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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Master Mentor #4

This morning, I participated in my normal Thursday morning men’s small group. We’ve been talking about the Sermon on the Mount. Part of the discussion has been that Jesus expects us to live by the heart in terms of our relationship with God rather than just living by the actions… the difference between acting like we love our neighbors and actually loving our enemies and praying for them for example. Maybe I should have read my CS Lewis for today. In chapter 3, CS says that “men ought to be unselfish, ought to be fair. Not that men are unselfish, nor that they like being unselfish, but that they ought to be” (pg 30). As I read that, I thought about what we’ve been reading from the Sermon on the Mount.
Part of Jesus’ discussion with his hears was the idea that they had the Torah behind their relationship with God. So rather than forgiving and loving their enemies, they had been commanded not to murder. And they followed that commandment, lest they receive punishment. But that didn’t stop them from hating their enemies or calling them “fools.” But Jesus told them that they should have the kind of attitude in their hearts that would prompt them toward the spirit of the idea without the legalism of following the actual law. So rather than worrying about whether or not they were murdering others, they should worry about whether or not they were angry with their brothers (which could lead to murder) or they called their brothers a “fool” (which could also lead to murder in some situations).
In this chapter, CS is setting up that there is a form of expected behavior… something outside of ourselves that has set up some kind of standard that we are expected to adhere to. And he’s right. In this chapter he uses the illustration of having a seat on the train (page 29) and someone stealing it. There’s nothing wrong with someone sitting in that seat if they arrived there first. And there is no mistreatment assumed. But if while the sitter gets up for a second, someone jumps in behind them, moves their bag and takes their seat there is mistreatment assumed. While the result is the same in both situations, the second person is considered a “jerk.” And most people, except possibly the person who “stole” the seat in the second situation, would conclude that this person is a “jerk.” While we may come to a different name conclusion other than “jerk,” most of us would arrive at that conclusion.
And CS asks why. And he is exactly correct when he answers the question by saying “it begins to look as if we shall have to admit that there is more than one kind of reality; that, in this particular case, there is something above and beyond the ordinary facts of men’s behavior, and yet quite definitely real – a real law, which none of us made, but which we find pressing on us” (pg 30).
There is something above and beyond ourselves which sets up a standard that all of us would agree upon, unless for some personal convenience it would pay us to act otherwise, that helps direct our behavior.

Jim

3 Days Randomness...

So I thought I would throw out a few random things about the last few days for those of you who get your "Jim News" here...

-School was interesting on Tuesday... mostly because when I went into class at 12:45 pm, it was 56 degrees... and when I came out at 3:00 pm, it was 27 degrees... with a thunderstorm in the middle.

-We had to spend the night Tuesday night at a Best Western in Bloomington because the wind/snowstorm that followed the temp change was too much. The snow was awful. The stay was nice... but we didn't have anything to stay the night... no personal toiletries, clothes to change into, etc... so that was a struggle.

-We have found Jackie a car. Al and Pauline, Jackie's dad and mom, are selling us their 2004 Chrysler Sebring (coupe). I've got to fly to Pittsburgh and pick it up next Friday (Feb 8).

-I'm at Panera Bread (still... at 8:27 am) from Bible Study this morning... This morning getting up sucked! And I actually got up about 20 minutes late... So much for getting up before my alarm (see HERE).

-Not having new television to watch on Thursday nights stinks. And I'm kinda getting tired of it. Good thing Survivor starts again in 7 days. I wish they would get over this strike thing. I'm kinda missing my 24. I may start and watch last season again (Blockbuster) because I'm going through Jack Bauer withdraws).

-We're supposed to get about 4-6 inches of snow tonight.

Well... I think that's enough. I need to catch up on my C.S. Lewis reading (thanks Nate for your comment... I bookmarked that work and will spend some time with it in the future).

Jim

I'm back...

It's been several days since I've blogged... I just haven't felt like blogging. Losing Spot has been difficult and all the things over the last few days that I've thought about blogging just didn't seem to follow my previous blog about her. But I guess in many ways, you come to a point in time where you have to make the decision to move on or stay stuck in one place. And I guess today is the day.

In fact, it surprised me a bit, but I walked into Petsmart last night. Mostly out of a desire to look into the eyes of another cat and consider whether or not he or she could come home with me. I didn't stay for very long... not because I couldn't handle it... but because I was afraid I might just pick one out and I didn't want to do that without Jackie. But I didn't feel the way that I thought I would feel. Instead of feeling terribly sad and depressed, I felt optimistic and curious. I've only had 1 cat... Spot... and I began to think about what it would be like to meet and get to know the cats that I was petting through the cages... Erin and Zelda...

So we'll see...
But I have been encouraged over the last few days. I've had several people who have offered the same condolences... people who felt they needed to say something about it even if they didn't understand it or care about... and those people are pretty phony and easily recognizable. But I've had several good conversations with people who really did get it. I've shared some of my favorite Spot stories (the closet story... the policeman story... and several others) and I've felt good about it. So, to those of you who I have talked to over the last few days and you've got it, thanks. I appreciate your time and concern and your ability to listen.

Jim

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm ready for my life to stop sucking!


The last 2 weeks have sucked.

And I'm ready for it to stop.

A couple of weeks ago, Jackie's car broke down for the last time. Then, my Cruiser spent a week in the shop getting worked on.

Finally, Saturday night/Sunday morning we had to make the tough decision to have our cat Spot put down. She was 11 years old. She had had a collapsed lung since I got her from the pound 8 years ago. In fact, I knew Spot before I knew Jackie and Spot had been a partner in ministry (literally... as the parade of kids through the years have come through our house and apartment) since 3 weeks after I began in 2000. But she had been struggling and the vet after taking an Xray thought it was best not to put her through all of that.

It's sucks. It's been hard. I've cried more in the last 48 hours than I remember crying ever.


It's been hard. I expect to get up from the couch and see her sleeping in front of the door into the kitchen (one of her favorite spots (no pun intended) because the furnace is right there and it's warm). I thought this morning that she would be laying there... which is where she always was in the mornings... or behind the blinds looking outside... when I got up and went for coffee. But she wasn't. I expected that when I pulled back the shower curtain that she would be laying on the hamper, which she usually was. But she wasn't. I expected her to jump up onto the bed and lay down on her blanket at the bottom (just like she's done for 8 years) and then just before I got to sleep, she'd jump down.

But the last 48 hours were tough for her. The vet seemed to think that her diaphragm had ruptured. So she was having a tough time breathing and wasn't eating. It was hard on us to have to make the decision. But when Jackie got home from Starbucks, we knew that it wasn't fair to her. So we made the decision to do what was hard... but best. And in the end, I think that if she could speak I think that she would say, "Thanks." Thanks for saving me from the pound. Thanks for gviing me a home and love for 8 years. And thanks for doing what was best for me.

Jim

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chick-fil-a!!!!

I have been looking forward to this all day!!! I love this place!!!

Master Mentor #3...

Friday – January 25, 2008 – Chapter 2
In today’s reading, CS tackled a couple of questions that would arise from his previous chapter. He dealt with the questions of “Isn’t what you call Moral Law simply our herd instinct and hasn’t it been developed just like our other instinct?” and “Isn’t what you call the Moral Law just a social convention, something that is put into us by education?” To which in both cases, CS answers “no.”
I think what I like about this chapter is twofold. First, CS is very concrete with his explanations. He listed each of those questions and then went about to answer them. But in the midst of his answering, he used very concrete illustrations that made it easier to understand what he was driving at. I’ve read some theology and philosophy books that were brilliant. But in the midst of the reading, I have often thought to myself “I don’t really get what he’s saying here.” And thought that an illustration of some sort would have been incredibly helpful to “getting it.” But none was found. CS isn’t that way. When he states his case, he includes several illustrations to help drive home the point.
Second, CS tackles the issue head on. In the previous chapter, CS states some truth that would be very much debated in some circles (although not in this circle that I find myself in… made up of me, myself and I). But in some circles, there would be some debate. This chapter provides further discussion on that point before moving on. I feel that CS needs to establish that chapter in order to build on it and it would have been easy to leave out chapter 2, assume that the reader got it, understands it, agrees with it and is ready to move on. But he doesn’t. He goes back and revisits the question and attempts to make his “foundation more firm.”
There wasn’t a great deal of new material in this chapter. I found CS further building his case.

Jim

Off to Indy!!

I'm heading to Indianapolis today for class tomorrow. I'm in a 1 day a month class (Ministry to Muslims) that is meeting at Englewood Church in Indy. So, I'm heading down this afternoon... so there may be a short break in the blogging... depending on if there is some free Wifi where I'm headed... hopefully...

Should be fun!!!

Jim

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Master Mentor #2...

For an explanation of what this post is, click HERE.

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Thursday – January 24, 2008
Today I read the first chapter of Mere Christianity. In this chapter, CS discusses the “law of nature.” And he makes two points at the end of the first chapter. First, that everyone believes in the law of nature… or a universal standard of Right and Wrong. Second, that no one really behaves that way (pg 21).
He’s exactly right. We believe the first part only in such that it benefits us. We like it when we can say “we were wronged” or “someone stole from me.” There is exactly that standard there when someone does us wrong. But when we do someone else wrong, as CS states in this chapter, there is some excuse for it. We blame someone or something else. (I was tired… It’s been a long day… That was close (running the red light…)… etc… etc).
He said something a page earlier that struck me as well. He says that only do we have this standard, but he says “we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people” (pg 20). And I did exactly what he said I would do. As I was reading that earlier that we have all failed at keeping the standard of Right and Wrong, I put a little “star” beside it. Mostly because I wanted to come back and argue with that statement. I want to say to CS that “I’m not like that… I keep the standard… and only in extreme circumstances do I not live up to the “standard” of Right and Wrong.” Only the standard is set and maintained by me. Which allows me to bend it and shape it in the direction that seems to suit me at the moment. But often, I don’t practice the kind of behavior to others that I would expect to me.
It’s interesting that in the relative culture that we live in (where everything, every decision is neither “right” or “wrong” but only in your own perception), that will still have this overarching standard. Even if we don’t listen to it or pay attention to it.
I was surprised. We tend to have a fairly vocal group of students. When they don’t like something, they tend to share it. A couple of weeks ago, we started a series called “Wisdom On.” We’ve been looking at some of the passages from the book of Proverbs and talking about making wise decisions. I’ve stated from the get-go that wisdom is making Right decisions… not good decisions. That statement is true. But I was curious to see if any of the students would challenge me on it. At this point, roughly 40 students haven’t. Or at least, if they have, they have done it privately or at least behind my back. But I would say that’s more because we still have, down deep inside of us, the notion that there really is a Right and Wrong… even if we don’t pay attention to it all the time.

Jim

Thursday mornings...

So I seem to be developing a weird habit this week. It happened on Monday... and it happened again this morning. First off... let me say that I hate mornings. I love to sleep. I enjoy the bed. And nothing makes me feel better than to sleep until I am ready to get up and then getting up and having a cup of coffee.

But over the last few weeks, I've been attending a Thursday morning Men's Bible Study Group (check it out here and here). Which means that I have traded in my 4 am wake up call on Tuesdays for class... since we don't have to leave until about 9 am... for a 5 am wake up call on Thursdays for Bible Study.

This morning, I rolled over, woke up and looked at the alarm clock at 4:57 am!!! I still managed to snooze. But I woke up before my alarm. And it happened on Monday too. Monday we went skiing (check it out here and here). Again, another early morning as I had to be at the church by 6:30 am. But that morning, with an alarm set for 5 am, I woke up at 4:55 am... 5 minutes before my alarm.

I don't know what's happening to me. If I am developing a new habit... And I'm not sure if I like it or not... But I'll go with it and see what happens.

As for Bible Study, we had a good discussion on "Our Father" from the Sermon on the Mount. Good stuff. Now, I am relaxing at Panera Bread and getting ready to read some CS Lewis.

More on CS later.

Jim

Guitar Hero good for you???


I like the sound of THIS...

There seem to be some who are beginning to discover that Guitar Hero... and I'm assuming Rock Band because they use the same motions... are beginning to show up as having a medical purpose. Now, it seems to be in the area of physical therapy.

Here's a bit of the story: "We'd been doing a lot with range of motion, but he was still lacking in pronation and supination in his forearm," Colwell informed Shacknews. Pronation and supination refer to the twisting and flexing motions of limbs. "Guitar Hero really helped out a lot with that, especially the supination because he had to hold that pose."

Apart from a patient's increased willingness to participate in therapy, other possible benefits of Guitar Hero noted by Colwell include improved abdominal, lower back, and wrist strength, sitting balance, fine motor skills, and general endurance."


At any rate... any excuse I can have for playing more Guitar Hero or Rock Band is a good thing!!! Right???

Jim

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When it rains... it pours... MORE UPDATE!!!

Well...

It's been 5 days since I've seen my PT Cruiser. It's been in the shop getting some work done. (Check out "When it rains... it pours..." and "When it rains... it pours UPDATE.." to catch up...)

Finally... after some time on the diagnostic computer figuring out that it needed a tune-up, a new rim, an oil chance and some new front brakes... it should be ready to roll again.

We are picking it up this afternoon... Jackie has to work until 3:00 pm... and I can't wait. I miss the PT. We've been driving various vehicles that we've borrowed and I'm ready to get back into the driver's seat of the Cruiser.

Yay!!!

Jim

Anyone up for a swim... World's Largest Pool


It's about 8 degrees right now...

But after seeing THIS story on the internet this morning about the world's largest swimming pool, I'm thinking about swim.

Here's a snipet from the story about how big this thing is... "If you like doing laps in the swimming pool, you might want to stock up on the energy drinks before diving in to this one.

It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, had a 115ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.

Yesterday the Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world."


Who's got some trunks??!!

Master Mentor #1

I have begun a new semester at Lincoln... as most of you know.

I have two classes this semester and honestly had I known how much easier my classes would be this semester than what they have been in the past, I would have tried to pick up a 3rd. But one of my classes is a class called "Ministering to Muslim" and is a 4 times a semester class (meaning we only meet 4 times throughout the semester). My other class is "Modern Church History" covering everything from the end of the Reformation Period (Martin Luther until 1648) until present.
One of our assignments that we can choose from is called the "Master Mentor Journal." We can choose someone who wrote Christian spirituality writings during this time and we read a little bit of his or her works every day and then journal on our thoughts, impressions or arguments.
I have done this assignment several times in the past. But I always find myself a slacker. Rather than spending a little time each day, I find myself spending larger chunks over several days. So in an effort of general discussion and accountability, I'm going to try posting my journal entries here on my blog.

I am reading "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis. And if I complete that, I will begin "Screwtape Letters."

I have no idea where this will take me. I thought, as you will see below, that I had read this book before. It would seem that I haven't. But it should be fun.

But please note... these journal entries are raw and unedited. So, if you should find some inconsistency, be kind. But feel free to comment away...
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Wednesday – January 23, 2008
Today I am beginning my Master Mentor Journal for Modern Church History. The scene was pretty open as to who I could pick. I was hoping to do something in the Restoration Movement… probably something with Alexander Campbell… but there didn’t seem to be too much there that was usable for this project. So I decided to hit a biggie and work through some CS Lewis stuff.
I am beginning with “Mere Christianity.” If I get finished with this during this project, which I’m thinking that I will as it’s only 30 some chapters long, then I will move onto “Screwtape Letters.” Today, I’m starting with the “preface.”

I was thinking as I began this book that I had read it before. And possibly, I have. As I opened the copy that was sitting on my shelf this morning I found a bookmark. But it was sitting in the table of contents and I have found no writing on any of the pages. So perhaps this book has made it past my reading shelf (that small shelf in my office where new books land in preparation for their day/days of reading) and onto my general shelves (noting that they have been read in some fashion). But no matter, it is getting read today.
CS said something near the end of the preface that was interesting to me and spawned some thoughts. He is commenting that his book is more like a hall than a room. It is a general area where some gather and then enter the different rooms of their choice. The analogy being one that his book is one that all in Christianity would agree upon and could discuss together. And that each of the rooms in the house are different denominations or groups of denominations that agree on some issues and disagree with others from other denominations. But then he said this:
“When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house” (page 12).
That is one thing that is often not so much paid attention to. Often, I would say, most of those in the house are used to shouting through the walls to others in different rooms about how they should switch rooms or at least about how they are wrong in their present room designs and functions. The church itself, the whole house, would do well if this were placed on a plaque and hung in the “hall” for “all” to see. It would see to be somewhat more Christian of us.
Earlier in the preface, CS states that those of us who have differences with others should wait and discuss those differences when there are others around who already believe that there is one God and that Jesus Christ is his only Son (pg. 6) rather than sharing our thoughts with those who do not believe in God. He is making a valid point. I wonder how many nonbelievers have been turned away from a relationship with God because they got tired of the arguing between different “rooms” and decided to find a different house. When all the arguing amounted to was nothing… in the grand scheme of the Great Commission. I’m not saying that discussions over the mode of baptism, the style of serving communion, whether women should be elders or preachers, or how we should structure our leadership aren’t important. Certainly on some level they are important. But are they important enough that we should include those who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior in the discussion and add to their confusion? What do they have to gain from conversation other than confusion? They instead need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ who came to save us and died on the cross for our sins.
Right now there is a massive discussion/argument going on in the church that I previously served over baptism. Some are trying to assert that the founders of this “Christian Church” movement (Stone, Campbell, others) believed one way about baptism (and from what I have “heard” about the conversation, they are wrong about their details) and are attempting to exclude some from the conversation based on their belief. I wonder what good that does other than confuse our mission? Why pick a fight when you don’t have to? CS states it right when he states “one of the things Christians are disagreed about it the importance of their disagreements.” (pg 7).

Jim

Book #1... Blue Like Jazz


So, I'm frequently late to the party. But I have an excuse this time.

I just finished reading Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz." It was a good read. I had bought it about 2 years and hadn't had a chance to read it because someone who will remain nameless had borrowed it and read it... and not returned it... for so long that I thought I would have to go and buy another copy. But finally it did come back.

Donald is incredibly witty and clever and very enjoyable to read. His thoughts are scattered sometimes, but he always seems to make it back. Good book!!!

This is book #1 for 2008. I am attempting to read 26 books this year... other than the Bible and the books that I am expected to read for class. The next book on my hit list, although it may not be the next in terms of books for 2008 (because "I Am Legend" is a library book waiting for me at home and will likely be quicker read than this one) is "Opie Doesn't Live Here Anymore" by Walt Mueller. I am looking forward to reading/finishing this one. I got it when I was out at Saddleback in September. I read the first couple of chapters on the plane on the way home, but didn't finish it. It was good... but for some reason from time to time I start books that are good... read 50 pages and then quit and start something else. But I'm going to go back to the beginning and start again.

Onward!!

Jim

Ski Trip Wrap Up


The Ski Trip on Monday was awesome.

The slopes were incredible. They were perfect depth. We had about 25 inches of base. The temps were a little chilly... but that's good in my opinion (I'm not a big fan of skiing and sweating the whole time.). But the temps were between 0 and 10 most of the day, so that's good.

Plus, and this is the best part, we got about 5 inches of incredible fresh fluffy powder throughout the day. It was lightly snowing most of the morning, but really picked up about noon and snowed hard the remainder of the day. By 4 pm, there was a good layer of fresh powder in most places. It made for an incredible ski day.

Plus, I did almost every black diamond in the place. That's a new one for me. A couple of times before I had done some diamonds, but not by choice and often not enjoying them. But this time I felt confident and tackled most of them and had a blast chasing the kids down the hill!!!

I can't wait for February 18th to get here. That's when the middle schoolers go skiing. We've already got a good crew, but there's still room for more. And I can't wait!!!

Jim

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend update... Jan 20th

We had a great weekend as we continued with our "Wisdom On" series. Tonight, we talked about the "tongue" and how we use our language. It was a good night. Here's rundown:

Lesson Topic: Wisdom On Week 3 - Taming the Tongue
'Fun Factor': Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Average
Music: N/A
Student Involvement in Music: N/A
Lesson Quality: Above Average
Length of Lesson: 32 minutes
Student Response: Above Average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 8

We added an extra game/contest this weekend that brought some extra excitement. Fun fun!!!

Jim

Cascade tomorrow!!! SKIING!!!!

I'm hitting the slopes tomorrow with some of our high school guys. None of the girls wanted to go on the high school trip... which is funny because the middle school trip (according to the sign up sheet this morning) is all girls and 1 guy.

But it should be great. Cascade is in great condition. And I'm really looking forward to it. It's supposed to be cold, but I'll be ready. Hopefully I'll get a chance to live blog a few photos. Fun fun!!!

Jim

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My nose is cold...

So...

I'm sitting in the house. I've been reading "The Church and the Age of Reason 1648-1789" by Cragg for about the last two hours. (I'm reading it for Modern History of the Church.) Jackie is at work... and won't be home for an hour. I'm watching the 10 o'clock news. It's -5.5 outside and +69.7 inside.

But as I sit here on the couch, my nose is cold. What a weird sensation.

Just thought I'd share.

Jim

Apple Web Ad: Leopard better and faster than Vista

Fun little ad...

Jim

Check it out HERE.

Brrrrr

Officially at the Clark house this morning it was -6.6. That's cold!!!

Jim Clark
Student Minister

Sent from my iPhone...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Crazy haircut...


I just had to blog about this...

One of my seniors, a great guy named Clayton, cut his hair. Now, this might not seem like much to you, but to those of us who know him and spend time with him, this is huge change. Here are a couple of photos from his myspace page just so you get the idea of how big of a change this is...

This is before...






And this is after...

Wow... Big change...

Clayton has been hinting for a couple of weeks that he was going to do it. I personally didn't think that it would happen. But I guess it finally did. Way to go Clayton. Makes we want to get a haircut...


Jim

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When it rains... it pours... UPDATE

I got a phone call from Scott's Shop this morning... after Thursday Morning Guys' Group... and he said that they could find a rim for the Cruiser. But it wouldn't be in until first of the week. So I'll have to wait until Monday to get the Cruiser taken care of... but that's the day that I'm supposed to be skiing. It will work out.

Jim

Meanest mom in the whole world...

I saw this post on MarkO's blog...

Check out the snipet here:
"a mom in iowa found a bottle of alcohol under the seat of her 19 year-old son’s car, and placed this ad in the local classifieds:

“Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for 3 weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.”

I'm sure that he doesn't like his mom too much... but with choices come consequences... and humor!!!


Jim

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When it rains... it pours...

Tonight we officially said goodbye to Jackie's 1995 Chevy Corsica... otherwise known as Ghetto Ride by the students in our ministry. It has been sitting behind Scott's Service Place in Wheaton where we get our vehicles worked on. It was a sad day... but a day that needed to come. But it struggles to be without a car. We both have to get to work and have crazy schedules coming up (ski trip Monday... school Tuesday... I've got class in Indy Friday and Saturday next weekend...). So juggling one car was crazy enough.

But as we were getting all the gear out of Ghetto Ride and into the Cruiser, Jackie noticed that the front right tire on the Cruiser was really low (air pressure-wise). And as she looked closer, noticed that the rim had a 4 inch crack in it and was bent. It looks like Illinois potholes got it. So if having one car gone wasn't bad enough, the other one has to get a new rim in the next few days...

Ugh!!!

But what can you do... just try to fix them and keep them running. It seems to be that we will go months with nothing. And then one of them has an issue and they both "catch the cold" and we can't keep them out of the shop.

Jim

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First day done!!!

Our first day of the semester is done. In fact... Mine has been done
for a while. The driving home is all that is left.

1 down... 14 to go...

Jim Clark
Student Minister

Sent from my iPhone...

iPhone update... 1.1.3


I'm downloading the much-anticipated update for the iPhone... 1.1.3. This will give us some sweet functions like being able to rearrange the home screen and will give Google maps the ability to locate the phone on a map. Sweet!!!

Check out more HERE.

Only 44 more minutes!!!

Jim

Semester starts today...

It's 7:18 am and the new semester is starting today.

For some reason, I feel late. Maybe it's because it's 7:18 and I'm still at home. Usually by now we would be rolling through Bloomington on our way to class. But this semester, neither of us have class until 1 pm. So we don't have to leave for another hour or so (Jackie wants to be early to pick up a book or two before class). But she will be in class until 6:30 pm tonight. So we won't be back in the area until late... So we are trading early mornings for late nights.

At this point, I'll take the trade. Let the semester begin!!!

Jim

Monday, January 14, 2008

R.I.P. Ghetto Ride...

Today we got some very troubling news...

Jackie's car, a 1995 Chevy Corsica, died (this isn't a picture of it, but it's exactly like this one...). On Thursday of last week, we discovered that it was leaking gasoline, only to find out it had a problem with it's fuel line. Scott Parsons, our mechanic, said that it could be cheap ($300) or expensive ($1200), but they wouldn't know until they started working on it. We gave the go-ahead to start the process, shooting for $300 and not the $1200. Shortly after the Corsica went under the mechanic's knife, she was pronounced dead.

Not only was the gas line totally corroded. But the gas lines were intertwined with the brake lines and would need to be replaced as well. So the $1200 wouldn't have covered it.

It was a sad day... but we knew it was coming. 1 1/2 years ago Scott gave her 2 years to live... so she lived out her time. She will be delivered to the junk yard on Wednesday for those who would like to pay their final respects.

Rest In Pieces Ghetto Ride...

Jim

P.S. For a fun video of Ghetto Ride at the height of her glory, check out THIS video. Enjoy!! Now we officially don't own either of these vehicles...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekend Update... Jan 13th

We had a pretty good weekend this weekend in both Live Wire and High Voltage.

Here's a brief rundown of the weekend:
Lesson Topic: Wisdom On Week 2 - Lifestyle Committed to Wisdom
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: Above Average (for middle school... music didn't pan out for high school)
Student Involvement in Music: Above Average
Lesson Quality: Above Average
Length of Lesson: 28 minutes
Student Response: Average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 7

Overall, we had a pretty good weekend. We had several visitors for High Voltage and many students back who missed last weekend due to last minute family travels. Good weekend.

Jim

Apple Get a Mac Ad: Time Machine

Hilarious!!!

Jim

Check it out HERE!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here to There

I saw this on Digg...

Ever wonder how long it takes to get from Here to There. Officially 7 hours 51 minutes. Check it out HERE.

Jim

I hate Saturdays after college football...

So it's 2:27...
I've been home all day...
Jackie is working...
I went for a walk...
I hate Saturdays after college football... there's nothing to watch on TV...

Boo...

Jim

Steve Jobs keynote game!!

So...

For the last 15 minutes or so I've been playing THIS annoying little... but addictive game... Trying to get Steve Jobs to collect everything that he needs for keynote speech without running into a reporter along the way.

Kinda fun. In a time-wasting-kinda-way.

Enjoy!

Jim

Friday, January 11, 2008

6000 visitors!!!

I was checking in on the stats of my blog... And I happened to notice that I had crossed the 6000 visitor mark. And the lucky person was from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I have no idea who it was... but it's hard to imagine that in just short of 13 months, 6000+ people have visited my little blog. I'm averaging about 27 visitors a day... hard to imagine people showing up day after day to see what I'm writing. But I'm sure that some of this visits are totally by accident. But it is exciting to see people showing up.

Jim

A Night at the Museum... Good deal!!

Jackie and I watched "A Night at the Museum." I have to say... we both agreed that it was a pretty good movie. There was very little objectionable about this movie and it had several clips that would be good "teaching" clips.

Overall... I say "Good Deal... Thumbs Up!"


Jim

"Pick your brain?" Absolutely!!!

I had a first this week.

A friend and local colleague of mine, Jen Bradbury, through the PDYM community emailed me to see if she could "pick my brain" for an article that she was writing for Youth Worker Magazine. My response... "Absolutely! I'm not sure the pickin' is very good... but pick away."

She had 5 questions about students who are members at one church but regularly attend events and activities of another church. Some of the questions were around if this has happened to me and how I felt about it and others were about whether or not other church's students were participating in our events and my feelings on that. I tried to answer her questions. It was kinda fun. It is an interesting phenomena.

Jen is great and I enjoyed answering her questions. Plus, I'll be looking forward to seeing the article in print and knowing that a little bit of my experience is present there! Thanks Jen!!!

Jim

Crazy... but sweet... ordering Starbucks with an iPhone??!!!

My wife would totally hate this... since she works at Starbucks... because I'm sure it would make her life insane in the store.

But I saw this morning on MacRumors of the concept of being able to order your Starbucks through the iPhone. (As if I don't use it enough now...) Which would be totally sweet. It would kinda be like call-ahead-seating at Texas Roadhouse... which is very cool.

Here's a clip from the article which is HERE.
"The system would, for example, allow customers to order a drink with the press of a button on their iPhone which would then notify them when their order was ready. The Forbes article suggests that this may put Apple's partnership with Starbucks in a new light."

Jim

Last weekend before school starts...

This is the last little bit of freedom that I have before class begins again for the spring.


I am trying to fight off the urge to begin reading for class... but rather to wait and read when I'm supposed to. I should play some Guitar Hero (which I haven't done in forever) and chill... but those books are really tempting.

Jim

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday morning guys group #2...

I'm not sure if this will continue to be a thread...

But I attended my second Thursday morning guys' group this morning. We talked about Matthew 6:1-4 again (it was discussed some last week). The discussion was better this morning and I participated. Good stuff. We're moving on to the next chapter next week.

On a side note, it was harder to get up this morning. Last week I was pretty much already awake when the alarm went off. But this morning, I snoozed a couple of times before finally getting up and my phone had to make the final wake-up call. Mornings are rough and I hate them. But I do find that I work better once I'm up.

Jim

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Middle school band show

It was good!!! Those 6th graders can play!!!

Middle School band concert... The Skit Guys

I'm going to a middle school band concert tonight.

I'm totally looking forward to it. A couple of kids made sure to invite me so I'm looking forward to going. And I think it will be great.

But I can never go to a band concert without thinking about this video from the Skit Guys. Check it OUT.

Jim

Apple Get a Mac Ad: Referee

This is a good one...

Jim

Check it out HERE!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

FlyTunes... sounds sweet!!!


I stumbled on this this morning through Engadget.com. (I am really beginning to love that website.)

It's called FlyTunes.

It's a winapp for IPhones and ITouches that allows you to get internet radio on your phone or touch with an interface designed especially for those devices. The coolest thing is that it would allow you to listen to the internet radio when you don't have access to Wifi...

Here's a snipet from their article...
"FlyTunes is simply a web application accessible via Safari, which allows users to customize stations on their PC / Mac and then login and listen from the phone. Also of note, it can queue up to a half hour of music should you want to listen for awhile after leaving an EDGE / WiFi-covered area, and if you're wondering how much coinage you'll have to lay down to get in on this, you'll be stoked to hear it's free."

Sounds sweet!!

I signed up this morning for updates and as soon as its available and as long as it's free... I'll be hooking me up some of that.

Jim

Another year... Another disappointment...

I sat and watched with excitement last night as the Buckeyes seemed to take control of the BCS Championship Game and jumped out to an early 10 point lead. I thought to myself, "Last year's embarrassment is behind us and this will be the year."

But then suddenly things turned. 31 unanswered points and 3 turnovers later, it didn't look so good. They killed themselves. You can't win games if you turn the ball over and they turned it over too many times and at times when they really needed to score. Beanie ran well... but Boeckman threw a couple of interceptions and had a fumble that I think was a bit questionable and it was all downhill.

So I sit with another January of disappointment. 2002 seems so long ago and it seems like an eternity until August.

Jim

Monday, January 07, 2008

Big Game Tonight... Go BUCKEYES!!!!


Tonight's the big night...

The BCS National Championship Game between my Ohio State Buckeyes and LSU Tigers. I have purposefully not said much on my blog so as not to jinx the game tonight (last year I made a big deal about how bad the Buckeyes were going to win and then they didn't).

But tonight is the night.

Everyone has been saying that the Buckeyes don't belong. But tonight, they will show everyone that they do!

Go BUCKEYES!!!

Jim

Sunday, January 06, 2008

weather record broken

Today, here in Chicagoland, we broke a weather record. 1907 the previous weather high for the day was 54. Today, 2008, we set a new record of 61 degrees.

It was almost downright balmy tonight when I walked out of the church... without my coat in January... and jumped in the car to come home. Craziness.

But they are calling for snow and cold temps again by Friday.

Jim

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend saw the return of weekend services for students at Fox Valley. We took a 3-week Christmas holiday break.

It was good to get back into the swing of things. Attendance was down for Sunday morning... middle school... but good and strong for Sunday night... high school.

We launched into a new series called "Wisdom On" working through some wisdom teaching in the book of Proverbs. All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. Attendance was good. Volunteer turn out was great. It was a good weekend.

Jim

Survivor - Micronesia!!

I did happen to see the first ad today for the new Survivor - Micronesia!!!

It's 10 fans of the show (new contestants) and 10 favorites from previous shows. James from this final one is back... Yau-man is back... and everyone's favorite, Johnny Fairplay is back.

It starts February 7th. I've already got my VCR (poor-man's-Tivo) programmed and ready to go!! I can't wait!!!

Jim

American Gladiators...


I remember back in the late 80's until the mid-90's a cheesy Saturday morning show called "American Gladiators." For us, it was a late Saturday morning show that often followed "Saved by the Bell."

Recently... tonight... NBC resurrected this dinosaur of a show. I was missing Sunday Night NFL, so I landed here instead. Mostly because nothing else was on.

It's still just as cheesy and lame as it ever was. Basically the show pits oversized, washed up body builders and wrestlers against average guys and girls in games that involved some physical skill (shooting at a target, working across some rings).

Many of the contests are the same as they were back in the 90's. The Gladiators are different... obviously... most of those on the original show are probably in a nursing home somewhere. But the gladiators are just as cheesy as they were back then (they even have a dude named "Wolf" and he kinda looks like it)... the contestants are just as lame as before... The only redeeming quality to this show is that they have Hulk Hogan as one of the hosts. Nothing like a little Hulkster, baby!

I would say... "lame... skip it..."

Jim

Saturday, January 05, 2008

48 hour break in programming...

I just realized that it's been about 48 hours since the last time that I blogged.

Some might wonder if there is a reason... Am I upset with a particular reader? Am I just too busy to blog? Did my computer die or did I loose internet connection?

The answer to all of those is "no." I'm not mad, that I know of, at any particular reader. In fact, I love all of my readers. Faithful little readers!!! I haven't been all that busy. I did spend some time working this afternoon, Jackie and I spent some time at the mall yesterday and hanging out with one of the FVCC families in the evening. My computer is fine... but what would you expect? It's a Mac. And my Wifi is great too.

I don't know why I haven't blogged in a while. I guess the mood hasn't struck. Until now.

So I guess the 48 hour break in regular programming is officially over.

Jim

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday morning guys' group...


This morning, I joined an early morning guys' small group/Bible study.

With the increasing student ministry schedule and my classwork at Lincoln, it's been difficult for Jackie and I to get connected and stay connected in a small group. The nights of the week are short and we have very few at home together. So, I thought I would try a Bible Study/Small Group in the opposite direction.

This morning was the first morning. It was good. I hate getting up. The Student Minister in me loves to sleep until 9 am and then stay up later. This group meets at a Panera Bread at 6 am. The Panera Bread is 20 minutes from my apartment. So it's another morning like Tuesdays (going to Lincoln) just without the 3 hour drive.

Today, we talked a little about Matthew 6:1-4. We are using a commentary from James Montgomery Boice on the Sermon on the Mount. The read itself is pretty easy... chapters are about 6 to 8 pages long. I've got about 100 pages to go to catch up... which I should be able to easily cover before next week. This morning was interesting. I'm trying to get a read for the group before I begin to participate a great deal... but I tend to sit quietly and listen when in a group like this... which is totally opposite of how I am with students. That's just part of who I am. So, we'll see what happens.

As for right now, I'm sitting by the fireplace in that Panera Bread... trying to get some warmth... but failing... because it's stinkin' cold outside. My car was telling me -2 on the way down here this morning. My outside thermometer at home was saying -3.3. Cold!

Supposedly it's going to be in the 50's over the weekend. Are you kidding me!!!???

Oh well.

Jim

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

31 Days Later sermon online!!!

My sermon from the weekend, 31 Days Later, is now online.

If you missed this past weekend at FVCC and would like to hear the message, it's online. If you don't normally make it to FVCC for the weekend and would like to listen as well, it's online. You'll find it HERE. I don't know if it is from 1st Service or 2nd Service... I don't think it really matters all that much, they both seemed okay.

Enjoy!!!

Jim

Brrrr...!!!

This morning... officially at the Clark household... I had -2.1 outside. That's pretty cold.



Brrr!!!

Jim

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

2008 finally arrived last night (twice... which is really weird to be able to watch Times Square live leading up to 11 pm and then again leading up to midnight... weird).


I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year in 2008.


Happy New Year!!

Jim