Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Deep Thought

Two couples I know, Brent & Marci and Kevin & Lydia, are expecting. It's pretty exciting for all of us, and Brent & Marci have been poring through a book of baby names trying to figure out what to call the little 'un when he or she arrives. That has me wondering... isn't it a little short-sighted to give your baby a name from a book of baby names? It's gonna grow up someday, so maybe you want to give it an adult name, just so it's not stuck with a baby name all it's life.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Someone Else Does My Work For Me Muahahaha

Ok, so a couple of weeks after Urbana I went on another road trip, this time to the Navigators Southeastern ISM conference. I kinda forgot where it was, but it was a few hours on the road to get there. I got to start taking note of these things.

Kevin Zinn was there too, and he kindly went ahead and put up a website chockful of video, photos, and mp3s, and saved me the trouble of having to describe it myself! So here you go. That link starts at a page with MP3s of Bill Mackenzie's messages. Bill was the speaker at the conference, he and his wife Crystal have a ranch in Mississippi, and they're pretty swell folks. I don't know them too well, but these kinds of things I guess you can just sorta tell.

The other pages have photos of us at the conference and at Rock City, Georgia, which we visited en-route. Rock City is significant in my mind for two reasons:

1) It is home to a grotesquely lit exhibit of fairy tale locations populated by frighteningly misshapen gnome statues. Scary clowns have nothing on these monstrosities! The exhibit must've must be for kids, because I didn't like it. Oh, wait.

2) Lookout Mountain is here! That's right, all ye die-hard Transformers fans, Autobot City in the classic 1986 Transformers animated movie is located in Georgia! I was at the spot where Daniel and Hot Rod spotted the Decepticons as they infiltrated Autobot airspace in a hijacked spaceship. Supposedly you can see seven states from there, too. That's one heckuva tourist location.

There are pictures taken from Lookout Mountain on Kevin's site, but none of the gnomes, which is probably for the better (it's a family-friendly site!). The conference itself was great... a really relaxing time after the somewhat more hectic Urbana conference. Bill's messages were good to soak up, and there was quite a bit of stuff to do between sessions. I did the zip-line (there's video of that on the site), a bit of canoeing with Chung Hao, and some hiking. I'll put up some pictures of the hike that I took, maybe in a couple of days. Kathy Brackman, Wisam Lazim, and I also did a couple of songs for the talent night. Personally, I think we'd make a pretty decent worship team if there was ever a need! Kathy and Wisam have great singing voices, and were both enthused singers.

Aside from that, I got to know a couple of folks better. I spent some time talking with Katie Slay and her good friend Rebecca, who'll both be going to UT soon, *probably*. Katie's still speaking in non-committal terms, even though she hasn't been looking anywhere else lately. Doesn't hurt to keep your options open, I suppose! She's a bright young lady, and she could go anywhere she wanted to; I'm sure everyone's glad she's leaning towards staying in town. I know I am.

I never got into a deep conversation with Chung Hao, but we hit it off as usual. He is nothing if not personable. Wisam was a big goof as well, but I did find out that if you want to talk about more spiritual matters he could switch back and forth between serious business and turkey business pretty quick, and stay pretty lucid either way. That's the sort of guy you wouldn't mind having around a lot.

Phew... I need to get to bed. It's getting late. I'll put those hiking photos up here soon... hopefully by Sunday.

EDIT: Kevin posted my pictures for me =). He's a swell fella. Here's the link.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

North And South Of The River

I want to reach out over the Loch
And feel your hand across the water
Walk with you along an unapproved road
Not looking over my shoulder

I wanna see, and I wanna hear
To understand your fears
But we're North and South of the river

I've been doing it wrong all of my life
This holy town has turned me over
A young man running from what he didn't understand
While the wind from the Loch just get colder, colder

There was a badness that had its way
But love wasn't lost, love will have its day
North and South of the river

Can we stop playing these old tattoos
Darling I don't have the answer
I wanna meet you where you are
I don't need you to surrender

'Cause there's no feeling that's so alone
As when the one you're hurting is your own
North and South of the river

Some high ground is not worth taking
Some connections are not worth making
There's an old church bell, it's no longer ringing
Some old songs are not worth bringing
North and South of the river

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I Ought To Be In Bed...

... but I'll take a couple more minutes to wish everyone a Happy New Year, a whole day late =). I just got back from the Urbana missions conference in St Louis. It's usually held in Urbana, Illinois, but this year it was held in St Louis so they could fit a bigger crowd, or so I'm told.

I'm not the kind of guy who goes into these things with very particular expectations, but I suspect that even if I did, whatever measly expectations I had would've been blown completely out of the water. I heard new things about what God was doing in Malaysia from the other Malaysians who showed up. I heard about how Christianity was becoming and perhaps had become, once again, a religion of the East. I heard about a church moving with power to heal both the bodies and minds of individuals, communities, and nations.

After I'd heard about all these things going on in the world around me, I thought I'd had my fill, and that the sum of what I'd bring home with me would be simply a new awareness of what God was doing in that world. In retrospect, it should've been obvious that God had more in store, since He's not interested in just having another employee. He wants us as partners. He wants us as friends. He wants us as sons. In the state I was in and in the direction I was headed He knew I just wouldn't do. At the table of the Lord, I encountered, once again, the God I'd almost forgotten since the days of my youth... the great lover, the compassionate forgiver, the faithful one. I'd always known Him in my head, but He reintroduced Himself to my heart. I did business with my God at that table. He showed me the junk from the past that had needed dealing with for a long time. My heart was renewed with life, a new tenderness. Stone to flesh! I've started walking again, and Dad's holding my hand.

I might blog about details later, or not. I'm thinking I'll start journaling again instead =). Suffice to say, though, it's gonna be a good year. I can't wait to get to work.