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Showing posts from 2012

My Favorite Movies of 2012

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 At the beginning of 2012, I had no idea I'd end up watching 25 movies this year. As you can see from the list below, the fact that I have 3 kids played a huge role in my movie selection. I thought about splitting the list into "kids" and "adult" but honestly, most of the kid flicks I saw this year were better then the adult ones. So here is my "favorite" list for 2012. Agree, disagree, it doesn't matter. Movie opinions are solely up to the taste of the person watching it. That's why there will never be a "best", just a "favorite".

1) Django Unchained
2) Avengers
3) Moonrise Kingdom
4) The Hobbit
5) The Dark Knight Rises
6) Rise of the Guardians
7) Wreck-it-Ralph
8) Jeff, Who Lives at Home
9) Brave
10) The Amazing Spiderman
11) The Lorax
12) John Carter
13) The Dictator
14) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
15) The Grey
16) Hotel Transylvania
17) ParaNorman
18) The Pirates! A Band of Misfits
19) Journey 2
20) The Three Stoog…

New Fall Shows Reviewed

A few weeks ago I posted a list of my most anticipated new Fall shows. Some have met me expectations, some exceeded, while other have fallen well short. Here are my thumbs up, thumbs down, and TBD of the new season.

1) Elementary (Tuesdays 10pm CBS) TBD

2) Revolution (Mondays 10pm NBC) Thumb Down

3) Arrow (Wednesdays 8pm CW) TBD

4) 666 Park Avenue (Sundays 10pm ABC) Thumb Up

5) The Mindy Project (Tuesdays 9:30pm FOX) Thumb Down

6) Animal Practice (Wednesdays 8pm NBC) Thumb Down

7) Ben and Kate (Tuesdays 8:30pm FOX) Thumb Down

8) Guys and Kids (Wednesdays 8:30pm NBC) Thumb Down

As far as my favorite returning shows...

Dexter is back! It's off to a great start. Let's hope this season make us fans forget last season ever happened.

The NBC Thursday night shows are all off to solid starts. 30 Rock and The Office are in their farewell seasons and Parks & Rec is remaining fresh with new story lines and locations.

I've given up on New Girl. Same jokes week after week. Not a ve…

The Van Story (Part Two)

Laredo
We arrived at our hotel in Laredo at 3:00 pm on the 21st. The plan was to meet our Mexico/US customs contact at 4:00 pm. Edmond called at 3:30 pm to determine a meeting spot. To our surprise, our contact was still at work in Monterey, Mexico, which was two and a half hours away. The earliest he could meet us would be 7:00 pm. He asked that we meet him on the Mexico side of the border across bridge two (we soon found out there are two bridges for people to cross coming through the border). He told us to bring all our papers for the van along with the $1700 cash we needed to cover the cost of naturalizing the van. Tim wasn’t too sure about giving a guy we have never met all of our money and papers, but Edmond assured us that this guy was on the up and up.

Bridge Two
We arrived at the border portion of Laredo, which is over two miles from the actual city, at 7:00 pm. I had to keep reminding myself that we were still in the US because everything had the look and feel of a typical …

The Van Story (Part One)

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To bring everyone who reads this up to speed on the background of “The Van”, I've decided to break this story into two parts. The first will tell the story from April 2012 to August 21st 2012. The second part will share the incredible story of “The Crossing”.

April 2012
It was our last night in Mexico City ("MXC"). The team from my church, Main Street Baptist (www.msbc.cc), located in Kernersville, NC, was completing another successful trip.  In addition to spending time at an orphanage and various shelters for abandoned women and children, we spent a large portion of our time assisting our friends, Angie, Pepe, Cese, and Edmond, with their various ministry endeavors.

Angie and Cece run a beauty salon in the red-light district of MXC. Their goal is simple: to build relationships with the women and girls trapped in the sex trade industry.  Through these relationships, Angie and Cece have the opportunity to demonstrate God's love to these women.  They are able to not o…

My Top Most Anticipated Fall TV Shows 2012

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1) Elementary (Tuesdays 10pm CBS)

2) Revolution (Mondays 10pm NBC)

3) Arrow (Wednesdays 8pm CW)

4) 666 Park Avenue (Sundays 10pm ABC)

5) The Mindy Project (Tuesdays 9:30pm FOX)

6) Animal Practice (Wednesdays 8pm NBC)

7) Ben and Kate (Tuesdays 8:30pm FOX)

8) Guys and Kids (Wednesdays 8:30pm NBC)

Give a Van - Save a Life

This past Spring while serving again in Mexico City with our missionary friends Angie and Pepe, they mentioned their long term dream was to be able to purchase a 15-passenger van. They wanted to use this van to help transport supplies around the city along with transporting women and children from horrific situations to safe houses, shelters, and orphanages. As we returned home our group couldn't help but think of the 15 passenger van our church owned that was seldom used. After prayer and seeking approval from our church (Main Street Baptist www.msbc.cc) we have decided to donate one of our vans to them. Below you can read all about the process of what it will take for the van to get to them and how you can help.
Fundraising Ideas

My Spring 2012 Mission Trip To Mexico City

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As I have been trying to put into words my feelings regarding our most recent mission trip to Mexico City, my good friend Tim said everything I wanted to (except much better)

The following is from Tim's blog: http://timothydixon.wordpress.com/

The Story God Is Writing About Mexico City

This morning I walked into Starbucks to get caught up on emails and work that had piled up while I was gone. When the barista confirmed my order I replied with an enthusiastic, “Si”. I may have gotten home last night but the smells and sounds and memories linger with me. Which is why I want to get this blog out before my senses begin to fade. When I look back on our trip and everything that we accomplished, I have a strong sense of accomplishment. We loved on orphans, painted rooms for mentally handicapped and socially discarded women, fed homeless people, moved a visually intimidating mountain of rock, and showed women who thought that they were a disposable commodity that they are pri…

When to let a friend go

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If you have ever struggled with hanging on to friendships too long like I have, then this blog written by Donald Miller is for you. I especially love his thoughts on friends that are victims.

Do you filter your relationships? - by Donald Miller

Growing up as a Christian I was taught I should forgive and accept everybody. I still believe that. But what forgiving and accepting has looked like over the years has changed.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was given to me by my friend Ben. We were taking a break from a writing project, sitting out on my deck when I brought up some trouble I was having with a friend. I’d grown a little tired of this friend using me and I was losing trust.

Ben said something I’d never forget, he said You know, Don, there are givers and takers in this life, I got rid of the takers years ago and I’ve had it for the better. I’d recommend you do the same. To be sure, this was reductionistic but Ben was making a general point. The point is this: Some …

Elton John Concert Review and Set List

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I've been an Elton John fan since I was a kid. Never did I think I'd have the opportunity to see and hear him live. On Friday Beth and I joined a sellout crowd at the PNC Arena (formerly RBC Center) representing a host of ages, who were packed in 360 degrees around the arena.

By the end of Elton John’s nearly three-hour concert Friday night in Raleigh, there was little doubt the guy still has it.
It was obvious from the beginning Elton still loves to sing and play piano. He still does both very well. He was able to put together a very long but never boring show. When each song ended, Elton would stand, wave, blow kisses, and walk to all corners of the stage to acknowledge the fans around him. Everyone stood and cheered each time. He must have did this 25 out of the 30 songs. This may have been the first concert I've been to where I left feeling the artist sang ever song I could have possibly wanted to hear. "Daniel", Rocket Man", Tiny Dancer" and m…

Ash Wednesday 2012

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Below are the prayer stations I used last week for my church's (www.msbc.cc) Ash Wednesday service. There were five stations total. To begin the service we had a time of worship with music. I then explained the stations and allowed everyone to flow at their own pace to which ever stations they wanted. Afterward we gathered back together for a time of communion. It was probably one of the most powerful Ash Wednesday services I have ever been a part of.

WATER
Psalm 51:10-12
10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and rightspirit within me
11Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit


Reflection: One of the ways in which we can understand Lent is to see it as “Spring Cleaning.” Just as we will clean our houses in preparation for a visit from a special guest, so we take time to examine our lives in preparation for our encounter with the risen Christ at Easter.…

Ron Swanson Quotes (Updated 1/15)

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“I have been developing the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness for years. It’s a perfectly calibrated recipe for maximum personal achievement. Categories include: Capitalism, God’s way of determining who is smart, and who is poor. Crying, acceptable at funerals and the Grand Canyon. Rage. Poise. Property rights. Fish, for sport only, not for meat. Fish meat is practically a vegetable.”

“The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.”

“Now, I know I’m not going to find somebody that’s both aggressively mean and apathetic. April really is the whole package.”

“You had me at meat tornado.”

“I’m surrounded by a lot of women in this department. And that includes the men.”

“When I walked in this morning I saw that the flag was at half mast, I though, ‘All right, another bureaucrat ate it!’ And then I saw it was Lil…

Sex Trafficking at the Super Bowl

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On February 5, 2012, over 100 million people will watch Super Bowl XLVI. Few of them will know about the horrific crimes that will be committed during and around the event in Indianapolis.
The Super Bowl is the most-watched program on TV every year. But many people don’t know about its dark underside: the Super Bowl, like other large sporting events, is a magnet for sex trafficking and child prostitution. It is possibly the largest sex trafficking event in the US. As more than 100,000 football fans descend on Indianapolis, sex traffickers and pimps will also arrive in droves to take advantage of the demand. The event is actually near the Detroit-Toledo corridor, which has one of the highest incidences of trafficking in the country.
What Is Human Trafficking? Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or taking of people by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or decep…

How to Handle a Fool in Church

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I love James McDonlad. That guy is full of so much wisdom and insight it amazes me. In a recent article that a friend sent me he discusses how to handle fools in your church. If you've been a pastor for any length of time you know every church has their fair share. Here is the article. I hope it's as helpful for you as it was for me.

How to Handle a Fool by James McDonald

There are seasons of incredible joy in ministry, and there are inevitably seasons where conflict rears its ugly head and needs to be dealt with.
I have come to believe that failure in the season of conflict—failure to deal with it, failure to learn from it, failure to move beyond it—prevents entrance into a new season of joy. For that reason alone, I have tried to handle conflict in the best possible way.
Two verses tucked away in Proverbs 26 have been very helpful to me, and I have been reminded about them again just recently. On the page they look like a contradiction, but in real life they work together l…

My Disc Golf Adventure

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How did I not know about this? I mean sure I had heard of Disc Golf, it's even been thrown out on occasion as a possible fun activity from a couple of my friends. But outside of throwing around a cheap give-away Frisbee in the back yard I had never played a real game of Disc Golf until yesterday. My buddy Vargas plays 2-3 times a week and at church this past Sunday invited me to join him at a local course (http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=694)

My ignorance of the sport was obvious early on as I had no idea there were actually drivers, fairway disc and even putters. Vargas went on to explain there were different weights and even disc that would curve to specific directions. Evidently there is a disc for every type of possible throw you could have in Disc Golf. There are even special bags (much like “club” golf) that hold your disc.

After a few warm-up throws to get use to the disc, we began our 18 hole adventure. On the 2nd hole I got a disc stuck in a tree. After some …

2012 Oscar Predictions

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The 2012 Academy Awards were announced today so I figured why not get a jump on everyone and pick my list of winners. I did win our Oscar pick-em party last year! (Winners in bold)

Best Picture
The ArtistThe DescendantsExtremely Loud and Incredibly CloseThe HelpHugoMidnight in ParisMoneyballThe Tree of LifeWar HorseBest Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with MarilynJonah Hill, MoneyballNick Nolte, WarriorChristopher Plummer, BeginnersMax Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseBest Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, The ArtistJessica Chastain, The HelpMelissa McCarthy, BridesmaidsJanet McTeer, Albert NobbsOctavia Spencer, The HelpBest Actress
Glenn Close, Albert NobbsViola Davis, The HelpRooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon TattooMeryl Streep, The Iron LadyMichelle Williams, My Week with MarilynBest Actor
Demian Bichir, A Better LifeGeorge Clooney, The DescendantsJean Dujardin, The ArtistGary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyBrad Pitt, MoneyballBest Director
Woody Allen, Midni…

How to Leave a Church

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In the 16 years that I have been in full time local church ministry as a lead pastor, associate pastor, youth or children's pastor, I have seen a lot of people come and a lot of people go. Honestly in some exits I have rejoiced their leaving and prayed for the next church/pastor they will land at. In others it broke my heart to see them go. Of the ones I found most saddening and heartbreaking, they were always people I had let in to my very private circle of trust and considered very close friends. Their exits were for numerous reasons such as relocation, fall out from a disagreement with a fellow church member, or simply from a leading from God as an end to a season of their life. In all but one instance (a recent relocation) the leaving has left our relationship fractured and even non existent. Some of those relationships have since been restored but none are the way they once were.

I've really struggled at why that is. Maybe because in some way there is a feeling of reject…