Thursday, December 31, 2009

Most Expensive Book Sales 2009

How much are you willing to pay for a Hardcover at your local superstore these days - $25-$35? (Much more if you're forced to purchase for a university class, of course.)

How about $14k for a set of signed Stephen King books? $12.5k for Dickens? $11k for F. Scott's Tender is the Night?

Abebooks shares it all, with subcategories for children's, photography, and religious - to the tune of $11k! What book does this describe:

Printed and published at the Golden Cockerel Press in 1931. Limited to 500 numbered copies with 64 wood-engraved initial letters and illustrations by Gill.

Yes, this fits under sister blog Word, but it's also a snap shot on what our culture values. Indeed, maybe we're not as technology-addled, as we think.

Nona Freeman: Help with Wikipedia Entry

We're woefully behind on the news of Sis. Nona Freeman's passing away on December 26, 2009. She was 93. She's a giant whose absence won't be easily filled.

A Wikipedia entry has begun on her. Please add any facts you can to make this entry as robust as possible!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hijacking Hero for Hire

So you saved the plane from blowing up and everyone calls you a hero and wants to interview you!

Here's how CNN got the first exclusive - and paid the hero indirectly, according to TV Newser.

The New York Times chimes in on the business end of an exclusive.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Years Resolution: Read Bible.

Every year we hear about beginning the new year the right way: With the bible at the center of our resolution. Many people take up the task and attempt to read the bible straight through within a year, or at least get oneself in the daily habit of reading the bible.

If one is looking for a schedule to read the bible, I highly suggest you go to fellow UPC Miniter, Arlo Moehlenpah's website at There you will find different schedules to read the bible next year including how to read the bible in a year, in 90 days, or even if you are like me who likes taking the bible a bit slower, a schedule for how to read the bible in 3 years. 

To top it off, you can find resources such as questions, quizzes, and powerpoint presentations to aid your bible reading journey for you and whatever bible reading patriots you choose to journey with....

And yes it's all Free!

If anyone knows Arlo Moehlenpah, he is ones of the nicest most loving individuals you will ever meet. Not to mention he is extremely intelligent, so to say whatever material he offers on will be helpful is an understatement. 

Just how bad are things in Detroit these days?

Complaining about the ever-decreasing worth of your house these days? Perhaps you owe more on your house than it's even worth.

Well, your therapy if found in our link today: 4 houses listed to buy all under the price of $100 in the city of Detroit. That's right, I said  $100 dollars. The cheapest is $10 (pictured)! Why for prices like these, why not buy 2 houses? Or even a whole city block?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nona Freeman Update

12/24/09 @ 8:30 a.m. - UPDATE ON SISTER NONA FREEMAN.
From: Sandra Freeman - daughter of Nona Freeman

Based on her condition now; Mom is as weak as she can get and is not responsive at all. Her home going could be any moment. She is the lowest we have seen her the entire time. The family is by her bedside 24/7 and she does not recognize nor respond to anyone. She does not even respond to prayer, singing or scripture read to her and the world knows that is the life of Nona Freeman.

She is still not in any pain and we are doing all we can for her. She is not taking any fluids or nourishment and her doctors and hospice has removed all her meds except for patch forms. Everything is being done for her according to her wishes.

Now not only do we face losing my precious mom but there is also an unusually strong winter storm predicted for our area and our family is traveling in these conditions.

To the world she is Nona Freeman; Foreign Missionary; minister or legend but to us; this is our precious mother! Thanks for all your prayers and messages that is so comforting; we read them all. Please continue to pray for us now and in the days ahead. Updates will be released daily.

In Jesus' Name

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Atlanta West on Good Morning America

Atlanta West Pentecostal Church's award-winning choir sang "Joy to the World" on ABC's Good Morning America today.

Don't miss it!

Top Ten Tech failures of 2009

Holiday traditions are a dime a dozen. I, however have somehow managed to go my entire life without a staple of a consistent holiday tradition. I don't watch a certain Christmas movie, I don't put up the Christmas lights with dad on a certain date, and I don't have to be at a certain house with a precise number of people every Christmas. I think all in all, any hope for a consistent holiday tradition was lost at the onset of my teenage years when my grandparents on one side moved away, and my grandparents on the other side became deathly ill and were moved out of their house (where Christmas Eve was held with all my rich aunts and uncles ever year) and into a retirement home.

However, one tradition that I have been silently enjoy for the past 3-4 years is the year end "best of/worst of the year" lists. I am a complete sucker for them. I can't get enough of them. This year is a special year as many lists are "Best of the Decade" lists which is even more nostalgic goodness.

Suddenly I find myself actually caring about the "Ten best investments of 2009" when before such a list, I had spent zero-no time caring about investing. Well, one list that really drew my attention was the "Top Ten Tech Fails of 2009".

I was reminded at how hyped up the Conficker Worm was only to see absolutely no damage done on April 1st.

But in the article, the author remarks that "this (2009) was the year that social media exploded."

And this was validated in the article itself where 5 of the 10 tech failures were social networking related (6 if you count Gmail).

I probably would have thought 2008 would be the year that social media exploded, and see 2009 as more of the year when all the social media became centralized and organized according to function.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nona Freeman Update

Greetings in the name of Jesus;

This is an update about Sister Nona Freeman’s condition. As you were advised on December 8, 2009 hospice has been called in to her. Since then she has lost so much strength and is no longer able to even feed herself. This week a hospital bed was brought to her home to better care for her and she made the statement. ‘This is the where I will go to meet God.’ At that time it did not seem it would be a reality but even today she is weakened. Unless it is the will of God to intervene her home going could be anytime due to her present condition. She is not in any pain but at times is non-responsive nor has the strength to communicate.

Next to Jesus and her ministry, her family, friends and supporters has always been her life. Per her own conversations to her staff this past week; it is her desire for her messages and devotionals on various forums to be continued. She personally spent time last week to prepare this and made the statement, ‘I have spent hours writing in airports, hotel rooms or other places for publications and recordings that I leave behind for the work of God. It is my desire my postings continue because so many are hurting and I won’t be here.’ True to her word, she has left months of prepared messages.

Some of her family is with her and are doing everything possible to see she is comfortable. Every conversation is about her longing to see Jesus then ‘My Bug’ her beloved husband of 62 years also now gone on to be with the Lord.

Where most of us have traveled areas she traveled CONTINENTS for the name of Jesus but now is anxious to reap her reward. Everyone is so supportive and the Nona Freeman family wants to advise everyone of her weakened condition because even they are shocked and asks for your prayers in the days ahead. Not only is it their mother, grandmother, etc., but a gospel legend that has blazed the Apostolic trail for us to follow.

Anyone desiring to do so may leave a message or comment. What better time to say, ‘Thank you for giving to the Lord’ to Sister Nona Freeman; and to her beloved family’s thanks for sharing her with the world.’

There will be updates posted daily. Blessings in the name of Jesus.

Nona Freeman Ministry

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An ugly story...

Source: Police Probe Sleep Aid Allegation Against Daycare

An Apostolic church daycare just outside of Cincinnati,OH is being investigated by local police because of some daycare workers allegedly providing melatonin to the children at the daycare to induce them into naps at the daycare.

Needless to say, such actions are illegal. 

The church has reportedly fired all workers who are involved in the mess. However, if the allegations prove true, this could be an even messier situation in months to come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aps In This Decade: Where Are We Now?

Our cover this week queried Apostolics across North America to answer three questions:

1. The biggest change(s) in the Apostolic movement over the last decade include(s):

2. One (or more) highlight(s) of the past decade for the Apostolic Movement include:

3. The Apostolic Movement's biggest challenge in the coming decade is:

You read their answers. What are yours? Who did you agree and disagree with? Why?

Comment below!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Great Christmas Program Idea

Have you seen the (silent) singing monks "sing" the Hallelujah Chorus? Perfect for a children's / youth program.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Day is When?

Did you know that most scholars don’t believe our Christmas tradition doesn’t have pagan roots? Do you know what the 12 days of Christmas actually are? Lots of fascinating information in this article from Biblical Archaeology Review about "How December 25 Became Christmas."

For instance:

“So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in midwinter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nona Freeman: Her Final Public Email?

Matriarch and missionary great Nona Freeman sent an email to the world last Tuesday that seems to denote her days of ministry are behind her. If you've ever been touched by her ministry, laughed at her stories, read her many books, then you'll understand what a loss this is.

From: Nona Freeman
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 3:46 PM
Subject: Dear Friends; Fans & Email Buddies of Nona Freeman;

Dear Friends; Fans & Email Buddies of Nona Freeman;

Greetings in the name of Jesus. This is just to update everyone about my condition. The Lord has blessed me to live 93 wonderful years and as the lyrics record truly, 'I Don’t Regret A Mile I've Traveled For The Lord.' God has been my constant love and keeper. I marked my 70th year in the ministry April 12, 2009. My life has been one amazing blessing and miracle after another. I had a loving childhood; married a man that I still love to this day and God blessed me with five amazing children.

We were called to Africa but long before we got to go there our hearts were there; then 41 years later we returned to the United States . After the death of my beloved husband 'E.L. 'Bug' Freeman in 1999 my wonderful daughter Sandra Freeman has devoted her life to seeing I have been able to continue my ministry that God called me to when I was but a child. I am blessed to still enjoy the benefits of my new computer my supporters blessed me with for my 70th ministerial anniversary that I am sending this message to you on.

I am sorry but I am no longer able to continue my schedule due to my health from sickness I suffered in January 2009. God has blessed me not only with a wonderful daughter to see I can carry on my ministry but wonderful aides that devote their time to see the work of Nona Freeman; my ministry, my books and messages can still go out. I am sorry I am not nor have been able to take personal calls as I desire and have done so in the past; my energy just does not allow it now.

For a few weeks now I have been under the care of hospice that comes to my home. Please bear in mind; I am in no pain but I am ready for God to take me. I am getting weaker. I have fought a good fight; I have kept the faith and I have traveled the world in obedience to Gods call on my life to answer the call God placed on mine and Bugs heart to carry this Jesus name gospel. Our ministry has been our life. I have the greatest family a person could ever have but I am ready to see my Jesus, my mother and my daughter Marla now gone to be with the Lord; many other loved ones, prophets and apostles of old. But next to Jesus my heart is so longing to see my 'Bug'. I miss him more every day.

I am honored for every prayer that has been prayed for me and ask your continual prayers in the days ahead. May all of my precious supporters have the best holiday and my prayer is not only for 2010 but the rest of your lives be filled with the blessings of Jesus. Please remember me and the name of Jesus I have and will always uphold. Until we meet again, Sister Nona Freeman

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Politically Incorrect Tradition of Old that is still around: Sitting on Santa's Lap

For what will most likely be your best 10 minutes of your day on the internet, please visit the following site:

Sketchy Santas

For an awesome synopsis of the material on the site: Please watch the following video. Please have patience with the slide presentation, as the song itself is incredible. I couldn't have done a better rendition myself (the best part is the song just gets better and better. And just when you thought the song had reached it's height in awesomeness, it enters into "Super Internet Hall of Fame Territory")-

Sketchy Santa from Coty Gonzales on Vimeo.

My Commentary in brief: First off, I laughed and laughed at the pictures. That said, this sight really got me thinking: How in the world is allowing children to sit on the lap of a middle-aged bearded man who is dressed like a candy cane acceptable? Sure I understand the custom permissible even upwards of ten years ago....

But the spirit of the times certainly should make such a custom obsolete. With parents in more fear of pedophilia than death itself, one would think the whole sitting on Santa's lap thing would go way of Everyone's Connected. But yet this antiquated tradition of old is still a mainstay in mall's throughout America come Christmas time.

I used to always think that the kids who sat on Santa's lap and cried and cried and cried in fear were absolute cowards....

But after looking at this site, these kids are just very observant to know their surroundings are not natural...

Think about....these kids get ushered in a gigantic line full of other controlling parents and their own kids wherein they will not be allowed to leave the line to go to the bathroom. The line then works their way up to some kind of throne of sorts which is protected by a bunch of usually diminutive men and women dressed like a poor man's leprechaun. And on this throne is this very strangely bearded man dressed as a  fire-hyrdant whose tagline is in an unintelligible tongue (ho ho ho). But then on top of this weirdness, the kid is forced and yanked to sit on this weird dudes lap....

If I was forced into such a ploy today, I may very well cry too....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cool Idea #27: Pay It Backward

Occasional contributor Cylinda Nickel offered this idea on Facebook and we had to share it:

"Don't you love shocking people? I paid for the people behind me at the drive through and secretly watched their faces. He was shocked, she covered her face with her hands. They honked, waved, and blew me kisses. It takes so little of our time and money to bless others- Why not pay it backward today. You know you want to!!!"

She added that an imitator in Canada did it at a Tim Horton's today.

This holiday season, why don't you give it a try?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Study reveals that I am angry (obvious)

For today's celebration of the joys of youth, please visit the following article:

Study Reveals the Angriest Americans

Here you will find a list of the Angriest Americans....

And you're winner?
"....people under 30 experienced anger of all forms or intensities more frequently than did older adults. This was mainly due to the fact that young people are more likely to be affected by three  core stressors that can trigger angry feelings, Schieman said:
  • Time pressures
  • Economic hardship
  • Interpersonal conflict at the workplace."
As if us cynical, discontent, and cranky young people needed one more thing to complain about...

We get to complain about the fact that we are angry...

Time Pressures? Never Enough time in the day to sit on facebook just a little bit longer to "like" someone's facebook status....

Economic Hardship? It can get awfully hard paying for that hefty mortgage living in your parents house (sarcasm).

Interpersonal conflict at the workplace?  So what if we told another co-worker to look at so-and-so's pics that were posted on facebook over the weekend. Did that really deserve for that so-and-so to confront me?

Okay, so enough with the sarcasm...I understand that there are people under 30 who have a lot more responsibility (such as actually having to pay a house payment), but in general, I really can't relate to the reasons listed....

So what makes us under 30's so angry?

Our comfortable living. We are, in general, spoiled (I wholly acknowledge the sin I am committing of grouping millions of American young people in a box, so if this stereotype does not pertain to you then I apologize). And when you live very isolated from the real world and the problems and stresses that the real world can throw at you, you begin to focus on little problems, and little dramas, and little "he said, she says" as the focus of your life. You forget to see the bigger picture of blessings and focus on the most unimportant of details. We are an obsessive compulsive generation who wants this that and the other in perfect order and harmony...

Never willing to acknowledge that life will never give in to such demands. So when real problems hit in our lives, we are not prepared with how to synthesize the information. We then just freak out. We throw out the baby with the bathwater and also the entire bathtub. We get angry.

Switchfoot on Tonight Show

Switchfoot performed "Mess of Me" on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien on Wednesday, December 2, 2009. This song is indicative of their new album, with thoughtful contemporary lyrics set to upbeat music.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Anne Rice: Talk About Bad Career Move

Long before Twilight mania, Anne Rice made writing about vampires a one-woman empire. Now, everyone’s writing about vampires, and she’s begun a new series on . . . angels. (Isn’t that what everyone was writing about when she was doing vampires?)

Anyway, everything she writes is a best seller so it’s nice to see the Catholic Rice is now exploring other themes now that she's left atheism behind.

In this interview with Powell’s Books, she names Jesus as the most influential person in her life.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pentecostal Church Gives $ Away!

Grace Church of Humble (TX), pastored by former UPCers Scott and Brent Jones gave away $20,000 this past Sunday to their congregation!

Except it was about "Paying it Forward!" Members received between $6 - $500 in $2 bills. It's a great idea. Check out the videos here and here.

The Recession: It's Not That Simple

Michael Lewis continues to be our best print journalist on the Wall Street Implosion of 2008.

Remember how AIG decided to continue with their Executive’s Retreat the week after accepting government money? Thie piece on AIG shows how messy and complicated it gets – the AIG traders blamed for their own downfall actually lost about $500m of their own money in the collapse because they were required to reinvest half of their bonuses in the company!

It’s eye-opening and worth your time. (Yes, it’s long. So what? It helps explain our now.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving to Remember

First, Happy Thanksgiving! Second, Happy seasonal shopping where the parking lots are packed, the lines are long and the elevator like Christmas music blaring through mall speakers begins to wear on you...

As for me on this Thanksgiving, it won't be like the rest. I didn't think what I am about to describe is a big deal, but the more I talk of it, the more I see the horror in the eyes of the listener and thus a little bit of concern jumps in my heart as well. This Thanksgiving my family has decided to skip the whole home-made aspect of Thanksgiving and instead let a nice eatery do the cooking and serving.

The advantages are obvious: Apparently it ends up cheaper (despite it being around 20 bucks a head), and the time for preparation, serving, and cleaning immediately turns to zero.

But the bigger picture....Usually Thanksgiving is a 4-6 hour affair complete with all the semi-masculine males hovering around the television to watch my faithful Lions get massacred in a game of football, then comes the overly crowded kitchen with people offering to help but only a few actually doing anything. And then comes the food and the journey that entails....and then the complements, and then the coffee to wake us from the tiring effects of the tryptophan. There is such a tradition about the whole mess, and it's lovely....

And this year we are throwing it all to the wind in order to not be so busy and to save a few bucks...We are selling our dearest holidays now to the monster of capitalism which promises more time and relaxation for us, but for the price of money  and our endearing souls....

And while I complain and complain about how some tradition is not what it used to be and how Thanksgiving will never be the same, and I lament the loss of a certain nostalgic mood of the dinner, I quickly's not even the dinner. It's the family...and we still have the family. We still have the money to afford this dinner. We still have the faithful losing Lions to watch on the television.

 My Goodness, if there is one downfall about the cynicism of my generation (myself included), it's that we don't realize and appreciate how good we have it. So on that note, whatever the circumstances tomorrow, let's enter the evening with a violent joy excited about what we do have and be quick to remember to not lament what we may have lost. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Perfect For Christmas

Jonny Lang's new CD is out! It's a live concert, which if you've ever attended one of his concerts, you know is a treat.

He's one of the most remarkable guitarists in the world. So if you like contemporary blues, don't miss it.

Plus, you might be surprised at the lyrics in some of his songs. They might fit into your local church service.

Tour schedule here.

Preview the CD here!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Baton Rouge Covers Bernard

The Advocate in Baton Rouge has a meaty article on the UPCI's recently elected General Superintendent David K. Bernard:

“I’m proud of my French and Cajun and Louisiana roots,” Bernard said during a recent telephone interview. “I hope (Baton Rouge area friends) pray for me and hope they can support someone who has their values and can lead in this office.”


Bernard said he will also have to curtail some of his writing, but he is still focused on a doctoral dissertation in New Testament from the University of South Africa. Its short title, he said, is “The Monotheistic Deification of Jesus.”

“I’m examining, ‘How did the early Jewish Christians see Jesus as God when they were so monotheistic?’” Bernard said. “They wouldn’t believe in a different God, so how did they come up with this concept that Jesus was more than just a man in the context of their strong, monotheistic beliefs?"

Photo used from the excellent CarlosHernandezPhotography.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

God's Miracles - Part One

My dear mather and I have been co-writing on Collideoscope over a subject near and dear to us, and that is the subject of Atlanta West Pentecostal Church winning the Verizon-sponsored How Sweet the Sound competition for 2009. It is a competition to find "the best church choir in America." Go here if you would like to hear a great run-down of this amazing story and simultaneously understand the rest of my post.

And Now, The Rest of the Story
I did, in fact, hitch a ride with some of the members of my church to Detroit, MI, for the Nationals Competition. It was held on Saturday, November 7th; we arrived at [straggled into] our lodging at a modest 4 o'clock in the morning that same Saturday.We left at four in the afternoon to meet with dozens of family members and some of their personal friends whom they'd invited to come with us to HSTS.

The Atmosphere
When we first alit into the arena at 6:30 pm, we were met with a very energetic atmosphere. People were bustling about towards their seats; they were knowingly throwing money away in the hopes of a dinner/after-dinner-snack; they were meeting with their guests and finding out where to sit down. Well, as a good hour-and-a-half wore on, it seemed to frazzle. Everyone [including me] was beginning to look at our watches and having it dawn on us that we'd apparently arrived 1.5 hours early for ... nothing. But I digress.

The Atmosphere ... Part 2
One thing that many people took advantage of was that you could send a text to whatever designated number and it would show up [eventually] on two huge screens across the arena. So as we drew closer to Donald Lawrence's opening remarks, the mood started to pick up. People homed in on their seats and scarfed down that popcorn. Text messages switched from pictures of girls to, "Take it home, Chicago!" and stuff like that.

Allow me to make some remarks that I might not have been the only person thinking. One thing that nagged at me about HSTS is that the Ryan Seacrests of the competition make it sound like we could be listening to the orchestra for all of the "God" factor involved. Does that make sense? A church choir, from the dawn of time (or whatever), has been assembled to draw Christians in unity to a single praise of God. That is the point. People may have lost that point over the generations, but when you get a choir together, the point is to glorify God. Donald Lawrence is so polished that if you forget what you're really listening for, you'd think the only thing we're looking for is the bounciest choir with the best moves.

What Happened Next
As far as the actual choirs are concerned, I don't really remember the order or the exact songs too much. I had two favorite choirs. One was your seemingly typical choir [at this point in the competition], but they had some serious anointing on them! They sang, "I'm on the battlefield/fighting for the Lord." Seriously, I could have danced in the aisles. The other one was an all-white choir who sang, "Soon and Very Soon"; definitely a good choice, because the audience loved singing along about heaven.
There were one or two choirs I didn't actually understand the words, and they were very energetic, so the audience wanted to praise God with 'em. But it was tough.
There were one or two choirs that I definitely wanted it to be OVER and/or wanted to fall asleep to.
There were a couple of amazing choirs that I admired based purely on technical skill. There was a certain director in the second half of the 11 total choirs who made me tired just looking at him. Don't get me wrong; our church choir director, Brandon Frazier, is totally on the ball. But this guy was giving it 250%, and that choir followed his every move.

The Judges
Let's be honest, here. I was a little skeptical about mixing up the judges from last time. Why keep 1 of 3 judges from regionals if you're going for an "unbiased" mix? And why bring in new judges anyway? Either way, I ended up not minding. They chose Byron Cage, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Marvin Sapp as the finalist judges. They really impressed me. I usually ended up agreeing with their conclusions. They said nice things like "great sound," "keep doin' what you're doin'" "I love your energy, man!" In fact, one time Dorinda Clark-Cole mentioned something about feeling God's Spirit in the room after a particular choir and I got a bit antsy. I hadn't felt much. Maybe I'm just a heathen, and I'm sure God moved, I really am, but I was like, "If she thinks this is anointing, how will it bode for us?" ...
Anyway, Marvin Sapp is definitely my favorite. After he said that whole, "I'm gonna come to church one Sunday, and Imma slip in the back, and I'm just gonna allow some yokes to be destroyed offa my life from this ministry"; yeah, he's awesome.

"Atlanta. West. Pentecostal. Chuuuuuurch!"
So Atlanta West got up, and all of a sudden I started wishing I had been praying like Daniel over us. Three times a day, three hours a day. Unfortunately, I had forgotten, and I started sending up desperate half-worded prayers to God, leaning on my equally desperate hope that He knew what it was I was asking. I didn't even know I was asking. For us to win? For thousands of people to be slain in the Spirit? For the judges to feel Jesus so powerfully? All of it, and more, and I just needed God to do what He does best: the impossible.
As they began to sing, the place was already on its feet. From the first a capella note, the Lord stirred every heart. Here's the link to the video! And man, with every soloist calling out God's praises, and the difficulties I knew choir members had been through in the past weeks, I knew a breakthrough when I saw one. I mean, those judges could barely talk, they were so in the Holy Ghost! I later heard of people staying until midnight praying in the Holy Ghost. People walked up to Pentecostal folks not even from our church and insisted they know where we were from and what was going on with that choir!
I didn't know any of that at the time; they should have given us more room to hoot-n-holler. The whole place like to gone up in flames, if you'll excuse the mixed grammar.

The Results
Don't misinterpret this. But every time Atlanta West has sung at HSTS [which is 4 times, so far], they win People's Choice. People's Choice is when Verizon customers text their favorite choir number to Verizon and they count it as $5,000 awarded for being the people's choice. So I didn't even question, exactly, who was going to get that. It's not as bad as it sounds. You could tell everyone loved Atlanta West.
Anyway, as Donald Lawrence paused an eternity before telling us who had won the National 2009 How Sweet the Sound competition, I was leaning forward off my chair [flirting with gravity's bad side, I might add], whispering/screaming to myself, "SAY IT!!!!" Good news for Mr Lawrence, he said it, and we all jumped up and screeeeeeeeeamed. Half in tongues. It was awesome. "Atlanta. West. PENTECOSTAL. CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURCH!"

The Rest of the Story
To anyone who knows "stuff" I've neglected to mention, let me know, if you'd be so kind. As for me, I really hope God doesn't stop here. He doesn't have a history of doing that, so I want to see how far He takes it!
Your Faithful Correspondent,
God bless.


It seems many in our culture are obsessed with beauty these days. It is my humble and inexperienced opinion that humans have always been so. We are in awe of the beautiful and lovely. We are attracted to something pleasing to the eye or the ear. We gravitate toward what we see as beautiful. People around the world spend millions of dollars and countless minutes arranging themselves, creating a pleasing surface. Depending on the culture, we lose or gain weight to become the accepted type. Men take steroids; girls go on diets, and sometimes, it's the other way around.

I was reading in 1 Peter 3 a while ago, and it mentioned a Pentecostal verse if I've ever heard one: [speaking to women] Don't let your beauty consist of outer adornment, such as a great hair-do or pretty jewelry or fashionable clothes. Instead, let your beauty come from the unfading beauty of a meek and quiet spirit - this is a jewel of great price. Submit yourselves to your husbands, as Sarah did, calling Abraham "Master". [Obviously, I'm paraphrasing.]

Proverbs 31 -- "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised."

Physical v Internal Beauty
This could be directed towards women, but also it can be for guys. Why is it so hard for us to stop seeking external attractiveness?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Interesting brain study of the moment: Nature Makes you Smarter

 You know those all-night study sessions you find yourself in? If you're in college, they happen more often than not, and for others they may happen through a planning lesson. Whatever the case may be, you enter into a kind of zone where you just attempt to conquer an inhumane amount of material in an extended period of time, either to write a paper or study for a test. It's not fun to say the least....

Well during these intense study sessions, there comes a time every few hours where your brain ends up on overload and you need a study break...

But have you ever wondered what the best way to utilize these study breaks to the fullest? A moment where your brain actually gets rest?
A new study summarized at Cognitive Daily suggests that walks into natural landscapes or observing natural landscapes between intense concentration (study) sessions will improve your retention/cognitive ability during these sessions. The theory goes as so,

"the natural world engages your attention in a bottom-up fashion, by features of the environment (e.g. a sunset, a beautiful tree). The artificial world demands active attention, to avoid getting hit by cars or to follow street signs. Since intellectual activities like studying or writing also demand the same kind of attention, taking a break in the artificial world doesn't really function like a rest."

And if you read the link, the few studies that have been done on the matter seem to suggest walks into nature do indeed help for study breaks more so than walks into artificial environments...(although both work).

Friday, November 06, 2009


It seems that these days, anytime we hear about children, ie HAVING children, it's bad stuff. They wreak havoc. They cost tons of money. They won't listen to you. They're not grateful. They take up all your time; you have no time left to do hobbies or relax. They're disobedient and unruly and embarrassing when you take them out in public. In short, they're stinkers. And expensive stinkers at that.

And yet the Bible calls children "a blessing from the Lord." "Happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them" and "he will not be ashamed when he standeth in the gate" [when he has a wise child] and all that stuff.

So where's the disconnect? Even Pentecostals are having less and less kids. You've seen it: 2-3 kids, max, for most people. Any bigger of a family is just "too much to handle". In fact, a lot of young couples are reluctant to have even one child. Because they know that kids take over not just your life, but your time, finances, and sanity.

So my question is, if the Bible assumes you'll have tons of kids and says that, in fact, having kids is an amazing blessing any way you cut it, why does it say that? And why is no one listening?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Googlebot

Here is your culturally relevant interesting read of the day: 10 Neat Facts About Google. The facts are actually neat. Like the "Feeling Lucky" button costs Google $110 million a year to have (since it doesn't allow the Google inquiry page to come up complete with ads that are paid for by by advertisers). It also has an interesting/scary bit about the lore of the secretiveness of Google especially with no one being able to get inside their data collecting centers (aka "Googleville").

However, I thought entry #10 was pretty cool: The introduction of the googlebot, a metaphorical overlord robot that personifies Google as a robot that connects two different worlds (the internet and the individual).

And this Googlebot was painted on a mural at one of their data centers (see picture above).

Postmodernism 2.0?

If you don' understand postmodernism please visit and read the article here. Even if you think you do understand postmodernism, please visit the article. While the read may take 10-15 minutes, I highly recommend it for a good synopsis of post-modernism from an evangelical point of view. In it, the author of the article, Albert Moehler sums up and nicely criticizes this book by a Christian minister who argues for post-modernism in a Christian context. John Franke (the author of the book that is reviewed) essentially argues that
"Christian faith 'is inherently and irreducibly pluralist.' As he explains, 'The diversity of the Christian faith is not, as some approaches to church and theology might seem to suggest, a problem that needs to be overcome. Instead, this diversity is part of the divine design and intention for the Church as the image of God and the body of Christ in the world. Christian plurality is a good thing, not something that needs to be struggled against and overturned.'".....

Seems like an interesting short, our understanding of Christianity is incredibly finite and small. Christianity in it's essence is the sum of all it's parts (thank you Maya Angelou). Or to put it as Carl Jung would have it, the human conscious (or in this case Christianity) should not be deduced through the individual, but rather should be viewed through the collective unconscious of the different Christian beliefs as a whole.

Which means if Franke were to critique Apostolics it would probably look something like this, "Thank you for your inspiring view of Christianity. While you are right to maintain your beliefs in your form of a salvation formula derived from Acts 2:38. However, you must keep the bigger view of other Christian denominations and their beliefs that they think are just as true as yours as part of the bigger redeeming process of Christ" (or maybe I just put a bunch of words in his mouth)......

Which if true is really weird, because if there is one mode of salvation, then you are obligated to deduce that the other offered forms of salvation are incorrect and salvation cannot be achieved through them. In this regards post-modernism may be the absolute enemy of the absolute declarations of salvation of apostolics and similar denominations.

I myself will raise my hand and say the postmodern academic environment definitely left it's imprint on me and much of my worldview....I especially agree with this Franke quote:

"Christians committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ should not acquiesce to the cultural relativism that gives up on the notion of ultimate or transcendent truth. But we must also resist the temptation of espousing a notion of truth that makes an idol out of our own conceptions, assumptions, and desires as though they are not subject to critique."

However, Franke does not and cannot (in his dogmatic post-modern belief) resolve the fact that many differing Christian beliefs are in direct contradiction in each other, and both cannot be right. If beliefs are in contradiction, it is an either/or conclusion we must make.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Child Rapist will be Beheaded: Justice?

I'm a Mom. A pretty low-key Mom, unless you arouse my protective instinct. You don't have to be a Mom to despise the crime and cruelty of child sexual abuse and rape. Do not even those words raise up inside of you a rage against any who would perpetuate such a heinous thing?

How the Saudis Deal

Apparently the Saudi courts have the same reaction, because they have upheld a ruling to have a five-time child rapist beheaded and crucified.

I know many folks, both Christian and non, do not believe in the death penalty. My understanding of the Bible convinces me that it is justified in certain cases. What do you think?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Other Pentecostals: How they view Speaking in Tongues

This article was in my inbox this morning when I checked my email. The article talks about what the Assemblies of God is teaching about the infilling of the Holy Spirit these days. The comments at the end are somewhat disturbing.

I sometimes take for granted being raised in a family/church where receiving the Holy ghost with its accompaning evidence was taught and encouraged. I want to state for the record that this experience in God is life changing!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Newsflash: We Missed the Rapture....

I friend of mine sent me a link to an article on LarkNews which is a must-read for a good laugh. Essentially the rapture happened in 2005, but only two people had a correct enough theology to make it....very Onion-esque.

Kind of reminds me of the age old question of if a tree falls in the forest but no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apostolic Choir Electrifies Verizon Wireless Competition

My family and I attend Atlanta West Pentecostal Church in Lithia Springs, GA. For the last two years our choir has competed in the National How Sweet the Sound Best Church Choir competition sponsored by Verizon Wireless . You may well ask, "What is an Apostolic choir doing competing in something like that? Aren't we there to worship God and not just perform?" Well....yes. Can we do both? Our choir decided to try it out and see.

First, a video was sent in to the local HSTS committee and we were chosen to perform at the local Atlanta level. In 2008 the choir had no idea what to expect. Suffice it to say that they did super well and managed to secure the Best Large Choir, Best Overall Choir, and the People's Choice award. Since they won Best Overall Choir in the regionals here in Atlanta, the choir got to compete in the national competition. Here is their performance, for which they won the People's Choice award again!

Okay, fast forward to 2009. The local competition was held at Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta and was attended by over 10,000 excited, mostly Christian folk. As you know, each local church has its own culture, so we were all a little uneasy as we merged with other church-goers not of our "brand". With Hollywood type lights, celebrity judges, and cokes and popcorn, it wasn't quite Sunday morning worship service. There were to be eight choir performances, and ours was to go seventh. All the groups sang wonderfully, and there were moments of superbness as well as some genuine God worship. That is, until the choir from Atlanta West Pentecostal Church got up to sing. When they started to sing their selection, Anthem of Praise, it was as if the place was electrified by a huge heavenly lightning bolt. Every soul in the place shot to their feet with a roar of sound as the power of the annointing of the Most Heavenly God filled that arena. They absolutely killed the song, but still it was so much more than a performance! When it was over, the worship would not stop, and even the judges were dancing before the Lord. Check it out Here! The official website does not record the judge's remarks, but you can view them on youtube.

So many people who were there said that they had to check out that Pentecostal church to see what was going on. We have seen record attendance since then with a tremendous outpouring of His Spirit for the hungry. More about this later.

The choir will compete in the Nationals this year on November 7th in Detroit, MI. If you can go, go! You will not regret it!

What do you think of this choir?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Disney Offers Refunds for Baby Einstein Products

One blogger notes:

“Call it the perfect storm of parenting. Who doesn’t want to believe that there is a magical, wondrous, no-parental-guidance-required product that will turn their kids into Mensa members? The combination of our lack of time, our paranoia over our kids performance, and our faith in technology primed this generation of parents to accept the clever advertising around "Baby Einstein" as truth, just as parents before us have seized on corporal punishment, or the teachings of Dr. Spock.”

As Josh McDowell states, “Kids spell love T-I-M-E.” Either you give them your time and attention, or you don’t.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forum 2009: Communion

Professor Jared Runck let a Spirit-filled Communion Service to close out Forum 2009.

1971 vs 2009 -- in the South

I watched Remember the Titans the other day in school. It's really a movie that I enjoy, but the message it carries has never been more ironic, nor more needed.

Thirty Years Ago
The movie is set in 1971, someplace in Virginia. The black and white schools are being forcibly integrated because "it's the right thing to do", but nobody's happy about it. The town in which Remember the Titans is set is predominantly white, and the new black coach [Denzel Washington, whoop whoop!] has more than a few complaints, including bricks thrown through his window. In that movie, as in most PC movies, it's white vs black, and the Black Man is the victim and the white man his dominating foe.
These Days
That is just not the case anymore, at least in my corner of the globe. In my school, a nice big high school in Georgia, it's 75% black and "we whites" are in the minority. I mean in no way to foster hostile feelings by anyone against anyone for any reason. However, I do observe that many people in my school, who happen to be black, have their own stereotypes against whites. Black people are no longer the victims here: they are in the majority and have their say. Certainly many poor young people who are African-American look upon me with contempt and mistrust because I am white. I do not know them. I have never met them. I try to be a nice person, especially with acquaintances who don't know me.
The Background
My parents are from the North, though we lived in Arkansas for the majority of my childhood years. Arkansas, you guys! Think the good ole South.

The truth is, I didn't understand racism until I moved here to Georgia. Why? Because my parents, in the North, didn't really think about it. And the people in my small town didn't foster it. Racism was a foreign word, one vaguely recognized from our textbooks in third grade. In fact, one black friend of mine, I spent a lot of my time trying to impress, because she was in gymnastics and matter-of-fact, she was just cool. Black? It didn't mean anything to me. All the things people say, the "I Have a Dream" speech, the decrying of judging people based on their color, it came true in our town where people didn't even MENTION racism.

How do I know that? Because I was insulated from it for much of my young life.
Right Now
I simply am amazed at the continual hue and cry for "victims" in the US, regardless of who they are. You could say that everyone in America has been a victim at some point. But the truth is, from my limited and very young experience, we [my generation] are at least equal. Everything possible has been done to ensure a level playing field, at least in the academic arena. For us, it is no longer, "Can the long-standing Caucasian population grit their teeth and bear the African-American person being shown equality?" It is more, "Now that equality has been attempted multiple times, and many things have changed, can we all co-exist in peace?"

Is the Biblical word 'Fool' the modern-day equivalent of 'Racist'?

This article Should Christians Use the Word Fool? contends that the modern day meaning of fool is "someone lacking in judgment or prudence". Therefore, "Fool" is no longer the moral indictment that it once was. This author says that, today if you want to launch a vicious assault on someone's character, you should use the word 'Racist'.

the word racist is being used to maliciously assassinate people's character and reputation if they disagree with an approved (by race-hustlers) agenda. If you have been tracking the current on-going assault against Rush Limbaugh, you have witnessed a demonstration of what I am describing.

The word racist has morphed into a malicious hate-word that is being used for the same purpose that the word fool was used for in the days of Jesus: As a method of angry, hateful, personal assault on someone's character. Matthew 5:22 is not about criticism or disagreement; Matthew 5:22 is about the politics of personal destruction, the sin of attempted character assassination.

Do you agree or disagree? Check out the above, maybe a little rambling but interesting nonetheless, article.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Forum 2009: My Calling - The Arts

After Jason Sciscoe offered his dynamic general session on "Giftings vs. Callings" we broke into 4 separate electives - My Calling: The Arts, My Calling: Business, My Calling: Full-time Ministry, My Calling: Community Salt & Light so that everyone could get greater focus on their particular calling.

Here are pictures from the My Calling: The Arts session, moderated by celloist Brittney Jones (Music), Darryl Wilson (Graphic Design/Illustration), Kent d Curry (Writing).

Like Mother, Like Daughter

We've all heard the saying, (especially you, guys, who are attempting to choose your Proverbs 31 woman wisely) that women will eventually turn into their mothers. Take a look at Mama, and that's what Honey's going to look like on down the road.

This article explains how that little saying may hold some scientific weight. A study published by the American Society of Plastic surgeons "found that daughters' faces tend to follow their mothers in terms of sagging and volume loss, particularly around the corners of their eyes and lower eyelids" due to the fact that "mothers and daughters have the same skeletal and cellular make up."

Ladies, is this thrilling or chilling news?

I must brag and say that to me, the news is thrilling. My mom would kill me if I put her exact age on a blog for the World Wide Web to see, but let's say that my dear one is close to applying for membership in the Half a Century Club. People say we look alike to the point that some have mistaken us for siblings instead of a mother/daughter pair. If homegirl looks this good now, when I approach half a century, I won't have anything to worry about.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Windows 7- The Awkward Aunt in all Our Lives

Okay, you know that Aunt that you have that is just.....really really annoying? You love her and all, but she will leave voicemails 5 minutes long counting down the days until the next big family gathering complete with annoying details in her life that you don't really care about...and then when you meet her, she is just obnoxious beyond comprehension with just enough caffeine in her system to fuel a small third world country?

Okay, well maybe you don't have that annoying Aunt, but let's just imagine you do...

Well that Annoying Aunt is sort of becoming Windows 7....

If you are in a cave somewhere, let me inform you...Windows is releasing Windows 7 as an easier and better replacement of the disaster that was Windows Vista...and Windows is doing it with one of the weirdest advertising campaigns known to man....

Witness Exhibit A:

(I love how the ones at the party are trendy 20's white guy with glasses, mid 30's black guy, early 40's soccer mom, and early 60's grandma which covers almost every demographic and combined makes one of the absolute weirdest mosaic of friends ever)

But now to add to the madness,
I present to to you: Exhibit B-The Windows 7 Whopper Sandwich
Never mind that this sandwich is complete with death as it's sidekick via heart attack, and thus could never be sold in the tightly legislated United States, but let's just focus on the weirdness of the marriage of Burger King and Windows 7....Sure some may like Burger King's food, but does anyone really want Burger King as it's vehicle to advertise? I mean, if I was posting myself asin a dating profile, the last place I would want it showing up is in a Burger King complete with nauseating 7 pattied burger....

And just like the annoying Aunt, I know that one day me and Windows 7 will unite, and I will become equally as frustrated with the system as my own Aunt.

Forum 2009: Jason Sciscoe on Giftings & Callings

Bro. Jason Sciscoe dynamically delivered the Word around the theme of "Giftings vs. Callings."

Forum 2009: Behind the Scenes

Allow a few quick thoughts from the planning committee.

  • Every year you host a conference -- or, in our case, an Un-Conference -- it is supposed to be superior experience, but somewhat different from the previous years. The character of the attendees and different speakers can keep it fresh, but ultimately it's the way God chooses to move that creates the surprise.
  • We call this the Un-Conference because we shy away from the traditional big name preaching and singing/music, not because it's bad, but because there are more ways to minister at an event than through just preaching and singing.
  • Maybe you're not surprised that this can be a very hard sell in the Apostolic movement, even among supposedly forward-thinking 20somethings.
  • So this year we took some Un-Conference risks.
  • Apostolics Like Smart People! We decided to highlight the decidedly un-sexy topic of textbook creation in one session because UGST professor Jeffrey Brickle has some unprecedented opportunites (for an Apostolic) to contribute a chapter to an academic textbook entitled The Fourth Gospel and First-Century Media Culture, as well as write a textbook related to his area of expertise (Orality) for the Society of Biblical Literature, as well as contribute sound files to a future edition of the PC Study Bible. This session, which also featured Profesor David Norris, was the best attended session at that time period.
  • We also decided to follow a raucous session on "When is Music Secular?" - full of laughter, a metal music clip, and disagreeing panelists - with Communion. We even had accompanying music (a first for us) as everyone came forward to take the body and blood of Christ. Of course the Lord moved -- with men breaking into tears, and women proclaiming numerous needs being met.
  • This made for a nice bookend to Bro. Jason Sciscoe's opening general session on "Callings vs. Gifts" that turned into a move of God with most everyone worshiping or breaking down at their seats. Soon he began praying with them as they stood or kneeled. At least one attendee said her fear fled when he gave her a word from God on her future.
  • He's a grand God who ministers as we allow Him. This year's edition of the Forum made me wonder if we give Him enough different ways to reach all of us. Or if even the Un-Conference only channels God to move through certain, pre-determined formats.
  • Maybe our imaginations are too small, hidebound to our preconceptions on what a conference is supposed to be. Sometimes we have to take a risk.