Last night my wife Andrea did make-up for a fashion show held at a private car club called Luxautica. Luxautica is a private car club that has memberships that start at $10,000 and go all the way up to $100,000. With a membership you are able to use the ultra exotic cars without the cost of ownership, upkeep and insurance. Luxautica is actually an old art gallery at the Mall at Millenia that has been converted to a private showroom and club areas for members only. The members are also encouraged to use the club for private functions and events.

Andrea’s make up that she did on the models was great but the highlight for me of course were the cars. I just love cars and these are exotics you don’t see on the road everyday. Exotics such as the $1.7 mill. Bugatti Veyron, the $1 mill. Mercedes McLaren SLR, the $800,000 Ferrari Enzo and of course always a crowd pleaser, the $350,000 Rolls Royce Phantom. These were only a few of the cars in attendance in the showroom. It was a car lovers dream. Unfortunately that will probably be the only time I will be allowed into this members only club. But just seeing these cars up close is enough for me. Luxautica, kind of like “car heaven”!


Isn’t Love A Basic Concept?
May 29, 2008, 11:53 am
Filed under: Church, LOVE, Personal | Tags: , , , ,

Maybe it’s just me but I thought that loving people, especially if you are a Christ follower, is a basic concept. Then as I think more and more about this I am convinced that loving others more than we love ourselves is not a basic concept but it’s something you have to practice to become better at and it’s something that necessarily does not come natural to people.

As I look at my own life and I am honest, loving others at times is hard. Usually the reason it’s hard is because it requires that I move out of my comfort zone and actually work at reaching out. I think as a “career” Christian (my term for someone who’s been a Christian for a significant part of their life) we expect people to come to us and ask us about Jesus and why we are a Christian. I think the “church” as a whole has the mentality of a country club and we believe that people need to come to us, then convert and then look like us and then we can claim that we have “won” them to Christ. Usually there isn’t any love being given from “us” to “them” just ultimatums and expectations in order for “them” to fit in to our “club”. This is generally how it works in the “church” as a whole and the perception of a loveless church is propagated by our own actions.

This leads me to the reason I have written this blog. I saw a bumper sticker this morning that really ticked me off. The sticker read, “God doesn’t believe in Atheists”. This car also had a bumper sticker that read, “Got Jesus”. Obviously this person was a Christian but there was not any love being shown at least by the bumper stickers plastered on this person’s car. A person that does not believe in God at all should be the person that we should show the most love for in order to reach that person. Wouldn’t we want to reach that person by showing them that God loves them and wants a relationship with them? If God wants a relationship with them then wouldn’t God love them? Then if God loves them, wouldn’t He then believe in them? The last time I checked God didn’t want anyone to perish but wanted everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him. So tell me how that telling an Atheist that God doesn’t believe in them is going to reach them and convince them that God exists and loves them and wants a relationship with them? When will Christians come down from their high horse and start showing real love to people that don’t know God?

God gave us one job as believers. Go reach the lost. And how will they know that we are His disciples? By our love for one another and our love for others. If the Atheist that reads that bumper sticker doesn’t have anyone that believes in him and loves him and you tell him that God doesn’t believe in him either then what hope does that Atheist really have? The goal is not to prove how right we are and how wrong you are, it’s to show the love of Christ. When will Christians get this basic concept? And for the record God believes in everyone whether you are an Atheist or not. God loves you whether you are an Atheist or not. God wants a relationship with you whether you are an Atheist or not. Does a Christian love you whether you’re an Atheist or not? Now that’s a whole other story. It’s funny though, being a Christian means to be like Christ. So I think that Christianity is about loving someone no matter what. Love is a basic concept that I and all Christians need to practice. If we do then love might actually win!

Memorial Day
May 26, 2008, 8:50 am
Filed under: LOVE, Personal | Tags: , , , ,

There are two days set aside in this country where we specifically honor those people who sacrifice so much to serve our country, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. Today is the day when we celebrate those men and women and their families who paid the ultimate sacrifice by losing their lives while in the line of duty for their country. Although my dad served in WWII he did not lose his life in the war. I can not even begin to imagine what the families of brave soldiers that have lost their lives go through. What honor can we that benefit from their sacrifices begin to offer them?

In 1987 I had the privilege to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the “Tomb of the Unknowns” at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.. It was such an honor to recognize the sacrifice that so many have made for our great country. So to answer my question that I posed earlier. Let’s live our lives in such a way to make their sacrifices count. Love our God, our Country, our families and do our best to appreciate the freedom that has been paid for by their blood. Let’s make our Country a little better place to live. Love others more than we do ourselves. Reach out with Christ to touch our neighborhoods and our world. Their sacrifice has given us the freedom to make sure that “Love Wins”.

So to all the service men and women who have laid down their lives in any war or conflict that the United States has had and to their loving families, all I or anyone else can say is thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice and may God grant you peace as we honor your loved one on this day. Memorial Day!

Indy Car Or NASCAR?
May 25, 2008, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Pop Culture | Tags: , , , ,

I have always loved cars but I never got into watching auto racing. Maybe it’s because it just seems so boring to watch cars circle the track over and over. So in the spirit of the Indianapolis 500 and some NASCAR Race, somewhere, I would love some input on this subject. For me, I think that I would gravitate more toward Indy Car where the cars are more exotic (Ferrari, Mecedes etc.) vs. NASCAR where the cars are just plain (Toyota, Chevy, Ford etc.). I also believe that Indy Cars are faster. You can correct me if I’m wrong. So convince me. Should I like Indy Car or NASCAR? Oh yeah, Danica did not win the 500 today so all the ladies will have to wait until next year for a chance for your girl to win the biggest auto race in the world.

Happy Birthday Dad
May 25, 2008, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Family, LOVE, Personal | Tags: , ,

Today my dad would have been 83 years old. I have written about my dad on more than one occasion and what he means too me. So, Dallas Burnell Loper was born on this day back in 1925. Dad went on to heaven in March of 2000. I still miss him a lot. He was the best dad anyone could have. So happy birthday dad, I love you!

The Sign Says “Jesus Is Lord”
May 22, 2008, 4:30 pm
Filed under: Personal, Pop Culture | Tags: , ,

Sometimes we just get ourselves into a jam. Sometimes the only thing to do is pray. Sometimes God is just trying to get our attention and His hand saves us and it is just so blatantly clear once we get back to safe ground. Enjoy this STORY.

Lead Or Follow?
May 21, 2008, 8:27 am
Filed under: Church, Personal | Tags: , , ,

My wife Andrea & I were talking about different situations that we have been through over the past several years and my wife made a very profound statement that I wanted to highlight in this blog and discuss. She stated that, “How does someone expect to lead if they can’t even follow?” When you pose that question, it comes down to the foundational blocks of leadership and it’s pretty profound.

This is not a “which came first, the chicken or the egg” kind of a question. In order for a person to be a good leader at some point in their lives or career they had to be a good follower. Then it stands to reason all good leaders have to get the following down before they can step into a leadership role. Being a good follower is a prerequisite to being a good leader.

So many times, especially in church life I’ve seen people constantly trying to step out into that leadership position without getting the basics of following down. Whether you are a member or staff member this rings true. Until you can get behind your Pastor and support him (which is the Biblical model) and the vision that God has given him, in the easy times and through the tough times, you will never be a good leader. When a person tries to leap frog the process of following and go straight to leading it will always, always end up being a train wreck.

Some might say, “Well, I disagree with what he is doing.” or “I just can’t respect his leadership.” or “He won’t do what I want or listen too me.” When you say that, well you know what? YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING, you are trying to lead. God has ordained the leaders in your life for whatever purpose He is trying to accomplish in you. Whether it’s your boss, team-mate or Pastor, you really should check your pride and your attitude and follow.

The solution or lesson that God is trying to teach you is not to cut and run so you can impose your “leadership” abilities somewhere else. Maybe He’s trying to teach you, loyalty, faithfulness, confidence, trust, perseverance, just a few qualities of a good leader. And let me say that without a little pain, a little fire, a little trial that none of these qualities will be cultivated in your life.

So before we proclaim ourselves leaders let’s hope we get the following down. The disciples needed to get the following down before they could turn the world upside down with their leadership in the first century. They were definitely tested and tried for the road that they would have to walk after Jesus left their presence. A true leader needs some grit and guts. I just think about men like Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King and the profound mark that they left on history. These were men who earlier in their careers were good followers and it made them great men who would never think of “cut and running”. So it really isn’t a “which came first” kind of question, it is more of a “are you or are you not” kind of question. Are you a good follower? If leadership is your destiny then following is your teacher. “How does someone expect to lead if they can’t even follow?”