Wednesday, February 18, 2009

RSS change

have I mentioned that the RSS feed has changed for this blog?

Sorry for the inconvenience... the RSS feed is changing for this blog. It has been routed here... but the RSS is going to only feed from here now. This is what to add to your Google Reader or other RSS feed:

.ross blog (will appear as Two Fires)

New Podcast

todd vlog ep 59 from Todd Wright on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Prayer

Rick Warren and his prayer:

Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone.

It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.

History is your story.

The Scripture tells us, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one." And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama,

the wisdom to lead us with humility,
the courage to lead us with integrity,

the compassion to lead us with generosity.

Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans--united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you--forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone--forgive us.

When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve--forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.

And may we never forget that one day, all nations--and all people--will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, 'Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,

for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Huckabee on Apple

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I like this

I'd love to know your thoughts about this...

HT: Phil Johnson

Saturday, December 20, 2008

NFL network is horrible at game coverage

The NFL Network needs to stick to pre-game coverage and one-hour highlight reels.

The game coverage of the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens is absolutely horrible. To begin with, the graphics that appear on the screen leave much to be desired. The minimalistic graphics are too minimal. NBC, ESPN, FOX and CBS have us accustomed to know the down, yardage and statistical information about the players. The NFL Network does not look like they were prepared for this game.

Secondly, the play by play is horrible. The guy calling this game needs better "spotters" because he is having a hard time either 1) calling the player of interests name, or 2) getting the name right. He is robotic in his analysis and is not interesting to listen to at all.

Third, the "color commentary" seems more interested (Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders) in reliving their glory days in the NFL than talking about the game at hand. A great example is the last two minutes of the second half and the Cowboys have the ball. The stadium is electrified, the radio announcers are emotionally engaged with the excitement of a "no-huddle" offense and the chance for Romo and TO to connect in the end-zone. Meanwhile on the NFL network, Marshall and Deion are talking about how the Cowboys need to go three and out and just let their defense run the time out. WHAT? First of all, that doesn't even make sense, and secondly, it sounded more like the personal appeal of the announcers to get this half over with so that Deion can change his shoes, put on a coat and shelter himself from the 32 degree wind-chill... which by the way seemed to be their chief interest.

Fourth, when are we going to finally be done with "proprietary endeavors?" In a world that is going Open Source, it seems the NFL Network is trying to buck the system. Here is what I say - if you are going Proprietary, then be the very best out there. Don't lock everyone else out of covering this game and then totally suck at the product you provide.

As a viewer I feel like a hostage to maybe the worst football coverage I have seen all year.

On the same note, but different angle, I am shocked about how much I like the coverage of football games. It has become its own entertainment in itself. I realize that as much as I like to watch a good football game, I like for it to be covered and analyzed well. I want the announcers to take me onto the field and into the helmets. I want to feel the vibe of the stadium. I want to know what is going on behind the scenes. I want to understand the game, the situation and the importance behind what is happening. When that doesn't happen, I am disappointed.

Tonight, I am disappointed. I'm let down and I am not a fan of the NFL Network. Overall, the Network itself is not able to get out of the way of their own hype and corporate ego and let the viewer enjoy the game.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


If you're not reading my brother-in-laws blog, you are missing out.

The Breach

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Over the past couple of months I have made mention of my new fascination - Twitter

Now, I'm not saying that twitter is for everyone, in fact, it isn't. But, I have found Twitter to be a great social networking tool that allows me to stay connected with 1) people I care about; 2) people I'm interested in; 3) people I'd like to know, but may never meet. It also provides an opportunity for family and friends to catch small glimpses into my life during the day.

I want to share a story that happened this past week that illustrates both the power and "coolness" of Twitter. Periodically I get on Twitter's "search page" and type in "Tyler, TX." I do this because I am always interested who else in our community is using this tool. There is always a good list this search generates and from time to time, if the people are not totally weird, I will "follow" them.

Now, Tyler is a small town, not small enough that everyone knows everyone, but we have no more than 3 degrees of separation. Last week I followed a person that lives in Tyler who happens to know Alley Burton (elder) and was somewhat familiar with Bethel, but has never been. Since all of my biographical information is on my Twitter page, this person discovered that I am a pastor at Bethel and because of the timing in their life decided that they were going to visit. I met them this past Sunday and so did many of you!

This really is less about Twitter and more of what I would call opportunity. I was reminded that all over this city there are people who are not connected with a church and would love to be. But, just like all of us, it is hard to imagine getting up on a Sunday morning (or any morning), getting dressed in clothes you don't normally wear, getting your family ready, getting in the car, driving to an unfamiliar place, parking and then making that long walk from your car to the front door... all while being a perfect stranger. It is hard to be "new" or "different" or "uninformed." In fact, I think besides public speaking, visiting a church is probably one of the most frightening and difficult things a person, couple or family ever does.

For my new friend, I was glad that there family felt at least the comfort of "knowing" someone before they got there.

So - let me ask you this morning (or afternoon/evening), who might there be in your life that would love to be connected to a community of people? And not just any community of people, but a community that is committed to following Jesus and living out His life? I can guarantee there is someone in the ebb and flow of your life that is not connected, but would love to be.

Everything I have read, and my experience supports, is that people are most likely to visit a church because someone they know asked them. In fact, it is rare that when I have invited someone to church that they flat out said "no." Most people, who are not connected to a church, are thrilled to be asked and have some excitement that they might actually find a place to connect. The problem is that we just don't ask.

So - ASK. If there is anyone that has come to your mind, make if your priority and goal to invite them to a service before the end of the year. Christmas is a great time here at Bethel and a great time for you to bring someone with you...

And you don't need a twitter account to do that.

About This Blog

Name: Ross Strader

Age: 37

Birthday: March 6

College: Hardin-Simmons

Graduate: Hardin-Simmons

Seminary: Dallas Theological

Major: M.A. Family Psychology;

Th.M Pastoral Leadership

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come that you might have life, and have it abundantly.” -Jesus (John 10:10)

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