Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

My work has been closed since 11:00AM Wednesday due to the big snow storm in Colorado. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and let me leave you with words from Psalm 16:9-11

"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

May your days this Christmas season be filled with the joy of the presence of Jesus.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Missions Update

Sure, it has been over two weeks since I posted. I am generally not the "wacky news of the day" type of blogger, so you will have to look elsewhere for that.

I wanted to bring you up to date concerning my future in ministry. To start off, I will be writing a short-term missions volunteer handbook and teach a class on what it means to be involved with short-term missions (STM). There are a lot of negative comments concerning this and I hope to show that STM is very productive and useful to the Kingdom if done correctly.

I will also be meeting with Pastor Tobey next week to discuss my role as a volunteer pastor. Yes, volunteer. Not even bi-vocational, at least paywise. But that is okay, because I am doing what God wants me to do. This is a learning experience and will help me get my feet wet. I will let you know how the meeting goes next week.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Journey, Part 3

After a month of mission services and being miserable after each one, I talked to my wife and told her something had to give. I could not continue not being in God's will. To my astonishment and surprise, she agreed and said she was ready for full-time ministry! You see, it is all God's timing, not mine. He's God and I'm not.

Since then, I have talked to two of the pastor's at church. Since I am very much involved with missions and the Singles ministry, I will be a pastor overseeing those ministries. Missions is my passion and God has given me a burden for the Single's, especially the 20-something sincgles that are post college but not married yet.

I will be bi-vocational for a time, since my church just hired another pastor and can't afford to bring on another one full-time. The way the church is growing and God is blessing the church, I hope to be added fulltime in 1-2 years. Until then, I will be staying at my current employment.

This blog will chronicle the journey from here. Feel free to ask me any questions along the way.

Here's to the journey...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Journey, Part 2

After talking with my pastor, he suggested I finish my degree and take some seminary classes. As another pastor friend told me, "If you are going to use a hoe, you need to sharpen it." Studying ministry and preaching techniques is important for effective ministry, which I beleive he was trying to tell me.

I finished my degree and, while in the process, was told of a small store front church that needed help leading worship. I am a gifted musician and had always thought this was the area God was leading me. I worked with this church fo about 12-15 months and the pastor offered me the job full-time. I tried to force the issue on my wife and daughter. Never a good idea. My wife was not hearing anything from God concerning this little church. In fact, she was adamantly against it. She was so much against the idea that she didn't want me to even think of seminary.

There I was, stuck with no place to go. I started into a graduate program in History, thinking I could teach college evening courses. That was my new goal. I was miserable. I hated my job. I wasn't happy in anything I did, except mission trips and getting people excited about missions. This summer, I was asked at least a dozen times while on missions trips if I was a pastor. I would say no, then be depressed. We went to Ireland for a vacation and we fell in love with the people. I could see us holding home Bible studies and working with the small Baptist churches that were trying to survive against the established Catholic and Irish churches. My wife felt the same way. We even picked the same region we would like to live in. I was still miserable.

After the Ireland and Brazil summer trips, we had 4 straight Sunday evening services that focused on missions. We heard from all the different mission teams: Croatia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Gulf Coast and Sri Lanka. We heard from an evangelist concerning his work in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe. I was crying during and after every service. I was miserable.

What could I do? Tomorrow, I will bring the story up to date.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Journey Starts...

I mentioned yesterday that I have surrendered to the gospel. My aife and I did that about a month ago. I thought I would start this journey by explaining how I knew it was God's call and what has happened since.

After spending 9 years in California (8 years too long), my wife and I moved to Colorado. I worked (still do for now) for Association of Christian Schools International and ACSI followed Focus on the Family's lead in moving to Colorado.

Once we found a church and got involved with the music ministries of the church, we suggested to out pastor to contact Jess Moody, our former pastor in California who had since retired, to speak at the church. Jess is very well known in the Southern Baptist realm and our pastor was pleased to offer an invitation to Jess to preach a revival. This would have been about 1996.

At that revival, Jess spoke about ministry. He knew that our church was beginning to look for land to build a larger facility. We were land-locked in a neighborhood and had 3 morning services to accomodate the people. We were also renting space 4 blocks away for extra classroom space. Most of Jess' sermons were on what a church needs to do to stay focused on ministry during a period of growth, warning that if we stay focused, the growth might continue for some time. This wasn't a negative warning, just reality.

During one of his sermons he talked about the church raising up ministers within the church, either to start new churches or to aid the present church during its growth. That is when God spoke to me, that still small voice in my head and heart that told me He wanted me in full-time ministry. I hesitated. People always said that I could be a preacher like my grandpa, but that idea always scared me. For one, Grandpa was a great preacher and pastor and I didn't want to be held to that measuring stick.

I kept silent for a few years, but that still, small voice kept telling me I needed to surrender to Him. I thought that all of mission trips I did would suffice. They did not. The trips would be a part of my decision, but they were not a replacement for complete surrender.

I finally talked to my paster about this. I will mention tomorrow his comments and the further developments. I am not in faover of long blog entries and this one has stretched the limits! I will continue tomorrow with the journey.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Crummy Church Signs

Ever see a church sign and wonder what the heck they were thinking when they posted it? Check out this website. Enjoy!

New Direction

This blog will take a new direction. I have read enough blogs by men who were apparently called to full-time ministry, yet have left the church and writing about their reasons why they left. God has called me to full-time ministry and I am surrendering to His call. The plan is to chronicle the journey, its ups and downs, the endurance of the race. I am not casting judgement on any of the blogs I have read. I just find it troubling.

To the journey, may God lead and, at times carry me, to do His will.


The writer of Hebrews in chapter 10 verses 32-39 tells us to endure. The word for endure means to remain under a load. A better description may be of a soldier under attack by the enemy, recieving the full brunt of the attack, yet having the strength to retaliate and win.

This is what we, as Christians, need to do, no matter the circumstances. God has promised to be faithful, so we need to cling to Him and trust in His promises.

verse 39 "We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."

Friday, October 27, 2006

18" and what do you get...

Ok, so Tennessee Ernie Ford sang about 18 tons of coal, but we had 18" of snow plus a whole lot of wind. Most businesses were closed yesterday. It was blizzard conditions from 4am to 4pm. I had a nice 2-3' snow drift in my driveway but the 18" or more of snow in the road kept everyone at home. Now I am at work, it will be in the upper 50's today and 60's for the next week. Welcome to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Typical Fall in Colorado

We had six inches of snow last week, then 60-70 degree weather. It will be 70 degrees today with a blizzard warning tonight and tomorrow! Really! We are supposed to get up to a foot of snow with susatined winds of 35 mph. Looks like I might get caught up with my reading for my graduate classes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mid-West Fall Classic

Tigers and Cardinals...Mickey Lolich vs. Bob Gibson...Dizzy Dean and the Gas House Gang. Great baseball history. Will we remember Suppan vs. Verlander in 30 years? Hopefully. The Cardinals have the worst record for a World Series participant in recent memory...Maybe ever.

I am normally a National League guy all the way, but I am tired of the Cards. Ever since Mark Maguire retired, it is hard to root for them. I will be going for the Tigers. The Tigers can continue the trend of old-school teams winning the series. Red Sox, White Sox and now the Tigers. Of course, the Cardinals aren't the new kids on the block like the Marlins or Arizona. Hopefully it will stretch out to 7 games that are pitching duals.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Way Behind

Yeah, yeah, I know. It has been several days between posts. The Reds are out and the first round of playoffs are over with. NLCS is Cards/Mets and ALCS is A's/Tigers. Basketball training camp has started, hockey regular season has started and the NFL finished week 5. This is the great convergance of sports; sort of like when all the planets align.

Here's a look at my favorite teams:

Colts: 5-0, but not firing on all cylinders

Steelers: 1-3 and trying to find themselves

IU Hoosiers Football: 3-3 and not scaring anybody

Reds: Finished with a 80-82 record but showed better pitching depth in the second half of the season. Aaron Harang could win the NL Cy Young award.

Pacers: Why is Stephen Jackson still on the team? Get rid of him and his 9mm handgun.

Penguins: Nice start to the season, but sold to a Canadien businessman. A move north in the future, eh?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Three Problems With the Emerging Church

I like Brent Barnett's take on the Emrging Church syndrome. I am very hesitant about this phenamena. I agree with his view of deception. Read on at his site, Relevant Bible Teaching.

The emerging church is a contradiction and an ethereal entity. It is always unsure of itself, keeping up a continual “conversation” (one of their favorite words) but never coming to any real conclusions. This is something to really be wary of because the deceptions are more subtle in practice than it might at first seem.

Three Games Left

Still alive with 3 games left in Pittsburgh. Harang and Arroyo are pitching. Cardinals may be forced to play a makeup game on Monday in San Francisco.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

There is Still a Pulse

Just when I counted the Reds out, they started showing some life (not to mention the Cards going on a nosedive). With 5 games left they are 2 1/2 games out. I am not buying my playoff tickets, but there is still hope. It has been a long time since there were only 5 games left and the Reds were still in it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Reds Are Out

Ok, 16 games left and 4 1/2 out. The Reds are done. They had a 3 game series at home against the Padres, who have the wild card lead, and had a chance to get within 1/2 a game. After only scoring 2 runs in the last two games (10-0 in game 2 of the series), they are now unofficially out. Yes, they are mathmatically in the race, but when you go 4-16, you don't deserve to go to the playoffs. They do have a good nucleus to work with and next year could be a great year in Cincy. This year, the Queen City will just have to accept "would'aves" and "should'aves".

Monday, September 11, 2006

Arroyo Keeps winning

Bronson Arroyo won for the 3rd straight time with another impressive 8-inning outing. Too bad he disappeared during the middle of the season. The Reds need a serious winning streak. Not just a 6 or 7 gamer, but a 10-11 gamer.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Lona

Today is my lovely wife's birthday. She is...well I won't tell you how old she is, but she doesn't look or act her age, but 10 years younger. I am a lucky man! She loves muder mysteries, especially those produced by A&E, so I got her season 2 of Foyle's War, which is based in England during WWII. Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Arroyo's First Shut-out

Bronson Arroyo pitched his first career shutout last night as the Reds beat the Giants 3-0. The Reds shot themselves in the foot over the last two weeks by having a 2-8 road trip and losing their first game at home. 11 games ago they beat the Giants on the first game of the road trip and was tied for first with the Cardinals. Since then thay have dropped to 6 games behind the Cards and 3 games out of the wild card slot. Still plenty of games to go, but more wins are preferable to more losses. Now we find out the Jr Griffey dislocated his big toe two nights ago trying to catch a Barry Bonds homerun.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hank and Camp Runamuck

It has been mentioned on another site about Thursday night TV in 1965-66. Besides Time Tunnel, Hank and Camp Runamuck were mentioned. While I never saw Hank, I know of the other because of Dav Madden who played Mr. Kincaid on the Partridge Family. Both very funny shows but only 1 season wonders. Here are a couple of pictures but none from the Time Tunnel. I loved that show.

Pompey Continues to Win

Portsmouth FC, or known as Pompey to fans, has started the season 2-0-1 without allowing a goal. They are only behind perrenial powerhouse Manchester United. For those of you bewildered at what I am mentioning, I am talking about English Premiership Football...Soccer.

Go Pompey!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Coming Soon to a TV Land Near You

TV Land will be airing Star Trek: The Original Series starting in September. Just thought you might like to know.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Storm a Brewin'

It is storming out pretty good. It matches my mood right now. I have not been in the mood to write. I don't know why; just haven't. I have two short papers to write this weekend for my grad classes. Yippee!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another Series Win

Although yesterday's game had a weird 7th inning and the Reds lost, they still won the series; 2 out of 3. Now they are on a 10 game, west coast trip starting with 4 games against the Giants tonight.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Beautiful Course

I got to play at this course yesterday. It was beautiful. After the wind calmed down, play got better. Click on the tour button and look at some of the holes. It was like playing in the Graden of the Gods, a local state park in Colorado. I played well for not touching a club in 3 months. My drives were 280-300 yds and I was putting well though I couldn't chip worth a darn. We had a 4-some and played a 2 man scramble. My team shot a 78 and the other an 83.

Monday, August 21, 2006

And they thought this was a good idea?!?!

An eatery named after Hitler, Hitler's Cross, just opened in India. Have a double Fuerer on rye for lunch while smoking your hooka. Probably the worst marketing ploy in history.

Go Pompey!

I like soccer and am a supporter of Portsmouth of the Enlish Premier League (EPL). Pompey started the season with a 3-0 win over the Blackburn Rovers (Brad Friedel is their captain and keeper). My best friend from California, Chris, is a native of Portsmouth and Pompey fanatic. Maybe he influenced me a little bit!

Reds Win the Series!!!!!

Well, it's not that big of a series. A weekend series angainst the last place Pirates. After being embarressed in game one, the Reds blew them out in game 2 and got a solid pitching performance from Aaron Harang yesterday. That win kept the Reds 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and 2 games up on Arizona for the Wild Card spot. Keep taking two of three guys and you will be in the playoffs.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back to School

Starting Monday, I will be going back to school to work on a Masters degree in History. I would like to teach evening classes at the local community college or one of the other local colleges in town. Our local colleges need more Christians within the faculty. While I was finishing my undergrad a couple of years ago, God impressed upon me the need for Christian teachers in the universities and colleges. I want to live my faith while teaching.

But We Lost

The Reds lost a tough game yesterday. Kyle Lohse has been a great pickup from the Twins. He has given up only 4 runs in 15 innings of work; two relief stints and one start. He has no desicions yet. He pitched 7 innings giving up 5 hits and 1 run yesterday, but the Reds lost 2-1. Coach Narron said it was a great game, except we lost. Other than 3 games in LA, the Reds schedule is against teams with losing records the rest of the season. Time to get busy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bronson Wins!!!

Hey, Bronson Arroyo finally won a game. After 10 winless starts he got a much needed win against the Cardinals. A win today will leave the Reds a half game out of first.

Tough Day

Yesterday was the funeral for my friend's husband. The church was packed. It was a nice service. But we shouldn't have been there. We did not need to be there. One selfish act caused a lot of grief and grieving for a lot of people. As I sat there, I felt so sorry for my friend and her two daughters. I prayed for them that God would grant them peace to deal with life after the service. I was also getting angry. Angry at her husband. I was in a sour mood the whole day. It is the first time I have known someone who committed suicide. I hated being there. An unnecessary gathering.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Life Really Bites

Today has been a sober day. The whole weekend actually. The husband of a friend committed suicide last Thursday evening. The whole family are believers, so this is tough stuff. The husband, wife and 2 older teenage daughters were very active in the Evangelism Explosion (EE) ministry at the church. I got to know the wife well because we were teamed up one semester (with another person).

He was a doctor and she is a nurse and they owned three different medical businesses. They were both fitness nuts and he got involved with steriods. She kept telling him to stop using them. He overdosed on the steriods which caused a major chemical imbalance in his body. He went into a deep depression and was not making rational decisions. She had to go away for a conference last week. While she was away, he moved all their monies into her accounts, set up the girls college funds and went out into the woods and shot himself in the head.

Everyone at church who knew them have been in shock. The wife is angry, not at God but at her husband. She said that when she sees him in heaven she is going to punch him! At least she hasn't lost her great sense of humor. Please pray for this family. Names are left out for obvious reasons.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Free Lunch?

With every privilege we receive, a tax is levied.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

15 minutes

No, not 15 minutes of fame but I shaved 15 minutes off the bike commute. Not that I was able to take the hills better but I found a way that cut at least 5 minutes off plus I did not have to walk as much. There are still 3 hills that will take some time to conquer, but I was happy with the progress.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One Book...

I saw this on Scot McKnight's site and decided to play along. I will not include the Bible because that would be the answer to most of these questions.

1. One book that changed your life: D. Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship. I read this a few years ago on a trip to Brazil. I rank him up there with the Apostle Paul when it comes to indepth writing.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: C.S. Lewis, Narnia Chronicles. Each book is a classic.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Tolkien, The Hobbit. Has always been my favorite book of the Middle Earth series.

4. One book that made you laugh: Anything by P.G. Wodehouse, especially the Jeeves and Wooster stories.

5. One book that made you cry: Something for Joey. I can't remember who wrote it but it is about John Cappaletti who played football for Penn State and his youngest brother was dying of cancer.

6. One book you wish you had written: The Foundation Series by Asimov.

7. One book you wish had never been written: A. Hitler, Mein Kampf. The mind of demented soul. (This was Scot's choice and I can't think of anything else.)

8. One book you’re currently reading: E. Wiesel, The Night Trilogy. There is a powerful forward to this book by a French Christian. Too bad there aren't more Frenchmen who believe as he does.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.


Today, I rode my bike to work for the first time. With gas prices going up and my not so svelte body, I decided I needed the excercise and the savings. Living in Colorado Springs means hills. Lots of them. I think I found the path of least resistance, but you can't avoid the hills! I left at 6:30 hoping to be into the office by 7:30. I arrived at 7:15 (pat on the back). I had to walk a few times up the steepest hills, so my goal is to make it the whole way without walking. That should cut it to a 30 minute commute. Of course, now I have to get home...

Monday, August 07, 2006

My Brazilian Friends

Brazil Trip

Here are a couple of pictures of the church construction and of the dedication service. Over 400 were in the building that should hold only 200.

Kirk's First Mission?

With a 30 year old Matt Damon as the strong candidate for a younger Capt. Kirk, the story seems to start with his first command aboard the Enterprise. That is better than a proposed Star Fleet Academy scenario.

Big Series

Well, the Reds took 2 of 3 from the Braves after being swept by the Dodgers. They had a chance to sweep the Braves but the weakest link in the bullpen trades, Majewski, blew it again and lost the game. This guy hasn't pitched a 1-2-3 inning yet. Time to cut the baggage and use the other guys. Lohse pitched a good 5 innings in his first start for the Reds. Now there is an important 4 game series with the Cardinals. A sweep puts the Reds in first place.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Star Trek XI

Rumor is that Matt Damon will play a young Captain Kirk. I love all things Star Trek, so hopefully Abrams won't screw it up!

Blue Sweep

Greg Maddux was vintage last night. A 6-inning no-hitter. He did not return after the short rain delay in the 7th inning. To his credit, Eric Milton was great for the 2nd straight start. He gave up a 2 run homer in the first and then 6 shutout innings. Its not his fault the Reds scoring machine turned into the little engine that could. So much for the 8-2 homestand! Oh, by the way, Maddux is 4-0 against the Reds this year and could gain another win later in the month.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another loss to the Blue

The Reds lost another to the LA Dodgers (my wife and dad's favorite team). The Reds got 4 hits, albeit 3 of them the homerun variety and lost 5-3. The bullpen did its job but after it was handed a 5-2 deficit. Today's game showcases Greg Maddux' debut as a Dodger. Not too many 300 game winners have ever been traded. The Reds have never fared well against Maddux.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Red-faced Loss

The Reds lost a bad game to the Dodgers last night. Arroyo has not won a game since June and the new-look bullpen gave up four runs! That was the first of a 10 game homestand. Hopefully it will get better. I had hoped for an 8-2 record at home.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Playoff Drive

The Reds have been making moves since the All-Star break to bolster the bullpen. The bullpen's ERA was over 5 before the break but about 3.5 since then. Eddie Guardado and company have made a difference. Now add Rheal Cormier (1.79 era) into the mix and the pen is even stronger. It should be a fun final couple of months.


I am back from Brazil. What an awesome trip! We were amazed at what God did, not only for us, but the work at the job site and the changed hearts. I am so thankful for all the prayer warriors at church and at home. The prayers of a righteous man availeth much. The church was built in 3 days and there were over 400 people at the dedication service. The church will comfortably hold about 200! I will share pictures of the church and the people soon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Through the Eyes of a Child

My youngest child, Ian, will be 3 in September. I wonder what he will remember about this trip to Ireland. I tried to get several pictures of him. He has some great, funny expressions. He loves trains and planes, especially Thomas the Tank Engine and Jay-Jay. We found a train museum in a pub (where else!?!) and he loved it. Here are a few pictures of the little guy enjoying his trip to Ireland.

Brazil Mission Trip

Friday morning I will be heading down to Brazil as part of a team of 11 from my church. There will be 20 people total on the trip. We will be building a church in Luzilandia, Brazil. This will be the 10th time God has sent me to Brazil to work with Christian Missions Unlimited (CMU) building churches. I am excited about the trip and will share pictures and stories with you upon my return.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Killarney is a city at the gateway to the Ring of Kerry and the Killarney National Park. There is a nice cathedral in the city with two fun sites that take up most of your day: Muckross House and Ross Castle.

Muckross House (bottom picture) can be toured and has extensive gardens. We enjoyed the outside as much as the inside. They grow Brazilian rhubarb that has enormous leaves. We had to stand Ian under a leaf to have perspective of the size!

Ross Castle was refurbished about 10 years. They have done a great job of putting it back together as it once may have been. Because of the burdonsome taxes levied upon the Irish by the English, the castle went into ruin during the early 1800's. They were given a roof tax (based on the square footage of the roof). If they didn't have the money, the roof was taken off. Without the roof, it did not take long for the castle to fall into ruin.

Innisfallen Island is the site of a 6th century monastery. Brian Buru, the first high king of Ireland, was educated here and the Innisfallen Annals were written during the 11th - 12th centuries. This is about a mile by boat from Ross Castle and is a beautiful little island.

The monastic sites were my favorite part of the trip. These Irish monks preserved the scriptures and ancient writings during a time when Europe could not read or write. I always try tp imagine what life was like within the monastery.


Even though the year is half over, these pertain to the rest of the year as much as the first half.

1. The Bible will still have the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ballyliffin Golf Club

Dad and I were to play golf at the northern most course in Ireland. Due to car problems, we could not play, but we stopped by the course to take pictures. Dad was a little intimidated by the course! The course is named after the rocky island which you can see in the distance. We passed a driving range with sheep. Hit 3 sheep and win a prize!

Rock of Cashel

This is the Rock of Cashel, the high seat of the Irish Kings. It is on a high hill and can see 50 miles in every direction on a clear day. It was also a monestary. The oldest building on the site was built in the 9th century. It was used up to the early 1800's until there was a hurricane that hit the island and knocked a chunk of the castle off. That's the picture on the top. The middle picture is the church and bottom is a view from town. The bishop decided that he would build a new cathedral in the town instead of on top of the hill.

A High Cross

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

World Cup Sockey

After watching about 20 matches of the World Cup, I realized that these guys could not play any other sport. They are too fragile, too wimpy, too French (except for the African nations). These guys dive and roll around as if a limb had been severed.

I propose that they lace up skates, flood the pitch with water and play on ice with no extra padding. They can wear the shin guards, but still in shorts and jerseys. This would eliminate diving, dangerous kicks and tackling from behind. Hockey players lose teeth, get sticthes and return to the ice. Let's call it sockey and see who headbutts whom.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The miraculous life of Jonathan Swain

I don't know if you have read this article about a baby that contracted AIDs and is now a 23 year old man with a wife and child. Awesome reading.

Ireland, Part 3

The Ring of Beara is another peninsula similar to Kerry, just as beautiful and yet, less traveled. The town of Bantry is nearby and is a beautiful coastal town. Bantry is where St. Brendan the Navigator set off too seek lands to the west. While in Bantry, we toured Bantry House which was significant for protecting Ireland from a French naval invasion. A sunken French ship has been found off the coast and an exhibit is being created at the house.

I forgot to mention that we visited Derrynane House in Kerry. This is where Daniel O'Connell, the liberator of Ireland, lived. He was the George Washington or Thomas Jefferson of Ireland. It was pretty cool seeing the "Proclomation" which is their declaration of independence from England.

Tomorrow will be the Rock of Cashel.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ireland, Part 2

The next day we drove down to Co. Kerry, which is the region of Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Ring of Berra and the Killarney National Park. We stayed in a farmhouse, the Knocknaman House. This farmhouse was on a v ery narrow, one-lane (two-way) lane. This made my dad a bit nervous! He said I drove too fast! It was about 5K out of the small village of Milltown. We looked for Bunratty Castle but circled too many roundabouts and went off to do other things.

The next day we drove around the Ring of Kerry. This was beautiful. It is a peninsula that has quaint little villages, beautiful coastline and several ring forts and iron-age sites. There are a lot of fishing boats of which Ian loved to see. The weather was overcast, misty and windy. We wished it was clearer and less windy. I could spend a whole week in this area, taking my town exploring the little villages, the old churches and the ancient sites.

Tomorrow will be the Ring of Berra

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ireland Recap

Four weeks ago today I left for Ireland with my family, my dad and the inlaws, 7 in all. We flew in to Shannon, arriving about 7:30 Saturday morning. After getting our rental car and dropping off the luggage at our B&B, we drove off to an area called the Burren. This is a strange geographical area of Ireland that supports little vegetation. Other than some scrub brush and a few grassy spots with wild flowers, the whole area is mainly rocky terrain. There are a lot of caves and iron age ring forts, but these forts would have been hard to live in since there was nothing to grow and few animals to hunt.

The fun thing about this day was the driving. The roads in the burren are very narrow and it was a road rally day. We had detours everywhere which put us on even narrower roads. We even came upon one of the race cars. He was not happy since we were blocking the road.

We visited Alwee Cave, which was interesting but not worth the price of admission. There were bones of a bear found in the cave, which is interesting since there hasn't been a bear in Ireland in several millenia.

We made our way back to the village and ate the best fish and chips on the trip at the Mill Pub.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Failte - You are Welcome

Failte - Welcome. (The phonetic pronunciation is fall-cha.) This is the greeting wherever you go in Ireland. When you walk up to someone's home or church they greet you with, "You're welcome." The 3 weeks in Ireland were wonderful and we have picked out the region to live in. I will post more with pictures, but I just wanted to let you know I am back and you are are welcome whenever you visit this blog.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ireland, Here I Come

This will be my last dispatch for a while. We head to Ireland on Friday for a 3 week family vacation. I should have a few things to say when I get back. Have a great month of June and happy posting until July.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I Can't Wait to Get to Heaven

I am listening to Keith Green today. He is my favorite Christian musician. I especially like his songs about heaven. I envy Keith because he is there! I also like Anglo-Saxon poetry and I thought of this poem by Caedman looking forward to Christ's return. Enjoy.

899 Then suddenly on Sion mountain from the south-east the incandescence of the sun will come shining from the Creator, more luminous than men in their minds can imagine it, gleaming bright when the Son of God reveals himself hither through the canopies of the heavens. Christ's wondrous figure, the form of the noble King, will come from the east from out of the skies, sweet to the minds of his own folk, bitter to those steeped in sin, strangely diverse and different towards the blessed and the wretched.

910 To the good he will be gracious in appearance, beautiful and delightsome to that holy throng, attractive in his joy, affectionate and loving; agreeable and sweet it will be for his cherished people to look upon that shining form, to look with pleasure upon the mild coming of the Ruler, the mighty King, for those who had earlier pleased him well in his heart with words and with works.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Fields of Athenry

This is a beautiful and sad song of Ireland. Follow the link to hear the song:

By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young girl calling
Micheal they are taking you away
For you stole Trevelyn's corn
So the young might see the morn.
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.

Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry.

By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young man calling
Nothing matter Mary when your free,
Against the Famine and the Crown
I rebelled they ran me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity.


By a lonely harbor wall
She watched the last star falling
As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she'll wait and hope and pray
For her love in Botany Bay
It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry.


Inniskeen Road: July Evening

I am getting ready to go to Ireland for a three week vacation and have been reading some Irish poetry and history. Here is a poem by Patrick Kavanagh:

The bicycles go by in twos and threes -
There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn to-night,
And there's the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.
I have what every poet hates in spite
Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.
A road, a mile of kingdom, I am king
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Give Peace A Chance

On a lighter note, this is the 37th anniversary of John and Yoko's infamous "bed-in."

Battle of Cold Harbor

This battle was one of Grant's worst defeats. This happened 142 years ago today.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Bottom Line

This is the best article I have seen to date on the emerging church. I am not for or against this movement because I haven't made a clear decision on it yet. I may never. Here is a quote from the end of the article. Please read the whole article when you have a chance.

As a response to Christianity’s PR problem, Emergent has clearly blurred the lines between church and world in troubling ways. Given their lack of confessional anchors, some Emergent leaders are likely to depart further from biblical standards, even scandalously so. And while history’s verdict on postmodernism remains outstanding, the movement seems likely to shift and redefine itself according to new categories in the coming years. Nevertheless, an opportunity remains for us to be sharpened and shamed by the important issues they are raising, and to bring the rich resources of confessional Reformed theology to the table, for their good and for ours. As sinners redeemed by the sovereign mercy of God, we have precious treasures to steward. The glory and honor of Christ, and the utter lostness of our neighbors who bear His image, demand nothing less.

General Orders No. 11


General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

    We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

    If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

    Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

  2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

  3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

    By order of


    Adjutant General

    WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

Monday, May 29, 2006

God Bless The Troops

May God bless our troops on this Memorial Day. The men and women of the US Armed Forces should be proud and I am proud of them. I have the day off. They don't. Stay vigilant.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Trek Housing

Wow! I love all things Star Trek, but I am sure I would have to be married to a Vulcan before I could do this to my house. (Meaning my lovely wife of 20 years would not approve!)

It Is The Soldier...

We in this country owe a great debt of gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives so that we could live free. We can start to pay that debt by not forgetting, by remembering what they did and what they stood for.

Listen to these words by Charles M. Province:

"It is the Soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us Freedom of the Press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us Freedom of Speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the Freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial;
And it is the Soldier--who salutes the flag,
Who serves the flag, and
Whose coffin is draped by the flag--
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."

Memorial Day

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
---by Moina Michael

While growing up in Indiana, Memorial Day meant the Indy 500 and the beginning of summer. I never appreciated the history of the day or of our military. Many members of my family served in the various branches of the military and many of those saw action. Yet, no one talked about it much, so I never understood the meaning of the holiday.

Four summers ago, I visited Uncle Robert and Aunt Golden on a Sunday. We went to the old church the Rhine family had been members of for nearly a century. Aunt Golden fixed us a huge spread of food (there were only 4 of us) and I admit committing the sin of gluttony that afternoon. I hadn't tasted her cooking in about 25 years. It may be a good thing because I would weigh about 400 pounds by now! Anyways, Uncle Robert showed us around the county. We saw the old farmhouse that his parents lived in and he grew up in. That same house is where my grandparents (his sister was my grandmother) were married and my mother was born.

Then he took us to the family cemetary. It is where several Rhines and Merrills are buried. It is in the middle of corn or bean fields (I can't remember) and is kept up nicely by the county. There are some huge oak and elm trees to shade the area. I took several pictures of the plots. Uncle Robert mentioned that the family used to have a picnic every Decoration Day (May 30) at the site and spend the day cleaning the cemetary and replanting flowers. I think I have missed out on that special event.

Then we traveled to some other cemetaries and he showed us graves of Civil War veterans. These names have become heroes in my eyes. I am sure they would say they did what they had to do or what God compelled them to do.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there is more to Memorial Day than racing, eating and summer vacation. Many men and women gave their lives for us to enjoy these things. I ask that you not forget. Thanks Uncle Robert.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

True Sportsmanship

It is not too often that you hear of true sportsmanship in any sporting event. Darren Clarke has become my new favorite golfer. Golf is supposed to be a gentleman's game with impeccable ethics. Back in the day when I played competitive golf, I played with too many golfers that would try to gloss over rules and regulations. I called a few out on rules violations ans they either received extra penalties or were disqualified. Darren Clarke could "have thanked the little people" for improving his lie overnight when the last round of the Irish Open was suspended. He had an open shot to the green with his improved lie, but he pitched out to the side like he was planning on doing. He came in second. Way to go Darren.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Spring in the Rockies

We finally have warm weather. I mowed the yard for the first time Saturday afternoon and I could have waited another week. The weather is finally hitting the 70's and 80's. Now I can plant some flowers. Just in time for the hail!

Too Much Detroit

Well, the Cavs lost to the Pistons yesterday, 79-61. Stretching the Pistons out to 7 games was a great feat, but they go home with a bitter taste in their mouths knowing they should have won game 6 at home. The Palace in Auburn Hills is the toughest venue for a visiting team to win. It was a grat education for Lebron James. The kid will only get better and that is scary!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

First Customer

Randy wins the door prize for being the first person to comment on my new site. Step up and give Carol a kiss. That should bring you back for more posting!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dipsticks could check caffeine in your cup

Coffee lovers will love this. For those of us who need massive doses of caffeine through the medium of coffee, there will be dipsticks to test the caffeine level of coffee and other drinks. Llamas and camels have something to do with it. Really. I am not making it up. Read it for yourself! At least we can keep Starbucks honest and not try to sell us low-caffeine drinks.

Old-Timers Game?

The Reds and Tigers play a 3 game series this weekend. I have been a Reds fan since Johnny Bench was a rookie. #5 was my favorite player and the Big Red Machine rolled through the 1970's like only the hated Yankees have in other decades. (Sorry about the Yankee reference Randy)

My favorite manager, of course, was Sparky Anderson and he managed both teams to World Series victories. This should be a good series. Go Reds!
Manning: elder statesman

This just in...Peyton Manning is retiring. Ok, in eight years, so he says. I am a life-long Steelers fan and have only followed the Colts since they moved to Indy. I grew up in Indiana and there were no NFL teams. I could have followed the Bengals, Cardinals, Bears and Lions. But I always liked Pittsburgh. So when Manning was drafted by the Colts, they were finally interesting to follow. What a privilege to watch one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. For eight more years anyway.
I love basketball. Mainly high school and college, because the NBA game has become littered with thugs, goons and criminals. Sort of like the old NHL! Anyways, there is a chance that two teams that play like teams and not a bunch of 1 on1 players, could make the NBA finals. Not San Antonio versus Detroit; not Dallas versus Miami. It could be the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Los Angeles...hold on to your hat...Clippers! Yes, the Clippers. The team that started out in Buffalo, then to San Diego and finally LA. The other team. The team that doesn't have Kobe or Phil. The team that plays like a team.

Go Cleveland and Clippers!
I love coffe and this was a poem that my cousin, Randy, found. Enjoy...careful, it may still be hot.

St. Arbucks is a Sacred Place
by Greg Asimakoupoulos

It’s communion… of another kind
where caffeine seekers can unwind
to drink in the sweet ambiance
that St. Arbucks provides.

As congregants both young and old,
we’re seated close and thus are bold
to talk of life (latte in hand)
and taste the mystery.

We lift the cup and share our lives
in honest words that aren’t contrived.
And if inclined, we all confess
our failures and our dreams.

St. Arbucks is a sacred place
where those who run the human’s race
can sip the nectar of the gods
awake to what is good.

It is quite sanctuary-like
where mothers and their little tykes
can find a refuge from routines
while seated near the fire.

There are no stained glass windows there
but those behind the “pulpit” care
about the thirst we long to quench
and “preach” through what they pour.

What Cheers was thirty years ago
is now St. Arbucks. Don’t you know?
A church where we are known by name
and feel like family.

Friday, May 12, 2006

This is a prayer by Cardinal Newman. I hope it will speak to you as it has to me.

God was all-complete, all-blessed in Himself, but it was His will to create a world for His glory. He is Almighty, and might have done all things Himself, but it has been His will to bring about His purposes by the beings He has created. We are all created to His glory--we are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission--I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his--if indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work: I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me--still He knows what He is about.

O my God, I give myself to Thee. I trust Thee wholly. Thou art wiser than I--more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfill Thy high purposes in me whatever they be; work in and through me. I am born to serve Thee, to be Thine, to be Thy instrument. Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see, I ask not to know--I ask simply to be used
Well, this is my first post. Many bloggers, I am sure, have written the same first sentence. There will not be a set format, mainly my own ramblings. I do like to write on Biblical-based issues, but also history, current events, genealogy, etc, etc.

The title for my blog, Converging Heritage, may raise a question. The more I check into my family history, the more I see how God has worked in each family. As a general statement, you can say that my family's heritage is Christian in nature. This starts with the Hershey family being labeled Anabaptists in Switzerland during the late 1500's and throughout the 1600's. On the other side of the family, the Wootens have a long line of pastors, evangelists and church workers. These heritages have converged to my generation. I hope I understand what it is I am to do with this convergance.

Until next post...