Hopeful Iron-y

Spent Thursday and Friday at a great event hosted by Convoy of Hope at the Sawgrass TPC. It was a last-minute generous invite.

For those of you that don’t know, Sawgrass is home to the PGA headquarters. We got to play the Dye Valley Course on Thursday, followed by the TPC Stadium course on Friday. Steven Porter and myself played the two-man scramble together, shooting an 82-80, finishing 2nd in our flight. (Yes, we were in the bottom flight.)

One great moment was on the famous 17th hole on the Stadium course. After making it safely on the green with my tee shot, I had almost the exact same putt as Tiger’s famous “better…than…most” shot. His was better than mine, too, when mine BARELY lipped out. Still, a par there felt pretty good.

Got a few pictures (including some of the hotel that I didn’t post) including the 17th and 18th holes, plus the clubhouse.

Convoy raised over $800,000 at the event to help their efforts around the world. Ironically, while I was there, I found out that my nephew, Nathan, is currently interning with COH and will travel to China in a few weeks.

Overall, it was a lot of fun. And what takes more hope than golf? Especially on a world-class course like the TPC?

Fantasies

September means football and football means…fantasy football and pick-em’s and all sorts of other time-wasting activities associated with football.

So, after week 1, here’s the update on my fantasy league pursuits…(and no, I don’t spend much time on any of this – much.)
Game: Pigskin Pool – USA Today Pro Football Picks
League: PPL2007 – This is mostly members of Headquarters in Springfield. (invited by my sister, Tammy)
My Team: Great to Be a Gator – that’s  a name that says it all.
Results so far: Tied for 2nd after picking 13 right in week one. Not bad.
Game: Pro Football Pick’em
League: Exit Pick’em Football – league started by our youth pastor, Jason Goss, and includes students and adults. (Exit is the name of our youth group.)
My Team: Controlled by Monkeys – don’t you ever feel that way?
Results so far: Tied for 2nd after picking 9 right in week one. If only I would’ve used my USA Today picks.
Game: College Football Pick’em
League: Exit College Pick’em. ibid.
My Team: Own Ohio Renting the Other 49. A maybe-not-so-obvious reference to the Gators’ total domination of Ohio State athletics in the last year. Big news if you haven’t heard – the NCAA won’t allow Florida and Ohio State to play each other anymore. It turns out that slavery is illegal.
Results so far: Tied for 1st after picking 17 correctly in week one. Missed the USF-Auburn game.
Game: Survival Football. This is interesting. You have to pick a winner each week, and you can’t pick the same team to win more than once for the whole season. If you pick a team and they lose, you’re out.
League: Exit Survival Football.
My Team: If I’m Lion I’m Dyin’ – because I’m a Lions fan and they kill me every year.
Results so far: Alive. Picked Seattle to beat the Bucs. This is farther than I got last year.
Game: Salary Cap Football.
League: Exit Salary Football.
My Team: Hair is Overrated. Another obvious statement.
Results so far: Last out of seven. My guys had a down week.
Game: Fantasy Football. This is the kind where you draft players and have to keep up with it over the season. It takes the most time, but I don’t expect to spend too much time on it.
League: Exit Fantasy Football. The league has a matchup element, where not only do we collect points, but we are competing head-to-head every week.
My Team: Flaming Platypi. 
Results so far: 1-0, and in 4th place after defeated Yo’ Mama. I expect to get better – Ladanian Tomlinson is my main guy and he had an off week.
I won’t give updates every week – but I’ll let you know from time to time how it’s going.

Shae’s First Gator Game

Got to go to G’ville and let Shae experience her first Gator game on Saturday. It was almost the full enchilada. Rode up with Gary Robles and his son Adam, parked in our traditional parking area, made the walk past the union and up to the stadium, then spent about an hour looking for tickets to scalp.

We were successful – as expected – and got half-price seats, though rather high. (It’s a little harder to scalp for 4.)
The only thing we missed was walking on the north side of the stadium past the Krishnas and seeing the band come into the stadium.
But Shae loved it, the Gators won (despite a sloppy third quarter), and we got home safely – about 2:30am.
Go Gators.

Buca di Drama

The kids slept in this morning while I went to the business session of the General Council. A new superintendent was elected for the A/G – George Wood. Alton Garrison was elected as the new Assistant Superintendent and John Palmer was chosen to replace Bro. Wood as the General Secretary.

Just after noon we got word that the kids had been chosen in the callbacks for their small drama group. Out of 124 entries, they were one of only 17 callbacks.

We spent a couple of hours practicing and getting ready for their big performance. And it was…um…well, I think we were all a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong – they did well once again. But it wasn’t their best. And the crowd didn’t seem to be with them at all. But they already exceeded our goals by getting a callback, so we’re pretty happy. It will be interesting to see tomorrow if they made it into the top 10.

After more of the business session, we went to Buca di Beppo with Pastor Goss and his family, where we ate ALOT of Italian food.

On the way back to the hotel, we swung by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then by a fancy mall so I could look at the new iMac in the Apple store.

Last day in Indy tomorrow.

Farmers’ Fine Arts

A.K.A. The Indiana State Fair.

More on that in a minute. First, some real Fine Arts results.

Ashley Pounders performed her Sign Language Solo today and did an absolutely fantastic job. At least, as far as I know, since I don’t know sign language. I honestly had no doubt she would receive a “Superior with Honors” rating. However, I was wrong, and she only received a “Superior” rating.

Along with that, Shae’s Book Chapter also received a “Superior” rating. I have no idea why it wasn’t a better rating, because it was a great piece of writing. Yes, I’m biased.

Aaaargh.

But at least there was the fair.

After a day of watching Fine Arts events and walking around the exhibit areas and time practicing, we headed to the opening day of the 151st Indiana State Fair. It’s a very large fair. We saw pigs and cows and a donkey competition and horses and mules, we walked through the midway, and rode the tram around the grounds, and rode go-karts around a track.

Then there was the deep fried Pepsi. And deep-fried Oreos and deep-fried Snickers and deep-fried Reese’s. Not bad.

There was dancing and corn and the world’s largest boar and the world’s largest strawberry shortcake and a very scary baby rattler. (If you see Sam, ask him about it.)

I think everyone had a good time. Now a very tired group gets ready for another big day tomorrow.

(Pictures: top-Ashley, Shae, and Sam try the deep-fried sweets, including Pepsi, Oreos, Snickers, and Reese’s; middle-Sam and Evan; bottom-Adam had the fast car at the track.)

Random Thoughts

I’ve tried to keep posts to one subject, but there are too many little thoughts that don’t deserve their own post, yet deserve to be mentioned. Well, I guess you’ll be the judge of that.

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Just finished reading a long discussion about the upcoming General Council of the A/G and the Relational District Resolution on the FutureAG blog. Interesting. I understand the reasons for the resolution, but I’m not convinced this (re)solution is the best one.

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Mark Teixiera and a pitcher for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and five other players. I hate losing Salty. I think he’s going to be great. But I hope it works out for the Braves.

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Much has been said and written about When Bad Things Happen to Good People. But why do Good People Do Stupid Things? {sigh}

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I am reminded almost everyday that our time with all our children in the home is growing shorter. This is a golden time.

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Speaking of our children, Sam and Shae are working hard, getting ready for next week’s National Fine Arts Festival. They are performing a sketch (along with their friend, Adam). Shae also has a Book Chapter entered. We leave Monday.

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I have been sitting on an idea for a new podcast. For about a year. Sometimes it’s hard to pull the trigger.

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A new poll is on the right side of the main page. If you don’t know what the poll is asking, choose “Neither”.

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Many people participated in yesterday’s prayer and fasting for families. I’m looking forward to hearing some testimonies. I already know the enemy didn’t like it.

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I feel sorry for Barry Bonds. I wish he wasn’t going to break the record, but I still feel bad that people treat him as an object, instead of a human being.

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I haven’t done a new episode of the Bible Quiz Podcast since I went to Arizona, and I really need to. Hopefully soon.

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We had a GREAT episode of the Church Drama Podcast on Sunday. Maybe it wasn’t so great – but I laughed much. It should be posted soon. (It’s taking forever to encode the video.)

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I still like my iPhone. And next week – the new iMac!

A Call to Prayer and Fasting

The following is a letter Trudi recently wrote:

I received a phone call this week that distressed me greatly. A marriage was falling apart with a spouse choosing to break their promise and walk away. This is always a troublesome thing to hear, but even more so now. It was the fifth call my husband and I have received in the past six weeks. In every case but one, these couples actively attend and are involved in a home church where they live. My heart’s cry is ENOUGH! Satan has always attacked the home but seems to be doing so at an increasingly aggressive rate. He knows – where there is division, there is weakness. And where does he desire for there to be weakness more than in the body of Christ?
In praying for these marriages, I felt God leading me to call for a day of prayer and fasting. I haven’t done anything like this before, but I’m proceeding as obediently as I know how. I asked God to lay the names of twelve women on my heart to join with me in this endeavor. That is why you are now receiving this letter.
First, let me say you may not be able to join me or have a desire to join me and that is perfectly okay – you owe me no explanation. You can still pray. However, if you can join me, I’m asking that you respond either by phone or by e-mail using the information below, so I know that at least twelve will set that day apart for this specific purpose. Feel free to invite others, both male and female, to join us for this special day of intercessory prayer.
I’m not setting specific guidelines for your fast – whether it is one, two, or three meals; full fast, partial fast, etc., – that is between you and God. But use this day to focus on Him with this clear purpose in mind: waging spiritual battle for homes and marriages.

Since she wrote this letter, we have heard of several more couples in the same situation, and even more people that are very concerned about the marriages of friends and family members whom they know.

The original 12 have told their friends, who have told their friends – at this point we don’t know how many people will be joining in this effort, but we know the number is growing.

I talked to someone Sunday whose marriage is in serious trouble. I was able to tell him – you’re not alone; there are people that are praying; God is about to do something that will surprise you.

I believe God is ready – but are we willing to seek Him? Are we willing to make the effort?

This is your invitation to a day of prayer and fasting, to wage spiritual battle for homes and marriages – Monday, July 30th.

CDP #43 is Available

If you haven’t already seen/heard, episode #43 of the Church Drama Podcast is now available. We had a lot of fun. It was Mary-Jane’s birthday so we got a little loud with the party horns. Sadly, Trudi didn’t bring any underwear. (You’ll have to watch to get that inside joke.)

Everybody Ought to go…

…to Sunday school, Sunday school, Sunday school.

The men and the women and the boys and the girls, everybody ought to go to Sunday school.

That was the sketch, these were the people. From left, Tim, Mark, and Anne as the little kids, and Trudi as Mrs. Longhoofer.

My favorite line – “Jimmy you better watch it that seat has a crack in it and you’ll pinch your bottom.”

Those were the days.

Small World 2

That didn’t take long.

After my last post – which I posted early Saturday morning – I boarded my connecting flight in Houston on Saturday afternoon and discovered that I was sitting right beside Bernie and Marti, a couple from our church. They were on their way back from an Alaskan cruise and ended up in the same row as me.

This picture is from my visit to Old Tucson Studios. This is in front of the mission, which was used in several old westerns, including Rio Bravo.

Small World

Somehow I don’t think this will be the last post with this title. It always amazes and delights us when we run into someone we know that either, a) knows someone we know, b) has lived/lives somewhere we have lived/live, or, c) all of the above.

We – Ray, John, Paul, and myself…four Bible Quiz guys – headed to The Gallery today for a round of golf. Paul rode along while the other three of us played.

The interesting thing was, while we were driving to the course, Ray started talking about his son. I’ve known his son for a long time, and I knew he had recently moved from his church in South Carolina to a church in Texas.

Before I finish that story, I need to add that my roommate here in Tucson, Josh Weber, recently moved to the Tampa area from Nashville. He attended Cornerstone A/G, where a guy named John McKinzie used to be on staff. John is now lead pastor at Hope Fellowship in Frisco, Texas.

And it wasn’t until today, when Ray mentioned again about his son that I made the connection. His son, Scott Berkey, is children’s pastor at Hope Fellowship, not only the home of John McKinzie, but the new home of another old friend – that I’ve mentioned in this blog – Mark Lunsford.

Small world, indeed.

{Picture is of Scott Berkey’s dad, Ray}

Home Again


We arrived back in Fort Myers late last night after a good trip and good conference in Chicago. It got off to a rough start, because of my mistake.

Originally, our group was to include Ray, the guy who heads up our set construction for Scrooge. I had Ray scheduled for set building workshops at the Arts Conference. However, things changed for him, and he had to back out at the last minute.

So, we added Mark, our music pastor, to take his place. But AirTran wouldn’t let us simply change the name on the ticket – we had to cancel Ray’s ticket and purchase a ticket for Mark.

I had been through the process of purchasing a ticket for Mark twice before actually attempting to purchase – first, to check the price, and second, to re-check the price. On my third time through I was going to purchase, but something happened in the system and it gave me an error message. So, now it’s my fourth time through, I’ve picked the correct flights three times in a row, so I don’t look too closely at what I’m selecting. My time is running out and I need to get home to pack. Bang – I get the tickets, send Mark a copy of the confirmation and run to get my stuff so we can get to the airport.

When we get to the airport, Mark has to check one bag, and we all go to the gate to wait for our flight out of Fort Myers. That’s when Mark discovers that although we are all on the same flight to Atlanta, his flight to Chicago is TWO HOURS after ours. We are scheduled to arrive at 9:30pm – he’s not scheduled to arrive until midnight.

We didn’t have time to address it, because boarding began, so we figured we’d fix it in Atlanta. In Atlanta it just got worse.

That’s where we found out that once you check a bag, you can’t change flights. I should have remembered that from an episode of The Amazing Race.

Then delays started happening. Our flight got pushed back – but so did Mark’s.

In the end, we landed in Chicago about midnight. Rich and I took everyone to the hotel – about 50 minutes from the airport – then returned to the airport to pick up Mark, when his plane landed about 2am. We got in bed about 3am – 4am our time.

Thankfully, things improved from there.

I told my nephew, Luke, this story. This was his reaction.

Pier Pressure


Hello from the Windy City…although I haven’t felt much wind, but we did see the city tonight!

I’m here with Rich, Trish, MJ, Jon and Mark for the Willow Arts Conference. It’s been a good conference and I think everyone has enjoyed it. The conference began yesterday, we went to Willow’s New Community service last night, more conference today, but tonight was free.

So we took a very long ride into the city to find something to eat. One long traffic jam and many minutes later and we ended up at the Navy Pier. We ate at Joe’s Be-Bop Cafe & Jazz Emporium. We had a good time, laughed a lot, ate a lot, then headed back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow we end the conference, then fly back home. I hope to have some pictures posted in the next few days. (This one’s not mine…borrowed off the web.)

What’s so interesting about an empty sky?

In less than 20 posts it seems I’ve been doing a lot of writing about life and death. With our summer schedule, and the things that have been happening, it’s almost unavoidable.

Tomorrow I leave with five others for the Willow Arts Conference in Chicago. Another departure. We fly AirTran, not the most luxurious airline around. We’re all looking forward to this. It should be fun – even if I have to go without Trudi {frown}.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my friend, Bob Bean, passed away last week. Tonight we attended the memorial service. I was privileged to have a small part, representing the family and sharing their words with the congregation. Although I’ve spent the last week thinking very hard about what I would say, and what personal anecdotes I might share, I ended up not saying very much at all.

For one thing, there were four preachers behind me that were all going to take a turn, so I didn’t want to preach. And most of the stories I could think of wouldn’t have meant a whole lot to anyone else. After I sat down, I wished I could’ve had another shot at it. (There’s a lesson in that, isn’t there?)

Mentally, and maybe a little emotionally, I was having a bit of a battle with the whole thing – and not like you would think.

Part of the problem was, I wasn’t sad. I’m still not. Maybe I will be. But I haven’t been able to see Bob a lot in the last few years, so I’m used to him not being around. And I know that he is one gatrillion percent happier right now.

I realized as I was coming home – and maybe I’ve heard this illustration somewhere, but I don’t remember – that it was sort of like going to the airport and seeing a relative depart. There are hugs and best wishes, and perhaps some tears. You watch them walk through security and towards the gate. You might wait and watch the plane take off. Then you stand around and talk with the rest of the family awhile, stopping by Starbucks on your way out, and drive home.

That was what the hospital was like.

The memorial service was like going to the airport a week later, standing in the terminal, talking about what it was like before we went to the airport the first time, and how we’re dealing with the departure. We might see other planes taking off, but he’s not on any of them. He left a week ago.

We’re just standing there, looking out the window at an empty sky.

Yes, just like Acts 1. “Why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky?”

Luke doesn’t record the disciples’ verbal answer. It was probably something like, “Um…we were just – thinking. Remembering. Wondering. (pause) I guess we better get going.”

Me, too.

Blessed are Those That Haven’t Seen…

More departures and arrivals.

This could be the theme for the summer, since I have a few more trips to make. Just noticed the time, and realized that Sunday has turned to Monday. It was an eventful Sunday.

Starting from the end and working my way backwards…

Looks like Billy Donovan might be having a change of heart (and budget) and staying with the Gators after all. I thought his leaving was good for him. I would’ve been upset had he left the Gators for Kenyucky or some other rival, but had no problem with leaving for the NBA. (and I like Dwight Howard.) So is he really staying with the Gators?

I’ll believe it when I see it. (I don’t know Billy.)

Shae returned from El Salvador. They had a great time and gained perspective. I’ll be looking at her pictures tomorrow. Maybe she’ll let me share one for the blog. Several people told me how impressed they were with her on the trip.

I wasn’t there to see it, but I believe it. (I know her.)

My friend, Bob Bean, whom I spoke of in an earlier post, passed away Sunday at 3pm. Trudi and I were privileged to be there with his wife, Chris, and their son, Willie, as Bob officially went to be with the Lord.

It was very painful on the one hand, experiencing the pain of separation. And, of course, it was joyful to know that Bob is where he most longed to be, with God.

I’ve never been there, but I believe it. (I know them both)