Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Stupidity

Being in public health, I have an interest in infectious diseases. I love medical thrillers, books like "The Hot Zone" and others that profile scientists that fight the worst of the worst. I imagine the scientists who work on viruses like Ebola, hantavirus and the like have to be so frustrated at the stupidity surrounding swine flu. True it seems to be attacking previously healthy younger people but the overwhelming majority GET WELL.

The all-out hysteria surrounding swine flu would be comical if it weren't so sad. We seem to have become a nation of dorks who can't think for themselves. Come on people, it's swine flu not the plague. If you feel bad, stay home and take care of yourself. Use common freakin' sense and cover your mouth when you cough, throw away your used tissues, and wash your hands. I didn't need a CDC public service announcement to know that, my momma taught me that.

Around here, the powers that be are closing schools, cancelling outdoor athletic events and the like. I can understand closing A school where a confirmed case is for a day (maybe two) to come in and sanitize but to close entire systems is overkill. What do those parents who rely on schools and daycares do? Skip work? Sure, that'll help the economy.

What about all the diseases that contribute to the 30,000 deaths of children under 2that occurred TODAY??? Where's the hysteria for those?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Different Strokes for Different Folks

It's been a long two days in my world. I went to Montgomery last night for visitation for my friend Lisa's mom. My friend Jane drove (thanks so much Jane). Visitation was very nice if you can say that about a visitation. There were a number of people there from Birmingham to support Lisa so that was good. She is handling the whole situation so amazingly well.

I drove down today for the funeral. I know Lisa was glad to have the support. The first part was really neat, hearing stories about Lisa's mom. She sounds like a lady I would like to have known. From the stories the pastor told, she had a great sense of humor and loved her family. After his stories, Lisa read Psalm 116. That Psalm had lots of history for Lisa and she managed to read it without tearing up at all.

After the Scripture reading, the pastor presented his sermon. That's when it got a little weird. He got into pre and post-millenial theology and then talked about the sacraments of salvation. I was kind of shocked that his message got that deep and off topic. I'm not even getting into the theological inaccuracies. I'm going on record right now that when my time comes, I want the Gospel presented in clear and uncompromising language and leave out the 23rd Psalm. It's not my favorite by any stretch and is horribly cliche. But, it might have been a favorite of Mrs. Coker, I don't know.

I did get to hear a hymn I haven't heard in a long time. The singer sang "Because He Lives." It's been one of my favorites since I was little. It is a great hymn and full of such simple truths. Everything we have is because He lives. We can face all of life's uncertainties because He lives. Such a simple yet profound statement.

I'm glad I went down and supported Lisa. I know she appreciated it and was shocked last night when I told her I was coming back for the funeral. I told her that doing life was what a discipling relationship was about. The good and the bad. We've had the good and now we had to deal with the bad. We'll have more to deal with in the weeks and months to come and that's what life is about. I'm thankful God put Lisa in my life and we have developed such a neat relationship.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Third Day Concert

First off I have to say a special Thank You! to my mom. This ticket tonight was part of my birthday present back in January. I have been looking forward to this concert since they announced the tickets on Jan. 11th. It definitely lived up to the expectations! I will post pictures once I get back to my computer.

Revive opened for Brandon Heath who opened for Third Day. They are a new Aussie band that Third Day discovered while they were on tour Down Under. Their lead singer is hot! Too bad he's married. :-) They have a great rock sound and some amazing guitar numbers. They will get real big real quick. Their story is pretty neat too. They stepped out on faith and sold almost everything they owned and moved to the US. They state that their band is God's and they are doing what He commands.

Brandon Heath was Brandon Heath. He's a cutie too and he's single. :-) I love listening to that guy sing. His lyrics are just amazing. So simple yet so profound. I was able to make a recording of "Give Me Your Eyes" on my Blackberry and as soon as I figure out how to get it out of my Blackberry, I'll post it. I can't wait to see how God is going to use Brandon and his lyrics to touch lives.

After an intermission, Third Day came on. They truly know how to put on a show. I can't even remember all the songs they did. They started with some of their older stuff and sprinkled in new songs. In the middle of their set, Mac walked off stage and then reappeared in the middle of the worship room where the concert was held. The rest of the band joined him and they did their request portion from the middle of the room. Really cool!! The eventually "closed" with Revelation. I put closed in quotes because they did four songs as encores. They closed the show with Creed (which I recorded). I love Creed and I love that they still do this song as a tribute to the late great Rich Mullins (man, I miss that guy!).

All in all, it was a WONDERFUL night of "getting my praise on." It is always so neat to see a room full of people praising God together. This is two Friday nights in a row I've been with over 1,500 Christians who are unashamed of their faith and want to be together to praise Him!

Thanks again mom!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I am home from a wonderful Easter celebration at Brook Hills. I got my praise on (to quote a friend) a couple of times and heard David's message of the Gospel. As usual, his message was powerful and laid the Gospel out in clear and convincing fashion. Between Friday at Secret Church and today's message, people heard the Gospel. It is my prayer that hearts were opened and responded to make a decision to make Christ Lord and Savior and see their lives transformed.

I also have to take a moment to thank our volunteers. My ministry area has the most awesome volunteers at Brook Hills. We moved over 6800 people in and out of our campus today with very few issues. It took a while to get into the parking lot but our parking team worked with everyone and there were no crashes or major issues. Without our volunteers, our visitors and members would not have had such a wonderful experience. Thank you doesn't seem like enough.

I do plan to enjoy my day off tomorrow. Sleep in and then have lunch with an long-time family friend who has just moved to Bham. After lunch, I'll spend some time with my dissertation research. Perfect plan for a day off.

As we move past Easter, remember the tomb is empty and the throne is occupied!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I have such a heavy feeling tonight for a friend of mine. I got a text message at 2:30 this morning that I somehow slept through and then a phone call this morning a little after 7. My friend Lisa's mother is critically ill in Montgomery and the situation is somewhat bleak. Right here at Easter, this terrible illness called cancer rears up again and complicates life. Lisa is such a wonderful Christ-follower and I am honored to be discipling her. She is comfortable with what God's sovereign will is and I admire her for that. I'm not 100% sure I'd be so comfortable.

I'm a fixer, I admit that freely. I chalk it up to having both the gifts of mercy and exhortation. That's a "dangerous" combo when friends are hurting. I feel so burdened because with her mom in Montgomery, I can't BE there to love on her. Phone calls and text messages seem so impersonal but I know she doesn't see them that way. Prayer is the most important thing I can do, both for Lisa and her family and I know it is important but it still leaves me feeling like I'm not doing enough.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

We had an amazing worship gathering tonight at the Brook. Before tonight, I had never had the opportunity to participate in a Palm Sunday service. I think pieces of David's sermon were written especially for me. He is such a communicator of God's Word and the strength of today's message was huge. I'm not even sure I can completely do it justice. Just the reminder that the God of the universe gave His Son for my sins and that Jesus can handle any worry, problem, grief, issue etc. that I can throw just blows my mind. In this huge season of uncertainty for me, I know where my assurance lies. Talk about a peaceful thought.

As for the palms, our worship staff ordered thousands of palm branches and we had a time of contemplative prayer and then were asked to get a palm branch of our own. Once everyone had their palm, we sang Chris Tomlin's "Glory in the Highest" and then another one who's name escapes me. We also had a responsive reading from Psalm 118. It was so cool to see people worshipping and praising with palm branches lifted high. It was a small glimpse of what it must have been like 2,000 years ago when Jesus entered the city. Such a cool time of worship!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Had a good day today; busy but good. Got some more stuff done on my data analysis so my good experiences from yesterday are holding. It's nice to have stuff working and my committee member who helps me on my stats said my program looked good.

I am frustrated with the federal government (surprise, surprise). I'm still waiting on word about my extension and they don't seem to give a rip that this is THEIR screw-up, not mine. Now they are claiming they have to examine and approve any incentives over $1000. Um, that's the old budget, not the new one. Stupid government bueurocrats!

And, while the IRS found a mistake in my taxes (in my favor), my sister is fighting silliness with the IRS. This would all go away if we would do the smart thing and institute the Fair Tax. If everyone who is sending red envelopes to the White House protesting abortion would get behind the Fair Tax and would send tea bags to Congress, we might could get somewhere.