video:

5 Things on April Fool’s Day

1. I decided not to post anything today.  April Fools.  hahahahahahaha

2. What a great weekend we had at Spring Creek.  I really enjoyed Secret Church on Friday night.  Jay and I have done this kind of thing before with youth but this was the first time to do it with mostly adults.  Adults respond completely different than youth.  I loved our sharing time at the end as it became clear to most that we need to be better prepared spiritually to deal with this situation if it were to happen here.  And that we must be vigilant to protect our own freedom to worship before it happens here.

3. It’s April now.  That means there are only a couple of months left before summer.  Wow.  Summer is incredibly busy for us, especially this summer.  My parents and Julie’s parents are each celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries in June.  We have our youth camp in June and Camp Creek in July.  Lots to get done in the next two months to get ready for the summer.

4. Speaking of ETC Youth Camp.  We are looking for energetic, enthusiastic, spiritually growing college students and above to serve on our Posse this year.  Being on the Posse is a great way to spend a week ministering to students.  It’s not the typical ministry you might expect.  It’s hard work behind the scenes for the most part, but it’s highly rewarding as you see God use all that hard work to change the lives of so many students.  If you are interested in joining the Posse go to our website and check out the Posse info there: www.exposedtochrist.com

5. Finally, as a start to the Spring, I found this Spring Word Puzzle.  Download the pdf file and see if you can solve the words.  Have a great week!