Today I uploaded the entire “Play Ball!” series onto our podcast site, so now we’re all up to date. Woo hoo! You can click on one of the links on the right side of this page to check it out.
This past week has been about as busy as possible! But at least it’s all (or mostly) good stuff. Last weekend Carolyn and I celebrated our fourth anniversary and spent the weekend with my family in the Baltimore-D.C. area. On Sunday we wrapped up the “Play Ball!” series at CrossWay Church and went to a Shorebirds game with the other churches that did the series, and the past couple days we’ve been having Power Lab (Vacation Bible School). I’ll spread some details around when I get a chance.
Carolyn and I made what has become our weekly zoo trip a few days ago. Sometimes I tease her about how much she likes the zoo, but I have to admit that there’s always something different there.
On this visit we heard the wolves howling at some nearby sirens, saw a prairie dog jump on a peacock, watched two peacocks vying for a peahen’s affections, were entertained by some playful baby wolves, and saw some little baby peacocks.
We also discovered that bears and beavers get to enjoy nice fresh fruit there at the zoo. It was another really hot day, and when we walked by the bear and saw a large bowl of fresh fruit lying there for him, Carolyn said, “I want some bear food!”
Here’s a shot of one of the baby wolves, who are coming out of their den more and more. They’re about six weeks old and are about the size of a cat:
This is one of the baby peacocks showing off his feathers, but they’re just not quite as impressive as his dad’s:
Here are a couple peacock babies with their mom:
And a special portrait Carolyn captured called “Peacock in Profile.” As you can see, it’s from her blue period:
Last weekend Carolyn and I went to a Shorebirds game. It was the first time I’ve seen them lose this year. It was a pitchers’ duel until the end of the game when the Shorebirds allowed runners to score from third on a passed ball–twice in a row. But it was still fun.
Between innings we were entertained by “Zooperstars“–inflated animal characters with names similar to famous baseball personalities. For instance, there was a large cow named Cow Ripken and a clam named Clammy Sosa. But my favorite had to be Harry Canary, who sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh innning stretch. Here he is (this one’s for you, Dad):
There were a couple little boys sitting behind us who were really funny. They were having the best time, and they completely cracked up laughing at everything the Zooperstars did. At one point one of the boys rolled up his game program, looked through it like a telescope, and announced to his friend: “Look, I made a stethoscope!” That was even funnier than watching them boogie to the Chicken Dance.
Four years ago today Carolyn and I got married. When our next anniversary rolls around, we’ll have been married as long as we were engaged!
Last Thursday a friend from SonRise, Leo, came out to CrossWay to fix up our drumset. It sounds SOOO good now! The toms are tuned properly and he made some deadeners to kill the ring in them. He also tightened the snare and it has a great sound now. Leo spent an hour or so there and made several other adjustments, and now it’s so much more fun to play! After he left I banged away on the set until I’d about sweated to oblivion. It’s funny how getting the set to sound right makes playing it such a different experience!
The computer problems are looking more and more bleak. I still can’t get online on my computer. For awhile I thought it was a Verizon problem, but now I’m thinking it might be a Gateway problem. I can get online on Carolyn’s desktop computer at home, but the laptop can’t get online anywhere. We’ve tried a ton of possible solutions, but nothing has worked. So until that’s fixed, the podcast can’t be updated, iTunes can’t be updated, I’m not sure if our church website can be updated, and email and blogging can only happen sporadically.
It’s amazing how so many of us–such as this guilty one–have gotten to the point that our lives can’t even function properly when our technology has its inevitable breakdowns.
Verizon is messing me up. I can’t get online on my computer, and probably won’t have it fixed until at least next week. That means no blogging, no email, and no podcasting until then. Grrrrr…..
This summer I’m trying a big experiment that I’m really praying will work. Here’s the deal: I have set a summertime goal of writing preaching outlines for all my sermons up through the spring, and writing sermon manuscripts through the end of 2008. It’s a big goal, to be sure. Here are some reasons I’m tackling it:
- Sermons in a series are more cohesive and have more depth when you study for and write them all at once, in advance.
- Written weeks and even months in advance, there is more time to add creative elements to sermons, such as props, graphics, themes, videos, music, giveaways, etc.
- I’ll have more time to collect quality illustrations, and my mind will be alert to catching stories and quotes that apply to upcoming messages. It’s always better to have a collection of illustrations to draw from, rather than try to come up with some the week before a sermon is to be presented.
- The sermons will have a chance to work their way through me.
- It will take off a lot of the week to week pressure.
- During the rest of the year, I’ll be freed up to tend to the countless other things crying out for attention.
- Personally, I just work better when I can crawl into a cave for awhile and study and pray and write, rather than try to do a little here and a little there scattered throughout the year.
- With the Training Station Preschool not in session for the summer, it’s the perfect time for a study break. My schedule is more flexible during the summer because I don’t have to be in the office most days. That works even better because my time working at home is by far my most productive time.
- Preaching is my primary ministry, and this ensures it gets the time and attention it deserves.
This is my second week of the experiment. So far I’d have to rate it a moderate success. On the positive side, I’m surprised how much more I can accomplish in less time using this approach. On the negative side, I’m discovering how much daily and weekly stuff there still is to deal with. It’s also a little frustrating to discover how long it takes to do enough studying for a whole series before I can jump into the writing part. Hopefully that positive will balance out the negatives.
Last week I was able to do most of the preaching outlines for the “Play Ball!” series, and this week and next I’m aiming to do the outlines for the next series called “Freedom.” We’ll see how it goes….
Just so you know, on Saturday I made the second-best guacamole I’ve ever made.
It was a delightful surprise. Avocados were on sale at Food Lion, so I got four of them. The first one I cut open was just gorgeous. Not too soft, not too hard–just right. It was one of those one-in-a-million avocados where the whole thing is just perfect–no bad spots at all. It was at just the right stage of ripeness. The peeling came off easily, and both halves fell away with no resistance from the seed in the middle. Yet even at this point I didn’t realize the potential I was dealing with in this particular avocado.
After adding all the ingredients, which I won’t disclose in such a public forum as this, I took a bite just to see if anything more needed to be added. I was totally unprepared for the amazing taste experience I was about to have. Suddenly this joyful emotion welled up within me. I wanted to share it with someone, but Carolyn detests guacamole (she calls it “yuckamole”). But my frustration at being unable to share the experience was unable to dampen my delight. It was everything guacamole was intended to be. This rare avocado had perfectly fulfilled its purpose for existence.
I wasn’t even that hungry, but I ate a whole plate of nachos just to have something to eat the guacamole on.
Sorry you all had to miss it. Guacamole like that comes around as often as a comet.
In case you’re wondering, the reason this was the second-best guacamole I’ve made was because in 1994 I made some that was perfect. Not just great. Perfect. It still brings tears to my eyes and saliva to my taste buds to think about it.