Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Computer Errors...

This just came in from one of our missionaries.  it is so funny, I thought I would share it....Rob

"This is how I feel after talking to Rob about email issues!

I know this doesn't apply to any of us, but I thought we might all get a chuckle out of it.

I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Eric, the 11 year old  next door, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control and asked him to  come over. Eric clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem. 
As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong? He replied, 'It was an ID ten T error.' 

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, 'An, ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.' 

Eric grinned.... 'Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?' 
'No,' I replied. 
'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.' 
So I wrote it down: I D 1 0 T 

I used to like Eric............. "

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I am hanging my head in disgust...

Just what I needed...

IMG_0160

Rob

Omnipotence

I read Psalm 66-68 this morning.  I was once again struck by the omnipotence of God in the following verse...

Psalm 68:2 NIV
"As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God."

My prayer is that today, in this same fashion, that God would "clear the way" today for his will to be accomplished through me.  Oh Lord, blow away the distractions.  Blow away any lazy spirit in me.  Blow away any obstruction that may hinder progress.  Blow away any timidity or cowardice on my part.

On this day, pusillanimity will not reign in my life, because God is before me.  I am submitted to His will for my life this day.

Rob

Monday, April 28, 2008

Flirting with Adulthood...

We started looking at used minivans yesterday.  3 car seats will simply not fit side by side in our current Mazda Tribute.  We have no choice, we need something bigger.

It was totally different than what I expected.

After church yesterday, in 2 hours we test drove 4 vans at 3 different dealerships.  Way faster than I anticipated.  I thought we would get stuck and not be able to get away from the "slimy" dealers.

We drove a Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and a Toyota Sienna.

I am surprised at how well I am taking this.  Early in marriage Becky and I literally shook on our commitment to never buy a minivan.  Wow, things sure have changed.  It is a no-brainer now.

The dealers weren't slimy like I expected.  Sure, they asked all the probing questions that I expected.  They tried to sell, but as Becky put it, that is their job.  You can't really blame them for that.  Although they tried to sell, they really didn't push too much.  As you may be aware of my disdain for sales tactics, I was quite relieved.

I was surprised that the dealers knew nothing about the vans they were selling.  Again, Becky's observation was probably correct, it is probably because the used vehicles they were selling were not their specialty.  Still, I was surprised how little they knew.  Honestly, it wouldn't take much preparation to know how to stow the "stow-n-go" seats!  We had to show the dealer how to do it...

I was surprised at how new each of the salesmen were.  All 3 dealers were on the job less than a month.  Can we say turnover in the used car dealer market?

I was surprised at my willingness to walk away.  We just said no and stood up.  There was one we liked, and the dealer could tell that and really wanted us to negotiate, but I was quite willing to walk away.  I felt good about that.  We are not in any hurry.  I guess it also helped that we didn't have our finances together.  Good thing I guess.

No decisions, but we have a clear direction.  That feels good.  Now, we have to shake the money tree to figure out how to make it happen.

Rob

Friday, April 25, 2008

theSlice is available.

slice We just emailed the latest version of theSlice to our support team.  If you did not receive that email, check it out here.

If you did not receive the email, but would like to, let us know!

Rob

Support Update...

Recently we have had several adjust their giving amounts.  A few decreased and a few increased.  We have also had some health insurance increases.  Here is where we stand...

We currently have 95% of our monthly need pledged.  This translates to a current monthly shortfall of $282, or $3384 for the year.  This is a substantial amount that we must once again aggressively address.

Wonder how all this support raising works? 

We need people to pledge and give regularly to RMI on our behalf.  We currently have people giving anywhere in between $5/month and $300/month.  We have a few churches that also donate monthly.

Here is how it might look...

Joe says...
"wow, Rob and Becky, I would love to join your team by enabling you to serve at RMI, therefore, my wife and I will send financial support to you each month."

Rob says...
"Woohoo Joe, that is awesome, thank you for making that financial sacrifice to help us extend God's Kingdom.  Thank you for being on our team of financial supporters."

Corny huh?!

Anyway, Joe would then let Rob and Becky know his intentions by  emailing  Rob and Becky and/or by setting up their giving here.  Then, Joe and his wife would regularly send RMI financial support designated for "Rob and Becky's Ministry", either by check in the mail, by their own bank's bill pay, or through RMI's online giving system DIRECTSupport via check or credit card.

Special gifts (not ongoing) are also a great help.

Love to hear from you!  :-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hey Chicago, whatta ya say?

Go, Cubs, go...

You know when you get a song in your head, and you just can't manage to get it out?

Everyday, I have the song "Go, Cubs, go, go, Cubs go...Cubs are gonna win today..."  Listen/Watch.

If you aren't a fellow Cubs fan, you may not be singing along.  Wrigley has once again become famous by playing that song after each win.  All the fans sing along in some sort of strange yet kindred celebratory fellowship.

Last night was win # 10,000.  They are now 15 and 6 on the year, and have won 9 of their last 10.  In the last 10 games, they have outscored their opponents 80 to 39.  They have 7 starters hitting over .300, including Derrek Lee's .378.  Should I mention Fukodomania?

Well, the Cubs keep winning, which I am totally excited about.  I love the song, I love singing it, but I really must stop.  It is becoming an addiction.  Now Drew is walking around the house singing...go cubs go...

 

Go, Cubs, go...

Rob

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pigtails and Swimming

The kids are growing up right before our eyes.  Drew is now 3 and Tessa is 20 months.  They definitely have their own personalities and we are loving getting to know them!

Tessa's hair has finally gotten long enough for pigtails so I had fun "making her pretty" on Saturday!  The problem is that her hair is so fine (like mine) that I can't put her in a car seat yet and expect the cute hair to stay put.  So for now, the pigtails are just around the house!

IMG_4252 IMG_4258

We have been enjoying swimming a lot more lately.  Drew does a great job with his swimmies.  Just the other day he got up enough courage to actually jump off the side of the pool to Daddy and now he can't be stopped.  He's the more cautious of the two and doesn't usually like to get his face wet.  So this was a big feat.  Now he loves it and is so proud of himself.  He also has taken to putting goggles on lately, even though he doesn't really use them!  They are too big and look pretty cute!

IMG_4263

Tessa has no fear in the pool, which can be a little nerve-wracking sometimes.  She needs a healthy dose of it!  We have her wearing swimmies so she is used to wearing them, although they don't really work for her yet.  Just last night, she stepped down into the pool and started kicking her feet and laughing.  She was "swimming" and she seemed to know it.  She is slowly getting the hang of it.  I think it's just a matter of time until she's swimming around just like her brother.

IMG_4278

~Becky

Accountability...

ac·count·a·ble -   [koun-tuh-buhl]  –adjective...  subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.

This morning I met with my accountability partner.  The end result is always good, but I am not sure I like being accountable to anyone.  It hurts sometimes!

Can I let you in on a secret?  I am not perfect...

Rob

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Irony...

Every once in a while we come across something that is just ironic.  Things we see or read that make us react in some way...  Here is one that just caught my attention...

On our way to church, there is a billboard ad for a local law firm that apparently prides themselves in how they handle Divorce cases.  The billboard has DIVORCE really big all the way across.  Inside the O of DIVORCE, there is something like "that puts children first".  Oh the irony...

Rob

What did Jesus idolize?

usa350 3 times the Bible says "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  We are rich in America.  I am no prophet, but I believe we are in deep trouble and we don't even know it.  I am a chief sinner in this regard.

Did Jesus have idols?  Ok, I know, that is a pretty ridiculous question.  Jesus certainly obeyed the 2nd commandment.  What I mean is, what meta-narratives did he live by.  What priorities and principles that stand outside of time, culture, politics, space, religion, socio-economic state, did he structure his entire life (and death) around?  I better be able to answer this question if I am going to be his follower!

Our church has been doing a preaching series called "American Idols", obviously playing off the show that Becky and I watch religiously.  The series of messages is highlighting some of the American "ideals that get in the way of our relationship to God".  These ideals get in the way of us truly be Christians.  individualism, freedom, humanism, tolerance...

So, I have to ask, what is the opposite?   What did Jesus idolize?  Again, what priorities and principles did he live and die by?

I have been following Jesus my whole life.  But, I continue to be refined.  It is my firm conviction that my current "idols" are the wrong "idols".

I/We have replaced the Kingdom of God with the Kingdom of America, or certainly with the Kingdom of I.

This concept answers so many of my deepest angst.  Why is the church so apathetic when it comes to reaching the world?  Why don't we care about starvation?  Why do I perceive God's desire for me to be fat, happy and blessed as stronger than His desire for me to give up everything to serve a lost and dying world?  Why is building up my retirement portfolio more important than children dying in Sudan?  Why are we ok with crying out "give us those on the distant shores" on Sunday morning, but then on Monday do nothing about it?  Why do I spend more time caring about who gets elected as President of American than I do about lost people? Why do we talk more about killing terrorists than we do about saving lives.

So now you will either characterize this as the musings of a raving lunatic, or you will agree with my wandering heart.  This is simply my place to vent, so take it or leave it.

Rob

Sunday School Class...

Mark, you did a great job! Once a month Mark teaches, and what he shares is always fresh, practical, challenging and thought provoking. 

By the way, I like the videos...keep them coming.  I miss bull-horn man.

Anyway, to introduce what he wanted us to hear, he used 2 class members to reenact a classic scene from  "A Few Good Men".  You know, "You can't handle the truth."

Your are right Mark, we can't handle the truth of Luke 9:57-62.

Here are some pics.  They were taken from my camera phone, so they aren't great, but you get the idea...

Here is Cecil B. DeMark, Lance Nicholson and James Cruise at work...

IMG_0159IMG_0157 IMG_0158 

Rob

Saturday, April 19, 2008

PC to Mac update

pc-mac-1I am torn.  Somehow, I don't think I am the only one to feel this way.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I got a Mac.  I have long been encouraged (by my Mac religious and cultic fanatic friends...Gerald, John, Todd, Greg) that I should switch.  Well, Steve Koresh Jobs, here is an update on my conversion experience...

I am not convinced, yet.  I am far from deciding, but I have many reasons to jump, but many reasons not to.

I love the video editing, posting, and ease of DVD production on the Mac.  This is big.

I don't like iPhoto on the Mac.  I can't get past my love for Google's free Picasa (only available on the PC).  It is rumored to come later this year, but we'll see.  I could comment more as to what I do and don't like of each, but to suffice it to say, picasa rocks.

I have set up "Parallels" that allows me to slickly use both Mac OS as well as Windows.  It is really slick, but should I have to do this?  I don't have to run Mac on the PC (then again this is impossible to do as far as I know).  I guess on the Mac I can get the best of both world's.  I have not tried connecting mac os running windows via parallels onto RMI's network.

I tend to be quite postmodern, one of the biggest ways is my love for simplicity.  Mac nails this.  They are so simple, that I struggled for over an hour trying to figure out how to eject the cd.  Now, it is laughable how easy it actually is...  Everything is simple on the Mac.   I think I need a Mac user to help me figure out how things (files and applications) are filed.  Everything is like one click away, as opposed to 7 on the PC, but knowing what to click is not immediately evident to a pc user.

Video Chatting via iChat is sweet.  Then again, my positive experience may be more becuase of the ease of using the built in iSight camera.  Very nice indeed.

I like to be on the cutting edge.  I like freebies.  But, the freebies always seem to come out on the pc first.  argh. 

I just don't know.  I work in a PC world.  Just prior to getting my Mac Becky and I bought a new pc for home.  Hmmm...

Rob

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Books worth reading.

I recently finished up 3 books.  See the first one here.  Here is a quick review of the last 2 that I finished within the last 2 weeks...

Visioneering by Andy Stanley

52456xGreat book on developing and maintaining vision, God's vision for our lives.  A must read for any leader.  It gave me perspective.  It really helped me and will continue to help me solidify God's vision for my life.  A unique aspect of this book was his constant appreciation for having vision for his/my family.  Very different.  I also really appreciated list of 20 "Building Blocks" of vision.  Most of them made me think.  Some of them were no brainers that I have learned/read before, but some of them surprised me.  I like it when authors surprise me.  In my estimation this book adds a unique twist in the leadership/vision genre.

This book was an unexpected gift from Becky.  Thanks sweety!

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

madetostickThis is another must read.  The reality is that all of us communicate.  This book gives pretty simple guidelines for us to use to make sure that our communications are remembered.   I thought this book when a little overboard in the use of stories, but it didn't detract from the books stickiness.  There are basically 6 keys to making an idea stick...simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories.

To fellow readers...I didn't take the time to develop these comments so that they stick! :-)

This book was given to me by my brother Chip (no, not Heath).  Thanks bro!

Anyone else want to give me a book?

Rob

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

shhhhhh...don't tell anyone...

We have picked names for our "it".  As Becky commented on our extended family blog, "we" are hoping not to find out the gender.  Let's just say that one of us wants to know, but is going along for the sake of family peace...

So here they are, the names...

If it is a girl...  Dora

If it is a boy...  Diego

What do you think?

Rob

Guilt Trip...

I "tripped" upon a picture of a starving child, that is so horrible, I won't post it.  I can point you to it via email if you want, but you may not want.  It is really bad.

Poverty, Starvation, Spiritual Darkness, Abortion, genocide, the list goes on and on and on...

Out of sight, out of mind.

I just have to ask.  Why don't we care?  As followers of Jesus, aren't we to be his hands and feet?  Shouldn't the church do more?  Is sending monthly financial support enough?  Wouldn't Jesus do more?  Yeah, I know, you're right, he would have other things to worry about too...

What can we do?  We must do something.

Rob

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baby Boy? Baby Girl?

us Here is a picture of #3.  Becky and I went for "our" latest ultrasound last Friday.  "It" is 1 lb 11 oz and 12.1" long.  "It" is right on schedule in development, due date of Aug 3.  Woohoo!

PS.  Even though the baby has been jumping around for months and Becky is constantly feeling "it", just this week I have started to be able to feel the movement from the outside.  Very cool.

Rob

A not so funny lesson from God...

Yesterday, I taught Sunday School on contentment.  My arch nemesis.  Anyway, much of what I shared was about the fact that stuff won't bring satisfaction and contentment.  Contentment is only available in Jesus.  Psalm 63, Phil 4

After class we went on to the Worship service.  In the middle of the sermon, someone's cell phone went off.  I realized that I hadn't checked to make sure mine was on vibrate, so I reached down only to realize that my cell phone was not in my pocket.  Yeah, you know, my shiny, oh so nice and "satisfying" iPhone was gone.  What would I do without it?  What if I never got it back?  I suddenly remembered I took it out of my pocket and placed it on a shelf just prior to teaching.  Argh...

Right after class, I ran up to the class to get it, and as you can guess, it was not there...  OH my goodness.  I ran down to lost and found, but it was not there either.  Well, finally, I found it in our Sunday school resource box that had been returned to it proper place (hard to explain).

Ok, God, I get it.  I need to learn to do without my iPhone.  Naked I came into this world, and naked I shall return (Job).

Rob

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I know, I know, I have not blogged...

The millions of you that read this blog are wondering...

What happen to Rob?

Well, I have no excuse.  Here are 3 interesting pics taken with my phone by me recently...

While crossing aligator alley...  God is in control...

I came out of church to find that someone had actually parked up against our car.  I slashed their tires of course...

I went and got gas the other night and got all stressed out.  There were just too many options...  Can you believe this?  I mean really, do we need this many options?  What is the point?

Rob

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It's Ok Daddy...

A little self deprecating humor to brighten your day...

2 nights ago, Drew was very mean in telling me he wanted Mommy to put him to bed and not Daddy.  As soon as Becky finished putting Tessa down, she joined Drew and made him come find me and tell me he was sorry.  A very common activity these days!

So, he very sweetly came to me and said the following...

Daddy, I am sorry I was mean and didn't want you to put me to bed.  It's ok, It's ok.  Daddy, it's ok that your belly is big, you have a Daddy in your belly, it's ok, night night...

Thank you Drew for your sensitive spirit...

Rob

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Grandpop Brower

Well, it's been way too long since we've blogged.  Much of that is because we went away for a last minute week-long trip to NJ two weeks ago.  It's been hard getting back in the groove of things since we've been back.

Our trip was last minute because my Grandpop Brower passed away early in the morning on Palm Sunday.  We were able to go and stay thru Easter.  My Grandpop had entered Hospice care a few weeks before, so we knew the time was near.  A week before, I had talked to my Grandmom.  She was pretty strong through it all, but just seemed sad.  Not sad for him, for she knew his future was with God in heaven, but sad for herself.  She told me she was really going to miss him.  Then she said something I will not forget.  She said, "We grew up in the Lord together..."  My grandparents were married 63 years.  They did not come from Christian families and were saved around the same time in the early years of their marriage.  They really did "grow up in the Lord together."  I was a long process.  They weren't perfect by any means.  They had a lot to learn. But what they have ended up with, is a genuine faith.  A faith tested and tried and a God they've found to be faithful and true.  Throughout my years growing up, it was clear to me how much they loved the Lord and served him with their whole hearts.  My Grandpop is walking the streets of heaven right now because of that faith in Jesus!  I like to think my Dad (his son) was there to greet him that Palm Sunday morning.

The services were very nice-- a celebration of his life.  My Grandmom picked out an old, unfamiliar hymn "We'll say Goodnight Here and Good Morning up There" that was special to her and asked if my sister and I would sing it with her at the end of the service.  I couldn't have been more honored to sing it and more proud of  my Grandmom.

He was such a fun Grandpop to grow up with.  I love him with all my heart and will miss him.  But I know he is in the presence of the God he served and loved most of his life.  That is a future I myself look forward to.

~Becky