Showing posts from November, 2005

pigs in a blanket?

Got this email recently from a friend...can anybody local help?

My hay delivery guy doesn't have straw so I have been bedding down the pig's stall w/hay, but Maynard is still pulling the tarp off my haystack down and wrapping himself in it at night. It's kinda cute to see him all wrapped up in a tarp in his pen, but then the chickens poop on my unwrapped hay and that's not so cute. So, does anyone have some old blankets or comforters they no longer need and are going to throw away anyhow? I have one here myself right now to give to Maynard, but I am getting 2 more pigs this Sunday so am looking for some more old blankets to give to the pigs to sleep in at night this winter!! Thanks much if you can help wrap the pigs in a blanket this winter. Don't go out and buy anything special or anything, just if you have something old laying around you don't use anymore.....send it my way. The pigs thank you.....

If you can help leave me a comment please. Thanks.

Quarrier of the Week

It Tuesday again, which means I get the pleasure of naming the Quarrier of the Week. Today I want to highlight a guy who has been doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes. His name is Tom Moulds.

Tom has taken it upon himself to make things happen when no one is looking. He helps set up sound equipment, tables and chairs, children's ministry stuff, and anything else that needs doing. He shows up early before church and goes home late after all the work is done.

People like Tom are invaluable to our ministry. When you set up and tear down each week it is easy to get lazy and expect that other people will get the work done. But Tom has been serving joyfully to make the Quarry the very best place possible. I am thankful for him and everyone like him.

(e, I know, leave it alone)

update on the Quarry podcast

Big thanks to Chris Good and David Russell for getting the podcast ball rolling. I get pumped about followers of Jesus from all over working together. Seems like the kind of thing God smiles at.

The podcats should be available in the iTunes directory very soon. Until then you can easily download Quarry mesages by, clicking here.

to gain life may mean losing it

Great word about courage from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy.

[A person] can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.

What are you afraid of today? What part of your life to do need to risk losing so that you can truly live?

- thanks Mom & Dad

rant about bad customer service

Yesterday I had two horrible customer service moments.

Around 11:30 am my family and some close friends headed 15 minutes south to the Cabela's Superstore. The store is filled with really neat stuffed animal displays, including an elephant, lions, bears, wolves, cape buffalo, and a rhino. It was also filled with people. Way too many people. People who would stop where and whenever they wanted with absolutely no regard for other shoppers and viewers. Plus, the isles of clothing and bullets and other stuff were too skinny for shopping carts to go through.

Made me wonder: Why would you put out racks that can't be walked through by shoppers with carts? Why would you create these huge displays and have no plan for how people should walk through and observe them? Dumb moves.

After Cabela's we stopped at McDonald's so they kids could run off some energy in the playland. They had one register going for a line of about 10 people. Nice. Then I heard a manager send someone to brea…

aloha, means hello and goodbye

THANK YOU to everyone who helped Stephanie reach her sales goal of $10,000. In late January we will be heading off to Hawaii. Sweet.

Stephanie, I am so proud of you. You work hard to take care of our home, our kids, and me. You have a huge heart for other people and you make them feel welcomed and valued in ways I never could. You encourage me and you consistently challenge (though often unknowingly probably) me to be a greater man, leader and husband. Thank you. You deserve this trip more than anyone. Way to go!

christmas lights gone wild

Remember that classic scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when Clark brings everyone outside to see the thousands of lights that he has strung on the house, and when he plugs it in all the power on the whole block goes dead?

Well if you think that Clark went overboard with his lights you have to see this. The only catch is that you can only watch it if you promise to keep it a secret, and you swear that under no circumstances (I'm serious) will you tell my wife about this ok? Because if she sees this it might just put her over the Christmas decorating edge.

Obviously I'm kidding. Check this out, click here.

link via Chris Good

i am thankful for...

Many bloggers are making a Top Ten list of the things they are thankful for. I don't really feel like prioritizing but I do want to talk about a few of the things and people that make my life as fantastic as it is.

God - thank you for sending your son Jesus to live and die so that I could have a relationship with you. Thank you for working to fix this world and restore to it all the wonder, awe, beauty, and glory that you originally gave it.

Stephanie - thank you for loving and supporting me in every wild and insane thing I do. You encouragement, critique, prayers, support, and love are invaluable to me as I grow and lead. You truly are a blessing in my life and my partner till the end.

Jacob and Isabelle - thank you for making me smile everyday. Thank you for your unconditional love and the feeling you give me with your hugs and smiles when I walk through the door after work. Thank you for giving me reason to clean the house, wake up at 3 am and learn to love Elmo.

Mom and Dad - than…

Quarrier of the Week

Being that it is the week of Thanksgiving, I decided to name Mandy Flateland as the Quarrier of the Week. Mandy is someone who I am enormously thankful for. As the Office Manager at QCC she is the glue that holds it all together.

Mandy is talented young woman who speaks with tenderness and compassion. She has a deep love for God that comes through clearly in all her conversation and interactions. Her heart for people and God's work can be seen in every note she writes, the timely card she sends, or just in those moments when she pipes up during a meeting.

I have been fortunate to work with Mandy over the last 4 years. She is a loyal co-worker and friend, who is always willing (or at least always acts willing!) to help me out when I need something designed or proof read. I know that I can count on her to do quality work, and I have never heard her say no to someone who needs help. She is a blessing to our entire staff and to our church.

That is why Mandy Flateland is Quarrier of…

the death of corkscrews

A friend of mine came up with a new way to open a bottle of wine tonight. I thought I would give it a try with a can of pop. Works pretty good. I think we can all put the old cork screw in the grave, we won't be needing that guy anymore.

TiVo + Video iPod = better sermon illustrations!

Brian Burton reported this on his blog today:

TiVo Inc. is expanding its video recording service so users will be able to transfer recorded TV shows onto Apple Computer's iPods, according to an Associated Press report. By adding support for the MPEG-4 video format, TiVo hopes to capitalize on the immense popularity of Apple iPods.

To read the full article, click here

What does this mean?

This means that when I am watching a show, or a great commercial comes on, that I can use for a sermon illustration, I can record it on TiVo. Then I transfer it right to my computer and ultimately onto my Video iPod. Or if something happens in a sporting event I'm watching and I want to show my brother, its fast and easy and sweet.

I am pumped about this. Now all I need is TiVo and a Video iPod.


Is there anyone who is going to be able to beat the Indianapolis Colts? I don't think so; they simply have too many weapons. Plus, Manning is be far the best quarterback in the league. His management of the game is incredible and the way he reads and picks apart defenses is awesome.

I think this is finally going to be the Colts year to win it all. I may even have to dig my old Marshall Faulk jersey out of the bottom of the closet!

loving God and loving others

Yesterday was a wonderful day at church. The theme of my message was that as Jesus followers we are called to love God and love others. That is the heart of the Christian life. I said that we have to have space in our lives to be interrupted and that we must be willing to sacrifice for the good of someone else.

Our love of God should drive us, it should compel us to reach out in love to others, without discrimination. God loved me so much that he died and so I am obligated to show that same love for my neighbor. No longer can I spend time condemning a world that Jesus came to save. (1 John 3:16)

help me get to hawaii please!

Everyone - as you know, I have never promoted the sale of anything on this blog. It is not the purpose for what I do here. This blog has always been about sharing my journey in life and faith, raising questions, pondering things, and connecting people to me, one another and God. But now I have a request...

My wife Stephanie is a Tupperware consultant. Earlier this year she had some awesome sales months and was promoted to a Director position. That meant that she and I were awarded an all expense paid trip to Hawaii (the place Stephanie was born, before being adopted and moving to MN). Anyway, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, if Stephanie and her team do not meet a $10,000 sales goal this month we will not be going on that trip in January.

Here is what I am asking...

- if you want to purchase any Tupperware product
- if you know anyone who does
- if you want to pass a catalog around at work
- if if you want to host a party in your home

...PLEASE contact my wife. You can link her…

sweet - I am not a nerd

Linked over to this quiz from Jason Powell's blog. Here are the results:

According to the site -
78% scored higher (more nerdy than me), and 22% scored lower (less nerdy than me).

the theology of john mayer

I think that all of the church leaders who read this blog should spend some time thinking about this quote from musician John Mayer (found over at Bob Franquiz'z blog) as it relates to what we do in churches on Sundays and in our preaching.

But I copy it here with the thought of a certain friend who I think will really appreciate it:

In speaking about his live performances, he said, "There's a deep responsibility to move every last soul in the room."

Franquiz notes, "I'm wondering if we've forgotten the mystical element to the Christian experience and we're giving people great information and helpful hints for life, but we haven't moved their souls..."

Good words to consider.

Quarrier of the Week: Chris Good

This week I want to highlight a guy who is making things happen at QCC right now. His name is Chris Good and he is the sound director at our church (among other things).

One of the reasons I love Chris is that he cares so much about what we do at QCC. He is passionate about using sound and technology for God's glory. Everything he does is couched in excellence (which means it costs us a ton, but its worth it). And the reason he cares so much about our production is because he cares so much about the message.

It has been a lot of fun to serve and grow with Chris the last couple of months. In fact, a few weeks ago I spent a couple days with him at Willow Creek for the A2 Conference and it was a blast. Chris and his family are growing in their passion for Christ and for His community, as represented by the dedication of his son during our service on Sunday, and it is great to have them part of the QCC family.

you need to see the David Crowder Band

Last night I went to see the Collision Tour, and all I can say is 'wow.' Like a good friend of mine wrote, watching those guys and the passion the have for Christ and skill they exhibit in their music, really can leave a person speechless.

The Robbie Seay Band opened the show, followed by Shane and Shane, and concluded by the David Crowder Band.

Each group was great in their own respects. I liked the raw sort of feeling from Robbie and his guys (though understanding most of the vocal was near impossible). Most of the tunes they played were off the Better Days album, with a rendition of My Glorious thrown in there as well.

Then Shane and Shane came out and played a great set. Their voices are 'amazing' (as is some of their guitar stuff) and its clear they are doing music out of a relationship with their Creator because their heart comes through it all. The played all kind of songs, quite few I think from the Clean album.

But the highlight of the night, the reason I wen…

what a cute little mooch

Mondays I usually lay low, hang with the fam, and try to recover from Sunday. Today is no exception. Here is a pic of my daughter Izzy (11 months). Enjoying a bowl of strawberry ice cream without her noticing is impossible. She has a food radar like you wouldn't believe.

She is seriously the cutest (just like her beautiful mother)!

PS - Stephanie and I are going with some friends to the David Crowder show tonight. Shane and Shane, and the Robbie Seay Band will be there as well. It should be sweet!

the final apologetic - christian community

I came across a great thought today in Andy Stanley's Creating Community. It is a quote from Francis Schaeffer's book The Mark of the Christian. It says this:

Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful - Christian community is the final apologetic.

I like the way Schaeffer puts it, though it sounds very similair to what another pretty intelligent guy said in John 13:34-35:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Makes me wonder if there is any better evangelism strategy than simply to love? If enough people in churches could just get this one right, we might not be able plant or build enough of them.

i am a butterfly

I was playing around in google this morning, doing some searches with my name (I know I am up too early) and I came across the amazing discovery that I am a butterfly.

The Brenton Blue is a fragile species of butterfly in South Africa that was thought extinct until a colony was discovered in South Africa in 1991.

You can read more about it, here.

free Wordpress blog

The crew over at Pimp My Church has a cool promotion going on. They are offering a free blog on to any pastor or church leader who is thinking about getting going in the blog world. David Russel raves about Wordpress all the time.

So ... if your name is QCC lead pastor ________ , or you are any other church leader reading this and thinking about starting a blog, make sure you check this out.

top ten songs on random ipod shuffle

Everyone's doing it. And why not? It's kind of fun. Here are the first 10 songs that came up for me.

1. More Than Fine - Switchfoot
2. Come Lay Down - Howie Day
3. O Come Let Us Adore Him - Matt Redman
4. Fix You - Coldplay
5. Reprise - David Crowder Band
6. Eternal God - Robbie Seay Band
7. I'd Do Anything - Jason Mraz
8. Say Goodbye - Dave Matthews Band
9. Meant to Live - Switchfoot
10. She Says - Howie Day

What are you all listening to?

a picture of community

Too many people have a skewed view of what the Christian life is supposed to look like. I was thinking this morning about true community, and what it would mean to share our lives with someone else. Check out this picture:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

I want to be a part of that! That is something that is real, and something that people need. That is something that will make Jesus shine. So pursue that.

Be real, honest, and transparent with one another. Rejoice, mourn, bless, and forgive. Live in peace, humility, and be filled with grace.

This is what a Christ-follower should look like. And not enough of the world is seeing it.

love for my country, love for my God

I am starting to read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. I have enjoyed everything I have ever read by this man. So insightful, so witty, so full of analogy and metaphor. An amazing writer, man, and follower of Christ.

Check out what he says on page 7 with regard to a certain expression of love:
And I am inclined to think that the sort of love for a man's country which is worked up by beer and brass bands will not lead him to do much harm (or much good) for her sake. It will probably be fully discharged by ordering another drink and joining in the chorus.

Wow. I am not wanting to even open any political cans here but this quote has some staggering spiritual implications as well. How many times do we get worked up in worship service and inspired to love our God, but in the end we wind up not doing much harm (or good) for his sake?

The idea that we would simply - sing more songs, pray more prayers, preach more sermons, listen to more Christian talk and radio, read more books - it is all app…

its between the ears that steers

I think therefore I am.

What happens in the gray matter between our ears has a major affect on every other faucet of our lives.

If we think we are no worthless or no good, we will see the world that way, and feel like people are treating us that way. If we think that everyone owes us something, we will grow bitter and cold. If we think that nothing will ever change, we will become cynical and resentful.

If we think that God will use us to do great things, we will strive to put ourselves in position. If we believe we are valued and loved, we can walk with freedom and confidence. If we think that God is God of redemption, we will work to make the world a better place.

It is between the ears that steers. So important are our minds that Paul wrote 'be transformed by the renewing our your minds.' Which begs the question...What are you thinking about? What lies are you believing, what truths do you cling to?

What is happening between your ears today?

Quarrier of the Week: Erin Corniea

I am starting a Tuesday feature where I will highlight some of the wonderful people who make Quarry Community Church what it is.

QCC is blessed to have a wonderful group of musicians who lead us in worship each week. They are people who work hard to perform music in an excellent way that points people towards God. And much of their success in that endeavor can be attributed to the talent and leadership of our current Worship Arts Director, Erin Corniea.

If you don't know Erin, she is a young woman who is passionate about God and spreading his love in this world. She is also an extremely talented musician who is committed to using her gifts to grow the Kingdom. We are blessed as a church to have her and her awesome family as part of our community. And I am lucky to name her as a close friend.

To hear a song she performed on Sunday at QCC, click here.

Nevermind we had to take the link down. Someone told me I could like go to jail or something! But email me if you really want to hear…

a thought for monday

I was listening to the Theatre Church podcast yesterday (entitled 'The Place Where It All Began') and I heard Mark Batterson make an interesting point. Mark is the lead Pastor at National Community Church in Washington, D.C. You can subscribe to the podcast on his blog He basically said this:

As followers of Christ we spend to much time remembering what we should forget, and forgetting what we should remember.

This is so true. We focus on past hurts, sins, regrets, and mistakes instead of letting the love of Jesus grip our hearts and heal us. We need to get better at celebrating success and 'setting up alters to God's faithfulness' in our lives.

digital discipleship at the Quarry

itunes is still reviewing our request, but that doesn't mean you can't get the Quarry on your ipod. Just go to the 'advanced' tab in your itunes program and scroll down to 'subscribe to podcast.' Enter the URL below and you will be set.

I will let you all know when we are officially rolling in the itunes directory.

We are also listed at:
Podcast Directory

overheard in my house today: 'I live with the grinch'

The time is here. Maria Carey is in the CD player, with Martina McBride and Steven Curtis Chapman on deck. And it will be that way until January. What does that mean? It means my wife is in the Christmas spirit.

The tree started going up in the living room today. That means two months of keeping the kids away from it. It also means two months of artificial lights and little plastic green needles laying all over the place. Why would my wife call me the grinch? I have no idea.

But I will say this: my wife loves Christmas, maybe more than anything. I'm serious. There is a complete countenance change that happens. And so, because my love loves it, I will do my best to get through it without too much complaint. In fact, I will even try to embrace it and celebrate the season with her.

Which would be much easier if she would just put up and follow the one Christmas tradition that I really like: the mistletoe! (:

i am exhausted

Today I preached at the Quarry and I am exhausted. It was a late night and early morning practicing my message and putting the final touches on it. (I write out a manuscript and try to speak it aloud 3-5 times before I actually give it live)

But as always (ok, almost always) it went really well. I love preaching and having the chance to share what God is teaching me. It is an honor to be a spiritual seed planted in the hearts and minds of others, and doing it with preparation and excellence is very important to me.

But it leaves me exhausted!

Any other preachers feel me on this on?

we all need community

Heard a story on the news tonight about a man named Philip Schuth who is going to be sentenced for shooting at some neighbors. Weird part of the story, the reclusive man's mother died 5 years ago and he was keeping her body in a basement freezer so that he would have a friend to talk to. Sad part of the story, no one knew or cared about the death and storage, because no one knew or cared about this family. Here is a description of Philip and his home:

...He went crazy down there, or as close to crazy as a man can get without completely losing it. He made bombs in case they tried to break in again. He nailed boards to every door frame in the house, so he could close it, then turn the boards to block it closed. Cloth still hangs from the sides of the basement stairs. He had stretched it across the stairs, a boobie-trap, to trip intruders in the dark...

To read the whole news article, click here
To read some other reports about the man and his story, click here

On a not so related, yet …

electronic highlighter -sweet

I love technology and new gadgets. I also love reading and taking notes. So, combine the two, and you get the latest must have for me: the Infoscan by Wizcom. I saw this sweet product on Brain Burton's blog and fell in love right away. I will have to head to the store and check it out. You should too.

the masks that suffocate

A "Good" friend of mine had a great post recently about taking off the masks he wears and being a more authentic follower of Jesus, scars and screw-ups and all. You can go read it by clicking here.

It got me thinking, what happens in a person's heart that brings them to the point of disgust when it comes to being fake? I mean, we all wear stupid masks that keep people from really knowing who we are. Chris listed some of the masks we were; I will add a couple more: the 'perfect pastor' mask and the 'super spiritual before God' mask.

I am not a perfect person or a perfect pastor. So why fake it? I am struggling along like everyone else, trying to follow Jesus in a world of privilege and materialism. I don't have all the right answers, or unending love for all people at all times. I am growing, a work in progress. I believe growing in the right direction, but I am still broken and messed up.

And I am not super spiritual before God. I don't need to be. …

bethel seminary experience

For those of you who don't know me, I graduated from Bethel Seminary in June 2005 with a Master of Divinity degree (NT concentration). I have not said much on my blog about the experience, but recently someone emailed me asking for some seminary rookie advice. I had to think back and process some stuff and here is part of my reply:

...don't take seminary papers and deadlines too seriously (unless you are shooting for a career in academics and not church ministry). Learn what you can while you are there, but keep in touch with the real world and the people around you. An 'A' is as good as a 'C' to people in your congregation if your heart is for God.

You will have a whole life to learn more theology and Greek and -ology words (most of which you will never say again). There will be plenty of time to re-read, and actually internalize, everything you try to cram for exams and final papers. Just focus on what touches your spirit and start applying as much of your st…

my son rocks

This morning my wife Stephanie headed down to Northfield with our daughter to be with her mom. That meant that Jacob and I would be spending the afternoon together, and I had a blast of a day.

We had pizza for lunch, and once he got up from his nap we hopped in the truck and we cruised down to Maple Grove listening to some podcasts and "Where is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas. I had to get some things at Best Buy and Northwestern so we stopped there, and then we drove to a McDonald's in Rogers where Jacob ate a happy meal in the play land. He was happy.

After that we came home and played football in the living room, before eating popcorn and watching House. Then off to bed.

Jacob is an awesome son. He is happy, obedient (most of the time), tender and high energy. He loves sports and balls and helmets. His favorite things are horses, McDonald's, church and Elmo. I am enormously blessed to be the father of such a gifted and unique child.

high tech or high touch

This morning I was listening to the latest podcast from the guys over at the Blogging Church website. Terry Storch interviewed Rex Miller. Miller had some good stuff to say about discipleship and mentorship. One of the things he said that hit me was about the importance of being both 'high tech' and 'high touch.'

I am a high tech kind of guy. I love blogging, emailing and podcasting. Its probably why I like Mark Batterson's digital discipleship concept so much. But the downside of loving high tech is that it pulls me away from being high touch. I have a tendency to email instead of call, blog instead of converse.

High touch (which should read 'high face-to-face relationship') stretches me, but it is what I am called to do. I am a pastor of the QCC community, which makes me some sort of a shepherd of people, people who need to feel known, loved, celebrated, and served. Emailing and blogging are not enough. They are wonderful supplements and they can help peo…