Thursday, December 06, 2012

Spoke too soon...

Remember that whole Golden Boot race? Not that it was much of a race to begin with, but it just got a lot more difficult thanks to noon hour drop in soccer on Tuesday.

It wasn't a completely dirty challenge or anything, although the guy playing goal did not necessarily have to slide at me during a drop in game. But I understand his determination to prevent what I had accomplished just minutes earlier by finding the back of the net. Had he stayed on his feet I would have been able to avoid the whole situation.

But, on this occasion, he went to ground and I hit the brakes in order to pull the ball back to my right foot so I could lift it over to my winger who was wide open to slot it home. However, my attempt at a simple quick stop was thwarted once again by the blasted turf that years ago claimed my ACL. The excruciating pain and crunching feeling in my ankle was reminiscent of a play that happened back in July that ended my outdoor season and left me with some ligament damage. (You can check out the wonderful colorful array from that experience in the photo.)

I'm off the crutches now, but my foot is turning all sorts of interesting colors. The doctor figured is was more ligament damage. That means more time off. This makes it hard to score goals. This race may officially be over.

I'll also admit that the thought of retirement has once again entered my mind, but I'm not sure I can give up so easily on a game I love so much. Even though it appears to show absolutely no regard for my personal well being.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Golden Boot Race...

Anyone who watches soccer will know that most leagues have a Golden Boot award. The winner is the person who has scored the most goals by the end of the season. I thought a little friendly challenge would be healthy for family life, so I mentioned the idea to Aidan. He was in. And here's what has been happening:

Aidan game #1: 12-1 win; no goals
Aidan game #2: 4-0 win; scores 2
Aidan game #3: 12-1 win; scores 2
Aidan game #4: 17-1 win; scores 4
Aidan game #5: 6-3; scores 2
Aidan game #6: 10-0 win; scores 5

Mike game #1: 6-6 draw, 2 goals
Mike game #2: 15-4 win; 2 goals
Mike game #3: 3-3 draw; 2 goals (Aidan was kind enough to let me count this drop in game since it was high intensity with two very good teams and my goals were stellar. Insert back pat.)

Basic math tells me he is up 15-6.
Common sense tells me I'm in over my head.

I should also point out that Aidan is finding the back of the net with complete ease. He's not the fastest kid. He doesn't have the best footwork. But he is consistently in the right place at the right time. His goals have come from his left, right, and even his head.

After his 5th game I inadvertently mentioned how to force the other team to make mistakes that would lead to goals. Then he responds with a 5 goal game and one of the best efforts I've seen him put in.

Proud poppa here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What Seminary is Teaching Me...

It's been almost 7 months since I brought my full-time ministry to a close and began on my MDiv studies. I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was about to get myself into, although I am probably better off that way. It ensures I don't chicken out.

I'm currently in the last leg of three courses that I've been working on over the summer. With all the packing, moving, and unpacking it's been sheer and utter chaos, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This week I have to finish up one last paper, read 150 pages, and write a few short 100 word reflections. In the meantime I thought I'd take a little break to dust off the blog and let you in on what I've been learning these last 7 months.
  1. Books multiply. I have likely thumbed my way through more books since February than I did in all my college years combined.
  2. Informing people you are working on an MDiv leads either to interesting conversations or blank stares. There is no middle ground.
  3. America will sell me textbooks for WAY cheaper than I can buy them here in Canada. Unfortunately I am now a 5 hour drive from the border instead of a 5 minute drive.
  4. I am not an academic, but this is good process for me. I'm learning lots and it's pushing me into areas I would have otherwise not ventured into.
  5. I really should have focused more in college. I found my old GPA when trying to apply for a scholarship. Apparently age will make you a more diligent student.
  6. I actually know so little. I've occasionally been guilty of "knowing it all", so this learning process has been a good reminder to keep a proper perspective.
  7. I miss the world of full time ministry. I miss the ins and outs of weekly ministry life. I miss the people. I just miss church life.
  8. I could not do this without my wife.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


One week ago we made our way from Abbotsford to Calgary with most of our worldly possessions crammed into a moving truck and a rental SUV (long story on that one...). I'll admit that it's a little humbling sleeping in a rest stop parking lot to begin with. But when all your stuff is in tow, it's hard to get any decent amount of sleep. (I've heard that serial killers frequent these places.)

Since our arrival it's been a blur unpacking boxes, painting rooms, and just trying to get acclimated to life in a new place that isn't our home. I'm sure it will be...eventually. But for now everything feels upside down.

This is going to be one of the biggest adventures our family has embarked upon. Stay tuned to see what happens.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Long time no see...

With the countless hours spent reading theology and writing papers for school I haven't really felt like blogging was much of a priority...or even an enjoyment. But let's get you caught up with what happened since the last episode of "Can't Find Normal".

We sold our house.
Erin graduated.
Erin got a job. (In Calgary!)
Summer finally showed up.

That pretty much sums it up.

It's starting to dawn on me that this departure will be unlike any that we have experienced in our married life. This place has a lot of memories. (And it certainly helps that so many of those memories are good ones!) We are leaving WAY too many friends behind. (Although you are all welcome to join us.) And at some point in November I will be complaining about the snow and cold like a true-blooded BCer.

Five things I'm going to miss about Abbotsford:
  1. People (I will refrain from picking favorites, but if you read this just assume it's you!)
  2. Football (coaching and playing the soccer variety!)
  3. The view from our backyard
  4. Quick trips to the USA
  5. Summer
Five things I'm looking forward to in Calgary:
  1. Friends I haven't seen in a long while
  2. Family I haven't lived close to in years
  3. Skating without having to pay
  4. Affordable (hopefully) hockey games
  5. Shorter drives to Caronport for class
Yeah...I had to dig deep for a couple of those. I'm sure Calgary will grow on us. But it's sad to say goodbye.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The love-hate relationship with football...

As Manchester United missed out on the title yesterday I am reminded of a few things:
  1. I love this sport. It came down to the final 5 minutes on the last game of the season to determine the champion for this year. I don't care what you say, that is entertaining. I had both games on split screen on the laptop.
  2. I hate this sport. Watching QPR fight so hard for 2-1 only to allow 2 goals in the final 5 minutes, and knowing that Joey Barton's epic freak out and subsequent sending off could have made all the difference in helping hand the title to United, leaves me gutted.
  3. I love this sport. We're going to do this all again next year. A year has not gone by since I started following United that I was not excited for the next season.
  4. I hate this sport. I have to wait until fall for this to start again. (And no US tour for United this year.)
  5. I love this sport. Euros, Olympics, MLS, and summer rec leagues for my son and I will carry us through.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Glowing in the Dark...

Took my lovely wife to Coldplay on Friday. The tickets were her Christmas present, and in true Knott fashion our seats were phenomenal. And by "phenomenal" I mean last row in the nosebleeds.

It reminded me of a Jets/Habs game I went to in the old Winnipeg Arena where my dad and I sat behind the net and at the top with brick wall behind us.

Regardless, this was a great show as soon as they got past the opening acts.

If you haven't seen all the hoopla over Coldplay's recent shows, you need to know that they give you a wristband that almost looks like a digital watch. You put it on your wrist and then wait for something interesting to happen.

  Quite a spectacular gimmick if you ask me.

And it was fairly effective for getting the crowd into the show. It was the same effect that happens when the crowd immediately recognizes the guitar intro of a song and they let out that collective cheer.


One thing I know, is that any time I go to a good concert I am left wanting to go to another.

So, Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge in September...anyone in?

Friday, April 13, 2012

What's Playing...

Here are a few tunes that I've been enjoying lately.

What are you listening to these days?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Randomness...

Lacking any ability to provide you with depth or thoughtful provocation, here are my random musings from the Easter weekend thus far:
  • With the sunshine comes more house showings...yet we still lack an offer.
  • For a good Friday service, playing "Nothing But the Blood" to the tune of Dave Matthews Band's "Crash Into Me" should not be considered creative. Nor should it ever be done publicly. (And this is from a DMB fan.)
  • My sunglasses have wandered away. I've searched everything twice. I will likely find them sometime after I purchase a new pair or after the sun disappears.
  • What is the deal with Easter hats?
  • Is it "paska" or "pascha"?
  • Anyone want to watch "Close Encounters of a Third Kind"?
  • I gain great joy from watching Man City implode as they chase United for the title. We are now 8 points clear with 6 games remaining. At one point we were 8 points behind them I believe.
  • I must write 5+ pages tomorrow.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Convenience trumps theology...

I cannot remember the context of the conversation, but one little off-the-cuff remark during a class has been constantly replaying in my head.

"Today, convenience tends to trump theology."

It makes me start to wonder about what parts of my faith are driven more by what's convenient to me rather than my theology. Maybe it's due to under developed theology. Maybe it's my upbringing. Maybe Hollywood did it. Maybe it's a little bit of everything.
  • We want a church service time that works best for us.
  • We want an environment that makes us comfortable.
  • We want small group on nights that work around our other events.
  • We read our Bibles when we have extra time.
  • We eat crackers and drink a thimble of grape juice for Communion.
Can you add to the list?

The obvious question I'm left with is whether it is even possible for many of us who have been become convenience addicts to become more theologically minded when it comes to faith and life?

I'm not convinced that following Jesus was meant to be convenient. (Even though I must admit that I would like it to be.)

But I have a strong suspicion that a convenient faith actually does serious damage to the ability to have faith. 

Maybe convenience has done more harm to the church than we thought it would?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Goodbye CD...

While driving the other day it dawned on me that I can hardly recall the last CD I actually purchased in its entirety. I know I received a couple live Dave Matthews Band CD's at Christmas, but I don't remember when I bought one on my own.

Does anyone, besides my brother-in-law, still buy CD's anymore?

What was the last full CD you bought?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I like TV...

I dislike commercials. They eat up too much time. When you consider the fact that a 30 minute time slot only contains 22 minutes of show time and a 60 minute time slot will contain only 42 minutes, it's obvious that be removing the commercials one could actually watch more TV and thus be more productive.

And by "more productive", I really should add the phrase "at watching more episodes of select TV shows."

As such I rarely watch live TV unless it is for sports or just having some background noise. For the most part TV viewing in our house comes in 3 forms:
  • Internet - There are countless websites that will provide TV for free via downloads or online viewing. Some provide better quality than others, but for the most part if you know which rocks to look under, you can find most shows on the web.
  • DVR - Record it and watch it later. I have even been known to record my favorite sports teams in action so that I can actually get a few more hours of sleep on a weekend. (Some will question whether I am a true fan, but I state I'm a better fan when I'm not grouchy because I've lost precious sleep.)
  • Library - So much stuff for free! The major drawback to this system is that most shows have a waiting list that puts you under a time constraint for actually viewing the whole season. With some proper time management (otherwise known as procrastinating things that you should actually be getting done) you can overcome this complication.
I'll highlight just a few of the shows that have received my viewing attention as of late. I'll make the obvious disclaimer that not all of the shows on this list are, um, family friendly. Don't judge me too harshly.
  • Justified - This is hands down my favorite show of the past couple of years. A US marshal returns to his hometown in Kentucky to battle the redneck criminals. (This is a gross simplification of a fairly elaborate and draw out storyline.) If I had to recommend one hour long show for you to watch, it would be this one.
  • Community - Funniest. Show. On. TV. Witty, original and always good for some classic pop culture references.
  • The Walking Dead - Zombie survival story. How can you go wrong?
  • Miranda - A little British comedy of a woman awkwardly looking for love.
  • The Killing - A remake of a Danish show, this dark crime drama based in Seattle is an attempt to uncover the complex back story of a recent murder. Season 2 starts next month.
  • Whitechapel - A 3 episode British show about the hunt for a Jack the Ripper copycat killer. I just realized this was only season 1 of 3. Back to the library...
  • How I Met Your Mother - This show has been a staple for us but I admit I'm growing restless with their inability to actually progress with the overall storyline. I think they are past due to introduce the actual "mother".

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Youth Pastor Hypocrite...

One of the questions I'm in the process of asking myself is whether my next ministry position will be with students. I've been a professional youth pastor for almost 12 years and I have immensely enjoyed it. It has brought me great joy. It has challenged me. It has helped me develop as a leader. There never seems to be a dull moment. There is so much to love about what I have been able to do.

But I now find myself asking if it is time for a change.

Aside from a brief dream of working behind the camera in the film industry, I have not imagined doing anything aside from student ministry. A few years ago I was approached by a church who wanted to bring me on staff in a role focused on worship and arts. I was promptly made aware that I was not being released from student ministry. I didn't feel like I was "done".

I was the guy who said he was a lifer. I gave my buddies a hard time when they moved on from working with students and started taking on different church leadership roles. I cringed every time one more youth pastor jumped ships to the higher paying, more respectable roles of "anything but youth" pastor.

And now I feel like a hypocrite.

I have friends encouraging me to stick it out. They say that I have much to still offer the student ministry world.

I have other friends encouraging me to try a new role because of what they see in me. They think I'm capable of something different.

Now that I find myself in a perpetual state of limbo (oh the joys of being a student) I thought I would spend some time trying to figure out which direction I would go. I have yet to figure out the answer yet. In fact, it's very hard for me to contemplate life outside of student ministry. But at least I'm asking questions like this:
  • Where will I grow the most?
  • Am I doing what's easy and comfortable?
  • What have I been hardwired for?
  • What's the best fit for my family?
 Anything else you think I should be asking myself?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Numbers...

Summing up life by the numbers:
35 days of unemployment
2,548 pages read.
12,210 words typed.
3 papers aced. (Pause to pat myself on the back because I have NEVER done that before!)
2 classes.
15 days away from home.
3 Provinces traveled.
2 for 9 on Roll up The Rim.
3 movies watched.
1 TV series completed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Day at a New School...

School was never difficult for me.

Actually, the social part of school was never too difficult for me. The grades took a little work, especially since I suffer from an almost fatal case of procrastination.

Either way I've been on campus for the first class in my MDiv studies for a grand total of 2 days and here are a few observations I have made.
  1. Coming in halfway through a semester, even though it's a modular format) is a relational disadvantage. So many people already know each other. I feel like I'm trying to play catch up with learning names and who does what and has worked where and has how many kids.
  2. Being away from family is not fun. I love my family and I love having them around. I would joke about how loud it could get around the house when the kids would have friends over while I was trying to study, but I'd give up my WiFi access for it right now.
  3. Speaking of WiFi, I had to sell my soul for a week of access to use it here. And the house I'm staying at can't even get high speed, so they are still on dial up. And the Starbucks in Moose Jaw doesn't have it. What's up with that Saskatchewan?!?!
  4. The library frightens me. Seriously, I'm always afraid I will walk through the doors and get looked at funny or get lost in the stacks.
  5. College students are still college students. I'm sitting in the cafe right now and I've been privy to some very humorous interactions. And I am trying not to eavesdrop on a pretty important student council conversation right now.
Almost time to change the scenery and head for the silent basement suite.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What I Will Miss Most...

I've had a few people ask me what I will miss most about leaving Sevenoaks and taking a break from full time ministry. So now for your reading pleasure, here are a few things I will miss. It's not exhaustive, so please don't judge me.

I'm going to miss seeing my friends each week. I'll miss the staff. I'll miss the youth leaders. I'll miss the students. This list could go on for a long time. But I know relationships will look a little different now that I won't be seeing all these familiar faces each and every week.

The fact that a group of people will let me talk at/to them for a determined amount of time about what I've been learning from God and scripture is a privilege I do not take lightly. I have enjoyed being able to develop my skills. I have enjoyed learning and growing. I have enjoyed hearing people talk about how they are learning and growing based on what they have heard. Not knowing when the next sermon is looming will be a strange feeling.

I have had the opportunity to play/sing alongside some extremely talented individuals during my years here. We're talking about people that could, and probably should, be making money with their skills. I always feel like such an amateur when I get to be around them, but I love the time we've had together. I will miss the Thursday night practices. I will miss the early Sunday morning rehearsals. I will miss the pre-service Tim Horton's coffee. And I will miss the creative and musical freedom we have had. I know that not every church provides that.

My office
I have a massive office that I enjoyed spending time in. Sure it was a little messy, but I found it easy to work in my office and get things done. I'm going to miss having my own office space. And I will certainly miss the shelving. Right now the storage room is full of boxes.

Getting Paid to Do What I Love
This may sound so shallow, but it's true. Many times over the years I've stopped and thought to myself, "Somebody is paying me to do this?!?!" I've probably taken this for granted too. Shifting to life as a student for a while is probably going to highlight this fact.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

One Week...

One week from now I enter the world of unemployed student. I have yet to pack any boxes in my office. My desk is still a disaster. My computer desktop is still cluttered. The only hint that something is slightly askew is the pile of empty boxes.

I still remember getting that email in January stating:
I am pleased to inform you of your ACCEPTANCE into the Masters of Divinity: Youth and Family Ministry Program, congratulations!
I honestly did a little dance of joy in the living room. 

I tried to do this once before. It was after my first ministry experience. But I kind of got sidetracked by one phone call that came completely out of the blue. I ended up completing one class before I started my time here on staff.

So, now I'll try again. And since that email on January 20th life has been a blur.

I vaguely remember college being full of late nights, time with friends, soccer, and completing most of my assignments in the early morning hours before the due date.

I suspect that this will be different.

Trying to get everything in one area of life wrapped up while simultaneously trying to get everything in another area of life started is a bizarre experience. I had once hoped that I could maybe take a little time after my last day to catch my breath, but as they say "Life is what happens when you're making other plans"...or something like that.

With that said, I am as convinced now as I was in October that this is the right thing to do.

And now I will get back to the list of 1001 things that need to be completed in a week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A long walk...

The left coast obviously doesn't get much snow. And every time the fluffy white stuff falls from the heavens I find some minor entertainment in watching how the entire Lower Mainland deals with it. Here are my observations from our most recent wintery adventure.

Cool Truck Guy
Yes, I can see your truck. Everyone can see your truck. I'm fairly certain it can be seen from space with the naked eye. It is big and impressive looking and all of the rest of us half-lifes bow in awe. We are well aware that your tires, which are larger than our cars, will not be held back by any road conditions. But last I checked honking your horn at me will not cause the vehicle currently stopped in front of me to magically float up into the heavens and clear a path for you.

Minivan Mom
Yes, it is definitely a good idea for you to not brush the snow of your windows. Yes, you will make it up that hill that everyone else is failing to advance on. Yes, you have the inner conviction that is stronger than the other 3 vehicles that are presently turning around. Yes, if you apply more pressure to your gas pedal when attempting  to climb that hill you will make it. What? You didn't make it? Oops. My bad.

Snow Chains
I can't remember ever seeing a snow chain in all my Prairie days. And I know full well that we don't have to contend with all the hills, so I will concede that fact. But here it seems like the magic solution to moving a vehicle is to just put the chains on. Stuck on a hill? Put chains on. Driving across town? Put the chains on. Only 1 inch of snow? Put the chains on. I kid you not, two years ago I saw someone driving around town on snow-free roads with chains on! That being said, if I get stuck at the bottom of the mountain, I'll be wishing I I had chains.

Is it really snowing?!?!

If you can convince your parents to keep you home from school, then you rule!

If you keep your kids home from school, then you also rule! But just admit it. It's not for their personal safety. You just want to play in the snow. How do I know? Because that's where I would rather be! And I'm looking forward to getting home and snow-suiting it up.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Watch this...

An old soccer teammate from my college days posted a link to this video on Facebook and it was too good not to share.

More Surfing Videos

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Irresistible Church (Review)...

Can I admit that I have developed some terrible reading habits? In reality I could probably say that I have just failed to develop proper reading habits, but either way the end result is that I get a book, read a chapter or two and then it spends an inordinate amount of time on the bookshelf until I remember it is there.

This is one book that broke the pattern, mostly due to it's alignment with a teaching series we were working on at church, but also due to the fact that once I started reading it grabbed my attention. In the end I ended up reading the book fairly quickly (by my standards) and our pastoral team used the book as one of our references for a teaching series last fall.

The Irresistible Church has a slightly misleading title as one begins to think this is a book about how you can make your church irresistible to people. I admit to thinking that this was going to be another book telling me how to "do church properly" and what our church could do to attract more people to it.

Instead this was a book focused on what character traits churches should foster so they can create a place where God would want to show up and do His thing each week. It is not just for the sake of making your church the next big draw in town and getting people into the pews, but rather for preparing your church to get out into the world and make a difference for Jesus. Wayne Cordeiro says it best with this statement:

"The point of an irresistible church is never to simply see its members attend church each week and then do nothing.  It's to attend, be equipped, and then go out and live purposeful lives for God. A church must be a place where disciples gather--and then scatter." (pg 22)

Cordeiro has a very straight forward style of writing in which he can clearly articulate with an apparent level of humility what he has learned over he 30 plus years in ministry. He never comes across condescending or arrogant and His personal stories of how he has come to discover that each trait is important shows a man who is letting God do a work in Him. I never once felt like I was being berated into some gimmicky quick fix. Instead I felt genuine words of compassion with some very straight forward action statements like "seek the presence of God".

This book speaks a great deal about what should ultimately be the heartbeat of the church. He paints a picture of a church that actually hungers for God's presence, a church that places a priority on people and relationships, a church that is committed to learning and a church that actually takes the time to come up with a plan. A healthy mix of heart and practicality.

I enjoyed this book and found it was an inspiring read that had me identifying with the picture he was painting and thinking to myself, "I'd love to be a part of a church like that!"

FYI, I had previously read Cordeiro's "Leading on Empty" and enjoyed it a great deal.  I think it's a book that every pastor should read!

***Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Monday, January 09, 2012

Don't cry...

I held the front door to the church open as the older gentleman stepped out of the car and made his way into the building.

"Good afternoon. How are you?", I inquired as we shook hands.

The hand shake was a long one as he carefully chose his words.

I watched his eyes slowly fill with tears.

"Fine," he said. "But we are sad that you are leaving us. We appreciate you."

And with that he carried on his way as I went on mine.


I'm kind of gutted from that. It hurts to know my leaving causes tears.