Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday music...

I led worship this morning at church. That has nothing to do with this post. I'm watching the Grammy's while Erin is baking and the kids are crafting. Here's my running through my mind as I watch since I'm not that exciting and I need an excuse to hang in there for Dave Matthews.
  • Lady Gaga...what's the deal?
  • Stephen Colbert is one of the funniest men on TV, no?
  • A Green Day musical...go figure.
  • Erin was hoping for a Zac Brown Band win. Yes, Erin admitted to liking country music.
  • Beyonce singing Alanis?
  • Uh...there's a soaking wet, woman dressed in masking tape spinning from the roof while singing.
  • Tinfoil people dressed up like stereo speakers?
  • How is "I Gotta Feeling" not Song of the Year?
  • I think a sheet just fell on that woman's head as she sang.
  • Thank you for not letting Lady Psycho win Album of the Year.
  • These performances just seem to get stranger and stranger. (a la Jamie Foxx and T-Pain)
  • Come on Cooper...give it to DMB, not Green Day! aaarrrgghhhhh!
  • Rah rah America...
  • I have to wait another hour for Dave Matthews Band?!?!
  • Taylor is playing a Taylor.
  • Was I the only one who didn't get 3D glasses with these Grammy's?
  • Bon Jovi. Finally, some decent music.
  • Please stop giving Kanye awards.
  • Dave Matthews is almost up!
I'm ending this now so I can enjoy some tunes. And it has just dawned on me that I should have been doing this on Twitter.

Did anyone else watch tonight?

You know you're loved when...

After a week away from the office, I return to find this.

I've been told that this means I'm loved.

And yes, that's two different pranks by two different groups. Apparently one group of students coerced someone into unlocking my office to get TP'd. The second group was my youth leaders filled the office with balloons.

I guess I shouldn't leave them with keys when I go away. They can't be trusted.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Can you hear that now...

I enjoyed watching Carlos Tevez play...when he was wearing red. Not a big player in stature, but he was a workhorse that never seemed to quit.

But he ended up being 3rd choice striker at United behind Rooney and Berbatov, so it was inevitable that he wouldn't stick around. But, when he eventually signed a contract with cross town rivals City it was the ultimate disgrace.

City's marketing campaign of "Welcome to Manchester" added more fuel to the fire and you kind of had to chuckle when it turned out that someone splashed red paint on one of the giant billboards.

Then we fast forward to the first leg of the Carling Cup semi final where he scores twice at home to win the game. His goal celebrations of taunting Manchester United players, management and fans alike only confirm that he truly had gone over to the dark side.

Which makes it all the more pleasing that United dumped City out of the Carling Cup on Wednesday with a 3-1 win. How many years is that without a trophy now? Oh yeah...

Friday, January 22, 2010

$0.88 Review...

I've been extremely disappointed with my movie choices over the last few months (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Public Enemies, Transformers 2, All About Steve...just to name a few). In fact, I can't remember the last time I rented a movie that I even remotely enjoyed. So last night when Erin & I sat down to watch District 9 I didn't have high expectations.

(Incidentally, I have the greatest wife ever because she even agreed to watch this one with me!)

But I just need to say that I'm giving this movie a resounding thumbs up. I had no idea what to expect and how things would turn out since I didn't pay much attention to reviews when the movie actually released. I had just heard that it had some great special effects. And that it did.

I also found it to be a very entertaining movie that kept me from start to finish. Characters that caught me off guard, aliens that were...umm...interesting. And a story with some twists and turns that kept me guessing for a little while. (Which is way better than having the plot figured out before you see the opening credits.)

So, if you don't mind aliens, a little of blood, and the language (and I'm not talking about the alien subtitles), go rent it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Books #37-38...

I may have gotten stuck in a little rut in the last part of 2010, but here's what I ended the year with on the reading list:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

If I track back to my 2010 goal of trying to read 52 books, I obviously failed. That's 2 years in a row. Do I dare try for a third?

Kelowna retreat...

I think January is a bad time for a retreat. After the Christmas break it seems too early to be getting away for 3 days. So, what does one do with all this time away from the office? Here's a taste of what I've been up to:
  • Talking with friends. I get to see a pile of people who I don't regularly see throughout the year. It's great to reconnect and I enjoy the time just talking about life and ministry.
  • Meeting new people. I'm not really good at this, but I've been able to meet a few new people, mostly new youth pastors in our district. It's been a year of changing faces for our youth pastors, which means more younger pastors, which makes me feel old.
  • Sleeping.
  • Reading. My Bible, a student ministry book, Class 4 Drivers Education manual, and a collection of short stories.
  • Walking. I strolled around Kelowna trying to find a couple of things I could take home to my kids. And since I don't walk much, it was actually a nice change of pace to just spend some time by myself.
  • Watching TV. I bring along some TV that I normally don't get to watch at home. X-Files. I'm now into season 2.
  • Working. I have some prep work to do for some upcoming teaching stuff for church and for our youth. I haven't spent nearly enough time on it, but at least I'll get something done.
So, there you have it. And exciting week away.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book #2...

Deadly Viper Character Assassins
Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite

This book was on my list of "gotta read" for a while, but I could never find it. I was stoked last April to finally find a copy at Catalyst West. And then it promptly sat on my shelf until just recently.

If you've ever done any leadership reading, most of what you will find in this book is not new, although the language and marketing is a little bit different. But overall the book contains some very helpful reminders for anyone in a leadership position.

There are assassins trying to bring leaders down. Trying to wreck your character, your integrity and your ability to lead. And if you don't have a plan to battle them, they'll destroy you.

The kicker is that there was fallout over the content and the book got pulled off the shelves. (Ok, I'm being way to oversimplified, but I'm in no hurry to dive into a debate over it. You can get some of the details here.)

But I'll give due credit to Mike & Jud who, at least from what I saw on the interweb, didn't complain about it or try to cause a ruckus. They, from what little I have seen, have lived out what they write about.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cell phones...

I'm hoping to get an iPhone at some point when my little jar is full of money and my current cell contract is up...and the kids are probably working full time.

In the meantime I'm tempted to go with this one.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

On a whim...

Can we really call a planned spontaneous baptism "impromptu"?

Well...actually...we tried this once in the fall where we invited people who hadn't been baptized to come forward and take the plunge. We didn't have any takers that time, but it opened the door for at least one person to get baptized a few weeks after that.

So we decided to try it again this week.

We had two people already prepared to get baptized, and then we opened it up. We provided some clothing, some hygiene items, towels and we had a group of people ready to meet with each person to hear their story before they got dunked. We ended up having another 4 people come forward to step into the tank!

Mix into this another 2 stories from individuals about what God has been doing in their life, and let's just say it was a morning that you could definitely see God at work.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Recap...

What's been happening...or not happening:
  • I'm ahead on my daily Bible reading plan.
  • I didn't get out for a run this week.
  • I'm working on #41 by Dave Matthews. I can play it...I just can't seem to do the lyric part yet.
  • I've jumped on the Conan bandwagon. I don't think Leno is funny at all.
  • Lots of things seem unimportant after what happened is Haiti.
  • We have a Compassion kid in Haiti, who lives close to the hardest hit area. No word ye on how he is.
  • I wouldn't mind it if my soccer game got rained out tomorrow.
  • I'm off to District Staff Retreat in Kelowna on Monday. I do not like going when my wife does not come with me, thus I will not be a huge fan of this retreat.
How are you?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book #1...

The Noticer
Andy Andrews

This is the story of a wandering "homeless" man named Jones who offers wisdom and advice to anyone he comes across that finds themselves in a particularly difficult or unfortunate part of life. It just so happens that in this story, every character is going through something, and everybody inevitably has some interaction with Jones.

The idea that Jones brings is that everyone just needs a little perspective. They need to change the way they are viewing their life, the way they look at others, the way they treat their loved ones and those around them. And in each chapter you find yet another example of how changing your perspective will change your life.

It's just too neat and simple. Sure, I get the premise, but anyone who's ever hit a tough patch in life knows that just changing your perspective will not solve all your problems. Sure, there is something to be said about learning to be content in the situations we face, but life doesn't get summed up in one chapter. Does it?

The book struck me as a little too much like a TV sitcom. Every problem from failing marriages to bad work ethics gets patched up. It's all basically fixed in 22 minutes because of some wise words or advice from Uncle Joey (a la Full House).

That said, I will be honest and say that there is probably some truth to what is found in this book. That sometimes we all need a change in perspective, that we need to pull our collective heads out of the sand and look at things a little differently. That alone can help some of us at least get pointed in the right direction even if it won't solve all our problems.

Meh...I'd skip it if given the chance.

*Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with this book. Just thought I'd say it so that we're all by the rules with the FTC. I'm under no obligation to say that this book rocked my reading world, which is good because it didn't.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goals for 2010...

Nothing earth shattering here, just a few things I'd like to accomplish in 2010. I'll keep tabs on my progress.
  • Reading: After missing the book-a-week mark last year, I think I'll try again to hit the 52 book mark. I can't miss two years running...that would be embarrassing.
  • Guitar: I'm obviously not writing my own songs, so I think I'll work on other people's stuff. I'm going to try and pick up a Dave Matthews Band song every 2 weeks. The rule: I must be able to play and sing it from start to finish.
  • Fitness: I'm so lazy outside of soccer, I NEED to do something. I'd like to say a jog a week (not including soccer games and practices) would be feasible, but maybe that's too ambitious for me. Let's see if I can get out for a run every 2 weeks.
  • Family: More regular family nights and adventures together. (And more dates with my wife!)
  • Money: Take another step closer to debt-free by learning to curb the impulse buys and sticking to my personal spending budget (aka - my jar money).
  • Bible: Read through a "chronological" Bible in one year.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Goal review of 2009...

Here's a few things I was shooting for last year and how I feel I did shooting for in 2009:
  • With the kids - Was home more (I think) and we started "family nights". B+
  • With my wife - Went on some big dates. A
  • With books - Didn't hit 52, but still was over the 40 mark. B
  • With TV - I watched more, rather then less. Fail. D
  • With music - Didn't write anything with lyrics. Didn't practice enough either. D
  • With ministry - Took a silent retreat, started some new ventures. B+
  • With life - Looked at doing something new and promptly decided not to. No grade.
Not very good...but not terrible. I'll be posting this year's goals shortly.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Some things don't go well...

I encouraged 2010 to be good.

And so far, the reviews are mixed.

United looses to Leeds. Freaking Leeds!!!!

And tonight Canada loses to the US. The freaking US!!!


I am punching these little letter keys with so much venom right now.

On other better news:

My reading goal of 2010 is well underway. (More on that later this week.)

My middle schoolers were a blast to hang out with tonight. (Despite the fact that they raided my office mini-fridge.)

I found half a Mars bar.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Creativity in Church...

I'm a big believer that God wants us to use our collective creative gifts as the church. I also believe that we often limit the use of creativity in church. We box ourselves in and think "that can't possibly be part of church".

This is one of the reasons I like tracking what comes out of the North Point in Atlanta.

Watch this video of how they opened their December 20th service (and read their explanation of how they pulled it off). Basically, it's one song done by four groups on four different stages...and they all have their own parts.

Creative genius. And I'm talking just talking about the musicians, I'm talking about the tech crew that pulled this off.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Year in Review...

Editor's Note: Somehow I still haven't caught on to the fact that it is 2010. This showed up as a post for Jan 3, 2009. So, I'll put it back where it actually belongs.

Alright now, let's take a look back at some of the more memorable moments of 2009.

January: The beginning of "The Ballad of Robyn & Swarley" at our Student Ministry PROXIMITY Retreat. It's the only song I've written that exists on the internet. Bonus marks if you can find it.

February: I sold a bunch of my Star Wars collectibles (yeah, yeah, they're toys) and bought myself a guitar amp. A decision I have not regretted.

March: Headed out to Manitoba. Saw family, some friends, and drove in a convertible with the top down. (A big deal for being in the prairies in March!)

April: Headed off to Catalyst West in LA.

May: Took my first online sabbatical.

June: Took my first silent retreat out at Camp Kawkawa. Definitely need to do that again.

July: Vacation.

August: Received a new (at least to us) car.

September: Launched our new middle school ministry and then headed off to National Youth Workers Convention (one of my favorite places to be) with my wife (my favorite person to be with) and got had a few little road adventures that took us to some memorable California landmarks.

October: Saw David Crowder*Band and U2 in concert (separately, of course).

November: Talked porn in a Sunday morning service. (Audio here.)

December: Christmas. Vacation.

Favorite Album: Dave Matthews Band "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King"
Favorite New Artist: A toss up between Seabird & Vedera
Best Concert: U2
Best Book I Read: "Sustainable Youth Ministry" by Mark Devries.
Best Book I Haven't Finished: "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan
Biggest New Movie Letdown: Transformers 2 & I Love You Beth Cooper
Best New Movie: I didn't watch too many of the new releases, so I'll have to go with Up.
Best Date: A night out on the town with my beautiful wife with a meal at The Keg and tickets to Mat Kearney.
Best New TV: Another toss up with The Middle & Modern Family
Favorite Returning TV: How I Met Your Mother

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Book #44...

Wrapping up the book list of 2009 was James Patterson's I, Alex Cross. I wish I had ended it on a better literary note, but you take what you get when it comes to the library.

In other news, I was a little off my year long goal of reading 52 books this year. I'm going to blame the PS3. (Oh, and maybe a little bit of my laziness.)

So, I'm curious to all of you who were keeping track, how many books did you read last year? And what are the top 2?

Friday, January 01, 2010


Remember the days when you would try to stay up all night just because it was New Year's Eve? I thought those days were over. And then last night we got into some game playing with Erin's parents, and before long it was 4:30am and we were trying to play some domino game with eyes at half-mast.

Fun stuff though...despite the fact that I feel like I'm in slow motion.

Plans for today: pretty much the same as all week, except that we have a family dinner with some of Erin's extended family tonight.

And to offset the Boston-Philadelphia Winter Classic that was on earlier I have thrown on a dvd of the Montreal-Edmonton Winter Classic from 2003.

That's how I'm starting 2010.