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Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Merry Christmas Greeting To All

Merry Christmas to all! Deann and I have been extremely busy getting ready for our big move to Colorado. December 25th has somehow been overshadowed by December 28th's one way trip to the mountains. But, we are still ready for Christmas and all of the pagan, satanic rituals that we use to lessen the importance of baby Jesus' birth. Satan Clause is getting his sleigh ready and I can't wait to see what he brings me. (Sorry, I had to add that with all the hub-bub that's still going on over Christmas this year)

We've been saying good bye to all of our friends. We went out to eat with some two nights ago at Martini's which is probably the best resturaunt in a 40 mile radius of where we live. I ate until I almost burst and talked until the staff was ready to go home. I tried sushi for the first time and loved it. Well not technically sushi it was a California roll, but still I loved the ginger, the wassabi and everything mixed together. Burting with flavor like an everlasting gobstopper.

Last night we went out with more friends and I decided on soup and salad. I was still full from the night before. Saying good bye is not my favorite thing. But I'm glad we went. I'll miss almost everyone here. ;)

My parents took the boys to go see Santa yesterday at the Coral Ridge Mall. Got there to find no line and walked up to have their picture taken. The lady said"you have to make a reservation and take one of these little vibrating pagers like you get at a resturaunt, then be available in a 3 hour window of when your reservation is. The boys couldn't understand why they couldn't just sit on Santa's lap, there wasn't a line. But the lady insisted you need a reservation. I think mom almost went UFC on this poor lady's face.

Tonight is my last church service. Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion service. Quick, easy and over in a flash is kind of the unspoken motto of this service.

Hope all of you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. I don't know how much I'll be blogging in the next couple of weeks with moving and new job and everything. But I am still trying to get my sequel to "Baptized for Life" done before I move. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Getting Baptized

Before reading this post, let me provide a disclaimer.
The subject of this post is someone I respect and look up to as well as call a friend.
This is in no way an attempt to lessen his leadership position or hurt his feelings.
Neither is it an attack on his ability as a minister.
However, this blog is called Grin and Barrett... So you get the idea.

About four years ago I was employed by a church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Lots of great innovative stuff went on there, but there are some things you just can't innovate. They just happen.

My friend (at the time and hopefully still after this posting) Brad, was the associate pastor. During one service there was a water baptism. I've never seen another church do baptisms quite like this, so let me explain what went on.

Music is playing. Not slow hymns, but fast, joyful, celebration music. Then Brad appears in a window about 10 feet above the stage and waves to everyone watching. People, one by one, begin to file into the baptismal and Brad baptizes them. What made this particular experience a unique one went far beyond the innovation of setting the atmosphere to a celebratoin where everyone yelled and cheered for each person being baptized. What made this unique was Brad's choice of clothes.

Brad, a quite muscular and handsome guy, was wearing pants and a thin white t-shirt. As he baptized each person, he dipped lower and lower into the water until after four or five dips, his entire shirt was soaked and now clinging to his rippling muscles while he smiled at the crowd unaware that he had become the spectacle of their observation.

I remember standing in the aisle, and when he came up showing his physique, I chuckled thinking that's kind of funny (i.e. shaddenfreud). The young women also watching were not as humored as I was. They began to gasp and say things like "Ohhh, my" and "Wooow". Poor Noelle, Brad's wife, was somehow caught between the thought of "My man is hot and all these other women are oodeling over him" and the thought of "Hey! All these tramps are checking out my man. Back off."

Finally it all ended and we were only left with the memory of Brad's chest rising and falling under his wet t-shirt as he breathed lust into all the women and envy into all the men of the congregation.

Okay, I say that all with a lot of joking in my voice and a little stretch of the truth, but i bring it up because I heard Brad's new church, The Life, may be doing a baptism service and wanted to offer this as a possible promotional video. (yes I know I don't sound like Brad, but do you think Brad would offer to read that script?)

Enjoy! (click to watch the video)

Special thanks to Brad, the nicest best guy, who was willing to give me a personal reference for my new job. Even though he rarely, if ever reads this blog I'm hoping he won't be offended. If he is, all he has to do is ask, and I'll take it down. Can you tell I'm a little concerned he might use those huge muscles to pummel my weak, fat body into the ground?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Dissapointed in Google

I just came home, sat in the recliner and turned on CNBC's Power Lunch to see what's new in the finacial world. I hear news that makes my stomach turn. Seriously.

I just heard that Google is not only partnering with AOL - Time Warner, but is paying $1Billion for a 5% stake in the company as well.

What really disappoints me about this is that Google has always been that independant, raw, last of the free internet place to go to get everything you want. Aside from the best results when I search, I quit going to Yahoo and MSN years ago to search because of the junk they bring up on your screen to search. Not even pop ups, just the latest celebrity gossip or hottest news story. I want my plain white screen and simple search engine with the power of a jet engine.

Maybe you don't understand my concern. Mac users, this would be like if you just heard that Microsoft bought 51% of Apple. Chiefs fans, this would be like if you heard the Owner of the Raiders just bought the Chiefs. My concern is that at part owner in AOL - Time Warner, Google will now become another big corperation that doesn't care about performance as much as they do profit.

Okay, venting over. Back to my power lunch.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I love Rumors. Filled with such great stuff to listen to, Rumors is perhaps one of my favorite things to listen to, and I’m not alone. Rumors has been very popular across the generations. Besides that, Stevie Nicks’ vocals are so floaty, it takes me to another place when I listen.

Oh – you thought I meant rumors, like a piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth and not Rumors, the 1990 Fleetwood Mac album.

Well, since that is what you were thinking, let me take some time and fill you in on the latest rumors around here. Since my resignation became public knowledge 3 weeks ago, I’ve heard all sorts of rumors as to why I’m leaving. Some funny, some partially true, and some are just ridiculous.

What people were told publicly: “Pastor Matt has resigned.”

What I told people individually: “This is a great opportunity and we are very excited. It will bring us closer to Deann’s family and family is very important to us.”
  • Rumor 1 – I’m leaving because they started a Saturday night service.
  • Rumor 2 – I’m leaving because My wife doesn’t get along with the Senior Pastor’s wife.
  • Rumor 3 – I’m leaving because we recently had an argument with our Senior Pastor over a very trivial incident.
  • Rumor 4 – I’m leaving because our Senior Pastor admitted he made a mistake when he hired me.
  • Rumor 5 – I’m leaving because I’m burned out like the last associate pastor was.
  • Rumor 6 – I’m leaving because (this is my favorite) we are too poor to afford living here.

HA! - I’ll say it again - HA!

In psychology class they taught us about the Gestalt theory, where the human brain likes completion and as a result it will do things like take a bunch of random dots on a page and see a Dalmatian sniffing the ground. I think this is what’s happened here. People are having a hard time figuring out why we are “really” leaving. Some have even implied they know why, when very few actually do. So I think people feel a need to make the connection between what they think they know and what they wish they knew. Thus, a rumor is born.

All this when the truth is that we are trying to move to Washington state where we are free to live our life according to the way we want. (link)

NO – not really, but that would be a great rumor to start. Again – HA!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Giving Birth to a Drummer Boy

I recently read the forward to some book. I have absolutely no idea the name of it, but I remember the author describing the writing process as "giving birth". She said she was pregnant with the idea and it finally burst out of her. I know exactly what she is talking about. For 6 years I have been carrying around this idea and finally last Sunday I gave birth to it.

Every Christmas we listen to all of our favorite carols, but in all honesty, does anyone really like The Little Drummer Boy? I mean it's this great song about having nothing to give to God accept your talent as a drummer, so I'll play for baby Jesus using the talent God gave me. Then some drummer plays the absolutely lamest "rat-a-tat-tat" on the snare drum. I played that same "rat-a-tat-tat" when I was about 11 and it was easy then. My point - Come on if you have some talent then bring your best, don't play some weak, 5th grader, lousy, no talent snare drum.

So about a week ago, I got together with 4 friends from church and explained my baby that I've been carying for all these years. We rehearsed about an hour or so. The result was incredible. It truly was like giving birth... without all the pain and gross stuff.

We recorded it live during second service. Here's what it sounded like.

Little Drummer Boy Live (It's about 8MB so be patient)

Thanks to Danzo on Bass, Steve on Keys and vocals, Joe on lead guitar and Rick on rhythm guitar.

Uh, yeah I may have added some background ambiance noises for effect, but the song is us.

Monday, December 12, 2005

If I wish you a "Merry X-Mas" do I go to hell?

This morning in the office was pretty normal. A little busier than usual perhaps, but all in all pretty routine. I noticed the receptionists were busy answering phones and when I saw all of our lines light up at once, I thought I'd be helpful and answer one for them. I pushed Line 4 and said "Good morning FCOC can I help you?"

An older sounding lady, I'd guess about 60 years old, asked me if we were having a Christmas day service. "No", I said, "we were having a Christmas Eve service at 5:00 with communion and candle light, but nothing on Sunday." About half way through my explanation, I suddenly remembered all the hot controversy surrounding the no Christmas service cancellations. My friend Betsy has blogged about it, so it has to be big news.

This older, now grumpy sounding lady began to berate me for our apparent lack of reverence for God's most special day so that we can stay home and celebrate Santa Clause. I asked what her name was to see how serious she was about this. She refused to tell me. Surprise! I normally would have said something to the effect of "If you aren't willing to identify yourself, then I'm not going to validate your comments and this conversation is over." BUT - I then thought I'm a short timer here (only 16 days left) and I'm feeling a little feisty this morning - so what the heck. Let's get nasty.

"So you're saying that we shouldn't respect our families and we should all work Christmas morning instead of spending time with our families?"

"No, I'm saying this is God's most special day. Are you canceling Easter services so you can celebrate the Easter Bunny too?" she replied.

"Actually we aren't celebrating Santa Clause. In fact there are a number of people in our congregation who don't recognize Santa at all because they think it detracts from the birth of our savior." I didn't add that I think they are a little over the edge about it too, but that didn't support my point so I left it out.

"Are you giving gifts for Christmas?" She snapped.

"Sure, we exchange gifts in the office, and among various groups in the church."

"Does it say to do that in the Bible?" she said with a increasing snotty voice.

I was so glad I spent the night before sitting on the couch watching the Holiday Seasons music channel on digital cable because it gives cute little facts about the holidays, so I was prepared to end this one when I said in a very academic voice, "No the Bible doesn't say to do that. Exchanging gifts is a tradition starting with the Romans around 300A.D. But there are lots of things we all do that the Bible doesn't tell us directly to do."

Unimpressed, she continued complaining. Come to find out, her church had cancelled its early service which she normally attended and combined it with the late service. She was greatly offended by this blatant lack of reverence. I quickly asked her if Christmas truly was the Lord's most important day and she had her granny panties all in a wad over this, why wasn't she willing to accommodate her schedule by only a few hours so she could celebrate Jesus' birth.

That pretty much ended her argument and she hung up on me. HA!

I'm looking for her editorial in the newspaper which no doubt will rip the idiot that answered the phones. I'm not looking for it so that I can see what she says next, but so I can put an identity with this person and take my shot in the editorial column countering her uninformed, uneducated, puppet of the media personality.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Merry Christmas

In years past I haven't been a big Christmas celebrator. I'd be just as happy sleeping in Christmas morning, watching movies (not Christmas ones) and eating Chineese take out for lunch. However, for some reason, this year is different. I'm kind of excited. Not the dress up as Santa at work, or put a wreath on the grill of my car, but I have been listening to Christmas music in the office. I even sing along a little. Hmmm... go figure.

So from the other night when the Christmas tree was going up, here's a special holiday wish from Jacob and Tyler.
It takes a few seconds to load, and if you want to see it again, just click "refresh" on your browser.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mischievious Fun

Well it's that time of year when everyone is happy because Christmas is coming. That's all great, but how can you use that to your advantage? Personally, I like to think it makes it easier to pull some practical jokes that would normally be frowned upon, but because it's a season of cheer, I can get away with a little more.

Here is one of my favorite tricks to pull. The "auto-correct modification".
  1. Access a co-worker's computer.
  2. Open Microsoft Word (sorry mac users - I don't know if it works on mac)
  3. On the menu, click ->tools ->auto correct options
  4. Under the AutoCorrect tab, make sure the "Replace text as you type" box is checked. (Most computers have this already checked) AutoCorrect is the thing that causes a typing mistake like "acn" to automatically change to "can". It's a great function for lazy / sloppy typers like me. But, it's also what allows you to have a lot of fun at another's expense.
  5. In the box under "Replace" type in a word that this person will commonly use when typing a document, such as their name.
  6. In the box under "With" type the punchline. I like to go with adding a descriptive to their name, like "Matt a.k.a. the laziest dork in the office"
  7. Click "Okay"
  8. Walk away from their desk quietly and wait.

The next time the person sits down at their desk to type a memo or letter, when they type their name, Microsoft's auto-correct function will change their name which they correctly typed, to whatever you enter in.

For example...



Matt the big fat loser

I tend to be impatient, so I make several modifications. Common words are the best. In a church setting, love, God and Bible are perfect. In a business setting perhaps estimate, profit or the company's name work great. The idea is to 1 - frustrate the person when they can't fix the error and the error mildly insults them. 2 - to have the document go out with the "typos" in it and the person doesn't realize it making them look foolish in a meeting or presentation.

Always remember be safe when pulling a prank. While Christmas cheer may give you a little more leniency, don't light a fire you can't put out. It's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out and you get demoted to shredding paper in the basement because your co-worker's memo called the team leader to an arrogant jerk with no sense of humor.