Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crosses Are Heavy

I'm on day two of making the crosses for our church and today was a little rough. I have one pretty much done, the other one was causing me some trouble. I kept having to cut the crossbeam hole over and over. So that required me putting the cross together, seeing it doesn't fit, taking it apart, cutting a little tiny bit off, repeat many, many times. And as I was moving the main beam back and forth I started to think, "Boy, is this cross ever heavy." Then another thought went through my mind:

"Shut up".

I mean, I started thinking about how Jesus had to carry His cross, bloody and battered, falling on His bare knees all the time for what must have seemed like an eternity and here I am complaining "Oh, it's so heavy" in my comfy basement while I try and make my cross look all pretty.

Yeah, Jesus had it harder, and I thank Him for it...


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Making Crosses

Sorry to mess up the website with my last post. But it's a cool video...

Anyway, tonight I was working on a special project for Celebrate Recovery. I was making crosses. And not little woosie crosses, seven feet tall, two of them.

As I was making them I started thinking about how hard this would have been two thousand years ago. I had a handy little table saw, they did not have electricity so it wouldn't have helped them. And then my thought processed deeper (which is scary) and I thought about the guy who's job is would have been to make crosses. After all, there were tons of crucifixions by the Romans, odds are there were guys who sole occupation was to make crosses for the Roman government. I mean, what goes through your mind every day as you make instruments of death and torture. Who will get this one? What did they do? How much will they suffer? Were they so calloused they didn't even care?

And what about the guy who made Jesus' cross? Did he know Who was going to carry it? Did he know God was going to be sentenced to death upon it? Would it have been more special or just another day at the office?

Yeah, it's bad when I stay up late, I start thinking...


Monday, December 29, 2008

Cool Bird Sounds

I happened to see this today. Anyone heard a bird imitate a chainsaw? (It's amazing, yet sad at the same time...)



Monday, December 22, 2008

Less Is More

I was fortunate enough to go shopping on Saturday. Not to the mall or anything (thank the Lord) but to get groceries, pet stuff for Clover, etc. And everywhere Lorie and I went, lines, people everywhere, traffic, etc. And here's what I realized.

This is the busiest time of year. We all know it. We all expect it. If you think you're going to go outside and not wait it's just going to happen. You would think people would be more patient since they know life will be a little more chaotic.

So why is it that people seem less patient? Doesn't it make sense that since we need more patience at this time of year, at Christmas, focused on Christ who lived patience, we would give more out?

So as you shop for those last minute things (and I know you will), try to be a little more patient. Especially since it's not the part-time employee at Wal-Mart's fault that they are out of what you're looking for...


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Wii Injury

Sorry Jen, but this one's for you. You're not the only one to hurt yourself playing Wii.

Mark Cavendish has set a lot of British records. He won four stages of the Tour de France this year, the best ever results by a British cyclist. He's won gold medals at numerous European races, including the World championship Madison, the Commonwealth Games Scratch Race, and won two stages of the Giro d'Italia this year.

But put him on a Wii platform to play a snowboard game, and he becomes a danger to himself -- and any furniture that happens to be nearby.

Cavendish was playing the snowboard game (no reports on whether it was Shaun White's new game), when he got a little too into it. While rocking with his feet and thumbs, he slipped off the platform substituting for a snowboard, fell and injured his calf muscle.

Now that takes some doing! The injury hurt a cyclists most important muscle (though in any kind of bike riding, all the muscles are important). But for road racers, the calf is used hard in every pedal stroke, both pressing down and pulling up.

Cavendish was supposed to go out and train on his bike after the game; but the calf injury meant he couldn't ride. This is not a good thing, because even in cycling's off season, riders on his level can't allow one smidgen of their fitness to evaporate by slacking on their training. He rides for Team Columbia, and the team has scheduled a training camp in Majorca for later this month. Cavendish, fairly new to the elite peleton and Columbia's top sprinter, will be expected to attend.

(Full Story @

So learn a lesson, don't play Wii too much!


Get Inspired

I saw this today and just had to post it, too funny.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Well Do You Know Jesus' Story?

I was doing some reading this week and the authors mentioned something I didn't think much about, well, until now.

If you were to ask the average person the story of Jesus, they'd mention Christmas. Most will add in Easter too. But very, very few seem to know what happened in the middle. And here at Christmas, I see it. Most people seem to know the Christmas story (the basics anyway) and most know the basics of Easter, but to name ten miracles, five parables, it gets a little harder.

And then the other author mentioned how we tell Jesus story without going into the big picture. Many people hear that Jesus died for their sins, but how many people know it was to restore us back to where we originally created to be with God? Not we're born sinners, but before we were born, we were created in the image of God to know Him! Christ is simply restoring something we have long forgotten and lost.

It makes the Christmas story more interesting, and it helps understand that the story of Jesus doesn't end in the manger... :)


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Real Christmas Laws

Today I'm listening to classical Christmas music in my office and I found this list of laws from England I read a while ago. I thought you may like them. They are all still on the books, although I'm sure they are not thoroughly enforced.

~Playing sports on Christmas (except archery) is illegal.
~According to the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act all citizens are required to attend church on Christmas Day (and they must walk there and back, that's a part of the law).
~Christmas dinner is legally limited to only three courses. Mince Pie and Christmas pudding are not allowed, they are banned to be eaten on Christmas.
~Working on Christmas is banned.
~Hunting on Christmas is banned.

Now we laugh at those, but I don't know. To me it's kind of sad that we find it funny. Aren't those good suggestions for Christmas anyway, not over indulging, not working, spending time with God and family...?


Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm Back

It's nice to finally be home, with Thanksgiving and Liz, Lorie and I at YS (a Youth Pastor conference), it's been a busy two weeks.

But I have something for tonight. If you can, go out and look at the moon. Jupiter and Venus, the two brightest planets, are next to the moon tonight. I could even see them through the clouds, it looks like a real Procter & Gamble symbol :)


Monday, November 17, 2008

3 Year Old Road Rage

I'm sorry, but I saw the funniest thing today. I know it shouldn't be funny, but it was...

I walk in the gym and the preschool kids are playing, nothing new there. Now the preschool has a few Fisher-Price cars that a single kid can ride in, roof, doors, everything, there's just no floor so you move it with your feet. You get the idea. Now one girl was in a car and she was at a 90 degree angle with the wall, head on. She could not go forward or turn. The funny part was the kid behind her, he was also in a car and ramming her repeatedly like they were in bumper cars.

The girls has enough. She yells at him, gives a nice road rage face, then gets out, slams here door and pushes his car away. I know, it shouldn't be funny, but I just kept thinking, "Boy, we've trained our future well..."


Monday, November 10, 2008

Do You Give?

This article kind of sums up how Christians do not give to their own church.

I just like the question what could God do with 133 Billion Dollars?!


Who's Inviting?

A quick recap on some things that have happened the last few days...

I go to lunch at the high schools here (HSE & FHS, sorry LN) and usually it consists of me sitting around a lot with a few people who know me well coming up and saying hi (which is always nice, please do that). A few weeks ago I met a guy who just walked up and said "hi". Nice guy, we talked for a few minutes, I told him who I was and about our church. Next Sunday he's there. He's now been here every week and last week he was even inviting new people. Then, just last Thursday, a guy walks in the church during NewSong practice for Youth Sunday (our Youth worship team practice for those that didn't understand the code). This guy knows no one here but said he just felt drawn to show up here at that time, the one Thursday a month when the people his age happen to be there having worship practice.

So I have two theories (or a third, which is both of them together). One is that quite possibly God is real, and even more possibly people are trying to find God and in their search God's Spirit is moving in our church and people are being led here to find God. My second is that perhaps God is tired of waiting for us to do what He asked us to do and tell people about His love, so tired of waiting that He is doing it Himself to kick start us a little. Or, like I said, possibly both of those things...

Either way, if God is here and if there aer people looking for Him and if He is calling to those people, perhaps we should jump on board and do our part. Our part can't be that hard, if people are coming to church without even being invited, imagine what would happen if we did invite them! If people are so desperate for God they are just appearing, imagine how receptive they would be to having a person say hello and talk to them about God.

Just a thought...


Thursday, November 06, 2008


Sorry it's been a few weeks, I've been a little behind with the pumpkins.

But there is good news! We sold more this year than in years before, even after throwing out hundreds and hundreds of rotten ones (I wish we hadn't thrown them out, people were buying them on Halloween!).

So a big thank-you to everyone who helped out this year. This will definately help our student ministry with our mission trips next year. Thanks again!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Adding Insult To Injury

I'm sorry, but this was just too stupid, funny and mean all at once. I read it today.

"When medieval Europeans burned witches, the victims' families had to pay for the firewood."

Now come on, that's just mean!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Magnifying Glass Theology

I just finished reading a book that I really enjoyed by Philip Yancey. Anyway, he said something that kind of got me near the end, although I don't think he meant for it to be as impacting as it was to me.

He talked about how sometimes we view the tapestry of God through a magnifying glass. Think of it like a person who is appraising a piece of art. They take out a magnifying glass and see the tiniest of cracks, the little specks of colors under that glass. The problem is, they can't see the full picture and lose the ability to admire it's beauty.

I wonder how many times we have done this with God, that we spend so much time arguing or mulling over some tiny, almost insignificant piece of theology so much so that we lose the ability to see the true beauty of who God is. We lose the sense of God's love for us.

Just wondering...


Friday, October 24, 2008

Best Ad Ever

The other night I was up late watching TV and this ad for the Honda CR-V came on. Usually, I don't care, but the pitch they gave this car was so ridiculous I wrote it down (and tried not to wake Lorie laughing). I tried to find it online, but couldn't, but trust me, this is what they said to show how awesome their vehicle is.

"Convenient, easy access door opening."

Really?! You can open the door? Easily? Yeah, those other cars, I was having such a hard time working the handle, the whole pulling thing. I'm glad they finally perfected that.

I guess what made it worse is after saying that they showed a woman opening the door and putting art in the back seat. It's so easy they had to show me how the door opens.

I am so fascinated I may need to trade in my Geo. Forget that it's small and old, I want doors that are easier to open darn it.


Monday, October 20, 2008

What Kind Of Impression Do You Leave?

Today I had the fun job of going to hotels and finding out their room rates in case people come visit our church. I repeat. Fun job.

Well, there is a hotel across the highway from the church. You can see the church from it's front door. It makes sense that we would go there first.

So I end up talking to the woman at the desk and telling her about what I'm looking for. She's very helpful, giving me prices, etc. Then I ask how many people can stay in a room. She's a little confused by the question so I explain that teenagers may be involved. She immediately gives me back my card, explains how the hotel has a "no teenager" policy (I don't know how that works) but it's because they are too messy and loud. I tell her it's for a church, it doesn't matter.

But that got me thinking, obviously the person who owns that hotel had something happen that forever left a bad impression on them of how a teenager will act in a hotel. And faith made no impact on how they viewed teenagers.

So my question to you is, what kind of impression do you leave with people...?

(I hope I do okay)


Friday, October 17, 2008

Question And Funny

First the question, why do we have to work so hard to get people to do their best? Or even better, why do we have to convince people to do their best? If you take a job or volunteer to do something, or join a sport, why on earth would you even consider doing it if you have no intention of giving your best? Or another one, do people honestly think this is the best they can do when it's obvious it's not? Sorry that was more than one question, it's just been bugging me today...

For the funny though, Lorie and I went to the zoo (of course) where we spent a lot of time looking at otters and things of that sort. We also had to go see Martin, the new baby cow. He was in his pen and friendly and really soft. So I pet Martin, and he liked it (as animals do). So Lorie goes to pet Martin, and he turns into her arm like most animals do when they like being pet. But as he turns in, he flicks his head and gives her this huge lick down her arm. It was really funny. It would have been funnier if she wasn't wearing my sweater...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Bad Church Experience

Today I was at lunch at Fishers High School, my first full lunch all year, and I ended up talking with a student who knew I was a youth pastor (it's not hard to figure out) and immediately told her story of the one time in her life she had been to church and why she wouldn't go back.

I won't bother getting to the details, but can everyone do me one of two favors. One, if you've never been to church or been to one bad church, realize they're not all the same. That's like saying "I went to a party and it was bad so I'm never going to any type of party again." There are different churches with different styles of music, different people, different approaches to worshipping God. And for those who ware in churches, can you please be nice to people? Be friendly? Say "hi"? It's amazing how many people I talk to who go to a church and cannot remember anyone saying "hi". That doesn't mean that absolutely nobody said hello, but greetings were few and far enough between that it didn't stick into their memory.

On the flip side, I had one student today realize how easy it is to invite someone to church. Someone asked what I did, I told them, said they're welcome anytime and what do you know, they're thinking about it. And I'm a stranger. Imagine if a friend of theirs invited them...


Monday, October 13, 2008


Okay, enough Monkey Kickball, you all beat me...

For some reason all day yesterday I was thinking about time and how we've made our lives so incredibly constrained by it. Let me explain.

Go all the way back to creation. God creates and there are only two units of time, evening and morning. Our day was divided into one of two, you were either in daylight, or you were in night. That's it.

Then, sometime, the standard for the day was split into 5. There was dawn (6:00), the mid-morning, or the 3rd hour (9:00), noon (12:00), mid-afternoon, or the 9th hour (3:00) and dusk (6:00). If you were to meet someone, you would use one of those first 4 times (you didn't usually meet after dark). Our day was now divided a little more...

Then at some point we divided our day into 24 hours. Some trace this back to the Babylonians using a 12 hour clock but I don't know how reliable that is. There is also evidence of Egyptians having a 12 hour clock in 1300 B.C. (10 hours day, 2 hours twilight, 12 hours night), but it wasn't in common practice like the 5 division Roman day. The Romans still recognized those hours (as evident by the 3rd hour, 6th hour, etc.) but were still 5 divisions in practice. Either way, for centuries this was used, mostly by astronomers and people related to the stars (navigators and scientists too). Why 24? Who knows. A common theory is because 24 is an easily divisible number (2,3,4,6,8,12).

But that wasn't enough.w had to break it down more. Back to those whacky Babylonians and their astronomers, at sometime between 300-100 B.C. they divided by 60 (again, easy to divide by) and created minutes and seconds. Now our lives are measured even more minutely.

But that's still not enough. If you watched the Olympics, you would have noticed that they needed to make time smaller, 100th's of a second. And for me, all the music stuff I do, well, that's even more minute. I go to 1000ths of a second.

We have made time so small, and in doing so, made it so big in importance. It just seems crazy to me that we would do that, we would micro mange ourselves into the 1000th's of a second.

And yet, through all this, it's still not right. A standard day, full revolution of the earth, well, that's only 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds...


Friday, September 26, 2008

Poison Ivy

Sorry I haven't been on, I've been in and out of consciousness and energy the last few days. I got poison ivy from head to toe at the Guys Night Out last week. Right now I'm sitting at my desk feeling the itch on my arms and neck, it's awesome...

Life Hurts God Heals starts Sunday, hope to see you there!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Right Thing

Sorry it's been a few days, I've been getting stuff ready for our new series at Drink Deep & The Refinery (our Sunday night program for students). Anyway...

Suffice it to say, I was watching TV the other day and heard something really profound. "Even if you do the right thing, it may not turn out the right way." That's true, isn't it? Think of the times where you told the truth, but you didn't get the forgiveness you expected but got in trouble.

But then I started thinking even more (scary) and thought about this. Who says what outcome is right? Well, obviously, we do. We have an outcome to every action that we think is the right one. Maybe we're not as smart as we think we are.

And one more thought with that. Does this mean that we start to decide what is right based on the outcome? I took that in ethics class, if we base all actions on what we think are the outcomes, it really waters down what is right and wrong...

Things to ponder.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

More English Meanderings

I have another one for you, although this one was not as clear-cut when I read it...

I was reading a book in which the author used the word disgrace, but spelled it dis-grace. And that's when I started thinking. Really, the word is intended to mean a loss of grace, as in the acts that we see as "disgraceful" are really meant to be thought of as so repulsive that you can actually lose the grace of God for taking part in them. What a crazy idea!

But then I went further. What do we see as disgraceful? If you were to walk down the street and say "That's disgraceful", what would the person be doing? Begging on the street? Eating out of a trash can? How about something less, wearing something that was in style last season but definitely out now?

And aren't people who do those acts the ones who need grace? And yet surprisingly, when good, middle-class, upstanding Christians lower themselves to that level, their loving counterparts mutter under their breath "How disgraceful"...


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Another Quirk Of The English Language

I can't be long, sorry, but here's a tiny fact I read tonight.

The word "listen" has the same letters as the word "silent".

Food for thought about our listening skills...


Thursday, August 28, 2008

When People Want To Worship...

I meant to talk about this yesterday, but I got off track, sorry. On Tuesday night we went and saw Hillsong United ( A great worship concert, they did a really good job.

Two things I got out of it though. One, it was NewSong on crack. They were also in a gym on a stage inset like ours, just everything was slightly bigger, bigger gym, bigger stage, bigger sound, lots more people (obviously, there was a concert). But it gives me hope for the future.

But the second thing is what I've been thinking about the past few days. And I think about it every time I go to something like this. Just how much more different it is when people want to worship.

Now don't get me wrong, I know there are people who want to worship Sunday morning. But there are also those who are there because it is their duty, and I think the ones who want to be there hold back so they don't stand out. At concerts like the Hillsong one, you can't stand out. If anyone wants to worship God so much they go on a Tuesday night (some driving from other states) and pay extra money for a ticket on top of it, they really want to worship! People were really excited to be there!

I just wish I knew how to move more people from the state of apathy on Sunday mornings to that excitement...


Monday, August 25, 2008

How Smart Is Our Bunny...?

It's said in some circles you can tell the intelligence of an animal by how long it takes it to escape its habitat. To give an example, some zookeepers say this and say monkeys are very intelligent because they will use tools like screwdrivers to open air vents (pretty smart).

So today we were reading about our bunny and realized he needed more room, so we bought him a pen and put it up to his cage. Now thankfully my wife is smarter than I am and thought we should put him in it long before we go to bed just to see what happens (we let him run around it for a long time with the door open to get used to it). Needless to say, he was trying to squeeze through the bars to see us.

Anyway, I go to work on the computer and hear "He's out". Our bunny had discovered he could jump on top of his cage and make an easy exit around the bars. So we put a cardboard blocker on his cage. Done. We waited about half an hour, nothing, so we went to bed. While lying in bed I said to Lorie "Wouldn't it be funny if the bunny hopped by right now?" What's even stupider, while laughing, the bunny hopped by. No word of a lie, I had just finished saying it. The crazy little rabbit had figure out how to jump over the pen by using the side of the couch (we put him back in to watch and find out his trick). To see if it was a fluke we watched him do it three times, all in about 2 minutes.

Clover is now back in his normal home five feet in the air (it's on a stand, don't worry) and he's completely caged in. Too smart for his own good, he lost some freedom tonight...

Hey, aren't we like that. We're so smart we can make our own choices, do what we think is right, but in the long run we ruin our own freedom in the order God established...?


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vantage Point

Yeah, I saw this movie tonight after Drink Deep. I don't know, it's my kind of movie and I really liked it although it was a little different (but then again, so am I). I was thinking about a couple of things while watching it, but I'll focus on two for tonight.

One was a suicide bomber. Unfortunately, this is all too real in our world, people who are willing to kill themselves just to kill others for an ideal. But it got me thinking (and I talked with Lorie a bit about it). How on earth do people manage to get such devotion out of a person? I mean, I am completely devoted to God, I don't know if I would strap a bomb to my chest for Him, but I also know that He would never ask me to do that so we're good. But those people, they are so devoted to their cause that they are willing to kill themselves for it. We aren't even devoted enough to come to church more than twice a month (not to mention on time), or serve more than one hour Sunday morning, or give a full tithe, etc., etc.

But the other point was how this idea of finding the truth through many different vantage points is like our quest for God. In the movie, all these people are involved in seeing and being a part of one event, but because of who they are, their roles, their personalities, etc. they all see this event differently. It's only by all these perspectives together do we as a viewer see the whole truth. And I wonder how much of that is like how we see God. I have a view of God, but it is limited to my focus and corrupted my who I am. But, in getting many views maybe we can work together to see a more complete picture of who He is.

It's late, I'm rambling, but it was a good movie and got me thinking, not to mention about perceived reality and the ability of a heart to be persuaded, but we won't go into that.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Power Of God

I know we hear all sorts of Old Testament stories about God and His power, but here's a newer one. You know me and astronomy...

So there's a researcher named James Jean, he's an astronomer in England. He figured out a way to find out how powerful the core of our sun is and how to explain it so people understand. Here's what he said. If you were to take a piece of the sun's core the size of the head of a pin (really tiny) and place it here on earth, it would generate so much heat that a person would die from that heat 84 miles away. To give some perspective, if we were to put that tiny, itty-bitty piece of sun in my house, someone on the south side of Fort Wayne would die from the heat...

That's incredibly powerful, and God made that so He is way more powerful than that! And to think, instead of using that power on us, His love is even stronger...

Gen. 1:16 ~ So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day and the moon to rule over the night; he also made the stars.

Eph. 3:18-19 ~ And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Idiot Job

Okay, I have to change the blog, and when I put more pics up, I need to have more text first, otherwise the Fire & Water page goes nuts.

But today, learned an interesting fact. The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas has 12 gardeners on staff. Okay, that seems normal. But here's the catch. Their job is to take care of the artificial plants.

Now is that really a "gardener"?


Monday, August 18, 2008

Camping Vacation

Okay, sorry I haven't written in a while, it's because I was cut off from civilization. Last Sunday we had Fire & Water Sunday (the students were in charge of all morning services) and we had our Back To School Bash. So after, Lorie and I left town.

We decided to go camping. Here's a picture of our little campsite in Tippecanoe River Campgrounds. It was our first time with this tent (Lorie didn't like my mini so we got a new one). Okay, this one was a little large, but we were compromising. We camped a little less my way (hike until you find water, poop in the forest) and a little more like she does (we had a mattress, which I will be honest, was really comfy).

Since it is a state park, we did a bit of hiking (we're nature people). Here's a picture of the waterfowl preserve we went by. The fun part about it is it's an otter release point, unfortunately, we saw no otters (that would have made Lorie's year!). But we did see all sorts of other woodland creatures. Our list was deer, wild turkey, blue and black herons, woodpeckers (and other birds), squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, frogs, and of course, Clover's favorite, bunnies.

Here's one of the bunnies who was lying out waiting for us. We saw a few, but this guy was all stretched out and posed. Anyway...

One more of the pretty areas we saw. I have to go, but I'll put more pics up later, amybe even of my textbook cooking fires...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Improv Christianity

This morning I was awoken by thunder at way too early of an hour and was lying there with many things going through my head, this being one of them. I don't know why, and I don't know if it was in a dream or something, but it made pretty good sense at 6am with only 4 1/2 hours sleep.

Anyway, here was the thought. That we have Acting Christians and Improv Christians. And I don't mean improv by making up your own faith. Here's what I mean.

Think of your favorite comedic actor. How funny they are. How they make you laugh. Now there's only one problem. They do not actually say anything of their own. Every line they give, everything they say, it is all written by someone else. They are fed lines. Now, they may deliver them well, but the idea, the essence of what makes you laugh is not theirs. Now improv is the opposite. The actor, they make up everything, every single word that comes out of their mouth is completely and 100% theirs.

So this was my thinking this morning. How many Acting Christians do we have? People that say they believe in Jesus, but they really don't own their faith at all. They can't say anything they believe themselves, all they can do is recite what's been told to them. Like comedic actors, they can do it well, but it's still not their faith, their simply giving out someone else's interpretation of God and saying it the best they can. I think we need more Improv Christians. Improv is messier, it's not as scripted, it's harder to follow sometimes, but it is all theirs. The Christian doing "improv", it's what they believe, it's what they adhere to, it's them doing the best they can to figure out who God is and explain it to others.

I think we need more Improv Christians, not just actors who can recite lines well...


Monday, July 28, 2008

Too Much Freedom?

It's a question I've heard before. When I was growing up my English teacher had two foreign exchange students from a semi-Communist country stay with her and she told us about how they saw us in Canada as having too much freedom. How since we don't have as many rules we end up hurting ourselves more, since there is no strong opposing force like in their homeland we end up not really respecting authority and it comes to our own detriment because we end up hurting ourselves.

Tonight I was reading about the Temptation of Jesus (you can find it in Matthew 4 or Luke 4 if you're interested). The author was talking about how Jesus could have used that moment of temptation to "fix" our world, but instead left us with the freedom to do what we want, even ultimately reject Him. We are left with so much freedom spiritually that we can even allow our spirits to die...

But that's the beauty of God. He gives us the freedom to decide whether or not to serve Him, and He doesn't even try to make it easy by giving us some miraculous sign in the sky or by revealing Himself as we see fit. Instead, He gives us almost more freedom than we can handle to make a choice to serve Him. Why? It's quite simple. Because devotion caused by an outside force is called oppression. Devotion by choice out of freedom is called love.

Last night at Drink Deep we talked about how I cannot (or can anyone else) force God on someone. It is a choice and if you want to get to know God better it is up to you to spend time with Him, up to you to read your Bible, up to you to serve, up to you to love, up to you to ______. No one else can do that for you, part of being free is it is up to you, for better or for worse. (If you want to talk about that more, we have a discussion on Sunday nights at

Just something to think about. As William Wallace said in Braveheart, "And what will you do with that freedom?" As the Apostle Paul said, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1a).


Friday, July 25, 2008

Coahoma, Day 6 (Friday)

This is it, our last day. One van got up nice and early and were on the road by 5:35 (lunatics). All I know is they made it home safely and they were flying (very few potty breaks I hear).

As for the rest of us, we were up at 6:30 and cleaning. The boy's bathroom never smelled so good. Cleaned everything and anything all before 8:30, where we went out to our meeting place and said our last good-bye's. Except for one little difference, all of us being from the same church, and some of us missing. So we didn't really have a long tearful good-bye with lots of pictures. But, we did give lots of hugs to the Youthworks staff and had a final prayer with the mayor.

The drive home, long and uneventful. I don't like coming home from the south (I've done this drive before) because you have a section where you switch states almost every hour, but then you hit southern Illinois. And it keeps going, and going, and going.

Bu, we finally made it home, almost right on time as predicted. The only fun part about being home, Steve Williams dented the van in the parking lot. That's right, we drove 2000 miles, nothing, but in our own parking lot, while home, that's when we dent the van. It could be worse, no one was hurt and the damage was very minor, but oh the fun that added.

So that's it in a nutshell, our trip to MS. Hopefully others that went will comment or you can read the discussion boards at our website to find out more, and there are some pics up there too ( Until next year, mindless drivel from me to come!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Coahoma, Day 5 (Thursday)

Okay, so this was the hardest day of the trip by far. There's a couple of reasons, like these...

First, my group ended up going to a retirement home for the morning. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I was told that every person we talked to had some form of Alzheimer's. That makes things tough right away. But, we get there, first walk in, and there a woman who says nothing other than "Help Me! Please!" It was soooo hard. She didn't understand the nurses were helping her, and they were completely loving to her, thank goodness. I ended up talking with a guy who grew up in Mississippi, then moved to Chicago for a while and is now back home. Having Lorie's family in Chicago it was easy to talk to him, and having Adam with me (the biggest Bears fan around) we had a good talk. He also like to color, he worked really hard at coloring a picture of an apple. It was also weird that people there were allowed to have snuff. It was a little odd.

After that we went to the last day of sports camp, even hotter than before. Hottest day yet, the guys were even harder to work with, and our students were now a little more tired. it just was a great combination, but we got through it, we managed to talk to the kids about Jesus and obedience. That's the most important thing :)

What made it worse was on the hottest day after we played football. How did we do? I threw the game winning interception. But that was followed by a shower, and yet again clean socks have never felt so good.

For dinner we had a community dinner. The mayor made his home-made fried chicken, the rumor is he actually injected spice and hot sauce into the chicken. It was awesome. Honestly, it was great to have southern home cooking again. I didn't realize how much I missed it. So dinner was great!

Then came the footwashing ceremony. Always great, but with one minor problem. Right before dinner the air conditioner broke in our meeting room. It had to have been 100 degrees in there with 90% humidity. Don't believe me? When I walked in I could suck the moisture out of the air. Then the Youthworkers asked me to play a worship song to buy them a few minutes. I was sweating after the second chord. It was incredibly hot. But, prayer is always more important. We (our wonderful adult ministers!) prayed with every single student, some more than once. People were praying and caring for each other for hours. We didn't stop until after 11:45, and honestly, the only reason we stopped that early was the stinging in our eyes from the combination of sweat and tears and 90% humidity. The students were so great together, we actually ended up staying up a little and letting them shower at night, it was only fair.

It's odd, we've been a Youthworks trip before and we knew the footwashing was coming, but it was really great. Adults who had never been on the trip before were asking to pray with students, people were running all over and talking with other students, praying for them, hugging, caring, just actually living the love of Christ and praying for their friends.

So that was the last night, trip home tomorrow.


Coahoma, Day 4 (Wednesday)

Sorry this post is late, I was busy last night...

Either way, Wednesday was a fun day for some people. Most the people on workcamps now change to kids club and some on kids club go to do workcamps. So the first part of the morning was a little orientation again. But, it was great for those switching, a new role and a new view of Coahoma. For my group, we ended up getting a few things done for the next two days of Outrageous Sports Camp and then finished with more of the boarding up windows we started yesterday.

The afternoon was spent outside playing basketball again, but today was even hotter. Because of that a few kids didn't show up, which is a down side, but it was also burning up on the asphalt, which made it a little harder. But it must have been okay because after our sports camp a few of the students went out and played a game of Ultimate Frisbee, i was busy taking a nice, long shower. Apparently it was a good game though, 20-19.

The evening was a quick dinner of pizza (always good) followed by a church service in Jonestown. It was a very excited, spirited service with a great choir. The speaker did a great job, she talked about her ordeal with cancer and how she kept waiting for God to heal her, but instead He was more concerned that she praise Him despite her situation instead of taking her our of the situation. It was also good for the students, they all got really into it, now they just need to understand that we can be that excited at our church, just someone needs to start it...

It was another late night and because we got out of club late, we got brownies in our small group time followed by bed (and again, people were out almost right away, the problem was right before bed we had a small serenade... from Aladdin...).


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coahoma, Day 3 (Tuesday)

Another hot and sunny day. At least I got to sleep in... until 7:15... Knock-off name cereal tastes great at 7:23...

Today our focus was on poverty. The devotions were really good focusing on what poverty means, what real poverty is, etc. We started out the day working, painting boards to be put on the broken windows of the school house. Everyone worked hard, well, except me. I painted a bit then got talking to the mayor, a great guy. We talked about some of the things we could do for Coahoma, and after a little discussion and looking at what projects we can do, Derrick (Youthworker staff) went to town and got some supplies. That's one reason I like Youthworks. Although there is no way we could get everything done, split the work over a month and 4 different work groups, it can happen. I like being a part of a bigger plan. The downside, town is far away and we got lots of supplies, so I didn't get lunch for a while, we had to go to sports camp right away.

Yeah, another nightmare there. The school decided to paint the stage in the gym, meaning we were not able to run our basketball camp in there (I wonder if they did it on purpose). So we moved to the outdoor court at the park in the middle of town. Oh so hot. But, it worked out. Day two is always a little better, we know a the kids better. Can't complain too much when you're playing basketball all day. And talking about Jesus. A great combination.

Getting back, we found out the other groups had been working really, really hard. They got most of their projects done, not just a little bit done, but done well and completed so the groups tomorrow need new jobs. Great day! Followed by tacos, the day just keeps getting better...

For our evening activity we went to Alabama to a lookout over the Mississippi river. It's crazy to think that a hundred years ago before the levee's the Mississippi would divert 25 miles in any direction, giving Coahoma a luscious topsoil great for farming. Now, it stays still so we can see it and cross it easily. For the activity, still focusing on poverty, the groups were given the actual finances of some people in Coahoma and told to budget. It's not easy to make $540 a month feed and clothe 4 kids. It was a great exercise for the students, especially when some of them realized their summer job makes more than an entire family. On the way home, Rich's van got lost, so all of us waiting sang worship. Everyone was super loud, it was great. We then talked more about poverty. You could hear the collective gasp when they learned that 80% of the world lived in sub-standard housing. they kind of expected only a small portion would have Internet, but a roof, you kind of hope that's universal.

That should have been the end of the night, but people were really hyper (thanks in part to Rich Clark buying them Mountain Dew). The guys were loud and joking, even Steve Williams was laughing hard. The girls, just as hyper, with an end result of Alex Clark breaking her toe jumping from one bunk bed to another. She's fine, but it was the excitement of the night. After turning out the hall lights, everyone was in asleep pretty quick.

For some groups it was the last day on their work camps/kids club. Most of the groups switch tomorrow. We'll have to see what happens with that...


Monday, July 21, 2008

Coahoma, Day 2 (Monday)

So as if sleeping on that tiny bunk bed (plus being in a strange place) didn't take away my zzz's, being on breakfast crew and having to start breakfast at 6:45 sure helped. On the plus side, we got it out of the way right off the bat, and it was sunny so that helped us get up, but it was still waaaay too early. Luckily all we had to do was put out cereal and the lunch stuff (I used a knife at 7:00am, not wise).

Our morning was orientation, all the groups learning about what they would be doing for the next few days. I ended up being in Outrageous Sports Camp, or in layman's terms, playing basketball for the week. We played a little game to get to know all of us on the crew, which was really for the benefit of Annie (our leader, a.k.a. Sporty Spice) since we all knew each other. We found out we were going to be talking about obedience for the week, by far a favorite with teenagers. We spent the morning figuring out the drills we would be doing (and testing them, of course) and getting together our questions for the small group discussion. After that was lunch and off to camp.

Now here's what I mean about "off to camp". In previous weeks it had just been the teens from Coahoma. This week we were taking them in vans to Jonestown a few minutes away and doing a combined camp at the elementary school there. We were told to expect about 8-10 from Coahoma, then when we get to Jonestown another 7-10, so 15-20 total. Yeah, not even close. More like 60 with all of us together. And all 60 on summer vacation, extremely hyper, and oh so willing to learn about obedience. It was mass chaos. On the plus side, our students did awesome! We had to make more small groups meaning people who weren't expecting to talk were suddenly leading, and they did a great job.

So after running around with 10-14 year olds for 2+ hours, I finally got my first shower in Coahoma. It wasn't the Ritz, but I will say this, there is no better feeling than clean socks. Oh how wondrous.

We also got to see a little bit more of Coahoma as we drove to and from Jonestown. It's always weird to see a small house, perfectly white, red trim, bars on the windows, it's own propane tank, satellite, little lights down the driveway and side of the house, then next to is a two room shack that's barely together. But one memory of Louisiana came flooding back to me. Everyone has a satellite dish. Everyone. It seems like people do not worry about their houses, but we all need TV. They also seem to like their cars too. Washed and shined, sitting in the driveway of a house that hasn't been painted since Nixon was in office.

A few hours later was my highlight of the night. We went to the Blues Museum in Clarksdale ( Being a musician and my father's son, it was great. A whole section dedicated to Muddy Waters and a guitar built from his old house, Robert Johnson stuff (none of the students knew who he was, I was so disappointed), I think my favorite has to be one of the locals named "Supa Chiken" with his guitar the "Chikentar". Anyway, I loved it. I ended up being the slowest, reading everything, looking at all the stuff, it was a great time. Then we headed to the small stage outside and got a real blues concert from Bill "Howl-N Madd" Perry ( He was great. I wasn't too happy that most of his songs for the students talked about whiskey, but he was a great guy and talked to everyone who wanted to after a few minutes. And one more note on that, since he'd kill me if I didn't say it, next year he will be in the movie "The Way Of War" with Cuba Gooding Jr. He only mentioned it about 60 times.

After we came back and had club together followed by what is normally "Church Small Group Time". Since we were all one big church we tried splitting everyone into smaller groups, and it seemed to work really well. Almost every single person added to the conversation (a little different from the night before where we all stayed together since it was the first night). But the people I had were great and talkative. Right up until a little bit before bed, at which everyone fell asleep just as quick as the night before (ah, quiet bliss...)

More tomorrow.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coahoma, Day 1 (Sunday)

So I'm going to do like past years and relate what happened on the missions trip exactly a week behind what really happened (there was no Internet there). Feel free to add comments for those who went!

So we left almost on time, 15 min. late. Not up to par with me, but I'll live through it. The only problem with the drive was at the point I realized that I forgot my sunglasses and my water bottle (and it's a big one I got for free, ask Kim Brown, she had the same one!) Not much happened on the way down, except for moving Steve Williams' van, a bad idea since everyone inside got mad and asked for him back (they must really love that guy).

We pulled up and realized just how small this town is (325). There were run down factories/cotton gins around and lots of houses that were falling apart, not to mention a tornado had apparently been through a few months before, huge trees were up rooted everywhere. But the town did not lack anything when it came to hospitality. Everyone waved as we came in and once we were there we immediately were playing sports with the people, I ended up playing baseball (or some version thereof). The only thing some people had to get used to was the fact that everyone, and I mean everyone, was black. There is one white family in town, the official statistic is 98.5% African-American (thanks Tay).

We actually got in a little early which was nice, it gave us a chance to meet the staff. The Youthworks guys and gals were really friendly, and it was easy to bond with them since we were the only church. And, another first, I was able to sit down with Jody (head Youthwork guy there) and split our students into the work stations/sites before dinner! I don't think that has ever, ever happened before. It was a great feeling to know that I was done the most time consuming piece, and also the one I am usually the most hated for ("But I don't want to do that...). We also got to unload our stuff in our "Air conditioned" rooms. Let's just say the swamp coolers in Mexico gave off more cool air...

We got to look around a little. We're staying "downtown" which basically is a little gravel circle with buildings around it. Our sleeping quarters is the old school. Our club room is in the building next to us which is church/town hall/mayor's office. He lives across the road in one of the nicer houses (and one of the few with bars on the doors and windows). We'll get to him a little later.

The only thing left is bedtime. A miracle happened. Everyone went to be happy, and everyone was out in about five minutes. By far the best time we've ever had falling asleep. Except for the fact that I'm in a really short bunk-bed under Adam Sopoci. More tomorrow!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Off On A Missions Trip

Sorry I haven't been on lately, I've been pre-occupied. On Sunday we're leaving on a missions trip to Coahoma, MS! The last few days have been doing the bestest part of any missions trip, paperwork! There's nothing more exciting than organizing, photocopying, filing people's health insurance information, covenants, all that fun stuff...

I'm going to try and blog from MS, we'll see if we have internet. But for today, all the paperwork is done and I have the T-Shirts. Oooooo...


Friday, June 27, 2008

"I Told You So"

So I'm reading through Job, always a fun book, and although I've read it before, something hit me tonight.

A majority of the book, before God speaks, is simply Job and his friends bantering back and forth. They're trying to get him to either curse God and die or admit he sinned and let God end it (what wonderful choices) while Job is always maintaining his innocence.

But tonight I noticed something. In many of Job's responses, he basically says, "Why do you curse me? If there is something between God and I, let us work it out. Why don't you simply support me in my pain?" (loose paraphrase of the TV)

And it got me thinking as to how often we do this in the church. "If you simply read your Bible more..." or "Well, talk to God more...". When someone is in pain it seems like instead of identifying with them and acknowledging their pain, we tend to focus a lot more on spiritual "I told you so"s. Just a thought...

Another thought, this Sunday is the Fishers Freedom Festival Parade. Be watching for our float...


Monday, June 16, 2008

Have You Ever...

My version of Liz' list. :)

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight (does stopping one count?)
4. Changed a baby’s diaper (I've helped)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said “I love you” and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (at really big lake...)
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sporting event
17. Climbed the stairs to the crown of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (depending on how far back you go...)
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales (they weren't there the night we went, just the night before, and after)
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don’t
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently (kinda fluently)
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check oops
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to a stranger
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ for one night at a friend's wedding
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all fours
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway play
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone (not in a bad militant way)
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one (only in putt-putt)
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon (not a full one)
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet (a diet doesn't mean you want to lose weight...)
157. Found an arrowhead
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Been to the southern hemisphere
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane (the wings had duct tape on them!)
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood
188. Built a campfire
189. Have a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Fallen in love

Someone else's turn...


Monday, June 09, 2008

Where Do You Run?

This last weekend was kind of crazy. There was massive flooding all over the great state of Indiana. Pastor Mike was even stuck for a while, barely made it back for Sunday service (I'm glad he did, I'm even more glad he didn't stay at the hotel in Columbus he wanted to, the parking lot was flooded!)

So before service I'm praying with Cindy, our head of Stephen Ministry. Someone from that group always comes and prays with me before NewSong, and I'm so glad they do. Anyway, she mentioned in her prayer all the people that would not be in church that day. After, we were talking and we thought about all the people who would be in church that day. If you were watching TV or the news you would have seen that in all the flooding, most of the disaster meeting places were churches. Even our own church is a disaster meeting place, if something goes wrong and people need help, they're supposed to come here.

And it got me thinking. Isn't it funny how even now, thousands of years later, technology as it is, people all so "enlightened" that even now when a disaster strikes, people run to the church. Not the schools, the town hall, the safest office buildings, nope, we run to the church.

If only we could get the message out that it's not just for dire physical emergencies. Emotional trouble, spiritual disasters, even a place to meet when times are good so we condition our souls so there won't be a disaster. Just a thought...

Proverbs 18:10 ~ The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
Psalms 46:1-2 ~ God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea-storm and earthquake, Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008


For some reason I've been thinking a lot about typecasting, how we see someone do one thing and forever label them.

I guess it started when I was reading about Margaret Hamilton. Don't feel bad, I didn't know who that was at first. She played the wicked witch in "The Wizard Of Oz" (actually she played both of them, quite a feat). So after laughing about her name in the movie being Elmira Gulch (name your kid that) they were talking about how she wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. The problem was, every kid recognized her as the wicked witch and were scared of her. Even when she was quite old people would still ask her was she was so mean to Dorothy...

It wasn't real. She didn't do it. She was acting. And now forever people associate her with that one role. So do we ever do that to people? They acted a certain way once and forever they're black-listed? I know someone who is like that with restaurants. If they eat at one that's bad, the entire chain is out forever (our list of places to eat is growing thin).

Okay, one more. Jamie Walters (again, don't feel bad, I had to look him up). He was on Beverly Hills 90210, the original, not the dorky whatever-it-is remake they're doing. He was Donna's boyfriend who was abusive to her. Played the part well. Here's the problem, forever he was labeled as an abuser. He's a musician and people would come up to him after a concert and ask how he could be so mean to Donna. He was acting. I'm sure she survived, but even years later people still see him on the street and bug him about it.

It's so easy. Lorie's sitting next to me and asked about the people in constipation commercials or adult diaper commercials...


Monday, May 26, 2008

Could We Forget Easter?

So tonight I was reading a favorite Bible story of mine, that of King Josiah. I don't know why, but I'm always drawn to it.

Quick recap, an 8 year old is made king. After a few years he decides maybe Israel should start following God again and rebuilds the temple. While rebuilding the temple they find the Book of Law. He reads it aloud to everyone, they decide to follow what's in it. They celebrate Passover and all is well.

Cool. Great. But it just boggles my mind. How did they lose the Bible? I mean really, a Holy Book that is the cornerstone to the entire civilization is lost. (If you want to see what things were really considered important to those involved, read how the guy who finds the Bible gives it to someone to give the king, and that guy reports on all the money being spent on the temple, then adds, "Oh yeah, and we found this book...") Can you imagine us today losing the Bible? It just seems so messed up.

But then I read about the Passover. They celebrated Passover. Why is that important? Because they hadn't been celebrating Passover. It's like us forgetting Easter. Really? Forget Easter? Just forget there's a holiday on that day? It's like our holiday, big meal, day off work, family time, just forgotten. They even add in the midst of the story that Passover had not been celebrated like this since Samuel was a prophet. Okay, seriously? That was 450 years ago!!

I just wonder how that happens. Obviously it's not an overnight thing, it took possibly hundreds of years and lots of bad leaders. But could it happen to us. I mean, could we actually lose the Bible and forget Easter in a country that says we're a Christian nation? So how did it start? Possibly by taking the Holy Book out of the classroom, by removing it from the place where laws are made and/or upheld...?

Just thoughts...


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Still Hate Cell Phones

So I was going to answer one of Rich's questions on the discussion boards or talk about the fact I couldn't believe how many celebrities are in town for the 500 (I saw Mrs. Brady!) but this one topped it, sorry.

For those that don't know, I hate cell phones. Well, not so much cell phones, but those who use cell phones. For some reason we now cannot make decisions for ourselves and are obsessively lonely and need constant communication. Well, here's proof:

I mean really, someone phoning is more important than you being in court?! Learn to hang the stupid things up.


Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm Back

Okay, so it's been a crazy two weeks with family here and with just everything going on at church (you'll get to see a new video Sunday morning if you're here) so it's been a little bit nuts, sorry I haven't been on.

But I will say this, I had a great time with my mother-in-law here to visit and then more great times with my family, mom, step-dad, sister, brother-in-law and niece/God-daughter. I'm glad they were able to make it and had a safe trip home (even though there was a long delay at the border, shocker there).

That's what I've been up to. Rich put some ideas of things to blog on the Fire & Water website discussion board ( If you have anything else you'd like to hear my opinion on (and it's going to be mostly that, I ain't that smart), feel free to post it on the "blogs" forum.

For now, I say adieu and continue updating the calendar on the website (so much fun).


Saturday, May 03, 2008

It's Over

My Montreal Canadiens lost, the season is over (and they finished in first too!). The colors are gone, the sky is grey. To help console you I leave their beloved mascot Youppi. Type in some stuff like shake and dance...


Monday, April 28, 2008

Too Fun

Gotta love it when musicians focus on more than themselves :)



Saturday, April 26, 2008

History Of The Fountain Pen

In our Drink Deep times for Fire & Water (to decode, our Sr. High time in our student ministry at our church) we've been talking a lot about failure, what it is, how we can learn from it, etc. This week we;re talking about learning from our failures and how bad times can be good for us.

So here's a little story that goes along with that I found cool but didn't have room for it on Sunday.

"In 1883 a New York insurance broker named Lewis Waterman handed his new fountain pen to a client who was about to sign a major contract. The pen not only didn't write, it also dumped its contents onto the paperwork, ruining it. By the time Waterman returned from his office with another contract, the client had signed with someone else. Waterman vowed never to let that happen again-to him or anyone else. It took him a year to do it, but he invented the world's first properly functioning fountain pen, which used capillary action to send a steady and reliable flow of ink from the reservoir to the "nib", or point, of the pen."

If it hadn't been for someone's failure and him not being content with the current situation, we wouldn't have pens today that click, so I can annoy people with them in meetings...


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Apparently We Were Almost Extinct...

So after talking about new life, by the sounds of it we almost lost ours. Read it here-

Sorry, I don't buy it, but interesting thought, and makes life seem a little more precious now, like maybe we should do something to help those who need it.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Life

I was going over to the church today, and I saw something up in the tree. You see, we've had this really fat robin hanging around our house for the past week. Now we know why. This is was taken from our driveway:

I climbed the tree but she's well hidden. But when we get some birdy babies, we'll try to get more pics up :)

Martin Luther King Jr. Video

Yeah, I must be in a blogging mood tonight...

I just saw this video, a remake of a U2 song honoring Martin Luther King Jr. I don't know what it is about that man, my dad always loved him and I read some of his writings in high school, it just amazes me that any human being can look down on another for a reason as small as color, and individuals like Dr. King opened eyes to the truth that you can't.

Imagine what our world would be like if he were still here today...


Friday, April 18, 2008

That Horrible Letter "F"

Sorry, one more before I head to do the dishes (yay procrastinating).

I was getting the bunny ready for bed (insert joke here, say what you want, I have to feed him and clean his litter box) and the new Gossip Girl commercial came on, for the billionth time.

For those that haven't seen it, it's basically tons of pictures of half-naked teenagers having sex with the letters "OMG" flashing. Classy. Here's the part that annoys me though. Many don't know, but this is an edited commercial (hard to believe, yet true). The first version of the commercial intended to have the letters "OMFG" flash, but for those that don't know, OMG stands for oh my God, while the letter F, you can guess that one. So people got upset and took the moral high road and protested the commercial until it was edited.

Really? The letter F was our line in the sand? Yes, I don't want swearing on TV, and this one, although only implied, yeah, a little much, but so is taking the Lord's name in vain while flashing pictures of half-naked teenagers having sex! But apparently all of that's okay in American broadcasting, as long as you don't allude to the F word...




I usually try to get things done right away, if I can, if I remember, if I don't think it will take too long, yeah, okay, the list goes on. But it was funny today. There were two major things I've been meaning to do and I've been putting them off, both seemed like too much work. The amazing part is both were easy and took about 15 minutes each. So in half an hour I had both those things done.

Yeah, I should stop procrastinating... I have dishes to do now...


My First Earthquake

Just as exciting as it sounds (for those who have done it before, shut it). I was up late last night, but that didn't mean I slept soundly. Lorie and I both woke up at 5:39 to our bed shaking...

Okay, as I just typed that, we had an after shock. Cool. Back to the story...

So I woke up, thought it was either a big truck passing our house (it will shake a little, but not this much) or a plane overhead, but the funny part was it was totally silent. But still a little shaking going on.

Overall everything was cool. I checked the house and the church, no fire alarms or anything crazy. But it's just weird to realize the ground is moving that violently beneath you...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


This just caught me as too funny, even though it shouldn't be, but you'll understand what I mean.

I was reading about Hitler (I know, just wait), and apparently Hitler was a vegetarian. Why? "He believed that killing and eating animals was inhumane and cruel. He believed that by respecting the animals' rights and abstaining from eating meat, he was saving innocent lives."

Isn't it just funny what some people get all ethical about, while leaving the plank in their eye?!


"That Was Church"

This past Sunday we had a family in NewSong that generally goes to the traditional service (their daughter was our Confirmand reading for the day). After, they were heading out and the younger son asked if they were going to church now. Mom told him they just had church and he looked at her wide-eyed "That was church?"

Wouldn't it be nice if more people enjoyed church that much they weren't waiting for the service to end, or even more so, if people who worship one way would understand that some worship another way, and both are considered "church".

I hope he had a good time and enjoys church next week :)


Master Of The Universe

Last night I was reading through Chronicles, one of those books that can seem to bog you down, so I made sure to try and pay attention to all the names. After all, God thought they were important enough to be remembered forever, maybe I should put in a little effort. And then I saw two I don't remember seeing before:

Heman - I Chr. 2:6
Sheera - I Chr. 7:24

Still no sign of Skeletor...


Monday, April 14, 2008

Stations Of The Resurrection

Many of you who were at our "Stations Of The Cross" liked it, well here's something else for you. I found it by accident, it's an online "Stations Of The Resurrection". Give it a try :)


Sunday, April 13, 2008

I "Get" To Go To Church Today

I was sitting thinking about this in that few minutes before the alarm goes off where you try to decide whether to get up and get it over with or wait for the predetermined time you said you'd get up marked with that screeching electronic noise.

I get to go to church today.

There are millions of people who are waking up now, or have just woken up, or are waiting for their alarms to go off who will wake up, close their eyes really hard and say to themselves, "*Sigh*, I've got to go to church today." It's the chore they have to perform. To all of you, I'm sorry your faith is so dead that you are forced to go be with others who believe in Jesus and sing and have fun and hang out with friends and learn how to make your faith even stronger and deeper. As for me, I get to go to church today, and I gotta go get started right now :)


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Are We Just Having A Sale?

Funny yet interesting blog I was directed to from a friend about the top things Christians like. This post interested me:

Basically to summarize, it says that churches treat Sundays like a big sale and it doesn't work. It's like a store that promotes a big sale, most of the people coming will only come back to that same store if you have another big sale, they haven't been shown why to be true customers. The idea is that churches do this (and student ministries), we promote some big thing, Easter play, Back To School Bash, and get lots of people, but those people haven't been really introduced to Jesus, just they hyped activity and won't come back to church unless there's another big event like the one they first came to.

Interesting thoughts, I'm starting to wonder if they're right. We've all seen it before (the two big events mentioned about are our big spikes at Fishers UMC). So how do we get people to open their mind enough to try coming to church, but then introduce them to Jesus so they want to come back...?


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

#1 Baby!

So what's America's favorite book? The Bible. Far and away the favorite. All the others had different demographics, different ages, different regions, but the Bible was number one across the board, many more votes than #2. You can see here at:

Psalms 119:81b ~ ...I have put my hope in Your Word.


Monday, April 07, 2008

To Be Like Wally

The reason I haven't posted for a few days was my mini-vacation with my wife and her family to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Besides being a little German town with all the German fan fair (I ate more meat and fudge this past weekend than in the last year), it's known for one thing, Bronner's Christmas Store.

Now Lorie and I have been there before, but it's just so crazy. I am not a huge fan of little ornaments, but when you walk through this store separated into 17 categories and see the miles of nativity scenes, you have to respect the amount of work that went into it. But this weekend was a little different. Last week, Wally Bronner, founder of Bronner's Christmas Store died.

The funeral was today, but I saw enough this weekend to know I liked the guy. There were signs everywhere of stores and people saying they'll miss him. We even happened to be in the town information center when the ladies were talking about the town newsletter and they came upon his copy, wondering if they should send it to his wife or hold off. But everywhere was the same message, thanking Wally for what he had done, his two ideals he lived by.

Wally had two main ideas he promoted in his store. It be Christmas all year round, and keeping Christ in Christmas. Think about it, that means making everyday as important as the day Christ entered the world, remembering every single day what Christ did to be a part of our lives.

Great ideals to have Wally. I didn't know you, but I'll miss you.


Monday, March 31, 2008

What Is A Saint?

The other day I was reading about a guy named Ambrose Bierce, a writer in the late 19th century. In his writings he would use words in different ways to be funny, ah how the 19th century writers were amusing.

Anyway, he redefined the word "saint" one day to be this: A dead sinner, revised and edited.

Now that seemed interesting to me. I know what he was going for, saints are simply people who died, but once dead their stories were made to be much better and they were venerated. Yeah, okay, but think about it. If Christ has made us new, aren't all of us who follow Christ technically saints, and aren't all our stories "revised and edited"?

I hope so, it's the only chance I have!

II Cor. 5:17 ~ This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (NLT)


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quote Of The Day

Was reading my Bible this morning and this line just made me laugh. It's in II Kings, Israel had just been taken by the Assyrians and ceases to exist as a kingdom. The writer is talking about how the sins of Israel caused this catastrophe, then he says this:

They worshipped useless idols and became useless themselves.

I don't know why, but that line just seemed awesome to me. But then I really started thinking, how often do we do that here and now? Do we have any useless idols that are making us useless (I mean, I can think of a few, and most of them hook up to a TV in some way...)?

It's a tough question, but a valid one. What are you spending time with that is useless, and thereby making you useless...?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

It's an old cliche. I still remember where I first heard it, Bambi. Thumper's mom ingrained it into him so much that he was able to quote it. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

So why bring that up? Well, I talked to a high school student today that I won't name who doesn't attend our church at all. But somehow or another people in our student ministry thought it would be okay to talk about them behind their back... at one of our student ministry events...

You know, I understand that not everyone is perfect and we're all trying to be better, but this does sadden me when someone who doesn't know God and sees the church as a joke, yet is still willing to talk with me, has this happen to them. It's simply not right. I don't know who said it, they didn't want to tell me their name (which shows you what kind of class they have), but come on people, let's try a little harder, please. We're supposed to have Christ in our lives, His Holy Spirit living within us, and God is many times in the Bible simply defined as love. Let's all try to be a little more loving...

Beloved, let us love one another. For anyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He who doesn't love, cannot know God for God is love. ~ I John 4:7-8

Monday, March 24, 2008

We Have It So Easy

Today I was listening to the international news, something that's seems harder and harder to do here in America, and I realized just how easy we have it. I heard about problems with China and it's treatment of people in Tibet, plus worried people in Taiwan over the same problems. I read at about drug trafficking in Mexico being such a problem the army has been called in, about Mgabe still trying to hold onto power in Zimbabwe and rigging elections, all sorts of things people deal with in our world. And what's one of our top news stories on AOL? Miley Cyrus telling a paparazzi that he's bugging her.

Wow, do we ever have it rough...


Easter Blahs

Yesterday was Easter, an amazing day that I am incredibly thankful for, but here's my question. Did it seem blah to you? Lorie had been saying all week how it didn't "feel" like Easter, and then at church people seemed really, really out of it (there wasn't a whole lot of singing going on), it was hard to keep my mind in the sermon, and then after I really did little than sit around. Did anyone else feel this?


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Real World, Day 2

It's really late, but here's the highlights. We didn't get to a service we had planned to attend today, we got lost (apparently there's an E East Street and a S East Street, not confusing at all...), we ate lots of pasta which was waaaaay better than the last time we had pasta here, and Stephen Myrick has the quote of the day. "If you walked a day in the life of my shoes..." Glad to see college is making an impact on the young man.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Real World, Day 1

Well, today is the first full day of Real World. We all started last night, but that doesn't really count, it's fun and all, but this morning at 6:45 is when the real fun began. Everyone got to school, that's good, and everyone got home from school, which is also good. Right now Justin and Adam are cooking dinner. Tacos never seemed so complicated. It may have had something to do with the marathon games of pool and PIG, but who knows.

I also got a taste of the real world today too, my basement flooded last night. One of the sump pumps stopped working, how wonderful. Thanks to Milt and Noah for all their hard work today. Thankfully, it's all fixed and nothing irreplaceable was lost.

If anything, we got the message that being prepared is a good thing. Lorie and I had almost everything off the floor, at least all the stuff we cared about. All we lost was an empty box and something that didn't fit the house anyway, so no big loss.

More news from Real World forthcoming :)


Monday, March 17, 2008

Sorry It Was So Long

Sorry to everyone about the Stations Of The Cross being so long last night. We really did not expect it to go so long and a big apology to those who had to leave early.

Also, we didn't get a chance to talk with everyone since it went so long. We'd still love to hear from you, what you thought of it, what you liked, didn't like, etc. There's a section in the discussion board for Sunday Night Conversations, post in there and let's hear from you :)


Friday, March 14, 2008

What If God Actually Showed Up?

The other day I was reading one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I'm going to paraphrase, but if you want to see it, it's in I Kings 8.

King David has died and his son Solomon his now king. Now David had wanted to build God a home since for hundreds of years God had been moved around in a tent, otherwise known as the Tabernacle. But God said David couldn't do it, instead Solomon would get to. So Solomon does, and he goes all out (remember, he's basically building the first church, the one where God is going to live with the Ark of the Covenant, all that fun stuff). He builds this great big temple and on the day of dedication prays a prayer that God will come in and live here.

But this is where it gets crazy. He prays, the priests put the Ark in, then God shows up, and I mean physically. A cloud of smoke shows up and fills the temple (kind of like the cloud that led the Israelites in the desert with Moses). In fact, the presence of God is so strong, the service has to be stopped and all the priests go outside, basically letting God settle into His new home.

I always wonder why that doesn't happen every Sunday in every church. I've heard so many pastors pray that God would show up to their church service, what would happen if God really did show up, a big cloud of smoke, and messed up all our plans? What if God came down so strong that we had to leave because of the presence of God?

Something to think about, and maybe hope and pray for a little taste of this Sunday at church...


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Sins

Sorry I didn't post all weekend. My dad was here (well, he still is, he's leaving in a bit though).

But this morning, this caught my eye. I think most people have heard of the seven deadly sins. Apparently the Vatican is adding three more. Pollution, mind damaging drugs and genetic experiments. They also put a lot of emphasis on social justice. Basically from what I read they were trying to make people see that not all sins are as self-involved as the old list (they were all things that really only effected you, how you felt, etc. where this list is how your sins hurt others).

It also got me thinking how well we in North America did on the original seven, not great, and how we're doing on the new ones, maybe even worse...


Friday, March 07, 2008

A Day Of Rest

So here's one for you history buffs. This day, almost 1700 years ago (321 AD) Constantine I was emperor of Rome. On this day he decreed that the "dies Solis Invicti" (translated, the Sun Day) would be a day of rest for the entire empire.

And we managed to reverse that in only 1700 years...

btw, my dad's coming to visit this weekend. Make sure you say "hi"!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008


No, it's not a spelling mistake, they've actually discovered a hexapus, or an octopus with six legs.

Isn't it amazing that with all our technology and everything we think we know we're still discovering new creatures that God made, and not little ones either, a hexapus!


Monday, March 03, 2008

That Desperate For Friends?

This weekend we had the 30 Hour Famine. Numbers aren't in yet, but the eleven people who participated did great, including helping out at our food pantry for a few hours (which was lots of fun on empty stomachs).

But today I was reading the news as I usually do online,. picking out the stories that look interesting, and two seemed to go together so I had to read them. Apparently some people just really, really need friends. What started it was the story about Scarlett Johanssen auctioning off tickets to go to a movie with her. Alright, I can give her that, all the money's going to charity. But the bigger one is Paris Hilton. She's the queen of reality TV alright, but here's her new show idea that supposedly is coming. It's to find a best friend. From AOL:

"Rumor also has it that the socialite will be starring in a new reality show where girls will compete to be her new best friend. Hmmm -- can't wait to see how many people this show attracts."

I mean, really. Are we that desperate?

Gal. 1:10b ~ If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Adventures From Wal-Mart

Yes, Noah and I were in Wal-Mart today shopping for stuff for the 30 Hour Famine (if you miss it, you're going to miss all the fun games...).

I'm in a section trying to find a set of five different colored stickers, which of course is impossible because the fact that I'm looking for five means they only come in packs of four colors. So as I search for a five packer, the woman and her little 3-4 year old by me are having a conversation over money, that went as follows:

Mom: Sorry honey, but you don't have any money left this month.

Daughter: When do I get more money?

Mom: March first. [I now start wondering how a 3 year old has a monthly allowance]

Daughter: But when is that?

Mom: In two more days.

Daughter: I can buy it in two days? Yay. [Apparently we're teaching the daughter fiscal responsibility]

Mom: Well, I don't know, you still may not have enough. It's sixteen dollars. [So apparently she does get an allowance, but not a very big one. I also start wondering if this is the only way other than Birthday and Christmas this child gets toys]

Daughter: Mommy, Baby [the toy baby she's holding] says she'll help buy it too.

At this point I was trying really hard not to laugh, so I had to take off, with two packs of stickers...


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Feels Good To Be Home

Going away for the weekend, meeting new people, seeing old friends I haven't seen for a year, all fun, but man it's nice to be home. In my own bed, being with Lorie, seeing the bunny, eating food that I don't have to wolf down and hurry to the next "thing", all so much fun. But the mess on my desk is still there so if we could get that fixed...


Sunday, February 24, 2008


Sorry, I didn't realize it's been so long since I posted. I hung out with some pretty regular bloggers this weekend, so I have to do a little better.

I'm at the National Youth Ministry Convention and it's been great. No sleep, running around fixing technical stuff, seeing friends I haven't seen in months, even got to meet Tony Dungy (he's a nice guy). It's been a cool couple of days and it's been good to see that even with all the planning and people working here to make this run smoothly, they still have all the little hiccups we have at our church :)

So I really don't have anything to say, but as I've found out, neither does any other blogger. I read a lot of I Samuel yesterday, a book I know really well (I did my master's thesis on a related topic), so that was fun and relaxing. And in reading it I remember how David, the man described in the Bible as "A man after God's own heart" still was human and messed up just like me, sometimes worse (I haven't had anyone killed because I wanted to marry their wife I got pregnant after seeing her naked from my roof, so I don't feel so bad). And it's nice how we talk about stuff like that here at the convention. Last night they made a literal cloud of witnesses. They had everyone in the room write down a failure or thing they struggle with, ball up the paper, then throw it in the air at unison so everyone could see a cloud of how we all fail but can all help each other out. Kinda nice...

Okay, I've rambled on long enough for someone who had nothing to say. Can't wait to see my lovely wife, I miss you...


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Looking Good For Jesus"

I've heard of products making some far-fetched promises, but you gotta love this.


Friday, February 08, 2008

An Irish Legend I Learned Tonight

Yes, I love the Celtic legends, they're more full of Christianity than most American ones, but this one takes the cake.

So the story goes that long, long ago there was a war in heaven. Even Biblical scholars have little to no problem with this one, the angels dividing, some to become demons and fight for satan and the rest to stand by God, fighting for Him. But in this Celtic version there was one more group of people. The Leprechaun.
No, I'm not kidding, the little people stood on the side of the angels as the demons started cursing them down and swearing about what they would do, but once the battle started, things changed. The angels flew through the skies, Gabriel throwing rocks at the demons, Michael hurling lightning bolts. But what about the leprechauns? Well, they felt they were neither big enough to throw rocks, or powerful enough to control lightning, they felt as if they could do nothing at all, so they hid. The story goes they opened a door under the golden steps to heaven and hid inside until the war was over.
At the end, the angels were triumphant and the demons were chased out of heaven. But in that time, the little people emerged from their hiding place and were confronted by Gabriel. He looked at them and bluntly said, "If you do not have the courage to stand up for what you believe in, you don't deserve heaven. But you've done nothing wrong to deserve hell neither." And it is for this reason that leprechaun's are still in the world today, still hiding, still afraid to fight.
Now I don't care if you believe in leprechauns or not. I've done some reading that makes me think their roots in Celtic legend are far more than we've made them to be, in fact before Christianity they were thought to bepowerful spirits but it was stories like this that reduced them to little fairies. Either way, believe what you want. Either way, it doesn't really effect the way you live your life. But the statement that Gabriel made does. Do you have the courage to stand up for what you believe, or will you forever hide?