Sunday, August 28, 2005

School Days, or should I say Seminary Days

Tomorrow morning at 8:05 am, I will be back in the classroom again starting my third year in seminary. I am looking forward to starting the semester. This semester I have the following classes:

Introduction to Old Testament Hebrew
Church Administration
Baptist History

The last time I had Hebrew was back in Bible college in 1992! This will be a refresher course for me. I am praying that I will do well and will grasp the concepts. I am looking forward to all my classes and to see what God will do this semester.

Blogging may be infrequent during the semester, but I will do my best to keep you updated.

Keep reading and please feel free to provide comments as you wish... They are appreciated.

Monday, August 22, 2005

"isms" that characterize the church.

Recently, I was listening a to podcast from John McArthur regarding Preaching. During this podcast, he spoke of different "isms" that have characterized the church over various decades. Tell me what you think, agree or disagree?

In the 1940's the church was characterized by politicism (Hitler,etc.)

In the 1950's the church was characterized by ecumenicalism - love everyone, don't worry about doctrine. The Jesus ethic or hermeneutic was prevalent during this time as well.

In the 1960's the church was characterized by experientialism - charismatic, truth comes through experience.

In the 1970's the church was characterized by subjectivism - psychology was the dominant force of the day. We became selfish and narcissistic. Self-esteem was the watchword of the day.

In the 1980's the church was characterized by mysticism - believing in everything, intuition, etc.

In the 1990's the church was characterized by pragmatism - appropriate means for ministry are those that are most popular.

In the 2000's the church has been characterized by synchretism -- we all worship the same God.

I think MacArthur is correct in his observation. I have been a Christian since 1987 and have seen the church go through some of the changes that he has mentioned. Will we ever be labeled as Christ-like or pietist instead of pejorative terms like pragmatism, mysticism, etc.??

Your thoughts or observations?

The Conclusion of our Vacation

I know that I have waited too long between writings about our vacation. Please forgive me if I left you hanging.

Well, we enjoyed a nice dinner that evening at Bistro 1111 which is the restaurant that was located in our hotel. Thursday evening, they had some beef specials. My wife had a Steak Diane and I had a Prime Rib which was excellent. We really enjoyed our stay in Santa Barbara and we will be back again for another vacation. If you are ever in Santa Barbara (and can afford it) stay at the Hotel Mar Monte, you wont be disappointed. We were able to stay there as a result of a Gift Certificate for a free-night's stay, courtesy of my dad (Thanks Dad!)

Friday morning we got up and checked out of the hotel and made our way towards my mom's house in Stevenson Ranch. The drive was not too bad and we were listening to KNX for traffic updates. What we were not told about was the 126 Freeway being closed at Castaic Junction, which was a major headache. We got to Mom's later than we expected, but we made it safe. Mom and I went to return the rental car. The folks at Hertz were very nice and we were able to get the car returned and paid for quickly and then we were able to make our way back home to meet my dad and then go to lunch.

We went to lunch at Paradise Cove at a place called Bob Morris' Beach Cafe which was formerly known as the Sand Castle restaurant. Many TV shows, commercials and some movies have been filmed at the restaurant and the beach area.

Overall we had a wonderful trip and hated to leave, but we gained a new appreciation for CA. The one thing that stood out in my mind was the massive amount of growth that has taken place in many different areas. I grew up here and left in 1988 to attend college. I have not lived here since 1988. There was one time where I thought that I would never return to CA because of the fast-paced and hectic lifestyle, but after living in Jacksonville, FL and Minneapolis, MN, the pace of life may not be any faster, but the cost of living is much more expensive.

Who knows where the Lord will direct us when I finish seminary in a couple of years. It wouldn't hurt my feelings to be able to relocate back to CA.

I will add some pictures later because at this time, bloggers picture function seemed to be inoperative.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Our Vacation Diary -- Part II

I am slowly getting the hang of formatting with these pictures. As I said earlier, we trekked northward to Ventura and our destination was The Pierpont Inn.

My wife and I stayed here on our honeymoon and we enjoyed it so much that we really wanted to go back again. We tried to make reservations but each time we were turned away because they had no vacancies. I was talking to my mom one day and she asked about our trip and I told her of our problem with not being able to stay at the Pierpont. She said, "Let me see what I can do" I got a call back later that day and she was able to book a room for us and we had an ocean view! We had a great time enjoying Ventura, Santa Barbara and we also celebrated our one year wedding anniversary while at the Pierpont as well. Thanks to Mom and the Pierpont Inn for a wonderful time and a memorable first anniversary.

I wanted to make our anniversary special, so I came up with a surprise and took my wife to dinner at a really unique and elegant place in Ventura called the Sidecar Restaurant
It was only about a five minute drive from our hotel and my wife was pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed our dinner and the staff was extremely friendly and the food was good. They knew it was our anniversary and offered us dessert on the house, but we declined because we were so full from our dinner. If you are ever in Ventura, stop by and dine at the Sidecar. You will enjoy your dining experience! Here is another picture of the inside of the restaurant.

We were not seated in this area, but enjoyed the view so
much, that I wanted to take a picture to capture the authenticity of the rail car. As we were leaving, the chef was in the back tending his herb garden. I thought about getting our picture with him, but he looked pretty intent on what he was doing, but not so intent that he thanked us for coming and waved as we left.

Monday morning and we were scheduled to drive to Morro Bay and spend the next three days in Morro Bay and the San Luis Obispo area. I had never been to this area, but heard wonderful things about the area and was looking forward to it. We left Ventura after a lunch at In N Out Burger (A Southern California Favorite) and headed up the 101 to Morro Bay. The drive was pretty uneventful, not much traffic on the roads, my wife slept most of the way there, missing some of the scenery. I enjoyed the drive and listening to my favorite news station KNX 1070. It also helped me stay awake after eating those burgers! I grew up listening to KNX as a kid and also as an adult. I always listen when I am in So Cal. After much persistence, they now stream over the Internet which allows me to compose my blogs and emails and listen to the news from home!

When we arrived in Morro Bay, the scene was a bit surreal because we left balmy 80 degrees in Ventura and arrived in Morro Bay to fog and 59 degrees. I did not mind the change, but my wife was a little on the uneasy side. She asked me when it would warm up, I said hopefully by tomorrow. Unfortunately I was wrong, the fog was there to stay for THREE DAYS and it got cold enough we had to have the heater on in the motel room! While my family was roasting in 100 degree heat, we were cold in Morro Bay! Once we got checked in at our motel, a Best Western, not far from the waterfront, we decided to drive northward to locate Hearst Castle so we knew exactly how long to allow for travel time the next day. The drive northward took us through Cayucos, a nice beachfront community, Harmony, a town of only 18 people which at one time was for sale on Ebay, and Cambria, which seems to be more of an artist community. We found the visitors center and figured to allow 30 minutes for driving time. Unfortunately, I cannot post any of my pictures from the Hearst Castle on my blog because I would need written permission from the State of California to do so. You can go to the website of Hearst Castle and see some of the same things that we saw. There are four tours available and we took two of them, and will take the other two on another trip. There are so many things I could say about the Hearst Castle, but I may save them for another entry.

Tuesday evening, we went to dinner at a great restaurant recommended by my dad, who also paid for our dinner as an anniversary present for us (Thanks Dad!) We drove to Shell Beach, near Pismo Beach and ate dinner at FW McLintocks. They have their own butcher shop and general store/gift shop there. All I can say is that the food is outstanding and well worth the wait. Best advice, call ahead and make reservations!

Wednesday we took our second tour of Hearst Castle and went and explored a bit around San Luis Obispo, making our contributions along with many others at Bubble-Gum Alley. I do not know much about the history or origin of this place, but found it to be a very unique tourist attraction in San Luis Obispo, just off Higuera Street in Downtown San Luis Obispo. Maybe some of our readers might know about the place than we did. I had a tough time finding it, but was glad that we were able to contribute!

Thursday, we woke up early and wanted to get an early start headed back south to Santa Barbara for one night and then on to visit family in Santa Clarita. We figured we wanted to spend as much time as possible in Santa Barbara and enjoy the area and most of all, get back to the sunshine and warmer temperatures. We had the opportunity to stay at the Hotel MarMonte located across the street from the beach on Cabrillo Blvd. This was probably one of the nicest hotels that we had ever stayed in. (Thanks again Dad!) We arrived very early, check-in was not until 4 pm, but the hotel staff allowed us to park inside their secured parking lot and we walked up to State Street. We had an excellent lunch at El Torito and walked State Street and did as most tourists did, shopped, sightseeing, and people watching! State Street is an interesting combination of extremes.

Stay tuned.... the end of our vacation :(

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Our Vacation Diary

Well, I finally have found a slice of time where I can write briefly about our recent vacation and include some pictures from our trip.

Day 1 - Friday, July 22, 2005

Both my wife and I had to work that day and our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30 pm. I was glad that I had scheduled myself only for a half-day. While in the midst of getting ready for the trip, the power went out here at our apartment and I found out later in a wide area of the Northwest Metro. I had to find an ATM to get some cash and I was able to find one close by in Plymouth. The power finally came back on around 4:30pm. We loaded up and went to the airport, being shuttled there by one of our friends so that we did not have to pay the exorbitant parking fees for leaving one's car at the airport for over a week. We arrived at the Northwest check-in location and found out that one of our bags was 10lbs overweight. The clerk was insistent that we rebalance the weight between our bags. I was really perturbed to say the least, it was hot outside, I wanted to get on the airplane and get to California, not deal with some cranky clerk with an attitude. We took our bags to the side and attempted to rebalance them to the proper weight. We went back to the counter and tried again, we were still overweight, not as much, but still overweight. I had an idea and it worked, but I was still pretty ticked off about the clerks attitude. After getting luggage checked, it was on to security and I expected to have problems because of my ankle and foot having the plate and metal pins. To my surprise I did not set off the metal detector and we were on our way. We boarded the aircraft on time and waited what seemed like an eternity. We kept seeing these mechanic types come on and off the plane and that is never a good sign. We left 20 mins late and arrived early in LA. We claimed our luggage and caught the shuttle to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, there were a couple of big events going on, so there were a lot of people milling around. We were able to get checked in and up to our room right away. The picture above is the room that we stayed in at the Four Points Sheraton near LAX. Incidentally, the bed is one of those comfort beds that they advertise. There was a card on the bed that described every component of the bed, including pillows and sheets and where one could purchase an identical bed. The bed was very comfortable but probably overpriced.

Day 2- Trekking northward towards Ventura

We got up moderately early so we could pick up our rental car and begin our journey northward towards Ventura. When I had booked this hotel, I was assured by a staff member via email that the rental car company shuttles stopped at this hotel. When I talked to someone in guest services I found out otherwise, so we had to walk a few blocks to get to the Hertz location to pick up our car. The second picture on the right is a view from our hotel room the next morning. Well, when we arrived at Hertz, we were there along with everyone else who was on vacation. It was 9:45 and our car was reserved for 10 AM. They had 28 stations but only four clerks working. I said to my wife, we are going to be here for a while! The closer it got to 10 AM, clerks started arriving and the stations were filling up which allowed them to process more people and get them on their way. We did not have to wait too long and we got a really nice 2005 Toyota Camry which only had 3000 miles on it. We were ready to go!

We hurried back to the hotel and got our luggage together checked out and headed northward. It was nice to be back in California! Our first stop was Westwood and Beverly Hills. Remember, I grew up here so a lot of these places I had either been to, or did not care much about because I was not a tourist. My wife had not been to or seen some of these places, so I showed them to her for her enjoyment. We saw the Beverly Hills hotel, Rodeo Drive, the former homes of Jimmy Stewart and Lucille Ball. We also went by and stopped at Graumann's Chinese Theater, another Hollywood landmark and took pictures of the various stars handprints, footprints and messages to Sid Graumann. Hollywood is one of those places that people who live in So Cal know about, but never venture there. We were there in the midst of a lot of people trying to do the same thing we were, take pictures. It was getting hot outside and we hadn't eaten anything. I was starting to feel nauseous and we both were a little cranky because of it.

We finally made our way to my old stomping grounds in Woodland Hills. I showed my wife various landmarks of my teenage years there. Where I caught the city bus to go to school, where I played video games after school. Where I went to school, etc. We stopped at a Jack in the Box restaurant that I used to frequent when I was a teenager. We were hungry and tired and needed to eat!

After we ate and cooled off in the air conditioned restaurant, we headed towards Ventura. Our final destination that evening was the Pierpont Inn....

More details and pictures later.....

Monday, August 01, 2005

Back from vacation

I am back from vacation and as promised, I will give you a run-down of the events... along with some pictures! Hopefully, tomorrow, so check back here and see!
Free Web Counter
Free Site Counter