Archive for January, 2011

No doubt on Sunday I will look extra masculine.  And you will probably at some point think to yourself, “Man this sermon is good…AND Sam is looking extra manly today.  I wonder what it is?”  Well my friends, the answer is simple…I naturally exude such a high level of masculinity, it tends to take people aback (don’t make me show off my back hair to prove it!!!).  But in addition, this Sunday, you will note the growth of my very masculine beard (except for the parts that really aren’t growing in…which doesn’t make me any less masculine!!) and a brand new pulpit that I will be preaching from.  My old pulpit, a less masculine plexiglass pulpit has been broken for years (we just made do).  When Brian and Hannah Walter moved to South Carolina, they purchased me a parting gift – this uber-masculine pulpit.  Just look at the diamond chrome design on that baby!  So – just in case you were wondering why I look so masculine – there it is…

This Sunday we begin a three-week series entitled “So…You Think You Are a Christian.”  Even as I type, a backdrop of mirrors, etc. is being hung in the Quarry as a backdrop to what I pray will be a challenging and intentionally introspective series on following Jesus.  See you THIS Sunday 9:30, 11:30 a.m., or 5:30 p.m.  Since you are already planning on being here, you should bring a friend too.

Well…on September 24th I very self-righteously announced I was done with American Idol.  You can read my declaration here.

Then last week came the premiere of this season’s American Idol.  My in-laws were in town and when the show started my wife, three kids, and in-laws were all in the family room watching the show.  I was in the other room reading a book…by myself…feeling left out and like an anti-social boob.  So, I went in and watched the show with them.  And…I was hooked.  I love the new judges.  I think Steven Tyler is hilarious (the dude is 60!!).  They have a great chemistry.  I think I prefer them over any of the old judges (who would have guessed?).

But last night, if there were any lingering doubts, it was decided.  I’m a Steven Tyler fan.  It came as the last story of the night.  The story of Chris Medina who was caring for his fiance who was in a tragic car accident two months before they were to marry.  Now, she suffers through the consequences of severe brain injury.  And I’m not talking maybe a slight speech problem or mobility issues – I’m talking severe consequences.  Chris said, “What kind of man would I be if I were to leave her when she needs me the most.”  Wow.  Huge story of fidelity and love.

And then Steven Tyler asked Chris to bring his fiance in.  And the judges greeted her.  But Steven Tyler loved on her in the most gentle and endearing way.  And that was it.  I’m back on the bandwagon (or I fell off the band wagon…I don’t know which one).

Bears vs. Packers

Posted: January 21, 2011 in sports

sent to me by my dad…

Chinese Closure

Posted: January 14, 2011 in Restaurants, South Bend

China Garden (the one in the basement) here on the South Side of South Bend is closing at the end of the month.  I didn’t go often.  But I liked it!

Hibachi Grill, on the corner of Michigan and Ireland (the old Hollywood Video) is to open soon.  It has a 100 item buffet in the center of the restaurant.  Might be good.  I’m a little skeptical of any place that offers American, Italian, Chinese, & Japanese food.  Too broad.

Last night we sat around the table to discern and decide what to do with an opportunity that had unexpectedly opened up last week.  The meeting was preceded by a synopsis of the opportunity and a call to prayer.  Five days later we were now gathering to decide.  Honestly, I was excited about the possibilities that were in the opportunity.  I knew there were large and serious questions, but I found my heart wanting to be for it.  I was hoping God was for it too.  But I live in a state of insecurity about hearing God’s voice in a matter like this (we sure didn’t have a book, chapter, or verse to decide).  So – in these matters I trust that God will decide this thing in the same way I have seen it over and over again in my time at Living Stones Church.  All of the elders and myself will gather together, pray, talk it through, and in the end we’ll have a unanimous decision (we tried white smoke from a chimney but it seemed too dramatic 🙂 ).

It happened again last night.  We prayed.  We talked it through.  And we were all in agreement (the final decision even being against my natural inclination).

Everyone is free to speak their opinion.  There are questions.  There are challenges.  There is a give and take of ideas and “what ifs.”  People can begin at totally different places.  But in the process you can see emerging – a Spirit-driven unanimity.

I’ve never experienced anything other.  I’m not saying it won’t happen.  But we have NEVER taken a vote.  We’ve never had a WINNING side or LOSING side.  We’ve NEVER had an awkward “hold out” that the rest of the leaders had to figure out how to respond to.  NEVER.

Thus, I stand convinced (as of now) that a group of leaders can gather together as a group and make a decision in complete agreement and never have to cast a vote.  And the agreement is true and genuine (not the…we disagree in private but publicly we put on a united front).  And the end decision is WAY better than me trusting my initial inclinations or solitary ability to discern the will of God.

Now I’m praying that this blog post doesn’t jinx it.  🙂

Snowblow the roof…with an actual heavy duty snowblower!!! 🙂

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the South Side:  Know what happens when you have a record snowfall and you don’t move your car for the plows?  This!!!  Looks like someone won’t be seeing that car again until Spring!

Is it wrong to hope that on the 2nd week of the new season of Biggest Loser several of the contestants without any explanation gain weight after exercising and eating healthy?  Because THAT would make me feel better today.

Oh…and then Jillian looks into the camera and says, “Don’t worry Sam I love you.  You’re the best!”


Hey Living Stoners

Given the record snowfall today; the anticipation of more lake effect tonight; the reality that most of you haven’t seen a snowplow on your street; volunteers who are already canceling for tomorrow; etc.


Stay warm.  Have a restful day.