Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Common Sense

For those of you with a passion for American history and who enjoyed my previous post concerning the Great Awakening, here is another small but important piece in our country's historical timeline. With the many complex problems America faces today...war, energy, economic, healthcare, Social Security, and many others, one would tend to believe America is facing some of its biggest challenges ever. While there is certainly truth to that ideology, there is still a similarity in the complexity of the issues that our Founding Fathers faced after gaining independence from England. How to establish a government and constitution that gave equal representation to all was the ultimate goal, after all, the Revolutionary war was fought under this premise. This in itself proved to be quite an arduous task due to the difference in opinions of the people. How to control further land settlement in the Western territories that was owned by the different states, how to finance the national debt that was created by the war, slavery or no slavery, are just a few of the many obstacles political leaders faced in the late 17 and early 1800's. America has certainly had its fair share of trying times throughout the past few centuries, but one truth remains self-evident, America will prevail!

Common Sense, a 48 page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, was a collection of his ideas on American independence from England. Originally published anonymously on January 10, 1776 due to its disloyalty to the crown, Paine’s work sold 120,000 copies in three months and 500,000 in the first year during the American Revolution. Paine started work on the piece in late 1775 under the title Plain Truth which was later changed from the suggestion of another Founding Father Benjamin Rush. Rush contributed to both the editing and publishing of Common Sense and the work went through 25 different editions in the first year. The pamphlet challenged the authority of England and spoke plainly to the common people of America concerning their independence from Great Britain. Paine’s dedication to his words and country were evident in the fact that he donated the royalties from his pamphlet to George Washington’s Continental Army. Common Sense consisted of four major sections. In the first section, Paine speaks of a balance between government and society and compares this with the English Constitution. He proposes that as people come together to form a society, problems arise due to population growth and laws are made by elected representatives within that society. In contrast with this balance, Paine explains how tyranny within the English constitution is so easily acquired and that nothing in this form of government contributes to the people it reigns. The second section consists of Paine’s disagreements with monarchy and aristocracy. He uses scripture to support his view that all men are created equal and that a man’s heritage doesn’t give him privileges over another. In the third section, Paine discusses the need for independence from England and gives an outline of elected representatives from each colony, and a proposed Constitution for America. Paine writes about America’s strong military and commercial potential in the fourth section. He mentions the unlimited lumber resources which can expediently build an American navy fleet to rival the English as well as encourage commerce and its protection. Common Sense gave literary clarification to most colonists’ perplexed thoughts about freedom. It was this popular essay that enticed the majority of the population into belief that independence from England could be attainable. It led to the Congressional debate where the choice of independence won the states’ vote and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It is His Kingdom...not Mine

This Sunday is the “hard launch” of the Village Church Dallas Northway. This is the next step in a congregational story that started September 8, 1952 when Northway Baptist Church began. Started in what were then open fields on the outskirts of far north Dallas, the burgeoning population of Dallas soon brought rapid growth to the area where the church was planted. Its proximity to the heart of the city made it a desirable location for young families. Fifty years later the area has passed through significant transitions, especially to the south and west. Today, those compass points find poverty and diversity among those living near the church facilities. At the same time, to the east and north of the Northway campus are communities of affluence.

Through the years, Northway was involved in God’s mission, ministering locally while engaging members to the ends of the earth. As the church neared its 30th year, it gave many members to begin Prestonwood Baptist Church ensuring a vibrant evangelistic congregation in the rapidly developing “new” north Dallas. Within another 25 years, Northway although still carrying the name, could no longer be considered “north,” instead she became a metropolitan inner city church.

Following different eras of transition, it was my privilege to become the bi-vocational pastor for Northway Baptist Church in June 2007. By then, the congregation was predominantly comprised of elder saints many of whom had been part of the church since its earliest days. The congregation continued to do its best to care for its campus of large aging facilities, buildings that had once been filled with people of all ages. Northway had adapted its services to become more contemporary…and having made that transition was not going back.

It continued to serve those in its community with needed ministries while committing itself to new missional initiatives, giving itself away to the purposes of God’s Kingdom. I was and am so proud of the Northway family for their selfless commitment, giving themselves in God’s mission. While the congregation grew, it continued to be encumbered by facilities that had become much more than what could be adequately maintained and effectively utilized.

As pastor, I prayed that God would do whatever would be required to sustain His mission at Northway. At the same time the Village Church of Highland Village was also praying for a place to plant a new campus in the heart of Dallas. The church had more than 400 families who lived in Dallas and were driving to the Highland Village campus for worship, even though their lives were planted in Dallas. They had a heart for the city, but no location in which to give expression to that heart.

During the first five months of this year, God performed a miracle in bringing the two congregations together. On May 17, Northway Baptist Church voted unanimously to unite with the Village Church to become the Village Church Dallas Northway. I would become the last pastor ever to serve Northway Baptist Church. Some will likely not understand, thinking that I led the church to “give away the farm.” My position of leadership ended June 7, 2009 with a service in which we Celebrated our Legacy of Faith. It was not the end…it was a new beginning.

Summer months have been spent in a “soft launch,” a private time during which the two congregations “marinated” into one. This Sunday, September 13, 2009 is the “hard launch” of the church. Facility enhancements have been accomplished, and a common vision is shared. A facility previously characterized predominantly by elder saints, is now rich with young adults. Each group has found the other to be indispensable in what God is seeking to accomplish. The two have become one. It has not been, and will not be, without some pain. But God is present, hope is full, and the missional future is rich with possibility.

For more information on The Village Church please visit them at www.the villagechurch.net.

Do you suffer from neck pain or back pain?

As much as I talk about pain being a poor indicator of health and how your body's ability to function dictates how healthy you are, it is still a very big problem for thousands of people in this country. Every day, millions are reaching for a bottle of aspirin or Tylenol to relieve some type of pain. Most don't even know that they are poisoning their bodies at the same time and setting it up for failure further down the road.

Take aspirin for example, we are taught to take it for aches and pains. You should even take one a day as you get older to show your heart that you care about it. Right?!

Did you know that your aspirin is causing your stomach and intestines to bleed everytime you take it? They fail to leave that part out of the commercials. Or how about your liver and kidneys? They have to filter everything out of your body.

Being that ALL medication is processed as a poison (because that's what it is) in your body, it will cause damage to either one or both. As a matter of fact, Tylenol is now reported as the number 1 cause of liver disease. You cannot assume that something is not dangerous to your body because you buy it at the grocery store without a script.

Here's something else I bet you didn't know: you don't suffer from a deficiency of aspirin or Tylenol! I usually get a few chuckles when I make that statement so feel free to insert yours here. Your pain does not come from not having a high enough level of pain killers or antiinflammatories in your system. Pain is a perception of the brain or signal.

This means if an area of the body loses its ability to function then at a certain level your brain decides, "Hey, I guess I better tell him/her about it." It then throws out a signal to you, preferably where the problem is, so that you can correct the problem. Sometimes the brain gets the location right and sometimes it does not. This is because less than 10% of your nerves actually deal with pain, everything else is function.

Let me translate. By the time you are feeling pain, then something else has already lost its ability to function properly somewhere else. So how do I know that? (Glad you asked)

All nerves exit from the spine and every single cell, tissue, and organ in your body is hooked up to a nerve. Every nerve controls more than one thing. Part of the nerve goes to control a group of muscles and the other part goes to organs and tissues. If you have pain, then something is not functioning properly. The nerves exiting that part of the spine are now affected, which disrupts the messages being sent to whatever parts of the body it controls.

For example, lets say you have a job where you work at the computer a lot. Now you notice that your neck is starting to get tight on a daily basis and some pain actually starts to creep in from time to time. The nerves exiting that part of the spine also go to control areas of the brain, your eyes, your nose, your sinuses, your throat, etc. All those areas are not allowed to function as well as they normally would.

Now I am not saying that you will also have problems in all those areas. What I am saying is that now you are set up to have problems in those areas. Let's say with no stress on the neck your sinuses can function at 100%. Now let's throw a little stress in there and a couple of misalignments and now they can only function at 75%. Who do you think is more likely to get a sinus infection - sinuses functioning at 100% or 75%?

I get asked all the time what the deal is with chiropractic. Why shouldn't we just take Advil or whatever else? My response is that we look at the body differently than most MDs. We try to find an area of the body that is not functioning properly, which is causing problems (symptoms) there or somewhere else, and restore normal function. If you go to your RD (that's regular doctor), they will ask for your symptoms and prescribe medication to correct those.

So let me ask you this? What makes more sense, addressing the cause of the problems or the effects of the problems? In which scenario do you think a reoccurrence is least likely? This is why pretty much all the research you can find on the effectiveness of chiropractic says we are just as good or better than medication.

The more things you can improve or problems you can solve without drugs or surgery, the longer your body will last you, and the more you will be able to enjoy it later in life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Sunday afternoons during football season meant watching the Cowboy game. Or rather waiting for my dad to fall asleep with the Cowboy game on. As soon as this happened, my sister and I would sneak into the living room to change the channel. In the early days, we had to actually turn the knob on the set. Later, we would ease the remote out from under Dad's arm. Yet, no matter how quietly we carried out our mission, he was instantly awake with the changing of the channel. Even with the sound off (he preferred to watch the game on television while listening to it on the radio), he had the uncanny ability to sense when his game was no longer on. In those days, the Cowboys weren't winning, and I didn't care. All I wanted was the remote.

Friday nights in high school meant going to Irving Stadium. Not because I really wanted to watch a high school football game. I was on the drill team, so Friday night was about performing. Before the game, we were the V in between the band's two columns. Together we marched onto the field to form the M from which we performed the national anthem and the Alma Mater. Just before kickoff, we formed two lines and shook our glittering pom poms on opposite sides of a large sign through which the football team ran onto the field. During the game, we performed stand routines to the music the band played. Then there was halftime. High kicks, jump splits, and other stunts which have left me with popping knee joints. Back then, I didn't care who caught the ball or what he did with it. I could kick my leg high enough to hit my hat.

Years passed, and I took no interest in the game of football. There was even a time I criticized the game as having nothing to do with the foot. It seemed the rest of the world had it right in referring to soccer as football. Indeed, I had many a conversation with my international friends about the seeming misnomer while I was living in Europe.

Today, I live in a state that has no professional football team. Yet, football fever is much more alive here than anywhere else I have lived. This is, after all, the Sooner State. After I began teaching at the community college, I learned that I needed to choose a color, crimson or orange. Being that I live closer to OU, it seemed logical that I would be a Sooner fan. At first, I would just placate my students by pretending to be interested. I still didn't know or care much about the game. Then, on a whim, I decided to watch the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. I couldn't take my eyes off the game. I had never seen football played like that. It was a nail-biter. The Sooners lost on a trick play in overtime, and I was upset about the loss. Of course, the next few days were abuzz with talk of the game. I was hooked.

Last season found me watching the ratings from week to week. I started watching ESPN and laughing at Lou Holtz and his absurd comments, particularly when it came to his die-hard support of Notre Dame. I watched Game Day when the show came to Norman. And when it went to Stillwater. I got excited about the Sooners 60+ point scoring streak. I got involved in the controversy surrounding the Big XII South title spot and the BCS ranking system. I rooted for Bradford for the Heisman. And then from my living room came quite an uproar during the National Title game after which my daughter told me not to yell at Tebow anymore.

So last season ended in disappointment, but I'm geared up for this one. Everywhere I see signs that I'm not the only one. The electronic billboards on I-40 have displayed the countdown until kickoff since there were more than 50. The jerseys have been on sale at my local WalMart for a couple of weeks now. The grocery stores have stocked up on game day fare. The radio stations are playing the school fight song and talking about tomorrow's matchup. We're ready.

I'm ready. I find it slightly ironic considering my history with the game that kickoff will be taking place at the new Cowboy Stadium. I suppose I've come full circle. It won't be the Cowboys, no, and it won't be Sunday afternoons, and I have more than one TV, so any little girl that might not take an interest in the game can watch a movie in the other room. But my big screen will most certainly be reserved for kickoff. And me, I'll be singing Boomer Sooner.


Irving, TX – The Salesmanship Club Charitable Golf of Dallas, host organization of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, announced today that the 2009 Championship raised $4.4 million in net proceeds for local children and families.

“The incredible commitment of our title sponsor, HP, and the many companies and individuals who continue to support this great event are an inspiration to me,” said 2009 Tournament Chairman Charley Spradley. “I am proud of what we were able to accomplish in the face of the worst economy in two generations, and I’m deeply grateful to all of our sponsors and volunteers for their tremendous support and to the members of the Salesmanship Club for overcoming the challenges and doing it all for the kids.”

Since its inception, the Championship has raised more than $112 million for Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers (SCYFC), more than any other PGA TOUR event.

Funds generated from the sale of sponsorships, tickets, merchandise, concessions, parking and other amenities benefit SCYFC, a nonprofit organization that provides innovative education and mental health treatment services for troubled and at-risk children and their families in the Dallas area. Funds raised by the Salesmanship Club throughout the year combined with the proceeds from the HP Byron Nelson Championship provide the majority of SCYFC’s operating budget. More than 7,000 children and family members in the greater Dallas area were served in the last year as a result of funds raised at the Championship.

“The Salesmanship Club hosts this event solely to raise money for our charity,” said Mike Haggerty, Chairman of the Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers Board. “Our laboratory school achieved Exemplary status with a student passing rate of 90% or above for all TAKS areas. Further, two-thirds of our former students have enrolled in college or vocational schools. This is just an example of the incredible work that our sponsors and volunteers are making possible.”

The 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship will be played May 17-23 at the Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. For details, visit hpbnc.org.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Great Awakening

I have often contemplated the old adage, “The day you stop learning is the day you die”. From an Earthly perspective this seems to be absolute; for what can be more terminal for our minds than death itself? However, when viewed from the eternal perspective one can surely see that there is much more that is yet to be revealed and no one is exempt from this Biblical certainty. I undoubtedly being a Christian concur with the latter. While the eternal perspective is one that will far surpass anything we can wrap our minds around here on Earth and worthy of reflection, I would like to entertain the Earthly perspective. From birth to death, life seems to possess a constant state of learning. The learning process commences from the moment sensory functions are developed and extends throughout our entire lifetime. For years society has introduced the educational process early in life which in turn just equips us for the next phase of learning to not only survive, but succeed. In the last 9 years of my career, I can attest this notion of a daily flow of new data. Whether it is relative to my occupation, or my location, every day has produced something different or inexperienced. I have discovered through the years that with age, wisdom, and maturity, the more I am aware of the unknown. From this I deduce that learning is a journey; it has no destination. I don’t know of any better catalyst for the comprehension of this life-long process than examining the past. History itself paints the perfect picture of this long arduous process of learning how to survive. We as a culture have learned and can still gain from previous feats and failures in our country and world. I recently made the decision to go back to college and history, like many other adolescents, was furthest from my favorite subjects in school. It still didn’t really grasp my interest two weeks ago and as you probably guessed, I am taking the class now. Now this may be premature thinking being only into chapter four, but I am experiencing history in a whole different light. There is something inexplicable, maybe enlightening about seeing where you came from or how your countrymen came to existence that just doesn’t quite reach the forefront of your mind during the adolescent years. With that said, I have included a little segment of history that was an assignment given to me for summation. Hope you too experience your own Great Awakening! Pun is intended!

The Great Awakening, later given its name by minister and historian Joseph Tracy in 1842, first showed signs of birth in New England in the 1730s. It wasn’t until the 1750s that this outbreak of Protestant spiritual revivals proceeded to impact the lives of the early colonists. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia were among the most effected by the religious revivals. The older generation Congregational churches were more concerned with religious training and rational thinking than the salvation of souls. This coupled with a lack of ordained ministers in the South brought forth a new group of preachers. Among this group of “New Lights” were Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. These Calvinist preachers evangelized with emotional rhetoric and captured the minds and hearts of people from all Protestant denominations. Whitefield traveled from colonies in New Hampshire down to Georgia with his new style evangelism. Preaching that scripture teaches that all men were created equal and that a man’s value is in his moral beliefs rather than his class challenged previous conceptions of social order. This widespread revival created many positive changes to the colonial society which in turn even effects modern day. Baptist preachers were arrested in VA and were defended by a young lawyer named James Madison. This later would later spur the inclusion of religious freedom into the Constitution. The New Lights founded many schools of higher learning. Presbyterians established the College of New Jersey which is now modern day Princeton University. Dartmouth, Brown, and Rutgers are other examples that were established. African Americans were also a part of this evangelism and thousands were converted. With politics and religion so closely intertwined, this movement gave colonists a new outlook on life. The new idea that every man and woman no longer had to rely on ministers or authority for their own salvation, but rather, one stood alone before God instilled a sense of courage in people to stand up for themselves. Due to the widespread changes in religious thinking, a sense of unity was established beyond the local towns and throughout the colonies. People shared a common excitement about the future progression of America. Through the Great Awakening, one can begin to see the dawning of a democratic mindset and a unified nation under God which would only be obtainable by a Revolution.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obama's Health Plan Won't Matter

Being that I am a health care provider, it seems like everyone wants to know what I think about the possible reformatting of our health care system. I have given it some thought and I have come up with an answer. But before I give it to you, I must first say this.

There absolutely needs to be some kind of change in the system we have or it will continue to spiral downward and get more and more out of control. However, change does not mean better it ONLY means different.

So now my answer to the question…..it doesn’t really matter. Before anyone gets upset, let me clarify.

When I say it doesn’t matter, I mean in relation to helping out the health crisis this nation finds itself in today. The World Health Organization has us listed around 35th (+ or – 2 spots) on the healthiest nations in the world. We are number 1 in emergency medicine (what medicine was to be used for) but way down on the list for chronic, preventable diseases.

Let me ask you some questions. How many people have health insurance? I think we can all agree that most people have some form of health insurance. When are you allowed to use your health insurance? If you are thinking “when you are sick,” then you are right. When do most people go to the doctor? When they are sick or have problems, and in the mean time, do nothing until they have another problem.

You see, we currently have a sick-care system and sick insurance – NOT health care with health insurance.

We have been brainwashed for several decades now that your health is all about how you feel. If I’m not in pain/sick, then everything is good. When pain/sickness is present, now there’s a problem. When it stops hurting, the problem is fixed and all is good once again.

This just simply is NOT how your body operates. We are not machines with nuts and bolts. We are dynamic, biological systems that are constantly assessing, compensating, and adapting to the environment we are in. Unless you can think of the exact moment you experienced trauma when your pain began, then it is something that has developed over time. Even then, the scar tissue left behind from an injury will cause that area to prematurely decay if not payed attention to.

Until we adopt a system that puts more emphasis on the prevention of health problems, we will always have a messed up system. You can’t wait until your car breaks down before you decide to take care of it and expect it to perform at a very high level. We all get that with our cars and our teeth, so why do we not get that about our health.

The health care crisis in this nation has little to do with the presence or absence of a health insurance policy. The crisis originates with the thought process currently used with respect to our individual health. The government is not going to get you or your children healthy. The insurance companies are not going to get you or your children healthy. We’ve been following there lead for several decades now with vaccination, drugs, and surgeries and look where it got us.

Obviously each individual case is different, and I would never say that we don’t need any of those things. In the right circumstances it is greatly needed. If I break my arm or my appendix ruptures, don’t come at me with some herbal paste to rub on my skin. Get me to a hospital first for some pain medication and possibly surgery. After things are stabilized then I’ll probably check out your herbal remedy.

The overhauling of our system needs to start with changing our out-dated ideals of health and use some of the research we’ve been spending billions of dollars on over the last 20 years and start applying it. Then we need to develop a system that encourages the individual to be more responsible for their own health. Until that happens, we will always end up right where we are at today.