Monday, December 27, 2010


In an attempt to make myself feel better-in relation to posts from last year, I'm writing another blog to at least tie the amount of 'blog posts' from last year. Sad, I know...but I had to-especially considering this years goal was to post at least one blog a week. To date: I have failed!
Now, onto the blog that I wouldn't normally write...I have decided to write about my favorite NFL team: Da Saints! While I know we've had our issues this season concerning injuries, I know each team deals with that throughout a regular season. We've also had some issues with consistancy too-but again, what team doesn't deal with that throughout the season? It would seem that we've hit our stride here late in the season, with exception to the dropped game/opportunity against the Ravens last week. Like many of the loses this season we were in everyone of those games-including the loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Which brings me to the 'meat' of my blog...tonight we play the Atlanta Falcons and it could determine who wins the NFC Conference title. Of course, there's another game after tonight's match up, but I think tonight's game will really determine who reigns supreme in the NFC. This has been one of those seasons with close games and teams that aren't budging a whole lot concerning the 'Win Column' of things...but right now, these two teams sit atop of the NFC.
I obviously have a bias concerning tonight's game-I would like to see my Saints win and eventually go to the Super Bowl. I'd like to see them mop up throughout the Playoffs and show everyone that repeating isn't as hard as everyone says it is. So far we've overcome some adversity-concerning the above mentioned, but I truly believe a teams edge come from within themselves. A recent game I'd like to submit for such a thought is last weeks Giants and Eagles game. Just as you thought the Eagles were about to lose...they come away with a win inspite of a 'seemingly insurmountable lead' held by the Giants. *That quote is one from Bill Walton an NBA guy who annoys me to no end.
Anyway, I submit my blog post for a Saints Repeat! I have hope that they might do it again, but given this season, there's no clear cut winner or favorite heading into the playoffs. The playoff picture isn't a clear one, but it looks to be a good one. I look forward to the playoffs with the same hopes I had earlier this year as the Saints and the Colts played in the Super Bowl.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


While I didn't talk about an actual throw down between Santa and Jesus, I did share about how I felt that the spirit of Christmas was truly lacking and that we've become too distracted. Now, I want to turn the page...I want to turn the focus to a challenge for next year.
I've become saddened by my own lack of Christmas awareness and loss. I have found msyelf guilty of over indulging in Christmas for way too many years. I have been wanting the past churches I've worked for and Grace UMC-the church I currently work for, to get involved in the 'Advent Conspiracy'. However, I've decided to stop wishing and finally doing!
This year marked a change for Holly and I...on more levels than one, but one of the things we've recommitted ourselves to is the 'envelope system' that Dave Ramsey. Yeah, we depleted our funds for the big move from Lincoln, NE to N. Sioux City, SD, and  to cover bills while Holly searched for a job...but we've decided that next year we won't be buying lots of gifts for our friends and family members. Instead of multiple gifts for everyone on our lists...they get one and it might be a gift card from one of their favorite stores-which takes the stress out of guessing whether or not they might like something I pick. *Everyone knows I have poor taste and no fashion sense.
Anyway, it's amazing how much money you actually save in a month and throughout a year when you prioritize and only spend money in the areas that you really need-not want. Again, we live in a consumeristic culture, but that doesn't mean I have to keep buying things that don't bring me or anyone else any true happiness. Enter 'Challenge 2011' a conspiracy against consumerism and thoughts of just 'me, me, me'. Holly and I, in addition to sponoring a child through Compassion and tithing to the church, will begin saving up money and donating to Yellow Ribbon and Advent Conspiracy-which is about providing clean drinking water to areas that need it.
I would like to challenge you to do the same. Take a step back and evaluate the year gone by and think of the day to day things you do that could benefit what areas can you give up some spending?
Now, you don't have to give to Yellow Ribbon or Advent Conspiracy, but I would encourage you to trim up your finances-stop going out to eat as often or pass on that morning cup of joe at Starbucks. You'd be amazed at how much money you could be saving by passing on the little things you don't need. When you sacrifice the things you don't need in order to meet the needs of're not only investing in the future of others, but yours as well-treasure in heaven.
*Yellow Ribbon is about teen suicide awareness, education and training-something that goes overlooked all over the United States and in our local communities...Advent Conspiracy is about providing a basic need to those who don't have clean drinking water-something we take for granted everyday.
Below is a video I wanted to share with you-it was simple and profound at the same time. It made me stop and think. It eventually convicted me to make a change concerning how I prepare and treat Christmas-along with the rest of the year too. Again, the challenge is to challenge yourself. Move beyond self and see if you can't find it in your heart to sacrifice a little more for someone else this upcoming year.
Blessings to you all as you take on this challenge...a journey to search inward in order to reach outward. That is truly what it means to be a Christian.


'The responsibilities and pressures of this world clamor for our attention and tend to squeeze out our inner lives and starve our souls. When this happens, we lose sight of the things that really matter and focus on the things that are passing away. Our value systems become confused when we invest more of our thought and concern in things that are doomed to disappear than in that which will endure forever.'

-Ken Boa

'Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever'

-1 John 2:15-17

Merry Christmas! Have you gotten all your shopping done? Did you remember everyone on your list-did you check it twice? Did you purchase multiple presents for each person-or did you get them one gift each? I'm going to tell you something that won't shock you...the average family spends over $750 on Christmas gifts each year. Now, when you think about that, when you've got a family, gifts add up quickly-you've got mom, dad, siblings, friends, and maybe even co-workers.
Christmas has become a stressful time of year and the true meaning of Christmas has become lost in this consumeristic culture that we live in. Many of us are consumed with the thoughts of 'who did I forget' or 'are you sure they're going to like this'? Our thoughts aren't on Christ, but presents. Usually, those gifts aren't useful either-they're gifts that lose their meaning within months of receiving. I recall watching NCIS: Los Angeles recently in which the teams boss gives them gift-ironically, their boss regifts the gifts the team had given in previous years. Of course, Hetty, their boss, doesn't give them the gifts they gave, she gives their gifts to other members-once everyone begins opening their gifts-shocked that she gave them any gifts at all, they begin to realize that the gifts they opened were gifts each other gave to Hetty.
My point? Well, we spend time purchasing gifts we think our friends and family members want-sometimes we're fortunate to get a list of things they wanted, but sometimes we do our own thing too. In the end, many of the things on their list-including mine isn't a good investment. The one that hit me up-side the face was movies...I like movies a lot and I have been dubbed 'the mini-blockbuster' by friends and family. When I think of all the movies I have, it's sad takes up space and I don't find myself watching them over and over again-just every once in a while. I don't need them, I wanted them and I think that truth is what's been misguiding the Christmas season all together...which is why I picked 'Santa vs. Jesus' for this blog post.
Henri Nouwen wrote: 'Being busy has become a status symbol' and that 'we are inclined to become so restless and tense that we welcome anything that will distract us again'. Now, I'm inclined to agree with him-I think we've become too distracted and have missed the true meaning of Christmas. The celebration of Christ coming into the world as not a king, but as one of ordinary child with an ordinary up-bringing and a gift beyond measure...
How sad is it that we've forgotten that Christ was God among us and that he was born in a stable...I still think there's something wrong with this picture-he should've been staying at the Double Tree! Christmas has become deluted into spend, spend, spend and stress, stress, stress. Yet, how often do we find peace and find deep meaning in the company of our families? It's pretty rare when we find ourselves preparing for family to either arrive or pack-up the gifts cuz you're on your way to the in-laws! There's plenty of stress to go around during Christmas, but I don't think that's what Christmas was intended for. When you see movies with Santa, you find a unifying theme-usually it's Santa worried about Christmas. How sad is that?
Anyway, I will get off my soap box, but I promise to be back with something else the mean time check out this video:
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