Monday, July 25, 2005

How long will you live?

According to this, I'll live to be 87. That means I'll die in 2044, probably around Thanksgiving. My granddaughter will be 43 and my daughter will be 63. I can't tell you how old my wife will be. How about you? Take the quiz.

By the way...I had an uncle that knew the exact time and date he would die... And he was correct. To the minute. How did he know? Scroll down.

The judge told him.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Politics According to Pauly

I've started another blog, to post my political opinions. I have tried to resist posting them on here, but sometimes, I've just had to write about stuff... I'm going to be reserving this blog mainly for Christian related thoughts and ideas, and the rest of my stuff, especially politics, is going on the other blog.
See me at Politics According to Pauly

More on Home Church

I want to clear up some questions raised by some of the comments, and from some comments made on From the Morning.
First, let me establish my definition of "church:" church happens where 2 or more are gathered in Jesus' name for the purpose of edification and encouragement.
We have been having church in small groups that meet in homes since 1991. While I will admit, there were many things about the institutional church that caused us to leave, and in some cases, with many reservations, the motivation for our meetings is to worship the Lord Jesus and grow in spirit and in truth... not to knock what other ministries are doing. I am not anti-institutional church; neither is our home church. I think that the traditional church, with a pastor, a board of elders, and a building to meet in has its place, and many churches that meet like that are doing great things. It's just not for everyone, and there are many who are more comfortable accepting an invitation to our house on Sunday morning than they would be attending a mainline church service.
That's OK too. We are working hand in hand with many churches and ministries in the community. Since we do not have a building, a paid pastor, and we have very minor overhead, (we pay a secretary and nominal amount monthly for keeping the books, making the calendar, printing, calling, etc.) about 85% of our tithes and offerings go directly into the community and to missions. We are able to support approximately 15 ministries with monthly support, and in most of those cases, our small groups (there are 3 of us in the community that are connected) provide the largest single monthly amounts to these ministries. Please don't take this as boastful, I am merely stating what has been told to us, and it is simply because most church budgets have a lot of overhead to take care of first. Again, not a bad thing, we just saw another opportunity to fill a need that was there.
We have a pastor. We have leadership, and we remain accountable to each other. We also remain connected to the community of churches in our area, supporting the Ministerial alliance, and helping meet needs other churches can't or won't. People have been referred to us for benevolence because another church simply didn't have the funds to meet the need.
So we're not just your garden-variety small bible-study group. We are a functioning, strong, stable and vital part of the ministry to our community. I'd be happy to give more information to anyone who asks, or connect you to someone in your area who might be doing the same thing.
We are the Association of Home Churches, Central Texas.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Home Church - It's What We Do

Our greatest spiritual growth as a couple has occurred in the time since 1991, when we left the institutionalized church. No longer do we meet in a building, to sit in a pew so we can see the back of someone's head, and someone else can see ours. No longer do we just appear on Sunday mornings to exchange pleasant smiles after yelling at our kids to hurry up and get ready, or leaving the family in frustration to come to church in a separate car because I needed to be there to teach a Sunday School class..
No longer do we give our tithes and offerings to support a ministry, an overpaid minister and his staff, building payments, all the overhead so that the church has nothing left for missions and benevolence.
No longer do we stress over countless other weekly meetings for programs that keep the ministry of the church within the four walls of a building... Want to get saved? Can you wait until Sunday's altar call? Want to know God? Come to our Sunday school class....
Nope....we've been meeting in home groups for the last 14 years. When we started, it was almost unheard of (people forgot that Paul's church met in a rented home...see the last chapter of Acts), and we were told by professional ministers about all the "dangers" of home groups without the "covering" of a church and professional pastor.
I can remember one Saturday night, being over at Jim and Cathy's house for our weekly meeting. Another couple who usually joined us had not shown up, so it was just the four of us. We prayed for the other couple, and near the end of the meeting, the man showed up...obviously something was wrong. He told us that he and his wife had been in strife, and that's why they hadn't come together. Then she showed up. The looked like they were pretty beaten up, emotionally, so we prayed for them, we ministered to them, and they reconciled before they went home. I have no doubt that in a traditional church, they would have been completely overlooked, they would have showed up at service with their "Sunday smiles," and would have said they were "fine" had anyone asked. Then they could have gone home after service, their issue still unresolved, and resumed the strife.
I'm not saying that's what always happens, but I can tell you for the first 6 years of my Christian church life, that was pretty much the norm. "Good Christian couples" got divorced and nobody in the church, save maybe the pastor, even knew there was a problem. And in our church, the pastor's wife and some of the elders were part of the problem...but that's another chapter.
Home church, as intimate as it can be, is not perfect, or without its faults. Sometimes we get to be pretty internal also. I am constantly trying to remind us that our ministry is Monday through Saturday and what we do on Sunday is merely a meeting to encourage and help strengthen each other. We're still growing, still learning, and still trying to "get it." This side of heaven, I doubt we ever will.

A Re-post - still as valid today

I am constantly running across bloggers who show no respect for the office of the President of the United States. I was just at a blog where they called President Bush "Boy George." Folks, it's disrespectful, and yes, I know you have the freedom to do so, but I wish you'd take a minute to think about how lucky you are to live in a country like this.
I wish you'd give thought to the fact that liberals are losing elections, the "mainstream" is now conservative, and your intolerance and disrespect for America, its policies, and its leadership is not "patriotic," it's just short of treason. Just my opinion...sorry, this isn't really a "political" blog. I just needed to sound off.

From a Feb 2005 post...

I ran across this blog today. I thought I'd throw in my letter to the stack. One thing gets to me though: am I the only one in America who remembers we don't call the President of the US by his FIRST name? (or "W", or "Bush") What happened to "President Bush"? As much as I disliked the character deficiencies of the former president, I never lost respect for the Office of President, and respectfully referred to him as "President Clinton". Not "Bill", or "Clinton", or "Mr. Clinton", or any other reference other than "President Clinton". And he is still "President Clinton", and if I recall correctly, he keeps that title even after he is no longer in office.

I encourage you to make your voice heard too. Thank God we still have the freedom in this great country to express our views, even if they are dissenting ones. I am amazed, though, at the sheer HATE that comes from the "tolerant and liberal" left.

Even though I hated the things I heard President Clinton did, and disagreed with his policies, I never HATED him, and prayed for him and the Office on a regular basis. I wonder how many liberals can say that? Oh....they wouldn't mix religion with politics....or pray publicly.... or try to force their religion down your throat... (they do though) ... nevermind.... silly idea.

Enough of that. Here's a copy of the letter.

Dear President Bush:
This is a time for our country that we desperately need firm, unwavering leadership and people who are not afraid to do whatever is necessary to maintain our cherished freedom. It is also a time for Americans to support our leadership. With great respect for the office of President of the United States, I give you my support. Thank you for bringing leadership and dignity back to the office. I am a fifth-generation American Veteran who proudly served our country in the Armed Services. My father and his grandfather are both buried at national cemeteries. My grandfather served in the US Navy during WWII. We are of Mexican descent, but we always knew we were Americans first. When I pledged allegiance to our flag, I really meant it. I am proud, as were my ancestors, to be an American. I salute you. You are a great American and it is an honor to call you "Mr. President".
Paul Tamez
A proud American

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Things That Tick Me Off

1. People who use "loosing" instead of "losing." Buy a dictionary. Spell checkers only go so far.
2. People who insist on driving 2 mph under the speed limit in the left lane, and especially when every half mile there is a sign that says in BIG BLOCK LETTERS, "LEFT LANE FOR PASSING ONLY." Learn to read, follow instructions, and get the hell over!
3. Someone who tries to ride my tail after I pass them, just because I have a radar detector and they're too freaking cheap to get their own. That's why I like my Benz. I can shake you when you're too chicken to keep up over 120 mph.
4. People who leave anonymous comments on blogs. Are you too afraid for us to see yours?
5. People who can't find things out for themselves. Learn. I don't get paid to teach you.
6. Light beer.
7. Women with 5 inch curled fingernails. Do you REALLY think that's attractive? How do you wipe?
8. People that write checks in the express lane, and then wait until they're totaled up to even pull out their freaking checkbook.
9. People that split checks at lunch to the penny... and then they won't leave a tip.
10. People who dog Christians for being intolerant. And they lump us all in the same judgment, without trying to listen. Isn't that kind of intolerant and judgmental?
11. Stupid people, morons, and idiots. Those that think their side is the only side.
12. Rude retail people.
13. Bad manners.
14. People who curse in public.
15. People who follow every sentence with, "KnowwhatI'msayin'?" Yes, I know what you're saying, you moron... you're saying, "I'm stupid."
16. People who don't turn their cell phones down in public places, especially at a funeral. Are you really that freaking important? You can't leave your phone on vibrate or in your car for a few minutes to respect he sanctity of a funeral? HMMMMMMMMMM???
17. Kids who don't respect their parents.
18. Bad coffee.
19. People who enjoy their freedom enough to openly complain and criticize everything they hate about America. Move.
20. Liberals whining about the same stuff. You lost, get over it.
21. People who think I want to hear their bass. Inside my house. At night, as they drive down my street. Slowly. Would you like to hear my shotgun?
22. Someone who wants to argue with me after they asked me for professional advice. If you're so smart, go get your own securities license, and don't ask me for advice.
That's just some things I had to get off my chest. And no, I don't feel any better.

Random thoughts

I'll agree, the dog picture is disturbing. I'm thinking of taking it down. I laugh every time I see it, but maybe that's because I am totally warped and my sense of humor is perverted. It's not a real dog, or even a real image. Does "Photoshop" say anything to you?

I think every woman I have shown that dog to has had the same reaction... (Gasp), "Oh, that's horrible..." or some derivative of that. I guess the eyes are pretty creepy. Maybe that's why I like it.

I heard from an old Coast Guard buddy this morning. He raised an interesting question. We had such close friendships back then with so many people. As we have gotten older the number of close relationships has dwindled to just a few here and there. Even last night, I was talking to my wife:
Linda: We don't have any friends... no one ever comes over.
Me: I know, we suck, don't we?
Linda: Well, Ray came over today, I guess he's a friend. And Lori is beginning to visit regularly. Maybe we'll get to know each other better.
Me: I guess we don't suck that bad.
Not to mention the house full of people we had Sunday that devoured a 10 lb. brisket, 1/2 gallon of potato salad, beans, sausage, 2 salads, an entire cheesecake, foccacia bread, a gallon of tea, and a whole industrial decanter of coffee... maybe we do have friends.

I came in to work early this morning because I had a 9:00 telephone appointment. The person never called me. They made such a fuss over needing to talk to me and get their investment going... it is a 401(k) from the previous employer. I like hearing "401(k)" and "rollover" because it usually means someone is moving one of their biggest assets, which results in a substantial sale, and consequently, a good commission. I found out in the initial interview that this was $500. At my HIGHEST commission tier, I would make $10 on that sale. Don't get me wrong; $500 of a person's retirement, especially if that's all they have, is just as important as a $500,000 retirement. I treat everyone with the same respect, and I work just as hard for a $500 sale as a $500,000 sale. It just seems like the $500 folks don't keep their commitments like the $500,000 people do.... generally speaking, of course.

I came in dressed in a pressed white dress shirt and a tie. I rarely wear a tie anymore. The clients that come in to my office are primarily military, not the pretentious bigshots I used to have call me at my last firm. Most of my clients are pretty down-to-earth, and some have managed to accumulate some significant wealth over their careers. Lots of people talk about the low pay that soldier get, but it comes down to a few principles I have learned and taught over the years: discipline yourself to spend less than you make, save a portion of your income, and invest another portion. In the end, it's not about how much you make, it's really about how much you keep. I had a prospect once who made $400,000 annually, lived in a $1MM home, had 6 cars, a $600 a month water bill to keep his lawn green and his pool full, and he didn't have a nickel saved. In fact, he was paying out $500-600 a month in overdraft fees to his bank. Contrast that with the couple I had making $30,000 annually and had managed to save $50,000. Big difference.
Anyway, the reason I wore a tie today is because I have to go to another funeral this afternoon. The lady who lived across the street from us died Saturday. I didn't really know her very well, as we have only lived there for a little over a year, but we were always on friendly terms and would talk when we were out in the front yard. I'm going to make it a point to get to know my neighbors better.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Memed again - Useless information

This one from elisabeth, who thinks I have nothing better to do.

60 things you didn't want to know...
What time did you get up this morning? Slept in until 6:30 - I'm usually up by 5:30
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds. In gold...
What was the last film you saw at a Cinema? See this
What is your favorite TV show? 24...America needs Jack Bauer
What did you have for breakfast this morning? Barbacoa
...look it up...corn tortillas, some extremely hot picante, apple juice and a pot of black coffee. Breakfast of Champions
Biggest Fear? My ability to sabatoge myself
What is your middle name? The
What is your favorite cuisine? Italian
What foods do you dislike? Pickled beets...ewwwww
Your favorite potato chip? I prefer tortilla chips
What kind of car do you drive? Mercedes Benz, I'll never drive anything else
What is your favorite CD at the moment? the one paying me 5.5%....huh?...oh, I thought you meant Certificate of Deposit
Favorite sandwich? A carne guisada taco
What characteristics do you despise? an ego bigger than my own, someone who lies to me, and moronism
Favorite item of clothing? My hawiian shirt
If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Back to the Marshall Islands, scuba diving
What color is your bathroom? hell if I know
Favorite clothing store? Salvation Army - I once bought a wool overcoat there for $6
Where would you like to retire to? Guadalajara half the year, and South Padre Island the other half
Favorite time of day? Very early, before anyone gets up
Where were you born? I was created in a lab
Favorite sport? To To
What laundry detergent do you use? Only my dry cleaner knows for sure
Coke or Pepsi? Shiner Bock
Are you a morning or a night owl? definitely morning
What size shoe do you wear? 9.5
Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? elisabeth's fish is Pregnant!!!
What did you want to be when you were little? bigger.. and wealthy
Favorite candy bar? Butterfinger
What is your best childhood memory? When I sold enough Christmas cards to afford a brand new purple "Royce Union" 10-speed. I worked my ass off for it.
What are the different jobs you have had in your life? Circus midget, pope, taxi-driver, bus-driver,
UPS driver, sod-layer, shoe salesman, pizza delivery, lawn boy, pool boy, towel boy, shoe shine boy, boy toy, optician, stockbroker, cracker salter, elephant pooper-scooper
Nicknames? Pauly the Bull...say it with respect
Piercing? My voice and my eyes
Eye color? bloodshot
Ever been to Africa? Once, when I was Pope
Ever been toilet papering? It was my career in high school. I mentored dozens in the art. Once my friends and I went "papering" after Christmas, taking discarded Christmas trees from people's curbs. We took posthole diggers and "planted" the trees in someone's yard and THEN papered them...and erected a sign that said, "Welcome to a Winter Wonderland." It was a work of art.
Love someone so much it made you cry? My wife makes me cry all the time...for a variety of reasons.
Been in a car accident? Too many....but never in a Benz
Croutons or bacon bits? neither...give me steak
Favorite restaurant?
Pignetti's in Temple. The grilled salmon on creamed spinach is to die for.
Favorite flower? Calla lily
Favorite ice cream? Rum Raisin
Disney or Warner Brothers? Warner....Animaniacs....
Favorite fast food restaurant? Mama Wong's Chicken hut
How many times did you fail your driver's test? I have never failed any test
Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? President Bush (shhhhh)
Which store would you max out your credit card at? Any electronics store
What do you do when you're bored? Memes
Bedtime? Somewhere between 10:30 and 12:00
Who did you go to dinner with last? My wife
What are you listening to right now? The voices in my head
What is your favorite color? The sky in the morning
Lake, Ocean or river? Ocean

From "You Can't Be A Christian," by

"From the Morning"
Don't you hate it when people scoff at the idea that 'so and so' is a 'born-again Christian.' "What a hypocrite" they (the very people who reject Christianity) proclaim, "He has done so many bad things."

Its ironic, if not hypocritical, that many people who reject Christianity on 'moral' grounds are eager to judge others as being unworthy of Christianity."

read the rest of the story here

I've witnessed (and been a part of) the same type of hypocrisy in the church. We "forgiven" need to remember who we are...forgiven. I can speak of this first hand, since I have been guilty of this...judging someone who has sin in their life and condemning them, even shutting them out. The worst of the worst hypocrisy is among church members. Brother Lustalot falls and all of a sudden we are quick to blame and cast him out of the church, rather than having compassion and reaching out to restore the man.

Or Sister Bucketmouth, who can never find a good thing to say at the church annual meeting, is shunned, condemned and gossiped about, rather than trying to get to the root of her bitterness and restoring her. I can cite a dozen examples, but this is a limited format...

We need to remember where we came from. God saved us while we were still sinners. Every time I feel like a brother or sister has offended me, or is in sin, I need to remember grace... I'm not perfect and God still forgives me. If He can forgive me, then He can forgive that man or woman we can be so quick to judge. We tend to want grace for ourselves, but judgment for others. There's a double standard sometimes, and God hates it.

Remember the parable of the man whose debt was forgiven, yet he refused to forgive one who owed him less than he was forgiven for... He was "given over to the tormentors."

Just a thought...

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Galations 6:1

Haloscan and prior comments

I added Haloscan for my comments and it wiped out all my prior comments. Some of them were good and had links to other blogs... Sorry, I lost them. If you'd like to add your comments to link to your blog again, please do. Thanks...
Pauly the Bull

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's time for a new church

Since Miss June died, we now have to make a decision about church. I have had the desire to begin a church here in Temple, but I'm not quite sure what we are going to do, or how to go about it. I'm not a pastor at heart, that's not really one of my ministry gifts, but I like to teach and I feel comfortable preaching. Actually, I feel most comfortable when I am facilitating a discussion.
I don't have all the answers, and I don't want to be the center of the church meeting. I believe that when a group of believers meets it is for the encouragement of the entire group. It's not just about gathering in pews to hear a professional minister deliver a riveting sermon (or often, a boring one.) I think that people should bring their ministry gifts to the meeting with them with the intent of using them. So in our services, if someone can sing, I let them sing. If someone has another or better idea about what I am teaching, I let them share. And if someone has the gift of prophecy, they can prophesy.
So, if you pray, I'm asking the Lord for some direction here... I think there are a bunch of people that are virtually "untouched" by Christianity. I mean the type of Christianity that doesn't care what side of town you live on, what you wear to church, or if you have piercings, tattoos, or like to drink beer. Hell, I'm open to having a keg and fire up the smoker after church if I can just show Christ's love to someone who needs it. Ever hear a bunch of people singing Amazing Grace after a few beers?
I don't know what exactly we're going to do. I guess that's what's so great about serving God and waiting for Him to answer.... Life's always a surprise.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Miss June

I went to the funeral of a friend of mine today. Last fall my pastor told me about a little old lady who was in a wheelchair and homebound. He said she wanted someone to come to her house and have church with her. He asked me if I would be willing to do that and I told him,"No." That was my first thought and reaction, but as God would have it, before long my wife and I started making the 20 minute trip to Harker Heights to minister to "Miss June."
I remember for a few times we met, it was just Linda, me, and Miss June. Once I had to go by myself because Linda had another church she was speaking in and just one other person showed up. Thanks, Kim for being faithful in hearing God's call that morning.
The last meeting we had at Miss June's there were about 20 people there. She had a way of drawing people, speaking to them and challenging all of us. Even though she could barely speak and she was hard to understand, when she spoke, every word was worth hearing. She spoke once about geodes. She talked about her and her husband being "rock hounds" and how they would look for these beautiful geode crystals. She told us how it took incredible pressure to create them. She encouraged us to embrace the pressures of life, that they would eventually create beauty in us if we would just persevere.
Miss June didn't talk much, as it was very hard for her to speak. I can't think of a single time she spoke that she didn't have something deep or prophetic to speak to us. She told me not long ago that I was being too hard on myself. (I can get kindof transparent in church sometimes.) She spoke simply, "God loves you," to me. Wow. That's all I needed to hear that over...
I painted a small painting for her that she put on the mantle of her fireplace, next to some priceless pieces of jade sculpture. (She had lots of one-of-a-kind sculptures from the east in her home.) I painted her a Mother's Day card and she put it up there as well. She liked my artwork and that was inspiration for me to paint more. Why? This lady was an artist too....trained by a renowned Texas artist, John Carter. She was no slouch...
She sang opera. She was on the Board of Regents at Central Texas College. She was a realtor...not just any realtor, mind you, she put possibly hundreds of real estate agents to work with the 2 offices she had in Killeen and Copperas Cove. She was one of the pioneers for businesswomen in central Texas. She was a mentor to many, a friend, and a giver. As much as she accomplished, as much as she did, she was humble, kind, and my friend. And she loved God. She considered me her pastor, and told my pastor, "I have a spiritual life again." That meant a lot for me to hear that. Miss June will be missed, but not for long. I know I'll see her again.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yes, It Really Is Possible, and Worth the Wait

Linda and I went to a very unusual wedding last night. It was held outdoors, in the country. Not so unusual, but lately we've had a string of 100+ degree days and yesterday was no exception. I got there expecting to sweat for 2 hours, but surprisingly, it was cool under the shade of some large oak trees. Also, the house was on top of a hill, and there was a nice breeze. Tables were set up and decorated all over the yard, and the outdoor "church" was set up in the back. The decorators had taken a lot of time, obviously, to swag the purple tooling along the cedar-post fence, and even the cattle gate was decorated. The grass was neatly mowed, and a layer of flower petals lay in the aisle. White Christmas lights were strung all along the fence and in the oaks. It was a very nice setting.
The kids were having a great time running around as kids will do outdoors. The bridal party came up to the front in the usual manner, as did the bride and her brother, who gave her away. (Her father is deceased.) The vows were said in a traditional manner, and the officiant, their pastor, gave a traditional explanation of the significance of the rings, and told a brief anecdote about the couple. Not too unusual so far...
But here's what was unusual, even extraordinary about this wedding. During the presentation of the rings, the preacher took a few minutes to talk about the couples years of courtship and engagement. Turns out they met at church, their entire courtship was spent in that church and the pastor knew them quite well. He went on to say that both of them had remained sexually pure, saving themselves for each other as husband and wife. WOW. Take a minute to let that sink in. The bride then presented her husband with a ring she received at age 13, when she pledged sexual purity until marriage. WOW. Take another minute...
The groom is 25, and the bride is 20. In this society where so many young people think it is an intrinsic right to have sex with whomever they want, there are still some who decide to wait until marriage. That's cool. I gained a new respect for our youth, and also for the pastors, teachers, youth leaders, and others who encourage young people to wait until marriage. It can be done. Last night confirmed it for me.
I wrote about sex in an earlier post. I was dismayed at someone's blog that was extremely harsh in its criticism of Christians' view on sex. So many people, especially young people, don't get it. We are bombarded through the media, sex-ed programs, and entertainers on a perverted view of sexuality. It's not any one group's fault, our society has just been conditioned that way. There are reasons Christians stand for purity and discourage sex outside of marriage. I can only hope what I witnessed last night was an encouragement to the young people that attended. And I can hope that the "Worth the Wait" and abstinence programs continue to influence many more young people to remain sexually pure. I hope what I witnessed will become the norm, and not just the exception.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Word From Proverbs

I was doing my daily reading this morning, and I ran across a verse I don't think I have ever seen before. As I pondered this verse, I wondered what it actually means.

A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

Proverbs 18:20

To me it has two meanings; one is practical and has to do with one's business, and the other is spiritual and relates to one's ministry. On the practical side (and this is what I related to first), I think it refers to one's ability to communicate ideas and concepts, and convincing someone to do business with us. Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. " In order to be able to proficiently communicate to my clients, I need to be constantly sowing understanding and knowledge into myself, believing in my heart that I am giving good advice, and incorporating that belief in my presentation. Because I believe I need to give the best advice (after all, I am dealing with people's investment portfolios), I am constantly reading and studying the markets, investment concepts and tax laws. The "fruit of my mouth", and the "produce of my lips" (my words) are what I have first planted in my heart and mind. The consequence of my sowing (you can't have fruit without first planting the seed) is a well-prepared and planned presentation of an idea or concept to help my client meet his or her objective. It is the sum of my experience, understanding, and preparation. The end result is gaining someone's confidence in the presentation of my idea to implement the plan, and become a client. Hence, I get paid, I can buy groceries, and my stomach is filled.
Spiritually, the same principal applies. As I study God's word, I am able to deliver understanding and revelation through a well-prepared sermon. Presenting a biblical idea, concept or understanding is an awesome responsibility. I must seek God for truth, because in the delivery of that understanding of truth, I am affecting people's lives, hopefully in a positive way, and helping them understand a concept to have a closer walk with the Lord. The end result, then, is satisfaction in a healthy body of believers to meet with, and being filled with the joy of another getting closer in his or her walk with the Lord.

If I was to use that privilege to twist God's Word to manipulate and deceive people, or to build my own kingdom or ministry, then I am ultimately held accountable to a Holy God. I shudder to think that on my judgment day, I will be accountable for every sermon I preached, every concept I taught, or every time I used the bible to admonish or rebuke a brother. Yikes... I know a lot of people use their knowledge of the scripture to support their own agenda. I pray that never be the case with me.

Does anyone else have any view on this passage of scripture? I wonder if my interpretation is really what this verse is conveying. How about it? Any comments?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Yes, I Changed it Again

I changed the look of my site again, but I am not satisfied with what blogger has to offer for templates. I'd like some help in giving my blog a new look. I have some photography and artwork I'd like to use as a background or banner heading, but I am not technically proficient enough to do that. I understand how to cut and paste HTML, and how to find the location of my images, but that's about as far as it goes. Can someone out there help me get a new look I'll be happy with? I'll reciprocate with some good investment advice...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

There's a Reason I Don't Go to Movies

Here are the Friday-Sunday (and Friday-Monday) for the top 10 films, based on final studio figures released Tuesday and compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

1. War of the Worlds, $64.9 million ($77.1 million)
2. Batman Begins, $15.6 million ($19.3 million)
3. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, $10.6 million ($12.7 million)
4. Bewitched, $9.2 million ($11.1 million)
5. Herbie: Fully Loaded, $8.8 million ($10.8 million)
6. Madagascar, $5.4 million ($6.7 million)
7. Rebound, $5 million ($6 million)
8. Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, $4.1 million ($5 million)
9. The Longest Yard, $3.3 million ($4 million)
10. The Land of the Dead, $2.7 million ($3.3 million)

We've heard Hollywood complaining about a slowdown in movie ticket sales. Some quick math of the above figures totals $156,000,000 FOR THE FREAKING WEEKEND!!! Not a bad take, and I'm sorry the Hollywood fatcats may not be able to buy the extra 120 lbs. of caviar and may have to scale the party down to $750,000 this week. Sheesh.
Just looking at the top 10 movies, there's nothing there I really want to see... 7 out of the 10 are either remakes or spinoffs /sequels/ part of another story from another movie. I think if Hollywood wants people like me to start going to the movies again, they need to change a few things. Here's some ideas:
1. Make a movie that is ORIGINAL and has a decent story, maybe even some good acting from someone believable. Some serious drama, not just shooting and explosions... I mean, really, can a hot chick like Angelina Jolie really control firearms like that anyway? And who gets shot at that many times and not hit for 2 hours? And who really has that much drama in a lifetime anyway? Hmmmmmm?????
2. Let actors do what they are best at: pretending acting. Put in their contract that if they want to be idiots in the political arena, they should do what the rest of the idiots do: run for office and get elected. Keep their mouths shut or make them pay for political advertising. No one really cares what they think. I don't need to hear a high school dropout, pretty-boy, elitist, moron telling me what to think.
3. If they are going to show remakes and crappy movies, then charge less for the ticket. I mean, really, is that garbage really worth $8-10 to see? Last movie I actually went to a theater to view, there was only about 7 people in there anyway. Maybe if it didn't cost so much, there would be more attending. I would rather have 100 people in a theater that paid me $3 or $4 for a ticket than a dozen who paid $8. (Maybe they need to hire someone to do the math.)
4. What about the price of POPCORN? You are charging me $7.50 for about 25 cents worth of kernels and 5 cents worth of oil. I know you have to pay the midnight-basketball reject young man selling it to me, but I'll bet you'd sell a lot more popcorn if you only charged $2 or $3 for a large bucket and maybe $1 for a soda. Or let us bring our own.
5. Don't allow anyone under 5 to attend a movie intended for an audience of people who can actually read and write. I don't want to hear your kids crying, or you telling them to keep quiet.
6. Don't allow cell phones in the theater, or block the reception. Who the hell is that freaking important that you have to take a call in the middle of a movie? Back before there were cell phones, these inconsiderate morons people got along just fine for a couple of hours without them.
7. Clean the damn theater in between movies. I keep my place of business clean for my clients, and I would expect them to not do business with me if my floor was sticky from spilled soda and had trash all over. What do you pay those pimply-faced kids ushers standing outside for anyway?
8. Make movies I can enjoy with my family. Most of the language and sex in a movie is for effect anyway. I've seen movies on television without all the foul language and gratuitous sex and got the point of the movie just fine. It's not really necessary. Not everybody really talks that way, or think it's a right to fornicate or commit adultery.

Hollywood doesn't get it, they're out of touch with the ordinary people that pay their salaries. I mean, when it comes down to it, they are working for us, right?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, America

I salute the men and women, past and present, who have served this great nation through its armed forces, government offices, and elected offices. I say, "Happy Birthday, America!" and honor our founding fathers.
The United States of America is indeed the greatest nation on Earth. We may be split down party lines most of the time. There's red states and blue states, but together, we're Americans. Let us never forget we are one nation, under God.
Take time today to thank God for our freedoms, our prosperity, and our rights to pursue whatever we want. My father always told me, "This is America. You can be whoever or whatever you want. If you want to be the President of the United States, you can be. Nothing except yourself and your beliefs will keep you from your dreams. Don't stop dreaming...and dream big." That's what America is all about.
I'm proud to be an American. Not a Mexican-American, a Hispanic-American, or a latino. I am an American, born on U.S. soil; the son, grandson, and great-grandson of U.S. servicemen. I also proudly served my country as a young man.
Don't let the press talk you into believing we are a divided nation. Attack our soil and you will see a nation unite and stand up to fight faster than you can blow yourself up. We may not all agree with each other politically, doctrinally, or spiritually, but if you attack our sacred grounds, it will not be forgotten. We WILL kick your ass. Then we'll rebuild your country with U.S. contractors. So what? We're not perfect, but we are...The GREATEST NATION ON GOD'S EARTH.