Monday, June 30, 2008

NCBC Flood Relief 1

One of our Flood Relief Teams
(click the pic for a slideshow)

New Covenant Bible Church, the church where I serve in Cedar Rapids Iowa has been intensely involved in disaster relief as we saw much of our city go under water just a week and a half ago. Our newly formed ministry SWAT (Service with a Tool) took on a whole new meaning when the flood hit and we have been busy ever since figuring out the logistics of hooking up around 170 volunteers with the overwhelming needs of our community.

Wednesday afternoon I received a desperate call from Serve the City who was trying to coordinate the city's volunteer effort and they asked if we could take 40 homes to help. Well, after I had to be shocked to start my heart pumping again, I said yes because I believed at the time we had a mechanism in place to deal with that number. I was nearly right.

Thursday morning I shared with our SWAT leadership team that we had been asked to serve 40 homes and they came up with an awesome solution. We would invite people to "just show up" at the church Monday-Friday from 5-6 PM and Saturday from 7:30-9:00 PM and we would form teams and train Team Leaders on the spot and deploy teams right then a there.

It worked.

To date we have sent out about 14-15 teams with a total of nearly 70 volunteers. What an awesome church I get to serve at! Tye out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I finally got a car!

Last month I finally gave my sister in law the car she loaned us because I couldn't afford to drive it any more. I don't think I've ever sunk over $4k into a car inside of 2.5 years before, unless it was one I was making payments on and it would eventually be mine. (I hope I can get over this soon!) But shelling out that kind of dough for a "loaner" is a drag.

I had $2500 to spend on a car and I was able to find a 2001 Honda Civic for exactly that amount. It is a beat up, high mileage, smelly car with dings, dents, and a loose fender, but it's engine and powertrain purr like a kitten. It drives great and the sunroof works, for now. (The Volvo's broke a month after I got it - $900, but we opted for the $300 version that just sealed it shut.)

The best part is that because it is beat up few people would want it, but since I don't believe that my car defines me as a man, I can drive it and enjoy it. Besides, how can a car be "sexy"? That's weird.

I'm so thankful to finally have a car to drive. Tye out.

CR Flood 2008 update #7

You've probably been wondering where I've been in the last week. Well, we've been real busy. I now have over 80 hours in this past week and will probably come close to the same this week.

My office is covered with post it poster paper and updates from our families that were affected by the flood. We have tried to figure out how to coordinate the needs of our community with the volunteers who want to serve. We went through about 4 revisions and now it has changed again.

We have learned that in a disaster scenario things change and change and change. There is no book written to guide you through something this difficult.

Today we experienced another change and more transitions. I don't think I have done this much strategic thinking in my entire life.

Please say a prayer for the families and businesses that have been affected. Pray for the relief agencies: Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, FEMA, Corridor Recovery dot org, Serve the City, and the many other agencies that have come to the aid of our city. Tye out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What happens when an ambidextrous pitcher pitches to a switch hitter?

Click here to read a true, yet humorous story about what happens when a switch hitter comes up against a switch pitcher. This one is worth the read.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Huckabee on Obama's wrong ideas

Here is an article taken from Facebook by Mike Huckabee regarding Obama's wrong ideas.

Obama's Wrong Ideas for America

Today at 5:06pm
Greetings, from Sapporo, Japan:

Janet and I are still in Japan for a few more days. It is about 5am here on Friday which makes it 3 in the afternoon back home in North Little Rock. We are having a great, but extremely packed week. It feels like being back on the campaign trail, except that the speeches are being interpreted in Japanese and the raw fish is sometimes a little tough on a guy who grew up thinking fried catfish was seafood. Yesterday, I visited with some of the scientists at Tohuko University in Sendai City regarding their groundbreaking research in producing solar energy and in the their development of amazing new materials that are lighter and stronger than steel. I also visited with the Governor of the Hokkaido prefect where next month’s G-8 Summit will be held and spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in that prefect on American politics, US/Japan relations, and economic trends in the United States. We are looking forward to being back—we miss the dogs!

My speech to the Foreign Correspondents Club a few days ago seemed to have generated some buzz both here and back home when I mentioned that it would be a “fundamental if not fatal mistake for the GOP to demonize Barak Obama” in order to win the election. Some seem to have taken that to mean I was all but endorsing Obama! Quite the opposite.

I believe his ideas are totally wrong for America and many of his plans would take us the opposite direction from where I think we need to go. He is an ardent supporter for the most liberal and indefensible positions on abortion, including his refusal to support a ban on the most vile forms of all, partial birth abortion. He has stated that he would be an activist in seeking to push for what the anti-life forces euphemistically call “reproductive rights.”

His plan to raise taxes would be an economic disaster for our nation. We would lose jobs and investment and see the economy really squeeze the working class with even higher fuel and food prices.

He would implement more government control on everything from health care to small business and that’s not the right direction for us.

What I am saying is that we need to challenge Obama on the basis that his ideas are the wrong ones—not attacking him personally. If people spend their time repeating a bunch of internet driven drivel about his middle name (he didn’t choose his anymore than I chose mine), or his race (I do sincerely celebrate that our country has moved to a place where a person’s race doesn’t limit him from aspiring to the highest office in our land, but I just believe that due to his proposals and lack of substantive experience, he’s gone far enough—not because of his race, but because of his sincere, but misguided proposals), or his church (there are far more important reasons for us to elect Senator McCain than where Obama went to church).

Politics ought to be VERTICAL and Obama’s ideas will not take this country UP, but DOWN. I think he is a sincere and obviously a very intelligent and charismatic person. For us to deny that is foolish. Our focus should be to logically and systematically explain why ideas really do matter and why some are bad for those struggling as it is to pay the rent.

Elections ought to be about elevating the best ideas and exposing the worst ones—not engaging in character assassination with half truths, innuendoes, and disputable “internet facts.”

I hope you’ll keep the dialogue going and be a part of HuckPAC. I enjoy reading your posts—even the ones from those who use the blog to attack me. The reason I don’t respond to all of that is 2 fold: 1. I have other things to occupy my time than answering every critic; and 2. You guys—the HuckPAC family do a better job anyway!

Hope you are having a good week and continue to pray for our friends in the Midwest suffering from the devastating floods.

Mike Huckabee

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A cup of cold water in Jesus Name - Flood update #7

Our church, New Covenant Bible, is manning one of the water distribution sites here in CR. We have 75 volunteers a day passing out water that has been supplied by FEMA. On Sunday they passed out 5 truckloads, and on Monday 2 1/2 truckloads.

Thanks for all the volunteers, and especially George Bushlack for heading up the site. You can see his back in the photos leading the group in prayer at the end of the day. Tye out.

CR Flood of 2008 update #6

Yesterday I was called to be a "checkpoint pastor" which meant that I was supposed to be available to people as they re-entered their homes. I arrived at 11:30 and was told to "stand down" at 11:45. We are now waiting on the call to go back when they begin allowing people to go back into the flooded areas. This is tedious and tricky stuff since there are many dangerous concerns such as gas leaks, unsafe foundations, and haz-mat issues. And this is making the people very angry!

At noon I pulled out and the car I was borrowing (see pic above) quit - I thought it might have run out of gas even though the guage was on 1/4 tank. So, I borrowed a gas can and walked to a nearby gas station and when I returned the car would not start. After a long time I finally got it to start, but then could not keep it running. In the meantime it sprung a severe oil leak.

I called the car's owner and he called the tow truck. It was almost four o'clock by the time I got home. Now I am without a car again. Pray for me.

At 5:45 PM I went over to Sam's Club to help wrap up the water distribution, came home and collapsed. I think I was tired from Sunday.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Epic Flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2008 - part five

New Covenant Bible Church has been asked by the city to man one of our bottled water sites at Sam's Club on Blairs Ferry Road. It is truly amazing to see our city coming together to help meet the needs of people who have been wiped out by this devastation.

Water restriction - our water plant is now at 50% and we are allowed to take brief showers and do laundry every other day depending on your house number. We are still trying to be wise in our water usage.

Flood waters are receding - but the big concern now is the very unsafe conditions that the flood has left. Raw sewage is everywhere and people are being warned to get a free tetanus shot if you get cut.

Zone Checkpoint Pastors - our area pastors have been asked to be at the eleven checkpoints where people are being taken to their homes to assess damage. I will be serving as one today.

Please continue to pray for our city. This is going to take a long, long time to recover. Tye out.

Epic Flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2008 - part four

Parkview E-Free Church in Iowa City

A good friend of mine, John Carlson, sent some pics of their church under about four feet of water. Please pray for this church in Iowa City ( 20 miles south of us) as they attempt to recover from this incredible disaster.

Click here for more pics. Tye out.

Biblical Mahood - my Sunday message

Yesterday I shared the talk at our church, New Covenant Bible Church. I talked about the biblical definition of manhood which you can read in the my last post.

The message went well and I had a lot of favorable comments. Everyone tells me that I am really funny. I don't try to be funny, it just comes natural.

Click here to listen to the message. Tye out.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My message for this Sunday - Father's Day

I am speaking this Sunday and I just wrapped up my preparation. I am speaking on the biblical manhood and will be sharing some of the things that we have learned in Men's Fraternity while studying The Quest for Authentic Manhood.

The essence of the message will outline the biblical definition of manhood. We believe that real men will:

1. Reject passivity - in the Garden of Eden Adam surrendered his manhood when he stood by and allowed Eve to be deceived by the enemy. In contrast to this, Christ came and took an active role in our salvation.

2. Accept Responsibility - when God came looking for them to see what was up, he asked Adam what happened and he blames God for the wife he had given him. He played the victim. Christ accepted responsibility by loving the church and dying for it.

3. Lead courageously - Adam waited to see what his wife was going to do instead of stepping up and leading her away from this tragic mistake. Conversely, Christ said "follow me." He never waited to see what someone else was going to do but rather took a proactive stance.

4. Expect a greater reward, God's reward - Adam went after a reward that was not his, i.e. become like God. When we follow Christ's way there is always a great reward.

Please pray that I will share with God's strength and that he will change the lives of men in our church tomorrow. PT out. (Pastor Tye)

Epic Flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2008 - part three

Here is some video footage of downtown Cedar Rapids:

For information on the Flood of 2008, I suggest you go The Gazette Online or KCRG.

Please pray for our community. This is going to be a long haul. Also, please know that we are safe and sound for those of you who have called and emailed. We can still get supplies at the grocery store and gasoline. Tye out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Epic Flood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2008 - part two

(Dairy Queen before and after flood. The water is up to the bottom of the sign at this point and to the roof)

Wednesday night I hopped on my bike and headed downtown to see the flood with my own eyes. At that point it was a little over 20 feet and was supposed to go to 24.5. As I rode out onto the First Avenue bridge I was sobered by the rush of the water and the thought that in just hours the place where I was standing would have water. At that time I had no idea that the water would be 10 feet higher! Man.

As I rode around you could see all the sandbags around the buildings, again set up for a flood stage of 22.5. Crews were loading sandbags and some were taking pictures, sheepishly I might say.

The mood was sober and the atmosphere ominous. Usually people talk to you, smile, nod, and exchange pleasantries. There was none of that. It was like attending a funeral. No chit chat, nothing. Tears came to my eyes several times and just as I typed that they did again. Tye, down, but not out.

Epic Flood in Cedar Rapids Iowa 2008 - part one

(Pictured above - Mays Island, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Notice the three bridges that are now under water.)

I have already received calls and emails from friends in Cleveland Ohio so I thought it was time to do a blog post on the unbelievable events of this week in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The river started rising the first of the week and was predicted to go 10 feet over the flood stage of 12 feet - 22.5 feet. They said that they had never ever seen water that high in Cedar Rapids.

It crested this morning at 10 AM at 31.12 feet.

Click here for a slideshow. (I did NOT take these pictures)
Click here for a link to the local paper that has many, many pictures.

Our water treatment plant is operating at only 25% normal capacity and we are being told to do only one thing with water - drink it. No showers, no dishes, no laundry. The REALLY bad part about this is they don't expect to see a change for at least a week. ouch.

Worse, 8300 people have been evacuated including many of our own personal friends. The entire downtown area is flooded, including all but one bridge over the Cedar River. One of the two hospitals in our town is under water and being evacuated as I write.

We are being cautioned that this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. The good news is we are talking about hardworking, hearty, Iowans. We will come back. Tye out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Volvo Vampire is gone

2.5 years ago my sister-in-law very graciously loaned us her 1996 Volvo 850 and told us that she wanted it back when we were done with it. Well, after over $4k in repairs I am done with it. Admittedly, I had to put tires on it when we got it so that sort of got the ball rolling. Next came (I lost track) radiator, rack and pinion, starter (on Volvo was $470 installed), front brakes (I did this myself), rear brakes (done at shop), two more tires, broken sunroof, and an oil pan ($850) because I hit a pothole and poked a hole in the cast aluminum oil pan - any other car would have been around $2-300. the week before it went back the critical check engine light came on so that cost almost $100 to have checked out. It was a broken vacuum hose thingee. bummer.

Needless to say I am thrilled to no longer see that car in the driveway. I still don't have a car yet but a friend here graciously loaned me his car for a while. I'll try riding my bike on some days, and even walking on others. For $4k I could have bought my dream bicycle and a car to drive when the weather is bad. hmmm - maybe that is why I don't care for rear view mirrors all that much. : )

Any how, no more Volvo repairs. The Volvo Vampire has left the building. Tye out.

P.S. Luxury cars deserve a luxury salary. I should have known better. Pastors should not be driving a Volvo no matter what.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Graduate

Another kid from the Male home has now graduated from High School and we couldn't be more proud of her, in spite of the fact that it has taken me two weeks to post this article!

Click here for pics of their informal graduation invite pics.
Click here for some of the pics we used for Allyson's display boards.
Click here for grad pics and grad party pics.

We had a very exciting weekend two weeks ago as we celebrated Ally's graduation. Here are some stats from Allyson's illustrious high school career:
  • Graduated with distinction (GPA over 4.0)
  • Nominated and selected for National Honor Society
  • Track Junior year
  • Member of Student Council - Junior/Senior
  • SODA (Students Opposed to Drugs and Alcohol.)
  • TRI (Teens Reaching Youth)
  • Lean on Me
  • Acquired her CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)
  • Volunteer at the H.D. Youth Center
  • Mexico Missions Trip with NCBC Youth
  • Served in Deep Impact (NCBC Middle School)
Judy's parents came in for the festivities and to celebrate with us. There was a lot of eating and sleeping. Bob and Kay are now retired and living the high life. : )

On Saturday night we had a grad party/dance with two other families. You will see pictures in the slide show of us having a great time. There's even a father/daughter graduation dance! It was a great time and I am pretty sure we did the Cha Cha Slide at least two or three times. It was a great time and we think about 250 people showed at the Round House where we had the event! Awesome!!!

Allyson is now working as a CNA at Northbrook Manor Nursing Home and will be heading to St. Ambrose University in the fall for Track One Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. We are so proud of you Allyson!!! Great job! Dad out.

Where is Tye???

Hello there! It has been a while since I talked to you. In fact, my readership has probably gone from about 38 to 29.56 - a sad statistic. : )

Since my last post a lot has happened. Let's go with some bullet points to bring you up to speed:

  • Allyson graduated from Linn Mar High School.
  • I rode a great bike ride called TOMRV (pronounced TOM-rov)
  • Organized a team to move our senior pastor. We did it in 6 hours flat. : )
  • Helping form a ministry team called SWAT (Service with a Tool)
  • Spent two days in bed with intestinal bug - yuck.
  • Starting to get some miles in on my bike.
  • Meetings, meetings, meetings.
  • Gave the message at our Washington campus when the HD video player ate the tape.
  • Saw some cool movies.
  • Took Allyson to college orientation (yikes) this past Monday and Tuesday.
  • Had some quality time with my wonderful wife.
  • Picked up a job mowing a yard for a couple up the street who moved and their house is for sale.
  • I think I burned up my mower mowing on a steep slope. I can't win for losing. : (
  • NO MORE VOLVO. My sister-in-law loaned us a Volvo to use and now I am rid of this money pit.
That's it for now. I'm going to get busy posting again. Tye out.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

EF 5 Tornado formation pictures

These pictures where taken by Sarah Barcz's father minutes before the tornado removed their house and left only the foundation and two very lucky people, her parents.