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One man’s life changed the course of history for billions of people across the globe. He is both revered and reviled, famed and feared and you know who he is without a single mention of his name. His name is Jesus! Do you know Him?

Let’s Show Some Respect

cell-phoneCall me the Police of Mobility if you want, but I’ve had enough and I’m beginning to be a big proponent of cell phone etiquette. Yes, I’m guilty of breaking some of these over the years. However, after some recent experiences, I have to say it’s time we really consider how we use our cell phones and realize they are a tool of communication that were never meant to enslave us. So when using your mobile device, please consider these…

8 Ways to Respect Others When Using Your Cell Phone…

1. Let the call go to voice mail! Unless someone is dying, is your call really more important than the person you are talking with? If the call is really that important, they’ll leave a message and you can call them back in a few minutes. Your first priority should be to the person you are with. If you do take a call, be respectful and ask permission of the people with you.

2. Keep your conversations private! Nobody else wants to hear about your private problems and conflicts, so pay attention to the surrounding audience. Go outside to take a call. Create some space between you and others. Find some privacy. If you can’t find a more private situation, use your text or email function to relay messages.

3. Speak softly. You do not have to yell to be heard. Mobile phones are designed for conversation at normal volume levels. Talk as you would talk to other people or on a land line phone. The person you are talking to even has a volume button on his or her phone. You can keep your voice low and discreet by directing your face down and slightly into your chest. If you are not sure if you are too loud, watch the reaction of people near you.

4. Avoid loud and obnoxious ring tones. This is for the lady in the elevator whose cell phone ring tone almost sent me through the roof. Do you really need to have a psycho scream or a police siren to let you know someone’s trying to reach you? Also, keep the ring tone at a reasonable volume, so as not to startle people.

5. Obey cell phone rules. Where there are rules about switching mobile phones off, please obey them. In hospitals and in airplanes, the signals can interfere with equipment. Or so they say. Place your phone in the silent mode or vibrate at church, in libraries, restaurants as well as theaters. And please use hands free Bluetooth devices when driving on the road.

6. Don’t try multi-tasking. Multi-tasking isn’t cool and you really can’t do it properly and safely anyway. Pay attention to what you are doing as multi-tasking can be hazardous, rude and inefficient. The person you are talking to deserves your full attention. So put the phone down, turn off your phone, call back later and concentrate on what you are doing. Your phone conversation can wait, and in doing so you will not inconvenience those around you.

7. Consider your surroundings. Seriously, must you really talk on the phone while in the loo? Especially a public restroom? Not only is this totally inappropriate, it’s an outright invasion of privacy. Be considerate of others who want a little privacy while doing their business.

8. Be present. Don’t prioritize your phone over the people you are with. When we first got Web browsing on our phones, it was fun to answer all questions that emerged during conversation by launching a Google search. The novelty has worn off, and it’s now considered rude. Enjoy the company of those you’re with and let them know they’re more important than your phone or Facebook comments.

Head Scratching CCM Moment

PFR-12-in-2012-Opening-Concert-211If you know me, you know I am huge fan of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM)! I have been listening to the CCM genre since 1980 and have a huge library of discs that span the decades. In addition, I was a disc-jockey at KGFT FM in Santa Barbara during college, so I have some pretty rare 45’s and songs. However, in all my years listening to CCM, I have never heard this song from PFR, nor have I seen the video, until yesterday.

The song is so ridiculous and the video so funny, I just had to share. The first two minutes of the song are essentially a sweet music video version of Marley & Me. The bands sings a sentimental ode to a beloved golden retriever named Goldie, as viewers watch clips from home video of the friendly pooch playing fetch, running with the family and frolicking on the beach. Then, jarringly, at the 2:13 mark things take a dark turn as the band sings the bridge, informing the listener that Goldie may have in fact met an untimely demise, and something far more sinister is afoot: We are confident that this incident / Was not an accident / As per our investigation.

Well, what the heck happened to Goldie? Are they suggesting Goldie was murdered?! Disturbingly, there is a brief shot at 3:05 that appears to show the band members digging a shallow grave for Goldie! The video then mysteriously returns to its solemn tone as if nothing weird just happened. The world may never know what truly transpired on Goldie’s last day.

I can’t believe that this song ever got published. Let alone, that there was a video made for it.

Love Builds Up

tumblr_m98r37c2F01qdxd12o1_500We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. – 1 Corinthians 8:1-2, NIV

As Christians, we might be well qualified to give the right doctrinally correct response in any given circumstance, but as Paul tells us, our response needs to be done in love. Do we genuinely care about the person we are giving advice to? Or are we only interested in how wise and clever our advice sounds? Paul tells us knowledge alone puffs us up and makes us proud. If we genuinely want to help someone, we need to do it in love.

Rick Warren often quoted as saying, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” One of the best ways we show we care is by listening. Mostly people can work out for themselves what they should or shouldn’t do. What people really need is a sounding board so they can talk through the issues with someone who is prepared to listen objectively and then allow the person to come to their own conclusions.

The Amplified Bible puts it like this: “Yet mere knowledge causes people to be puffed up…, but love…edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to full stature]. If we respond with love, not information, we encourage others to grow into their full potential.”

Best Commercials of Super Bowl XLVII

NFL_SB47_Primary_National_Feb_Year_RGBSince last year’s Super Bowl commercials were a little anti-climatic for me, I purposed this year not to watch any commercials in advance of the game. And that made a world of difference in my overall SuperBowl experience!  However, in hosting a Super Bowl party this year, I didn’t catch every commercial, and I have to admit that I wasn’t impressed with many of the commercials I saw in the first half of the game. But in the second half, the commercials came alive or maybe it’s the fact that the 49ers finally came alive, that changed my interest in the game and the commercials.

What was interesting to watch this year, was a lot of advertisers decided to tug on our heart-strings with ads that celebrated the America’s patriotic spirit and the people who make this nation great. Personally, I was encouraged by this sense of pride and patriotism that I saw reflected in these ads. However, on the flip side, I was disgusted by advertisers like GoDaddy and Carl’s Jr, who continue to demean men and women as sex objects in their ads. Yet overall, I was happy with the sense of family values reflected in this year’s line up.

So in review of this year’s Super Bowl ads, here are my picks for the best of Super Bowl XLVII:

Best Overall: Dodge Ram Commercial

Funniest: Tide Commercial

Most Entertaining: Pistachio Commercial

Top Posts of 2012

Best of 2012Hard to believe that it’s almost been a full year since I posted my first entry on this blog! So in following the mainstream media, I thought it would be fun to do a recap of the top posts of 2012. These are based on the number of hits as calculated by Google Analytics. Each post’s title is hyper-linked to the actual post if you want to check it out…

1. People Grow Better in Grace – Not sure what it’s been about this post, but I’ve had 4,731 hits on this article since I published it! Referred by search engines, I often get a few hits a day. Such a simple subject, but it’s not so easy to understand the concept of grace in today’s world. The goal of this post was to help others understand that because of God’s grace, one can enjoy favor with God, not because of what they have done, but because of what God has done.

2. A New Adventure – I sat on this big announcement for 10 days before going public with the news of our move back to Northern California! However, even with this very public announcement, which was shared in church, and through social media like Facebook and Twitter, people are still just hearing the news of our move back to Sacramento.

3. Do Not Be Afraid – We’re reminded in Scripture 365 times to fear not! That’s one exhortation a day for an entire year.  It seems that God knew we needed to be reminded to have faith, for by nature, we’re fearful people. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown consume us and prevent us from living lives of freedom in Christ. This very simple entry reminds us all, that God is with us!

4. Celebrating 19 Years of Marriage – I wrote this post as a way of recalling the wonderful moments of 19 years of marriage to my wife Jennifer! Even one of my missionary friends paid me a complement, by copying the idea in a prayer letter to his supporters, in celebration of he and his wife’s 19th wedding anniversary.

5. Bible Apps – Nothing really profound here. Just a recap of some of the free resources for on the go Bible reading.

So there you go! The top 5, which broken down can be summarized by three posts about spiritual matters, and two entries of a personal nature. And here’s the funny thing! I don’t think any of these entries would necessarily be in my personal Top 5 list. In fact, some of my favorites, are the least read articles. Oh well! No matter what the stats say, blogging this past year, has been therapeutic for me and for that I am grateful!

The Best of Orange County

The Orange County Register published it’s 19th Annual Best of Orange County today. However, in a world of chain restaurants and shopping outlets, the results were very disappointing, as the popular vote favored places like Taco Bell! Seriously…who votes for Taco Bell to be one of Orange County’s Best Tacos or Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour as the Best Restaurant in Orange County? Yes, I love Farrell’s! I worked there back in high-school. And I get why it wins for Best Ice Cream, but come on readers Best Restaurant? Certainly, we can do better than that! So, here’s my own list of the Best of Orange County, based on some of categories in today’s newspaper…

Best Bowling Alley: 300 Anaheim

Best Family Attraction: Disneyland Resort

Best Grocery Store: Trader Joe’s

Best Organic Food Selection: Sprouts

Best Beach: Crystal Cove State Park

Best BBQ: Beachwood BBQ

Best Breakfast: Crema Cafe

Best Fast Food: In-N-Out Burger

Best Chinese: Fortune Cookie

Best Cupcake: Sprinkles

Best Ice Cream: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour

Best Frozen Yogurt: Yogurtland

Best Hot Dog: Portillo’s

Best Mexican: El Torito Grill

Best Steakhouse: Park Ave

Best Italian: il Garage

Best Seafood: Original Fish Company

So what are some of your Orange County favorites?

Disneyland Tips

As Northern California transplants, Jennifer and I have enjoyed hosting our friends and family in Southern California while they visit Disneyland, colleges, the beach or whatever. And being that we live just 8 miles away from the Happiest Place on Earth, we often get asked lots of questions about discount deals to dining preferences. So having just recently visited, I thought I would share some of my tips to make your visit to Disneyland even more enjoyable.

Best Practices: With the opening of Carsland, it’s best to visit California Adventure first and secure your FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers, the best ride in the resort! The FASTPASS line cues up around the Carthay Circle Restaurant. In addition, you can secure a FASTPASS for the World of Color near the Grizzly River Run. Once you secure both, head over to Disneyland or visit other parts of the park, as everyone is heading to Carsland first. In fact, I think Carsland is best experienced at night, when everything is all lit up! Remember, your FASTPASS is good for anytime that day, as long as it’s after your designated start time. I am also told, although I have never tested it out, that the FASTPASS rules applies to each park separately. So, if your plans take you to Disneyland first and then over to California Adventure, you’ll be able to get a second FASTPASS ticket there.

Affordable Dining Options: There are lots of places to grab a burger throughout the park, but if you’re in the mood for something more, we recommend Rancho del Zocalo in Adventureland. Entrees include citrus fire-grilled chicken, 4 cheese enchiladas, soft tacos, burritos and even a tostada salad. In addition, there is a fresh water fountain that you can use to refill your water bottles! We also enjoy dining in Cafe Orleans, where we often share a Monte Cristo sandwich and garlic fries. Also new to Carsland, is Flo’s V8 Cafe, which is good if you enjoy comfort food.

Fine Dining Options: It’s best to make reservations in advance through Disney Dining. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance at (714) 781-DINE. Some of our favorite dining options include the Blue Bayou, Napa Rose in the Grand Californian, and Wine Country Trattoria. To save money, we recommend going to the Blue Bayou for lunch. In addition, there is full-service prix fixe dinner options at Wine Country Trattoria that include tickets to a reserved viewing section of the World of Color! Overall, the best value for the money, is the Wine Country Trattoria!

Other Notable Food/Snack Options: An Ice Cream Sundae at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop in California Adventure; Mickey-shaped Beignets at Cafe Orleans; and the Churro Bites in Carsland are the best we’ve ever tasted!

I would love to hear your tips and favorites as well, so take a minute to post some below…

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