Back at it!

Gotta lot of stuff to write about on the old blog, so I’ll be pumping out some more content in coming weeks. Been through a disturbingly busy season in my life, which is not the best way to live my life, but got some help and have been putting things in order – having way better quiet times and feeling more alive.

Plus, I finished Rob Bell’s What We Talk About When We Talk About God and what else is there to blog about but Rob Bell! And if I mention Rob Bell a lot, I get a lot of blog hits! So all sorts of strangers from Uzbekistan can read my opinions on Rob Bell. Rob Bell.

So, this is just a weird lead in, to remind me, when I read through my blog in 2104 as to why there was a stark gap for a couple months. Here’s some random thoughts that don’t deserve their own posts but I am just loving right now –

  • the best part of american idol this season is watching Nicki Minaj whenever Mariah Carey speaks. Those two seem to be really getting along!
  • If JT’s Suit and Tie and Britney and’s equally terrible song are going to be our summertime radio hits, I’m going to need to upgrade my spotify to listen to it in the car….
  • I can’t wait for the Heat-Spurs game coming up soon. If the Heat win, they have a bonafide chance of running to 33 (and sweeping the east in the play-offs)
  • I got to play basketball with grown men last week for the first time in two years…it was awesome! Just love playing ball.
  • I think Peyton Manning wins NFL MVP next year, and gets another Super Bowl too. I also think the Jets should sign another QB, because 4 just isn’t enough depth.
  • Stuff and Things
  • I’m actually excited for the new Pope Francis and the hope that people have for some real changes to the Catholic Church – too many kids have been victimized and it has to be dealt with.
  • I’m thinking about hiding everyone of the people I am friends with on facebook so that I can have actual interesting conversations with people, and not always have the preface, “did you see what I (or someone else) posted on facebook?” In other news, I am carrying printed out pictures of my food to show people, since that’s what’s socially appropriate these days.
  • I say GSP rolls over Diaz this weekend

Weekend Update, October 24, 2011

What a great weekend!  Here’s what’s up!

  • Friday night I actually worked late, on the Grove’s policy manual. It was invigorating and made me sarcastic!
  • Then, our family make cookie bowls, but baking cookies over an upside down muffin tin. We attempted this once before, without Heather. This time it actually worked!
  • Saturday morning we woke up and exercised. It is so weird being a fitness person now. We wake up before the sun and a strangely happy person on the television tells us to do repetitive and awkward quasi-dance moves while counting backwards. It’s a unique skill set I think.
  • Then I had my last game for fall for the Crickets! It’s a U-6 girls soccer team I coach on which my little girl plays. We are dominant. We’ve only really run into a couple teams that play at our level. I’m supposed to teach the girls that ‘winning is just having fun’, but somehow they figured out that winning is when you score more goals than the other team.
  • Saturday night I got to go to a 40th birthday surprise party. It was so fun because it was almost all cops, and held in the Elks lodge, so it was my first time in an Elks lodge too! Pretty interesting!
  • Sunday morning was spent at The Grove, another great Sunday. Just an awesome group of people. My highlight was the band doing a song that they wrote themselves. It was so cool to see people worshiping God together with a song that was born in our own church!
  • Sunday afternoon I fell asleep sitting up. Apparently I was tired.
  • Sunday night the college kids came over and we had a super interesting conversation about the directions that people’s faith journey’s take in young adulthood, and what the role of the church is, and could be.

This week coming up should be great too! Got a couple fun meetings lined up, LJ’s first basketball game of the season and a loaded scripture to preach from on Sunday.  The big downer for this week is I am behind on my fitness goals, so I am going to be cranky from not eating enough cookies 🙂

Weekend Updates September 26, 2011

What a wild weekend!  Gotta take a breath today!

  • Friday I had a great lunch with a friend who always asks interesting questions – I always end up with new ideas after our lunches together
  • Friday night we got to hang out at a birthday party for one of the kids’ friends, it was a costume party at Pizza King.  I dressed up as the Invisible Man, but it didn’t seem to work because people kept seeing me. I’ll be returning that costume.
  • Then we headed over to Corvallis for a big Beaver tailgate party that was so fun too.  Great to hang out with people and the music is always great and loud. Just because the Beavers are having a lousy time of it, doesn’t mean the fans can’t have fun!
  • Saturday morning I coached Khobi’s soccer team to another win. We dominated this week, felt bad for the other team. Our team has active and involved Dads, it makes for confident little soccer players!
  • From the soccer game, LJ and I rushed over to Corvallis again for the Beavers game. They came close, but still ended up falling short…again. Fun time with cool friends again though and we had oreos shaped like footballs.
  • Saturday night I finished Martin Smith’s book Delirious. It tracks the albums of Delirious? and tells some of the background story. For me, it was so, so good. I grew up on Delirious and continue to love to worship with the songs they gave to the church!
  • Sunday’s first service was a tough one. It seemed that if something technical could go wrong, it went wrong today! Heather and the whole Grove Band did a great job pulling things together though – and it ended up being an amazing experience – people worshiped and God’s presence was felt. We do rely on technology, but we actually rely so much more on the Spirit of God!
  • There were just under 350 people at The Grove on Sunday! This weekend coming up is our two year anniversary and it is so exciting to see. And it’s not just about big groups of people in a room – it’s about the amazing stories of people’s lives changing and Jesus transforming them in The Grove! Every single person is so much a part of what The Grove is!
  • This weekend’s teaching was on belonging and believing in a pluralist world. We want to be a church that loves people, that is what sets us apart from the rest of the world, unconditional love for all!
  • Sunday afternoon had some friends over for the kids and they had a great time and it let me watch some football – GO BILLS! SUPERBOWL BOUND!

What I Learned in February 2011

This is a late post by a full week, but it’s a fun way to review my month, and remember some lessons I learned.  So, here’s what I learned in February:

  • It’s colder than you think it is.
  • Black Eyed Peas are awesome to everyone except people who think folk music is legitimate (which it is only in a socialist system, in capitalism whoever sells the most contributes the most).
  • On a similar note, it’s much cheaper to get tickets to unpopular bands than to Taylor Swift.  There should be free health care included with her concerts.
  • It’s easier to win basketball games when you put the ball through the hoop thingy.
  • If you want to go on Jeopardy you have to watch musicals.
  • Just because you know one dance doesn’t mean you know all the dances.
  • Driving on ice is dangerous…mostly because of the nut jobs who think spinning your wheels is helpful.
  • Carry chains, you’ll thank me later.

Things I learned in January 2011

I feel like all my blog posts are bookk reviews.  HOW BORING!  Does anybody acutally read those?  (I like to have a record because I can search my blog later for key ideas and connect those ideas into bigger and more dangerous ideas!).  So, this is now my effort to be more creative.  If ind when my stress is high, I blog less.  When I am busy, I blog less.  So, maybe if I blog more, I’ll be less stressed and busy?  It’s a dream, but whatever.

So, here (in Larry King style) is what I learned in January of 2011:

  • A 50 pages a day reading schedule is too much for me.  Especially with some boring books.  I don’t know why I put myself through some of the junk I read.  So, I’m going to just 40 pages in February with Sundays off reading.
  • Khobi has a vicious hammer punch, don’t let her take your back.
  • 3am is a perfect ending time for a New Year’s party.
  • filing cabinets are surprisingly costly.  Why haven’t more people gotten into the filing cabinet business?
  • The Grove has thousands of people serving on it’s first impressions team.  Thousands.  Or they just move around a lot and it seems like thousands.  And if it’s raining, they bring an umbrella to your car and rain doesn’t get on my glasses – it’s awesome!
  • The gospel is as deep as it gets.  When people say they want ‘something deeper’, they should start with the gospel.
  • Families are forever.
  • I am the third best guitar player in my house.  Soon to be fourth.
  • The suit I bought in 2003 still fits like a glove.  Like a childrens glove.
  • Mistakes are normal.  What you do with mistakes shows character.
  • Focus on the Family has a Father-of-the-Year award.  I’m going for it in 2011.  I started by giving the kids ice-cream sandwiches for breakfast.
  • There is live bluegrass music in Peedee.
  • If you don’t pay attention, your son will bust you at battleship.
  • If you throw a large brick in a washing machine, it will basically explode
  • Leadership is a gift that God gives – not just talent-wise, but also opportunity-wise.
  • Pellet stoves are great, but no one yet has developed an engine for one that runs off a wind turbine placed in the chimney.  That would be a self-sustaining power generator, a miniature coal plant in your living room!

Higher Education needs a Revamping

On October 29th, Seth Godin posted this on his blog and I thought it was so spot on that I had to post the whole thing here:


College costs a fortune. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of money.

When a professor assigns you to send a blogger a list of vague and inane interview questions (“1. How did you get started in this field? 2. What type of training (education) does this field require? 3. What do you like best about your job? 4. what do you like least about your job?”) I think you have an obligation to say, “Sir, I’m going to be in debt for ten years because of this degree. Perhaps you could give us an assignment that actually pushes us to solve interesting problems, overcome our fear or learn something that I could learn in no other way…”

When a professor spends hours in class going over concepts that are clearly covered in the textbook, I think you have an obligation to repeat the part about the debt and say, “perhaps you could assign this as homework and we could have an actual conversation in class…”

When you discover that one class after another has so many people in a giant room watching a tenured professor far far in the distance, perhaps you could mention the debt part to the dean and ask if the class could be on video so you could spend your money on interactions that actually changed your life.

The vast majority of email I get from college students is filled with disgust, disdain and frustration at how backwards the system is. Professors who neither read nor write blogs or current books in their field. Professors who rely on marketing textbooks that are advertising-based, despite the fact that virtually no professional marketers build their careers solely around advertising any longer. And most of all, about professors who treat new ideas or innovative ways of teaching with contempt.

“This is costing me a fortune, prof! Push us! Push yourself!”

Catch Up!

It’s been 2 whole months since I posted anything on this blog!  Yikes – for me, blogging is a quasi-spiritual discipline for three reasons, it forces slow down and reflection, it allows me to review myself and my input/output cycles and it gives an ‘on-demand’ structure to my growth (structure when I feel like I need it).

So, I’ve got a stack of books here to blog on, but I thought I’d give a blow-by-blow of my summer first, some cool stuff has been in my life and it’s fun.

  • June 12&20: I went to a bunch of grad parties.  They were pretty fun as they were the last kids who went through the invert program (a spiritual development class for freshmen) when I was a youth pastor.  For a long time I have been wrestling with the difference between the resources poured into the way the evangelical/western church does youth ministry and the results, especially the lack of continuing faith in young adults.  Invert was our attempt to find better ways of making real live radical Christians for life.
  • June 20: I preached on the stoning of Stephen.  like 70 verses.  it was insane!
  • June 29: We got family pictures done by our friend Melissa (WEBSITE).  They turned out so fun.  I love them because they remind me over and over of how awesome our little family is, and I don’t mean in comparison to your family, I mean our family is awesome because they are “us” and I like that (for the record your family is probably awesome to, because they are “you”).
  • July 2: Our 11th anniversary.  We went up to Portland and stayed at a swanky hotel from priceline.  It was a lot of fun.  It’s easy when you marry someone fun!  We went out and walked and went to powell’s books too.  It was perfect.
  • July 17: I got to do the wedding of my friends Evan and Chelsea.  I really like them.  They have that rebellious streak that Jesus can do really really dangerous stuff with, and they believe in themselves as much as Jesus believes in them.
  • July 19-22:  Our annual conference for churches in our denomination in Oregon and Washington.  Since I was ordained last year, I got to sit in the regular seats and vote and stuff.  There was one hilarious vote in which 2 of us voted no and every other person in the room voted yes.  It was classic.  This was an encouraging bunch of meetings, even though I had to take a couple breaks and walk around – sitting through 4 days of meetings is hard on my noggin.  It’s fun to reconnect with other leaders and to share and encourage each other.  God is doing some really fun stuff in our little corner of the world.  Also, I got voted onto the Board of Church Extension, so I get to help with new church planting and i was asked to serve on the Ways and Means committee, which means I now know where the money comes from and where it goes for our denominational group.
  • July 26-30: The Grove hosted it’s Day Camp this week, on site at the middle school where we meet.  It was an encouraging week, while being an extremely busy week too.  I liked seeing new Grovers connecting and serving together, and the kids were a riot.  I got to do the teaching parts of the daily chapel service.  Teaching 8 year olds for 7 minutes is wildly challenging.
  • August 1-6: I got to be the main session speaker at our high school camp for our churches in Oregon and Washington.  It was a super blast.  The kids have so much passion, and many of them are really working on letting Jesus guide their lives.  I got to challenge them in new and interesting ways.  It was also nice to have large blocks of time for studying in such a beautiful place as Triangle Lake.  And, to have large chunks of time to talk ministry and life with so many young leaders.  And, lastly and most painfully, I learned to wakeskate (wakeboarding without any bindings, basically being dragged behind a boat on a piece of wood!), which was amazing.  I did a little jump and then tried to spin but ended up facing completely backwards and being dragged along…every muscle in my upper body was sore – that’s how much fun it was.
  • August 9: Had my best softball game every.  Scored every time up to bat, got to play two innings of third base, threw two guys out, almost threw out a guy at first on a grounder to right field and pitched an inning, which included a strikeout!  I’m ready for the bigs!