Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bringing in the New Year...

I've had the week off work, so I have accomplished very little lately. I've played video games, board games, finished a book, played Lego, and watched a lot of hockey and TV.

And now on the eve of a new decade, my kids are busy laughing their heads off, Erin is watching some TV and I'm getting ready to watch the Canadians play the Americans in World Junior hockey.

Then we'll likely make the long trek upstairs to play some board games and ring in the New Year with my in-laws. We picked up a copy of a board game called Ticket to Ride that we're itching to try out.

So, how are you bringing in the New Year?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Passive-Aggressive...

Josh, you'll appreciate this one.

You'll need some backstory though to fully enjoy this one.

My neighbor seems to be physically & emotionally pained when someone parks in front of her house. The curious part is that anyone who parks in front of her house is also legally parking in front of our house, but she seems to have claimed ownership of this specific piece of public property.

I should also note that we have had "run-ins" with her about this in the past where she vents about the need for us to park elsewhere. Something that is difficult to do on a street where most houses have basement suites and that means multiple vehicles.

In fact, she called bylaw officers a week ago to report an abandoned car, which happened to belong to my brother-in-law and his wife who were visiting from Alberta for a few days over the holidays. The bylaw officer showed up knocking on the door and was apparently a little irritated when he heard what was actually going on.

Either way, I usually try to park on the other side of the driveway just to avoid the headache. (I'm not a big fan of confrontation.) But, arriving home from church on Sunday the only spot available was that infamous piece of public property. So I just parked it and haven't moved the car since.

Well, it just so happens that Erin found this on the windshield this afternoon.


Is this passive-aggressive?

I'm so annoyed right now.

It's hard to live at peace with people when they do silly things like this.

Maybe I should just move my car...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas...

Sorry, no video here. I ran out.

But I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

As for us, we're cooking some goodies before we gather round the table to stuff our faces and spend some quality time playing games. And maybe...just maybe...a midnight (or post-midnight) showing of Die Hard.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas (part #3)...

Thanks to Laurie for this one.

(But I'll give you a fair warning about some mild language in the clip.)


Merry Christmas (part #2)...

Another video that's been circulating on some student ministry blogs lately. If you've never seen the original wedding version of this, you will likely find this uninteresting.

Merry Christmas (part #1)...

With things slowing down a little I thought I'd grab a few minutes to post some odds and ends that I've stumbled across lately.

Like this one that I found via The Resurgence Blog:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What to do with Christmas...

As a church we've been going participating in Advent Conspiracy. If you're not familiar, the basic idea is to encourage people to spend less and give more (money & presence). (And yes, we've already heard the comments about how encouraging people not to spend in a poor economy is not wise. I'll spare you any social commentary because I'm bad at math.)

So I'm trying to figure out what my place is in all of this. As a family we decided to cut back on the family spending this year. That's a great first step, but I need to be a little more proactive on the second step which is give more presence. Specifically, I need to give more of myself this Christmas season, particularly to my family.

I also found myself challenged by Mark Driscoll's recent blog post about how dads need to make sure they don't drop the ball this holiday season and how they need to get out there and do some family stuff.

So, that's pushed me to try and think a little more creatively. What can I do with my family to create a few Christmas memories this year?

So, here's a few things:
  • We curled up on the couch last Sunday and watched The Santa Clause 2&3 (we're all a sucker for Christmas movies). I discovered that mom is the preferred cuddler of choice by both kids.
  • A local bowling alley had $1 bowling games, so we went 5 pin bowling. I discovered my son is just as competitive as his dad (and maybe even his mom).
  • I took my kids for "coffee" after school yesterday. I discovered that Jones Soda beats out hot chocolate any day of the week.
  • We're breaking the bank tonight to take in an Abbotsford Heat game tonight as a family. I hope to get us there early enough so we get our free Santa hats! Woohoo!
  • Hung out with some great friends on Wednesday night, ate supper and played Phase 10.
  • Hanging out with more great friends this Wednesday to eat pizza and ride the Christmas train.
I've also got some time off in the next couple of weeks, so I'm hoping to use that wisely and not just be a vegetable.

So, what are you dads doing with your family this Christmas season?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Book #43...

The Road of Lost Innocence
Somaly Mam

I picked up this book as part of prepping for a recent Sunday morning message about sexual exploitation and human trafficking. And I can only say that this book seriously messed me up. The night I actually finished it I was tossing and turning until after 3am. My brain wouldn't stop.

Much of what I read was completely horrifying and it's difficult to imagine that it can even be true. But wow...to hear this woman's story and how she came through a life of being sold, abused, and resold. To see her come to the point where she now helps others escape and experience freedom...it's inspiring and overwhelming. And it makes me feel like my contribution to helping fight injustice in the world is insignificant.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ridiculous...

On Saturday our soccer team (ranked #2 in the league) played the team in last place (they have yet to score a goal this season).

In all my years of playing soccer I have never been involved in a game like this. This portion of a team email should explain:

Hi guys;

I have the scorers as,

Stew - 4
Taka - 3
Mike - 3
James - 3
Vic - 1
Kevin - 1
and one own goal that was almost Chris's.

Did anyone else get one?

Vic, you just got the one, right?

Chris, did you score a legit goal as well as that one they put in their own net?

Let me know if anyone else scored.


At least 16 goals are accounted for (11 in the 2nd half alone...some of which we played with only 9 men to match their 9 guys) and not a single one against.

I credit the other team for not walking off the field, but this is still ridiculous.


I was sitting with one goal midway through the 2nd half when I sent a shot wide from a few yards out. Some smarty pants on the other team decided to smack talk me about not getting my hat trick that day. (Seriously, who smack talks when they are down that many goals?!?!) So, I scored 2 more.

Anyways, not a good game to play the week before we take on the top ranked team.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

'Tis the season...

I don't know this guy, but it's the greatest Christmas music video ever. Ever.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Wife and My Taylor...

I saw this via the Taylor Guitar Twitter. You can also find it here.

What to tell your wife after buying a Taylor guitar...
1.
I'll be home more often.
2.
I want to sing to you with only the best guitar.
3.
There are too many mediocre things to deal with in life and guitars shouldn’t be one of them.
4.
I have done full research and Taylors are the most durable guitars made.
5.
Among all guitars, Taylors have the best re-sale value.
6.
Since you have always been such a supportive wife, there is really no need to give you any reasons.
7.
I have good taste, why do you think you are my wife?
8.
Taylor’s lifetime warranty reminds me of my everlasting commitment to you.
9.
This guitar reminds me of how perfect you are.
10.
Anything less than extra-ordinary is a waste of my time, It’s the same reason why I chose you to be my wife.

Believe it or not, I have tried more than one of these, right Erin?

My personal favorite is telling Erin that I will write more songs for her if she buys me a Taylor.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday blues...

My wife has hijacked the TV for Amazing Race. I'm blue.

My Bombers didn't make the Grey Cup. I'm Blue.

Riders didn't win the Grey Cup. I'm blue.

Blue Rodeo was a cool half time show. I'm Blue. ( Or not blue, depending on how you look at it.)

I should probably pull out the telecaster, but the kids are trying to sleep.

Book #42...

(A Book You'll Actually Read) On Who Is God
Mark Driscoll

I was doing a little prep on a middle school teaching about god, so I pulled this little book off the shelf and quickly gave it a read. It's short, to the point, and definitely a good resource to put in the hands of someone who doesn't know a whole lot about God and would like a brief synopsis.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I have a pet...

I checked out my Google analytics today and noticed that my blog viewership is down 26%. I guess the simple math is that when 4 people read your blog and 1 stops reading, the stats start to look an little ugly.

(Erin...my math is right with that one, right?)

Anyways, I hear that having animal photos on your blog increases viewership. We shall soon find out.

We've had these two kittens hanging around the house since July.

Apparently they are "outside" cats who only head home during the night. So, they mostly just wander the neighborhood like teenagers without a car.

This one would regularly park himself outside our screen door on summer nights and beg for attention.

We would regularly give that attention because we are softies.


Well, that same cat has now officially adopted us and he is always at our house.

He'll regularly meet me at the top of our stairs before I make the journey down to our basement entrance.

He'll also sneak his way into the house anytime the door is open and is never in a hurry to get put back outside.

Last night, after a Black Friday adventure we found him waiting for us. So, he came in (via the open door we were transferring presents through) and we decided to let him wander around for a bit before setting him back outside,

We're calling him "Dog" and I refer to him as my pet who I don't have to feed or actually take care of.

Blog viewership may now increase.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hello Thursday...

Happy Slapsgiving!

Don't recognize the reference? That's good, because it means you don't watch too much TV. Or it's bad because you're missing out on one of the funniest shows ever!

Anyways, I just woke up from a nap, the kids have taken over my PS3 and Erin is Christmas shopping online. It's been a crazy busy week...no, make that 2 weeks...no, just make that month, and I'm wiped. I hope that after next week things can slow down a little.

My wife is trying to convince me that doing a little Black Friday shopping would be good for me.

I'm not convinced. But a day out together might be just what I need.

As for tonight, the fireplace is on and the Blu Ray player is calling.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How'd I miss this...

On our most recent California adventure in September we made our way down to Santa Monica so we could stick our feet in the ocean and check out the sights. Here's a few random pics that I forgot to post, but since they still make me chuckle I thought you could share in my joy.

Gold face painted robot dancing? This guy had quite the crowd huddle around him, especially when he started dancing semi-provocatively with any women who were willing. (But hey, how provocative can it be when you have gold paint on your face and you're making robot moves while the women are giggling uncontrollably?)


Jedi Knights in training?







Weekend group project? Whatever they were doing they clearly noticed my subtle attempt to photograph them. And they don't look too pleased.





Small group on the beach? Maybe. I'm also pretty sure the couple under the blanket nearby them would have been a distraction.

Books #40-41...

Not too much exciting happened with the latest finds at the library, although Death Troopers was all about zombies and Star Wars. How can one possible pass that up?

The other one was Infected and I dare you to read it and not find yourself itchy...or grossed out.

That is about all the energy I wish to exert on reviews today.

Now I will go back to my couch because my Habs just started the third period against Washington.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book #39...

Relationships Unfiltered
Andrew Root

Can I just say that I am absolutely giddy with excitement at the quality of youth ministry books that have been popping up on the radar lately?

I grabbed another one while at NYWC and I've been working my way through it and finding it's really causing me to think/rethink what relational ministry is all about.

If you work with students, I think you should buy this book and read it. Process it. Re-read it. Make your leaders read it. Just don't ignore it.

I think "relational ministry" has become such a buzz word in student ministry over the years that many youth leaders/pastors have completely lost the true meaning of what it is about. Is it all about influencing students to make a certain decision or to act a certain way, or is it actually about presence and being with students in whatever they are going through regardless of how they may respond?

This book might be a good wake up call, or a pat on the back that you're doing things well, or maybe a little of both.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Sunday...

This will be a ramble.

Erin is catching up on Amazing Race after an afternoon spent out with Becca.

Aidan and I hunkered down for some football and Star Wars Lego on the Gamecube.

I'm feeling a little worn out. I'm not sure if I'm coming down with something or if the gas tank is just about empty. And I'll be honest...I'm not sure which would be worse.

Erin and I spoke in church this morning. It was week #3 on a series called Rethink Love and the topic focused in on the subject of porn. We both shared from our own story and tried to offer some sort of hope for people that may find themselves consumed by it.

There were a bunch of firsts:
  • The first time I had ever been in a service that talked about porn.
  • The first time Erin and I shared our story in a public setting together.
  • The first time Erin and I taught together on a Sunday morning.
  • The first time I've been over the service "time limit" since we started the new service.
The most enlightening comment of the day was from a 75+ year old former pastor who came forward to commend us on talking about the subject at hand. He said that in 50 years of preaching he had never once talked about the issue. He agreed that it was way overdue.

I'm praying that lives and marriages will be changed and strengthened today and the week to come as a result of what people heard.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Groove...

Totally digging this latest musical find.

Thanks to Matthew Paul Turner for the heads up.

Check out The Civil Wars.

Free live album here.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Weekend review...

I'm becoming more and more sporadic around here. I have a feeling that it's because I've given so many other people a hard time about not blogging. I'll call it Blogarma.

It's been a whirlwind this past weekend, so let's get you caught up:
  • Tuesday & Wednesday were two of the best youth nights we had this year. I hope that the momentum carries forward in weeks to come.
  • Thursday I jumped a plane for Manitoba and during a 2.5 hour layover had supper with a friend a I hadn't seen since college.
  • Finally arrived in Winnipeg and then headed off to Portage where we got in around 1:30am.
  • Hung out with family. My nephew is an absolute hoot.
  • Officiated for a 50th wedding anniversary renewal ceremony for my aunt and uncle. It was so cool to see the family & friends that came out to support them and to celebrate with them all.
  • Went to the Bombers/Tigercats game on Sunday. What a joke! You always hope your team will show up when a game really matters, but this was ridiculous. The biggest cheers came for Troy Westwood when he punted for SINGLE points.
  • Although the game was a mess, it was great to hang out with my dad and brother-in-law for the day.
  • Jumped a flight back to Abbotsford, but had to share the Winnipeg airport with the Hamilton Tigercats. Salt on an open wound.
  • Spent a few minutes catching up with Josh and Brad via phone calls during my layover in Calgary.
  • Arrived back home around 11:30pm...1:30pm Manitoba time.
  • Now I'm home with a sick boy who is recovering from H1N1.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Date night & concert review...

It's like concert central for our family these last few weeks.

First it was Crowder, then it was U2 and last night it was Mat Kearney.

I bought these tickets for Erin back in August and surprised her on our anniversary. So this was almost like an anniversary date. We had also been given a sweet gift card to The Keg, so we opted for a very enjoyable steak dinner before heading over to The Venue for the show.

After my usual parking shenanigans (although I thankfully avoided driving down one way streets or over curbs...a la U2) we waited in line and made it in to hear a few songs by Vedera. Decent band. I'm always surprised when opening acts turn out to be good. It's kind of like going to watch a movie and then seeing a brand new movie trailer for an upcoming movie. It feels like you just got a 2-for-1.

Then we took in Kearney. Good music. We've been fans since his first album was released in 2004. And Erin once videotaped an entire acoustic concert of his so that I could watch at home because I missed out due to a knee surgery recovery.

This time, with a full band in tow, he put on a show and a half. I'd probably say that he's better live than on the CD, and I like his stuff on CD a lot. Good driving, working, and all around grooving tunes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kickball hero...

Just when you think Guitar Hero can't get any cooler...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Concert review...

We went to see U2 at BC Place with a couple of friends on Wednesday night. Wow!

Great show from start to finish. I'll rank this in the top 3 concerts I've seen. But I'm still going to say that seeing Eric Clapton is hands down first place. I'll let U2 and Dave Matthews duke it out for spots 2 and 3.

Highlight of the night was when the band sang Happy Birthday. Erin and our friends inserted my name instead of Bill Gates, whom Bono was actually singing to. I'm sticking to the story that saying that U2 sang to me and got my name wrong.

The show was definitely worth every penny and we're contemplating trying to see them again when they come to Seattle next June.

Here's the setlist from the evening:

10/28/2009 B.C. Place Stadium - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Breathe
Get On Your Boots
Magnificent
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day / Blackbird
(snippet)
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Stand By Me
(snippet)
Happy Birthday
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
No Line On The Horizon
Elevation
In A Little While
Unknown Caller
Until The End Of The World
The Unforgettable Fire
City Of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight / Two Tribes
(snippet)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
MLK
Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone
(snippet)

encore #1

One / Amazing Grace
(snippet)
Where The Streets Have No Name

encore #2

Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anybody want a peanut...

Backstory: I'm allergic to peanuts (amongst a pile of other things)

So, last night I get home from middle school youth. I'm hungry, so I decide to have a sandwich since Erin has all the supplies out and is making lunches for the kids. I opt for this new flaked ham mixed with pesto dip. Looks good.

A couple of bites in and I notice that the inside of my mouth feels like someone is either A. trying to light my mouth on fire or B. trying to stab every part of the inside of my mouth with a million tiny little pins.

Yep. Allergic reaction. It's my first one since high school.

Turns out that the dip actually contained trace amounts of peanuts. A fact that was conveniently hidden on the label in font size of -5 and covered up by a coupon sticker.

Alas, I am alive and well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Books #35-38

I am so far behind on my reading, that I'm almost embarrassed.

Last night I conceded defeat to my lovely wife as I have no hope of catching her reading tally for the year (unless she stops reading and I start referring to emails as "books"). I'm already 10 (or probably a trillion) books behind her, and when you factor in the early birthday present I got yesterday (any guesses?), there's no chance of making this a decent competition.

To prove that I'm semi-literate here's what I have read in the last few months:

Cherry Bomb
J.A. Konrath

I read all his previous work and was enjoying most of it. This one does not enter that category. I contemplated not even finishing it, and that's a sign that a book isn't working for me.





Crazy Good Sex
Les Parrott

I'm married and I'm male. Enough said.

A book that looks at some of the common myths that men believe about sex.




Stop the Traffik
Steve Chalke & Cherie Blair

I'm part of a team that's designing a service to raise awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This book contains some great info & stats about what's happening (or in some cases, not happening) around the world with human trafficking. And if you think sex trafficking just happens in other countries on the other side of the ocean, you might want to show up for the service on November 29th. It will hopefully open your eyes and hearts.

The Youth Worker Book of Hope
Tim Baker

Anyone in youth ministry has experienced the down side of working with students. Maybe it was an event that flopped, a student who made poor decisions, a firing, a neglected spouse...the list goes on. This book is a collection of stories written by youth workers who experienced some of these moments and what they learned from them. A quality resource to remind you that you are not alone in what you do and that there is hope.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Geeked out...

When I originally saw this video I got a little giddy. That makes me a geek right?

Well, I officially got my Google Wave invite and I'm stoked. Ok, so there's not a whole lot that I can do with it right now until other people start joining, but still...it's all about potential.

Interested in an invite? I've got 18 more.

I hear some people are selling them on eBay.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Youth Ministry Rollercoasters...

The Up:

Tonight I walked (ok, maybe "ran" is more appropriate) my high schoolers through Hosea in an attempt to show them what love is and to remind them that they themselves are loved. As we discussed Hosea's love for Gomer and God's love for Israel and ultimately how we are loved one of our newest high school girls lights up with this gem:

"Wow...it all makes sense."

I make no attempt to take credit for this. In fact, I would say that this was one of my worst teaching nights. I rambled, I felt rushed, and I just tried to get too much in. But God still used it.


The Down:

I saw a tweet about Mark Oestreicher leaving Youth Specialties. Then I found the press release on the YS website. I love Marko and all he's done for the student ministry world. There's no doubt he'll be missed and I hope that he still remains involved in impacting the student world.

And the press release is vague (at best) and completely frustrating and I can't help but remember a little video Marko & Tic Long made back when Zondervan first bought YS. It seemed to be a funny little video that now looks to have contained a little bit of prophetic truth.

But I can't find the video. Go figure.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Concert review...

Last night the David Crowder*Band rocked out at Sevenoaks. Their only stop north of the border and we got to play host.

Let's not mention the fact that security was acting like they were guarding U2 and that one guy even tried to kick me out of the building for using my keys.

Anyways. The concert was loud, smelly and a little squishy, but it was fun. 14 of us got early admission and crammed ourselves into the front row just to prove how cool we are. (Unfortunately when the crowd rushed the stage, our front row seats quickly became fifth row seats.)

Highlight #1: "How He Loves" Sweet song. 'Nuf said.

Highlight #2: Erin becoming a Danyew groupie. (In reality she was just talking with the 2 man band and taking photos for a couple of our girls.)

Highlight #3: Seabird. Not only did their guitarist Ryan hook one of our middle school guys up with free tickets after they were talking in the parking lot after church, but they were great. Buy their album. You will not be disappointed.

Highlight #4: I'm in this photo that was taken by the band. Can you find me?


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soccer Saturday...

Our team is coming off a 10-0 win last Saturday and I think we were gearing up for today's game against one of the top team's in the league. We've slowly been settling in to the new season, and I think we might start doing better than last year if all our guys show up and stay healthy.

But today we arrive at the field to find the game has been canceled. Apparently it's too wet. Yeah, so it's raining. But no more than a typical fall/winter day in the Lower Mainland. So, if they cancel this, I think they should probably cancel the rest of the season too.

Oh well. We got in a little practice and a short run, so I should count myself lucky to have some more relax time.

In other footballing news, condolences to all you Liverpool fans. That goal today was a farce. Kind of funny, but still a farce.

Don't know what I'm talking about do a Google search for "Liverpool beach ball goal".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Octaves...

I interrupt your daily program to share with you what might be the greatest joy of the invention of YouTube.

Meet Shane.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Phone calls on a day off...

It's a day off.

The phone rang.

I check the call display and recognize it as someone from church.

I contemplated letting it ring through, but then decided to pick it up.

A short dose of encouragement was unleashed upon me for the words I spoke yesterday.

A good phone call.

Thankful.

Turkey Day...

Happy Thanksgiving. Hope you're enjoying some decent time with family or friends.

I'm lacking the energy and creativity to do anything substantial here, so I'll just give you a little update.
  • I've been listening to 2 albums regularly lately. Hope Rising by Fee and Church Music by David Crowder*Band. Both are worth buying.
  • Preached about surrendering to Jesus in church yesterday.
  • Erin baptized one of our high school girls during the service. She's scared to death of crowds and public speaking, she surrendered and went through with it.
  • So cool to see a pile of paper at the foot of the cross representing the things people were surrendering to Jesus.
  • Went out to play photographer's assistant while Erin took family pictures for some friends.
  • Got shot by an airsoft gun. (Thanks Cheryl, for gifting Erin with a firearm.)
  • We went to a late showing of Couples Retreat. Not phenomenal, but kind of funny. It contains some interesting conversation starters about marriage and relationships.
  • Eating turkey tonight with the upstairs neighbors (Erin's parents, in case you didn't know).
  • Leading worship in church next week.
  • Planning on playing some guitar today.
  • Anticipating the David Crowder*Band concert next Sunday night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sigh...

This frustration has been brewing inside of me since they announced the current NHL schedule.

My Habs visit the area so rarely, and when they do they come on a Wednesday night?!?!

Here's hoping they can give those Canucks an 0-4 start to their season. It would sure be funny.


I just need to remember to record the game so I can watch it after youth tonight.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Too late to take it back...

Ever say something that you turned out to regret?

Last month I had a couple of middle schoolers ask to paint my face at our church kick off. I politely, but adamantly, declined for two reasons:
  1. I was heading out to the golf course that afternoon and face paint makes golfers more angry than they already are.
  2. I dislike face paint.
I made some comment that if they both showed up at our Tuesday middle school event together one week I would let them paint my face. Well, as it turns out they showed up tonight with a brand new package of face paints.

The repercussions? Three of us had our faces destroyed.

But I kept my word. That's got to be worth something, right?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Getting there...

I'm lined up to preach in the contemporary service at church this Sunday.

The topic is about being fully surrendered to Jesus. We're going to look at one of Jesus' more outrageous claims that a person must hate (yeah, we're not shying away from the ESV language that actually includes the word "hate") their family and their own life in order to be His disciple.

Crazy stuff from a human perspective. Hate my family? Uh...yeah...sure Jesus. What about all that love stuff that you talked about? How do you explain that?

I'll be the first to say that passages like this make me question my level of surrender to Jesus.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm wrestling with this sermon.

I know that too many of us (yours truly included) are happy with our plastic Jesus tucked away in our pockets where He can't really bother us. We'll pull Him out whenever it's convenient for us.

And I don't think that's an accurate working definition of being fully surrendered.

I'm praying that the words of this passage will push many out of their little "Jesus box" and that their eyes would be open to how He calls each of us to fully live for Him.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

NYWC recap...

One week later, here's my notes from a talk that Shane Hipps gave at NYWC. It started out slow, but as he went on I found myself drawn in and challenged by what he said.
  • Adam's first task was a creative project: naming the animals
  • We are made to create, just like God creates
  • Technology is representative of our God-given creative gifts
  • Technology is inevitable
  • Technology has an unintended consequence; it's not bad but it can do things that are bad
  • The clock was originally invented to help people connect with God; now the clock connects us more to money than to God
  • We need to be fully present here AND now
  • The only thing that exists is this moment
  • Face to face conversations are becoming more infrequent and awkward
  • We are blinded to the power of physical presence in the world
  • Be there. Be physically there.
  • "Where two or more are gathered...": It's about presence.
  • How do you communicate presence over email, Facebook, and Twitter?
  • The incarnation shows us that presence is at the centre of Christian faith
  • We need to periodically fast from technology
  • The most meaningful transformation will happen, not online but within physical presence
  • Practice what it means to be here and now
  • Stop depriving the world of what it needs: the WHOLE you!

This completely resonates with me. I can get so caught up in technology that I forget to be present in the lives of others. I can get so caught up in planning and organizing and leading that I can often overlook the people right in front of me.

We've made some changes to our student ministry this year so we could work on teh very same principal: be present. We're calling it intentional proximity and we've asked all of our leaders to go out of their way to be present in the lives of our students.

It reminds me of a comment from Modern Family the other night. The one character, Jay, is asked what the key to being a good dad is. His closing thought was that "90% of being a dad is just showing up."

Are you showing up in the lives of those around you?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

For my wife...

A random photo, about which I offer no context.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

YM Confession #1...












I'm learning that I don't always do youth ministry right.

This is my confession:

Somewhere along the line I bought into the idea that a good youth ministry would put the Bible passage they were studying on a screen with a cool background so students could read along as you studied. I would read the verse(s) and they would read along on a screen or a handout, or sometimes just sit and listen.


Then this summer it dawned on us that maybe that wasn't the best approach. Maybe we should try to get them to actually bring their Bible and then encourage them to open their Bibles and read along.


Seems so simple, doesn't it?


And tonight I was reminded why we need to get students opening their Bibles when we study a passage. Most kids have no clue where to find anything. It takes some kids that have grown up with a Bible as much time to find a specific book, chapter and verse as it does the kids who have never had a Bible.


Sure, it's faster to put it on a screen. It saves 3-4 minutes of "where is that" and "what book" and "what page number" and "huh" types of questions. It's way less awkward to just have someone double click the mouse. It's less chaotic to have everyone trying to find Bibles that have been pushed under couches or left hidden under jackets. But it isn't doing the students any favors.


By taking the time to find a book, chapter and verse, they are learning. They start to become familiar with what a Bible looks like, how it's organized, and where they can find certain books. It's a teaching moment within a teaching moment.


Do your students a favor and ditch the screen for an actual Bible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No more summer...

Arriving back in Abbotsford late last night (actually, this morning) after being in LA for the weekend was kind of like getting slapped in the face with a cold, wet, dead fish after spending a weekend not getting hit in the face with a cold, wet, dead fish.

(I was never really good at analogies.)

It's cold, wet and cloudy here. It wasn't in LA. (Smoggy, yes. But 30+ degree weather usually burns that off.)

I originally hoped to do a little more blogging from the NYWC, but I got sidetracked by spending time with my wife and processing all that I was taking in.

In the weekend I was challenged, irritated, encouraged, overjoyed, amused, entertained, taught, bored, tired, excited and emotional. The marks of a good weekend where my heart and mind were fully engaged.

It was a weekend where I didn't feel out of place because of what I do.

A weekend where I was reminded to keep doing what I do.

A weekend surrounded by others who get it.

A weekend where I didn't feel too old or too young.

A weekend I love to be part of.

And now it's back to the cold and the wet. But I'm not bummed about it. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to diving back into the mix with my leaders, my students and my church. (Well...actually Jesus' church, but you know what I mean.)

So, a heartfelt thank-you to the crew at Youth Specialties. These weekends are a highlight of my year and I am grateful for how God has worked in my life through these times.

If you've never been and you work with students, just go. Next year: Nashville.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

NYWC (day #1)...

The alarm started buzzing this morning at 3:30am.

That's stupid early and I am so tired.

But I get to spend the weekend with a beautiful woman while taking in some warm weather, listening to music, listening to people talk about a subject I love: student ministry.


In an unrelated note, hotels charge way too much to get online.
If I am spending this much money to stay in a hotel, I should get free internet. I guess I should be happy with free valet parking, but I must be too demanding.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday review...

Just a blur of a day today, but it was great.
  • Surprised by 15 bodies in our new Sunday morning early morning...uh..."Sunday school"...class. It was suggested we call it Tangent because we're always on one.
  • The traditional & contemporary services officially kicked off. I can't comment on the traditional because of being at the Tangent class, but Jamie (young adults pastor) knocked the preaching out of the park in the later service. A friend of mine, Brennan, co-led worship (a brand new experience for him in this setting) and he hit it out of the park. All our volunteers were cruising in their jobs. The energy and enthusiasm was great. And I think the whole theme set a tone for what we want to come. We want to be a church that is serious about people following Jesus and not just playing around with a plastic Jesus.
  • Had lunch with the previously mentioned friend while my kids ripped around the McDonald's playland.
  • Watched the Manchester derby. Oh. My. Goodness. Epic game, or what?!?! I'd be proud to wear Michael Owen's name and #7 on my next United shirt any day.
  • Got a little grocery shopping done.
  • Gearing up for the official opening of our new youth room on Tuesday night with our new middle school ministry.
  • Counting down the days until NYWC in LA.
  • Eagerly awaiting the new David Crowder*Band album. I hope it doesn't take 2 weeks to get my pre-order.
How was your day?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ready and almost ready...

The ready?

The renovations at the church are pretty much complete. The rehearsals are almost finished. People have been recruited. Signs have been printed. And starting this Sunday we launch into 2 services. I'm stoked. I think this has the potential to be a very good thing for our church.

The almost ready?

We had our youth kick off on Wednesday. A great turnout of old faces combined with new faces. We explained some of the changes for the upcoming year and we all headed over to our new youth room pray over it. Now we're painting and moving furniture and setting up sound equipment. It should be ready to go by Tuesday.

But it's been a long week that had a few...uh...moments of...uh...stress. Yeah...stress.

So I'm taking an evening to hang out and watch some new TV.

And then it's back to painting tomorrow.

Almost ready.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lots of ink...

Let the Crowder overwhelming continue.

Check out a new song by David Crowder*Band while watching a time lapse of them signing a pile of vinyl.



Monday, September 14, 2009

More DC*B...

I shall try to overwhelm you with all things Crowder this week.

Something big...

Saw this for the first time this weekend, and then I saw it on Los' site again this morning. I think it's cool and can't help but wonder how they got everyone on board to do this.

I think it's confirmation that we should all fear Oprah.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vinyl Crowder...

This is one "Christian" band that I still get excited about when they release albums or go on tour. I've place my pre-order and have tickets for their October 18th stop here in Abby. Have you?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Start of the season...

My soccer team had its first official exhibition game of the season. Lots of new faces meant that we spent the first 15-20 minutes scrambling as we tried to figure out positions and how guys play.

We were 1 down in no time flat. when a ball didn't get cleared out of the box after a corner kick.

Then a little while later I got sent into the top left of the box with a through ball. I couldn't reach it, so I slid in and tried to chip it up with my left. And to my luck, the keeper was sliding out toward me and the ball just sailed over his head and into the net.

Then they scored. Then we scored. Then they scored. Then we scored.

Then I got free on a run and fired one in on goal but the keeper kicked out the save. As I chased down the ball I got taken down by their defender. He managed to connect with my inner thigh and my calf at the same time. It's was a brutal play that should have brought out a card, but the ref must have felt generous.

So it's 3-3, and after a quick break on the side I head back out on the field. Then I get sprung by another great through ball only to hear the whistle. Offside. What?!?! No where close to offside. The ref is apparently making the call from 40 yards away.

Then a minute later I pounce on a mistake by their keeper and a defender. I look up, see their keeper way off his line and figure it's worth a try from 35 yards. I hit it and it landed in the net.

Final, 4-3. Good start for the season, but I'm definitely feeling things now. I may be unable to walk tomorrow. And I think I need to start running, because I was sucking wind.

Good to be back on the pitch again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book #34...

Jesus Loves You This I Know
Craig Gross & Jason Harper

Who does Jesus love? Me? You?

Has the phrase "Jesus loves you" been stripped of all meaning?

This book was an excellent reminder that those words still have significance. Jesus loves you. And me. He loves the ones that don't fit. He loves the ones that do. He loves the ones with all the baggage and the ones who pretend they don't have any. He loves the broken and the jaded, the passionate and the boring. He loves the lost and the found.

Through a variety of first hand experiences, Craig and Jason share how they have come to believe that Jesus loves everyone. The porn stars, the crooks, the drunks, the religious elite. Jesus loves them. And these two guys are willing to live that out, even when it gets difficult.

Having grown up in the church, and having been personally wounded in the past by those who claim to love Jesus, the hardest hitting chapter dealt with the fact that Jesus loves the "religious". You know...the fundamentalists. The ones who claim they know Jesus the best. The ones who's lives are often seem to be filled with the least love.

Yes, He loves them too. And by default, I am called to love them.

Yeah...I'm a work in progress.

This was a great book with a reminder that many of us need on a daily (or maybe hourly) basis. At least, I know I need it.

Buy the book.

Take the church challenge.

Get a free video.

Listen to this song.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mess of Me...

New Switchfoot.

These guys sound good when they rock.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fall Viewing...

We enjoy our TV watching around here, and it's always nice to see the return of some of our favorite shows each fall. I'm hoping this one turns out to be good:


What are you looking forward to watching?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Book # 33...

Kurt & Scott's Junior High Adventure
Kurt Johnston & Scott Rubin

This is a collection of Kurt's articles that have appeared in Group magazine over the years. (Kurt's the junior high pastor at
Saddleback, and he's being doing this a long time. I've got a great deal of respect for guys like him & Scott.)

The only difference between the Group articles and this book is that Scott has gone through and added comments throughout the articles. It's a short read, but it's a great collection of resources for anyone who works with junior high students.

With the launch of our new middle school ministry night this fall, I was looking to get in the junior high/middle school head space, and as my friends will tell you, I don't have to stretch too far.

My only beef about this book was that the price was way too high for such a small book.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Fixer...

Some random things:

I'm loving the new Pearl Jam song.

It's Thursday afternoon and I'm taking a break. I've had this weekend booked off for a while and it's my last chance to catch my breath before the fall routine settles in.

Our staff retreat at Kawkawa was productive and tiring. Tuesday had us working until 11:00pm. and Wednesday we were back at it at 8:00am. But we did find a few minutes for some beach volleyball and a quick swim in the lake (well, at least 4 of us did).

It's movie night tonight! I've got my $0.88 rental and looking forward to relaxing with my wife.

Erin has an interview for her school program today and I'm sure she'll do great.

I have a confession...I'm listening to the Black Eyed Peas right now.

My kids are currently trying to find a football in the neighbor's yard.

I'm scheduled to teach during two services this fall. The topics? Fully surrendering to Jesus. And porn.

I'm also doing some preliminary work on developing a church project for us to fight sexual exploitation and battle some injustice in our world. If you've got any ideas or want to help out, let me know.

I have a book waiting at the library that I'm looking forward to reading this weekend.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Staff Retreat...

Tomorrow our pastoral staff team is taking off for a 2 day retreat at Camp Kawkawa. We're doing some brainstorming and planning for our teaching schedule for the upcoming year and we're trying to get some service design done in four of our upcoming contemporary services.

Taking off with the staff for something like this is another new adventure for me, and I've never been a part of a massive planning process like this in my 9 years of full time ministry, but I'm super stoked for it.

I love the creative process and the idea of asking "what about..." and "what if..." and seeing where God leads us is something I'm looking forward to.


I love watching how the ideas are birthed and how they grow and morph.

I love seeing a team come up with an idea that is bigger than what any one individual could have come up with.

And I love the fact that we can just dream and talk and see where it leads.

You'll have to let is know this fall how it all turns out.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book #32...

I've been falling behind on my reading lately. The TV and sleep have been winning out on a regular basis, and that's not necessarily good for me. Well, maybe the sleep is. The TV definitely isn't.

The Scarecrow
Michael Connelly

I'm lacking the energy to actually write a review. I tried this book after seeing it on a bestsellers list. And I enjoyed reading it. Simple as that.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's official...

We made a fairly significant change to our student ministry schedule for the fall. We're adding a Tuesday night event just for our grade 7 & 8 students. Our Wednesday night stays the same for our high school crowd.

But there's another exciting piece of information that got the official thumbs up on Thursday night.

But I'm not going to spill the beans yet.

I'll keep you posted as things develop. But I think it will be a great improvement for our student ministry.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wheels...

With Erin starting school this fall in Coquitlam we were in a place where we knew a second car would certainly be helpful. We've been able to make it with one car for a number of years, but it seems to get a little more chaotic each year that the kids get older.

So we started hunting during my vacation. I scoured Craigslist and BuyAndSell and Auto Trader. We drove around looking at car lots. We test drove used cars and new cars. We made phone calls and sent emails. We even put a deposit on one car, only to back out after doing some more homework.

But then along come two of the most generous friends a person could ever hope for. They offer to buy us a car. Uh...yeah. Their rationale? They know a pastoral salary isn't much and they know that we're trying to get Erin to school, so they felt like they were in a place where they could help out.

This was a humbling process for me. At first I struggled with it...a lot. I felt like it was an expense that I should be responsible for. It was something that I should do. People shouldn't be buying me cars. But the more that we talked about it, the more I felt God trying to get through to me.

His words: "Don't be an idiot. Accept the gift." (loose paraphrase)

So we accepted. And a week or so later we signed all the papers on this little gem.

Yes, it's baby blue.

Yes, it used to be owned by a teenage girl.

But it's got 4 wheels, and it runs pretty good.

And I am learning that sometimes it is harder to receive than it is to give.


I am humbled by the generosity of others.

Thank you my friends.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I learned at summer camp...

Sure, I was only there for just over two years, but here's what I learned:
  • Trying to learn everyone's camp names is confusing. During some prayer time last night before I left I was asking people their real name so I could pray for them. It felt like I was cheating.
  • Remembering to use my own camp name is down right impossible.
  • It's been 13 years since I have been on water skis or a wake board, but I can still stand up.
  • My body responds much differently than it did 13 years ago after an afternoon of water skiing & tubing. I can hardly move today.
  • Talking with a student about Jesus for an hour reminds me why I do what I do.
  • I can't believe it's been 15-16 years since I last went to camp.
I'll award 10,000 points to anyone who can correctly guess my camp name.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Camp...

I've never been a "camp speaker" before. I'm currently trying to get the rest of my stuff together before I head out to Kawkawa for a couple of days to hang out with their senior high camp. I have NO idea what to expect.

But at least it's supposed to be sunny.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Midsummer Update...

A little bit of recap mixed with a little bit of looking ahead, here's my world in a nutshell (in no particular order):
  • Got new (at least to us) wheels. It was a freebie from some AMAZING friends! I'll post some pics soon.
  • Listening to Owl City
  • Reading Looking Up by Michael J Fox
  • Also reading Kurt & Scott's Junior High Adventure
  • Gearing up for some student ministry changes for the fall. Stay tuned!
  • Trying to get our events calendar and teaching schedule lined up.
  • Gearing up for some Sunday morning service changes for fall.
  • Celebrating 11 years with an amazing woman.
  • Trying to fix my PC graphics card. Turns out I'll get a new one for free because of a recall.
  • Awaiting the official start of a new EPL season.
  • Heading out to speak at Camp Kawkawa for a couple of days early next week.
  • Still washing and drying tents in my backyard.
  • Preparing for the wedding of two of our friends that I'm residing over next weekend.
  • Fixed a shower, even though I'm not entirely convinced that it's not leaking somewhere that I can't see.
  • Heading out for a night on the town with some friends to watch some improv.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Squatch...

Anyone around here remember a band called Jesse James from the good ole Canadian Bible College days?

They had a song called Squatch. I think it was about the mascot for the now defunct Seattle SuperSonics.

This has no relevance to my post.

Anyways, we spent this past weekend at Sasquatch Provincial Park with some of our students and leaders. Unlike last year, it did not rain the entire weekend. But it did rain enough on the last night there that all our camping gear is soaked.

Said gear is now strewn all over my yard as I try to clean and dry the tents and tarps. This is the part they never train you for in Bible college.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Honest reflections...

I struggle with how I view myself. I find that I regularly battle the thoughts racing through my head that I'm not good enough. And it's not just the little things like I don't think I'm a good enough guitar player, it's the big ones. The ideas that I'm not a good enough husband, father, pastor.

So, I think it was very fitting that I picked up a copy of Jud Wilhite's "Eyes Wide Open" (book #31 of the year if you're keeping track).

When I got the book I was thinking I would just fly right through it, because it's not very long. But as I started reading I knew I had to spend some time processing because it was hitting close to home. I needed to not just read it....I needed to READ it.

Who am I?

What does God see in me?

How do I fully embrace who he created me to be?

How do I live that out on a daily basis?

I'll admit that I'm usually the first one to try and be something I'm not. I have a tendency to put on the masks so others don't see the real me. I tend to keep people at a distance for some reason.

I'm still trying to figure this all out. I'm not sure where I'll end up some days, but I'm thankful for a patient and loving group of family and friends that surround me.


I've got an extra copy of Jud's book on my shelf that I'd be happy to give away. Leave a comment that has something to do with how you view yourself (good, bad or ugly). I'll pick a random comment next Tuesday afternoon and send you the book.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Who am I...

I haven't blogged since last month?!?!

And I apparently give everyone else a hard time for not blogging. Maybe I should do a little self reflection?

With family, friends, youth, reading, guitar playing , tent cleaning and watching Whale Wars, I've found little time left over for anything else.

Oh, and I'm on the hunt for some new TV, so I'd love to hear your recommendations of what's good.

Friday, July 31, 2009

One message...

I know I've got a few preacher/teacher types around here.

I'm wondering if you had one talk, one shot, one chance (cue Eminem music), what would you say?

You pick the setting and the audience.

Book #30...

The Apostle
Brad Thor

It's kind of like reading an episode of 24 meets The Unit.

Decent summer read.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unspeakable horrors...

This has been floating around for a while, but as a Taylor guitar owner who has always been nervous about taking a guitar on a flight, I felt I should share this.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No end in sight...

It's 36 degrees right now.

With the humidity it feels like 43.

Today I came home from the office and jumped in the pool with the kids.

Now I'm inside and cooking alive.

I love summer!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Have I got a deal for you...

So, we're on the hunt for another vehicle. With Erin starting classes this fall and with me not being able to bum rides off the interns (thanks Ryan & Josh!) I'm going to need some transportation.

So we've succeeded in driving back and forth across the Lower Mainland looking at car lots and haggling with sales people and scoping out websites to find something that works.

Today we got close with a VW. Then we had second thoughts.

Now we're back in the same place we were when we started: no car.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How's your timing...

In Seattle there is a giant water thingy (more descriptive words evade me due to the late hour). It shoots water out randomly in all directions. So I did what any good father would do, I offered my kids $1 if they would run and touch the "globe" and then run back to me.

Their timing was pretty good, so I lost a couple of bucks.



Becca was the first one there and back.







Aidan took some convincing, but he eventually made it.







My timing was not so good. I clearly underestimated how much water was being spewed forth by this thing.






Erin's timing was ok on the first run, but then I convinced all of them to hold still a while longer so I could take a picture. The waited while I fiddled with the camera. And then the water cooperated.












In other words, I may have been out a couple of bucks, but I got the last laugh!

Monday, July 20, 2009

When the good stuff sucks...

Did you ever have one of those moments where you remember something being much better than it actually is later on in life?

You know, those times where you remember a TV show or movie being funny, only to find out later in life upon watching it again that it wasn't. Or that restaurant you once loved has become a complete and utter disappointment. Or that relative you thought was funny turns out not to be funny at all.

I experienced one of those moments last night. After spending the day at the Seattle zoo and attending a service at Mars Hill we headed for home. There's a new Carl's Jr so I was able to convince Erin (she hates the place) that we should stop (I think she loves me too much sometimes, because she lets me do things like this).

I ordered my jalapeƱo burger and my chili cheese fries and then settled in for what I was thinking would be a great meal.

Not so fast. In fact, I'd easily rank it as one of the worst meals I have ever eaten.

Soggy buns, bland chicken, terrible service, tasteless fries...shall I continue.

It was the first time in a long time that I actually didn't even finish my meal.

So, when was the last time you were disappointed by something you thought was going to be good?