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47 posts from June 2010

King Joash: Plenty of lessons for people of Michigan and everywhere else from his life

There's a lot to learn from the Old Testament in the Bible, particularly from the kings of Judah and Israel about the pickle that our state and the rest of the country is in right now.  No, it's not a political thing.  It's a God thing where individuals and leaders can start out with their attention in the right place, but get their hearts turned.

Yesterday at Ada Bible Church, we learned about King Joash who could have grown up in Michigan and rose to the seat of power and got off to a quick and focused start.  And then he started to pay attention to the wrong people.

And it was all downhill from there. 

There's a big lesson here for everybody from God's Word.  Check out an online video of the sermon.

What's it like going to a big church?  We like it, so far.  Do you like a big or small church or in between?  Click on this video for a glimpse of what it's like when church gets out.

Skip your kid's teacher's conference in Wayne County and go to jail, maybe

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wants to make it illegal for parents to skip parent-teacher conferences.

It's a plan that's still in the works, and Worthy acknowledges it faces a tough sell. But she said she's so concerned about truancy and juvenile crime that she wants an ordinance that would force parents to attend at least one conference a year -- or face jail.


Most everybody agrees that a child's first and most important teacher is their parent.

And to bring that point home in Wayne County, Prosecutor Kym Worthy wants an ordinance where parents can be thrown in jail if they don't attend conferences with teachers.

Can you make a law to require parents to be involved in their kid's education? Will the threat of jail get the job done?

I think not. You?

As a 63-year-old baby-boomer, here's my Bible verse for the week and beyond

As I get ready to take my training wheels off where I've been learning how to be a senior citizen, I've had to work hard to throw out the notion that the only productive place left for me is the back deck watching our six bird feeders. 

The Our Daily Bread devotion today reminds of a verse that I'm not out of the game of life and on the sidelines until my heart stops beating.  

This is also the verse that my friend Pastor David Maier used when he preached the sermon for my mom's funeral.  Challenges and obstacles in her life were non-stop.  She met them all head-on and she didn't quit until her heart stopped and now she's on the heavenly sidelines. 

I'm in the game and because of Jesus and what he did for me and everybody else, the prize is in sight.  It's given to be as a free gift and all I have to do is reach out and accept it.  Here's the verse:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. —1 Corinthians 9:24

Should Tom Izzo take the $30 million from Cleveland to leave MSU?

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert reportedly is offering Izzo a five-year, $30 million contract to take the professional plunge. That kind of money sure sounds nice, but it won't guarantee happiness for a guy who has said several times in the past his NBA ship might have sailed.


Would Jud Heathcote have abandoned Michigan State University and its basketball program for $6 million per year and a chance to live in Cleveland?

The Detroit News' Eric Lacy says that's the amount offered to Tom Izzo who still hasn't made up his mind about going for the big bucks to coach a wanna-be NBA team.

It's time for Izzo to make a commitment and to show his loyalty.

Vacancy rates in downtown Detroit are at 70 percent

It's about supply and demand. Vacancy rates in downtown buildings are at 70 percent. That creates a "make-me-an-offer" environment, driving down rents. Class A office space is listed in the $18 to $19 per square foot range, with many deals coming in much lower. That's half the going rate in Chicago, and about the lowest in the country.


Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley makes an interesting argument this morning that downtown Detroit has become a low cost place to do business.

He writes that this could become a magnet for businesses to locate there.

But what got my attention was his mention that vacancy rates in downtown Detroit building at at 70 percent.

Ouch. The Motor City which used to pulse with business activity has been decimated.

Read this if you have kids who will go to college in Michigan

Over the last 20 years, inflation was 64 percent, but tuition increased 233 percent at U-M and 318 percent at Eastern Michigan University. Looking at just the last decade, inflation was 29 percent, while tuition increased 84 percent at U-M and 130.4 percent at EMU.


When I go to church this morning, I need to thank God again that both of our kids are out of college.

Look at this story--click link above--from about how costs have increased at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

Is this the situation for higher education around the country or just here in Michigan?

How important is a college education in the new economy?

Could Tom Izzo's decison be an omen for the future of the state of Michigan?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Friday afternoon, however, that Izzo planned to make an announcement today about the Cavaliers coaching job and that players believed he would leave for Cleveland.


Why would anybody who makes $3 million a year in Michigan and is adored by everybody in the state want to move to Cleveland?

Doesn't compute, does it?

Could it mean that Tom Izzo, the Michigan State University basketball coach, has lost confidence in the future of our state and is willing to jump ship for a mediocre NBA team?

Is this one more indicator that confidence is lessening that Michigan can turn itself around?

Celebrating our son's birthday with the Sugar Shack Bakery in Lansing (MI)

The lick marks on my computer screen are the fault of the Sugar Shack Bakery in Lansing (MI) which specializes in gourmet cupcakes.  It's pictures of its daily cupcake line-up are of a quality to become pinups in offices around mid-Michigan.

That's why super-wife and I went there today to buy a cupcake to celebrate our son Justin's birthday today.  He lives in D.C., but we wanted to eat something to remind us of how sweet of a kids he is.  Check this video from Derek, the "Sugar Shack Man" and how he describes our purchase:

Why doesn't Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox enforce the state's "item pricing law?"

How often do you go grocery or some other kind of shopping and find that an item you threw into your cart Video 50 0 00 03-30 didn't have a price or it had a price that didn't match the one that was scanned?

We had that happen to us today at the Menard's on the south side of Lansing where we purchased to new globes for the light fixtures in our downstairs bathroom.

My wife put them in our cart in spite of the fact there was no price on the globe nor on the shelve.  We both said they couldn't cost more than a couple of bucks each.  When we went through the checkout, we found that we were off by four dollars for each one.

That's irritating, but it's also in violation of the state's item pricing law.

What's your experience with item pricing in stores?  Do you ever have something marked one way and then scan at a higher cost.  Did you catch it?  How much do stores make each year by over-charging?

Why doesn't Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox enforce this state law that affects consumers so directly?  

My wife gives one piece of advice to our son and to our daughter

To celebrate our son Justin's birthday today, my wife and I went to the Bob Evans restaurant on the Video 47 0 00 06-11 southside of Lansing for one of our favorites, blueberry pancakes and sugar free syrup.  Best part was the conversation that's lubricated by coffee and good food.

I asked super-wife what one piece of advice she would give to each of our kids at this point in their lives.  We have our son who turns 26 today and lives in Washington D.C. and our 28-year-old daughter Krista who's just about ready to give birth to our first grandchild who we have nicknamed "Rocky."

Sitting in a comfortable booth and finishing her breakfast, she answered without flinching.  It was simple to her.

For Justin, she said the number one piece of wisdom she could share is to "keep the main thing, the main thing."  This means remembering that his life focus needs to be on his relationship with Jesus Christ.  Everything should be driven by that.

He's active and doing well in his field and works for an up and coming computer start-up, Clearspring Technologies which is a leader in web content sharing.  He's on his game, but mom knows how easy it is for one to be distracted.  She said that everything in life revolves around and serves that relationship.

Now for our daughter, the mother of pre-born "Rocky", my wife recounted what she heard from Dr. Randy Carlson during his call-in show on Family Life Radio.

Meandmyson He told moms, especially new moms, to be on guard to not hoard up guilt about what you do as a new parent.  New moms are bombarded with a constant stream of decisions.  Their new child might get a diaper rash, an ear infection, cry a lot, not take to nursing or any of a myriad of things that come along.

My wife said super-daughter should not hang onto those.  If she makes a bad call, then she can go to Jesus and ask forgiveness and be forgiven.  But life goes on daily and new parents learn from everyday situations.

Pretty cool advice for both kids and I can only say, "Amen" and add only one thing:  Don't forget to floss.  You'll never regret it.

Does our Bob Evans restaurant spell "potato" the right way?

This morning super-wife and I had breakfast at Bob Evans restaurant on the southside of Lansing to celebrate what she was doing 26 years ago, giving birth to our son, Justin.  We noticed their sign advertising sweet potato french fries.  Notice that they spelled it: "potatoe."  Is that correct?  Just curious.

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Learning how to live life in Lansing (MI) from the kings of Israel and Judah

Adabible I remember learning about the kings of Israel and Judah from the Bible while I was a very young elementary school student at Mt. Olive Lutheran School in Bay City (MI).  My mom had even saved some of the classroom worksheets from those days.  But, I didn't remember much more about their lives and why they would be important to me.

At church--Ada Bible Church--we've been learning about some of the kings and how they lived their lives and about their relationship with God and whether their heart was divided in their relationship with the Creator.  I knew about King David and his wandering eyes when he was on the roof of his residence.

But what about the others and how they relate to me.  Unlike the kings from the Bible, I am not tempted to worship Baal and I don't have an Asherah pole in my house.  But, I know that there are things that have distracted me from giving my heart fully to God.  And am I normal when my head gets turned from my Heavenly Father?

Pastor Jeff Manion does a great job of laying out the puzzle pieces on the table to help see the connection between these kings from the Bible and our lives right now.

Interested?  You can follow along online from this video archive of these teachings. 

My weight loss report: Last time I weighed under 200 was in the last century

Wednesday morning is my Weight Watchers Online step on the scales and weigh myself.  But I got a preview Me2 this morning first thing when I got up.

Two years ago the numbers on the scale were two pounds short of kissing 250 pounds.  That would probably be an okay weight if I was six foot eight, but I'm actually five foot ten and I'm a 63-year-old baby boomer knows that a serious flirtation with a risk factor can either change or end your life. 

About a year ago I got serious with Weight Watchers Online.  My wife who really didn't need to lose more than a couple of pounds embraced my effort and made it hers.  We eat like real people, but we count everything and we eat pretty healthy and it's been working.

This morning I was 202.2.  My most immediate goal is to get under 200 and manage that.  Having done the weight loss thing before I know that I can ease off the effort after a year and gain everything back plus more.

How long is it going to take to get to 199.9?  I don't know, but I'll report back.

Here's a prescription for Michigan's future from Newt Gingrich

If you live in Michigan, do yourself a favor and watch this video of remarks given by Newt Gingrich at a Mackinac Island conference this past week.  He talks about what our state needs to do transform itself from an economy that's gasping for breath to support its population to one that can compete with China.

He doesn't pull any punches and talks about how hard it will be for the state to change.  He says, it begins with a statewide conversation about the future and not the past and he encouraged residents to not be afraid of it. 

Watch this before candidates start coming to your door.  Ask them about Gingrich's main points. 

How close is our state to the edge of the economic abyss?  What do you feel it will take to keep it from making a plunge it cannot recover from?

Maybe we need a new crop of candidates for governor in Michigan

They were evasive, vague and cheap. Republicans Mike Cox and Rick Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero fired off below-the-belt shots, apparently believing that a state ruined by bickering and bitter partisanship is hungry for more of the same. Democrat Andy Dillon and Republicans Mike Bouchard and Pete Hoekstra struck a more gentlemanly tone, but took the safest route possible on every question. And as for Republican Tom George, well, every tragedy needs a fool.


Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley covered the debate yesterday on Mackinac Island between all the candidates for governor of Michigan, including Republicans and Democrats.

Check the quote above from his column about how he assessed the quality of their remarks.

He didn't like any of them because of their mediocrity.

Saying our state needs bold leadership for the coming years, he suggested we could be in for more of the same in partisan bickering in Lansing.

I like Finley's honesty.

Michigan's not only suffering from a lack of jobs, but a lack of leadership.

Michigan U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra says we need parental rights amendment

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, wants to amend the Constitution to protect "the liberties of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children."

His proposal has 137 co-sponsors in the House. Hoekstra spoke at a press conference Friday with state Rep. Dave Agema, state Sen. Bill Hardiman and president of and Patrick Henry College Chancellor Michael Farris.

Hoekstra wants the amendment to keep "parental rights" within families without government intervention.


What does Hoekstra's actions mean?

Are states clamping down on homeschoolers? Are courts overreaching in how parents raise their children?

Has anybody heard of this proposed amendment before? Is it gaining support?

Here's what to remember when you get crapped on in life

You know the drill. Things are going well, no crisis, no conflicts to speak of, pretty much smooth sailing.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, a storm hits. Maybe it's a crisis, or a hardship. Maybe it's a personal tragedy.

So what do you do when a hurricane-force storm hits and water is filling your boat?

Answer: You take heart. Because you are not alone.


Life can turn on a dime. One minute things are going well and the next, you're fighting to stay out of the dumpster.

How do you cope with that and what can you do?

Greg Laurie, a California pastor and speaker I've heard at several Promise Keepers events speaks to this in his devotion today.

It's a message that I need etched in my heart and my brain. I know that I'm not immune to any of life's twists and turns.

Is Kwame Kilpatrick being pampered by the Michigan Department of Corrections?

A prison warden confirmed Friday that Kwame Kilpatrick is staying in an air-conditioned hospital room with a private shower but denied he is receiving treatment he shouldn't.

Warden Heidi Washington, who knew Kilpatrick when they both worked at the state Capitol, said she wants the former Detroit mayor isolated "for management reasons."


Read the above Detroit News story about Kwame Kilpatrick's treatment by the Michigan Department of Corrections as he's being processed into prison and you decide about how he's being treated.

In an e-mail to the Detroit News, one of the prison guards, says the former Detroit mayor is being treated like a rock star.

But, the warden says, no way. She says that he's in an air-conditioned hospital room. But that's only because of his celebrity status.

After he's processed into the system, should he be put into general prison population?

Should he be treated like many of his former constituents in the prison system who suffer hugely for making much smaller mistakes?

Read this book if you are a "fatherless" son or daughter

Donald miller Donald Miller's book "Father Fiction: Chapters For A Fatherless Generation" has touched my heart and my soul like few others.  The Bible has given me hope for the future, but this book has helped me understand who I am and how my life has been affected by being fatherless.

The reason I write this post is to awaken the thousands who have experienced the same situation where you have never known your father and have felt abandoned by him.  You feel the existence of a black hole in your identity that you just can't quite put your heart around.

Being almost 64-years-old, I hesitate to write about this because I might seem like a "sissy" who should have just grown out of it.  At this point in my life, it would be almost easier to talk about erectile dysfunction than talk about the sting of never knowing my father who walked out of my life when I was a baby and who disowned me when I was in my twenties after finding him.

But, I know there are thousands like me of all ages who have never faced or dealt with what happened to them and don't fully understand what they feel and that they are not alone.

The author grew-up fatherless and dealt with the whole continuum of emotions and experiences.  It's something that shapes your whole life and affects who you regard yourself. 

When I read Miller's book, I felt internal tears and all I could think was that this guy gets it.  He's been there and I'm not as abnormal as I thought. 

There's a price to pay when a dad throws away his position as a dad and its his kids who pick up the check.  They pay.  It has happened in the past and it continues to happen.

I will read Miller's book again and maybe I'll cry on the outside and maybe I won't.  There's a thick scar there. 

What concerns me the most are the young kids growing up now who don't know their father. 

They need to understand what they feel and how to deal with it.

This book helps.