Thursday, October 09, 2008

Southern Gospel Zogby

For all of you Southern Gospel fans out there debating whether songs were better or worse 25 years ago, listen up. My friend Daniel Mount from Southern Gospel Blog has put together a poll comparing the August, 1983 Top 40 chart with the August, 2003 Top 40 chart. He explains it in more detail on his blog. Let your voice be heard.

Maybe we need to do this with hymns vs. worship choruses. Oops! Sorry! The deluge of hate mail is starting to overwhelm my inbox.


By the way, Carrie, this is the 5th post in two days. Take note.

Soccer Dad

Trey and Kassady are playing soccer again this fall. Trey has been begging to play football, but due to the fact that he's actually really good at soccer and had the chance to stay with the same teammates for a third season, I kind of manipulated him into deciding to stick with soccer one more year. He thinks it was his decision. Yeah, I know...awful parent. Get over it! He did tell me last week that he's enjoying soccer but he's definitely playing football next fall. So, there we go. He's the horse on his team. A scoring machine. They lost the first game of the season, but have pretty much dominated since then. Kassady is having fun in her league, though I've noticed her enjoyment comes in knocking boys to the ground. She's my little bundle of dynamite. DO NOT CROSS HER!!! That aggressive personality that never surfaced on the playing field last year has emerged in full force. Actually, she's just one of the boys. They love her. I'm blessed...2 great kids who enjoy sports!

Also, our stunning Canon digital camera is currently being repaired...for the second time. Hence, the lack of pictures. I thought about drawing something, but decided against it. I'm only good at profiles...Picasso-style.

Peace, peace, fina-a-a-ncial peace...

Lori and I have enrolled in Financial Peace University with professor and financial guru Dave Ramsey. I've been a fan of his books and radio show for the last couple of years, and in fact used his "Total Money Makeover" to help get our finances in order. It's a fantastic program, but, I'm telling you FPU takes this to a whole new level. First of all, Dave is a fantastic communicator who keeps the class moving. When you couple that with the fact that he's offering practical solutions that you can use NOW, it creates a passion for doing the right thing. Thanks to Marc and Talisha for offering the class at their home. Marc is the FPU moderator at Boise First and they have been using the program for 2-3 years themselves, so being able to hear how God has used the program in their lives is pretty awesome. Being able to share openly and candidly with friends about the realities of who and where you are is huge. I've found out that if there's one area that people tend to gloss over and try to paint this bright and rosy picture, it's finances. Our egos must be tied to our money. Admitting that we don't have it all together when it comes to money apparently makes us feel like losers, so we fake our way through life, no plan, nothing concrete, continually losing the financial battle just because we can't be honest that we have a problem. I've made up my mind I'm not going to live my life like that. Lori and I have credit card debt that is going to be gone (GONE!) by the end of next year. The facade is crumbling, the charades game is over. If that's where you are, get over your pride and put a plan together. I do highly recommend Financial Peace University. Instead of working with a icepick to knock down this mountain of debt, they give you tools, a jackhammer if you will, to get the job done. Have any of you guys gone through the program? What was your impression? How did it help you?

Ironically, Pastor Dave just started a series on money "Financial Peace for Troubled Times" at Grace. He had told me several months ago to start working on some promo material for the October series, but he had no clue about the financial crisis that would perfect set up the series. You'll have to listen in as they upload the sermons (not quite sure why Sunday's sermon isn't on there). Dynamic material!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Redeeming the Time

We have made the decision at the Waggoner household to get rid of TV (read: cable). It's not that we've had trouble controlling what we're watching, it actually comes down to a growing realization that we waste way too much time watching TV. Many times we watch good (even great) programming. I mean, really, what beats ESPN Gameday or The O'Reilly Factor? But, getting back to my earlier point about zeroing in on what's best as opposed to what is simply good, I'm convinced that this is the direction that my family needs to go for the present time. Does that mean that I will never get cable again? No. I'm just doing what's best for our family right now. And, besides, I'm having trouble justifying paying for cable when we only watch about 11 channels. So, we'll see what happens. I survived without watching TV as a kid and I'm pretty sure my kids will make it, too. I am going to miss Fox News, though.

Lately, I've been reading quite a bit. Here are my current reads:

Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent is the memoir of Fred Burton, one of the founding agents of the Counterterrorism Division of the Diplomatic Security Service (an arm of the Department of State). This is a fascinating look into the dark world of terrorism and the personal sacrifices of the men and women who do their best to keep it from striking our country. Burton was part of some of the biggest terrorism investigations during the 1980s and early 90s. I had no clue how close we were to a nuclear meltdown after the Pakistani President Zia was assassinated. Great reading!

I have enjoyed getting acquainted with John Ortberg through his books. Ortberg, who pastors Menlo Park Presbyterian (one of Liberty Quartet's favorite California stops thanks to Senior Adult's Pastor Frank VanderZwan), has an engaging writing style that makes that reader feel as though the two are having a personal conversation. Full of personal anecdotes, many humorous, When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box drives home the point that the "stuff of earth" falls short of the importance of that which is eternal. When your life is over, what will have counted most? Ortberg proposes that the object of life (as Jesus said) is "to be rich toward God". At the end of our lives the only thing left is love. "Every human being you see if cleverly disguised receptacle of eternity. You can take the love with you." Another interesting contrast is God's scorekeeping (Phil. 2:5-7) vs. ours (comparing, competing, and climbing). I'm still reading the book, so I'm sure there's quite a bit yet to discover.

This is a great book for anyone who interacts with a customer, whether it be in business or ministry. In our increasingly connected world of blogs, websites, and mass email, the consumer now holds an unprecedented power over the perception of a business or church. Full of case studies and helpful critique and advice, this book will heighten our awareness of interacting in today's Internet-driven age. When a problem arises, there's only one way to respond: "by creating 100% credibility with consumers on every front". The six credibility drivers proposed by Blackshaw are trust, authenticity, transparency, active listening, responsiveness, and positive affirmation. Fantastic book!

OK, you're up-to-date with my life for now. Now, off to a Liberty concert.

Nose hairs and blogging

During the last few days/weeks, thinking about blogging has been as painful as pulling out nose hairs. How's that for a hook? No, seriously. I have found myself increasingly consumed with good things to do. I probably should look at evaluating what things are good and what things are best (so advises Will Mancini in one of my favorite books Church Unique. You can waste some serious time in doing good things, while not giving the best things the time and energy they deserve. So, I've been trying to figure out if blogging is one of those best things. I've come to the conclusion that it's worthwhile, if for nothing else than giving me space to vent, praise, feature, and link my various passions and happenings. So, perhaps I'm a little self-indulgent, but so be it. Isn't that the point of a personal blog, anyway? It also keeps me writing creatively...well, most of the time anyway.

So, I've decided to quit pulling out the nose hairs by hand and switch over to one of those little trimmers that have become an increasingly important part of my daily routine. Which, when plugged into my shabby little analogy, means I'll be blogging on.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Couric Mocking Palin

Nothing like objective journalism...