Thursday, November 10, 2011


I was going to wait until the end of the year, but I am going to have surgery next week and I will be recovering for a number of weeks. So, I will take a look at how I did this past year in my non-resolutions resolves for 2011.

I SAID: I need to read more meaningful books. I have done a pretty good job on this. I will say that Francis Chen proved to be the most challenging. But a book by Leonard is helping me to look at evangleism as discipleship. It is the little things we do daily that are more effective than one big push or pull.
I have enjoyed reading many different authors this past year. Of course, the new Robert Crais Elvis and Joe novel is coming out and Harry Bosch will be here soon in a new book by Michael Connelly. So I give myself a very good score in this area.

I SAID: I need to pray more. I am still not a prayer warrior. I have tried to grow in that area this year. I am disappointed that I have not gotten better in my prayer life, which is really real life. That is one that will carry over into next year. My score, not too good. C bordering on C-.

I SAID: I wanted to be more of a second chance person. Well, this is a tough fight. I want to work on patience, understanding, tolerance and acceptance. Unfortuantely, these are traits that begin to wane as you get older. So the fight for me has been a rough one. But I feel being a second chance person is winning out over my intolerance. A strong grade there.

I SAID: I was happy we were in the church we were going to and I SAID that I wanted to find a mentor..... Well, it was an interesting summer and fall concerning that. God brought a man and a church into our lives. We have started attending a church other than the one we were going to. The previous church served a purpose in our lives and we will forever be grateful. However, sometimes one just feels God's leading in a very real way. A couple of perfect storms led to our decision and we are very pleased to be involved in a small church as we grow along with this family of believers. It looks like it will be both rewarding and challenging, in a good way, this coming year.

God put the pastor in my life in a unique way and it makes the transition so much easier knowing it has truly been a God thing.

I SAID: I needed to address the health issue. Next week I will have colon surgery. Although they will cut me open and do some work, the surgery is being deemed routine. As I have tried to stay on somewhat of a course concerning my weight, I look forward to using the recovery time to reajust my diet routine. That will be helped by a week of broth and jello. But I will give my grade a Hold until further notice.

ALL IN ALL: I can not see my life without Jean in it. I cannot see OUR life TOGETHER without God guiding her and I. I can not see us being where we are, able to make the decisions we have made in the past year without yielding to God's presence and leading. In that area...... A+.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I fasted on Tuesday. Now before you think I am so super spiritual, I fasted to clean myself out for my ten year colonoscopy. The prepaeration started out by me not eating, all day. Then at 4:00PM, I began drinking two gallons of some sort of prep mix that really did not taste that bad. Butit did not taste good either. I drank two gallons of this prep drink, eight ounces at a time until it was gone. Now unlike a bottle of Maker's Mark that suddenly goes empty without warning, or so I have heard, this two gallon jug stayed half full for what seemed like, well forever. But it was gone by 7:15.

Then the purging. That lasted until right before I went to the endoscopy place. That part was over in a matter of minutes. I was home in less than two hours.

As I was sitting there Tuesday evening, drinking the prep, purging, halucinating about food, I was thinking about those who actually fast for the right reasons. I was so busy thinking about the lousy tasting prep drink and how hungry I was, I did not take time to think about why I was doing all of this. The purpose was to check and see if I was healthy down, well, in there.

Could I fast if I really wanted to? I mean for the right reason? Would I be so worried about when I could eat again or how bad I felt or how long I had to go without food that I would not be taking the time to be really into prayer. I would not be thinking about God. I would not be listening for what He wanted to communicate to me. I would be worried about my comfort.

Do we do things out of duty and not for the right reasons? Are we reading our chapters in the 100-day challenge because it is our duty? Do we attend services because it is the thing to do? Do we serve because we are so good and we feel we are supposed to?

Serving, attending, worshipping, fasting and praying should be done for the right reasons. To honor God. To know His will. To better be His child. I hope when it comes times servin gHim, I am not doing it just because I am supposed to.


Thursday, September 8, 2011


Okay, first off, who noticed the picture is on the right? Funny, eh?

Okay, I guess Rick Perry was one of the few people who did not read Greg's Randomness yesterday. Well, the other republican candidates didn't either. I asked them not to mention their opponents and how bad the others are. I really didn't want them to tell me how great they are.

All I wanted was to hear what can fix American politics and what can reinvigorate this country back to being proud of itself and make it progress again. I didn't want politics. I didn't want to hear how bad the current President is. i didn't want to hear how bad their opponents are.

But they didn't listen to me. Just once, please Mr. Moderator, start your question by saying...... "Without mentioning your opponents name, please tell us YOUR plan for this particular issue."

But alas, no one listens to me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Tonight there is another one of those get-to-gethers that they call a Debate. You know what they are, eight to ten people get together and tell any one listening how bad the others on the stage are. They begin by shaking hands. They then spend 90 minutes bashing each other. Then, at the end, they shake hands again.

Then, the talking heads tell whoever is listening who "won" the debate.

Here is what I dont want to see or hear during this campaign season, part Two......

I do not need to hear how bad anyone's opponent or opponents would run the country, or state, or city or country club.


I would love to see the moderator start a question with, "Mr senator, without mentioning any of your opponents, would you tell anyone who is listening how you are going to handle a certain situation or what kind of plan do you have for a crisis or problem we face."

When the speaker mentions an opponent, his, or her, microphone gets turned off and the moderator says thank you and asks the next person a question, beginning with the same, Without mentioning an opponent....

I do hope someone reads this and I would like to know if any one agrees or thinks I am, again, all wet.

Monday, August 29, 2011


This is the first in a series of thoughts on "What I don't want to see from politicians" during this next year of campaigning.

These thoughts are coming in no particualr order and will probably not be seen or commentedon by any one else. These are my thoughts and sometimes I like to see what I have to say.

With the announcement that Wil Cardon will not be using his own money to help finance his campaign, it made me think of one of my pet peeves about campaigns. This is more about the media, but I am sure candidates love to hear about how much they have raised.

I do want to know how much money a candidate has raised in the shortest amount of time. I know all the candidates have money. Some even want to spend the money on their campaigns. But my idea of a good servant is not how much, as a candidate, that the individual raised. I dont care.

Now if there was a story in the media bout a candidate spending some of their money by donating it to a charity or a church ministry or to help a family get out of debt, then I am all for it.

Raising lots of money to spend on a campaign is not my idea of good leadership. That person has already lost points with me.

By the way, the reason why Mr Cardon decided to back off his pledge to use his money is that he found out he wouldnt get as much money from his followers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Genesis 11:1-9 I just Can't Stop Wondering If These Stories Tie In Somewhere Along The Line.

This was in an email sent to me today. It made me laugh and it made me think. I amnot a Biblical Scholar and I am not into the whole Prophecy thing, although I do see prphetic signs from scripture daily. But I was just wondring, do we ever take what God has given us and used it for unhealthy purposes?

Hope anyone who reads this gets, at least, a kick out it:

When I bought my Blackberry, I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, 13 grandkids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world.

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Blue tooth [it's red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, "Re-calc-u-lating." You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead. Well, it was not a good relationship.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.

To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven't figured out how I can lose three phones all at once and have run around digging under chair cushions and checking bathrooms and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings.

The world is just getting too complex for me. They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves but this sudden "Paper or Plastic?" every time I check out just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them in with me.

Now I toss it back to them. When they ask me, "Paper or Plastic?" I just say, "Doesn't matter to me. I am bi-sacksual." Then it's their turn to stare at me with a blank look. I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, No, but I do toot a lot."

P.S. I know some of you are not over 60. I sent it to you to allow you to forward it to those who are. Us senior citizens don't need anymore gadgets. The tv remote and the garage door remote are about all we can handle.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This is a picture of pretty toilet paper covers. You see, they go over an extra roll to be put on a shelf or a sink or a counter top in the bathroom.

Remember the old question about the tree falling in the forest and if no one hears it, does it still make noise? I know there is another question about the forest, something about where a bear relieves himself. The Charmin people seem to think that bears use their product exclusively for their bathroom needs.

That led me to think about this blog. Or any blog. or any comment I may add to any blog. I ask myself this question....... If I post on this blog and no body reads it, is this still a blog? Partially out of ego and partially out of going back to the beginning of this blog, my answer to the question is, Yes, it is still a blog.

There is no duty by anyone to read someone else's blog. There is no law that says anyone needs to respond to a posting on a blog. And there is no reason for anyone to think they need to care about any one's blog.

From the beginning, I had the idea that this was mainly for me. Most would not agree with much of what I would have to say anyway. Anytime I have tried journally, I have had in the back of my mind that I will write in this journal things I know others will read. So I need to write what others want me to say. Not so with a blog. I can write what I feel I want to say and not have the fear of anyone reading it and being offended. So maybe I should treat my blog as a journal. Write what I think, feel, believe, etc and not worry about offending any one.

Bears dont worry about where they relieve themselves, maybe I should not worry about what I put out in this blog either.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Sometimes it is time to break ties with an old friend because what they are doing is just not healthy. Staying with them would cause persoanl, physical or spiritual harm. You will miss the times you spent with them but the decisions they have made in their life just can not mesh with the direction you have chosen for yourself.

Today I had to do something I never thought I would do. Somehow, I thought we would be together forever. We would both grow old together, enjoying each other's company and love our time together. This morning, I started my car and the radio was dialed into 95.5. Aw, KYOT, the coyote, how we have enjoyed the years. I have been concerned by the subtle changes you have gone through. My concerns have played out we have not been able to be as close as we had been in the past 16 or 17 years.

Today, I removed 95.5 from my car radio pre-sets. Don't ask me what I replaced it with. For this is not about me, it is about my dear friend, the coyote. It has turned into, are you ready for this, because we all know we need a new hip hop station, "the new sound" which is the old school sound. Will Smith was rapping, followed by Peaches and Herb, not even the original Peach either.

Nick Francis, I have two words, run away. As much as I appreciate listening to Quiet Music on Sunday mornings on my way to church, I feel so bad that you are associated with this awful turn of events. But, you already knew about this company.

So I say, good bye coyote, we did have some good times.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I got a call this morning from my friend, Pastor Fred Snider. I saw that it was him on the caller ID. He didnt know it was me at first because he thought he had called a man in his church. Fred was helping the man find a job. A good pastor ministers all week.

Before he went too far into the job opportunity(it was in Huntington Beach and it did get me thinking) I told him he had called me by mistake. He told me that there are no mistakes and we spent some time catching up. Last year we took some time with our friends Marcel and Floren catching up as we met up for Rick's memorial service.

I was wondering how I was going to commemorate the day one year ago today that Rick went to be with his Lord in Heaven. It was a post by my friend Charlene in facebook and a phone call from Fred. Charlene said what a great outing she had yesterday and my dear friend Fred calls, albiet in error, to remind me that friends are forever.

On a day that I could hang out and be sad, I can only marvel at how God has blessed me with friends for life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Sometimes the lessons from our small group comes before or after the actual meeting. As we are waiting for everyone to show up, we engage in conversation. Maybe sports, church, family, our weeks, even politics.

As we break up for the evening, Jean and I walk every one out to the front yard. The little conversations, again, turn more personal and comments made often are where I get the lesson for the night.

Last night, Jason and I were talking before he drove away. He said something like there are alot of things going on in the world that he could never support or agree with, moral issues. He said as long as he had the opportunity to speak out, he will. But he knew the trends will not change and probably get worse. But he had to stand his ground. He said we are in the world but not of the world. That is the ending thought that I took away from our night together.

This morning, as I continued reading The Church Awakening by Chuck Swindoll, I came to a point he was making about worship, corporate and personal, on Sunday and the rest of the week. In the middle of that, he quoted from John 17, how Jesus asks the Father not to take His followers out of the world but to keep them in the world. But to sanctify them in Truth.

Again, if we are hearing something from more than one source, is God trying to show us something? Jesus said God's Word is Truth. We worship God in truth. I hope you agree.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Looking back at the areas I felt I needed to work on this year, I see I am not there. But lets see how it is going....

1. I SAID: Address the health situation. I should not just sit there and watch the Biggest Loser each week, feel sad for the eliminated contestant and be inspired by every one's story. I have to make some changes in my health situation. These are more than aches and pains any more. They are life affecting symptoms. I need to do the Big Two when it comes to healthy eating. I HAVE to EAT LESS and MOVE MORE. What a concept.
SO FAR... I have started and restarted a few times this year. I am on a Start mode recently. The 8-10 pounds I lose are quickly found the next week. Not a success so far.

2. I SAID: I love the books of Michael Connolly, James Patterson and Robert Crais. But in order for me to grow as a person, I HAVE to read more meaningful books this year. I have a short list of books I need to tackle this year that includes Mike Batterson, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Chuch Swindoll, John Macarthur, Ben Arment and John Burke. I pray I am not just dropping names but I truly seek out what they have to say.
SO FAR: I still like Connolly and Crais. But I have read more books by Christian authors this year. I will continue to do this. This one I grade a little higher.

3. I SAID: I like to pray. I like to let God know how He is doing. I like to let Him know what I need and expect from Him. I HAVE to learn how to be a better listener. God is telling me stuff every day. My hope is that I learn to listen.
SO FAR: Prayer life is improving. It seems like sometimes I am just not ready to hear what God has to say. I will keep moving forwrd on this. The grade would be a resounding, keep going.

4. I SAID: God has put Jean and me in a church that feeds us very well and allows us the opportunity to serve in many areas. We are blessed in what we do. We drive onto the campus and feel a sense of protection. God is letting us know that every thing is okay and He is control. I HAVE to make myself more available.
SO FAR: I have enjoyed doing what we have been doing in the way of service. Learning to use more of my gifts and not someone elses is important. Score is above average there.

5. I SAID: I HAVE to become more of a Second Chance person.
SO FAR: Right on

6. I SAID: I HAVE to find myself a mentor. Every one needs an idol, a mentor, a friend, a partner and a pupil. I HAVE to be open to finding that mentor.
SO FAR: Oh who can control the wild horse Tonka? I have found myself paying more attention to those who would mentor me. It is not always face to face, but possible in a few blogs I read or sermons I hear on line. I would still like to hook up with someone and maybe partner a growth spurt.

SO FAR: I love my life and how it has gone the first half of 2011. I look forward to what else will transpire.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We had a great week end. For a couple who never does anything, we are always busy. We love o ur life together.

Friday after work, we went to Best Buy so I could spend some of my birthday money. I got a gift card for my birthday and I had already visited Best Buy to buy a CD. I went up to oneof the employees and asked where the CDs were. He asked me, "What is CD?" Well, it wasnt that bad, but they really dont sell CDs anymore. My choices were down to the ultimate Earth, Wind and Fire and Jimmy Eat World. I decided to wait to use my gift card. We ended up buying a disk scan for my Kodak camera. The camera my son-in-law laughs at everytime I show it to him.

Saturday we played Papa and Grammie to two of our grand boys. Dylan and Nathan spent some time with me and Jean. We took them to Home Depot and then we stopped by Frys. I didnt know until Dylan took me there that Frys had a large selection of Thomas toys. After purchashing a Thomas toy, the boys played in our new pool. Yes, they both fit in at the same time. Then, they started to get tired, so we took them home.

Saturday evening, we went to church and Perry spoke on being a people church, caring for others. It was a very good message. Then, we decided to go to My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. A good meal and always good company with Jean.

Sunday, we took our time getting up, meaning we we up, read the paper, had breakfast and worked on the yard by 830. We spent some time with Nathan, Ariel, and Ozzie, well thats what I call them while Mommy and Daddy went to church. They all love their Grammie and Papa.

Yesterday, we had Dylan and Abigal over with their parents. I watched an old war movie, Hell to Eternity, and had a good dinner.

Holidays whould be about family. But I wish we took a little more time to reflect on the reasons that make it a holiday. As I get older, I am ever so mindful of the sacrafices that others made so the rest of us can be free to spend time with family, take a day off from work and wake up every day to my wife.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthdays: Rick and Jeremy and Baseball

The other day, a pastor at the church I attend, Jeremy, celebrated a birthday. I follow his blog,, on a regular basis and I recommend you do as well. I dont always agree with him, but the blog includes quite a variety of subjects and there is something for every one.

Now that the plug is over, I was thinking about the greeting I sent to him on his birthday. One area we do not agree on is our choice of favorite baseball teams. His favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees. As for me, they are my second favorite team. The other 29 teams are tied for first. My birthday greeting to Jeremy included a dig on those same Yankees.

There is a major difference in how many people root for their teams these days and in another time. My best friend while in high school, Rick, was a big Giant fan. In fact, he liked all the Bay area teams. I liked all the LA teams. We had some really good teasing all through the years that lasted all these years since and it carried over into the next generation as his son went to Mountain View High School and my daughters went to Mesa High school. There was a time when Mesa beat Mountain "Pew" in football one Friday night. We went into the sunday school room on Saturday and decorated the room with purple and gold for Sunday morning.

As I reflected on my birthday greeting to Jeremy being a dig on the Yankees, it made me think about the tragic, senseless, all too easy to believe for LA beating of a Giant fan on opening day. Last week, suspects were arrested and, hopefully, justice will be served.

I wonder why we cant have our preferences without being mean. Ed Schultz disagrees with Laura Ingrahma and feels a need to call her a bad name. People disagree with her and she finds it in herself to degrade them.

I hope I never get to the point in my life that I am mean to someone who is different or thinks different than I do. I hope I can continue to banter about sports teams, TV shows, preference in music and other things that really do not mean anything in the over all scheme of God's Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Church Diversity: Look ma, I finished another book

I have made an effort to read more this year. I have read books by some of my favorite fiction authors. Robert Crais and Michael Connelly being the two I like most. I have also tried to read books with a little more lasting significance. They have included books by Christian authors. I try not to get too deep. Lord knows how many times I have tried to read books by CS Lewis.

I have visited a blog by Scott Williams. Up until recently, he was a campus pastor for that Juggernaut of a church sensation, He wrote a book about his passion. It is something he has lived with, been through, enjoyed and suffered through all his Christian life. Church diversity. In fact, that's the name of the book, Church Diversity. Following are some thoughts I had while reading the book and later digesting what I read.

Right off the bat, the premise is set. A quote that he attributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday morning at 11:00 AM is still the most segregated hour of the week. I am sure after reading that line, many people either said, right on brother or "hey, any one want to buy a slightly used book?" I read on.

First off, I love Mr. Williams' passion. I wish I felt so strongly about something that it would influence and obsess me throughout all the jobs I had in my life. From what he writes, he never relented in his thoughts that the church somehow needed continual injections of diversity.

Second, he knew how to present his views. He tells of the many people in leadership positions he presented his ideas to. He tells of how some of those leaders got on board and have encouraged and promoted his views within their churches and corporations.

Thirdly, I do not think he will stop fighting his fight. He believes strongly that God has given this mantra to him and he has got on the horse of diversity and will not stop riding it until every one in every church joins him in his quest. Again, I honor him for taking his passion and making it is life long witness.

I would recommend this book for anyone who has gone to church, any one who lives in a community that is a mixed racial population, any one who lives in an area that is more than 90% of one ethnic group or any one in leadership in a church or companiy.

My personal feelings on this book. I couldnt help but feel as if I was being lectured and chastised for choosing to attend a church that is predominatly attended by one particular ethnic group.

His decision to make Church Diversity a race issue and the way he lets the reader know they are wrong if they disagree did not set well with me. I think Church Diversity has to do with race, worship styles, preaching styles, financial status, location of the church and a lot more factors. Racial diversity is important. But it is not the biggest road block for churches who proudly claim Matthew 28:19 as their key verse.

I have a set way I think church should be done. But it would be foolish if I set it out there that everyone else was wrong if they didnt agree with me.

Church Diversity is one of the paddles in the canoe we call church. If all the paddles are a certain color in the canoe I am in, then that is church Preference, not segregation. I hope Scott Williams never stops preaching his message. I hope he will understand if I prefer to fight a different battle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Being Drafted with Billy Willis and Church Diversity Part 2

I only told that first story because I want to tell this story. I was 19 and I was working for the Postal Service. I think it was still being called the Post Office back then. In March, I was drafted into the US Army. As patriotic as I was, I figured by working in the Post Office they would leave me there and draft one of my friends. They were never as patriotic as me.

Any way, I got on the bus in LA with 35 other guys from the LA area and we were driven up to Ft. Ord. Lo and behold, guess who turned out to be my bunk mate? I mean, guess who turned out to be the guy who slept on the top bunk of my bunk bed? Billy Willis. My friend from San Fernando Junior High. By the way, did I mention that Billy Willis was black? I know, it did not have anything to do with that other story. But he was. We had a good mix in junior high school. I always tell people we had quite a racial mix at San Fernando Junior High School. It was half white, half mexican and half black.

Billy Willis and I renewed our friendship in basic training. He went to San Fernando High School, which was half mexican and half black. I went to Sylmar High School. We got along very well during our time at Ft. Ord.

This is where this story is about diversity. We laughed all the way through our diversity classes. There was no problem with racial relations in basic training. I am pretty sure Billy Willis did not make this saying up. He was a witty guy and had a great sense of humor. But I believe he did not originate this saying. But it was the first time I ever heard it, so I give him credit. "There is no difference in color in the Army. We are all green in the Army. Some of us are just a little darker green than the rest of you".

The awareness that they tried to convey in the classes was something Billy Willis and I had lived with for years. Seriously, I am sure that it was and is a problem for others. I just never saw the problem because I lived it. It seems the only people who have problems with diversity, in a out of the church today, are those who are not living it.

I later went to Viet Nam. Billy Willis went to Germany. We never saw each other again. I hope he continued to keep his sense of humor and served his country well. I am sure Mr. Asbury had forgotten about that part of the day Billy Willis laughed at the girls who were crying. I am sure he remembers other parts of it. I only remember it because some parts of certain days, you just never forget.

I finished the book, Church Diversity by Scott Williams over the week end. I am sure he, or you, will not care what my response is to the book. But I share my thoughts. And I will, soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Billy Willis and Church Diversity, Part 1

If you were alive on November 22, 1963, you remember where you were around noon, California time. I was in Mr. Asbury's history class. Mr. Asbury was one of those teachers who no one could dislike. He was one of the nicest men I had known up until that time. Probably even now, he is one of the nicest I ever met. During class that day, the principal of the school came on the PA. He started out by saying that President Kennedy had been in a car in Dallas, Texas. Seriously, and not as a joke, my first thought was, "Why was he driving a car in Texas?" He went n to say that while President Kennedy was riding in a car in Dallas, Texas, he was shot and killed. Wow, that was tough to hear, even for a 12 year old. We were told that the National Anthem would be played and the flag would be lowered to half staff.

We all stood at our seats and they played the song. Mr. Asbury stood solemnly at the front of the room. Billy Willis stood at his seat and saw two girls begin to cry. He sort of pointed their way and started giggling at them. For crying. During the playing of the National Anthem, he continued to laugh. No one else made a noice, except the two girls, who were crying. Until the song was over. After it was over, Mr. Asbury went up one side of Billy Willis and down the other. He told him how inconsiderate and disrespectful he was to do that. The mild mannered Mr. Asbury clearly showed his disappointment with Billy Willis.

All the while, Mr. Asbury never called Billy Willis a bad name, tossed a racial slur at him or degraded Billy Willis. He just let Billy Willis know he was disappointed withhim and let Billy Willis known that wha he did was disrespectful.

Did I mention that Billy Willis was a friend of mine? Did I mention that he black? I only tell that story because I have another story about Billy Willis and me. And that I am reading a book on Church Diversity. So far, I feel Billy Willis was treated much better by Mr. Asbury than I am by the author of this book.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rob Bell and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

I am sure every one has done this at one time...or many. Just like others, I have tried to add dialog into Bible stories. Like when Peter was walking on the water, I wonder if he was talking trash to the other disciples. Like maybe he said hey look at me, I am pretty cool, eh? Okay, perhaps he didnt talk with a Canadien accent.

I wonder what was said when Adam and God were walking in fellowship in the garden of eden. Did you know that the real words of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida were supposed to be In the garden of eden. Far out man.

Then Eve comes along. What was said as Adam and Eve walked around the garden? Did they hold hands? Were roses the flower of choice back then?

And did Eve ever tell Adam, "Oh that serpent. He does have a way with words. He writes, I mean says, so many things that sound so close to what God is saying. He sures makes me think".

He sure makes me think, right before he deceived her. Right before following what he said led her to lose everything she had enjoyed in fellowship with God.

He sure makes me think. I sure didnt think he would deceive me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's all This About Communion?

The other day during communion, I mistakenly took two little pieces of bread and dipped them into the cup. I wondered there for a second, "Did I just receive a double blessing?"

Then, I was brought back to reality and remembered this, as all things church, is not about me. I have always wondered why there are disagreements concerning the way we pause to remember the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

Some churches take pride in deciding to do communion once a year, on Good Friday because that is the day the disciples shared the first one with Jesus.

Then some churches believe that the cracker and wine is really the body of Jesus. They make the whole rigamarole a big rigamarole and protect every little crumb. Woe to those of us who do not believe that is so.

I went to a church that did communion on the first Sunday of every month, without fail. The deacons would sit up on the stage so we could see them drift off during the "communion meditation" which was code for a shorter sermon. I think it was because the pastor knew the deacons would drop off during a longer sermon. Then the deacons would pass the trays and collect the deacons offering.

I know of some churches who have communion as a part of their weekly services. Some take this as being extra spirtual because they do it so often.

No matter how it is observed, I wonder how many people actually, "Do This in Rememberance of Me". Jesus never said to do it on Sundays, Tuesdays or three times a week or year. He said to do it to remember Him. I like that alot more than debating on when to do it.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I check in with many Blogs during the week. Some more than others. Some because I agree with what the person says, some because I agree with what the person stands for and some because I like to ask, "What the heck is he thinking?"

I just figure, even though no one checks into this blog, I need to type my mind. So I will try to post more thoughts. They, as always, are my thoughts. Like the Buffett song says, "If I could just get it on paper. Things that have happened today......"

Has any one else wondered why the first Bobblehead give-away for the Diamondbacks this year is a cartoon replica of one of their broadcasters? The broadcaster can not be the most popular person in the organization. Unless it is the Dodgers and Vin Scully is the most popular person inthe organization. And most important.

A month into the season and I am ready to be the first person to sign the Let's get rid of Sutton petition. I am ready every year.

See, this is a good way I can vent and stay harmless.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April, In Like An Animal and Out Like Another One

I just noticed I did not post anything in April. I know my thousand of follower(singualar) were all disappointed I did not share my randomness all throughout one of my favorite months of the year. (Tied with the other 11 months).

What happened while I was away?

I was going to try to write some more about my memories of my friend, Rick. As was mentioned before, we shared the month to celebrate our birthdays. To tell the truth, it was hard during this month. There is not a day that goes by that a memory does not come up. So, after I quietly observed a moment for Rick and his family, I couldnt add any more thoughts. Oh they were there. Like when the pastor of the church I attend read from Peter when he quoted Isaiah, saying the people, like sheep, had gone astray. Jean turned to me and said..... Bah. Thanks Rick. Even she knows.

Speaking of Rick and our great, safe, friendly, on-going, fun, never mean rivalry of rooting for different teams in California. Los Angeles has given me another reason to not like the Dodgers any more. I know, the real fans did not attack the Giant fan on opening day. I am sure a gang member, yes I said it, attacked the fan. But how did it get to that point? The crown jewel of baseball will forver be tarnished.

President Obama produced his birth certificate. My randomness so I can say this, I think he is leading the country in the wrong direction. But that is all his opponents had? A birther conspiracy?

Two days after my birthday, I was treated to a surprise party by Jean and my kids. Likein many areas of my life, I did not have a clue. A wonderful time was had by all

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rick Partain: Shared Birthday and Shirts

Springtime, when a young man's fancy turns from Ice Hockey to Baseball, or however that old saying goes. Springtime lasts all winter in Arizona and then when the rest of the country begins to thaw, we start summer.

My favorite song is Groovin, made famous by the Rascals. Recently it was remade as an instrumental by Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown and Rick Braun. It was number one during this time of year in 1967. or 66, whatever. It has always been a happy song.

My birthday is in April. I share the month with members of my family. But I also shared it with my friend Rick Partain. His birthday is April 3 and 18 days later, it is my birthday. I am sure through the years, we shared celebrations with our church youth group. But it was never lost that he was just a little older than me. Even though I was more mature, more learned, more, yeah right.

One year my dad bought me a shirt at JC Penneys. It was a red paisley shirt. I think I have a picture of me wearing the shirt. I was proud of that shirt. One Sunday, I wore the shirt to church. I was ready to show off my new shirt. I walked into the Sunday School room. By the way, if you dont know what Sunday School is, ask your parents or your Baptist friends. As I walked in, I looked over at Rick, I usually did look to see where he was so I could sit close by. You should have seen what he was wearing. It seems Rick had somehow acquired the same shirt.

The teasing was taken in fun as it was given. Laughter throughout our day at church and that is what church is all about. laughter, eh?

Although we played up the embarrassment factor all day, I was secretly happy that Rick had chosen the same shirt I had. It validated the choice my dad had made for me. I wore the shirt proudly for as long as I had it. I had a shirt just like Rick Partain. It was always important to me to do as much as I could like Rick.

Strangely enough, Rick never wore the shirt to church again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

California Road Trip Part One

The search for the California sunshine took four days and led us from Burbank to Santa Maria and back again. The sun trying to shine through the clouds was the best that we could do. We all love to use that line from the Edward Bear song, It never rains in Southern California. But it pours, man it pours.

The raindrops were outnumbered by the laughs and smiles that Jean and I shared during our visit to California. We visited my brother and mother. That, alone, brings many laughs. We went to Klondike Pizza and Irv and June treat us like royalty when we go. There isnt an available anchoive for any pizza for awhile since they load the ingredients on any pizza we order. The best pizzas and I love anchoives.

The long drive back to Burbank and the cancelled flight and the long drive home in the middle of the night could not dampen(ha ha) our spirits and we look forward to our next road trip.

More about our trip will be written on this blog for the three of you who read it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I finished reading Plan B by Pete Wilson. This is a must read for everyone. It asks the age old question: Why, God? Guess what? It never answers the question.

I watched Camelot over the week end. Jean was so impressed that I strolled through the house singing along with King Arthur as he wondered how to handle a woman. "Merlin told me once never to be worried when a woman thinks. They dont do it very often. But what do you do while they are doing it?"

After reading Plan B, I have a deeper understanding of the fact that I am not in control. And that there will always be things in our life that make our plans worthless, that a second set of plans, Plan B, sets in. I call it real life. Some of you may call it life sucks.

King Arthur asked Merlin what good comes from sorrow, disappointment, tragedy, hurt? (Okay, I expounded on the line from the movie. It was a movie you know).

Merlins answers was, "We Learn".

What have I learned through all my Plan Bs? Many, or most of my plan Bs have been self started. I have learned.

I have learned I am not in Control. I have learned that my ideas dont always work. I have learned that I can not be the best person I can be on my own. I have learned that if I dont run my plans off the track, someone, something, some experience will. I have learned that God is in control. I have learned that when he is not guiding me, it is I who stopped following. I have learned that, although I will never get the answers to the great questions of why, when, why not, how come, why did they, will it ever, God gives me a plan to respond to what happens and guidance for growth.

I recommend watching Camelot someday. A true Plan B if there ever was one. I also recommend reading Plan B. An answer within the non-answers if there ever was one. I truly recommend you allow God into your life so you can experience that peace that passes all of our human understanding.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I am really looking forward to Mark Batterson's visit to Central at the Prayer Conference. I am reading one of his books and I continue to pick up tidbits of teaching and wisdom from his writings. As usual, some of his points are things I have heard many times. Sometimes timing and willigness play a role in how I receive the truth.

Here is something I read today.....Satan wants to remind you of your greatest failures over and over again. Why? Because if you focus all of your energy on past failures, you'll have no energy left over to dream kingdom dreams or pursue kingdom purposes.

I do not have Biblical references to this thought, but I have always thought that Hell is a land of continual regrets. "If only; Why did I; Just one more time;...etc

So many times I read in Facebook posts by people of Grace, people living that second chance, staff and members alike, who still are so caught up in their guilt. So despondant about their failures, so sorry about underacheiving. It is so sad.

Depending on God, chasing the Holy Spirit(Wild Goose, read the book), following Jesus is an adventure. We are slaves to Christ. To some that still has a negative connotation. I am proud to be a bond servant for Christ and, boy, do I have fun.

Friday, January 14, 2011


i do not claim to be a book reviewer. i guess you would need to read more than the Sport's page every day in order to be taken seriously. But here are a couple more thoughts I have after reading Francis Chan's FORGOTTEN GOD....
I need to copy something he wrote. I cant do justice to it. It goes along with the current verse the church i attend uses as a basis for growth.
"Taking up my cross" has become a euphemism for getting through life's typical burdens with semi-good attitude. Yetlife's typical burdens, busy schedules, bills, illness, job loss, hard decisions, losingthe family dog, etc are felt by every one, whether or not they follow the Way or not.

It is actually giving up the life I know as comfortable and totally trust the Holy Spirit to lead me. I so need to givein to that concept.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Francis Chan's FORGOTTEN GOD

I am a little slow on the uptake when it comes to important books to read. I do not stay up on the "next best" author or what all the cool church leaders are reading today. When a book finds me, I try to pick it up and go through it. I try to take in what God wants me to learn from the book.

I have found that Francis Chan writes in a way that peaks my interest. It is almost as he is writing with a sense of urgency. Like he has found something and really wants to share it with me because he believes it can help me as much as it helped him. He does not so much as writes a "How To" book but this is what God has taught me book.

As I am going through this book, I came across something he asked, "Is your church big or powerful?" Is the Holy Spirit leading this church, or what, who?

Here is something that really hit me. If I have a manifestation of the Holy Spirit to edify the church I am part of, would they miss me, and more importantly that gift if I were to leave? Oh my. I wonder if I am missed at all the churches I have left in my life.

If all the Christians acted exactly as I act, would we be making a difference for Christ?

Read on Greg, there is more for you learn. Thank you, Francis Chan