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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Beautiful Morning...

When I woke up this morning, it smelled like spring!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office...

I rear-ended a car this morning.

So there we are, alongside the road and slowly the driver gets out of his car... and you know how when you get in a stressful situation and stuff seems funnier than it normally is and you keep yourself from laughing - even though it's the wrong timing (like at a funeral).

Yeah, well, I could NOT believe it... the guy I rear-ended was a DWARF (or is that a little person?).

So the guy storms over to my car, looks up at me and says, "I AM NOT HAPPY!"

So, I look down at him and say, "Well, which one are you then?"

...And that's when the fight started.

In case you don't know, the above is a joke. No little people were injured (or even present) in the writing of this blog post.

Happy Birthday to Me...

I started this blog 3 years ago.

In that time I...
  • Wrote 563 posts (including this one)...
  • Have received a little over 49,000 hits...
  • Have had people look at my blog from every continent (that's right Los - I even Antarctica last year... beat that!)
  • Rank 283,266 on Technorati (come on, people... link me - let's share the love!)
  • Have an Technorati authority of 29 (weak!)
  • Have 12-18 regular subscribers through RSS (come on, people!)
Thanks for joining me for the ride!

The End of an Era...

From Larry Norman's website...
Hello everybody.

Our friend and my wonderful brother Larry passed away at 2:45 Sunday morning. Kristin and I were with him, holding his hands and sitting in bed with him when his heart finally slowed to a stop. We spent this past week laughing, singing, and praying with him, and all the while he had us taking notes on new song ideas and instructions on how to continue his ministry and art.

Several of his friends got to come and visit with him in the last couple of weeks and were a great source of help and friendship to Larry. Ray Sievers, Derek Robertson, Mike Makinster, Tim and Christine Gilman, Matt and Becky Simmons, Kerry Hopkins, Allen Fleming and a few more. Thank you guys. Larry appreciated your visits very much. And he greatly appreciated the thoughts, wishes, support and prayers that came from all of you Solid Rock friends on a daily basis. Thank you for being part of his small circle of friends over the years. Yesterday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming typed these words into Larry's computer:
I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

Thank you to all of you who were so nice to my brother over the years. Kristin and I will post funeral information in the next day or two. Right now we're not able to function very well, but the whole family is here... our mother Margaret, our sisters Nancy and Kristy, Mike Norman and his new wife Tiffany, and Silver.

We miss him beyond words. Thank you for everything.

Peace to you all in Christ,

Charles Norman
Larry Norman: 4/8/47 - 2/24/08

RSS: embeded video


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Worship Confessional: 02.24.08


This morning kicked. We opened up with Better Than Life with the choir. We went on to sing The Lord's Prayer and did Holy is the Lord for the prayer time. We sand Crowder's All Creatures for communion, then closed the service with And Now My Lifesong Sings with me at the piano, Dee on violin, and Reggie dancing. It was really cool.

Here are the songs (with iTunes links where available)...
Keep an eye on the NewCov Production blog for videos from today...

On the down side, the mikes weren't up at the beginning of the first song and my earbuds weren't quite right. They were frustrations for me, but I don't think affected the overall experience for the people in the seats.

Next week... Rescue.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Looking for the right words...

It's a cold and blustery day in Fresno. It's supposed to rain. Did I mention it was really cold (by California standards). And it's cold in the house, too, 'cause we are too cheap frugal to turn on the heat much and our fireplace is more for showin' than for blowin'.

This morning was beautiful. The clouds had parted and you could see the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains behind the house with their many inches of new-fallen snow, a most brilliant white in the rising sun.

And now I sit and ponder what to blog about... looking for inspiration.

Sometimes I like to blog about fun, mindless stuff, 'cause that's one side of my personality.

Sometimes I like to blog about stuff I'm passionate about, like my family or saving kids through Compassion.

Other times, I blog about cool stuff I've found in cyberspace.

Today, I am at a loss for words or ideas or creativity. Instead, I'll use God's. Here's what He gave us yesterday behind the house. It was so close we could almost hop the fence and touch it (the youngest blonde boy suggested we do that very thing...)

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Don't mess with the boy!

The oldest blonde boy ticked off the youngest blonde boy.

The youngest blonde boy retaliated with this two-sided note on his door (click to enlarge):

Here's what side one says:

Keep Out Conner!

But I love you Conner and your still by best butty [buddy]. more ritting [writing] on the other side.

P.S. Mom, Dad you can still come in.

Here's what side two says:

Your band from my room Connor forever enless [unless] you say your sorry for saying I'm a jurk.

P.S. rite your sorry here. get pencil and rite sorry here.

And the illustration has the youngest telling the oldest "you can't come in here til you say your sorry"... there is a notation that it is Chase's room....

Check out the finger point and the angry look. It's classic! Oh yeah... he drew Connor in perspective - one leg is longer as he is walking down the hall.

If you anger the boy, he will retaliate with his art!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Quote of the Day...

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible."

-T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia)

HT: Ethos

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NewCov Sunday Videos

Here's some of the stuff we've been doing on Sundays...

Here's a time lapse of the set design for our current series... Your Life.

Here's the opener from last Sunday. Randy brought it with the lights.

We did a really cool thing where we had people come forward to lay their prayers and commitments at the foot of the cross that we set up at the front of the stage. Watch for the little boy at the end who come up to lay his prayer at the cross - I almost lost it.

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The Rules for Dating

I don't have daughter's, but if I did, these would be the rules:

Rule One
If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anyone up.

Rule Two
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes to big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact come off during the course of you date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "Barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate; when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL kill you.

Rule Five
It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is: "early".

Rule Six
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is OK with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven
As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process than can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like change the oil in my car?

Rule Eight
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka... zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chain saws are OK. Hockey games are OK. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dim-witted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten
Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When the Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car - there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window will be mine.

HT: Noodlestatic

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

10 Stupidest Leadership Mistakes I've Made

From Tony Morgan's blog...
  1. Hiring too fast and firing too slow. The right people don't need to be managed--they just need to be pointed in the right direction. Jim Collins said, "If the person came to tell you that he or she is leaving to pursue an exciting new opportunity, would you feel terribly disappointed or secretly relieved?" If you'd be relieved, it's time for them to go.
  2. Putting the projects before the people. Ecclesiastes 7:18 says, "The man who fears God will avoid all extremes." This is one of those areas where we need to embrace the tension between relating with people and accomplishing the mission/getting the job done.
  3. Trying to fix the problem rather than the process. It's like continuing to change diapers instead of potty-training your kids. You can either continue to react to the problem, or you can fix the process. 90% of the time it's a systems-problem rather than a people-problem.
  4. Delegating tasks instead of responsibility. I told the story of the three little pigs. "If all I've known is straw houses and I control every detail of their construction, then my leadership will never generate brick house ideas."
  5. Assuming it's always black and white. Following rules is easier than the messiness of relationships. Following rules is easier than discerning God's will. The policies or guidelines we establish should actually remove barriers and allow more freedom within our organizations. But, innovative organizations don't value the rules over the mission.
  6. Not following my gut. (...or is that the Holy Spirit?) Sometimes when I'm facing a big decision, I try to acquire more information rather than seek God's direction. When we stop listening to God, he stops talking to us. God stopped talking to Abraham for 13 years between the last verse of Genesis 16 and the first chapter of 17. And, sometimes, God requires us to take a step, in faith, before he reveals his plan. Check out Joshua 3.
  7. Dwelling on the worst case scenario. I have the spiritual gift of discernment. That can be a positive gift when God's in control of my life. When I try to take control, that "gift" turns into sin. It's called worry or anxiety. I've wasted way too much time worrying about challenges or problems that never happened. This is my biggest area of vulnerability. What's yours?
  8. Waiting until there's a problem to provide feedback. I'm encouragement-challenged. My tendency is to only speak up when expectations aren't met. That can create a culture of fear. I need to discipline myself to encourage my team. As Tom Peters has said, "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes."
  9. Staying busy. I've too often made the mistake of assuming that since I'm busy I'm adding value. It's very possible to be constantly busy and be completely ineffective. By the way, email can be the biggest trap of all. If I wanted to, I could spend every hour of every day processing email and getting absolutely nothing accomplished.
  10. Spending too much time on the details rather than the dreams. Perry showed me this one. Check out Genesis 11:31-32. Terah intended to go to Canaan. Instead he stopped in Haran. He got stuck there for 205 years. Then he died. Why? Was it disobedience? Did he lose sight of God's vision? Did he just get too comfortable? Did he settle for less than God's best? When I get too focused on responding to the urgent, I lose sight of the big picture. And, frankly, my tendency is to settle into a routine that's very comfortable but doesn't accomplish the full mission God has for my life and my ministry.
HT: tonymorganlive.com

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Broken Record

I know that I have probably begun to sound like a broken record. But I can't escape the facts... you and I - the many readers of Two Blonde Boys - are (compared to much/most of the world) rich.

Sure... we have burdened ourselves with stuff and debt, but we are rich.

$32 a month. Become unburdened. Save a life.
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

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Is it Goodbye to HD-DVD?

It just may be, according to this article in Gamespot:

It's been a rough year for Toshiba's HD DVD format. After spending 2006 and 2007 locked in a heated battle with the Sony-backed Blu-ray for high-definition, high-capacity disc format dominance, HD DVD has suffered a series of devastating setbacks in the first two months of the year.

Warner Bros. kicked 2008 off by going Blu-ray exclusive in the first week of January. An apparently panicked HD DVD camp canceled its Consumer Electronics Show conference in response, and reports quickly surfaced that HD DVD holdouts Paramount and Universal were looking to switch to Blu-ray.

Bad news for HD DVD fans is continuing to snowball this week, as Best Buy and movie rental service Netflix both said they would back the Sony-supported format going forward. (Best Buy will still stock HD DVD, but its salespeople will advise prospective customers to go Blu-ray).

Two more big names came up as abandoning HD DVD today. This morning the official Wal-Mart blog confirmed that the massive retail chain is going Blu-ray exclusive by June, and the Hollywood Reporter is citing "reliable industry sources" for the news that Toshiba itself is ready to drop its own format.

A Toshiba representative denied the news to the film-focused trade newspaper, but left plenty of room for people to infer there is some truth to the report.

"Given the market developments in the past month," the rep is quoted as saying, "Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players."

A source "close to the HD-DVD camp" told the paper that an announcement could be made in a matter of weeks, but that it is definitely coming soon.

Article by Brendan Sinclair, Gamespot

HT: Gamespot

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Sunday, February 17, 2008


Please join me in helping 30 children get sponsored through Compassion International by the end of February.

Read the incredible stories of what kind of a difference your $32 a month makes as the Uganda bloggers tell their stories of hope.

Curious how it works? Shaun answered some of the common questions on his blog:

Does all of my $32 go to my sponsored child every month?
A minimum of 80% goes toward meeting the physical, metal, social, economic, educational and spiritual needs of your sponsored child. That’s high by comparison. The actual percentage right now is 83.8.

Am I the only one sponsoring my child or does my money go into a fund or something that takes care of lots of kids? How’s that work?
Your money sponsors your child. Only your child.

How on earth does 80% of $32 make the difference you say it does? How? You can’t be shooting straight.
I am, I swear. A little goes a long way in the third world, you know? Consider this. I made a “family gift” to my sponsored child in El Salvador one time. A family gift isn’t something I had to do but I wanted to give that money for Compassion folks to use if there was a need not covered by my regular sponsor dollars. I just wanted to do more, something for the whole family, if they needed it.

Anyway, you know what they did with my $20 gift? They put a while new roof on their house. A roof! For $20! I put a roof on my house for $4000. A little goes a long way.

So I’ve heard you say Compassion International works through local churches and pastors. OK, well, what’s in it for them? Are they making some cash off the deal or what?
These people are the most generous folks I’ve ever met - they put me to shame. They give to Compassion and kids much more than they get. Compassion keeps it’s relief percentage (80% of your $32 a month) so high partly because Compassion doesn’t have to build buildings. The Compassion “projects” I talk about are church buildings - Sunday school classrooms, sanctuaries, etc.

The church uses existing facilities to care for kids, and church members and other Christian locals to do most of the work along side Compassion staff - also local. These church members are trained in social work and child care and everything need to do their jobs with excellence. And they’re held VERY accountable by Compassion staff right there in their country.

I guess, from what I’ve heard from pastors, what church get most out of the deal is growth. Numerical growth because as kids make commitments to Christ their families follow, and also who doesn’t want to check out a church that feeds and educates their kid? But the church pastors have also consistently told me working with Compassion grows their congregation spiritually. It puts the poor, the folks Jesus commanded us sacrifice for, at the core of their church. You show up for Sunday school and your classroom still has math problems on it from the fifth grade class that met there all week. That sort of exposure to the work of Compassion breeds compassion in the hearts of church attenders. It changes the church.

But no, no pastor is getting rich off of Compassion. I’ve seen where a couple of them live so believe me they’re not milking Compassion for a condo and a Mercedes. This is a partnership between Compassion International, sponsors like you, and local churches - everybody pitches in.

Why work through churches? Why not work through corporations, institutions, government, somebody bigger and richer and better? Is this the best way to help kids in poverty?
Compassion International is not about helping kids in poverty. That’s what they do but not what they’re about. They’re about raising an impoverished into a mature, healthy, independent Christian adult.

Meeting ALL of a child’s needs - inside and out - I believe is the best way to free children from poverty forever. That’s the goal. Now, that’s important to understand because it is the foundation that affects every other decision Compassion makes, everything about how they operate.

For instance, governments and institutions and what-not can do a great deal to feed and clothe kids. They can educate kids. They can teach nutrition and could even teach parents a trade. But they can’t cure the biggest poverty a kid can know: spiritual poverty. Only Christ has the cure for that. Only Christ offers that kind of wealth and hope. So Compassion works through the church.

And besides, while its great when anyone helps folks in need, Jesus didn’t command anyone to help these kids in the third world except the Church. That’s you, me and the local congregation in Uganda. It’s our job, not Uncle Sam’s.

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Worship Confessional: 02.17.08

This morning was pretty awesome!

We kicked it off with My Redeemer Lives. Rick and the team BROUGHT IT and Randy programmed some wicked lighting. Hopefully he will posting it soon on his blog or on our production blog.

The "moment" of the morning was when we invited people to come forward to a cross we set up on stage right. Our pastor was teaching on fasting and prayer (check out the podcast HERE). We put slips of paper on everyone's chair and they were invited to come forward to place their prayers/commitments at the foot of the corss (or to nail them to the cross). It was definitely a God-moment.

We closed the service with More to This Life.

Here is the entire set with iTunes links...
Oh yeah... will you be the first person to sponsor a child with Compassion through my blog? For $32 a month, you can save the life of a child.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pictures of Hope...

This is what hope looks like...

Be the fits one of 30 this month through my blog to sponsor a child through Compassion. All it takes is $32 a month to save a life.

Sign up at Compassion's web site, then come back here and leave a comment on any post to let me know you're on the team.

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I just read this quote from Rob Bell:

"You have to be so totally disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow a redemptive use of your time."

It was not in its entire context, so I can't accurately gauge what Rob Bell was intending to say. He may be referring to bloggers who have/are taken/taking personal shots at him. However, I think the Ugandan bloggers have shown a very real way that blogging is a redemptive use of one's time.

HT: The Learning Curve


Friday, February 15, 2008

Will you join me?

You come here from all over the world (that's how I know it's more thank just my mom reading this blog).

Many of you come from my church.

You come to see what I'll say or do next. You come to see what Randy and I had for lunch or what new dance moves we might throw down.

You come to see what we sang in church or what cool or funny video I might post. You come for the insightful posts and the irreverent posts.

Some of you come just to see my pretty face (or, was it's known around our house... "the money-maker").

And some of you come looking for porn.

Whatever your reason for coming here, I'd like to ask you to do something... sponsor a child through Compassion for $32 a month.

For $32 a month - the cost of going to Starbucks a little less or not going out to eat once or twice - you can save the life of a child.

Here's what I am asking you to do:
  1. Click HERE to go to Compassion's site and sponsor a child.
  2. Once you've done that, come back to my blog and leave me a comment to let me know that you have sponsored a child.
My goal is to get 30 kids sponsored as a result of my blog by the end of this month. Will you join me? Who will step up and be first.

Take a look at this video and see what kind of difference your $32 makes. Follow some incredible stories of hope as told by the Uganda bloggers.

Please join me in making a difference...

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Friday Video Fun...

Here's a little video love for a Friday morning...

First, watch this video as you wave goodbye to Valentine's Day...

Now, check this amazing video out:

Over 200 New Yorkers recently walked into one of the busiest train stations in the world, New York's Grand Central Station, and at exactly 2:30 pm, all froze in place. There's one guy in the video who froze just as he was stooping down to pick up some scattered papers. Talk about commitment.

Get the full backstory HERE.

Valentine's video HT: Vertizontal

Prank video HT: Gadling

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Fire in My Belly

There are things in the world that are not right... things you and I can't do anything about. Things that probably won't change no matter how hard we beat against the wall or rage against the machine.

But there are some things we can do something about. We can do big things... eternal things... life-changing things. We can the save lives of children who are dying.

I have become WRECKED with what I see through the eyes of the Compassion bloggers in Uganda. Wrecked with the realization that kids are dying of completely preventable things like hunger and malaria and AIDS.

But I have also become absolutely HOPEFUL, because I know know that you and I can truly make a difference. We can literally SAVE THE LIFE of a sweet, innocent, beautiful child.

My child's name is Engel. He lives in Ecuador. Because I sponsor him - for a mere $32 a month - he has food and clothes and shelter and medical attention and an education. Take a look at the pictures and the stories from the Uganda bloggers to see the STARK difference between sponsored and unsponsored children. It is unbelievable.

Please, will you join me in sponsoring a child? For $32 a month you can literally save the life of a child.


February is Compassion's blog month. Let's get together as readers of Two Blonde Boys and make a difference. Join with me. Let's make it our goal to sponsor 30 kids (new sponsorships) by the end of February.

Will you join me? Go to Compassion right now and sponsor a child. Then come back and leave a comment and tell me about your child.

Together we can make a difference.

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Valentines Day Post #3

My wife and I went on our first date together 21 years ago today (where has the time gone?). I took her to the Chart House in Portland, OR (at the top of the Terwilleger Curves).

So in honor of Valentine's Day, I thought' I'd give you one more article on love and romance from The Family Room.

What Communicates Love and Romance to You?
Q: I've been married eight years now, and sometimes I feel I still don't understand my wife, especially in the area of romance. What can I do?

Barbara: Dennis and I in our marriage have continued to discover things about each other—and we've been married over 25 years. It's just a lifetime process that God has us on. I would just encourage husbands to not give up, not lose heart, and instead be encouraged by the challenge. You really wouldn't want to marry someone if you could figure her out that quickly.

Dennis: The challenge to live with our wives "in an understanding way" (1 Peter 3:7) should be embraced by every husband. I wouldn't be too concerned that a husband doesn't understand his wife after just a few years of marriage. Barbara and I were recently with a Christian leader and his wife who had recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. I'll never forget what he said when asked if he understood his wife. Speaking with the utmost love and respect for his wife he said, "I'll never fully understand my wife—she's a woman, she's different. God made her that way."

When it comes to romance the sexes speak a different language. Is God playing a cruel hoax on us by making us so different? I don't think so. As the years go by we need to ask God to give us the ability to meet each other's needs. Every husband should seek to listen to truly understand his wife's language of love (and vice versa) and then begin finding creative ways of communicating romance to her.

I've found it helpful to ask, "What can I do to let you know that I love you? Or, what communicates love and romance to you?"

If what communicates love to her is surprise, then find a way to surprise her. Maybe it's just conversation—just spending some uninterrupted time talking. Or taking a walk. There needs to be variety and creativity. She needs to feel like you are thinking about her in different ways at different times and not just the same old prescribed pattern. Many times I think that Barbara doesn't want to be figured out. She wants to see if I really do care enough to seek to understand her. Understanding is a process, not a goal to be achieved.

Barbara: A wife wants her husband to love her and be willing to pursue her and continue to know who she is and who she is becoming. She wants to be more complex and intriguing and more of a challenge not easily figured out.

Ephesians 5:25 states, "Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church." And Christ gave Himself up for the church; He denied Himself. When a woman sees her husband denying himself for her, she responds to him just as the church responds to Christ. I believe when she sees his genuine sacrifice, she understands that it's because of love.

On the other hand, if a woman senses her husband is romancing her in order to meet his own personal need, then she feels manipulated, or controlled, or less valued...used. She may begin to fear that she would be taken advantage of, taken for granted sexually, and unappreciated in any number of ways.

A wife's ultimate need is to be loved as Christ loved the church. No man can or will do that perfectly. But a husband who is seeking to become the man God wants him to be will be learning to practice Ephesians 5:25 in his marriage. The result is a wife who begins to feel and experience unconditional love and a marriage of growing commitment, trust, and fulfillment.

Dennis: I think men want romance to be like arithmetic: A plus B equals C. And therein lies the frustration as well as the intrigue. If he knows that is the way it works, then she knows that he will do A plus B equals C every time, and that gets boring. That's why the equation changes for a woman and why a husband needs to be attentive to his wife's needs.

That's why one of the best things we have done over the years is to have a date night. Just an evening to re-connect relationally and emotionally to one another. Romance doesn't always happen, but it has a better chance away from phones, TVs, and the demands of children.

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Valentines Day Post #2

Happy Valentine's Day (again)!

Here is another great article from The Family Room (a publication of FamilyLife from Dennis and Barbara Rainey).

This time, it's for the ladies: Why Sex Is so Important to Your Husband.
"How do you romance a woman?"

Answer: "Wine her, dine her, call her, cuddle with her, surprise her, compliment her hair, shop with her, listen to her talk, buy flowers, hold her hand, write love letters, and be willing to go to the end of the earth and back again for her." That sounds about right, doesn't it? Who wouldn't want that kind of treatment...

"How do you romance a man?"

Answer: "Arrive naked. Bring food."

A woman's picture of romance tends to revolve around her emotional needs and her thirst for a relationship with her husband. It's a package deal, like going on a cruise. Your cruise ticket doesn’t just allow you to enjoy sailing on a ship through beautiful waters to exotic locations; it includes three meals a day plus all-you-can-eat midnight buffets, access to swimming pools, games, exercise facilities, entertainment, excursions to ports of call, and a host of other amenities and experiences.

While a man has emotional needs, too, as Dr. Willard Harley asserts in His Needs, Her Needs, a man's view of romance is much more focused on a single experience: sexual affirmation. In that regard, God wired men and women very differently. As you probably have experienced, these radical differences in approach to romance set the stage for repeated clashes in marriage—the husband pursues romance based on his sexual passion, and the wife goes after relationship...

Like Oil and Vinegar

When God created woman, He gave her multiple avenues for expressing the essence of her sexuality—her femaleness. Because I am a woman, I can participate in sexual intercourse with my husband. I can conceive a child and experience the miraculous process of creating a life in my body over nine months. My husband can only watch and wonder, but he'll never know what giving life is like.

After my child is born, I can physically nurse her for months and even years if I so choose. There is no way a man can feed a baby with a bottle and begin to experience the same deep fulfillment and satisfaction women feel when they successfully nurse their child.

The experiences of childbearing and nursing are affirmations of female sexuality. Women were made to nurture life. It is an expression of our inherent femaleness, even if we never have a biological child. We are nurturers by God's design.

By contrast, a man's sexuality, his manhood, is primarily expressed through sexual intercourse. Of course this isn't the only way he demonstrates his sexuality, but his sexual performance with his wife is an inseparable part of who he is. This area of his masculinity is subjected by the design of the Creator to a brief performance with a woman—his wife.

My point is this: when it comes to affirming your sexuality as a woman, you can participate in intercourse with your husband without having to become aroused. Your husband, however, cannot. His sexual affirmation requires him to be able to perform to complete the act of intercourse.

A wife must understand that temptation can get a foothold when her husband's sexual needs (including the need to feel desired by his wife) remain unmet. There are many voices in a man's world tempting him to fulfill his needs through illicit and perverted recreational outlets. Counterfeit pleasures beckon from every street corner—and every modem...

Grateful for God’s Design

Have you ever thanked God for the way He created you and your husband? God doesn't make mistakes, and thanking Him for His design is the first step in finding peace in your situation. And doing that will give God the opportunity to change your thinking.

Thanking God is a decision I choose to make. From there, I choose to love my husband even if I don't have strong feelings. Love, ultimately, is a commitment to seek the best of the one loved. I can choose to exercise my power as a passionate, nurturing, fully alive woman, or I can withhold and withdraw.

You face the same decision to love your man today.

Your husband will never be the man God created him to be if you don't validate his maleness and understand and satisfy his need for sexual intimacy. You are God's primary instrument of love and affirmation if he is to became God's man. You have the power to make him or break him because men are not born, they are made.

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Valentines Day Post #1

Happy Valentine's Day!

Check out this great article from The Family Room (a publication of FamilyLife from Dennis and Barbara Rainey).

The first post for today is for the guys: Becoming the Man of Her Dreams...
What do Sean Connery and Harrison Ford have in common? Whether playing James Bond or Indiana Jones, these actors have been Hollywood's idea of a manly man for decades. They're rough and tough, and can fight, shoot, punch, or drop-kick their way through a crowded alley of bad guys… while barely cracking a sweat. They're unstoppable. Unflappable.

And they usually get at least one girl in the end.

After all, jumping in the sack with any available warm body just goes with the action-hero territory. They reach for the thrill of sex without paying the price of intimacy. Take James Bond. Give him an adventure, and he'll be in and out of more beds than a mattress salesman.

In the absence of models who know how to love, cherish, and relate to one woman over a lifetime, is it any wonder that for the last few decades boys have grown up to be men who are equally clueless about how to give themselves to a lifelong love? Taking their cues from Hollywood they enter into marriage with guns blazing, thinking that their tough guy routine will save the day. But the show barely gets started when they find out how woefully ill-equipped they are to give a woman what she craves most.

A relationship.

I'm convinced we have a generation of married men who are confused and lonely; they're stuck in a lifeless marriage because they never learned how to cultivate a relationship with a woman that speaks to her romantic need for intimacy...

...great romance is the by-product of a relationship.

Simple Gardening Tips

The secret is learning how and what to sow in the garden of a woman's heart. When you sow the seeds of respect, kind words, acts of tenderness, and thoughtfulness, you reap a reward from your wife in abundance. As God said through Hosea, "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love" (Hosea 10:12)...

When you withhold a meaningful relationship (I'm speaking about her need for conversation with you, her desire to see you plugged into family life, her thirst to hear words of affirmation), she finds it difficult to give herself totally to you... Her heart can be like a bank account where you make deposits and withdrawals. Far too often as men we can make withdrawals and disregard making deposits or investments. Every wife needs you to invest security, acceptance, and an emotional connection in her life...

When a man pressures his wife to perform sexually without regard to the relational aspects of such intimacy, sex becomes shallow. Physical intimacy becomes a battle of the wills or a manipulative game that ultimately dies a slow death.

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

Just as your wife might wonder why sex is so important to you, you might be wondering why relationship is so crucial to her. You might even be scratching your head about why God wired men and women so differently. Look at it this way. As you know, God created Adam first. But did you know that Adam never asked for a wife?

It was God who said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18, emphasis added). God, in His wisdom, created Eve to be the companion that Adam didn't even recognize he needed. She was created to remove Adam's aloneness. No wonder God placed in Eve an intense drive toward relationship.

God knew that man's tendency was to be alone. He gave us a gravitational pull in marriage—our sex drive—so that we would pursue our wives who, in turn, would call us to know and be known in the context of a relationship...

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Monday Fun and Inspiration

On Monday, Randy and I went to lunch at Bobby Salazar's. It was tasty, as usual.

After lunch, Randy took me to the World Vision Experience: AIDS at Campus Bible Church.

It was truly amazing and inspiring. You walked through an immersion experience as you followed the life of a child. At the end of the experience, you got to find out if your child lived or died from the AIDS virus.

My child (Emmanuel) lived. Randy's perished from AIDS.

I was moved by the experience, as I have been from the Compassion Uganda Bloggers. Follow their stories and see if your heart is not deeply moved: (Randy, Chris, Carlos, Heather, Spence, Shaun, Phil, Doug, Sophie, Anne, Tom, Brian, Shannon, & Keely)

If you haven't done it, please consider sponsoring a child trhough Compassion (or World Vision). Our Compassion child is named Engel. He is our little man in Ecuador and we love him very much. $30 in NOTHING for us in the USA, but it does WONDERS for a child in another country, Please, please, please... make a difference in the life of a child TODAY!

On a lighter note, the experience and visuals served to inspire us for our next sermon series at NewCov that we are calling "Rescue."

And of course, we had some dancing...

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It was a pretty cool morning this morning. It was nice to be back in Fresno from Tennessee and worshiping with my team.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • Jeremy and Hilary BROUGHT IT on our opener, Life of Praise.
  • Natalie's signing on All Who Are Thirsty was powerful and really added to the moment.
Right at the beginning of the 2nd service (after our opener), my acoustic broke, so I had to go with my electric rig. It was one of those moments... if only I had a guitar tech backstage and a rack of killer guitars! Ha ha ha!

Here's the set for this morning (with iTunes links)...
Check out the pictures of the set design on our Production blog HERE. And check out the video of the signing HERE.

Monday, February 04, 2008

ReCeate Dinner #1 - Sol

Dinner at Sol tonight in a word... SPECTACULAR!

Course #1:
  • Posole (rich broth, roasted pork, hominy, cilantro)
Course #2:
  • Fish Tacos (masa dusted grouper, shredded cabbage, chile-lime mayo, corn salsa, green rice)
Course #3:
  • Coconut Tres Leches (our favorite cake soaked with "three milks")

ReCreate Pregame

ReCreate kicked off today. Getting ready to head out to dinner. Here are some pictures of the "pre-game" from Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday Church

Lunch and set-up at the Cool Springs Mariott

SuperBowl Party at Randy's

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Let the games begin...

SuperBowl Sunday (can I type that without paying a licensing fee?). It is a National Holiday. It is the day when football widows receive back their men from the NFL.

For some it's a sad day. After today, I'll be counting the days until August/September when college and pro ball starts up again.

So to cheer you up, and in the spirit of the SuperBowl, here are a few commercials from AmeriQuest. And remember... don't judge too quickly.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight?

I am sitting in the airport in Denver getting ready to get on mt second flight of the day. I am headed to cre:ate in Franklin. Should be awesome.

Until I get there and find something interesting to write about, here's some mindless entertainment...

If you're like me, you lie awake at night wondering about the answers to many of life's questions. Here's one you no longer need to wonder about.

This short survey will tell you approximately how many five year old children you could fight at once. Results are based on physical prowess, training, swarm-combating experience, and the flexibility of your moral compass. Here are the ground rules:
  • You are in an enclosed area roughly the size of a basketball court
  • There are no weapons or foreign objects
  • Everyone is wearing a cup (so no kicks to the groin)
  • The children are merciless and will show no fear
  • If a child is knocked unconscious, he is "out." The same goes for you.
I was disappointed that I could only take 3 - it may be due to balance issues or age. I'm pretty sure I could take 40.

What was your score?

HT: The Weave

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