Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Return Of "Lost"

Last night was a recap episode from last season. However it was great to see it again. Tonight will be the new season. The only sad part is that the writer's strike is still on and their are only eight episodes in the can.

My favorite scene last evening was where Jack was begging Kate to go back with him to the island. For those of us who watch the show, we have followed the story line and wonder to some degree what is happening.

Jack's (Matthew Fox) performance was amazing. Plus, the music is captivating and touches me deeply. In this show there is a sense of loss, emptiness, longing and connection that is going on. Not to over emphasize things, but isn't that true with so many people? I know it is with me at times. We have a whole society that is longing for acceptance.

With that aside, I can't wait for tonight's episode of "Lost." I hope you are with me on that one.

Jack Talking To Kate

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Modern Medicine

What a mess. It's Monday night and my kidney is "calling my name" if you get my drift! I was in pain. I couldn't take it anymore. I thought, "Oh no, not another kidney stone." So, I went rushing off to the ER department. When I get there, the nurse said it could be an hour wait. I thought, "Well, I've been here this long, I can wait in pain at least another hour." However, for some odd reason, a bed became available in ten minutes. I was asked the obvious. Where does it hurt? On a scale of one to ten what is the pain? Yada Yada. It was a ten! I will not use expletives but sure would have loved to.

So, as usual they had a hard time finding a vein in which to inject the I.V. So, as the blood drips from my forearm, they finally find a "suitable" vein. I am given a schedule two med to ease the pain and they escorted me off to the CT-Room. I come back. Wait. And, wait. Did I say wait? I was told that I had a 7mm (about a 1/4 of an inch) stone in my kidney. Oh great. So, I get admitted.

After I'm secure in my room and they start the saline drip and set up my morphine pump, I'm in for the night. I will await for the urologist to come the next day to determine what route we are going to take. The only upside to this whole debacle is that I got a good night's sleep in a single room with no other person, and the morphine pump provided relief beyond belief.

The next day, I'll have to wait until after noon until the doctor sees me. Now, I forgot to mention that the doctor had instructions of "npo" which means nothing to eat or drink. I have worked in a pharmacy and if you every see "po" on your script it means "by mouth." So, hence, npo was Nothing by mouth. However they did give me cute little orange flavored swabs and a cup of water to swish my mouth with if it became dry. Then, they relented and finally gave me ice-chips to suck on.

The doctor finally arrives. Get this! His visit lasted all of two minutes. He said, "Randy, you do not have a stone. You have some inflammation, go home take some Ibuprofen." He walked out the door! That was it. Then later I found out on my discharge papers that he wrote a script for an anti-biotic because I have a level three (a higher level) of a urinary tract infection. Something the doc didn't even mention to me at all! I was released. So, I'm still in pain until the meds do their work. If I needed a day off I would have preferred the Holiday Inn but I doubt they would have provided me with those cute orange flavored swabs and morphine!

The good news in all of this: I don't have a stone according to them. If that's true, I'm thankful. (However, I must add that this isn't conclusive as of today. I have to leave myself an "out" on medical conditions.) I've been there before and it's not a walk in the park. They had to do what they call "blasting" to get the thing out of there. I'm thankful for modern medicine and I guess it was better "safe than sorry" that I was admitted to be on the sure side. Now, the funny part. I've been waiting for "Lost" to come on for some time. This shows how fickle we all can be.I thought, "I hope I'm out of the hospital before 'Lost' comes on!" Ha. Priorities. My lesson to self: Drink more water's your friend. By the way, my friend Joel had a similar experience. Check it out.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I had reviewed this book a long time ago. I thought I needed to revisit this issue one more time. Sheila Walsh and her book "Honestly" is one of the best books that I think I've ever read. That's quite a statement, as I have read so many. Plus, I had the pleasure of interviewing her some years ago. I will parallel her book with Michael English's "The Prodigal Comes Home" and Beth Moore's "Get Out Of That Pit." So, in a way today's post is a bit of an omnibus.

Sheila as many know went through an emotional breakdown while being at CBN. She admitted herself to a hospital to get better. Michael English's fall was fodder for the media after his downfall was made apparent. Sheila became better when she faced her fears and found out who she was in Christ. It took a lot of courage for Sheila to write about some of the intimate details of her life. I commend her for that.

You see, we sometimes think that everyone in the faith will have "our back" so to speak. That isn't true. Trust is earned. My personal views are that you should choose your inner circle of friends very carefully. In life, if you have just three or four people that you can tell everything to, you are better off. Not everyone will want to know the details of your life. Sometimes those that do, just want gossip. And, that isn't what restoration is all about. It irks me too, when there are those that say they care about others and then do nothing or very little to help that fallen or troubled believer.

So, pick your "inner circle" carefully over a period of time. Thankfully I have my fab four. Terry, Roland, Rosemary and Steve make up the list. I know that I can tell them anything that troubles me and they are understanding, compassionate and I never feel I am wearing them out. But, conversely they have said the same thing about me. They are never a bother for me and I care for them greatly. Over the last ten years I've determined it's not healthy to tell everybody your life's story. Here's why.

Beth Moore in her wonderful book on "Get Out Of That Pit" says frankly you can wear some of your friends down. Plus, some friends may not be able to handle the situation your going through. They may care, but if your problem is severe, they many get worn out and not know how to help you. (That happened to me due to some physical problems I've endured.) That's where your "inner circle" comes in. I'm not advocating stuffing everything inside and not opening up to anyone. However, you must choose your closest friends carefully. Take time to do it. Others may be well intentioned but won't know how to really help in the long run. There are some who would love nothing more than for you to throw your life's story on a plate as an appetizer for them to feed upon.

With that being said, however, there are times when a life has to become an "open book." In the case of Michael English that had to be done. Michael's downfall affected the Christian community at large and an open repentance needed to be done. But, not everyone is on a national scale of a Dove Award winner. (But, who needs Dove Awards anyway? It bothers me that we give people awards for what they are supposed to be doing anyway.) I think Michael English has come full circle. I believe that he is restored, forgiven and back on a sane road. When I saw him last, I could sense that he was doing the best he could to walk again with the father. It took a lot of courage for English to face his sins head-on, come clean and be restored. Plus along with myself, I'm glad there were those that wanted him back in the fold, whole and restored. As believers we should always administer love and grace and allow that restored believer back into the loving care of others. I have a lot of love and respect for Michael and applaud him for his honesty and candor.

So, if you are "in the pit" today please don't think I'm saying shun the Christian family. All I'm saying is that most people are too busy with their own lives to give you the attention you need. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are wonderful ministries, counselors and pastors that can help you through until you aquire an inner circle with a few friends along the way. However, my caveat is clear. Trust is earned. It takes time to grow. When developing that inner circle ask some salient questions. This goes for "you" as well as the person you are going to trust with your heart. One, will this person keep everything confidential? Two, will that person along with myself be readily available if I have a serious need? Three, will that person continually pray for you and not walk away when the going gets tough? Those are just three. I could name many more.

It would be nice if the whole Christian community truly took an interest, but that will never, ever happen. Even Paul and Barnabas had their disagreements, so did Paul and Peter. No, Paul wasn't a rebel rouser, but he said, "If at all possible, be at peace with all men." Sure, we'll all need an inner circle when our lives fall apart. Plus, that same inner circle can be there for our times of joy as well. Also, I need to add just a side note. If you are a believer and you have sinned, it must be confessed to God. Also, you need to seek out pastoral care and work at restoration. That is biblical. Sad to say, even in the ministry, you must be very careful who you allow to help you in the restoration process. Pick someone that meets the qualifications of a pastor as outlined in Timothy or a respected counselor that has earned their trust with others.

The bottom line for me is simple. I don't want this post to be misunderstood. I'm NOT saying to stuff all your problems and not trust those around you. It is just better to be careful who you share your heart with. Some will nurture it and love you to the end of time, others would love nothing more than to toss it to the ground and stomp on it. Sad, but true. Sheila's words were tough to write I'm sure. I do know that we should all love, pray and honor one another. The old song says, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Yes, we can love. That is something the Lord would want us to do. Be well all.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Flashback

You'll notice a lot of my blogging has to do with music. Music IS one the greatest passions of my life. Sometimes, other than prayer and God's Word, it's the one balm that will really get to me. I had this thought today that I might make Friday's posting about music and call it "The Friday Flashback." There's a lot of new stuff on the market these days. Some of it is really good. Of course, Michael W. Smith is still making some decent recordings and I do like Mercy Me and Casting Crowns.

However, I feel that we forget the pioneers of yesteryear. And if they weren't a contemporary Christian pioneer, some artists just put out some great music. I'm going to try this for a week or two and see how it pans out. If you would like to comment as to whether you'd like this or not, let me know.

This week, I want to feature a great album released in 1981 called, "Inspiration" by Dony McGuire. It has some great tunes on it. One is "It's My Desire" that stirs me everytime, plus some greats like "Never Ending Love" and "Because Of Whose I Am." I'm playing a clip of one of the upbeat tunes called, "Stop This Haulin' Water." It has a good message and it makes my feet tap. So, you can tell I like it.

Finally, as a side note, if you are looking for some old recordings from years ago, I recommend a site that is great at getting close to anything you might need in Contemporary Christian music. It's Spinone80com. Check it out. Jeff runs it and does a great job converting old LP's into cdr format.

Well, that's it for this week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Stop This Haulin' Water

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Can Dream

My dear friend Cindy sent me this song by email. Here are the lyrics to David Phelps incredible song, "You Can Dream." I've had my share of setbacks the last few years to be sure. However, Cindy has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders rooting me on! Cindy, you are a wonderful friend. How I value you! I have lived some of the lines of this song. Cindy knew the exact song to pick to brighten my day. Let these lyrics and the clip of the song bless you today. Be well.

She tossed her hair back like she didn’t care.
Ignored the whispered comments and the stares.
How could they know about the man she’d met
About a love without regrets...

"You can dream, if you let me make you new.
You can soar, I’ll die to make it true.
A miracle has found you, now you can just believe you can dream."

He’d paid a price but still he’d had it all,
Until his house of cards began to fall.
And with his fortune went his friends and wife
And all he had left was his life
You can dream, if you let me make you new.
You can soar, I’ll die to make it true.
A miracle has found you,
Now you can just believe you can dream.

The God of broken pieces, a place where panic ceases.
Where prayers are woven into wings...

"You can dream, if you let me make you new.
You can soar, I’ll die to make it true.
A miracle has found you, now you can just believe you can dream."

You can dream. You can dream.
You can dream.

You Can Dream

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Sad Ending

It's sad that a young and talented actor passes away. For that matter, it's sad that anyone passes away. Heath Ledger was a fine actor in his own right. However, I didn't see "Brokeback Mountain" and had no desire to view it.

It just reminds me that in this world we have all kinds of people. Rich, poor, young, old, famous, not-so-famous, and more. Everyone has a need inside them that only the Lord can take care of. No amount of money, fame or fortune can grant the inescapable desire to take care of the emptiness inside.

We don't know exactly how he left this life or what caused it. All in all it's a sad ending to a life with so much promise.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Squeeze Your Queen's Head

Really...I mean...what are people smoking these days? First, Miss Sniz mentioned this on her blog about the woman who was on the show, "Don't Forget The Lyrics" with Wayne Brady. He asked her what she would do with the money. Well, listen to the audio. Then, Mr. Shumway had the acutual clip on his blog (links are on the right).

Now, think about it. You're on national TV. The host asks you what you will do with twenty-five thousand dollars. All you can say is that you want to go to England and squeeze the Queen's head and put her in your pocket? I was in tears laughing so hard.

Well, enough for today. That'll keep me going for a few days anyway!

Squeeze The Queen's Head

News And Commericals

I'm familiar with both! Of course my years of broadcasting comes into play as I've done both! There are certain voices I hear that just make me smile. Even in acting. I think the fact that NBC Nightly News has Michael Douglas doing their intro is great! I was watching Letterman the other night when I found this out. NBC approached Michael to do this. I guess Brian Williams and Douglas got to know each other and that's how it came about. (If my memory is correct.) The header is above and also below is Douglas' intro. There are just certain voices that are, to me, just, well, good! I think Michael Douglas, Peter O'Toole, and Peter Strauss have some of the finest voices ever.

Michael Douglas on the NBC News Opener

Now, closer to home, I have a favorite female one too! I may be biased but my former colleague Cindy Swanson has THE finest female voice on air. Check out her intro below.

Cindy's Intro

Now, the funny part. A fellow blogger Mr. Shumway provided this clip about the new Jeep commerical. It is just way too funny. I'm like Mr. Shumway. Anything with talking animals gets to me everytime it seems. You gotta check out the commercial from his site.

Oh, on a sadder note, I've been a Packer fan since I was a kid. I'll be better by next year, maybe! Grin. I hated to see Green Bay lose. But, that's life.

So, what have we learned in class today? I love good speaking voices and animals that talk. What a way to start the week. Be well everyone!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scooby Doo And Chapman Too

England Dan and John Ford Coley had a major hit back in 1976 with, "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight." However, for those of us old enough to remember, there was confusion over a line in the song. Radio stations did on-air contests giving prizes away to those who could answer what the line was actually saying. I have no idea how many won anything, but it was fun enough.

The line was, "I'm not talking about moving in, and I don't want to change your life." But, it seemed the group's vocals were a bit muddled during the singing of that line. Listeners got confused as they played the song over and over. One guy went so far as to say, "Are they saying, 'I'm not talking about millenium?'" Funny, the thousand year reign of Christ in a secular pop song.

Well today, I'm taking a humorous look at one song. First off let me say, I'm not making light of this wonderful song, "I Need Jesus" that Gary Chapman sings about. This song is wonderful and right on target. Gary sings it well and it's one of my favorite tunes. However, towards the end of the song, Gary kind of, well, isn't clear on what he is singing. It's kind of the England Dan thing going on there. Below is a clip of the last thirty seconds of this song. After Gary sings "I need Jesus" the third time, there's a slight instrumental portion and then he says...well...something! To me, it sounds like, "Scooby Doo too." No, it couldn't be. No more than England Dan and John Ford Coley's song said, "Millenium."

You just gotta hear it. Help me out. By the way, I've tried to find the lyrics online to no avail. And...I don't have the original CD with the lyrics. Plus, what he said could be improvisional. If you figure it out, let me know!

Gary Randy 1994

By the way, if there's a one-in-a-million chance that Gary reads this blog I hope he knows that I love his music and just wanted to share a little humor. By the way, I included a picture of Gary and me from 1994. He's really fun to interview and a great guy. He's a riot. Be well all.

I Need Jesus Edit

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dad Knows The Way Home

A father named John and his son Kyle decided to make a trip to a cabin overlooking a lake. What a great time for this father and son duo to spend some time together. John not only loved his son but knew of his condition of worrying over things. He tried deeply to understand Kyle's concerns. Neither did it change the love that Kyle had for his father. For he looked up to him with great admiration.

One evening while on the boat in the middle of the lake, the sun started to set. Kyle became a little bit anxious. He said, "Dad, do you know your way across this lake?" John smiled, "Yes, son, I know where to go." Kyle then asked, "Dad, do you think you can get us back to the cabin?" John sensed Kyle's nervousness. John reassured Kyle that "yes" he could get them safely back to the cabin.

As John throttled the engine and steered from the back of the boat, Kyle sat rocking in the middle of the boat to calm himself. Kyle kept repeating, "Dad knows the way home, dad knows the way home!" It brought tears to John's eyes. He knew his son trusted and loved him. And, John loved his son enough to guide him through the dark night, across the lake and safely home.

That's the way it needs to be for all of us. If you sense that you are in the middle of the night, you've lost your direction and God seems to be all but gone, be of good cheer. Father God, Abba, Dad, is still there. We may not always see God at work. But, if we chose to trust, he'll be there. And...ultimately God loves us and takes care of us even, at times, when we don't even know he is! He will guide us, if we'll trust him, and ultimately HE will lead us home.

So, this wraps up my small trilogy on the great love of God. In my first post I wrote about Frederick Lehman's great hymn, "The Love Of God." Mr. Lehman said the ocean would still run dry even if it was filled with ink to write about the "whole" of the love of God. We can't do it, can we? I guess we need to just embrace it. Plus, be thankful that God loved us so much he sent Jesus Christ to demonstrate that very love on a cruel cross and to save us from our sins. May the peace of Christ be with you all!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Life Is In Your Hands

The past few days, the Lord, I think, has been dealing with me on his great and wonderful love. This is the second post I wish to write about regarding this. I hope to do a third one and complete the trilogy. I grew up in a very legalistic environment. I felt I had to walk on "egg shells" so to speak. The churches I attended talked of God's love and grace but you'd had better work like crazy! This last week has been an epiphany for me. You could say a "light" really shined my way. One that I truly needed.

Yes, I always knew God loved me. But, it is becoming more of a reality than ever before. It would be difficult to explain how God finally had to "dig" way down deep for me to start to see it. I can say this: sometimes my problems seem immense, but the last few days, there has been a peace inside that has provided me comfort beyond measure. I can only say like the apostle Paul when he spoke, "the peace of God that passes all understanding..." Oh, I pray this doesn't leave. Oh the immeasurable love of God. I don't want what I am being taught to fade away.

Today, I want the lyrics of this song to bless you. I cannot say it better. I have repeatedly listened to this song over and over. As I've said before, "How could I not love my Lord?" The world just doesn't get it. I'm not mad about that, actually I'm very sad. They look for love and peace in all the wrong places. Well, let the lyrics and the clip of the song bless you. I hope it does. Be well all.

You don’t have to worry
And don’t you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don’t last always
For there’s a friend in Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

So when your test and trials
They seem to get you down

And all your friends and loved ones
Are no where to be found
Remember there’s a friend in Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away

And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say…

Oh I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

My Life Is In Your Hands

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Love Of God

I was sitting there that night, book in hand. I think I had read the same paragraph three times in a row. I couldn't concentrate. It wasn't that the book was boring, actually it was a very good one. It was me. My thoughts were elsewhere. As I looked out into the pitch dark night, something just came over me. I dropped the book on the table and began praying. I started thinking about how much God loved me even at times when "I" am the one who is distant when I blame the Lord for being the same way at times.

My prayer went something like this: "Father, you love me in spite of myself. Lord, there are times I'm hanging on to you for dear life trying to get through another day. Then, there are times I don't even attempt to hang onto you! Oh Lord, you never let go! Even in my joy, sadness, sorrow and gladness, regardless of which one, you are there! You never let go. You always love me! How could I not love you my Lord? How could I not love you?"

Maybe you've been there too, when an old concept becomes new again. How I needed to be reminded of the great immeasurable love of God in Jesus Christ. It was a moment I needed just then. I was reminded of the great song by Frederick M. Lehman that I treasure so much called, "The Love Of God." Some of the lyrics are:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky

Those last lines really get to me each time I hear them. I personally don't think that any hymn writer has said it better. Think of the words. "Nor could the scroll, contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky." It doesn't get much better than that. So today, I'm not offering anything new. However, it doesn't always have to be new does it? It just has to be real! And...the love of God is "real", it is! So during every step of my life, the love of God is there. He doesn't change like we do! Let the lyrics of this song touch you today. Have a good week everyone and may the peace of Christ be with you all.

The Love Of God

Monday, January 7, 2008

You Said What?

Sometimes people do say the funniest things! Here are just a few I have heard through the years. One time when I was flying out of Cincinnati, at check in the attendant asked me, "Are you flying out of Cincinnati?" My jaw dropped. I didn't reply but felt like saying, "No, I'm flying out of Dayton but thought I'd drop by and see how you all were doing?" Go figure.

During a news broadcast they were interviewing this man about the state of the economy. I really don't know where they find these people. But as he postured himself trying to look authentic he said, "Sometimes you feel like you are caught between a rock and a hard stone!" Hmmm...the last time I checked they were the same thing. Isn't the saying, "a rock and a hard place?"

I love the new Eagles album. As if I haven't said that too many times. There is a line in the song "Too Busy Being Fabulous" that says, "You think time is just a magazine and money is just a thrill." That line just cracks me up. I know people like that. I don't "hang" with them, but I know them. Ha.

One show had a person yelling at the other one saying, "Call 911." The other replied, "What's the number?"

This is a location joke. Meaning: You just had to be there at that moment. My former radio colleague Cindy and I were joking about a few things when the subject got on the topic of a certain employee. Cindy was so animated when she said, "Randy, didn't he just have the biggest head?!" (She didn't mean stuck up.) She would cackle as she waved her arms and said, "His head was so huge!" I was in tears laughing. Have you ever seen someone that their head didn't quite match their body size? She could always get me to laugh.

Years ago a customer became incensed at the counter employee at a fast food restaurant. The customer wanted an ice-cream sundae. The employee said "Sorry we don't have ice-cream sundaes." The patron threw down her purse and shouted, "Since when does McDonald's NOT have ice-cream sundaes?" The counter person pointed her finger at the sign above that said, "Arby's."

And I love this one since I'm sure pharmacy employees hear it all the time. "I want brand medications, those genetic ones don't work for me!" Notice the spelling. Or they will say, "I don't have any genetics." You don't?

It's not only kids that say the funniest things. Have a good week everyone.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

When Life Hits You Hard

My friend Joel has a great post I think you'd be interested in. Here's the link. Joel remarks about plowing straight ahead and not looking back. His message really hit home to me. I hope it touches you as well. Joel is theologically on track and his insight is second to none.

After reading Joel's post I thought about the movie "Rocky Balboa." I watched that movie again today. It's more than just about a boxer trying to make a comeback. It's about a man trying to let go of the beast inside him and be set free from the past. It went right along with what my friend Joel was saying on his blog.

Rocky Talks To His Son

There's a scene where Rocky's son doesn't want his father to fight again. He feels somewhat embarrassed that hid dad would step into the ring. Rocky says some pretty tough words to his son, but in a loving way. I couldn't help but be touched by the words in this scene. Below is a clip of that monologue Rocky delivers so well.

You know, life does hit us hard at times, doesn't it? None of us are immune from setbacks, disappointments and heartache. I guess it comes down to the very question of what do we do when it happens. Rocky gives the answer. And, greater yet...The Lord said to be of good cheer, for he has overcome the world. Plus, we are in Christ and we ultimately overcome too, don't we?

There have been times we all have probably said, "I can't take it anymore, I give up." But, we continue, we go on. The sad matter is this question at hand. What do people do that don't know the Lord? Who do they turn to in their time of sorrow? Jesus said that his yoke was easy and his burden is light. We could find rest in him. I need to remind myself of that daily. When life throws me those punches, I need to remember that Jesus took the biggest punch of all. It seemed all over when he cried out, "Father, it is finished." Oh, but that wasn't the end. isn't for us. I need to remind myself of that on a daily basis. Believe me, I can write these nice words, but living them out becomes the tough part. But, with the Lord, we overcome. So, for this new year, when life hits you hard, go to the one that took the toughest blows and can comfort like no one else can. May the peace of Christ be with you all!

Rocky Speaks