Monday, June 30, 2008

God Provides

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • S: Psalm 104:25-30 [MSG]
  • O: Just as God has created all, we all look to him for everything we need. We all, as in the animal kingdom. And God provides.
  • A: As my wife and I talked yesterday about God providing for us as it pertains to an upcoming family expense, this passage screams that man has forgotten how to trust God. We put so much time and effort into doing for ourselves, that we have forgotten to let God provide. While God certainly doesn't want lazy Christians sitting around waiting for a handout, what He does want is for us to do for each other and let Him do for us.
  • P: Father, for all that You've done and all that You continue to do, thank You. Help me to trust in You to provide and to direct more of my energies into doing for others.
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The Joe Show 78 - Politics and Patriotism [CORRECTED AUDIO VERSION]

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Episode Seventy-Eight: Politics and Patriotism [CORRECTED AUDIO VERSION]

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Asking the Tough Questions

This shouldn't be such a tough question, really, but here's what makes it tough: most Pro-life candidates will tell you that they are against abortion. Period. End of story. While at the same time, Pro-choice candidates don't seem to understand just where they really stand.

In this example, Senator Barack Obama -- a Pro-choicer -- doesn't believe that life begins at conception, but does believe that fatherhood doesn't end at conception. Meaning that being a father is more than biologically fathering a baby or impregnating a woman. Being a father means actually being a father to a child.

You can't have it both ways, though. Either that little fertilized egg is a living baby, making the sperm donor a father, or that sperm donor is not a father if you believe that life doesn't begin at conception. If fatherhood begins at conception, then so does life.

Direct video link.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Review: Forever Odd by Dean Koontz

Book ReviewAs I continue through Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series of books, I have recently finished reading the second of the series, Forever Odd. While I found Odd Thomas (click here for my review) to be quite enjoyable, I found Forever Odd to be very difficult to put down. It was a fast paced book that kept the action coming, page after page. While we continue to learn more about "Dean Koontz's most likeable character," he continues to learn more about himself.

While a great deal of book one in the series is devoted to the development of characters and setting, by book two we are already familiar with Odd Thomas, Chief Porter, Ozzie, and the town of Pico Mundo, and Koontz can spend a significantly greater amount of time working on developing the plot of his story.

I found myself up many late nights, digging deeper and deeper into the story, finding it more and more difficult to put the book down. Many of those nights I fell asleep with my nose in the book long before I decided that it was time to put the book down and go to sleep.

Perhaps one of the best parts of Forever Odd is the hook at the ending that makes you anxious to dive into the third installment, Brother Odd, which is just what I've done.

No spoilers here, sorry. Just grab the book and start a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Your comments?


Global Food Crisis

The following post was actually written on 6/25/08, but withheld from posting until 6/26/08 for reasons made clear in the Bible.

Today is the day to fast and pray for the Global Food Crisis. If you're reading this early enough, you may still have time to join the fast. If you've already had breakfast, it might be too late to start fasting, but it isn't too late to join in the prayer.

When I first saw this event, I felt compelled to join in the fasting and prayer. I started praying last night before sleeping. Praying for God to support me in the fast, as it can be difficult for those of us who are used to three square meals a day and more to actually go for a day without food. Difficult for us, though so many people in the world do it every day without a choice.

It was an unusual night of sleeping for me. I actually dreamed this whole day through last night, from beginning to end, to the point that the day was just coming to an end in my dreams while my son was waking me up. Of course, as is usual with my dreams, I can't remember the details of the day I dreamed. But I did wake several times throughout the night and felt called to pray more.

Have you ever felt so moved by God that you woke up in the middle of the night and felt that you just had to pray for something? Yeah, it was kind of like that.

My toughest task today, I think, will be to keep myself busy enough to keep my mind off of food. Seems like that might be kind of hard to do, forgetting about food and hunger so I can fast, when I'm supposed to be praying about hunger all day long. Right? But if it was an easy thing to do, it seems like it might lose some meaning.

So why do we pray and fast? Because Jesus taught us that certain kinds of demons are combated only through prayer and fasting. By fasting, we give up a worldly need -- food, in this case -- to bring our minds and our spirits more in tune with our prayers as we talk to God. By purging the body of the gluttony of our daily lives, we free our mind and spirit of some of the distraction that separates us from God. That's what it means to me, at least.

So for one day we fast and pray for a solution for the world's hungry. It almost seems insignificant, compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that is spend on our current Presidential campaign. That could sure buy lots of food for the world's hungry. Thankfully, there is nothing at all insignificant about the power of prayer.


So at 5:37 pm I broke the fast. I tried, and while I could probably try to make excuses, I'll admit that I just gave in to temptation. I don't know how they do it, sometimes going for days without any real food to eat. They will definitely remain in my prayers.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama the Racist

I have a problem with this. The civil war ended almost 140 years ago. Slavery was abolished so long ago that no one alive now ever "legally" owned a slave. Yet we still have companies who choose "affirmative action" over equal opportunity, giving special treatment to minority races who have been oppressed in the past.

I, for one, do not believe that oppression exists at such a level today as to warrant "affirmative action." I also don't feel it would be right for John McCain to use Barack Obama's race as an issue in the Presidential election. In fact, if he did so, he would probably guarantee himself a loss come November.

Why, then, is it okay for Obama to make race an issue? Don't believe me? Watch the video.

Direct video link.

Why should Obama be able to play the race card? If ever there was a time that America was ready for a black or female President, I would say that now is probably that time. For the first time in American history, I could see a black or a female getting elected to the Oval Office -- if they were the right candidate for the job.

I do not think Barack Obama is the right person for the job. Not because he's black (half-black, actually). But because he's a racist! And if there's one thing that America doesn't need, it's to be led by a racist in the White House!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Church Shopping -- So To Speak

This isn't a review, though it will probably sound like one by the time I'm done with it. It isn't a review because I don't think it would be proper for me to "review" a church. After all, if they're doing the work of the Lord, who am I to judge the way in which they do it?

What it is, however, is my story of our latest endeavor to find a church we can call home in Indianapolis. My family and I moved from Terre Haute, Indiana, at the end of December. In the months preceding our move, my wife was Baptized at Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute, and we both had begun to feel quite convicted about becoming more involved and solidifying our walk with God. Then we moved.

Since our move, we have driven back to Terre Haute most Sundays to attend church and visit with my wife's parents. With gas surpassing the $4 a gallon mark, we decided that maybe it was time to cut back to making the trip every other week and finding another church home in Indianapolis. Today, we visited our second new church in Indy.

I won't say the name of the church here because, as I've said, it is not my position to judge the service or the participants. I only want to share my experience, and my frustration with the difficulty of finding a church home where we truly feel at home.

So we went to [name of church withheld] this morning, which is only about 20 or 25 minutes from home, so the drive was nice -- much shorter than the trip to Terre Haute. At first, it was overwhelming. They have services at 8am, 9:30 and 11am. This means that when you're going in for either the second or third service, the attendees of the prior service are on their way out at the same time. This is chaos. And being that it was our first time at a new church, we didn't quite know where to go. Having people going in all directions just added to the confusion.

We made our way into the church and found a sign that said “NURSERY.” Needing to drop the kids off at the children's ministry, we stopped at the Nursery desk. “We've never been here before,” I said. The response was far from enthusiastic. At first, there seemed to be no response. My wife looked at me and smiled out of discomfort with the situation. Finally, the woman at the desk began to ask the ages of our children and told us what to do and where they were to be taken. We signed our daughter in, dropped her off and picked up a pager that would go off if they needed us for some reason.

We then took our son to the Preschool desk. There was no one at this desk at all, so we entered the room behind the desk and went to a table that had preprinted names of children who are obviously regular attendees. A man came out and we told him we had never been there before. He was a little nicer than the first and asked how old our son was. When we told him, he directed us across the room to another table, where we went through a ritual similar to that we had been through when we dropped our daughter off. These people were a little nicer than the first.

Then we headed into the sanctuary. People were milling about everywhere, and the sanctuary seemed to be about half empty. At first I thought maybe we had chosen the least attended service of the three. We found a pew (yes, a pew -- we've become accustomed to the theater style seating in our regular church in Terre Haute) toward the rear and took our seats as a countdown timer on the screens ticked down to the start of the service.

Thirty seconds before the timer expired, five people came out onto the stage, accompanied by various instrumentalists donning their respective equipment. The five people were all vocalists. As the five vocalists and the instrumentalists that made up the "Worship Band" begun playing, people began flooding into the sanctuary and taking seats. We assumed that the woman in the center of the five vocalists was the Worship Leader. We turned out to be correct, unfortunately. Every church has one, and she was the one at [name of church withheld] -- the overbearing woman who thinks she has to sing louder, longer, and higher than everyone else so that her voice can be heard above the masses. Of the five vocalists, we never even heard the voices of the two men, though they had microphones in their hands that they appeared to be singing into.

Communion was odd, though the Pastor did say they were going to do it a little differently today. They passed the bread and cup and asked everyone to hold it and take it all together, which we then did silently – presumably because the Pastor had seen the same thing done in the past week in an Uzbeki underground church. Nothing wrong with that, just different from what we've become accustomed to.

After some singing and Communion and offering, the Pastor began his sermon. He spoke about Abraham and how he had obeyed God's command to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him. I actually enjoyed the sermon, and thought that the Pastor did a very good job of relating it on a level that everyone should be able to understand.

After the sermon, the “Worship Band” returned to the stage and began singing – more of the same. At the same time, some people were Baptized. That was an unusual situation, because the only way you could observe the Baptism was to watch it on the big screens. The name(s) of those being Baptized were displayed on the screen, and the silent image of them confessing their faith and being Baptized was displayed. Unless, of course, you crowded around the Baptismal, as many seemed to do, to get a closer look. That, to me, seemed weird. Also, it seemed weird that the act of Baptizing these individuals seemed to be second in importance to the high vibrato wailing of the worship leader and her band.

When it was all over, we picked up the kids and returned to the car. On the trip home, we asked our son if he thought he would want to go back. He said, “No.” Later when asked again, he said the same. I guess it just wasn't the same for any of us as we're used to at Maryland. Why does it have to be so difficult to find a church that feels like home?

We would really love to find something closer to Indy for those Sundays when we don't make the drive to Terre Haute. While I would be okay returning to today's visited church on occasion, if my son -- who really enjoys church -- isn't interested in returning there, we probably won't. We're a family, and while I, as the father, am the spiritual leader of the family, what kind of leader would I be if I forced my family to attend a church where they didn't feel comfortable.

If you have any suggestions, or would like to invite us to visit your church, please let me know. I may mention the experience here, but I would never identify the church, unless the experience was such a moving and inspirational one that I felt the need to share it.


The Joe Show 77

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Episode Seventy-Seven:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review: Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Book ReviewEvery very successful author has his signature something. With Stephen King, it has always been Castle Rock, Maine. With Ted Dekker, it's the world of Other Earth. For Dean Koontz, it appears that it has become his character, Odd Thomas.

I originally passed up the Odd Thomas collection, for no reason really. I guess I just didn't know what it was about and didn't think it sounded too interesting. Until I saw the video series, "Odd Passenger," based on the Odd Thomas character. View the videos below, or skip ahead to read more.

Odd Passenger - Episode 1

Odd Passenger - Episode 2

Odd Passenger - Episode 3

Odd Passenger - Episode 4


Those videos captured my attention, sparked my interest, piqued my curiosity -- give it whatever label you want, but I rushed out and bought Odd Thomas, the first of (so far) four books about Koontz's colorful character.

Odd Thomas sees dead people. They come to him seeking justice, mostly, though they can't really communicate what it is exactly that they want from him, because the dead don't talk. Or, in the case of the late, great Elvis Presley, they come to him at times just to hang out. To weep. To brood. When the dead refuse to let go of this world for one reason or other, they are doomed to roam the earth as a silent spirit, invisible to all but a very, very few.

In Odd Thomas, we follow Odd through his hometown of Pico Mundo, where his strange gift has him on a mission to save hundreds of people from certain death. With twists and turns unexpected, Koontz weaves a tale that will have you glued to the pages and send you rushing out (as I did) to buy the rest of the series.

To say much more here would be to reveal too many spoilers. I'm now reading Forever Odd and will soon be reading Brother Odd. Of course, Odd Hours is now out in hard back. So far, the only Koontz books I've read and enjoyed more have been the first two in his adaptation of the classic Frankenstein franchise.

Read Odd Thomas. You won't be disappointed.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Odd Thomas by Koontz

Just finished Koontz's Odd Thomas. Review coming soon.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert Dead at 58

Russert was just back from a family trip to Italy and was in his Washington office working when he collapsed. NBC said he was recording voiceovers for Sunday's "Meet the Press."
I must say that I, for one, will miss Tim Russert during this year's election cycle, and that I'll miss him on Meet The Press. Our thoughts are with the Russert family and those who have grown close to Tim Russert over his career.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Soapy Joe 3 - One Prayer

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Episode Three: One Prayer

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National Terror Alert Response Center: Gates Warns of Catastrophic Consequences For States Providing Terrorists Nuclear Bomb

From the National Terror Alert Response Center: Gates Warns of Catastrophic Consequences For States Providing Terrorists Nuclear Bomb

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Tuesday of "catastrophic" consequences for any state that provided nuclear weapons used in a terrorist attack on the United States. His comments came at the end of a two-day swing through US air bases in which he pressed the air force to give priority attention to its nuclear forces, warning that the need for deterrence was growing, not diminishing. "Every senior leader, when you're asked what keeps you awake at night, it's the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear," Gates told reporters on a flight back to Washington.

Gates acknowledged that deterrence would likely have little effect on terrorists prepared to die for their cause. But, he said, "It certainly plays a part in deterring the states who might be a source for it (nuclear material.)" He said it was hard to imagine that terrorists could obtain nuclear materials from anywhere other than a state.

Asked what the consequences would be for a state that supplied nuclear weapons used in a terrorist attack on the United States, Gates said, "The way we've always framed it is the consequences for a state who unleashed a weapon of mass destruction on the United States would be catastrophic. "We went through this in the lead up to the first Gulf War. We never were explicit about it. We just said the consequences would be catastrophic. It is best to leave it ambiguous."

The subject came up earlier in a closed question and answer session Gates had with air force personnel at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. In discussing the growing importance of deterrence after a post-Cold War lull, Gates also cited Russia's recent investments in its nuclear arsenals and challenges posed by China and Iran, he said. The United States is convinced that an Iranian enrichment uranium program is part of a drive to acquire nuclear weapons, despite Iranian denials.

Read more

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fwd: Magnatune Song of the Day for Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another talented artist whose music has been featured on The Joe Show. Get a free download today from

Magnatune Song of the Day
for Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Album: Trances-Drones CD1
Artist: Robert Rich
Song: 1. Cave Paintings

Listen to the album: hifi lofi


(only available today, Tuesday)


Today's free song is from the album:

Robert Rich
Trances-Drones CD1

Total time: 143:45
Release date: 8/14/07

Location of artist: CA, USA

This artist has 7 other albums

You will be able to download a high quality version of this artwork when you purchase this album.

Monday, June 9, 2008

God Make Us ... Dead

As part of the One Prayer series going on now in over 1400 churches across the world, the following video was submitted by my church and presented this past Sunday for the evening worship.

It was a highly impactful presentation, with two Baptisms and several people in the congregation in tears throughout the corporate worship period following the presentation.

It's not a short video, but it is well worth watching. - "God, Make us dead." - from shawnw on Vimeo.

Direct video link


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Indiana Flooding Worse Than I Thought

click for storyI'm fortunate enough to live just east of Indianapolis, where we have received much of the pummeling from recent rains, but where we were just missed by tornadoes that struck five miles north of us last week and flooding that struck just south and west of us this week.

My family and I left the house around noon today to make our weekly Sunday commute to Terre Haute -- where my wife's family still lives -- so the kids could visit with their grandparents and we could go to church. We knew that Interstate 70 westbound was closed and chose an alternate route of US 40 -- the old National Road. Almost five hours later, we completed what would normally have been about an eighty minute drive.

At the intersection of US 40 and US 231, we waited for ten minutes (literally) at a stoplight while the traffic that was detouring from Interstate 70 to US 40 rolled past us. I guess I should have known then to seek an alternate alternate route.

About five miles east of Brazil, Indiana, we came to a screeching halt. Sitting in traffic that was backed up due to the detour, and creeping along at an average of about two miles an hour, it would have taken us over two hours just to get past Indiana Highway 59, where the detour would be routed back to Interstate 70. Instead of waiting, I turned around and tried to take the County Roads north to US 36.

After running into several heavily flooded, impassable roads, we found ourselves back on US 40, about four miles back from where we had started, having driven around in a circle, thanks to the closed roads.

Finally, I turned around again and went all the way back to US 231 and followed it north to US 36, entering Terre Haute from the north rather than the south.

It was literally four hours and forty-five minutes after leaving our home just east of Indianapolis that we arrived at my in-laws home. Wow, what a long drive! We saw much, much flooding, to include some homes that were clearly not inhabitable under several feet of water.

I knew we had seen lots of rain over the past couple of weeks, but it took this lengthy Sunday commute for me to see just how bad it really was. Hopefully things will dry out before the next raindrop falls.


The Joe Show 75 - Rain Rain Rain

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Episode Seventy-Five: Rain Rain Rain

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Quick Pre-Voting Test for November

I was talking with someone at work today who said he had no intention of voting in November. I, of course, pounced on that one. He said he thinks that we should not be in Iraq, and that was part of the reason he wouldn't be voting.

This, my friend, is exactly why you must vote in the Presidential election this November. In fact, if you're having a hard time figuring out how to vote, I suggest you ask yourself the following question:

Which is worse, American troops in Iraq, or radical Islamic troops in America?

Go ahead, I think the answer is clear, which is why there is clearly only one way to vote in November: John McCain will not leave Iraq without victory. It is my personal belief that we should quickly end the war in Iraq, but that we can only end it in victory.

Go ahead, ask yourself the question. If you can honestly answer that you would rather have radical Islamic troops in America, then maybe you shouldn't vote in November. Maybe you should just voluntarily deport yourself.

Read more at or Redstate Beta.


Friday, June 6, 2008

McCain - "To Keep The Country I Love Safe"

Direct Video Link


Book Review: Germ by Robert Liparulo

Book ReviewI have just finished reading the third Robert Liparulo book in my library. He has only written three. This was actually his second book. I'm sort of glad I read it last.

I first read Comes A Horseman, followed by Deadfall, both very compelling page-turners. It took me considerably longer to finish Germ than it did the other two. Not because it wasn't a good book. It was a very action packed, fast paced read, as two Average Joe American readers have commented in prior posts here. But there was just something too -- familiar, I guess, about it.

Germ is about a scientist who engineers a virus that, when released upon the population, will spread rapidly, giving ultimate control of the world to he who holds the cure -- which, of course, is the same scientist who engineered the virus. In a nutshell, that's the storyline. Everything that proceeds from there involves (a) a hired thug responsible for ensuring that enemies of the virus fail; (b) a group of protagonists that discovers the threat of the virus and risks their lives trying to stop the mad scientist; and (c) the hidden lair that the scientist is holed up in, making his evil plans for domination.

Now, I found this to be quite familiar to another story line that I have reviewed both here and here. This other story line is about a scientist who seeks a virus that, when released upon the population, will spread rapidly, giving ultimate control of the world to he who holds the cure -- which, of course, is that same scientist. In this case, the mad scientist finds the virus he desires as a mutation of a vaccine created by a leading pharmaceutical lab and engineers a way to force the mutation and to sustain. Slightly different method with the same result. Much of what proceeds from this story line involves (a) a hired thug responsible for ensuring that enemies of the virus fail; (b) a group of protagonists that discovers the threat of the virus and risks their lives trying to stop the mad scientist; and (c) the hidden lair that the scientist is holed up in, making his evil plans for domination. Wow. Seems like it could be the same story, right? Except that this second story, the epic Circle saga from author Ted Dekker, goes so much deeper into the story as to create two different worlds spanning some twelve novels to date.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Germ, and it is definitely a fast paced book worth the time spent reading it. But, if you haven't yet embarked on the journey that is the land of the Histories, please, read Black, Red, and White first. But don't stop there. Continue with the entire Circle saga. You won't be disappointed.

Then, when your finished, pick up the three works of Robert Liparulo. He's a solid, talented author whom I hope to see on the bookshelf again soon.


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