Pop Culture

The End of an Era

Today I said goodbye to my faithful friend of 15 years! We shared 250,000 miles of memories along the road of life! Traveling the highways, byways and navigating through the seasons of life. I never named her. However, she was a faithful road warrior! I purchased her from Carmichael Honda just days before starting my job with DaySpring Cards back in 1997.

She was a faithful traveling companion. She traversed over 100,000 miles with me from Bakersfield to Eugene, OR and everywhere in between, while with DaySpring Cards. She kept me safe, as I was twice rear ended and once spun out on black ice in OR. In my transition from the road to vocational ministry, she transported me back and forth to seminary several days a week for over two years. She even transported some very important people in her prime, including NY Times bestselling author Henry Cloud and Dove Award Nominee and recording artist, Jason Gray.

With skyrocketing gas prices, she has been our go to car these last couple of years, offering the best miles per gallon, compared to our Dodge Durango! Even with her old age and high mileage, she was like the Energizer bunny, she just kept going and going. Despite the fender benders, and dents courtesy of Zach, I never had anything go wrong with her. And she still rolls pretty good, although she has lost a lot of her get up and go. The good news is that she’s not going to junk yard, instead she’ll be going back to Sacramento, the town she was adopted in, in order to become my nieces primary car.

So, what do you do when you had some a great experience with a Honda vehicle for 15 years? You buy another one! I think this time I will name her!

Raising An Olympian

Last night America was inspired by the finesse and joy of Gabby Douglas’ performance that earned her the women’s all-around gymnastics gold medal! It was a moment of glory! However, that moment, wasn’t realized without a lot of sacrifice on Gabby’s part. “I just want people to know it took a lot,” she said. “It took a lot of hard days in the gym and determination, passion and drive. Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood and tears, and effort in the gym every day.”

After taking gold, Gabby declared on national television, ‎”I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him & all the blessings fall down on me.”

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, if you take the letters in her last name, they spell out USA GOLD! Way to represent Gabby! You made your nation proud.

Christian Athleticism & The Olympics

If you are like most American’s right now, you’re probably a little sleep deprived from watching the Olympic coverage! With so many televised options, you can literally watch Olympic coverage 24-hours a day! It’s amazing to see these athletes, some of whom are just teenagers, perform at the highest level of competition! When I was 17, I sure wasn’t preparing to fly to London! I was just hoping that I didn’t wreck my 1967 Volkswagen Bug!

What I’m struck by is the sheer amount of perseverance and dedication these Olympic athletes possess. Countless hours of practice, a myriad of sacrifices and an incredible amount of strength & grit got them to the London games. While they make it look easy, they put in years of hard work, for a single event that will, at best, last for only a few minutes!

The games teach us the value of self-control, discipline, training and adherence to principle. And these athletes make us shake our heads in disbelief at the strength, skill and determination of which human beings are capable.

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul writes, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (NLT). In considering this verse, I believe that the Apostle Paul knew and understood something that many of us contemporary Christians miss: Success in the Christian life requires training, conditioning and focused effort. There is a spiritual athleticism required. Learning to trust God and live the Christian life requires training, just like gymnastics and swimming.

Watching the Olympics has once again inspired me to give my all for Jesus! After all, lazy Christians, like lazy athletes, don’t win. What’s more, they don’t even have much fun!

A Grace Filled Response

In reading the headlines and social media threads over the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A founder Dan Cathy’s comments, I was reminded of Bill Hybels loving and grace filled response to Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, who under pressure from a gay advocacy group, canceled his appearance at the Leadership Summit, just a few days before the event.

I encourage you to listen to Bill’s response, made in front of a global audience at last years Summit, for I believe his wise words can speak to the issues of our day and give us some great ideas on how we can lovingly respond…

Peter Pan

Last night was truly remarkable! We got to see Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby take flight as Peter Pan in an all new production at the La Mirada Performing Arts Theater. Prior to the show, we even got to meet Cathy and snap a few photos with her.

This was Zach’s first Broadway show, and I don’t think we adequately prepared him or ourselves for what we were going to experience. It was truly amazing to see Cathy, who is almost 60 years old, take flight and prance around the stage with her awe-inspiring aerial feats. Cathy was just so much fun to watch and brought such enthusiasm and heart to this show. And it was super fun to watch Zach’s eyes light up, as together we experienced Peter Pan for the first time. We didn’t want the evening to end.

Below is a clip from Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan that has the same staging and costume from last night’s show! There are still some tickets for this weekend’s show and then they are off to the Fox Theater in Riverside and after that they’ll play the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. I highly recommend going to experience the wonder and excitement of Peter Pan!

1980’s Film Alphabet

As a small group champion, I am always looking for fun ways to connect people and help break the ice. I recently stumbled upon some fun guessing games from graphic design artist Stephen Wildish, who has come up with some awesome minimalist alphabet posters featuring classic movies from the 80’s, 90’s and other film genres.

If your small group is looking to have some fun, print up this poster and divide your group into teams and see how many answers they can come up within a few minutes.

In the meantime, how many 80’s movies can you name from the poster above? Check to see if you’re right using the answer key provided after the break. Don’t peak!

Summer 2012 Movie Picks

Today was officially the last day of school for my son Zach. I don’t know if it’s the June gloom or the cast on his leg that has put a glitch in our summer plans, but I’m having a hard time embracing the fact that summer has arrived. But it’s here, whether I’m ready or not and I was reminded of that, as we spent the afternoon at Downtown Disney and saw that a years worth of construction all finished up. Especially on the new entrance to California Adventure, CarsLand as well as at the Lego store.

There’s another industry that always seems to gear up for the summer and release a slew of summer flicks that they hope will become the blockbuster movie of the summer. So in anticipation of the summer movie releases, here are some of the films I’m looking forward to the most, in order of their release dates…

1. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (June 8, 2012) – Just watched Madagascar 1 & 2 with Zach so we’re ready for this new adventure as Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. This time the road takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent Madagascar style!

2. Brave (June 22, 2012) – Always love what Pixar brings to the screen! In this film, Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin, surly Lord Macintosh and cantankerous Lord Dingwall. Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3, 2012) – It’s a super hero summer so it wouldn’t be complete without the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XayxMPrUP4

4. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20, 2012) – The last movie was great and this release happens to be the one I’m most looking forward to seeing this summer! In this movie, which is set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Batman faces challenges from the brutal Bane and the stealthy Catwoman.

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (August 3, 2012) – I’ve loved watching this series with Zach, who has really enjoyed reading the books as well. Based on the third and fourth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Last Straw and Dog Days. School is out and Greg is ready for the days of summer, when all his plans go wrong. What on earth is he going to do all summer?

Yea, it’s going to be a super heroes sort of summer! What are you looking forward to seeing most?

The Millennial Teenager

A few months ago, I posted an image from the people at MBAOnline showing what literally happens in a 24 hour life cycle on the internet. It was one of my most popular posts and generated some fun comments. Well the folks of OnlineSchools.com have taken the idea a step further and narrowed down the field to show us what life looks like technologically for the Millennial Teenager, who literally has no awareness of what life was like before cell phones and the internet.

What’s interesting to me are the stats at the end of this image that show the significant differences between heavy and light media users in their overall satisfaction and performance in life. What’s your take? And as a parent how do you monitor the numbers of hours your teen is connected to technology?

The Painter of Light

Known as the Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade, spent his life painting landscapes, cottages and churches inspired by his boyhood town of Placerville, CA. He died yesterday at the age of 54 of natural causes. Born at Sacramento’s Mercy Hospital in 1958, Tom moved to Placerville as a young boy. It was in this quaint town of Placerville that his art empire was born after he was commissioned to create a work for the Placerville Library. He came up with a rainy-day painting reflecting the Mother Lode town as he envisioned it looked in 1916. A few years later, a Placerville gift shop began carrying his works. By 1990, that gift shop became the first Thomas Kinkade Gallery.

In another season of my life, I had the privilege of working with the Media Arts Group and selling Thomas Kinkade gifts and stationary as well as the infamous Thomas Kinkade calendar into Christian Bookstores. As a broker for Amcal Arts, I literally had the first hand experience of watching Tom’s artwork gain popularity and spread to a national audience. As Tom’s notoriety increased, my purchase orders for Tom’s gifts and calendars also exponentially increased. In fact for several years, I was the top inspirational salesperson for Amcal, and actually took some of the proceeds of my bonus from the company in 1995 to purchase my first Thomas Kinkade painting, which still hangs on the wall of our living room.

While his sentimental paintings, with their scenes of country gardens and churches in dewy morning light, were widely popular by the general public, they were disdained by the art establishment. And while I’m no art expert, I think some of the downfall of Tom’s popularity with the critics and with the decline of his artwork’s popularity was due to the over-saturation of his work on the market. I have to admit, even I got embarrassed with the over abundance of his art on the trinkets and knick knacks they adorned as I sat with buyers across Northern California.

Regardless of what the critics thought, Thomas Kinkade truly brought light and inspiration to our world and the impact of his contributions will be felt for generations to come.

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