Archive for August, 2010

Let’s Play – The Good Old Days in a New Era

"It'll happen to you too, sonny!"

You never think about this until you get to that point, but it’s hard to talk about the past without relying on phrases such as “back in the day” or “in the good old days” or “when I was kid” because you immediately feel ancient.  At least it is for me.  So sit down, kiddies, because Old Man Specialist is about to tell a story.  A story about videogames (after the jump but before I begin snoozing). Continue reading


On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 08/30/10

I apologize for not updating last week.  It wasn’t so much that last week was nowhere near a stellar day on the bus like I wished I had and I didn’t want to update about it, but it was simply the laziness to write about it (well, that, and work was crazy).  This is for the best, because I get to update on the last two Sundays and do a little comparison.

On August 22nd, God blessed the Gold Lions with 29 riders.  This is a huge hit from our usual numbers, but situations beyond our control forced us to quit picking kids up halfway through.  Looking back, we had everything against us (and we always do, but this time it felt so much worse): we were short-staffed again, we had a 105 degree Texas weather, and I was careless and got dehydrated quick.  One of our little girls got sick on the way to church.  We had run out of napkins and baby wipes, and plus she ruined her beautiful dress, so we stopped at a dollar store to buy her a quick change of clothes and some more napkins.

And from here, everything went downhill.  The captain got sick as well.

With no other runners and with the danger of seeing more kids sick, we decided to call it a day and take what kids we had back to the church. We got there early but it wasn’t a good feeling.  Now my throat was sore and I still had to preach twice (one of those with only an hour of notice, which ironically turned out much better).  Needless to say, I felt horribly defeated. To be honest, I felt like I failed my bus kids for letting this happen, even though it really was beyond my control.  I especially felt bad about not picking up the other half, including a few kids that we have been working on for weeks.  Hopefully that effort will not be in vain.

So the next week came and I was afraid we would end up not doing well at all.  A situation with our foundation had me stay home and help while only one worker did the visiting (and she couldn’t do the whole route).  Luckily, the kids know we stop by regardless, so I was glad that this didn’t set us back.  I’m glad to report that on the 29th God blessed us with 37 kids, none of which got sick.  We were still short-staffed but I’m thankful for Sonya Stover who helped us out, and no workers got sick either.  Ben and Sonya also provided our promotion that day (freezer pops, or more like cool Kool-Aid, but it’s all good).  And we actually got there early in spite of the fact that we did the whole route today (and that I became more of a “walker” than a runner for the bus).  All in all, I’m happy for how things turned out.

So what’s the lesson to be learned? I personally believe that my “failure” on the 22nd was simply due to my attitude about being able to do anything without any help, not even God’s.  It’s embarrassing to admit it, but it’s probably a more commonplace problem that we care to admit.  Without God, there is no bus ministry.  Without His blessing, I will not get anything done.

I’m just one man.  I can’t possibly do everything by myself.  And I’m glad that I have the help and support of my bus staff, who make up in the areas where I need that help. So thank you, Jennifer, Sarah, Grace, Ben, and Sonya.  I know sometimes life and other commitments get in the way of our service, but I know you are committed to our bus and do what you can, which is all I could ever ask for. I’m not the Gold Lions bus. We are all the bus, together. Thank you.

~My Two Cents

Anne Rice quits Christianity (again)

Here’s the source before we get started:

As many of you may be aware, last year I did a Facebook series on what I call “The Vampire Research.”  A lot of people did not like it, to say the least, which is understandable because this vampire trend is getting out of hand.  But what spurred on my research to begin with was exactly the fact that vampires are not a new fad.  In fact, they’ve been a fad in almost every decade since the last century, waning and waxing every so often.  Films, TV shows, music, games–vampires have been featured in everything.  And before there was ever Twilight, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the ’90s, and before that, it was Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles in the ’80s.

See, before Stephanie Meyer brought the creatures of the night back into the spotlight (hey, I made a funny!), Anne Rice’s series of novels was considered the greatest fictional series on the vampire romance genre ever since Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Two films were made out of that series, which you may be familiar with: Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned.

Now, the author, Anne Rice, was raised Roman Catholic. She quit Catholicism at age 18, then made a return after a near death experience in 2005 at 63 years of age.  Last month, she once again rejected Catholicism, stating that although she no longer belongs to an organized religion, she is still a follower of Christ.

This post isn’t so much about vampires (for real) or Anne Rice herself even, but about Rev. Bill Shuler, the author of the opinion piece that I cited above.  He contends that Anne Rice is the voice of a generation of people who are disenchanted with Christianity. Yes, I know she quit the Roman Catholic church, but don’t forget that most people lump together Catholicism and Protestant Christianity (and by extension, Baptists).

Rev. Shuler makes an interesting argument.  It can be so easy to get caught up in being religious that we can forget about being like Christ.  He writes the following ten points about Jesus in relation to His Church. These are powerful in the truth they teach, and we should do our best to emulate our Saviour in these:

1. Jesus saved his harshest criticism for the Pharisees who elevated rules and tradition but failed to recognize God when he stood before them.

2. Jesus modeled the proper balance of forgiveness and righteousness when he said to the woman caught in adultery, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

3. Jesus came from a lineage that was dysfunctional and included prostitutes. He loved and identified with those who were judged by others and through loving them redeemed them.

4. Jesus chose women to be in his inner-circle and shocked his disciples by going against the cultural mores of the day and conversing with the woman at the well.

5. Jesus called Judas “friend” at the very moment Judas was betraying him with a kiss exemplifying his love for the most hated man in Christianity.

6. Jesus called Peter to put away his sword and then healed the wounds that Peter caused when Peter attacked a servant of the high priest. With this one act he showed that it is better to heal and win the heart than to harm.

7. Jesus was neither a Democrat nor a Republican and clearly delineated between politics and faith when he said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:1.

8. Jesus would not allow his followers to exclude Peter from being recognized as a disciple even after Peter had betrayed Jesus. He told the first witnesses of his resurrection to go tell his disciples “and Peter also” lest they exclude Peter because of his actions.

9. Jesus placed science and the gathering of knowledge about nature in context with God’s design and authorship. Matthew 6:28-30.

10. Jesus called the church, “my church” showing that it is not an idea of man but of God. Matthew 16:18.

Perhaps if we were more Christ-like in our attitude and worship, the world’s attitude toward Christianity, as encapsulated by Anne Rice’s statements, would be different.

What are your opinions? Leave your comments below and share with others.

~My Two Cents

Two-Bit Exclusive – San Antonio Vacation 2010 Episode 1

So here’s thing: last year I tried to do a video series on our family vacation. I only got around to the first part and then lost complete interest and abandoned the project. It was doomed from the start seeing how I only had half of my material (the other half decided to get corrupted and die).

On the first full weekend of August, I had everything ready for my vacation.  I was visiting my sweetheart in San Antonio for four days. It was my first time to ever drive down there all by myself.  And, as the custom is with me, I was all set to update my Facebook status with EVERY SINGLE THING I did on this trip.  Then the unthinkable happened.

My phone broke.

I was VERY (and understandably) irritated.  It was too late to do anything about it and had to do without a cell phone for a while.  Turns out, it was a blessing in disguise.  Yes, trying to run a bus and a Bible club with no phone was chaotic to say the least, but it allowed me to enjoy my vacation to the fullest.

Now that I’m back, though, you guys get the FULL story. Let’s get started.

Episode 1: The Radio Signals Disappeared!!!

I’ve never driven further than the DFW area. The farthest I’ve ever been on my own was Azle, TX in the middle of nowhere. I had the radio on as I was making my way through Burleson.  By the time I got to Hillsboro, I noticed that I was getting static.  I was going beyond the reach of the DFW radio stations.  I was fascinated. It’s also the most stupid thing, but I kept the radio on the same station to see how far it reached.  It was finally gone somewhere before Waco.  Then I discovered new radio stations, first in Waco, then in Austin, and finally in San Antonio.  The anticipation of seeing the results of my little experiment actually kept me alert until I arrived at my destination.  The sight-seeing is not that great along I-35, anyway.

Next up: Miss Perez, your boyfriend is getting a makeover!

Leave your comments on the section below and share with friends!

On the Prowl: Gold Lions Bus Update 08/02/10

So yeah… exactly a month ago I published my last post and then went on a little hiatus. I really meant to update more often but first church and family obligations took precedence, then laziness conquered all.

During July, our bus has maintained stable as far as attendance is concerned. We fluctuated every week, having a low of 38 and a high of 46.  This is pretty good considering that other buses have struggled to stay in the 30s.  This is not to mean that our bus is better (despite what we may sing on the ride to church, ahem), and, truthfully, the bus would benefit from a more organized bus captain.  Never in my life has the verse “for a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecc. 9:4b) been truer than it is now.

Last Sunday, we had an attendance of 45 riders.  Last month, our promotions had to do with a variety of typical summer snacks: freezer pops, ice cream sandwiches, and pop-sickles.  This time, our primary focus was a water-balloon fight, with a can of grape or orange soda for each kid.  It went really well (I don’t see how anyone can mess this up, anyway), and the kids even helped with picking up balloon pieces afterwards.

The water-balloon fight encouraged some of our kids to bring visitors.  Two weeks ago, I signed up a couple of kids who were able to ride yesterday.  Perhaps our most prolific worker is actually one of our bus moms, Ms. Tammy Friddle.  She has not only brought new riders but has encouraged a family that has quit our bus TWICE to come back, and she is responsible for the four baptisms we’ve had in July (I wasn’t even AWARE that we had riders getting baptized until later in the same day).

Finally, I will take this opportunity to thank our Gold bus workers: our bus secretary Grace Kossia (who hides a wild persona behind that serious veneer), our ammunitions dealer Jennifer Collins (who prepared our water balloons), our rations provider Sarah Salinas (who is kind enough to buy the promotions for me, with my money), and our driver pro tem Ben Stover (who makes a mean steak).

Leave your thoughts on the comments section below and share with your friends!

~My Two Cents