a sign you're from california

Tonya's parents are returning to Memphis today and will be taking back some framed pictures. We went on the TSA website to see if it was possible to carry them on the plane even though they have glass. Of course, the TSA website said nothing about it but it did strictly prohibit carrying on the following items:

Axes and Hatchets
Cattle Prods
Drills and drill bits (including cordless portable power drills)
Saws (including cordless portable power saws)
Billy Clubs
Black Jacks
Brass Knuckles
Night Sticks
Stun Guns/Shocking Devices
Throwing Stars
Hand Grenades

Click here to check for yourself.


wal-mart rant

You might read the title and assume that I'm going to rail against Wal-Mart on account of its healthcare benefits for employees or its consumption of global resources. Nope, not going to do it.

This is about bathroom access. Due to the rain, we went to Parkway Plaza, one of the few indoor malls in San Diego. I had a 2 PM coaching call and needed to use the restroom before sitting down for an hour. So ... I saunter into Wal-Mart only to find the men's restroom is being cleaned. The cleaning lady kindly directs me to go upstairs to another restroom ... only to find that it is being cleaned, too!

Now, I understand that it is possible to have two unanticipated accidents at the same time -- thus necessitating that both restrooms be cleaned. Of course, an "unanticipated" accident is different than the type of accident you plan for :-)

Or, it might just be poor coordination between the toilet scrubbers.

This little episode might have been forever lost if it hadn't been for the sign hanging prominently in the entrance to Wal-Mart: "Wal-Mart has been voted the top shopping experience in San Diego."

Nordstroms would never let something like this happen! Never!

new sony digital camera

On Saturday, I purchased a new digital camera -- a Sony Cyber-Shot (for you techies, a DSC-H2). It's a 6 megapixel with 12x optical zoom. Since I consume mass quantities of coffee, it also has an anti-blurr feature :-)

Here are a few sample shots. They've been reduced in size and compressed with Photoshop.


john lennon, yoko ono, and a theological comment

Yoko Ono is in the news, calling for December 8th to be a day of worldwide healing. December 8th was the day John Lennon was killed while walking in New York. Here's the article from the Washington Post:

John Lennon's Widow Calls for Healing
The Associated PressSunday, November 26, 2006; 2:38 AM

NEW YORK -- Yoko Ono is calling for the anniversary of the death of her husband, John Lennon, to become a day of worldwide healing.

In a full-page advertisement appearing in Sunday editions of The New York Times, Ono urges readers to mark the anniversary by apologizing to those who have suffered because of violence and war.

"Every year, let's make December 8th the day to ask for forgiveness from those who suffered the insufferable," writes the former Beatle's widow, who signs the letter Yoko Ono Lennon.

Ono urges readers to take responsibility for failing to intervene on behalf of victims around the world.

"Know that the physical and mental abuse you have endured will have a lingering effect on our society," she writes in a portion of the letter directed to victims. "Know that the burden is ours."

Ono was with Lennon when he was gunned down as he returned home from a recording studio on Dec. 8, 1980. The shooter, Mark David Chapman, remains in New York's Attica state prison. His fourth request for parole was denied last month.

Of her own loss, Ono says: "I don't know if I am ready yet to forgive the one who pulled the trigger. ... But healing is what is urgently needed now in the world."

"Let's wish strongly that one day we will be able to say that we healed ourselves, and by healing ourselves, we healed the world."

My thought ...

We need worldwide healing but it will not come as a result of our ability to "heal ourselves." Even Yoko herself admits to being unable to forgive the man who killed her husband. That's nothing: there are still people who refuse to forgive Yoko Ono for breaking up the Beatles!

Humankind has advanced mightily in the last few centuries. Science, technology, conveniences, medicines, breakthroughs. Our cars are faster and lighter. We have a longer lifespan than Benjamin Franklin ever imagined possible.

Yet one thing still dogs my progress: me! With all of our advances, we haven't been able to eliminate bitterness, envy, malice, greed, anger, abuse ... and I could go on but you get the point.

I agree with Ms. Ono that the world needs healing but I disagree as to the source of that healing. Here comes my theological bias ... true healing is not possible without the reconciling power of God. As long as people have a rift with their Creator, they will be in conflict with his creations.

prime time jesus

A postcard for December's teaching series at LifePoint.


LifePoint will be working with City of Refuge to provide Christmas gifts for homeless children in San Diego. City of Refuge is located in Sherman Heights and serves the poor and homeless in San Diego's urban areas.

There are two ways to help: purchase a gift or give money. If you purchase a gift, please spend no more than $15 per gift so that each child will receive an equal gift. City of Refuge also prefers to receive your gift unwrapped so they can properly sort them. LifePoint will be receiving gifts and money until December 9. Let’s work together to spread the love of Jesus to his precious children this Christmas season.

Gifts can be delivered on Sundays to 4698 Alvarado Canyon, Suite A, from 9:00-10:30 or after 12 noon. Please make checks payable to "LifePoint" and earmark it for Christmas gifts.

LifePoint Christian Community
4698 Alvarado Canyon, Suite A

Sundays @ 10:30


count your many blessings

I grew up in a church tradition that sang mostly hymns; in fact, for much of the time we sang only hymns. One of the hymns I remember singing went like this ...

When upon life's billows
You are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged
Thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings
Name them one by one,
And it will surprise you
What the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings
See what God hath done.

I count among my many blessings a family that raised me with Christian values. My mother and father modeled humility, servanthood, and a love for others.

I count among my many blessings a family that consists of a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.

I count among my many blessings a church family that has been an anchor of stability in an uncertain world. LifePoint is the most recent incarnation of this reality.

Thanksgiving has come and gone but the need to be thankful remains.


the numbers trap

It's a lesson every pastor should learn early in ministry ... don't get sucked into the numbers trap. As a pastor, it's easy (even tempting) to measure ministry effectiveness by the numbers: attendance, giving, percentages of involvement, etc. We feel good when the numbers are up and begin to question our sanity when the numbers go down.

Perhaps it's because numbers are ever-present and even unavoidable. We live in a numbers-driven society ... the stock market, gas prices, speed limits. Baseball managers are hired and fired based upon winning percentages. Politicians are elected by counting ballots. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries ... the numbers of years we've lived or been married.

When it comes to church life, numbers can drive you crazy. LifePoint had our highest attendance average in October; November has been about 25% lower. At the same time, our weekly offerings have been greater in November than in October. Try to figure that one out!

We had a LifePoint Cafe tonight featuring two really good artists and yet we had a low turnout. Even though the quality of music was outstanding it was hard to shake the disappointment of low numbers. That's what numbers can do to you -- take a good event and taint it.

How do we overcome the numbers trap? I'm not sure ... it might be a part of the human condition, or at least our western expression of it. At a deeper level, we need to draw our affirmation from the steady love of God rather than the fickle nature of numbers.

Stay tuned ... I'll let you know how I'm doing :-)


we feasted the friday away

Hannah and Hope had their Thanksgiving "feasts" at school yesterday. Unfortunately for me, they were two separate feasts at two different times. So ... we had about two and a half hours of straight feasting. Then at 5 PM we gathered at Shakey's Pizza for Hope's soccer party. I could only eat about three mojo potatoes.

i'll take fries with that flu shot

It had to happen sometime in our convenience-driven society: Drive through flu shots. Motorists in several cities can get a flu shot without leaving their car. To reach the passenger side, they use a really big needle. Just kidding.

Article from the Orlando Sentinel

Austin News

Get it with a bagel in Galesburg, IL


bush and the whoopie cushion

A shameless plug for a new design. I did this in the aftermath of the midterm elections. ...

buy it now

The caption says: "That whoopie cushion thing gets me everytime." Buy It Here

a kenny rogers sighting

Yesterday while pulling into the car wash, I registered a Kenny Rogers look-alike sighting. The fellow two cars in front of me climbed out of his Mercedes (you didn't think Kenny would drive a Kia did you) and was the spitting image of Kenny Rogers. I took a picture with my cell phone that I'll upload later.


if this story is true, i will one day be a rockstar

I found this on Google news. It seems like a really smart scientist has developed a t-shirt that will finally allow me to be a rockstar. Read the article.

ken's blogpoint now using blogger beta

I made the decision after a few weeks of hesitating to upgrade to Blogger's new beta version. It has some slick features that I finally succumbed to. Two that attracted me were the abilities to give your posts "labels" or categories. Other blogging software has incorporated this feature for quite some time. The other feature is the "drop and drag" template editing. It would be nice if someone developed elements for Digg, Technorati, and some of other common blogging add-ons.

What continues to puzzle me, however, is why Google/Blogger doesn't have 3 column templates as part of their standard offering. It seems like that would be a fairly common template. So ... if you use Blogger beta and would like a 3 column template, click here. This is the site where I found the code to rework my 2 column template into a 3 column template.


lightbulb head (video)

This little gem was actually created by an anonymous guitar player at LifePoint.


robbing a bank can be bad for your heart

I heard this on the drive home and found this post online:

SAN DIEGO -- A man who police said robbed a bank in the Core-Columbia district collapsed from an apparent heart attack when a security guard confronted him outside the financial institution, authorities said Thursday.

The robber used a demand note to steal an undisclosed amount of cash from a Bank of America branch at 450 B St. about 11:10 a.m Wednesday, San Diego police said.The bank security guard followed the suspect outside and confronted him when he made a failed attempt at climbing a fence, said San Diego police Sgt. Kerry Tom.

The suspect, who is in his 60s, then collapsed from an apparent heart attack, Tom said, adding that he was taken to a hospital. His condition Thursday was not immediately disclosed.

Moral of the story? Robbing a bank is bad for your heart.

Source: 10 News


the house of blues

Yesterday was my 37th birthday and I have a few additional gray hairs to prove it. Interestingly enough, the gray hairs didn't start popping out until I started LifePoint. The girls bought me a fleece from Old Navy -- because dad needs to look cool while staying warm. Tonya gave me a James Taylor CD (James Taylor At Christmas) and a picture of her and the girls.

For dinner, we went to the House of Blues in the Gaslamp. I enjoy taking the girls to places around town that have character and vibe. The House of Blues is a visual treat. Last night, they were having a Joan Jett and the Blackhearts concert so the place was beginning to fill up with people who appeared to be stuck in the 1980s. It was quite funny. I almost felt transported back to East Peoria Community High School and expected to see the guys smoking cigarettes out on the Boulevard after school.

After dinner, we strolled down 5th Avenue to Ghirardellis and enjoyed a few sundaes (only one each). And then it was back home ... to start another year.


the way to win

While listening to the Michael Medved show yesterday, I heard an interview with John Harris one of the authors of "The Way to Win." It's a book about political strategy, especially as it applies to winning presidential elections. So ... with a little free time on my hands last night I stopped at the local Barnes and Nobles and picked up a copy. It's been a good read so far.

The first part of the book deals with how the New Media (blogs, talk radio, cable news) has changed the political landscape. It zeros in on the influence of Matt Drudge as the one who brought about the revolution. The authors call this New Media revolution and its production The Freak Show.

Here's the book on Amazon ...


new series at lifepoint

Our new teaching series at LifePoint is called "Developing a Spiritual Fitness Plan" and will focus on practical ways we can become spiritually fit.

If you're like me, spiritual growth has not been automatic -- it's been three steps forward and two steps backward. There are seasons of spiritual growth that are more productive than others. There have been times of feasting alongside times of famine.

That's probably why I identify with the apostle Paul, who so openly admitted his struggle to be like Jesus. We often like to think of biblical characters as the ancient counterparts of superheroes. Paul would be the first to dispel any notion that he was a superhero. In fact, he would be downright embarrassed by the thought.

I'm glad that spiritual development is a process. That means as long as I keep my feet moving, I'm doing alright. It's dangerous to use human benchmarks to chart our progress. God is more interested in our heart and sometimes a heart realignment won't always be easily benchmarked.

This ought to be a good series.


insulting johnny cash

I almost spoke up but I didn't.

Just a few minutes ago -- at Cosmos, nonetheless -- one of the customers asked to have the music changed because "that man can't sing." The man she was referring to was Johnny Cash!

I was dumbfounded, especially since this wasn't some young chick who had never heard of the man in black ... it was a "mature" lady who was quite adamant in her dislike of Cash. She carried on for about five minutes until finally everyone quit listening and she went back to reading.

What is our world coming to when people no longer appreciate legends?

I've included a picture of Cash for you people who need to develop a greater appreciation for American culture. I hear you can even Google his name and find a few articles about him.