Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

You can't celebrate Christmas without retelling the story and no one does it better than Linus. Every depressing Charlie Brown needs a steady Linus to give us the bottom line.

(facebookers go to to check out Linus.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Must Have Holiday Gifts

Ever the creative comic, Dave Barry has compiled a list of must-have gifts of the season, compiled from his readers. Here is a sample...

Disaster Preparedness Activity Books

The holiday season is all about fun for kids, and if there's anything that will put a twinkle in a youngster's eye, it's a disaster-preparedness activity book from the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are several titles available, including Ready . . . Set . . . Prepare!

You can find the rest of the list at Dave's Miami Herald website.

Thanks Kelli for sending this one.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What if Starbucks Marketed like a Church?

A friend on facebook put this on his wall a couple of days ago and I thought it was worth posting. Thanks Dean.

Speaking of facebook, if you are getting this through a note in facebook, you probably will not get the video. Go to to see the video.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What Do Your Christmas Lights Say About You?

The Tribune had an article today stating that psychologists say that your Christmas lights can say a lot about you as a person. If you have simple lights, that could be how you see the world. Or if you have shall we say an "abundance" of light and yard figures, well, you might need to see this next part.

They also highlighted a website called The site comes complete with a list of violations. Here are a few of them. Have you violated any of them? If so, turn out your lights and step away (at least until the thaw).

--W.T.H. (What the Heck!?) Violation
Random, non-holiday decor has no place in December. Just because you were given a cool giant light up smiley face does not mean you should put it on the roof this month!

--Multiple Clauses Violation
There is one Santa Claus and only one. I repeat- you may not have more than ONE Santa in your yard at anytime. (The exception is this; if you have a Santa from another culture or a Santa of another ethnicity, THEN you may have another Santa among the deciduous forest that is your yard. This does not mean you may have an inflatable Santa AND a plastic, light-up Santa. Inflatable is not an ethnicity). The same rules apply for Mrs. Claus. Santa is not an adulterer. We must show Santa as an upstanding and moral citizen, despite the 3rd world wages he pays the elves.

--Fallen Figurines/Drive-by Shooting Victims Violation
These poor souls should not be illuminated. If you aren’t going to go outside to set them all back up, don’t plug them in. No one wants to see Mary and Joseph laying down as if involved in a deadly drive-by shooting.

And my personal fav,

--King Kong Complex Violation
If a giant polar bear is standing anywhere near a mid-sized Santa or the Abominable Snowman is lurking over the manger, do something, quick!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Whopper of a Fragrance

In it's continued quest for creative superiority and downright creepy-factor, Burger King has topped themselves once again. They have now introduced FLAME, a new men's fragrance that they describe as a "scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat."

This meaty fragrance can be purchased for about the same cost as a BK value meal, and MUCH less fat and calories. You've got to hand it to them in the creative department, but is seems to me that the king is just getting a little too creepy for my taste.

But according to sales, this could be the "musk-have" gift of the season.

If you can handle the heat, check out the website at

Warren is Pastor America

Rick Warren is Obama's choice for giving the invocation at the inauguration. This has angered many on the left because he is at odds with them on abortion and gay marriage. It is also the same pulpit that for a generation has been given to Billy Graham. It sounds like the torch is being passed.

This reinforces what I had said in July that Rick Warren has reached that rare place of transcendence in the religious arena. Rick Warren is to religion what Obama is to politics (at least at the moment). Of course a lot can change in 24 hours, or minutes for that matter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's the Relationships Stupid!

For all of the talk about the financial meltdown or even terrorism that has cast a bit of a pall over 2008, there is a much greater meltdown that has occurred... trust. Our trust in our government has been shattered by a war that has questioned motives and honesty and continuous scandals from our "leaders", most recently Illinois's own governor. Our trust in our systems, financial or otherwise have also been strained.

Jim Wallis wrote these words in a Sojo eletter-

The heart of our faith is about relationships. How they are broken and how they are fixed. Righteousness is the term we use that means “right relationships.” It may sound like an oversimplification, especially in light of all of the complex market instruments that are in use today, but the root of all of this financial mess and turmoil are broken relationships, broken social covenants.

The relationship between employer and employee. The relationship between corporations and community. The relationship between stock holders and executives. The relationship between consumers and their creditors. The relationship between the businesses, the government, and our civic institutions. The relationship between people and the planet we live on. These relationships are broken, distorted, and even abandoned. All of them are in need of redemption.

Trust is the bedrock of relationships. When this has eroded, so has the relationship. And when we cease to have good-faith relationships, we are truly doomed. But it's in this season of gloom that I also take light in the fact that I have seen on a micro-scale trust being restored through the church. I have witnessed friends who have been through incredible heartbreak being comforted by their church family. I have seen those crushed by the economy who have been blessed by unexpected generosity, reminiscent of Acts 2 and 4. And I have observed people being loved on as they find their way back to God.

The universe began with relationships (God-three-in-one) and it will continue to be fueled by them as well. Forgiveness, redemption and restored trust is really the only thing that gives me hope for the coming year. And having witnessed what I have, I am hope(full).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The rich get richer

The New York Yankees agreed to sign free-agent pitcher A.J. Burnett to a five-year, $82.5 million deal. The signing brings the total the Yankees have committed to pitching this week to $243.5 million after agreeing to a $161 million deal with Sabathia.


Monday, December 08, 2008

The Doghouse

You may have seen this already, if not, take the time to check it out...especially if you have XY chromosomes. It could spare you some serious pain this holiday season. Props to JC Penney (yes, JC Penney!) for some seriously creative comedy. I have been impressed with some of their creative projects lately, including one of their music releases that a friend of mine collaborated on (Ryan Lott- remake of "Don't You Forget About Me"- including a bfast club remake). Also, thanks to my sister Deb for sending me the link to the doghouse.

As always, facebookers, these are notes imported from my blog. To view the video, go to

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Heading to Cleveland

Going to speak at Oak River tomorrow. Tonight will go to Todd Berger's record release. Love going to back to Cleveland and connecting again with lifelong friends.

It's hard to leave the cleve...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Miller Family is IN on the Advent Conspiracy

This year the Miller family is spending less on gifts and more on making a difference in the world. Our church is joining the Advent Conspiracy which is a movement dedicated to spreading the good news of spending less on stuff this Christmas and using that money to end the clean water crisis in our world.

The stats are sobering. The leading cause of death in under resourced countries is lack of access to clean water. 1.8 million people die every year from water born illnesses. That includes 3,900 children a day.

The other sobering stat- We spend 450 billion dollars each year on Christmas. The cost to end the clean water crisis? 10 billion dollars.

If you haven't joined the conspiracy, visit their site And make this the most merry Christmas EVER.

And if you need some ideas on how to spend less and give more, go to

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

God's Smiley Face

With all of the craziness in the world, the heavens gave the world a rare smiley face last night thanks to Jupiter, Venus and the moon. Of course it all depended on your vantage point. Asia got the smiley face, while the U.S. got a frown. Hmmm.

The Good News/Bad News about the Recession

Obviously, no one wants less money and no one desires to be fearful about employment, but there can be some good that comes from tougher times. I have noticed that this downtown has led to a lot of deep conversations that I probably would not have had without a recession. Christianity Today has an article called "Are Recessions Good?" from Rob Moll that highlights this mixed "blessing".