Monday, March 31, 2014

Radio Restoration Project Update

       I finally bought an amp for my old radio. Just to remind you, I bought a 1935 A-87 General Electric console radio a few years ago in hopes of restoring it. It was beat up pretty badly and the guts were roached out too. In stead of trying to restore the old tube radio amp to its original condition, I decided to completely update the guts so that I could have new speakers and run my iPhone through it via bluetooth. Now, I know that there are a lot of purists out there who think that I'm ruining a great piece of history. However, I completely respect the old style of radio that was in this beauty, however, I'm just not smart enough to do that type of restoration. I did save ALL the old parts to the tube radio and have no plans of throwing them away. Moving on.
       I purchased a pair of Kenwood 6 1/2 inch car speakers for less than $60.00 at Best Buy about a year ago. They are 4ohm and can handle 75w max RMS. The new amp puts out 70w max RMS per channel at 4ohm. The amp includes two inputs and one output connections. I connected my Belkin bluetooth receiver to one of the inputs and will use my iPhone as the audio source.
       Here is where I am right now. I've still got a little ways to go but I'm happy with my progress.

I bought this amp off of Amazon and saved a bunch with Amazon Prime.

 Here is the setup. It's pretty simple actually. Speakers connect to the speaker connections and the bluetooth connects to the audio input.

In order for the speakers to fit in the space and not hit the wooden grill guard, I had to rear mount them on a thin piece of plywood. I will paint the wood black and put the original grill cloth back on it. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the bluetooth receiver to keep it discrete and yet functional. 

I will post more photos when I make more progress. Today is March 31, 2014.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Being a Minister/Sports Fan on Social Media

       I'm a minister. I'm also a HUGE college football fan. I graduated from Auburn University and I absolutely love my Tigers...or as my Bama fan friends would say, my War Eagles. Although my allegiance is with Auburn, I work at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. There are students from all over the country who attend this institution. I have had students who attended Ole Miss, University of Tennessee, University of Arkansas, University of Alabama, University of Florida, and University of Georgia. Those schools are rivals of Auburn. If I spend all my time and energy pumping Auburn, it's going to be a turn off to those students. If every illustration I use when preaching is about Bo Jackson or Cam Newton, or how great it is to be an Auburn Tiger, I'm not going to connect with those who disagree. And besides, no one really cares what team you pull for when you're preaching God's Word.
       It's a complete turn off to me when fellow ministers tweet about their favorite team. I've actually unfollowed ministers on Twitter and Facebook because of their excessive comments about their team. It's not that I'm against people pulling for their team, I just think it's a divisive topic. There are better ways to do it when you are a minister who has a congregation or ministry comprised of different opinions. Here are some things to remember when you're a minister and a fan on social media.

  1. Nobody cares as much as you do about your team, your team's record, your team's schedule, or the new recruit your team signed.
  2. Keep your comments neutral. (No trash talking. You're a minister...just...don't.)
  3. Don't be afraid to tweet or post positive stories about your rival. (Believe it or not, there are Christians on other teams.)
  4. Don't post hurtful things about other teams. There may be people in your ministry who will feel that it is an attack on them and their beloved team. (I've learned this the hard way.)
  5. Use the "Favorite" or "Like" option more than you use the "Retweet" or "Share" option. Favoriting or Liking a post is more for your sake and it doesn't clog up other people's feeds.
  6. If you live in a town with a college team, or a state with a Pro team, support those teams loud and proud! It's the whole concept of living where you live. I don't care if you know nothing about the teams in your city/state, if it's good news about those teams, make it public! Your people will appreciate it.
  7. That leads me to the next point. It's TOTALLY okay to post about your favorite team if you minister in the city where your team is located. For instance: Vol fans in Knoxville, Grizzly or Tiger fans in Memphis, Auburn fans in Auburn, Tide fans in Tuscaloosa, Gator fans in Gainsville, etc.
  8. Always be gracious when your team loses. It's better to congratulate your team's opponent than to congratulate your own team...or worse, beat up your own team publicly.
  9. If you want to talk to a fellow fan of your own team, either message them privately or, if you're on Twitter, send the tweet to them specifically like this: [ @Biggest_Fan_Ever did you see that quarterback we just signed?] If you don't put anything before the @, then the message will not show up on other people's feed unless of course they are the person connected to the @ or are mutual friends with you and the person to whom you are tweeting.
  10. Lastly, don't live-tweet sporting events. (Some people DVR games, so don't spoil it.) But if you do, please, pretty please use a hashtag (#) to let the world know what you are talking about. For instance: [Are you kidding me, that's ridiculous?!?!] means something different than [Are you kidding me, that's ridiculous?!?! #IronBowl13]. For all we know, you could've been talking about something you read in the Bible. So, don't live tweet, but if you do, use hastags and don't get accused of blasphemy.
Just as a reminder, this is a list meant for ministers. If you're not a minister, you are totally free and expected to tweet and post the junk out of your favorite team! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

50 Things Every Son Needs to Hear from His Dad

       I heard a lot of things growing up from a lot of people: my mom, sister, teachers, ministers, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, coaches, teammates, and opponents. Each one would tell me different things in their own way. My mom would lovingly tell me not to do something and when I wouldn't listen, the switches came out. (Then I listened.) My teachers would threaten me with detention or sitting out in the hall...I was scared to death of detention. My coaches would yell and growl...somewhere between the tobacco spit and sweat, I learned how to play. My ministers would speak the truth of God's word...either from the pulpit or one on one. My sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins would praise me for whatever...since I was one of the only boys in the family. Teammates gave me "attaboys" and opponents made threats. Much of what they told me went in one ear and out the other.
       However, there was one person who's voice I desired most to hear. My dad. My dad was very important to me growing up...and he still is. I'm going to visit mom and dad in a few weeks to go turkey hunting. I can't wait! Growing up, dad wasn't one to waste words. The things he said, he meant. And if it required action, he expected it to be completed by the time he got home from work. I heard a lot of things from my dad that are important. There are some boys who don't hear things from their dad for various reasons. Either the son never knew his "dad," the "dad" was not intentional with his words, or the father has passed away. I put the word "dad," in quotations because not every father is a dad. I heard one gruff football coach preaching one time say, "There are too many sperm donors out there and not enough dads." He made the distinction a little more vividly than I could. Even if your dad was not there, either physically or emotionally, you can use this list to help your son.
       Here is a list compiled from some men I know as well as from my life of what every boy needs to hear from his dad. This is in no particular order.
  1. I love you.
  2. I'm proud of you.
  3. I believe in you.
  4. Don't quit.
  5. Be kind.
  6. Trust in the Lord.
  7. Say your prayers.
  8. Read your Bible.
  9. Eat your veggies.
  10. Look both ways.
  11. Hold my hand.
  12. Follow me.
  13. I love your mother.
  14. I expect you to do your best.
  15. Respect others.
  16. I understand, I'm not perfect and neither are you.
  17. Learn from your mistakes.
  18. Walk it off.
  19. Guard your thoughts.
  20. Keep your composure
  21. Choose your words carefully.
  22. We care for those who can't care for themselves.
  23. Don't be lazy.
  24. Hustle.
  25. You are strong.
  26. You is kind.
  27. You is smart.
  28. You is important. (Sorry, I had to. It was just too easy.)
  29. Do what I say, when I say to do it.
  30. Stay focused.
  31. Be particular.
  32. Plan ahead.
  33. Love your sister.
  34. Obey your mother.
  35. You're the man of the house when I'm gone.
  36. It's ok, I still love you.
  37. Keep your head up.
  38. There is a time and place for everything.
  39. Respect yourself.
  40. Believe in yourself.
  41. What you did was wrong, I still love you, but there are consequences.
  42. I trust you.
  43. Take responsibility for your actions.
  44. Tell me about your day.
  45. Just because your friends are doing it, doesn't make it right.
  46. You represent this family, don't do anything disgrace its name.
  47. If you're ever in jail, call me and I will bail you out.
  48. If you've ever had too much to drink, call me and I'll pick you up.
  49. Respect the girls you date and don't scar them for the next guy.
  50. Be a godly man who loves Jesus.
       This list is in no way comprehensive. Perhaps there are some I left out. Feel free to comment and tell me what you heard or needed to hear from your dad.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Daily 10 Before 10:00 AM

     I am more productive when I accomplish more before noon. (Thank you Captain Obvious, right?) But seriously, I feel like getting a jump start on my to-do list is like priming the pump for the rest of the day. I keep a running to-do list on my desk calendar at all times. Lately  I've noticed that the same things keep popping up. So, I came up with a list of 10 things to do before 10:00am. Take them. Use them. Try to implement them into your ministry. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me.
  1. Read one thing related to my ministry field or culture
  2. Read two chapters in the Bible
  3. E-mail three local pastors/ministers
  4. Contact four alumni or church members just to catch up
  5. Schedule five relevant social media posts for the day
  6. Have a six-minute non-work/ministry conversation with at least one leader in my ministry or employee
  7. Review my calendar seven weeks out
  8. Identify eight goals for the day
  9. Determine what needs to be done in the next nine days
  10. Spend ten minutes in prayer for those involved my ministry
I don't always adhere to this but it's a nice goal.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Jesus and Cadbury Eggs

     Ahhhhhhhh...That's the sound I've made the past few days when I walk outside here in Memphis. The weather has been absolutely fantastic. I'm not going to get TOO comfortable with it though, there's always that one cold snap that shows up right before Easter. It always seems to catch me off guard even though I know it's coming.
     I wonder if that's the same feeling that the disciples had whenever the first Easter (Resurrection Sunday) came. Not that they were surprised by a cold snap...I have no idea what the weather was like in year 33. But Jesus did make it clear that he was going to have to die a real death but that he would be raised to life on the third day.

"Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
Luke 18:31-33

     It seems that although the disciples knew it was coming, there was no way to prepare themselves for the actual event. I'm sure they felt that they just needed a little more time. Just one more sermon on the mount. Just one more miracle. Just one more chance to turn water into wine. Just one more blind man to give sight. Just one more stroll along the Sea of Galilee shore...or ON the Sea of Galilee for that matter. Just one more _____.

     When someone dies, there's no way to prepare yourself for life without them. There's always the desire to have "just one more ______". In the same way that the disciples had the promise that they would see Jesus again after the resurrection, we have the promise that we will see our loved ones who are part of God's family through Christ when we get to heaven. Even with that promise, it's not always enough. We want just one more ______.

     Sarah and I spent the night in her family's mountain cabin last weekend for a mini vacation. This house is where her grandparents lived and since their death, has been renovated. Even though it was so relaxing and we got the rest that we desperately needed, we were flooded with memories of her sweet grandparents. It made us really miss them but it was great to see things that reminded us of them. We were able to remember the good times.

     Can you imagine being one of the disciples? I know that things didn't end well for them with most of them dying horrible deaths, but to be able to walk with Jesus and see his face? It had to be amazing. The bond that they had with him must have been so strong. Even for Judas. I do think that he cared for Jesus, because after his betrayal he was so distraught that he hung himself . Knowing that you are friends with the savior of the world, having to watch him die, and knowing that he said that that was the way it had to be...I can't comprehend it.

     Right before Jesus was arrested, at a meal we call "the last supper," he told his disciples to remember him every time they eat bread and drink wine. From that point on, I'm sure that the disciples couldn't look at bread and wine the same. Although they would remember the pain that they felt from his absence, this reminder of Jesus' sacrifice would never leave them.

     Although the disciples couldn't adequately prepare for the first Resurrection Sunday, you and I can prepare for the one coming in 2014. Here are some ways to do so:
  • In stead of checking your phone, let the first thing you do when you wake up be praying for 5-10 minutes.
  • One day a week, turn off the radio on your commute to work and replace that time with embarrassingly loud and off key joyful praise to God. (Make up the words if you don't know them...I always do.)
  • After a church or mid-week worship service, discuss the message with a friend. If they weren't at the service, teach them what you learned. Teaching helps internalize things.
  • Enjoy the beauty of spring and meditate on how it symbolizes resurrection in itself. Coming out of a dead winter and bursting into new life full of hope and anticipation.
  • Try not to get too wrapped up in the commercialization of Easter...except for Cadbury Eggs, there will be Cadbury Eggs in heaven so you should get used to them...and Cherry Coke...and Yoohoo. One can only hope that St. Peter meets me at the gate and says, "Welcome Bryan. You're going to finally get to meet your Savior, Jesus Christ face to face. And since you're here, here is a YooHoo and a Cadbury Egg." ;)
  • I'd love to hear how you prepare for Resurrection Sunday. Feel free to post in the comments section.