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Archive for the tag “ed thompson”

Shocking!

I remember as if it were yesterday.  It was a hot summer day and as usual, I was shirtless and shoeless. My little five-year-old feet carried me into our small storage room where I was determined to find out why my Dad had warned me; “Never stick anything into a wall socket.”  I had a screwdriver in my hand.

Two small steps led down to the cement floor storage room where the wall socket stood, waiting, next to an old refrigerator. Light shone through the open door illuminating the 110 voltage receptacle of electrons and protons.  It was calling to me. I walked over and slowly moved the long flathead toward the socket.  “Yes, yes,” it whispered.  A trickle of sweat ran down my face as the tip of the screwdriver entered the small hole. Nothing.  “Further,” it called to me.  I gripped the screwdriver tight and pushed.

???????????????????????????????????????The next thing I knew the outlet reached out and grabbed my hand and violently squeezed so tight I thought my hand would crush.  At the same instant, proton and electron minions flew out of the outlet with an evil laugh and started jabbing my arms, shoulders, and legs with millions of tiny needles.  I tried to let go of the screwdriver, but the wall socket just sneered and shook me so hard my teeth rattled.

I tried to scream, but the protons had zapped all the air out of my lungs.  At the same time, the electrons opened a valve without my permission which allowed a rapid flow of a certain fluid to exit my body.  I would later try to blame the dog for that particular mess, but my soiled pants and frizzy hair told a different story.

After what seemed like several hours but in reality was only a few seconds, the evil socket simply let go and slunk back into the wall.  The angry protons and electrons sat around pricking my skin for a while, but finally left leaving behind wobbly legs, ashen skin, and glazed eyes.  When I was finally able to catch my breath, I let out a blood curdling scream that caused my Dad to leap some 10 feet into the air before running to my rescue.

I don’t remember much else about that little experience, except thinking I was surely going to be in big trouble for disobeying my Dad and almost electrocuting myself.  Instead of being punished, however, I remember lots of hugs and kisses that day.  Even, I think, an extra scoop of ice cream.

While I learned my lesson and am pleased to say I have never again stuck anything into a wall socket, I still find myself standing there “holding a screwdriver.”  It’s just that today, the “wall sockets” calling to me are completely different.

God provided us a list of 10 rules to live by and to paraphrase said, “Listen to me, my child.  I’m telling you this because I love you and know what will happen if you disobey.  Don’t have any other god but me. Don’t misuse my name or try to replace me with some worthless idol. Don’t murder or commit adultery. Don’t steal or lie or even covet what someone else has. Honor your father and mother and remember the Sabbath and keep it holy” (see Exodus 20).

The notion that God’s rules cramp our lifestyle or keep us from enjoying life “smells like smoke,” as my old pastor was fond of saying.  The truth is, God knows exactly what happens when we stick screwdrivers in wall sockets. He gave us His rules because He loves us, wants to protect us, and wants the very best for us.

Now…if we would only just listen.

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And he could sing

After Dad died last month, we posted a couple of his songs in our LOGOI.org emails (which, by the way, you really should sign up for).  I guess I naturally assumed everyone knew my Dad had a wonderful voice and could flat out sing.  In the early days of his ministry (back in the 60’s), he was known far more for his voice than for his preaching and teaching skills and was constantly on Spanish radio throughout Latin America.

I was a bit surprised then, how many people responded with a “I had no idea” reply…even from some grandkids.  So, I thought it would be fun to include a song here beginning with one my all-time favorites: a duet I sang with Dad when I was 9 or 10 years old called, “God Spoke.”

Dad got a lot of use from this duet and we sang it frequently. He knew it wouldn’t be long until I could no longer hit those high notes.  As you listen, you’ll appreciate why this, and so many of the other roughly 150 songs Dad recorded over the years, are so special to me now.  I miss him very much.

I pulled this song off an old LP so you get to be reminded of what pre-digitized music sounded like.

Forever!

God Spoke

2009 Thompson Family Christmas Letter

Matt, Jenn, David, Ed & Abby

Warm Christmas greetings from the Thompson Family. Or, as the Spanish Santa’s say here in the malls of Miami, “Jo, Jo, Jo.”

Jenn and I took a moment to reflect on this past year to see if we had anything exciting to report. After a few minutes we realized 2009 was far more eventful than we had initially thought…so we took a nap.

Feeling refreshed, here’s a quick look at our year in review:

Matt (22) graduated from college! That is a wonderful, amazing sentence that wears us out all by itself. Now that a diploma from Florida International University hangs on Matt’s wall, he can always proudly say, “I was the first child to graduate from college in my family…” We are, or course, very proud of Matt. And now, the real world begins for this college graduate…

With that said, the ink was barely dry on his diploma when he was off to Macon, Georgia to begin his “Development Intern” job at First Presbyterian Day School. My brother, Gregg, just so happens to be the Head Master. Gregg was looking for someone with creative abilities to produce promotional videos, webcast school games and special events, speak at chapels, and generate even more excitement, energy, and school spirit for a great high school.

Laura & Matt

That job description had “Matt” written all over it. He is also a football coach once again and has even added “swim coach” to his vast repertoire of things he can do.

But far more exciting than any of these things is… he is getting quite serious with a young lady named Laura, who is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Jenn and I are way too young for any of this…we need another nap.

Abby, (19) is a sophomore at Samford University in Birmingham where she is studying the cognitive and corporal effects of college on two hours of sleep per night. She has always been a blur of activity… now she must be seeing everything blurry, too.

She somehow manages to keep up with her studies in between her Facebooking and nimble fingered texting. And while this sounds a bit strange, it does make my day to get a text from Abby that says, “Luv u Daddy.” Abby continues to study Exercise Science. She is still very interested in helping people who need prosthetics, but is developing an interest in working with children who have autism as well.

Abby

She’s in a tough major requiring lots of long hours of study… and I have no doubt, a little extra sleep would help. She loves her Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and has made some great friends. She now has a “big” and a “little” which I’m told means something important. And because she is always awake, she is also the sorority’s intramural chairman planning all their sports teams and events.

Needless to say, this beautiful and energetic girl with a gorgeous smile has a long list of would-be suitors. I have calmly responded by developing a deep and intimidating scowl I’m hoping young men sense and fear from hundreds of miles away.

Abby seems to have developed some sort of immunity to my scowl, however. She knows she can soothe the savage beast with a simple gaze and smile in my direction. It’s not fair. I need a nap.

Most would agree that David (16) had a pretty good year. He started 2009 helping lead his team to their first State Baseball Championship since 1998. David was the only freshman on the team, but led Westminster Christian in home runs, batting average, and other such nice things.

The great season helped David become a First Team All-State Team selection, a First Team All-Miami Dade selection, and to top things off, a MaxPreps All-American (the top 30 baseball freshman in the country). So, yes, I suppose he had a pretty good year.

When the 2009 football season rolled around, David, now a sophomore, had the opportunity to put on the pads and help lead his team back to the playoffs for the first time in six years (Matt’s junior year). As a second year starter, the preseason report by the Miami Herald listed David as one of the top QB’s in Miami. The season concluded with David making the top 10 in several offensive categories for the entire state resulting in him being described as, “the top rated quarterback in Florida for the class of 2012.” Hmmmmm. Matt is quick to remind David, however, that his (Matt’s) 80 yard touchdown pass is still the family record. Even so, you can see some highlights here: David Football Highlights. After attending all his games, Jenn and I need and deserve a long nap.

Dave & Tim Tebow

Meeting Tim Tebow was pretty cool, too. And in case you were wondering, yes, the college letters have begun. Of course, Jenn thinks David being inducted into the National Honor Society was even more impressive than his athletic skills. I know…Jenn is so funny.

Speaking of Jenn, she had a pretty good year, too. She started the new school year at Westminster Christian as the new and very cute Elementary School Principal. Yes, several major changes took place at the Alma Mater of Ed, Matt, and Abby… but none more exciting than Jenn’s new role.

She was promoted from her Assistant Principal job in the Middle School to being in charge of grades PreK – 5th with roughly 60 teachers and over 340 kids to oversee. While most think she is working really hard, the truth is, she’s just reliving her childhood. We especially love to hear the stories of cute little boys and girls who are sent to the Principal’s office for one reason or the other. I tell everyone, “If I worked half as hard as Jenn, I’d actually get somewhere.” Jenn would take a nap if she had the time…

As for Mr. Ed, well, I am working on a very exciting project at LOGOI called our “Virtual Pastor’s Office.” It’s a brand new way to do missions and we have high hopes for how it can help indigenous pastors and leaders, missionaries, churches, as well as partners in ministry right here in the States. You can get a preview at www.logoibeta.org.

It’s also been great to see three of the singles from my “Beautiful Feet” CD make it to the top 20 of Christian Radio & Retail’s Global Charts. Over 500 stations are playing my songs and soon you’ll even be able to include some of my songs on places like “Pandora Radio” on the internet. My single, “Love Me Anyway” climbed all the way to #2 on the inspirational chart and held a top 20 spot for over 25 weeks. A fourth single is scheduled to be released in January. You can check my website for more details: www.edthompsonlive.com. And come on, invite me to perform at your church already.

Finally, I thought you’d enjoy a little picture of our home decorations this year. We’ve thought about doing this for quite some time as our neighbors get into the Christmas spirit with great gusto. They found a few “empty” spots in their yard this year which they’ve been able to fill with blowup Santa’s, snowmen, ferris wheels, and even a manger scene if you can see through all the penguins. So, we put up our Christmas tree, hung a wreath, and wrote, “Ditto” in lights on our roof with an arrow pointing at the neighbors. A steady stream of cars driving by at night seem to be enjoying our Christmas sentiments. We hope you do, too.

Merry Christmas, from our house to yours. May the love and grace of Jesus fill our hearts and lives. “Ditto!”

The Thompsons

BAIRN PWOER

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There’s an entire new language these days that is causing some of us “older folks” a great deal of confusion.  For example, I recently received this text message from my daughter; “Hi Daddy, how r u 2 day?  Got your msg. LOL. g2g. ttyl  Luv u”

I’ll happily decipher the hieroglyphics to get a “Luv u” from my daughter anytime, but is it really that much more difficult to use actual words?  I mean, how much longer could it take to type in a few more letters…10 seconds, “Hi Daddy, how are you today?  Got your message. Laughing out loud.  Got to go.  Talk to you later.  Love you.”

But apparently, these “poor spelling” children of ours are simply exercising a part of their brains that most of us didn’t even know existed. Visual Literacy expert, Donis A. Dondis, explains, “There are three levels of visual information that we perceive: physical, perceptual, and conceptual. We learn that physical realities are objectively factual – a maple tree has green leaves, a cat’s fur has a smooth, soft texture, a pen is smaller than a computer. Not everything that we see has a physical reality that is tangible and thus our brain ‘fills in’ the missing information.”

Here’s a fun example:

“i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!”

The Psalm of David says what you may be thinking right now, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:14 NIV).  Yes, the power of the human brain is astounding.  It’s amazing what God has enabled us to do with the 100 billion or so neurons in our brains…most of which are laying idly by in my brain.

One of the very fun and amazing pieces of “brain power” we’re working on at my LOGOI Ministry office is the ability to let people communicate with each other whether or not they speak the same language.  Using some of the latest programs in language technology, people will be able to log onto our LOGOI website, type a message in English and send it to someone in a foreign language country where it will “arrive” and thus be read in their native language (and visa versa).   While  our amazing brains will need to fill in a few gaps here and there with some rough translations, if it works like it’s supposed to work, neither party will even have to click a “translate” button to make this happen.

But for all this amazing technology, with even more astonishing things on their way, nothing  quite compares with getting a “luv u” from a real live person you desperately love.  No matter how it’s spelled.

Limo Rides

When was the last time you rode in a limo?
white-limo1
I asked this question to my office staff the other day because my son, David, had recently ridden in a limo to his school homecoming party.  I had asked him how he was planning on getting to the party, since as a typical teenager, he seems to be under the impression that his parents are sitting around anxiously waiting for opportunities to jump up at a moments notice and drive him where ever he wants to go.

David simply shrugged and said, “We’re taking a limo.”

Now, one may think this sort of matter-of-fact answer would shock me.  David, however, is my youngest child, meaning I’ve been through this twice before.  So his matter-of-fact comment about a fancy limo taking him to a party got my standard answer, “Oh?”

“Oh?” by the way, is a great answer to almost anything a teenager says.  You have to say it as a question, of course, which not only does it cause the teenager to elaborate, but it’s a great delay tactic giving your brain a chance to race through variables associated with their irrational comments—most of which will have something to do with time and money.

“Yes,” David replied in a low, teenage mumble, “a group of us are taking a limo.”  Now, the last thing I want to spend money on is a limo ride to a homecoming party, so I gave him my, “Do I look like Donald Trump?” scowl.  This caused David to quickly mumble, “Don’t worry Dad, the limo isn’t going to cost us anything.”  To which I immediately perked up and said, “Wow, a limo!  That’s sounds like a lot of fun.”

But I started thinking about this whole limo concept.  I mean, with the exception of politicians and the Donald Trumps of this world, limos are used when you want (and can afford) to do something extravagant and special.  In my impromptu office survey, for example, the only limo rides taken were at weddings—and neither was mine.

I couldn’t help but consider the stark contrast of living in a “limo-available” country and a very special mission trip I was able to take last month to Cuba.  Now, I suspect there are a few limos somewhere in Cuba, but it is definitely not a “limo-available” place.

A group of us were able to take some relief supplies into Cuba after Hurricane Ike tore across the country.  We had the privilege of visiting some homes and churches of local pastors.  One pastor’s family and home particularly sticks out in my mind.  They were a handsome family. They stood in the front of their little church and smiled at us and we smiled back.  Beautiful little girls holding hands, well groomed, cute dresses.  Beautiful.

Their house church, which perhaps could seat 20 if everyone squeezed in tight, somehow filled up with over 60 each Sunday.  Behind a curtain in the front of the church was their home. After apologizing for the “mess,” they graciously allowed us to walk around—it didn’t take long.

Two sparse bedrooms, a closet for a kitchen—which had a sink and nothing I could see that resembled a stove, and a bathroom whose mirror was a few shards of glass, and empty closets.  Our talkative group went silent as we saw the true picture of their situation.  There were no limos here.

While we thought no one else was looking, several of us left cash gifts to help out.  We also were able to provide gifts of clothes and even some hand-made dolls for the girls lovingly given by a grandma in California.  It felt good to help…even though we know it will all be used up soon.

A few days later, I was back in my beautiful “limo-available” country and my Miami home which featured such luxury items as a working stove, complete mirrors in the bathrooms, and closets full of clothes.  I looked at my well-fed and happy family and couldn’t help but say a prayer of “thanks” to a gracious God who, for reasons I’ll never understand, allowed me to be born and live in this amazing country.

While we certainly have our troubles, I love living in a “limo-available” country.  I may never splurge for one, but I like the idea that I could.  It means I live in a country where God has blessed me with far more than just life’s essentials.  It also means I can joyfully and willingly help others in need.  And of course, opportunities to do just that are everywhere.

Happy Thanksgiving!

SMILE

A “smile,” according to the helpful Wikipedia Encyclopedia, is a “facial expression formed by flexing those muscles most notably near both ends of the mouth.”  The helpful online encyclopedia goes on to explain that a smile is also “found around the eyes.”  I like the “eyes” part because I think it’s much harder to fake a smile with your eyes than your mouth.

I dug a little deeper and found that “social smiling” usually begins between the ages of six and eight weeks.  And, while not in the article I read, chances are good infants are smiling without ever reading a Dave Barry article or watching the movie, “Dumb and Dumber.”  It just comes—naturally.

I thought about the power of a smile this past weekend while watching an NFL football game.  The game had ended and analysts were interviewing one of the players.  I don’t remember who the player was, only that he was the size of a Volkswagen and appeared to have muscles on his earlobes.

The enormous man was furrowing his brow and speaking in low, sonic booms while trying to answer questions using complete sentences.  The sports announcers, hiding safely in their booth hundreds of feet away, seemed careful to ask non-threatening questions lest they anger the giant.

Then, an amazing thing happened.

The behemoth smiled.  Not just a little smirk, mind you, but a real, genuine, heartfelt smile.  I watched in amazement as the fearsome giant transformed into a kind and possibly gentle human being one may actually enjoy having a cup of tea with.  Providing, of course, one could find a teacup with a handle large enough to accommodate fingers the size of Polish sausages.

The interview reminded me of an NFL film special I saw a while back, on linebacker Joey Porter.  The show featured Porter’s ferocious hits and intimidating glares at opponents.  Porter spoke of how he played with “controlled rage and anger” against the opposing team—a concept the film crew seemed to capture well as helmets and bodies went flying.

But then the documentary shifted to the “softer” side of Porter who survived a random shooting in Denver while playing for the Steelers.  Porter explained how players from the opposing team would come up and tell him they were praying for him and glad he was recovering.  I call those “verbal smiles.”  The problem was, Porter explained, “how can I play angry at them when they’re praying for me?”

It seems even the fearsome Joey Porter can be smitten by a “smile.”

Interestingly, the Bible often refers to “smiles.”  In most instances, it’s a plea for God to “smile” on us once again after drifting away from Him.  Psalm 67:1, for example, reads, “May God be merciful and bless us.  May his face smile [or shine] with favor upon us.”  After all, think how good life can be when God Himself is “smiling” on us.

As I reached for the remote to turn the TV off, I went to the mirror to see for myself what a smile does to my face.  First, I made sure no one was looking, and then… smiled.  At first, it was just my typical “fake smile” I use when someone is taking a picture I really don’t care to be in.  But then, a strange thing happened…the smile started to turn real.  Before I knew it, I was grinning from ear-to-ear and enjoying a good laugh.

About that time, my wife walked in and wondered what in the world I was up to.  “Just smiling,” I said with a big grin.  She gave me a strange, inquisitive look, shook her head, smiled, and said, “You’re a goofball.”

Another victim of the smile!

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Looking for “Beautiful Feet”

I need your help!

We’re now on the back end of our CD project, so we’re starting to think through various ways to get the word out. These days, you have to think along the lines of utilizing what many call, “new media:” things like YouTube, web blogs, and internet communities like FaceBook. For the over 40 crowd, this stuff seems strange and foreign, but there is no debating its influence and popularity.

So I reached out to a “new media” expert…my 21-year-old son, Matt. Basically, my meeting went something like this, “HELP ME!” It was a short, powerful meeting.

One of Matt’s favorite songs on my new CD is a song titled “Beautiful Feet.” It’s based around the familiar passages from Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15, “…how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” The lyrics begin:

Look around at some people these days
Nippin’ and tuckin’ every wrinkle away
Lookin’ for beauty every single way
Search the world out
Except where it counts

But we all know where true beauty is found
Where ever it goes such joy abounds
It’s easy to find cuz it’s walking around
You know when you meet
Beautiful feet

Big ol’ toes and calloused heels
Nothing very pretty by the world’s ideals
But when they’re bringing (all) the Good News
People dancing in the street
Everybody wants to have beautiful feet

Here’s an unedited/unfinished preview of the song: Beautiful Feet

Matt’s idea is to come up with an engaging “New Media” music video and campaign for this song. His initial idea is a video with camera angles primarily focused on legs and feet going about various ministry and service projects. The camera would follow the feet around and finally, towards the end of the song/video, the camera would pull back to fully reveal what the “feet” are doing: helping people in a homeless shelter, service projects, teaching Sunday School, bringing groceries to those in need, etc.

We then thought how great it would be to learn your “beautiful feet” stories…a short paragraph or two about what you (or someone you know) is doing that’s making a difference in the lives of others. We’d love to publish some of these “beautiful feet” stories, pictures, and even videos on our website as an encouragement to others. Some “beautiful feet” stories could even end up in the music video!

So come on! Help me out. The more involvement, suggestions, and ideas the better! You can email me at edthompsonlive@edthompsonlive.com or simply add a comment to this blog. So, tell us more about your “beautiful feet!”

Can’t wait to hear from you,

Ed Thompson

Make me sound like Michael Buble

“Just make me sound like Michael Buble” were my only instructions to producer extraordinaire, Don Koch. I mean, look at all those buttons and knobs and lights and stuff. With all that technology blinking at you, one would think making me sound “Bubleish” would be easy.

Don gave me one of those, “yeah, right” looks, shook his head, and said, “OK, try it one more time…but this time, how about singing in tune?” Producers! OK, Don really didn’t say that…but I bet he thought it.

Unfortunately, Don has not yet been able to figure out all those buttons and lights so I still just sound like, well, me. But he can do amazing things with all that technology, so I’m pretty excited about the NEW CD we’re making. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yes, I’m making a new CD. That’s right, I make a new CD every 6 years or so…like clock work.

It’s amazing how this new CD came about. Here’s the short version…

A little over a year ago, I received an email from a man named Don Koch. He had found me on the web and saw I had recorded a couple of his songs and sent a friendly email to see if I was enjoying them. I knew his name immediately because he had written many of my favorite songs including two I had recorded on my “Be the One” CD. In fact, Don has written or co-written 38 #1 songs and has won 6 Dove Awards (what a show off).

So, yes, when I received his email, I was excited! But here’s where it gets a bit weird…

A few emails and phone calls later, we discovered that both our parent’s were missionaries in Costa Rica. I was born in Costa Rica. Interestingly, so was Don. We then discovered that not only did our parents know each other, they were good friends. In fact, we learned we had played together as babies in Costa Rica. Wait there’s more…

Don’s family moved to Miami. My family moved to Miami. Don graduated from Westminster Christian High School. I graduated from Westminster Christian High School – except Don is way, way older than me (Don graduated in ’79 and I graduated in ’80). The more we learned, the more we were amazed about all our strange “coincidences.” It was… creepy.

The next thing I know, I’m sitting in Don’s studio just outside of Nashville where we’re writing songs and planning a new CD.

Don with his Dove Awards / Ed with his water bottles

Don with his Dove Awards / Ed with his water bottles

And that just about brings you up-to-date except to say, the recording production phase of the new CD is nearing completion. At the end of the month, Don heads off to Prague where a world class orchestra will be recording some of the music for the CD. Did you hear that? Prague! Is that cool or what!

In the meantime, over the next week or two, I’m going to try and lose about 50 pounds so the photographer won’t have to use a wide angle lens for the CD cover jacket. Maybe I’ll just buy some bigger clothes.

In all seriousness, I am absolutely thrilled with this project. I think you will be, too. The music is beautiful, thoughtful, and powerful and will draw you to Christ. It is such a thrill to be working on this project.

So, do you want to hear a sample?

OK. But please don’t tell Don. Also, please know, this is a very rough sample of the song we wrote called, “Here.” It’s one of the songs that is going to Prague for full orchestration, so the next time you hear it…WOW! The vocals nor anything else have been mixed, it’s just a rough sample of what’s to come. So you are truly getting a behind-the-scenes-sneak-listen.

“Here”

Let me know what you think.

God bless,

Ed Thompson

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