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Showing posts from January, 2006

back and tan

Aloha everyone! I am back on the mainland US and happy to be here. It was so great to come home and have the little arms of my kids shaking with the excitement of being picked up and hugged. I missed Jacob and Izzy more than I anticipated.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
- The weather: there were some clouds and the occasion 'pineapple juice' drizzle but mostly it was sunny and 80 degrees (is it really winter?)
- Pearl Harbor: we visited the Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri Memorial, our guide was informative and witty, like having the History Channel playing in the background, he kept referring to me as 'Rev'
- Paradise Cove: this is where we went for a luau, while there we got to do some traditional Hawaiian activities like spear throwing and flower weaving, then we had a great dinner, watched wonderful hula dancers and saw this amazing fire dancer
- Hanauma Bay: this is where we went snorkeling, we saw all kinds of fish including a couple from th…

aloha

Aloha.

Just checking in with yall. Things are going great. We are having fun. The weather is awesome. I'll be posting highlights later.

PS- Jacob and Izzy I miss you guys. You are the greatest!

what does it mean to be a christian?

This was the question that I posed to the people in my small group community last night. We made a list of some of the characteristics or traits that we thought all Christians should exemplify and then we talked through what was on the list. Some of the things noted were: graciousness, compassion, discipline, servanthood, forgiveness, and humility. But the most commonly mentioned characteristic of a Christian by far was love.

That simple exercised sparked a great conversation on the need for radical love among Christ followers. We should be known to the world by the way we love, without conditions or expectations. It means that we value all people as created in the image of God, and that we make ourselves attuned and present to the plight of those around us.

Finally, we read some Scripture that details how Christ following people should live. There are three or four major texts on this and there is so much involved in each one that we didn't have adequate time to explore them all.…

are you freaking kidding me pt. 2

I woke up this morning around 5 am with a major stomach ache. I had a few other things going on too but they don't need to be mentioned here. Unbelievable. My stomach stills hurts but I think I'll be ok by take-off time tomorrow. I hate being sick.

are you freaking kidding me

Stephanie and I leave on Thursday morning for a 5 day trip to Hawaii. We are pretty pumped about the whole deal (besides of course, the anxiety that comes with leaving your kids behind for that long).

I was even more excited until my good buddy boy Brandt sent me this link. Unreal. This is exactly why I am leaving Minnesota for Hawaii in the first place.

Check this out: Snowstorm Closes Hawaii Volcano To Tourists

But I guess I have this to fall back on: 10 Day Honolulu Weather Forcast

We'll be there from the 26-31. Nice.

(hope my title doesn't bother anyone, but come on, no way!)

KidStuf review

KidStuf Sunday has come and gone at the Quarry and I would have to say that overall it was a success. Some others have blogged on it already but here is my take.

We had 240 people in the service and around 40 kids. Many parents and kids singing and dancing, and almost everyone was laughing and participating in some way. I have been getting positive feedback from many people; stories like "my kids are still singing the songs" and "that was really fun." We had a few technical glitches, but everything went pretty smoothly for the most part.

I just want to say thanks to the many people who worked so hard to pull this thing together. Erin, Audra, Michael and Brenda (my singers), Stephanie, Brandt and Joel (my actors), Chad (my co-host) Chris and Jesse (my sound guys), Andrea (on video), J.P. (my set guy), Aaron and Josiah (my lighting guys), and all the student dancers. Way to go yall.

I am looking forward to February 26 when we do our next KidStuf.

goodbye #66

The NHL just got a little less exciting. Today Mario Lemieux announced that he is no longer going to play for the Penguins. He has been the heart and soul of that team for so long.

I consider myself lucky to have seen him play as long as I did. To read more click here, Lemieux Announces Retirement. He will be greatly missed. Goodbye Super Mario.

Brian McLaren on the Homosexual Question: Finding a Pastoral Response

I read this article this morning on The Leadership Blog and I figured I would share a couple things here. The topic of the article is homosexuality and the Christian response, and the article is written by Brian McLaren. Here are some highlights I want to share with you for your thought and consideration:

I hesitate in answering "the homosexual question" not because I'm a cowardly flip-flopper who wants to tickle ears, but because I am a pastor, and pastors have learned from Jesus that there is more to answering a question than being right or even honest: we must also be . . . pastoral. That means understanding the question beneath the question, the need or fear or hope or assumption that motivates the question.

We pastors want to frame our answer around that need; we want to fit in with the Holy Spirit's work in that person's life at that particular moment. To put it biblically, we want to be sure our answers are "seasoned with salt" and appropriate to &…

on the iPod- Top 5's

Top Five songs:

1. James Blunt - You're Beautiful
2. The Tragically Hip - Vancouver Divorce
3. Nelly - Heart of a Champion
4. Dave Matthews Band - Crash
5. Papa Roach - Scars

Top Five albums:

1. David Crowder Band - A Collision...
2. The Tragically Hip - In Violet Light
3. Shane and Shane - An Evening with Shane and Shane
4. Dave Matthews Band - Listener Supported
5. Switchfoot - The Beautiful Letdown

Top Five Podcasts:

1. Rob Bell - Mars Hill Bible Church
2. Erwin McManus - Mosaic
3. Brian Tome - Crossroads Community Church
4. Greg Boyd - Woodlands Hills Bible Church
5. Brenton Balvin - Quarry Community Church (come on, I had to add myself)

Crazy mix. But its working. What are you listening to?

the dramatic lives of izzy and jacob

This stinks! Izzy has caught a flu bug that apparently is traveling around our Monticello community faster than Peter Corniea can say 'yeah right dude.' Today Izzy slept most of the day, had a major puke episode (on Mom), walked around the livingroom, drank some juice, slpet more, had another major puke episode (on Dad), and then slept more.

I hate having sick kids. Not so much because they are sick, but because Steph and I deal with it so differently. I am much more of a casual, 'deal with it when it happens' type of person. Stephanie's motherly instincts kick into high gear when our kids are ill and she worries alot about future possibilities. I am trying to learn and be more supportive and less dismissive of her feelings, but it is a large scale paradigm shift we are talking about.

Jacob is getting so old so fast. Tonight I had to come and show him there were no monsters in his closet. He kept getting out of bed claiming to be 'scared.' Poor guy. I rememb…

resting easier tonight

We had KidStuf practice today. Getting into the school a day early to set up and practice is a blessing. I wish we could do it every week. It is fun to be together as a team and it is even better going to bed Saturday night knowing you don't have to get up so early the next day.

Practice went really well. I am much more excited now than I was this morning when I woke up. The day didn't start so great though. I got an 8 am call that the walls we spent two days building and painting were busted. Luckily they weren't that bad and will still work fine.

Tomorrow should be fun.

sometimes I hate dreams

We start KidStuf in two days and last night I had a horrible dream. I dreamt we were in a theater somewhere trying to put on the production, but nothing was going right. The sound guy wasn't playing the right music, the singers didn't know the words, the lights were never right, the actors didn't know their lines, and I had no idea what I was supposed to be saying. It was an incredible flop that everyone hated.

And what really stunk was that Reggie Joiner was there watching the whole thing.

i'm a w-i-n-n-e-r

The people of InBubbleWrap are way to good to me. I just won another free business book. If you are not subscribed to this site you really need to be. Here is a list of the books I have won:

TrumpNation : The Art of Being The Donald by Timothy L. O'Brien
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, Charles Burck
Building Better Boards : A Blueprint for Effective Governance by David A. Nadler, Beverly Behan, Mark Nadler, Jay W. Lorsch
Starting From Scratch : Secrets from 21 Ordinary People Who Made the Entrepreneurial Leap by Wes Moss
Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

Don't worry Josh your day will come! Besides with Mark buying you books, who needs to win anymore.

KidStuf is coming to the Quarry

Today I drove to a church in Andover to pick up a DVD and then I was busy painting walls. Yesterday I helped teach some middle school students hand motions. Tonight I will be running through drama lines with my wife.

All the craziness is in preperation for Quarry Church's very first Kidstuf on Sunday. Kidstuf was created by North Point Community Church as a way for parents and children to learn about God together. It is going to be awesome.

equality of all men and blogs

So I was thinking about this today: not me, nor anybody whose blogs I read, said anything on Monday about Martin Luther King Jr. This is sort of jacked up. Dr. King was a man who lead a major effort to recognize the equality of all people, and no matter what you want to think about the guy, the movement that bears his name is one of Biblical importance.

As Christians, we need to put major energy into making sure that all people are treated with the dignity and justice that come with being created in the image of God. There is no division in God's people. And the church needs to lead the way on this on. Which means, for one, that I need to diversify my blog reading. All I am reading is white guys like me. I need more perspective. I need more diverse input in my life so that I don't get all wrapped up in myself. Anybody out there have any suggestions?

God even takes care of the yard

I was reading in Matthew 6 where Jesus tells people to look at the lilies of the field, and then he makes the point that if God cares that much about grass, imagine how much more will he care for humans. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Have you ever thought about God clothing the grass of the fields?

I stepped back and looked at Jesus in a fresh way tonight. Jesus was a guy who saw God in the world. (Have you ever met someone like this? - They are wonderful to be with) Jesus looked at the world different than I do. I would never compare a nice lily field to a new outfit from Banana Republic or J. Crew. And yet Jesus says that not 'even in all his splendor was King Solomon dressed' as nice as a lily field.

My priorities are too often messed up. When Jesus says God will provide for me, it is a different provision than corporate America or some 'investment opportunity' promises me. And yet the stuff of this world is the junk that I run to and worry about.

But I have to move past this. B…

the wireless internet saga

For the last couples months I had this big battle with my wireless router. In November I finally got high speed internet (praise God) and I decided to buy a Linksys Modem rather than rent one each month from my ISP folks. I also bought a Linksys Wireless Router so that I could write my sermons in the bathroom (or go wherever else I need to).

I was all excited to bring it home and set it up, but when I did I got nothing. It didn't work. Plus, it ended up just messing with my home PC. So I brought the router back to Best Buy and got a new one. Same problem. Brought back the modem. Same problem. Called in some friends. Lots of hard work. Same problem.

Then I had to ship away my VPR Matrix notebook to get some servicing done. Since I had no other computers I just let the wireless deal sit for awhile. Until last week. That is when a friend of mine donated a iBook G4 to our church. Then two days later my notebook was back and I thought, "Ok, enough messing around, I'm fixing thi…

wake up pastor and buy an ipod

Here are some crazy numbers:

Total ipods sold by Apple: 42 M
Total ipods sold by Apple in 2005: 32 M
Total ipods sold by Apple in 2005 holiday quarter: 14 M

Think Podcasting and Video Podcasting aren't an important medium for churches to consider?

You can watch Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) talk more about it by, clicking here.

emotional integrity

I had the idea of 'emotional integrity' pop into my mind this morning as a I was praying for a friend. The term, coined by me/Holy Spirit first, as far as I know, refers to a person's ability to manage her life in such a way that she understands, respects and cares for her emotional well being. Meaning, a person with great emotional integrity takes personal responsibility for his own emotional condition.

The most blatant example I can think of is when we 'yes' when we really mean 'no.' Doing this leads to stress, burn-out, crabbiness, a lack of passion, and self pity. I see it in people all the time. It takes a high amount of self-awareness and emotional integrity to say, "You know what, I can't do that. I am going to have to say no right now."

I think Jesus boiled it down when he said, "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." (Matthew 5:37)

The…

Barna's church trends of 2005

George Barna's 5 most important religious trends of 2005:

1. Pathetic Prayer
2. The continuing demise of the black church
3. The energizing of the evangelicals
4. Biblical illiteracy
5. Revolutionaries

Interesting stuff. To read the entire article and expanded explanations of all 5 trends, click here.

Jesus in the Margins

I just finished reading Rick McKinley's book Jesus in the Margins. Rick is the pastor of Imago Dei church in Portland, Oregon. I first heard of him through the writings of Donald Miller (click here to see Miller's book list).

This is a book that explores the Christian faith in a very friendly, non-religious, inviting kind of way (though McKinley's concepts are deeply rooted in theology and Scripture). If you have read Miller than you know what I mean. I was not incredibly moved by the book, but I would not hesitate to give it to a friend who has been disillusioned by church and needs to see the love of Jesus in a new way.

The main thread that runs through the book is the idea that Jesus invites people out of the margins of life and into a relationship with himself. Like the dead space on the edge of a book page, many people experience live cast to the outside, rejected in some way, lost and lonely, searching for the truth and meaning and life that only Jesus provides.

There …

Quarrier of the Week

I am starting off 2006 with a Quarrier of the Week that I have been holding out on for sometime. I didn't want to be accused of any nepotism, but I can't hold off any longer. This week's QotWeek is my beautiful wife Stephanie.

Stephanie is a constant source of support and encouragement to me. She is also an amazing servant who glorifies God with her entire life. She helps in numerous places on Sunday's at the Quarry. Her warm smile and enthusiasm from behind the information table have welcomed many people into our church. She has also taught numerous age levels in our children's ministry and is always willing to do whatever someone asks her to do.

I am blessed to spend my life with such a wonderful woman, and my kids are blessed to have a mother who cares so much about them. Doing life and ministry with Stephanie brings me more and more happiness all the time. Thanks for being so great babe!

Oh yeah, Stephanie just started her own blog to keep us all up on the crazy a…

a few monday thoughts... (updated at 4:30 pm)

- Portable Church Industries is coming to give us a consultation on the first weekend of February. It should be great. I am looking forward to hearing some of their insights and suggestions for how we can best use our space (a Middle School). I welcome any email or comments from people who have used PCI in the past.

- We are doing a KidStuf preview service in two weeks, and we hope to launch it as regular programming once a month in March. I would love feedback from other people/planters about when is the best time to do it (we are hoping to use this as a tool to reach unchurched families/neighbors) and whether or not we should rename it. Who else is doing KidStuf?

- Can Indianapolis beat Pittsburgh? Can Washington beat Seattle? (What are the odds Mark?)

- As a pastor, how do I square my role as a shepherd of all people with my desire to have close, long-lasting, meaningful relationships? How do I live with a few people close by my side without abdicating my responsibility to reach out …

how full is your bucket?

I just finished reading "How Full Is Your Bucket?" by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton. I would recommend this book to anyone; leaders, teachers, managers, pastors, parents, and spouses. Literally, anyone and everyone should read this.

The basic idea behind the book is not astonishing or hard to comprehend. It is actually something that everyone would basically agree on; and yet we pay so little attention to its actual practice in our daily interactions with people.

Here is what the whole thing centers on:

We all have an invisible bucket that is constantly emptied or filled by what others do or say to us. When our bucket is full we feel good, when it is empty we feel awful. A full bucket gives us optimism, strength, energy, and positivism. An empty bucket gives us pessimism, weakness, sickness, and negativity.

We also have an invisible dipper. We can use that dipper to either empty others buckets or to fill them up, by saying or doing things that increase others positive emotions.…

have patience, have patience

Agh! $%#&! I am teaching about patience on Sunday and everyone is driving me nuts by laughing at me when I tell them my topic! I am serious on the verge of punching the next person who laughs...

A couple people on the band and I wanted to cover the old GNR song 'Patience' but we couldn't work it in. Would have been cool. Maybe some other time.

miracles communicate, they don't persuade

I was checking out a post over at the Pyromarketing blog (which is a sweet blog and website by the way) about the role of signs in marketing and advertising and I came across this statement:

Signs don't convince, they communicate, and greater repetition doesn'’t change their function.

This made me immediately think of the miracles that Jesus did in the Bible. I have often wondered why more people didn't believe in him after he did the miracles. In fact, sometimes he even told people not to tell anyone else about them. Why?

I think, now, that it was because Jesus' miracles were meant as signs to communicate a message about who he was and about his power over sickness, death and nature. Miracles were, and still are, never meant to be tools of persuasion. They are gifts from God to communicate a message to us about who he is. We should never demand miracles or expect God to prove himself. That is not the point of miracles, and that is why many people in the Bible saw them an…

tell me - who are you?

This is an insightful post from Gary Lamb about how churches, in particular, church plants, need to discover who they are uniquely called by God to be, and then how they need to passionately pursue it and relentlessly stick to it.

To read his great post click here, Who Are You.

Gary's words remind me a lot of a couple of phrases that really hit me as I read through Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis this summer. Rob says,

1. I am not defined by who I am not.

2. The relentless pursuit of who God calls me to be.

Those are wonderfully freeing words for churches, pastors, and all Christ followers alike. God has uniquely gifted YOU to be who YOU are. He does not demand that YOU be anybody else. He just wants YOU to be YOU, and to revel in and maximize the talents and passions he has given YOU.

Top 10 Things I Learned About Community

My sister sent me this after going to a service at Upper Room yesterday.

Top 10 Things I Learned About Community

1. Proximity supports community.
2. Diversity is essential for wholeness.
3. Community is the context for discipleship.
4. Replace expectations with hopes.
5. We have a limited capacity for relationships.
6. Depth of community is connected to the depth in which people reveal
themselves to each others.
7. Intentionality is crucial because our drift is towards isolation.
8. Community is as much about the invisible as the visible.
9. Loving your vision for community more than the community itself will destroy
the latter.
10. Serve the purpose, not the model.

Those are all good thoughts that I agree with. I especially like #'s 1, 4, 6, 7. I specifically struggle to implement #'s 2, 3, and 9.

goodbye Brett Favre

What is it about a job well done, or a life well lived that is so moving? I might get dissed for admitting this, but I cried today watching football. I was watching the Green Bay Packers game, and listening to the crowd chant 'one more year' as they tried to show their love and support for quarterback Brett Favre.

If you don't follow football than you probably have no idea what an amazing quarterback Brett Favre is. Even though I live in Minnesota I love watching Brett Favre. He is an ironman, playing through both physical pain and emotional anguish. He has a childlike love for the game that is balanced with a desire to win that is almost unmatched.

Watching him walk off the field today was tough. Thinking about never seeing him play again. I watched as his wife stood in the stands, tears in her own eyes, and lifted up her index fingers as to say 'You are #1.'

I will miss Brett Favre. I will miss his tenacity, his smile, his playmaking ability, his fourth quarter co…

26 in 2006

Welcome to the New Year! Man, amazingly enough, it is already 2006. That means that I am 26 years old (because today is my birthday). Wow, 26. I don't know completely what to do with that. On the one hand I am extremely happy. I have a wonderful, beautiful wife and 2 kids that make me smile everyday. I have a church family and close friends who enrich my life and bring elements of culture, style, faith, and passion that blow me away. I have learned and grown so much.

On the other hand, I feel like I have so much yet to accomplish. There are goals I would like to fulfill, challenges I would like to rise beyond, and endless things to learn and master. It seems I have so far to go in my spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational lives. And so, I feel like I have no time left to lose, each year is another year gone and that cannot be redone, opportunities that cannot be recouped.

I am excited for 2006 and 26 years old. I anticipate numerous fantastic things happening in the coming y…