Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Random Thought Thursday: July 16, 2015

President Obama is being treated unfairly by the news media.

obama-press-conference-deal-cuts
Ok.  Now that I’ve got your attention, let me explain why I feel the need to defend the president.  I watched his press conference yesterday on the nuclear agreement he and other countries signed with Iran.  He made a good case for why he agreed to it, and his critics are making a good case why he shouldn’t have.  I have my opinions about this, but that’s not the point of this post.

In addition to being concerned about a rouge nation like Iran having a nuclear weapon, I’m very concerned about the 4 Americans being held as prisoners there, especially American Pastor Saaed Abedini who is being held because of his Christian faith.  So, I watched the news conference, and sure enough, a question about the 4 prisoners was brought up to the president…and this is when things got ugly.

CBS News’ Unfair Question

During the conference, CBS News’ Major Garrett asked the president this question: “Can you tell the country sir why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscious of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

It was apparent that the president was annoyed by the question – not just about the words – but about the tone of the reporter’s question.  And I was too.  To insinuate that the president is “content” with these 4 prisoners being in Iran is unfair.  He is not, and his composed response was a far calmer response than I would have given.

The president responded, “I’ve got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I’m content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails, Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better.” Then Obama reminded everyone at the conference and viewers that he has met with families of some of the Americans held in Iranian custody, and that his administration is “working diligently to try to get them out.”

Obama explained why tying the release of the Americans to the nuclear deal would not have been an ideal plan, and it made sense to me.  He said, “Nobody’s content. And our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try and get them out. Now, if the question is ‘why we did not tie the [nuclear] negotiations to their release, think about the logic that that creates. Suddenly Iran realizes, ‘you know what, maybe we can get additional concessions out of the Americans by holding these individuals.'”

Even Pastor Saaed’s Wife Agrees

Naghmeh Abedini House Foreign Affairs Committee FduZZ9VHlYRl
In an interview by Leonardo Blair of the Christian Post,  Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saaed’s wife, said that she supported the president’s decision saying it “makes sense” and that she knew all along that her husband’s release would not have been a part of the deal and she also made it clear that she never asked that her husband’s release be a part of the nuclear deal.

She said, “I’ve never asked for Saeed to be part of the deal but I’ve hoped that on the sidelines that his release would have been secured as we still have some leverage with the Iranian government and that has been my hope that his release would have been secured even on the sidelines.”

Fox News Not So Fair and Balanced

Despite the president’s explanation and Naghmeh Abedini’s words, Fox News published an opinion piece by Jay Sekulow entitled: Iran deal: Obama leaves Pastor Saeed, Other Americans Behind.  In it he writes, “The worst case scenario has happened. The Obama administration has signed a deal with Iran – a deal that failed to secure the freedom of American Pastor Saeed Abedini and other Americans who remain imprisoned in Iran. It is unconscionable that the United States would ink a deal and leave Americans behind. But that’s exactly what has occurred.”

Really?  He’s leaving them behind? That’s nonsense.

At the press conference yesterday, Obama said, “That’s why those issues (the prisoners and the nuclear deal) are not connected, but we are working every single day to try and get them out and won’t stop until they are out and rejoined with their families.”

Naghmeh Abedini confirmed this.  She said, “I know they (U.S. diplomats) have also been talking to the Iranian government on the sidelines. Again, it does make sense that he was not part of the deal but I was hoping on the sidelines as they were reaching a deal they were also securing the release of Saeed and the other Americans. But his explanation does make sense. I’ve never wanted my husband to be part of having to give up something, our government and the rest of the world, for their release. And I didn’t want that to be used as part of the deal.”

Why does this bother me?

I’m not a huge fan of the president – nor have a been a huge fan of any president for that matter.  Politics are messy, and truth is hard to find within politics.  There’s so much gridlock and posturing that I’m pretty skeptical and cynical when it comes to politics – especially politics on a national level. So, why go to the hassle of writing this – especially when politics and pastoring are not a good mix?  Because on the issue of Pastor Saaed and the other 3 prisoners, President Obama is being treated unfairly.

I have read how many presidents from the past were ripped up by Americans being held hostage on their watch.  I know that Jimmy Carter was consumed with grief about the Iranian hostages during his presidency, and I believe that President Obama is no different. Sadly, many people will simply watch or read the unfair and hateful things that news outlets like CBS, Fox, and others are saying about the president on this issue and believe it.

But on this one, will you please give President Obama the benefit of the doubt that he actually does want to secure the release of these men – not just because of the political gain it may win him but simply because he’s a human who is genuinely concerned for the welfare of these lives?  And will you please continue to pray for him and for the diplomats that are working to secure the release of these 4 men.  May God bring these men home safely and soon.

Random Thought Thursday: May 7, 2015

A MERE SHADOW OF A FIGHT
Leonard
The Mayweather – Pacquiao fight was a joke.  This should have been their 3rd and final fight, not their first.  I remember the  Sugar Ray Leonard – Roberto Duran trilogy of fights in the 1980s.  Those were awesome! They fought twice in 1980 (both winning once) and one last time in 1989 – an epic fight between old foes who were beyond their prime.  If you want to see boxing in its prime, check out their fights on You Tube.

GREEN CHILE STEW…I LOVE YOU
SONY DSC

I’m not sure where I would be in life or what kind of man I would be if not for green chile stew.  It’s like eating New Mexico, and it’s wonderful.  Those of you who don’t live in the Land of Enchantment won’t understand, but for those of you who do, can I get an “Amen?!”

CHEATER CHEATER PUMPKIN EATER
Deflate-Gate-0120-jpg

I admit I don’t like the New England Patriots because my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have a hard time beating them these days. However, the findings from the “Deflate-gate” investigation are in, and it has been discovered that indeed the Patriots cheated…again. A few years back, they secretly taped a teams practice so that they could steal their signals. I’m not saying they’re not a good – perhaps great – team. I’m just saying that their cheating diminishes their accomplishments over the past 10 years in my eyes.

A SUPERB READ
BOOK
I just finished this book recently, and it’s one I recommend you read too. It’s the story of the 1936 USA Olympic rowing team that brought home gold from the Berlin Olympics – back when rowing was a big deal in the U.S. As the story is told, the reader is given a bird’s eye view of the horrible impact the Great Depression had on our country and the resilience of the American people to survive and ultimately overcome it. Simultaneously, a detailed look into the preparation of Hitler’s Germany for the Olympics is given which includes a peak into the Nazi propaganda machine that used the Olympics to convince the world that Nazi Germany was not horrible like the rumors were saying. It worked, and the world was lulled to sleep by the grandeur of the Olympics and the Nazi façade that allowed Hitler to get away with murder – literally – for years after. The story follows the account of the last survivor of the 1936 rowing team, and his family story alone would make for a fascinating read. Add to it the Olympic struggle and the maddening deceit of Nazi Germany, and it makes for a superb read.

Baseball, Pizza, and the Resurrection

Pizza

Supreme. It’s a pretty powerful word that unfortunately in our culture has been reduced to the kind of pizza we eat at Pizza Hut. The word actually means strongest, most important, or most powerful. It is the thing or the person that is superior to all others. It’s not a word that should be used carelessly, and when it comes to deciding who we will allow to be supreme in our lives, we really need to exercise great discernment and caution.

When we were small children, perhaps our parents were supreme in our lives. My father was a large man – both in size and in presence. His voice could boom, and it did when he was excited. I remember when I was 6 years old playing infield on my t-ball team and threw out a base runner for the first time ever. My dad, who was also my coach, jumped up and down in the dugout and roared with excitement. It nearly made all of the other 6 year olds in the dugout cry! I remember to this day the great feeling of not only knowing that I got the base runner out but knowing that I made my dad – the one who was supreme in my life – happy with me.

11From then on, I remember trying to do things that would re-create that moment between me and my dad. I wanted to have him jump up and down and roar his approval of me like that again and again. When I was in grade school, I played whiffle ball with my friends on the school playground at recess. It just so happened that I could hit the ball pretty far, so I asked my dad if he would come by at recess and watch me hit. I’m sure he didn’t have the time nor the desire to do so, but the next day as we ran to the ball field for morning recess, there was my dad, sitting in his car waiting to watch. I don’t know if I hit the ball well that day or not, I just know that I wanted to please my father and make him excited about me again like he was before. He was a big deal to me because he was supreme in my life back then.

You and I have since grown up, and no longer are our parents supreme to us – but someone has most likely taken their place. There is someone in our lives who is more important than all others, and the challenge for the Christian is to fight the temptation to put our spouse, our children, or some other human in that spot. Christ must be the one who we allow to reign supreme in our lives. We must recognize Him as the most important – superior to all others – and live our lives in light of this. Just as I had a driving desire to please my earthly father because I saw him as supreme, so should we desire to please our heavenly Father because He is supreme.

Supreme2

Read these words from the Apostle Paul about the supremacy of Christ from Colossians 1:15-20: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Paul clearly states that Christ is supreme (preeminent) because He is “the firstborn from the dead.” His resurrection from the grave (an event we celebrate this month with great rejoicing!) has propelled Him to supremacy over all things and all people. Because of the resurrection, Christ is the strongest, most important, most powerful One and is superior to all others. May we be reminded of this once again as we celebrate His resurrection this month, and may we live in such a way that we affirm His supremacy over us by our worship, our obedience, our delighting in Him, and our desire to please Him in all we do.

Random Thought Thursday: August 28, 2014

empty

You better really enjoy being with your spouse once all of the kids have moved out. If not, you’ll be in quite a bind. Don’t neglect your marriage while the kids are living at home. Build into it and enjoy one another. Michelle and I did, and we’re really enjoying the empty nest.

crucial

I recently attended Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit.  It’s a yearly gathering of some 200,000 leaders from all over the world who desire to be better leaders.  One of the speakers this year was leadership guru Joseph Grenny who talked about the importance of having crucial conversations – which are conversations that need to happen but are very hard to have.  He said that if we don’t have these, we will end up acting out our frustration with the other person – which will only make the situation worse.  He claims that not having these kinds of conversations is what often stops the growth of relationships, organizations, etc.  His question is one I pose to you: What crucial conversations (in your marriage, at work, in your family, etc) do you need to have that you’re not having now?

Stryper

A couple weeks ago, I took my son, Taylor, to Denver to see one of all-time favorite rock bands, Stryper.  He likes them too.  What a show! All 4  original members and all over the age of 50. 50 must be the new 30 because they are better live now than they were 20 years ago when I first saw them live.

lunchbox

If you’re looking for a good movie to watch, let me recommend a couple of recent releases – all about food – that Michelle and I have really enjoyed over the last few months…

The Lunchbox
Harvard University analyzed their delivery system and concluded that just one in a million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. This is the story of that one.

Hundred Foot Journey
It is a story about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian restaurant and a traditional French one represents the gulf between different cultures and desires. It focuses on the rivalry and resolution of the two restaurants and is based in Lumière, France.

Chef
Chef Carl Casper suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner, he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife, his friend and his son to launch a food truck.

Random Thought Thursday: May 15, 2014

TAYLOR’S FINAL BIG RACE…FOR NOW
This weekend, Taylor runs his final high school race: the NM State Championship.  He’ll run the 2-mile, the 1-mile, and the 4×400 relay.  I’m so proud of all the dedication and training he’s put into his running over the past 4-years.  He’s the most disciplined young man I know.  Thankfully, he’ll be running for the University of New Mexico in the fall, so while this is his last big high school race, it won’t be the last big race we get to enjoy with him.

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POTTERS IGNITING FOR PEACE
While driving my mom and my in-laws around downtown the other day, we came across this truck with these rather interesting bumper stickers on it. We Potters approved!

Potters

SPEAKING OF PICK-UP TRUCKS…
Michelle and I are in full mid-life crisis mode – or so say our kids.  We ride motorcycles, go to the gym at least 3-times per week, run triathlons and 5ks, and so on.  A few weeks ago, we traded our mini-van in for a pick-up truck! A Dodge Ram 1500…with a Hemi!  After 20 years of mini-vanning, we decided to cut the cord and get what we’ve always wanted – a big truck to pull our motorcycles so that we can take our mid-life crisis all over the country!

Truck

THE RAILWAY MAN
I haven’t seen the movie “God’s Not Dead” yet – and I may not see it.  I have a real hard time with “Christian” movies.  But, I really appreciate movies that surprisingly and powerfully promote Christian virtues without being so blatant and contrived.  The Railway Man is one such movie.  When the movie ended and the credits began rolling, I turned to Michelle and said, “Wow! God’s not dead.”  This film – based on a true-story – reaffirmed my faith maybe more than any “Christian” movie ever would.  Check out the trailer, and then go see it. By the way, it’s rated R for disturbing prisoner of war violence.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/px04904hm88[/youtube]

 

Random Thought Thursday: April 10, 2014

Many people say they desire to worship God with their lives, and according to the Scriptures, a major way to make that happen is to be involved in the edifying activity of the church – where one can rub shoulders with and serve God’s people. However, a recent study shows that fewer and fewer people are attending church (and thus rubbing shoulders with and serving God’s people). What gives?

Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard - Killing Lincoln (v5_0)I’m currently reading Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly.  And just for the record: I love history books but can’t stand O’Reilly.  However, many have recommended his “Killing” series to me, and so far, the book is well written and void of any of his pompous arrogance that I loathe.

I just might read his Killing Jesus sometime in the near future if this trend continues.

Guns. In my position, I think it’s important for me to be very careful about exposing my opinion. What I am willing to expose is my opinion about people. It’s very clear to me that people are much more the problem than any inanimate object is that people wield to do horrible things to one another. I’m saddened – as I’m sure you are – by the violence at a Pennsylvania High School yesterday. This time, it wasn’t a gun; it was a knife. Regardless, people need hope…real hope. And I’m under not just the belief – but the conviction – that real hope is only found in following Jesus.

mustache

On a much lighter note… Has anyone else been keeping an eye on CNN’s coverage of the missing plane? I have, and this guy keeps popping up to offer his expert analysis – but I’ve never really heard one word he’s said.  The dude’s mustache is so incredibly weird looking that it distracts from anything he says.  I showed this picture to my son, Taylor, and he asked, “Did the dude lose a bet?” Maybe so.

Random Thought Thursday: April 3, 2014

Miguel Cabrera 15
I’d be smiling too. Miguel Cabrera who plays baseball for the Detroit Tigers will make $49, 423 every time he comes to the plate to bat – for the next 10 years.  The median annual income of a household in Michigan is $48,471 per year. Honestly, I think his salary is ridiculous – as are the salaries of many professional athletes. Kind of makes me sick.

KenalogTwo weeks ago, I declared my willingness to pay large amounts of money for allergy help. Allergy season here in New Mexico has been miserable so far. Well, I’m happy to report that I found the silver bullet – and it only cost me a $50 co-pay! The magic serum called Kenalog was pumped into my veins 2 weeks ago, and in about 48 hours, all of my allergy symptoms were gone. I no longer even have to take an allergy pill!

lobotime-banner-sibling

Now that my son has committed to run at the University of New Mexico, I can – with a clear conscience – wear the shirt that my wife bought me for Christmas a few years back. Her motives were pure. She bought me a really nice “Lobos” long-sleeve shirt, but it wasn’t until I opened it on Christmas morning and held it up that she noticed the word “Dad” was merged into the design. She had purchased me a shirt made for dads of UNM students! I made sure to mention this to Taylor as he was making his final decision. I asked him if he would be willing to choose his college based on my need to legitimately wear the shirt. I’m pretty sure this was the deciding factor in his decision.

Taylor

Speaking of Taylor, his 18th birthday is Sunday. His draft registration card came in the mail this week, which was a sober reminder to Michelle and I that he is now an adult. We’re so proud of the young man Taylor has become. He’s a pure joy to all of us in his family. His dedication to the Lord, to his school work, to running, and to serving others is admirable. Will you join me in wishing him a happy birthday over the next few days?