Sunday, December 31, 2006

Random Thoughts

"It's a good thing I didn't eat lunch today."
"Why do you say that?" asked my father-in-law.
"Because if I had eaten lunch, I would have lost it during that movie!"

That movie was Apocalypto. I was really wanting to watch an action movie, but not necessarily a gory one! This one had SO much blood and guts I literally felt sick for most of it! The most disgusting parts had to do with human sacrifice. During these scenes I was thinking, "Those people really need Jesus." Not just the ones who were sacrificing, but the ones who were facing losing their lives. I am SO glad I serve a God who does not require the killing of others to appease Him.


On the way back from Michigan, we stayed at the Amana Colonies in Iowa. First, Iowa is prettier than Illinois. Secondly, I would REALLY suggest visiting this place!! It is an old German community with lots of old German charm. We ate at Colony Inn and it has the BEST cottage cheese (I know..weird, huh?!) and sauerkraut (sweet AND sour sauerkraut!) I had the wurst plate (bratwurst, knackwurst and cheddarwurst) and it was awesome. I also got to sample some kind of dumpling and pork shanks.
We stayed in the special Holiday Inn, complete with waterpark! I'm sure we will be headed back there when Fischer is older!


I had to shovel snow today from my driveway and sidewalks. The forecaster only predicted one inch accumulation because of warm ground temps, but we've got at least five or six.
My back and legs hurt real bad!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday Movies

Bravo, Will Smith, bravo! What an awesome job you did in your newest film, "The Pursuit of Happyness."
Both the wife and I teared up during the film, and for good reason.
It was packed with positive, encouraging, inspiring messages such as taking care of family, trusting each other, and NEVER giving up. Of all the movies I've seen over the holidays, this one has to be #1 on my list so far.

By the way, "The Good Shepherd"...I'm sorry, but I thought it was horrible. The tagline read, "The beginnings of the CIA." and I kept waiting for that storyline, but it never showed up! I felt cheated!
Not only was the storyline choppy, but the overall feel of the movie was one of confusion and deception. (Perhaps it was MADE that way for a reason.)
The movie itself is THREE (grueling) hours long, but the best part took only 30 minutes. The same movie could have been done MUCH better in under two hours, I think.
Another problem was that I did not feel compelled to root for ANY of the characters. EVERYONE was shady, even the non-CIA people!
Oh well, I got a good nap in there about halfway through...

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest - Hey, it was at the $1 Movie Theater. I can't really complain! I will say that it is better than the first (in my opinion.) The first hour is hilarious and moves quickly. But trouble begins as the movie slows down and sets up for Part 3...due out next summer! Oh well, I still enjoyed seeing Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow again (yes, I've already seen this one!) But like I said, who can complain when you pay $1?!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sins of the Past

Sins of the past cannot be undone...only forgiven.

This thought came to me last night, for no particular reason. I have not been able to get it out of my head all day...

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Test

So I shared a few weeks ago how we had decided to be more consistent about our giving...
Right before Thanksgiving, we were told we would need a new battery in our car. A few days ago, I took the car in and the mechanic told me that it wasn't our battery, but our alternator that was having problems.
After some research, we discovered that an alternator would cost around $350-$400 to be bought and installed...$400 we didn't have.
Tracy called me crying. "After you got your check, the first check I wrote was our church contribution. I just don't understand why this is hitting us now!"
After mulling it over some more and talking to some family and friends, we took the car to the dealership so that the professionals could look it over and give us the official diagnosis. I was praying the whole time, "Please God, let it be a wire or something!"
The mechanic came back, "Well, it's not your alternator. Your alternator is charging fine. It looks like your battery needs replacing though."
Thank you, God! We can afford a battery.
By the way, we are happy to say that we had decided that the check was going in on Sunday, no matter what.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Special Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my wife's 2@%&%$# birthday...

In case you don't know, we met online at the Church of Christ Singles website. I was getting desperate...being out of college with no prospects for a wife! I e-mailed several young ladies and Tracy was one of the few who emailed back. We began to email back and forth and did so for several months. She was so intriguing...spontaneous and crazy! I couldn't wait to check my e-mail EVERY day to see if she had left a note!

After emailing for what seems like several months, she decided to come and meet me, which was scary, yet thrilling for me. Would she like me after we actually met face to face? Would she think I was too dorky?

When she pulled up in a little red sporty car, out bounded a bubbly, beautiful woman. She had a smile plastered on her face for all of our first made my heart flutter! She didn't seem to get bored with me and even laughed at my jokes! She was polite, funny, kind-hearted, spontaneous, crazy, sweet, gorgeous, and extremely loving.

She still is.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why do we talk to each other this way?

On Sunday nights, we are having a class for teens and parents about comunication. This week, one of the main points is going to be about how parents and teens speak to each other...

After a while, it can be a real temptation to stop speaking to one another. Or, you speak to each other only when you need something! Have you heard these comments in YOUR house...?

"Hey, you need to get in there and clean up that room."

"Hey Dad, can I have twenty bucks? I'm going out with friends."

"I need you to pick up your little sister...I'm going to be at work longer that I thought."

"Mom, can I borrow the car tomorrow?"

Unfortunately, our conversations sometimes sink to ASKING or DEMANDING. Parents only speak to demand something from their kids, or kids only speak to ask something of their parents. What a sad situation...and yet I fall into this trap sometimes too (with my wife!)

Then I started thinking, "Isn't that the way we talk to God, too?"

It's sad, really. Many times, I feel like I just talk to God to ask something of Him, like he's the parent and I'm the teenager. I get so self-centered that I just think of what I want, and don't realize that maybe God just wants to hear about my day! Maybe all He wants is for me to talk to Him, to pour out my heart and tell Him how I'm feeling!

I want to be like Abraham who, the Bible tells us, spoke to God like he spoke to his friends. Or, there's Enoch, who apparently had such good talks with God, that God decided to just take him to heaven and not wait for him to die!

If you'll excuse me, there's someone I need to just talk to. Not demand, not ask for something...just talk. I need to talk to my Father...

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Gimme, gimme" to "Take It, take it!"

The topic of "Giving" has somehow found it's way into my life multiple times recently. I'm embarassed to say that this is a facet of my walk with God that is lacking in a severe way.

You see, we have been the recipients of giving quite a bit during our ministry, but rarely have we been givers. Oh sure, I tell myself that I give lots of my time and all my effort, sometimes even working at "odd' hours! I seem to justify my lack of giving quite often.

This passage from 2 Corinthians 9 really spoke to me:

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

I don't want to be a "reluctant giver" any more. I don't want to give because I feel "pushed" to give (even though my teens have noticed my problem and say, "Franklin, you'll get it right back! It's like you're paying yourself anyway!") I know they don't mean to "push" me, so maybe I should take it as a challenge.
I want to give because God has given so much to me! Tracy and I have decided to start off small, but give CONSISTENTLY, which we have never done. We decided to be consistent because GOD has been consistent in blessing us!!
I have always wanted to be a "giver." I always thought it would be cool to help somebody pay off some debt, or drop off some surprise cash around Christmas time for a struggling family. But first, I need to learn to be a giver so that "you will be made rich in every way SO THAT you can be generous on every occasion..."