Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mark the calendar...

June 2, 2009.

Dave Matthews Band releases "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King".

Friday, February 27, 2009

A grown man's toys...

Most people know that I have collected various Star Wars memorabilia over the years. I have toys still in boxes, toys without boxes, board games with missing pieces, posters, books, magazines and a pile of other things.

The collection has sat in boxes in our basements and crawl spaces for years. And all those years I thought it would be great if one day I could create a room where I could put all my collectibles on display.

Well, at long last I decided it was time for a change. It was time to see if I could actually part with any of this stuff. So, after more than a month of Craigslist postings I finally had someone bite who was interested in buying a large piece of the collection.

So today I packed them into the car and dropped them off in exchange for a pile of bills.

So, why did I cave?

Have I finally accepted that I must carry on like a civilized adult and not play with toys?

Did it dawn on me that I didn't actually have any use for these things?

Am I trying to repress childhood memories?

Nope. Actually, I just had to find a way to get a new toy.

Yup, every man has a price for parting with their childhood. Mine was a guitar amp.

And I don't regret it one bit because she sounds oh so pretty.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The snow allows some catching up...

Book #11
Me to We
Alan Nelson

Besides being a constant advertisement for Group Publishing, Church Volunteer Central, and his own books and articles, there was a number of principles found in this leadership story/parable that are helpful.

The idea is built around the fact that too many churches are pastor-centered where the congregation is not fully equipped or released to do much.

I agree. I'm also guilty. And I wonder how much of my "church career", I've built up ministries around myself instead of fully training and equipping the volunteers to lead.

I've always found it difficult to release others. I have a tendency to hold on too long and too tightly, which is why having a full time intern this year has been completely healthy for me. I'm learning that I am not (and should not) be the center of ministry life.

It sounds like a no-brainer, yet it seems so prevalent in the church today.

I'm rambling now. But I'd recommend giving this book a go if you're at all interested in rethinking how you get others involved in ministry. You may not find anything completely new, but it will get your mind working.

It's February...

Yup, it's time for snow again. I didn't even know that the forecast was calling for snow. Good grief, it's supposed to be Flip Flop Wednesday!

Here's the view from our kitchen.

It was a 25 minute drive from the church. And I'm quite surprised that our little car made it up the mountain and past the growing pile of cars, vans and SUVs that are being abandoned.

You should have seen the strange looks I got from two SUV drivers on their way down the mountain. They seemed shocked that I was even trying. Come on people, it's not that hard to drive in snow!

We canceled youth for the night, so now I get a rare Wednesday evening at home. And I'm wondering what things will look like in the morning.

Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to have a soccer game tomorrow night.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Did you watch?

I recorded it and then we watched bits and pieces after the kids were in bed. We also tried to guess who we thought would win each award. I beat Erin by one point. All hail King Mike.

Good to see Heath win.

And I might need to see Slumdog Millionaire.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

25 things...

It's Sunday afternoon, the kids are cleaning their rooms, my wife stole the couch, and I'm too lazy to pull out the guitar. Now, at long last, you get your 25 random things about me.

1. I think watches that beep every hour are stupid.
2. I have always enjoyed watching COPS.
3. I can't stand politics, but I think Obama is cool.
4. I weighed 120 lbs when I got married.
5. I once played a year of baseball and hated it. From then on it was all soccer.
6. I met Don Cherry & Ron MacLean after a Jets game.
7. I still own my first ever guitar. It was a Fender acoustic given to me as a grad present.
8. I sometimes listen to country music. And I usually enjoy it.
9. I have only once received a red card during soccer, but I was able to talk the ref out of it and was let back on the field.
10. I always enjoy movies where the geeky guy gets the girl.
11. I always enjoy Christmas movies.
12. I had no intentions of being in full time ministry when I went to Bible College.
13. I have never been in an actual fist fight.
14. I own 25 Dave Matthews albums.
15. I would get a tattoo, except I hate needles and I'm a coward.
16. Simon Panrucker almost always makes me laugh hysterically or giggle.
17. I once made an announcement in church that someone died. They hadn't died, and were actually no where near death.
18. I like saltines.
19. Two songs that get played on almost any guitar I pick up are "Ants Marching" (Dave Matthews Band) and "More Than Words" (Extreme).
20. If forced to choose between seeing Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Manchester United or Montreal Canadiens, I would hands down choose United.
21. I once met James Doohan.
22. I don't like flying. I get all nervous and my palms sweat.
23. If I could, I would move to Maui.
24. I prefer to eat grated cheese over other kinds of cheese. My wife refers to this as my "cheese protocol".
25. My first car was a 2-door 1982 Honda Civic.

You are welcome.
I guess I'm supposed to tag someone, so I'll opt for Brad, Bryce, Erin (ha!) and Mike.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why do you pain me so...

Dear football,

I love you so much, but you must stop hurting me.

I am too old to be recovering every week.

This is me (#10, striking a pose) right before I put my whole foot into the ground. I was officially out for the rest of the game and now I'm hobbling around the house.

And look at all that space on the top left corner! Too bad I was no where close to hitting it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's official...

I'm booked for Catalyst West.

Flights, hotel and car. Woohoo!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where does the time go...

Sometime today I realized that it was Thursday. And then I realized that I wasn't too sure what happened to Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday? I have a vague recollection of.

I've also noticed that I'm falling WAY behind in my reading.

Book #9

The Magician's Nephew
C.S. Lewis

The kids and I are working our way through the Chronicles of Narnia and we've passed the first hurdle. It's been so long since I read these books, it's almost like I'm reading them for the first time. I'm loving the fact that the kids and I have something like this that we can share together.

Book #10
Cross Country
James Patterson

When I first started reading Patterson's stuff I loved the fact that the short chapters made it easy to pick up the book at any time. (I'm one of those guys that gets irritated when he can't fully finish a chapter.) But this time I found myself growing tired of the constant stops and breaks. As for the story, it was typical Patterson with a sprinkling of international intrigue.

Monday, February 16, 2009


It's been a while since I shared a guitarism with you.

I'm a self-proclaimed hack when it comes to the guitar, but I absolutely love it. In fact, I've recently begun my adventure into the wonderful world of the electrics and it has only served to reaffirm my love for the most awesome instrument.

I used to give my high school guys a hard time because they would play electric more than acoustic. And while I will never give up the acoustic, I can see why some people are drawn to the eclectic sounds of an electric guitar.

Anyways, I stumbled upon this video today. I love what some people can do with a loop pedal. If only I could get mine to work this well...

Friday, February 13, 2009


Just watched Burn After Reading. Sheesh, those Coen brothers are strange.

So, here's a random question. Which Coen brothers film is your favorite?

I'm going to go with No Country For Old Men.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentines Blog Tour...

The latest pile of freebies that showed up in my mailbox for review consisted of four books. And being that I had no faith in my ability to read all four, nor did I particularly want to read all four, I decided to enlist an outsider. So Erin (I no longer link to her blog since she never actually blogs anymore. But I still love her!) was gracious enough to do two of the following reviews.

That alone is memorable because I don't think I have ever had a guest blogger stop by. Especially one this hot!

And just by way of clarification, I only counted one of these books towards my own book tally for the year. I just want there to be no confusion.

Here are Erin's thoughts on the first two books. Mine are obviously the last two.

I Do Again
Cheryl & Jeff Scruggs

This boo
k was a quick and easy read. The authors were honest and open about the mistakes they had made that led to a divorce, and the rough journey to remarriage to each other 7 years later. It was a good reminder to not make the same pitfalls in my own marriage and enjoyable to hear a unique story of God working in people’s lives. Not super profound, but enjoyable.

For Women Only
Shaunti Feldhahn

read this book in one sitting and for the most part felt like it was nothing new or surprising. I found that the generalizations were sometimes a little too general, but it was a good refresher on the differences between men and women. This might be a better read for someone who is newly or getting married to help them understand guys better. It did make me think about a few things in my marriage that I could work on though, and that’s not a bad thing.

For Men Only
Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn
Book #8

This book was part of the For Couples Only series that Erin read the women's portion of. If you've been married for any length of time it's quite possible that you've figured out most of what's in this book. But the chances are that since you are male, you've likely forgotten it. So the book is a good reminder for some very simple basics on how you should approach your wife. Or if you're husband is a terrible listener, you may want to give him a copy and hope he picks something up.

The Love as a Way of Life
Gary Chapman & Elisa Stanford

I tried. Really, I did. But I just cannot find the inner strength required to complete the "90 day adventure" of daily readings that consist of a Bible verse followed up by an inspirational story about someone else's life. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sweet spots...

I'm working my way through "Me to We" by Alan Nelson. The basic idea is that churches need to move away from pastor-centered ministries and work more on mobilizing people. Sure, it's something most of us have heard a thousand times, but we are terrible when it comes to follow through.

A pile of stuff is jumping out at me and getting my brain going. Here's a few:

"When pastors try to do things outside their sweet spot, everyone suffers." (37)

"If the body works right, everyone should be doing what they're best at three-fourths of the time--and that includes the pastor." (38)

In an attempt to get some lively conversation going, here's a few questions for you to consider:
  1. What are you currently doing that is outside your "sweet spot"?

  2. Is it possible (or even necessary) to make changes to what you are currently doing?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No staff Tuesday...

I guess that's not entirely true. There's lots of staff around the building. We even got together for our regular Tuesday morning coffee. But we did have our regular Tuesday morning (pastoral) staff meeting canceled because the "boss" (I know that term isn't completely accurate, but I can't come up with anything more creative that doesn't make fun of his choice in hockey teams) is at a conference. We won't say where he is as it evokes within me certain feelings of jealousy.

Now I'm trying to use this "free" time to my advantage, but I'm failing miserably. The only thing I can think of is that I want to head over to Tim Horton's and grab a large French Vanilla.

What should I be doing?
  • Tomorrow night's message
  • A college reference for a high schooler
  • Sending emails to finalize a student ministry leader's meeting
  • Sending emails to get our Web team off the ground (heading up this team was the latest addition to my ministry plate)
  • Trying to track down flight and hotel info for my Catalyst trip in April
  • Getting caught up on some ministry reading
So, I pose the same question to you.

What should you be doing?

Monday, February 09, 2009


It seems like everyone is playing this "25 Random Things" meme. I, however, have felt left out. I think the only person who has "tagged" me has been my mom.

Maybe I'll get to it one of these days. DO you even want to hear 25 random things?

In the meantime, did you happen to catch the Grammy's last night? Can you honestly tell me that you thought Plant & Krauss would win big?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Reading update...

Book #5
Good People
Marcus Sakey

What happens if you find tens of thousands of dollars hidden in your basement suite after the reclusive renter suddenly dies? Duh...keep it and make things super difficult when it turns out that the money is actually stolen. I'm kidding of course, but once again I wasn't actually too impressed with Sakey's story line. I like his writing, but he just seems to put people in ridiculous situations that they bring upon themselves. Then they complain about it and try to fix it on there own while seeming to avoid practical common sense. Skip it.

Book #6
Crazy Love

Francis Chan

At times I was reminded of how loved I am. At times I was feeling guilty and slightly reprimanded for not being the Christian I should be. At times I was inspired and challenged. Chan really tries to push you to consider changing how you live so that it reflects your love for God. And from his own story, it sounds like a guy who practices what he preaches. The book also has a website that contains some videos to go along with the book. However, I wrestled with the tone of the book. Not that I expected some fluffy "Jesus loves you" kind of sentiment, but I found some of his stuff a little in your face. Some of it made me feel like I was a horrible Christian. Maybe I am. I'll probably put this on the shelf and pull it out again sometime.

Book #6
Everything Must Change
Brian McLaren

This was collecting dust on the shelf for the last year, and now I know why. I had a beggar of a time (is that even a phrase?) working through it. I love how McLaren isn't afraid to speak his mind and how he isn't afraid to ask some very big questions. But the way that his brain works can sometimes boggle my mind. I find myself reading, rereading and scratching my head more often than not. I can't put a finger on it, but sometime there are people that I just have a hard time tracking with. They are usually smart, well educated and they use big words. I think the big picture (if I found it) of change is one that seems like a great idea in principle, but I wonder if it is realistic. I also wonder if some of it is based too much on a fear of the worst of what could happen in the future. Still, you can't dismiss the merit of paying attention to ways in which the world (especially the Western world) is setting itself up for failure. There probably is something we can do.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kickin it for Christ...

Christian shoes.

You can see the whole line up at their store.


Their tag line is "Manufacturers of premium quality sneakers, and the original Christian shoes."

Monday, February 02, 2009


January was Extreme Weather Shelter month at the church. Some great people (students included) stepped up to the plate to help provide a warm place for the homeless to rest for a night (or 25 as it turned out to be). Some volunteers fed them, some washed clothes and bedding, some packed lunches, some played cards and others just hung out and watched TV with them.

One of the things that we've seen as a result of this shelter is an influx of people hanging around the church during the day. They are sleeping in the courtyard, sleeping by the gym doors, hanging out in the front office, using the phone and just generally being a presence. (And I believe that is a good thing, even though I know it presents some difficulties.)

Many of the people who are around are looking for some sort of financial assistance. They can't (or won't) get food from the Food Bank of from Salvation Army. They've used up all their resources on rent, on damage deposits, or on drugs and alcohol. So they turn to the Church.

Since Monday is my day "on call" I was back and forth to the front office to talk with 5-6 people throughout the day. Most of the guys I talked with I have already met.

But it gets me wondering what other churches do when people show up looking for help. Care to share your approach?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Day two...

Well, we're still alive, but I must admit that I'm not mentally fit.

We ate at Newcomer's Lunch at church today. For supper we ordered pizza for our version of a Super Bowl party. But in my defense, we did share a Greek salad, so that has to be worth something.

The kids crack me up though.

When tucking them into bed (a little later than usual) Becca was questioning me about how things would work in the morning with mom away. I tried to assure her that the only difference was that I would make their lunch instead of mom. Becca laughed and then said "lunch" while using air quotes. I think she doubts my abilities as a homemaker.

And earlier today Aidan was playing with a Nerf gun and, while looking down the barrel, pulled the trigger. Apparently he forgot that he had loaded it and he shot himself in the nose.

I tell you, the older these kids get the funnier they get too.

Now it's 9:45pm and I'm thinking of packing it in to watch some X-Files.


Bruce Springsteen and commercials. Is there even a game going on?

What's your interest in the Superbowl?