Showing posts from March, 2006

some stuff I read at SonScape

Here are some of the books that I read and had God speak to me through while I was at SonScape:

- Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry
- Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred
- John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus
- Reginald Johnson, Your Personality and the Spiritual Life
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk : The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work

Jacob the photographer

Here are a few shots Jacob took of the family tonight. I think he has an eye for this kind of thing.

driving in a winter wonderland

Today at 12:41 pm Stephanie and I left Maple Grove, MN. Right now (11:22 pm) we are sitting in a hotel room in Salina, KS. A massive snow storm has shut down Interstate 70 and halted out attempt at an all night drive. We are having a good time being with one another though despite the sometimes tough driving conditions. Stephanie drove through the worst of it all. She is a trooper. And I am a lucky guy.

see you next Friday

Tomorrow Stephanie and I are leaving for Colorado Springs, CO. We are going to spend 8 days at the SonScape Renewal Center. This is a place specifally designed for pastors and their spouses to get away from it all and focus on their relationship with one another and the Lord. At SonScape we will have time in a group setting with four other couples, some private counseling as a couple, and plenty of time for individual meditation and devotions. Stephanie and I are driving there so we'll also get about 35 hours of 'windshield time' with one another as well.

I am looking forward to this time to get away and re-focus on things that are truly important. I am anticipating that God will do wonderful things in my and Stephanie's hearts. This is a step in the right direction for us as a couple and for me as a person. It will be hard to leave the kids for so long, but I am confident that in the end even they will benefit from our experience.

Please pray for us while we are gone…

happy birthday Stephanie

Yesterday was my wife's 26th birthday. We went out for dinner and had a great night talking and being with one another without the distraction of the little ones we love (thanks to Eric and Anne Bloomstrand who watched them). My wife is an amazing woman who I am learning to love and cherish more and more all the time. She brings so much more to life's table than I can adaquetly express in a blog post.

Among other things she is...

-a prayer warrior
-willing to try things
-willing to laugh at herself
-a great mom
-improving as a cook
-easy to be around
-and beautiful

Stephanie, thank you for choosing me to share your life. I don't deserved to be loved as passionately as you love me. Thank you for making me better and for showing me Jesus everyday.

ps- This is a great post for everyone else to write about how awesome Stephanie is. Leave her a note in my comments or go to her blog by clicking here.

our woodland hills trip

So the last few weeks Stephanie and I have been taking the opportunity to worship together and check out a few of the churches in our area that we don't normally get to visit. Today we met our friends Jon and Emily Towey at Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood, MN. Woodland Hills is probably familiar to many people mostly because of its highly popular and occasionally controversial Senior Pastor Greg Boyd. To learn more about Boyd check out his interview over at the Leadership Blog.

Here are a few thoughts about our visit to Woodland.

- The church meets in a renovated K-Mart. There was poor signage outside and no one helping anybody park. Parkers would have been helpful as we were coming to and leaving after the service.
- Once inside there were huge signs that showed you where to go. If you get lost in there, no one can help you. The signs are massive and clear. They are simple and down to earth. I loved them. There were also many people standing near information ready to assist you.


I know that the song wasn't very good for the fate of American Idol hopeful Alya Brown but the lyrics from Natasha Bedingfield's song Unwritten have really been hitting me lately. Here is a sample from the chorus:

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

You really have to hear it to appreciate it.

I think this would be a great song to do in church someday during a service. Listening to the song reminds me that God has a plan for all my days and that despite whatever baggage my past holds the future remains wide open, yet unwritten. And my desire is to write a 'Master'piece with whatever days I have left before me.

the wonder years

What would you do if I sang out tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
I will try not to sing out of key, yeah

Woke up with this song in my head. I have no idea why. Ironic though, I've been singing out of tune quite a bit in the last year. Leaving behind me much hurt, anger, confusion, and pain.

I wonder where God is when we sing out of tune? Does he stand up and walk out on me? I think maybe sometimes he did. I would understand that. Other times I feel like he stayed in the room and suffered through the performance with me. Waiting for me to finish, maybe.

I believe I can sing better, more in tune, more pleasing to people's ears and hearts. I wish I could delete my previous recording, so that no one would have gotten manipulated or used or tricked or cast aside or hurt. I wish I had listened better to the person who really matters when I was warned about being out of tune.

Erwin McManus says the most spiritual thing we can do i…

let it snow

We got more snow in Minnesota last night. A thick wintry blanket again covers what is supposed to be a budding spring landscape.

All the whiteness reminds me of the Biblical text in Isaiah that says, "
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Jesus paid the penalty for my screwedupness. That is amazing.

goodbye Honda

As you may have read on my beautiful wife's blog, we bid our Honda Civic farewell this afternoon. All I can say about it is that God is amazing. A couple weeks ago I spent $35 to advertise the car on A week later I got an email from a college kid who needed a car. 5 days later, the Civic is gone.

Now we really need a van. No problem though. God will provide. I know it. Right now more than ever.

a job well done

Yesterday I was doing some work at Lynde Greenhouse and Nursery and I had a major accomplishment. The machine I was working on was having some issue with its chain and pulley system, so me and another kid pulled the cover off and started looking at things. Using a screwdriver and hammer I successfully disassembled the chain, fixed it, and then put it all back together.

It was amazing; I am an office guy who would much rather use a keyboard that a screwdriver. My hands got all greasy and I think I still have junk under my nails. But I got the job done and I feel good about doing it. I wonder if Jeff Gordon's pit crew is hiring?

driscoll on colson

One blog that I enjoy reading (and have finally linked on the side bar here) is Mark Driscoll's blog Resurgence. Driscoll is the co-founding and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. Today he posted some question and answers he had in an interaction with Chuck Colson. I know a few people who have taken issue with some things Colson has said publicly. I really have no beef with him, and I think that what Driscoll posted shows Colson to be a pretty genuine Christ follower with a desire to share that with others.

Chuck Colson 2.0

Here is one except that struck me as personally poignant:

Question from Mark Driscoll: Does the greatest threat to Christianity come from forces outside the church, or from inside the church, through leaders who are more like Judas than Jesus?
Answer from Chuck Colson: The answer to your third question about whether the greatest threats are from inside or outside the church is “both.” I get nauseous about some of the things that go on in the ch…

midweek thoughts

The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
- Isaiah 2:17

Let us, then, humble ourselves under the strong hand of the Almighty God, for He will save and exalt all who are here meek and lowly in spirit.
- Thomas a Kempis

kirbyyyyyy puckett

One of my greatest baseball memories came when the Minnesota Twins were playing the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series. A friend of mine had an extra ticket to Game 6 so I was there when Kirby Puckett won the game in the 11th inning with a home run. Here is one websites recap of that amazing game:

Going into Game 6, the Twins trailed three games to two and had to win to stay alive.Puckett helped to hold off a late Atlanta rally with a leaping catch off the outfield wall that stole a sure double by Ron Gant. The game went into extra innings, and in the first at-bat of the bottom of the 11th, Puckett hit a dramatic walk-off home run off Charlie Leibrandt to keep his team alive. This dramatic game has been widely remembered as the high point in Puckett's career. The images of Puckett rounding the bases, arms raised in triumph, are always included in video highlights of Puckett's career, often accompanied by CBS Sports commentator Jack Buck's words, "And we'll see…


The virtue that the Quarry Kids are learning about this month is hope.

Hope - believing something good can come out of something bad.

Romans 8:24-25
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.


impressions from Wooddale Church

Yesterday Stephanie and I took a Sunday away from the Quarry, so we met some friends for the 10:15 am service at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, MN. Wooddale is a 4,000 person plus mega-church that has both contemporary and traditional services.

It was pretty weird to go to a church service as simply an attender without an responsibilities. I tried hard to turn my critical, analytical brain off, but I did have a few impressions that I thought I'd share:

- The parking lot situation was crazy. There were decent signs to find the main entrance but I drove around the whole building trying to find a good door to go in. There were no parking lot helpers when I came (however there were people in orange vests helping me leave).

- I was greeted warmly at the door I walked through and a joke was made about me not wearing a jacket; it was a very nice greeting. Stephanie, on the other hand, had no one to open a door for her and struggled to get both kids into the building alone.

- Our journey …

way to go KidStuf team

Man I missed being a part of KidStuf yesterday. I heard everything went well though. That's awesome. Here are some of the people that I have been hearing deserves some props (I know many more are probably deserving):

-Chad (wow, even with a new baby!)
-Stephanie S.
-Tom (running Keynote? that's funny!)

Way to go everyone.

the priceless gift of grace

In John 8 there is the story of a woman who is drug before Jesus by a group of religious dudes. This woman was found (possibly set-up) in adultery and the religious dudes are using her as a pawn to try and trap Jesus into doing or saying something.

The sweet part of it all is that after ignoring the dudes for awhile Jesus tells them that whoever is perfect among them should go ahead and throw the first rock at this woman. Slowly, one by one, the religious dudes sulk off, knowing that Jesus has again shown them wrong. Then Jesus tells the woman that he doesn't condemn her and that she should go and sin no more.

Can you imagine what it was like for that woman? She was drug before Jesus, there was likely a large crowd gathering for her impromptu trial. She was facing a possible stoning. The embarrassment and shame and guilt and confusion. Her world was a whirlwind without a very positive ending in sight. And then Jesus does something no one could predict...

He shows her grace.
This is a…

check out the new iLounge

Big news from Monday Morning Insight...

The rush to be seeker-sensitive has made it's way to the nation's megachurch bathrooms. Many top churches are now installing Atech’s “iLounge hybrid toilet paper dispenser/iPod dock”. The iLounge supports all iPod models that have a dock connector and has an integrated USB slot for the Shuffle. Speakers are hidden in the dispensers arms with navigation buttons located conveniently on top for easy access. "People are used to taking their iPods with them everywhere... what a great opportunity to reach out to them by offering full stereo iPod capability in our restrooms" said Bill Morgan, Executive Pastor of Rolling Stone Community Church near Houston. "People can even listen to "Takin' Care of Business" while they're taking care of business."Special pricing on the units are available from the Willow Creek Association.

where do I find the words of life

There is a story in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John where Jesus gives a hard teaching and a bunch of the people who were following him decide to jump ship and walk away. Jesus then turns to his closest followers and asks them if they want to leave as well. One of the guys remaining there says, "Where would we go? You alone have the words of life."

I wonder if there were some people in the crowd who kept on following Jesus and just decided to ignore the teachings they didn't agree with. I find myself here at times.

I believe that Jesus alone has the words of life. I know Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I also know that my life is incomplete without him, that I need him to restore my relationship with my heavenly Father and that life is simply better when I follow him.

And yet, I have an amazing capacity to pick and choose the teachings that apply to me. It is incomprehensible why some people make the decisions that they do. Selfish ambition is a tyrant to the…