Saturday, August 01, 2009

Today's Top 5 - Rides at Walt Disney World

First, a clarification: rides, not attractions. That may be a different post in the future. Second, no offense to Hollywood Studios, but since it's only Top 5 none of those rides made the cut. Now, in no particular order...

Peter Pan's Flight - Don't have to be a kid to love this one. The view of London alone is worth the ride.

Splash Mountain - My favorite of the Magic Kingdom Mountain Range. The story and the music kick it up a notch from your run-of-the-mill log flume. Don't be afraid to get wet...that's what it's all about!

Soarin' - A relatively new addition, imported from Disneyworld's California Adventure. Ask for a spot in the middle or top row to make the experience a little more authentic.

Kali River Rapids - An awesome adventure at the Animal Kingdom. No doubt you will get wet. Plan on it and enjoy it.

Pirates of the Carribbean - An all time classic. Not sure the new Jack Sparrow stuff makes it better, but it doesn't make it worse. A bonus that one of the most delicious desserts in the world (pinaapple vanilla swirl soft serve) can be found right next door at Aloha Isle.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Prayers of Childhood

As Camp Directors, Jessica and I have the opportunity to worship with a campful of 180 different kids every week. Our Christian Ed Director Laura always puts a time of prayer on the program when one camper from each cabin - about 15 in all - comes to the front of the Pavilion and prays about whatever God lays on his/her heart.

Some are "church kids" and obviously have done some praying in their life. Others, though, are new at this praying thing, and those are the prayers I usually like the best. My favorite so far - "Thanks God for the trees because if there were no trees there would be no oxygen and if there were no oxygen we would all be dead." Truer words were never spoken. Then there was the sarcastic young man who, when asked if he wanted to pray during cabin devotions one night, said, "Sure...Thanks alot, God, for the freakin' allergies!"

I love hearing the thanks for friends, the good weather, the counselors, and just the opportunity to come to Camp. I like hearing the complaints, too, because of the refreshing honesty in those kinds of prayers. Above all, it's just great to hear kids talk to God. It presupposes that He is there, listening and caring and ready to respond, which is an awesome truth to grasp.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today's Top 5 - Pizza

My Top 5 places to get pizza, in no particular order (feel free to argue)...

Papa Ginos - A New England classic. Order a fresh pie to get the best pizza. The slices in the spinning thing at lunch aren't even close.

Portland Pie Company - 3 or 4 locations in greater Portland, ME. If you don't know what to get, go with either the Old Port or, for something different, the Cadillac Mountain.

Bill's - On Old Orchard Street, near The Pier in OOB. The only place we got pizza when I was a little kid on vacation.

The Famous Ray's Pizza - 6th Ave & 11th St., NYC. The best pizza in New York.

Bertucci's - Another New England favorite, but moving outward. Awesome brick oven taste. The hot rolls are a bonus.

More Top 5s to come...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Be All You Can Be!

That's the theme for NNE Gospel Arts Camp 2009 at Camp Sebago. Welcome to Aaron VanderWeele as our guest. It's great to hear the sounds of brass floating through the pines and white birches in the Maine woods. Nice work, Drew P, in putting the week together.

If you're near by on Tuesday night (7.21) around 6:00 PM, stop in for the Finale.

"Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!

Psalm 150 (The Message)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Away we go...

J, Joey, Jenna, & I are heading north - to Maine, to take up our new appointments with The Salvation Army. In many ways it's a dream come true, but in a very real sense it's also terrifying.

"Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take." Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Here Comes the Sun...

Today was the first spring-like day we've had in central NY in some time. Here's hoping that it's not just another tease...

A friend of mine sent me a link the other day to a website where you can "buy the right" to buy tickets to the championship game(s) if your team makes it there. It's cheaper to buy the rights if it's less likely your team will make it. For example, I could spend $10 (maybe less) today to assure myself the opportunity to buy good World Series tickets at face value if the Reds make it there. How cool is that? Of course, if I wanted Yankees World Series tickets, it would be quite a bit more expensive. Add that to the list of reasons why it's more fun to root for the underdog...

Speaking of which...the live action/CGI movie opens this August. Seriously. Check it out at "".

Friday, December 29, 2006

Superman in Dunkin' Donuts

I'm one of a handful of local pastors who take turns writing a column called "Reflections" for the weekend edition of our paper, the Rome Sentinel. It's meant to be an inspirational, encouraging word and it usually appears in the first section. This is my latest piece, which will run next Saturday, January 6. On a personal note: I'm hoping that by posting it I will jump start my blogging for the new year.

**Note: The "strip steel" thing is an inside joke for Romans. One of our largest and most well-known industries in town is Rome Strip Steel. The chairman and his family are good friends of the Army.**

I’m pretty sure I saw Superman in Dunkin’ Donuts last week.

Of course, he was not wearing the traditional blue & red costume we all know and respect. Unlike the citizens of Metropolis, however, I was able to see through the “mild mannered reporter” set-up and recognize him for who he really is. He was tall - about my height of 6’ 4”, but much more muscular than me, though that probably goes without saying. His well-mannered tone with the employee who was taking his order demonstrated his salt-of-the-earth, appreciation-for-hard-work upbringing in the farmlands of rural Kansas. And although the Daily Sentinel bore no evidence of superhero goings on around town, I’m sure it was the Man of Steel (which makes me wonder - if his spaceship had landed in Rome all those years ago instead of Smallville, would his nickname have turned out to be “The Man of Strip Steel?”). It just goes to show - you never know when someone will show up in the unlikeliest of places.

The Bible confirms that God Himself has a penchant for showing up in the most unlikely of places. He spoke to Moses from within a bush that was on fire (Exodus 3) and met with three faithful friends inside the fire of a furnace (Daniel 3). The prophets encountered Him in dreams and visions, in the light of day and the dark of night. And of course we are wrapping up the formal celebration of His “magnum opus” of a stunning appearance: in a barn in Bethlehem, about 2,000 years ago - as a newborn human, no less.

Evidence of God’s most surprising appearances of all, however, may be found in Matthew’s gospel account of His final earthly address in human form to His followers - “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It’s God’s deep desire to encounter us, but not merely as a caped crusader, swooping in “faster than a speeding bullet” to save the day, only to disappear until another emergency crops up. Instead, he yearns to show up and be “with us” - to intersect and connect with our lives in a meaningful relationship.

We may feel like our lives - our homes, our schools, our workplaces - are unlikely places for God to show up. And yet that’s where He wants to be - with us. Take a chance and invite Him along.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Be Back Soon...

I'll be blogging regularly again very soon...actually, more regularly then I ever did before. But in the meantime, check out the blog I set up for our church - The Salvation Army Rome Citadel Corps. Click on "View my complete profile" and scroll to the bottom of the page. It's called (appropriately enough) "Rome Citadel."

See you soon...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tunes on the OOBeach

Music takes me back to times & places in my memory like almost nothing else can. As the weather warms and the trees green (can a color be a verb?) I remember long lazy summer days on the sands of Old Orchard Beach, and look forward to more. There is music that says "sunny days on the beach" to me. Favorite beach albums, in no particular order...

"C'mon, C'mon" - Sheryl Crow
"The Endless Summer" - The Beach Boys
"In Between Dreams" - Jack Johnson
"What's the Story Morning Glory?" - Oasis
"Walk, Don't Run: The Best of..." - The Ventures
"Rubber Soul" - The Beatles (Because they are appropriate in any/every situation)

There are songs, too, that say it by themselves...

"Fire On High" - ELO (The Astrosphere song from Funtown)
"Back In the High Life" - Steve Winwood
"Going the Distance" - Cake
"Vehicle" - The Ides of March
"Springtime Freeway" - TOF/The Hearde

This is all so subjective, it's hard to pinpoint reasons why this music does what it does. Let's just does.

Enjoy the season, and don't forget your sunscreen.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

New(er) Look & Title

The word "magic" makes us squirm in the church sometimes, so the new title might rub some people the wrong way. It comes from C.S. Lewis in "The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe" - "Though the Witch knew the Deep magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward."

No matter what is going on at the surface, there is something deeper - more than meets the eye:

"There's more that rises in the morning than the sun
And more that shines in the night than just the moon
It's more than just this fire here that keeps me warm
And a shelter that is larger than this room

"There's more that dances on the prairies than the wind
More that pulses in the ocean than the tide
There's a love that is fiercer than the love between friends
More gentle than a mother's when her baby's at her side

"And there's a loyalty that's deeper than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the giver of all good things

"So if I stand let me stand on the promise that you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you
And if I sing let me sing for the joy that has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home" - Rich Mullins