Monday, December 31, 2007
For me, this is an exciting day because tomorrow I will no longer be a rookie Real Estate guy anymore! It's hard to believe, but this time last year I had just taken and passed the Real Estate exam on the first try. And I was ready to head off into a new career, not having any idea if I would make it or not or what might lay ahead.
January through February was spent recovering from an ice storm (remember that one???) and taking my post license classes. I also spent time in the office getting to know the other agents, sitting at my desk waiting on the phone to ring (which didn't happen very often at first!), doing floor time (which means being on duty in case a customer comes in), holding open houses in the icy cold winter months for other agents and getting my first listing, which happened to be a trailor at Grand Lake.
As Spring came on, so did changes. I got other listings, sold my first house in Broken Arrow and got real busy, real fast. One thing you sacrifice in the world of Real Estate is time. If you aren't willing to drop everything to go show a house or meet a client, don't go into this business. It can be very demanding.
Now, at the end of the year I can look back and be pretty satisfied with 2007. I had set a goal of selling $1 million this year, which is pretty aggressive for a new agent. I ended up selling $3 million, which, in my opinion, is attributable only to God's hand of blessing in my life. Along the way, I began working part time with a little church in Collinsville. This is a wonderful group of people who love us and support us. Our goal there is to help them to grow to the point where they can hire a full-time guy. As God blesses and gives wisdom there, I know the growth will come (the church already has begun to stabilize and grow!).
Some things that I have learned and/or changes that have happened in my life and family this year include:
>Diane and I pray together each morning prior to leaving to face the day. I'm sorry to say it took me so long to grow to where I could do this with her, but when you have to rely on God because you no longer receive a paycheck every week, you maybe get more willing to knock on heaven's door. At least that is what happened for me. This one thing has drawn us closer together.
>I have struggled with staying in God's Word as much as I used to. No one to blame here other than myself. Either I choose to open the Bible and read something or I don't. However, I think I understand and relate to real people in the real world much better because of this struggle. When I was full time in ministry I had the luxury of sitting in my office day after day and studying the Bible in depth. In the real world pressures, ringing phones, needy clients and other interruptions crowd in.
>I have seen our kids grow and develop throughout this year. Heather is dating a young man who is getting ready to head off to basic training in the Marines. He's a great guy. I like him. She is still working and getting ready to start classes at TCC in January. Chris is a Senior this year and is excited to be wrapping up high school. He's considering going to college once he graduates. Sheldon is a Junior and is still dating Eva. He works at McDonalds and is a student manager now. Each of them have followed us to the little church in Collinsville even though we told them they could attend wherever they wished. It's fun to get to see them involved there.
>Diane is still at the bank. She's just been promoted and will be working at the main branch. She's excited about the opportunity to advance. She continues to blow me away with how she crack the outer hard shell of people. She'll introduce me to people at Wal-Mart who are her clients and I will think to myself, "Wow, I don't think that person and I would ever talk if it was just us in the store." But with her, they are just kind and humble and gentle. This is a real gift that she has. I have to work on that one more.
For us there will be no resolutions for 2008. As I shared with the folks in Collinsville yesterday, resolutions are something that go in one year and out the next. They don't work. So for us we will just continue to trust that God will take care of us and bless us and lead us through another year.
See you around town.
And remember, when you're ready to buy or sell your next house, call the best. Call Bob!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Here are some of the things I am thankful for in no particular order
My dogs Teddy and Carmel
A great house I live in
Money in the bank (that's always nice!)
Health in our family (for the most part)
Two guys named Larry and Earl
The internet (makes my job rock!)
The wonderful people who bought/sold houses with me so far this year (it's been a good year!)
That I was born when I was and not in the current generation (bet my parents said that too!)
My neighbor (who went into a sales job at the same time I did and understands)
That heaven is real, God is good and His love endures forever
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
They were right.
This summer has been a time in my life unlike any other. I have been so busy with Real Estate and the new church that there have been days when it literally has felt like I was riding a super fast spinning merry go round.
I haven't ever had to live life at such a hectic pace before. Church work tends to keep you busy, but not THAT busy!
A couple of observations about the world of Real Estate (from a relatively new agent).
1)You meet lots of really nice people in this business. And you meet lots of very interesting people in this business. The funniest people are the ones who come to open houses and they don't want to talk to you or to let you know their "inner" secrets about their real motivations. You learn to read people like this. And what is so funny is that they're really only hurting themselves. In being all secretative around me (the Real Estate Agent) they're shutting out good converstation, a potential friendship and relationship and my ability to help them accomplish their goals. Lest you think this is a commercial, it isn't. I'm a person first and a Real Estate Agent by job choice. At the end of the day doing business is, of course, the end goal. But getting to know people - even if I can't ultimately help them is the best part of the job. People who hide motives close out that part of being a human being.
2)In this business you also meet some of the goofiest people on the planet. Some of them are buyers and sellers and some of them are other agents. Suffice it to say that the world is just full of...interesting people. I include myself in that!
3)I think the state of our economy has hit everyone. Interestingly enough, what it has done is to cause lots of people to look for easy to cut corners. Folks might be getting rid of their SUV's, but not everyone is. You still see people out eating all the time too. In the world of Real Estate people have decided (at least a lot of people) that they can sell their house themselves and save the real estate commission. In a free market economy I'm okay with that. In fact, I've done it myself (before going into the business). The part that gets to you as an agent is the attitude that goes along with it. People tend to think that we agents are money grubbing, wealthy snobs. Maybe that is an image we have presented. I don't know. What I do know is that I work hard to make a living for my family. I pull a lot of hours and bend over backwards to serve my clients. When I get paid, I believe I have earned my income.
4)My real estate company is a great place to work. I love their vision, leadership and support.
5)Being self employed (outside of the higher taxes you pay) rocks! I love not having to be at an office, under a boss at a certain time every day.
6)Selling houses is fun because you get to see the inside of so many homes. We are such a creative society that you never know what kind of decor you're going to walk into. And then, once my buyer has moved in and made the house their home, it is really fun to see the changes.
So that's my observations from the world of Real Estate so far. It's an interesting career. Not one for everybody, but so far it's good for me!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sometimes it's like I'm driven and I blog and blog and blog. At other times, it is more like I have to drag myself to say something...sometimes to say anything.
There have been many changes in my life over this year. Through this process I have experienced many emotional swings. I knew God was in these changes, but it has been a pretty wild ride. Of course, with God it usually is...at least when it comes to faith and trusting Him.
Let me summarize the year for you.
Moved out of a large church ministry in November 06 somewhat surprisedly. I know now (as I really new then) that it was God but it was still a big change and not one that I had planned in advance necessarily. Details aren't important here as much as is the fact that God had a plan.
Decided to go into Real Estate to make a living so the kids could finish high school in Owasso. Got my license in 3 weeks and began January 2nd. Remember what happened right after that? Major ice storm! God was good though. He brought me business right off the bat and now I've had 8 closings. Pretty good for a first year agent!
Diane and I agreed that, along with Real Estate, I'd help small churches by filling in for them at times. So we went off and began visiting some significant sized churches in and around Tulsa. That was fun. Seeing believers of different faiths worship the same God was really cool. Then about six weeks ago a small church in Collinsville called me up and asked me to fill in for them. I knew at the time (or should I say "sensed") that God was probably going to plop us down with this congregation. And He did.
Now I'm the preacher there. It's a part time gig, but it's been fun to be the guy who sets the vision and leads the service, etc. I meet with the elders (of which I am one - that's a weird change!) each Monday for lunch at the church. We are discussing the vision for the church and are already making plans for how the church is going to grow. I've not always been in a situation where I had an opinion that mattered and now I am. It's nice.
I firmly believe God has a plan for this little church to reach people with His love. And for some reason or other He must think I'm the guy (at least for now) to lead them towards fulfilling His plan. The more I think about that the more I realize the seriousness and gravity of it. It makes me tremble. It also makes me stand back in amazement. God would actually use a common guy to help fulfill His purpose here on the earth? Wow. How cool is that?
So my life right now varies between thinking about selling houses and working with customers and what I'm going to preach on Sunday. Finding illustrations for what I'm speaking about - well that's the easy part!
So watch for a little church in Collinsville to be making some big waves pretty soon.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Part of my reasoning behind this is because I know a day is coming when my kids will visit that graveyard to visit the graves of their grandparents and probably my own and their mother. I wanted to create a memory for them for when that day comes.
Another reason I wanted to take the kids along was because of this particular gravestone. Notice it says that buried below it is the limb of this lady. My mom and dad remember the lady, but could not remember if the limb was an arm or a leg. I thought that was funny.
One other interesting thing about this graveyard visit is that all of the people who are buried there are buried facing east (head to the west/feet to the east) so that when resurrection happens they'll rise facing the Lord.
Anyway, it was a good visit and a good experience. I hope my kids will remember this day as a good day in their lives.
I know it was in mine.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Why can't I forgive?
We all know that forgiveness is important and critical to any healing in a relationship. Still the question remains: "Why is it so hard to forgive?"
Here are three main roadblocks to forgiveness.
First, there's the inability to see our own mistakes and imperfections. If we're unable to see our own faults and mistakes, how can we possibly move toward forgiveness in our relationships? We must first be able to admit that we're not perfect and that we're capable of hurting people we love. This gives us compassion.
Second, there's unresolved anger. Unresolved anger is a major hindrance to the healing power of forgiveness. If we refuse to let go of bitterness, rage or hatred, we're holding on to very destructive forces. These forces are in direct contrast to the power of forgiveness, and they cannot exist together.
Finally, there's a misunderstanding of what forgiveness is. Many people have great misconceptions about what forgiveness is, and therefore they struggle with it. I like what author Paul Thigpen says. "Two New Testament words we translate 'to forgive' mean literally 'to let go' and 'to cancel a debt'. I found that at times the phrase 'I forgive you' seemed empty, so I said, 'I release you. I let you go. I let go of this offence. I cancel your debt. You owe me nothing now. I renounce my desire to get even with you.' That way, the imagery of this biblical language filled the word 'forgiveness' with a more specific and concrete meaning."
Forgiveness may lead to reconciliation or it may not, but they are not the same. Paul recognizes this when, in writing about our attitude to those who wrong us, he says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).
Is there someone you need to forgive today?
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
I've been busy, but that's no real excuse.
Fact is, I've been working through some decisions that need to be made and it's been difficult.
Diane and I have been praying earnestly for God to speak and guide, but the answer has been total and complete silence.
Never before in my entire life have I not known what to do or direction to go.
So if you know us please pray for God's direction in our lives over the next several days. A decision must be made...and soon.
On a side note: The world of Real Estate keeps hopping. That's good!
Friday, April 20, 2007
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Monday, April 16, 2007
There are seven specific things that the Bible teaches that God "hates"
16There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to Him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes
feet that are quick to rush into evil
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers
I think sometimes that we believers do not consider the seriousness of this teaching from scripture. I grew up in church. I used to think that churches just split up sometimes and that was how it was. And maybe that is true. But as I've grown older I see all too often that churches tend to be plagued by people within who are in clear violation of these principles - especially the last one - someone who stirs up dissension among brothers.
I've decided in my life to not violate these principles if at all possible. Will I always succeed? No, I'm human. I fail all too often and I'm very aware of that. But I will not do something intentionally to make God hate what I've done (Note: I didn't say hate me, but rather hate the action...).
I wonder why we don't care too much what God thinks about how we live? If we did, this teaching and others from scripture would be much more relevant and observable in the Christian community.
Think about it.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Friday, April 6, 2007
•1. Help each other be right-rather than wrong.
•2. Look for ways to make new ideas work-rather than for reasons they won't.
•3. If in doubt, check it out-rather than making negative assumptions.
•4. Help each other win and take pride in each other's victories.
•5. Speak positively about each other and about your organization at every opportunity.
•6. Maintain a positive emotional attitude-no matter what the circumstances.
•7. Act with initiative and courage as if it all depends on you.
•8. Do everything with enthusiasm-it's contagious.
•9. Believe in what you are doing-always persist.
10. Whatever you want-give it away!
11. Have FUN!
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Well the fact of the matter is that it just isn't true. Memories and experiences stay with us. You cannot walk away from them.
This postcard (found this week on PostSecret) is a reminder that we are designed with a conscience. While it is popular these days to say, "Live as you wish," and "Don't tell me how to live," the fact remains that each and everyone of us has morals that are written on our hearts. When we do wrong, we feel bad. God made us that way.
I don't know what this person did, but it is obviously eating them up.
How, here's the good news about God. He can relieve burdens such as this through confession and repentance. We can never clear our conscience by ourselves, but through being open with those we love and by trusting in God we can clean the slate.
Churches are sometimes good about preaching and practicing this and sometimes not so good. They forget that there are some real hurting people in the world who are afraid or scared to darken the doors of a church. And even if hurting people do visit church, they typically aren't going to march down to the front in view of everybody to confess their sins. That's often asking way too much out of someone who is struggling already. This is where a small group of people can be a lifesaver. In small community you can often talk openly about the hurts of life. Sometimes it boils down to a single trusted friend or married couple.
For a good example of this go to www.lifechurch.tv and watch the first of their series on SexEd. There's a good example there.
In the meantime the thing to remember is that you don't have to carry burdens alone in life. God cares. And further, He isn't going to laugh at you or turn you away. There isn't anything you or I have done that He hasn't heard before. He's pretty cool that way.
For believers I think we must be reminded to care about others. Sometimes we simply forget that life is tough and people need to see that faith makes a difference. How we live our lives determines if we really are people who live what we say we believe or not. When are people who live our faith it impacts people in an amazing way.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
In our family there are adjustments happening. We have a minor surgery coming up for Diane soon, so we're dealing with insurance and all that pre op stuff. It seems like the cars in our family have all chosen to rebel and break down at the same town. We have two down right now and just got one back from the shop. Ouch! Cars can be pricey!
On the church front, we know we're on a journey with God to somewhere. It feels weird and exciting and terrifying to be in this place. It's kind of like we don't "belong" right now to any church body we visit, thus making us feel like outsiders. And yet we know clearly that God is with us, guiding us and caring for us. Never before have I had to completely trust Him so much. It has been tough at times and amazing all the time. On the ministry front, I cannot believe the opportunities God is placing in front of me to minister to people. Seeing faith at a ground level of everyday life is so cool. God is good!
Some friends in my life have proved to be true blue through this change in our lives. Others have disappointed. New ones have emerged. It has been what you should expect I think.
In the world of Real Estate I have found lots of people who don't know God and who are living for the here and now - which is easy to do in Real Estate. And I've found believers who do not yet really get living their faith daily. And I've found those who do live their faith. But you know what else I've found that has been surprising? The support base has been incredible. Everybody in the field has been supportive and encouraging. I can ask "dumb" rookie questions of anybody in our office and find a friend giving good answers and advice. I am really enjoying have such support - it's something I have not had to this degree before. It truly makes being successful here (along with God's part) "doable."
So that's life for now. Talk to you soon.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
So Sunday we went to church with my sister. We know lots of folks who attend this particular church and had been intending to go there to visit on a Sunday. With my folks here it was as good a time as any to go.
Got there before the service began. This church didn't have door greeters, but did have bulletin folks. You'll find as you visit churches that some put people at the doors, some have ushers, some don't, some use men and women and some use just men. It's always fun (to me) to see which set up we'll encounter.
Even though we know lots of people at this church, we didn't find it overly friendly from those we didn't know. Sometimes churches are like that. I don't think they mean to not be friendly as much as they forget to intentionally think of the visitors. You know how it is, you get to visiting with your friends, you think someone else will speak to that person you don't know - maybe even you mean to say something to them and you just don't get out of your conversation soon enough. I'd be curious to hear of your experience as you've visited churches. Friendly? Not friendly?
The service began without fanfare. When done right it's a pretty cool deal. You're sitting there, the crowd is visiting, the lights come up and off you go. I liked it.
The worship in this church was well paced, but mostly geared for a younger crowd. However, even with the "younger" approach to the music (which I'm not complaining about, but rather just observing) it was still done very well - adult style. Everybody on stage was dressed to match with business casual. The worship leader came across very comfortably on stage. They had a keyboard player, electric guitars, bass, drums and the leader on acoustic. I liked the hymn they began with even though it was altered. My parents did not (they're from the Builder Generation).
Questions...is there a good way to handle the diverse crowds you get in church worship? How do you minister to the young folks without alienating the older crowd? And how do you minister to the older crowd without alienating the young crowd? Can this be done? If it can be done, why is it usually not done? Interesting and challenging questions for the church.
This church takes communion every Sunday which is a tradition in our fellowship. I enjoy being in a place that observes communion weekly. That was nice.
Prior to the sermon a young lady sang a special. It was nerve racking because you didn't know if she was going to make it through it. She kept getting a bit off key and off tempo. You'd think, "Oh man, she's off...she's going to run off stage crying. It's gonna be bad!" Then she'd catch back up and keep going. To her credit, she didn't quit. She made it through the song, but it was a rough ride!
The sermon was good with practical application. The message was based on Peter's denial of Christ. I liked how well the preacher tied in our lives today to the situation. I noticed in the bulletin that this preacher has a personal website blog. I thought that was cool. Our preacher has one and I love that you can keep up with him on a personal level through it. Good idea.
Here's something interesting from the message...As an illustration the preacher quoted a newspaper article about two guys who were imitating stupid stunts from a movie. One of the guys got badly burned. The preacher quoted the name of the movie - Jackass and said that the one guy was burned on his genitals. I was a bit taken aback. I don't believe I've ever heard those two particular words spoken from the pulpit...I'm not saying this was bad - just...surprising. What do you think? Appropriate or not?
All in all it was a good service. My only complaint would be that we stood up too long in worship but that is a personal preference and some worship leaders say it's okay to sit down if you don't want to stand up that long.
Question: What's your opinion about standing/sitting in worship?
It was good to see good friends and to catch up with people. Found out a friend and his wife had just returned from India. Some of the "kids" from my old youth group are graduating college and some people I know know another person I know, so that will be fun to discuss that with the person from my own fellowship.
On a personal note I was told that our preacher has had a physical setback and for that I am so very sorry. I know him well and I know how frustrating this will be for him. Please say a prayer for him. He's a great guy with a deep love for the church and the Lord.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Got there late and found our seats, but with no usher assistance. This would be the ONLY negative I would have to say about this church. They did have the doors well manned by volunteers, so that was good. But still there were no ushers. Maybe they don't use that system?
Anyway, the sanctuary is absolutely beautiful. It's an old style room that has been nicely updated so that it is contemporary with a connection to history and tradition. The seats are individual with arm rests and the balcony is cool. It has awesome staircases that swoop down onto the stage. Speaking of the stage - very clean look. Open, warm and inviting. It has beautiful wooden arches that are awesome. In between two of them on each side they have the screens, except that there are no screens. The projector shows the picture on the wall in between the arches and it looks cool. I really liked it. Well done. Well placed. Well thought out.
The early service is contemporary with a worship team on the side and the worship guy in the middle, leading. The band consisted of electric and acoustic guitarists, a keyboard, electronic drums, a brass section and a piano player. The worship service was a home run. You could hear the lead guy over the worship team. You could hear the music which was blended just right. When there was a guitar solo or a brass solo, it came in at the right time and sounded sweet. And check this out. NO technical errors. NONE. Notta! First church we've visited that actually has their act together with technology and people. I loved that!
The worship line up was contemporary with a touch of traditional. And it was what I call "adult" worship. You didn't have to stand up too long. The songs were arranged in a good, easy to sing manner and the hymns were sung like hymns - they weren't rocked up or changed in tempo but they sounded really good.
The sermon was excellent. It had a good intro that tied the message to scripture. It had humor. And it had practical application. The pastor tied it in with ministry in the church which was a piece of the service from earlier in the morning. I loved that. Too many pastors tend to ignore what is happening in the rest of the service instead of tying everything together in a unifying service. That drives me crazy.
The congregation was comprised of young professionals, singles, some children and some older folks. It was a great mix of people.
And check this out too. The pastor mentioned to fill out the attendance card well before offering time. We've been in churches where it was never mentioned so we didn't. He told us that if we would fill it out they would have a package material from the church at our house today and that he would contact us also. So we filled it out and put it in. Sure enough...when I got home from doing my open houses today there was a package here with materials from the church and a nice coffee cup. I suspect we'll hear from the pastor too.
All in all, this service was an out of the ballpark home run. It was great and it was nice to be there. If it weren't for the driving thing, we would probably be inclined to attend the church weekly. However, even with the drive, it is a place that we'll visit regularly. It's a place that gets it right and that is too good to pass up!
Monday, February 26, 2007
On another note this place still has a pink wall on stage. It drives me crazy because it is so ridiculous looking. Probably just a matter of taste.
Today was a really good day. I got a contract on my BA house. It was only on the market for 12 days! How cool is that! (Disclaimer...it's an awesome house, so the sale had nothing really to do with me - but it's still way cool to sell a house).
In our personal lives Diane is still dealing with the fibroid tumor. It has become a rather pesky situation as it has been "bleeding" or seeping for about three weeks. She's getting weak and is probably anemic (my opinion).
So that's life around our house these days. There are other things going on too - good things, some challenging things but definitely God is at work in our lives.
And that's the coolest thing of all.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Went to a large church in town this past Sunday to check out their 11 a.m. service. We had visited the 9:45 service which meets in the gym and really liked it, so we thought we would try the later service to check that out.
When we got there we were greeted by the official greeters, but no one else spoke to us...outside of a guy whom we already knew. When we went into the service there were no ushers to help us find a seat, so we stood around awkwardly for a while until a couple moved over making room for us. The worship on this particular Sunday was...embarrassingly bad. It was so bad we almost got up and left. I don't know who the worship guy was, but he just botched the whole service. He had to start one song over three times and then he still didn't get it right. I have to think he was filling in maybe. I felt sorry for him if he was filling in because it was so painfully bad.
On another note, this guy was leading worship in jeans and a untucked no colored shirt. Okay. I get it - I understand the look and feel you're going for...except that in this case there was this full choir and piano player behind him - and even a worship team - all of whom were dressed in Business Casual. The worship guy looked like a total slob - completely out of place.
There were a lot of technical errors throughout the service, which just drives me crazy. The PowerPoint went down during the middle of a song the congregation did not know, so no one ended up singing. The worship guy finally noticed the missing slides and pointed it out and gave us the words and then...ta da! up comes the PowerPoint. During the sermon the person running the PowerPoint either didn't know where the preacher was in the message or didn't know how to run PowerPoint very well. The slides were ALWAYS behind where they should be. AAARRRGGH.
One other irritant was that these two guys sitting behind us kept talking to each other out loud. I mean the full volume kind of talking. It was very rude, but no one seemed to notice or care.
The highlight of this service was the message. Well prepared, well presented, good humor when needed. The message saved the day, but if I was grading, this service would still have received an F for so much failure. It was very disappointing.
I mentioned that we had attended a 9:45 service on another date at this church. It went much smoother, but was plagued by technical errors also, so it may be that this church has not yet figured out how to properly train their tech people. Or it may be that this is not a high value to them.
For those of you who work in churches consider this. The night before, my wife and I took a gentleman out to dinner who is new to our town. He's here working for a company and is professional in every way. He is well off in life, but alone as he lost his wife to cancer this past year. I cannot tell you how embarrassed we would have been had we invited him to that service with us. If you're in church work, pay attention to the details. It matters.
We won't be going back to the 11 service there.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
The decision to stay put or move was fairly easy because for us, moving is not an option while our kids are in school. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that it's in the best interest of our family to finish high school where we are.
So I picked a career I thought I could do well in (real estate) and one which isn't too expensive to get into, did the school pretty fast, took the test and jumped in with both feet. Now, two months later I'm finishing up my post-license schooling and getting things up and going.
For me this has been an amazing ride so far. It has had the highest highs and the lowest lows. There have been some amazingly great days and some real bummer ones. The company I am working with provides great support. It's an old company - been around a long time. We have over 500 real estate associates and 9 offices in and around the Tulsa area.
The people I have met in this industry are some of the most amazing people I've ever met. They are people who are driven and who love what they do. Most of them truly enjoy helping people find the right home, but there are some who give our industry a bad name too. I've bumped into some of those folks and have been disappointed. Not surprised, but disappointed.
I got to have lunch one day with an older gentleman who invests in commercial real estate. He isn't a religious guy and when he found out I had been in church work immediately told me not to try to convert him. Duh. I wasn't there to convert him. I think his immediate reaction tells us a lot about what people think about those who are religious. Anyway, we had a great conversation and I learned a lot from him. I consider him my friend and we'll do lunch again. And we'll talk about stuff...including religion when it comes up.
This is a person I never would have had the opportunity to meet in my past career.
I met another gentleman who is new to our area. He was hired out of Texas and brought in by one of the builders in our area. He is the definition of a classy gentleman. He lost his wife this past year and you can tell he had an amazing love for her. Diane and I are taking him out to eat this weekend to get to know him a bit better and to show him some good ol' Oklahoma hospitality.
Today was an exceptional day. I got five listings of some properties in a new development North and West of Tulsa. This is a partnership between us and this builder and the fact that I got to get in on the deal is remarkable. Looking for a great new house? I've got FIVE! I also will be listing a property in the Broken Arrow area and another one here in Owasso. So things are moving well in that area.
Today I spent lots of time on my cell phone. A fellow agent in my office remarked today that this can get into your blood. I understand what she was saying because for me, it has. I love when the phone rings. I love helping people figure things out and connecting them with others who help them make their dreams come true. I have already developed a network of some of the finest specialists in their respective areas. Again - people I would not have met before.
For me the biggest question I knew I would have to answer is can I live the faith that it was easy to have sitting behind a church desk. The answer has come much easier than I thought it might. And the answer is yes. Yes I can. Yes I will. Why wouldn't I? I believe in God. I accept that Jesus Christ is His Son who died to take away the sins of the world. So each day I begin in the Word, pray with my wife and head out to face the day. I seek to inspire others and to bring comfort, hope and joy into every person's life that I meet each day. (That can be hard!). And the coolest thing for me is that I get to correct so many false perceptions about "religious" people. Folks, if you're a religious person, I'm here to tell you, we've flat blown our witness to the world! People think religious folks are cooks for the most part who are unable to deal with the real world. Well, in my life, people are seeing that faith can be a part of your daily life and that it doesn't make you weird - in fact, it makes you better. It makes you keep your promises and live with integrity. People are seeing that faith causes you treat people better than they deserve. And people are seeing that faith is something you work out daily too.
On the church front, we've been dividing our time between the home place and other congregations around town. We think we've found where we will settle -at least for Diane and me for most of the time. We'll probably split time between this place and the home place so we can stay in touch there and close to our kids (who will also stay there). We have good friends there whom we love deeply and we don't wish to sever those relationships, but we also have to figure out the whole church scene and how we fit into it. And that's all I have to say about that.
For those of you who know us and who are our friends, thanks for staying close to us on this crazy journey called life. We love you!
So that's it for now. I'll give you another update down the road. Until then, enjoy the video's I find and my occasional comments!
Monday, February 5, 2007
Sunday, February 4, 2007
The first one
(Click on the image to enlarge it)
The second one
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The world can be a pretty tough place.
What are you doing to make it better?
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
I'm a Boomer in my mid 40's...
When Mozart was my age he'd been dead 10 years.
Albert Einstein published the theory of relativity at age 36.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at 33.
Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest president of the US at age 42.
So the question for each of us today is what have we done in life that will make a difference?
Doesn't matter what your age is, anyone can do something to make the world a better place.
Why not begin today?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
"H-M-M," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?" So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that
she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a great day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YEA!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"
Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary...
everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly and leave the rest to God
Friday, January 19, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Ever wondered who all those people are in the stands at the Superbowl?
Answer: The lucky, the connected, and the wealthy few. Dolphin Stadium has a stated capacity of 70,000 fans for this game. The National Football League controls the tickets and metes them out accordingly: 17.5 percent of the tickets go to each of the two teams playing in the game; 5 percent go to the Dolphins; 34.8 percent are distributed to the other 29 NFL teams; and the league keeps 25 percent to distribute as it sees fit to its friends and partners (usually the same). The NFL holds a random drawing each year for the right to buy an unspecified number of tickets to the following year’s game. The drawing is just about the only chance the Average Joe has to buy a ticket at face value (about $700). Three months before this year’s kickoff, the scalpers at tickco.com were getting anywhere from $2,600 for a nosebleed end zone seat to $6,000 for a spot between the 20 yard lines down near the field.
BONUS FACT That $2,600 for a lousy seat is about half as much as the NFL drops on each of the 150 champions’ rings the NFL gives the games’ winning teams, and a mere 3 percent of the shares it pays to the champs.
This info was taken from the Southwest Airlines in flight magazine. For the full story and other stuff you never knew about the Superbowl, click here.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
I'm stuck in Illinois due to the ice storm in Oklahoma right now. I missed my flight out due to being late, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway because I would have been stuck in Memphis.
I'm booked on Southwest to fly out tomorrow...so we'll see what happens. I could end up stuck in Kansas City next.
So why am I in Illinois? I came up here to speak to a group of 4-5th graders at a Mid-Winter retreat. I spoke also with the leaders of the church where the event was being held.
While I've had fun, I'm not enjoying the getting home part!
I'll see where I end up tomorrow.
Monday, January 8, 2007
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Friday, January 5, 2007
Living on earth is expensive, but you get an annual free trip around the sun.
It it's good, reasonably priced and necessary, they're sure to stop making it.
For your health: Chewing sugarless gum can give you diarrhea.
And the question of the day? What is the world's flattest continent? Take a guess and I'll give you the answer...soon!
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Monday, January 1, 2007
Church number three was a medium sized Baptist church here in Owasso. It was one of the many Baptist churches we have here (along with the other 40+ churches in the community). We visited this church with some friends who know the Pastor personally as a friend.
We arrived just as the service was about to begin and found some seats, ironically right in front of some folks we know well, so that was pretty cool. The service was of a traditional flavor with a piano and organ being the predominate instruments although they had a small orchestra on stage too. I never did actually hear the orchestra, but they were there. The theme of the service was about closing out the old year and looking ahead to the new year. The songs were hymns with two 1970's-1980's choruses. I like hymns, but I also like more modern worship too, so the fact that there were no songs beyond the choruses left me feeling a bit removed from what I prefer. I realize this is a personal preference and lots of people have lots of opinions about worship, so keep that in mind. Also, they announced that their new worship guy will be moving to town soon, so the guy who was leading worship wasn't their worship minister. For a fill in guy, I thought he did a good job.
What I didn't Like:
The service was lots of stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. I was wore out.
Didn't do communion.
There were a lot of people who went on and off the stage during the service for no apparent reason. Too much movement. It was distracting. One guy came into the sanctuary, visited with someone in the audience, walked up the stairs onto the stage in the middle of everything and then sat down in one of the wing backed chairs and listened intently to the sermon. Towards the end of the sermon he left to help with what appeared to be invitation time, but then he never did anything like praying with people.
They had all the members stand up and all the visitors stay seated. Then the members came to greet us. Yuck. Hated that big time.
The invitation was at least 10 minutes long. This particular church uses the come and kneel at the altar kind of invitation. I was surprised at how many people did that. Whole families, a mom and her kids, a grandmother and a granddaughter and others. They go up front and kneel down and pray alone or with a man or woman who is up front to pray with them. They pray as long as they want so that determines how long the invitation goes on. I was wondering why the invitation time kept going on and on then some people whom I could not see got up from praying and went back and sat down. There was a clear invitation to respond and come down front, but it made me feel like I would not do so unless I was a person in crisis or someone who had talked to the preacher at length before knowing I would go down front. Isn't that funny? When I worked on a church staff, it was nothing to me to think it perfectly normal and natural for people to just come down front at invitation time. I now see how much bigger of a deal it is to many people.
What I Liked:
The church was friendly. They had people at the doors who were kind, but not pushy. The congregation was friendly as well, although nobody talked to us after church except for the people we knew.
The sermon was really good. Very Bible based and focused. The preacher spoke to all ages. He preached the announcements (which means talking about an upcoming event and tying it into what you're preaching about). He challenged the congregation, gave some good take home points, used humor and didn't go too long.
They had the kids in the service which I found out later was a holiday scheduling thing. I wondered at first if they were always in the service or not. The preacher acknowledged the children and teens speaking to them directly several times. I thought that showed good pastoral wisdom and congregational care.
The auditorium. Flat floor. Comfy, easy to move chairs. Stage wasn't too high. I could see easily. It was nicely decorated for Christmas. About 3/4 of the way up the wall you look at when seated I counted 10 electrical outlets. It always impresses me when churches or individuals think ahead and put small details like electrical outlets in places where they will be used that are out of the ordinary. I don't understand why more people don't do this. Think about it. Had they not put those outlets up there, there would have been TEN extension cords running up the wall from the lighted garland they had running across the front. Smart thinking! I also liked their open, exposed rafters. They give you a barn kind of a feel without making you feel like it's a barn. This is hard to explain, so suffice it to say the open ceiling was designed nicely. The negative to this is that their foyer is small and underwhelming.
All in all it was a nice church to visit. The preacher comes across as a pastor to his people and I appreciated that.
The OOPSIE of the day? I'm convinced there are technology demons that plague every church. Towards the end of the service the projector went into "turn me off?" mode showing the message on the screen.
Oh one more thing. This particular church has a big screen TV mounted up high on the back wall of the auditorium (the wall the singers look at). I kid you not. It's one of those older model large, bulky big screen TVs. It's like 10-15 feet off the floor on a ledge. They use it as a monitor for the singers. When I saw it I thought, "Oh my gosh, you are kidding!" The thing looks like a bright idea gone bad. It gives the appearance of not being safe at all. When you look back there and see that thing you think to yourself, "I believe that's a big screen TV up there on that wall." It's the funniest looking thing I've seen in a church in a long time.
So that was church number three. Next week we'll go back to our church to hear the state of the church address. It's always an interesting message. After that we're off to at least three more churches we plan to visit.
Happy New Year!