Showing posts from May, 2008

Open Season

Generally speaking, I leave politics alone. I was always told growing up don't meddle in politics or religion and since my job is religion, I try to leave the other alone. BUT, this is too much! I read this morning an excerpt from Scott McLellan's book on the White House and President Bush. While I'll readily admit he's made more than his share of mistakes, the excerpts I read make him sound down-right treasonous (It looked all the world to me like someone trying to sell books!)! If there's information to make McLellan's charges true, then impeach Bush! If there isn't, then., at least by virtue of his office, respect him! While I'm singling out McLellan, I see it all over the place - comedians, political talking heads on TV, the news media. All of them ridiculing the President. You may not like him and may wish we had another president - I understand that. But according to Scripture, by virtue of his position, God has at least ALLOWED him to be

We're home

We bid a sad farewell to our vacation and came home yesterday. We got home about 3 PM - 30 minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival time. That's never happened before! Honestly, Continental Airlines had lost me up till that point. I still don't think I'll fly with them again (their planes are just too small! Easily smaller than American or United with regard to leg room) but they did a great job in getting us home. I highly recommend Nashville as a "family-friendly" city to visit. We roamed the streets and saw some amazing sites, all in a quite clean city with loads of people who were helpful. We'll go back! I want to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry! Standing in Ryman Auditorium was really a thrill. They have a video loop that plays over and over with clips from their glory days with Roy Acuff, "Cousin" Minnie Pearl, Flatt and Scruggs (pictured) and the myriad of special performers. It made the Auditorium "ring" with their sounds,

Our last couple of days before. . .

After we left Asheville, we decided to go through the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. I've driven around them in the past, but I never (to the best of my knowledge - I don't remember all the routes we took when I was a kid) drove straight through it. It was unbelievable! The above pictures is a mountain stream we found - it was FREEZING but the water was so clean and fresh, we took some of our old empty water bottles and filled them with water from the streams. I loved it! To celebrate our recent anniversary, Julie and I agreed to wait until our trip to have our "special meal." Once we got to Nashville, we went to Opry Mills Mall - one of the biggest malls I've ever seen. There was a wonderful restaurant there - "The Aquarium." Here's a couple of shots from our anniversary meal last night. It was good food - if you like seafood. I'm not such a fan, but my wife definitely IS! She loved it and that was the point. Today (Saturday) we

Our last day in Asheville

It's 10:00 AM our time, and we're about to leave Asheville. By 1 PM, we'll be on our way again, having enjoyed our conference and our golf. Read Julie's blog for info about the conference and you've already read my comments on the amazing golf. But as I got ready this morning, I couldn't help but think about home. To be honest, ever since we left, I've done considerable praying for our FBC family and where we're headed. I've thought about the last year and how crazy it all is that we came to Frankston at all. I've considered how the Lord's leadership, putting us together as he did, and what the Lord has in mind for us to do. I know those of you who read this are those who are those most interested (or tech savvy) - please know how much I covet you prayers.

One last round before we leave North Carolina

I'm flipping through my latest "Golf Magazine" issue. I turn to the "Travel Golf" section just to dream a bit when I spot "Mt Mitchell Golf Resort - 1 hour from Asheville." I called and set a tee time as soon as I found out how much it cost (cheaper than a round at Pine Dunes back home). What the ad didn't say was the path to get there. It's not neccessarily hard to find - it's just that you have to cross three mountain ranges (one of them twice) to get there! I never gotten motion sick when I was doing the driving but I was near that today. It was like a stinkin' driving test. You know - the kind where they test your driving acumen: turning, braking, speed, etc. As I drove, I thought to myself "this had better be darn good." I wasn't disappointed. The picture you see here hardly does it justice. This was Hole #14, their signature hole. What you can't see are the mountains framing this hole. I gave up tryi

Golfing in the WIND!

I checked the weather yesterday and noticed it was hovering near triple digits. Sounds tough. I was gloating in the fact was 72 degrees and PERFECT here! I should've known I'd regret that. I got my work through this morning, so I snuck off to play golf at the same local place I played yesterday. While the temperate was just about the same, it was WINDY! Wow. My pants legs sounded like flags flapping in the breeze. There was a storm brewing somewhere and it did rain right around supper time - but I did get my round in! Shot a 90 today. Playing it twice helped enormously!

Golfing - take 2

Today is a stunningly beautiful mountain Monday here. As such, I couldn't stand the thought of not playing golf today. So I slipped away and found a gorgeous little course hidden in the hills here - Black Mountain Golf Course. LOTS of hills and water on numerous holes. Their signature hole is #17; Par 6, it's 747 yards long. I got an 8 on that bad boy and I was proud to have it. I hit my longest drive of the day on that hole and a decent second shot and I was still more than 200 yards out! I didn't think I was ever going to get to the green! Fortunately for me, I played the back nine first (due to a senior men's tournament this morning) so that was #8 for me. I shot serviceably well - 96. For me, that's pretty good. If I could shoot that consistently, I would be delighted. I started to go another round, but then I remembered why I'd come, so back I came. We'll bring pictures back with us, but I don't think they'll do justice to the beauty

Sunday in Asheville

For the first time since I came to be pastor at FBC, I wasn't in the pulpit this morning. It always feels strange to not preach on Sunday morning - it's a part of me I can't turn off. Yet it is strangely refreshing to have the opportunity to take a short Sabbath rest - even the Lord rested (Genesis 2:1-3). But resting doesn't mean we didn't attend church today. We try to go to churches different than our own. We found one in Asheville that just fit the bill. "The Rock of Asheville" Church was where we attended today. In fact, because worship started at 10 AM our time (Eastern), we began worship before you began Sunday School and finished before you started worship! I firmly believe that taking a vacation OUGHT to include worship. Find a church, wherever you are. As I've been told, we've got branch offices all over the place! Vacations are coming soon for many of you - when they come, and if you can't get back to FBC before Sunday, f

An easy Saturday

Today we took a day to just rest. Our conference begins tomorrow - we'll have a schedule to keep. But today was all ours so we took it. After sleeping late, hanging out at the hotel and a leisurely breakfast (included in our room was the best "free" hot breakfast I've ever had a hotel!), I looked up the local municipal golf course and went to play! To describe it as "hilly" would be to denigrate the hills. The famed golf architect Donald Ross (designed of the famous Pinehurst #2 here in North Carolina) designed this municipal course in 1927 - it's still in use. It beat the hound out of me and fooled me a number of times with it's visual trickery - like #18, pictured here below. The tee box is on the same plane as the green but everything else is set at about 15 degrees. At 210 yards, it's not long - but I still made a 5 because I out-thunk myself. It was a great time and I made some memorable shots but mostly forgettable ones. I'l

Asheville at last!

We arrived here in Asheville Friday morning after a quick stop in Mt. Airy, home of Andy Griffith and the basis for his fictional "Mayberry." Mt Airy isn't the small quaint place we had envisioned - even less so with so many trying to profit from the popularity of Andy's shows. We hadn't planned to stay long and believe me we DIDN'T! It wasn't long until we were back on the freeway headed for Asheville. When we got to Asheville, we drove stright to it's most famous landmark, the Biltmore Estates. It's that little shack behind Julie. 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, indoor swimming pool, two lane bowling alley, 15 foot ceilings - all of it built by George Vanderbilt (yes, that same one as in Vanderbilt University, Health Center, etc) before 1896. Stinking unbelievable. I'd show you pictures from the inside, but they don't allow indoor photography. 45 bucks a head and you can't take pictures. Hmmmmm. Ah well. It was a pretty exception

Sorry for the delay in posting

Sorry I didn't get posted yesterday - it's a long story! We spent Wednesday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I gotta say it was amazing! They were supposed to be doing track practice in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend Indy 500 Race. That's me kissing the 1 yard of bricks that marks the start-finish line. It's supposed to be good luck. I knelt down to the cold ground in the pit area of the track. I'd seen it on TV all my life but it's MUCH bigger than my mind envisioned it. We parked on the infield, walking Gasoline Alley and the pits, strolled the Hall of Fame Museum and watched the trucks go round the track drying it out from the morning rains. They ran the track dryers and they were LOUD!!!! Fortunately, my lovely wife had brought ear plugs for both of us. It rained out practice and it was stinking cold (50 degrees, maybe, with a stiff breeze.) but overall a wonderful experience. Next, on to Cincinnati where we saw the Reds-Mar

If today is Tuesday, this must be Indianapolis!

We left Louisville this morning after we visited the Louisville Slugger Baseball bat museum. It was really exceptional! We didn't take the whole tour since they had some wonderful windows into the factory. We checked the place out (they had numerous bats you could handle copied from the bats of well-known players like Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Jackie Robinson and Brooks Robinson (the last one only for TRUE baseball fans!). It was great! I've always loved baseball and had a great respect for those who play it well. We left Louisville and headed north into Indiana, land of the Hoosier! We drove into Indianapolis and visited the home of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the USA. Wow! Nice shed! And the house was nice as well. After seeing the President's home, we toured downtown Indy, seeing the RCA Dome (past home of the Indianapolis Colts), Lucas Oils (future home of the Colts), Conseco Fieldhouse (home of the NBA Indiana Pacers and Victory Field (home of

A wonderful Monday

We got up in Bowling Green, bought a camera and headed out! We visited Western Kentucky University (the Hilltoppers!) and rode the Duncan Hines Expressway (the original corporate headquarters for the baking giant is now a funeral home). The highlight of the day was definitely the visit to Mammoth Caves, the largest cave system in the world. We took a 2 mile walking tour plunging us more than 300 feet below ground and causing me to hunch over due to low ceilings (even Julie had to hunch over!) It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. We had a blast. After we left there, we visited Abe Lincoln's birthplace and boyhood home (not the same site - his father had a meandering spirit that ultimately took he, Abe and the rest of the family to Illinois.). Julie and I both hold President Lincoln in such high regard, it was only natural to make this a part of our trip. Here's a shot from the memorial at his birthplace. So we finally arrived in Louisville this evening wher

We're here

A word to the wise - don't fly Continental Airlines. While their employees are great, their planes stink! Too small! "But Darin," you say, "isn't the real problem that you're too big?" It's funny to me the difference between a Continental Flight and an American Airlines Flight - somehow there's more room on American. We arrived in Nashville, TN last night around 9 PM after a dicey and bouncy flight through a storm. For those who were at church with us yesterday, let me explain why we're there and not in North Carolina where I said we were going. We're headed to Asheville, NC ultimately, but not before we go to see a Cincinnati Reds baseball game! So we flew to Nashville, we're driving to Mammoth Caves today in southwestern Kentucky. We spent the night in Bowling Green, KY a really beautiful city, at least what we've seen of it so far. We won't be here long - just long enough to purchase a new camera. :-( File this

Leaving town

We're sitting at Tyler Pounds regional Airport waiting for our flight. The airport is really small (3 gates), but a real gem. Lovely and fresh and almost brand new. We've had a small hiccup - I forgot our "good" camera. Perhaps we can work it out. This shot was taken with our Mac laptop, although I'm not sure why they "F" is inverted. We'll let you know how it's going. We're scheduled to be in Kentucky for supper.

Tomorrow we leave

We're packing today, getting ready for our long-awaited vacation. We've been planning this trip since January when we registered for the conference. We'll greatly miss you, our FBC family, and our newest family member, Dodger, who's not making the trip (they don't allow dogs at the conference). We'll be home soon and you can check here for updates while we're gone. Making the brash assumption we can connect to the internet with our Macs, we'll be posting while on our journey. Pray for a season of refreshment. Pray for a renewal in our hearts of the passion for obedience to the Lord. Pray for Bro. Duane as he'll lead our services on the 18th and 25th. We'll be home on Memorial Day.

Unbelievably cool

If you have any interest in seeing a 4th century copy of the Bible (portions of the Old Testament only right now), then visit this site . It will requires you to install Silverlight, an add-on for Internet Explorer, but I did it and haven't had any trouble. The site is in German, but not difficult to discern. Take a look!

A requim for my thirties

I'm pleased to say that today is my 40th birthday. Yes, I'm over the top of the hill now and sliding down the other side! In some cultures, you're not regarded as a full-grown man until you reach 40. I guess I made it. When I look back at the friends I've lost over the years and realize how many of them never made it this far, I feel inordinately blessed. I spent my 30's in two places - pastoring two churches and working toward a PhD. We'll start with the PhD. I was just shy of 30 when I took my qualifying examinations and began my German studies in 1998. I was 31 (one day shy of 32) when I got married - which was at the end of my first year of PhD seminar studies (BTW, don't do that - it's a bad plan. Too much pressure). I graduated with my PhD two days shy of my 38th Bday - the end of a long but impassioned academic journey. Academically, I loved my 30's. Pastoring - something I never planned to do. I was going to stay in student mini

An ode to my wife

When I was younger, I wondered what kind of raving beauty I would marry. Surely, I would marry a drop-dead gorgeous blond with amazing talents who could cook and hold an intelligent conversation on any subject. I had no idea how right I was. After sorting through the dregs BJ (before Julie), I came to the sad realization that my dream girl might not exist. Then, out of the blue, I met her. We found each with a tremendous crash, but we did indeed find each other! If you visit Julie's blog , you'll find her account of the events of our meeting, but I'll tell you my version (which, of course, is the gospel truth on the matter :-)). We were at Super Summer (a Christian youth camp) in 1993 at Hardin-Simmons University. I was a brand-new graduate of Southwestern Seminary, she was a college sophomore working for Hardin-Simmons helping with the camp. We were engaged in a game of "mushball" - softball without gloves and a really, REALLY soft ball. I was on second

A couple of new elements

So I had some time today to work on my blog and clean it up some. If you look around you'll find I've added a couple of elements. First, at the very bottom of the page, I've added a section on what I'm reading right now. Generally speaking, that which I read is an endorsement for you to read it as well. Check back if you're a reader to get an idea of what I've got in my mind. Another element I've added is a permanent disclaimer. While some might think our church lawyer asked for that, actually I added it to remind people that this is my arena to share whatever is on my mind today. The church doesn't condone it nor is it hosted on the same server as the church. For that matter, neither are the links I've chosen to provide. With that out of the way, enjoy!

A powerful dialogue

On April 8th, I wrote about a conference I attended in New Orleans with Dr. Bart Ehrman as a speaker. I wrote to you that Dr. Ehrman had at one time been a Christian but has since renounced it. He offers us a little bit of why in a dialogue with Dr. N. T. Wright. If you're interested in reading a fascinating discussion on theodicy (the question of why God allows suffering), here's the link to it.


The first day of May means summer is coming SOON! We've got so many things planned this summer and we'll talk about them in due time. My favorite thing, however, is mission trip. This year's trip is to Harlingen, TX where we'll partner with Iglesia Bautista Indian Hills (Indian Hills Baptist Church). The pictures above are of the church, outside and in. We're still working on the final details of what we'll do and how much we can do, but for now, mark JULY 18-26 on your schedule for mission trip. We'll have our first mission trip meeting on May 18, immediately following our morning worship service, in the Library. Bro. Duane is coordinating the trip and will have a number of details to share including how we're planning to combat $4/gallon gas for a 517 mile trip. Circle that date!