Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Little Ricky Rides the Range

Several years ago, Diane and T.J. and I were riding on one of those trail horse ride things in Estes Park Colorado. The only other people on the ride (besides the trail guide) was a 12 year old girl and her Dad, who kept trying to get the horse to do things, like turn in a direction other than on the trail.

Halfway through the ride, the girl said, do you know who my dad is? "That man right there", I answered, hoping I was correct. She said, "He's little Ricky!".

Turns out, her Dad was Keith Thibodeaux, the man who, as a child actor, portrayed the drum banging son of Lucy and Desi. He was in Estes Park with the Ballet Magnificat!, which he and his wife founded. He invited us to come check them out at some Christian Music Festival down the road from the trail riding place.

I am mostly mentioning this because the Ballet Magnificat! was in town last night at Christ Community Church. I am not usually a fan of the Ballet, but this was a very moving presentation on a story inspired by the story of Rahab. And, the girls loved every minute of it. Even Agent Pipes son, who was along with us, was enthralled by it. Ethan was horrified that it lasted as long as it did, but hey, what six year old boy wouldn't be.

We even got to talk to Keith a bit after the show. Good times.

Ballet Magnificat!
.....check out there website.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The measure of a man.

"Pain is weakness leaving the body", thought I, on my jog this morning, ".....or, it could be a catastrophic injury."

Dedicated to Travis, who is facing an ordeal today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Planting Perils: Part 2

Sometimes, in your quest to do the right thing in a new Church, you end up stepping on people's toes.

Here is an instance when we did just that with our "Church Plant" in West Sacramento:

Every year the City put on a parade for something or the other. Loads of families came out to stand in the sun and watch the floats go by. We thought it would be cool if we handed out drinks, for free, to people watching the fair. Do the old God loves you and so do we at SouthPort Church.

Well, it went great! People at the parade loved it and it was a great time. The only people that didn't really like it were the people from the PTA at the local Elementary. As it turns out, they were selling drinks just down the block from where we were. I guess their business was somewhat less than booming that day.

We really did try hard to make a good impression on the community and community groups, like the PTA. Maybe we should have checked things out a little more.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Emily and I went to check out Ben Stein's (You know, from the Wonder Years, Ferris Beuller's Day Off and Win Ben Stein's Money) new movie Expelled. In it, he highlighted scientists who have been, in his words, Expelled, for bringing up the idea of Intelligent Design in academic settings.

Apparently, even though there is no viable provable scientific theory for initial origins, it is ok to teach any sort of theory other than the possibility that a there was a creator. For instance, it is ok to say that lightning, goo, space aliens or whatever brought about life on earth, but to say that a "God" did so is a terrible mistake.

Anyway, it must be creating a hullabaloo with some. A crop of articles and the like have popped up in defense of the academic establishment. Here is a sight the National Center For Science Education slapped up.

Here is the Expelled website itself.

Here is an article from Worldnet Daily.

In any case, it was well done and quite provocative. Worth a look, I think.

Our Unit is in the News Again.

This time in the AZ Republic.

See the article and pics here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Planting Perils: Part 1

It is time for us to plant our summer garden. Last year, the melons turned out great, although we harvested some of them too soon, the carrots were eaten by ants before they had a chance and the corn roasted alive. I just found a potato a couple of weeks ago that went unharvested last year.

As I prepare for the garden, I remember my adventures and misadventures in what we call "Church Planting", the act of starting a new community of believers.

I left Arizona and my position as a Pastor in 1999 to head out to Sacramento (well, West Sacramento to be precise) to lead what was billed as a Re-Start or Re-Plant. A re-plant is a much more difficult beast than your standard start up Church and even though I got all the official training and assessments and all that, it was still only accomplished by the grace of God.

I guess you're going to have to stay tuned to see the lessons I learned and some of the stuff that went on as we followed God in this venture, cause I am gonna go see the movie "EXPELLED".

On another note, if you're the type, please pray for our family as we consider our steps in serving God. I have had some conversations about leading a Church Plant and I am thinking about how I should be involved in this compelling and exciting ministry area. Don't have time for getting on my soap box now, but it has been shown time and again that starting new Churches is among the best ways to bring people to a relationship with God, and that is what I want to continue to be about.

I don't like the name, but it is a brilliant waste of time.

Try it out by clicking here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Death at the Magic Kingdom

The girls are showing animals again at the County Fair and we are headed out there again today. The rides at the fair always give me shivers. Where else can you find large rusty metal structures hastily assembled by stoned workers. I still ride them, but they just seem inherently dangerous. Not safe like the scrubbed and polished walkways and railways at Disneyland, right?

Well, a few years back, T.J. and I headed out to the happiest place on earth for his 16th birthday. Ok, we really didn't intend on doing it, but I was slated to share at some conference on Church Planting in Anaheim and he was along with me to take in the sights. Since it was his birthday and he had never been and we were in Anaheim, I said, "Hey, lets go to Disneyland.". So we did.

We had just taken in the Haunted Mansion when the attraction added another permanent resident. Ok, that one was bad......I'll try again.

We had just left the Haunted Mansion and were approaching the spot in front of the Shooting Gallery where my brother and I had stood alongside the railing grudgingly waiting for my overdue parents several years ago. As I was explaining this to T.J., we heard a crashing sound and I felt a whip like sensation across my shoulders and back. Tree branches were crashing down around us. People began calling for help and a woman was screaming for her child.

I dove in to see who might need some help, but the park employees efficiently rushed in and began to shoo away anyone who was not laying down. So, we stood by the shooting gallery and compared wounds. We both had scratches on our arms and some big thick welts on our backs and shoulders. No real harm done to us. A red popcorn cart was completely crushed and I saw a man laying down, out cold. T.J. told me he saw a guy with a blood covered face walking about.

We later learned that a person was killed by the giant Oak tree that fell. It was planted right beside the water on one side and a large concrete walkway on the other. Oak trees, I learned, need adequate drainage and breathing room, or they will come crashing down. As this one did.

We did get our money back. In retrospect, maybe we should have laid down or something so we could have gotten lifetime passes. However, Diane doesn't really think we should go back anyways. I think if I do, I will just avoid that spot.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hows about that!?!

16 years today.

These pictures are from 8 years ago, so halfway between then and now.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What You Might See When You......

Haven't been putting much on here lately, but here is what is upcoming:

Death in the Magic Kingdom
The story of the tree that fell on me and injured and killed others on my last visit to Disneyland.

I am gonna check out that movie at the El Con

Planting Perils
Musings on Church Planting; the Churches I planted in the past and what the future may hold.

I just don't have time to write on them tonight. Stay tuned over the weekend.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Atomic Cafe

My parents came to visit last week. Maybe I will put a picture or two of them on here so you can see them. We went to the San Javier Del Bac Mission, which they didn't like and the Titan Missile Museum, which they actually found interesting. We also go to hang out and spend some time together which was cool, because they live in Colorado and we don't get to see them enough.

They had some cool signs, memorabilia and movies about the Cold War, in addition to the huge missile and silo at the Titan Missile Museum. It is one of those places you only go to when you have visitors, but it was still fun. My Dad reminisced about being taught to duck under your desk in the event of a nuclear blast when we watched a Civil Defense movie. That way, when you are instantly vaporized, you will be under your desk.

So here's another idea I probably won't implement:
A nice little Coffee Shop called the Atomic Cafe. It would be decorated with all sorts of Cold War signs and gieger counters and things of that nature. Anyway, I thought it would be cool. Apparently there is a movie of this name that is a montage of Civil Defense films. And there is an Atomic Cafe in Maine. But, it doesn't have the cool decor.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Leadership Moment

Just checked out my old book, the Leadership Moment. You can check it out here. The book highlights nine different episodes where Leadership made a difference in life threatening or significant events, then analyzes the leaedership lessons learned.

The two that are especially interesting to me are the stories of Colonel Joshua Lawrence, the Union Commander on Little Round Top at Gettysburg and the story of the Mann Gulch Fire.

Colonel Lawrence was the commander of a regiment of Union volunteers from Maine that held a crucial hill at Gettysburg. In a dramatic moment, when ammo was almost gone, the men of the 20th Maine fixed bayonets and charged down the hill, saving the Union line.

A remarkable addendum is that the 20th Maine was supplemented by a number of men from another Maine regiment that had refused to fight. Colonel Lawrence, through his leadership, was able to convince the men to join him and fight bravely.

The Mann Gulch fire, on the other hand, was the worst loss of life in a fire the forest service had experienced. It happened in 1949 and 16 fire jumpers, including their leader Wagner Dodge, jumped into this rugged area in Montana. Only 3 of them returned alive.

When the raging flames began to overtake the men, Dodge lit a backfire and burnt out a small area that he took refuge in. The other jumpers, not knowing Dodge or understanding what he was doing, rushed past him in a panic and were overcome by the blaze. Because the men did not really know Dodge and certainly did not trust him, his great ideas were of no help to them at all.

The takeaway: If your followers know and trust you, they will follow you into the teeth of a horde of charging Grey coats and they will win. If your followers don't know and trust you, they will run past you and ignore you in times of stress, even if your ideas will save their life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

Have Gun Will Travel...to Tucson

My friend David referred to Tucson as the land of broken dreams. Apparently, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek was not a big fan of the town either. Check out this article:
Why Gene Roddenberry Have a Grudge Against Tucson?

Coffee at The Mall

Went to the Coffee shop at Barnes and Noble today. I am sure you could care less about that, but we went with our friends Gannon and Rebekah. Frankly, you could probably care less about that as well, but here is something interesting:

Gannon has decided to begin to work towards full time ministry as a worship pastor, or whatever they are calling it these days. They currently are leading a contemporary service for a local Church, which I have done the message for a couple of times (another detail you probably are generally unconcerned about). They recently put together a worship concert that we went and checked out. Gannon did pretty good. He shared that he has only been singing for a few months, but he has made some great strides. The band was excellent, the songs were good and it was generally a great evening.

The highlight for me was when Gannon invited anyone that wanted to get closer to God to get a cd of the Bible Experience and listen to it. He bought it with his own money so he could share the experience he had with it. Anyways, Abigail was moved to grab it and we have listened to some of it since. Maybe I will do a plug for that some other time.

So, throw up some prayers for Gannon as he prays about and pursues the direction that God has called him to in his life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bad Church Signs

These things never communicate very well anyway, but even worse when you throw in some bad puns, misspellings and lack of thought.