Showing posts from July, 2006

quotes from an an old-school, Jesus-loving Bible-thumper

Mark Driscoll, the lead pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, is a guy who is passionate about Jesus, manliness, theology, and reaching culture for Christ. Recently he answered some email questions for a Christianity Today article. Here's a sampling of quotes from the article that highlight what makes Driscoll so attractive...

Most contemporary churches are not very theological beyond a few evangelical basics, because they are guided more by pragmatism and programming than theology. At Mars Hill Church, we are driven by Reformed theological convictions and emerging missional methods.

The major blind spot of megachurches is that they tend to be very effeminate with aesthetics, music, and preaching perfectly tailored for moms. Manly men are repelled by this, and many of the men who find it appealing are the types to sing prom songs to Jesus and learn about their feelings while sitting in a seafoam green chair drinking herbal tea - —the spiritual equivalent of Richard Simmons.


seperation of church and state

Separating our faith from our politics is a hard thing to do. Many times issues cross over party lines, with some people claiming to represent one way of thinking and doing, while other people another. Drawing a hard line on this can be very difficult for a church, as illustrated by what happened at Woodland Hills Church. Read this and let me know what you think:

"I am sorry to tell you,"” he continued, "that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ." ” Read more....

a picture is worth a thousand blog entries


ordering the chaos in my solar system

I received a promotion mailer from Multnomah recently advertising a new small group study by John Piper. Inside the cover Piper has this amazing quote:

"When God is the blazing sun at the center of your solar system, all the planets of your life come into proper orbit."

The planets of my life - my labor and leisure, my thinking and feeling, my dreaming and hoping, my wanting and getting, my being and doing - all of these things are held together in right order by setting Jesus Christ at the center of my life.

Recently I have had trouble keeping Christ there and the consequential chaos in my solar system proves it. I have felt like everything is out of whack with the way I want it to be. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is a faithful pursuer and friend who comes and sits next to me and patiently waits for me to embrace him. And during the last couple days I have been doing just that.

Slowly, Christ is again becoming the center of my solar system and the anchor of my planetary life. But…

pastoring actual people is part of the job

Taken from:Pastors Feel Confident in Ministry, But Many Struggle in their Interaction with Others
Pastors may be employed in one of society'’s most demanding professions and many churchgoers may place unrealistic expectations on their leaders. But today'’s pastors are surprisingly similar to people from other walks of life - with doubts and insecurities of their own. Pastors brim with self-confidence in many areas of their ministry, but admit it is a challenge to maintain genuine connections with other people. A new study conducted by The Barna Group among a nationwide sample of Protestant pastors shows seven intriguing insights about how pastors think of themselves and the churches they lead.1. Like other adults, many pastors struggle with personal relationships. 2. Most pastors are supremely confident in their abilities to teach, make disciples and lead. 3. Many pastors depict their personalities as shy and introverted. 4. Risk-taking drops off among pastors after 20-plus…

mind sweep

I often feel like I have all kinds of things swimming around in my head. Scott talked about this in a recent post too. He links to a pretty neat looking blog called 43 Folders.

On 43F is some writing on the concept of a 'mind sweep.' This is an exercise where you sit down and intentionally take inventory of everything flowing around in your head. Then you methodically write it all down and make a plan for clearing some of that 'mental inventory.' I need to try something like this sometime.

"The idea behind the mind-sweep is to identify and gather everything that is making claims on your attention or is likely to affect the larger areas of responsibility in your life — everything that’s quietly burning cycles, stealing focus, and whittling away at your attention — so that you can then decide what (if anything) must be done about each of those things."

a few preaching resources for you

Here is a list of preaching books that Darrin Patrick recommended at last year's Acts 29 Network bootcamp:

Light and Heat (looks at the preaching of the Puritans) by R. Bruce Bickel
Christ-Centered Preaching (cornerstone textbook in many seminaries) by Bryan Chapell
The Sermon as Symphony (this book deals with preaching texts, esp. NT ones, according to their literary forms - note: Patrick doesn't agree with all his theology) by Mike Graves
The Art of Prophesying by Noel Weeks
Refining Your Style (lets you hear and study 13 different preachers like Keller, Bell, Lucado, McManus, and Strobel) by Dave Stone
Preaching Between Two Worlds by John Stott

a guy can always dream

encouragement for the day

7-8Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master's Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time. 9Friends, don't complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner. 10-11Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That's because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.
James 4:7-11 (the Message translation)

we're all connected and God's grace keeps it that way

Audra copied this today from her friend Mary Ewing. I wanted to pass it along to you as well. Audra I hope that your pregnancy is going well. Stephanie and I are happy for you and JP.

"I will leave you with two thoughts. One is something I heard yesterday. We all have pain in our lives and we all will seek comfort, but it is up to us what that comfort is. Some chose food, others sleep, others sports, others work, some chose God and His cleft. All the comforts involve lasting consequences, but those consequences not only effect us, but also our children and grandchildren. So next time you are looking for comfort, why not find it in the Rock that is Higher than Us.

*Man is God teaching me right now in a major way about the inter-connectedness of our lives with others. No decision is made that doesn't have some kind of an effect on people around us. The problem is that rarely do we factor the 'other-oriented' implications of our decision in the heat of making that decision…

things that make me wonder

Why are the words 'blog' & 'Blogger' not included in the Blogger spell check dictionary?

what is my functional savior?

I have been thinking a lot lately on the concept of 'having a functional savior' rather than the Savior. A functional savior is whatever we turn to in our life to 'save' us from what we perceive as hell. Here's a couple examples to help you track with me...

Your perceived hell is being single your whole life. If you can't find a spouse, you tell yourself, you'll never be happy. So, you look for a girlfriend ever where you go. You burn through relationships, moving from one to the next, in order to avoid feelings of loneliness. Your functional savior is a relationship.

Your perceived hell is having no social significance. If no one reads your blog or agrees with your thoughts or compliments your greatness you are depressed. You are consumed with coming up with the next great idea or meeting the right person or being at the right conference. Your functional savior is fame, or the need to be admired.

Jesus, on the other hand, demands that we turn to him alone. H…

we had to paint sometime

This weekend my wife and I painted our bedroom. We have lived in our home for three years and finally couldn't take white primer on the walls anymore. It was really a lot of fun to work on something like that together. Unfortunately, our kids had a hard time staying out of the way. Even working during nap times didn't work because they kept waking up. I'm not really a painter but the rooms looks pretty nice.

*I'll try to get a photo up soon. We painted it a tan/brown/khaki color.

breastfeeding strikes a chord

There is some good discussion happening in the comments section of the previous post. Please weigh in whether you are a mom, parent or single person. I'd love to widen the circle of input on this one.

porn yes - breastfeeding no - are we serious?

There is a sickening epidemic spreading across the United States that doesn't get half the public attention of Bird Flu or Gas Prices. The proliferation of accessible pornography (delivered through multiple mediums such as film, internet, satellite radio, cable), coupled with weakening moral standards and misguided tolerance among the general population, is causing sexual addiction and misbehavior to run rampant. Just take a look at the statistics posted onFamily Watchdog, a website that allows you to search for any registered sex offenders who may possibly be living near your children.

1 of 5 girls will be sexually molested before her 18th birthday.1 of 6 boys will be sexually molested before his 18th birthday.1 of 5 children have been propositioned for sex over the Internet.2 of 3 sexual abuses are perpetrated against teenagers or younger children.90% of sexual assaults are committed against someone the perpetrator knows.The median age for female molestation victims under 18 is…

310 yards is a long way

I played golf today in a charity event for the sheriff chaplain's in Morrison county. My foursome shot -6 and finished 5th (out of 16) in the scramble. The highlight of the day for me was hitting a drive just off the green of a 310 yard hole. I cut the dogleg and spent a couple minutes looking for the ball before someone drove up near the green and found it. I really enjoy playing in a four-man format because everybody has the chance to pick one another up after a bad shot. It kind of reminds me of the church, and how we support and encourage one another. Do you think King Solomon had golf in mind when he wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9,

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.

what am I worth?

Today I met Brian.

Brian has been around the seminary ever since I started as a student. He is the kind of guy who dresses well (very metro), is always on his cell phone (very busy), and sometimes seems pretty intense (very driven). My Significance SF theme has made me want to hook up with him but I never have.

Until this morning.

We were talking about me working in the office with Joseph and for some insane reason I made the comment that "the job was good but I wasn't being paid what I am worth." That sort of cockiness is pretty uncharacteristic of me considering the setting and Brian, being a total extrovert, jumped all over me for saying it, hammering me about what I think I am worth.

Its actually a good question to consider though. "What am I worth?" Here are a few categories were it might be beneficial for a person to periodically consider their worth:

- as a spouse
- as a parent
- as a friend
- as an employee
- as a resource to others
- as a pastor
- as a teammate
- …

chance encounters? no way!

Life at Bethel Seminary has been pretty exciting recently. I have had the good fortune of being introduced to Eric Bryant, Alex McManus, and Michael Binder. It has been neat for me to meet and talk with each of these guys. They are all doing really great work for the Kingdom.

overheard in the office

Just overheard my boss quote Erwin McManus in saying, "The most organized places in the world are cemeteries."

Nice. Keep things alive and moving. Sometimes its not perfect. Sometimes details get missed. But you have to keep going, keep moving, keep striving.

This must be the life mantra of Gary Lamb. Seems like that guy is always on the go doing something. Keep it rolling Gary.

9 shifts the church must make to impact the culture

Yesterday I listened to a podcast from the Reform and Resurge 2006 Conference by a guy named Ed Stetzer. Ed gave a talk about 9 shifts that the church needs to make if it is going to reach into and impact the culture around it.

1. Programs to Processes
2. Demographics to Discernment
3. Models to Missions
4. Attractional to Incarnational
5. Uniformity to Diversity
6. Professional to Passionate
7. Seating to Sending
8. Additional to Exponential
9. Monuments to Movements

It is a great talk. All church leaders, and especially planters, need to listen to this. I'll try to expound on these later.

good news for the day

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Psalm 103:8

basking in the gift of mentorship

I had a wonderful lunch today with Don Mortenson, a Bethel seminary professor who has become a good friend and mentor in my life. Don has an amazing ability to create a safe environment where I can feel free to be honest and not have to worry about being judged or rejected. Don also has the gift of helping me to see things from another person's perspective. Both of these gifts leave me feeling validated and heard, and yet they don't ever excuse or justify wrong behavior on my part. I am grateful to God for bringing Don into my life. He has a huge heart and has been available to me and willing to share some of his time, experience and life.

Do you have someone like this walking through life with you? Find someone and experience God even more through the love of his people.

breaking news

You have to check out what our government is up to now. It is great to know they care so much about the people of this country. Thanks for breaking the story Joseph: AMERICANS WITH NO ABILITIES ACT - CONGRESSIONAL ACT 2006

Purpose Driven blogger

Rick Warren has recently joined the blogging world. I have read through the Purpose Driven Church and Purpose Driven Life books and I believe that God is using Rick to do some really great things in the world.

One of the neat things I have heard Rick preach on are his ideas about the 'stewardship of influence.' Rick calls people to use the influence that God has given them to make a difference - the more influence, the most responsibility to make a difference. I think Rick is dead on; plus he is backing up his words with his actions.

Top 10 Great American Towns

I followed a link off of Dave Ferguson's blog to Money Magazine's list of the Top 10 Great American Towns. It was cool to see that Eden Prairie, MN made the list. I have spent a fair amount of time in EP and I agree that it is a great place, especially since one of my wife's best friends (Emily) went to high school there.

umbrella bags matter

When we were in New York City last month I saw a 'plastic-umbrella-cover-dispenser' and the first thought in my mind was, "Every church should have these." Talk about making a good first impression. It left such a good mark in my mind to think that the managers of this building had the forethought to provide a small service like this.

I think that every church should invest in something like this: its cheap, its easy to set-up, it is convenient for people, and it is good stewardship of the building because there won't be rainy umbrella dripping all over the place. I don't know where to buy one yet but it will be worth it.

*Update: Thanks Sarge. The Wet Umbrella Caddie stand can be purchased for $55, then you can buy 2,000 bags for $105. That is a good deal and leaves churches with no excuse for not having this small form customer/congregant service.

jacob's bringing the thunder

We went to dinner tonight at Space Aliens Grill & Bar with some friends. Space Aliens is the kind of joint where kids play token games (i.e. Skee Ball) which spit out tickets they can use to get cheap toys. After racking up points on a little basketball hoop game Jacob traded in 40 of his tickets for his very first Whoopie Cushion. He thinks 'tooting' is super funny, especially now that our neighbor taught him to announce his flatus with the phrase "I brought the thunder." Thanks neighbor.

Disney Theology

Before bed tonight we were watching The Lion King with the kids. Stephanie and I started noticing how much theology there is in the movie. That got us started on kicking around some theological thoughts from some other Disney flicks. It is amazing how the story of Jesus Christ is everywhere. You just got to keep your eyes and ears open. I think it would be fun to teach an adult/parenting class on Disney Theology which would help parents find Christological and Theological themes they can use as a platform for teaching their kids about Jesus.

file this under 'Are you serious?'

Sick- my son just informed me he pooped on the floor in his room. We were letting some diaper rash air out and this is how we are rewarded. Gross. Now I have to go pick up this big Baby Ruth bar off the carpet. Man...being a dad is great!

Neomonasticism in the Minneapolis West Bank

A Bethel seminary colleague (and fellow Kern scholar) Mark Van Steenwyk is featured in a local newspaper article highlighting Neomonasticism. I thought the writer did a good job of representing the ministry of the community Mark leads. The biggest problem is that she translate the name of the community (Missio Dei) and 'House of God' when it should be 'Mission of God.'

You can read the entire article here:New Monastics: Being the church

To read Mark's thoughts on the write-up check out his blog: Mission Think

Axis Denied: A case study of ministry change within a church

I beleieve that all forms of ministry need to adapt and change as time goes by. In a world that is constantly changing, the programs and services in a church must go through some of their own transition if they are going to continue. This transition is rarely smooth, occasionally painful, often hard, and many times confusing. Sometimes ministry adventures end up flourishing, sometimes they crash and burn hard, and other times they simply fade or morph into something else. The Axis ministry (geared for Next Gen/20 somethings) has been a church-within-a-church at Willow Creek for the last ten years. However it is now moving on to a new stage of life.

You can click here to read Willow Creek Lead Pastor Gene Appel's official announcement.

For a good explanation of some of the difficulties of a church-within-a-church model read Dan Kimball's article on Leadership Journal's blog.

from Erwin to me to you

Erwin McManus gives some solid insights in his latest contribution to Catalyst Monthly. Here are a couple excerpts:

I love reading books. They could be about any category, subject, or discipline. Normally I look for books that try to help us see things in a new way.

I guess my closing thought is read books that make you uncomfortable, read books you disagree with, read books that freak you out and make sure you go through the painful process of rewriting the pages of your own life in ministry.

What a great reminder. If I'm not careful I will spend all my time reading books by the same author on the same range of topics. In just a short article Erwin reminds me to branch out, expand, and engage multiple genres and subjects. Also, I have to listen and allow the voice of God to connect the words on the page to the work he is already doing in my heart.

What are you reading?

7 writing tips from Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson listed 7 Writing Tips on his blog recently. There are some great thoughts for people like me who are looking to grow in their writing capabilities.

#1 - Write for intrinsic reasons

#2 - Find a Writing Rhythm
#3 - Keep Reading
#4 - Find Your Voice
#5 - Know Your Writing Strengths
#6 - Tie Off the Umbilical Cord
#7 - Pray Like It Depends on God

To read Mark's full explanations click, here.

check out this online magazine

A friend of mine is running an awesome online magazine called Prodigal Son. My review of the movie "The Greatest Game Ever Played" is printed in the newest issue. Check it out here and then make sure you check out the rest of the magazine.

*It would be great if you could help spread the word and link the magazine on your blog as well. Thanks.

following your passion

My boss talks a lot aboutfollowing your passions and working from your strengths. I was amazed when I came across a story on about an 83 yr. old man (Jim Eriotes) who batted in a minor league baseball game.

The article included a few quotes from Mr. Eriotes and it is evident that he is a man with a passion for baseball and a desire to accomplish everything that he believes is possible.

When asked how he felt about setting the MLB record for oldest man to play in a game Eriotes replied, "I don't give a d*&% about that stuff," he said, bothered by his failure to reach base. "If I got a couple more at-bats, I'd get a hit. Easy."

Now that is passion.

Live with passion for something today. Don't let the fear of failure paralyze you from the plan God has revealed to you. Carpe diem!

50 Most Influential Churches

Church Report recently released their list of The 50 Most Influential Churches for 2006. It is a interesting list with a bunch of churches I expected and a few I have never heard of. Church Marketing Sucks has some other links regarding the list that would be worth reading, including Community Christian Church's pastor Dave Ferguson blog post about being ranked #13 on the list.

developing leaders through StrengthFinder

I am really enjoying my time as an Executive Assistant for Joseph Dworak. Joe and his office team have been fun, flexible and kind to me as I have acclimated to office life. Joseph is a great leader who is doing some cutting edge stuff with StrengthFinder.

The environment he has created during his tenure as Admissions and Recruitment at Bethel Seminary has a much more energetic and leadership feel to it. Instead of remaining a stale academic institution, Bethel Seminary is becoming a dynamic center of transformation and spiritual growth for emerging leaders who will advance the Kingdom of God.

*Note: If you are a pastor, and you care about the development of leaders around you, I would highly suggest you shoot me an email so we can talk about the possibility of setting up some StrengthFinder consulting at your church. Learning to live and lead from my strengths has set me free to be myself and excel in the things I'm doing. Please, if you have any questions or interest let's tal…

Jacob is the man

A few funny things have happened with Jacob lately as he is growing up. He'll be three in September and is getting big so fast.

- Recently he pulled a chair over to the loft railing and spit down onto the kitchen floor. His mom didn't think that was funny.

- Sunday night he learned to say "Does a bear poop in the woods?" Then, with his diaper off, he asked if he could go outside and pee by a tree. I told him to pee on the driveway fire pit. His mom didn't think that was funny.

- He has a lot of spiritual interest. He requires that I tell him a Bible story every night before bed. He has also learned that Jesus friends go to heaven (which is like a party) and that if you're not friends with Jesus you 'go in the fire.'

I love being a dad. Jacob is such an amazing blessing. I thank God for him everyday and I don't know what I would do if I wasn't able to see his smiling face.

Ben in the Post

A blogging pastor buddy of mine named Ben was highlighted in a recent Washington Post article.

Check it out here: Cyber-Savvy Pastors Blog When the Spirit Moves Them

Rob Bell in the NY Times

start your week off right

John Maxwell says that having a good attitude is the key to success. He also says that you are in control of your attitude. A positive attitude comes from what is happening in you and not what is happening to you.

So what kind of attitude will you start your week of with? The choice is up to you.

the headbutt felt around the world

What in the world was Zinedine Zadine thinking?

What am I talking about? Well, with France playing great and the World Cup final in extra time Zadine, possibly the best player in the 2006 Cup, head-butted an Italian player and was ejected by a red card. Hopefully some explanation will come from Zadine's own mouth soon. Until then all of France will be left wondering what might have been.

I have been cheering on the Italians since England's shocking and absurd quarterfinal loss to Portugal. But in the final I was turning. I was leaning to the French, mainly because of what a wonderful player Zadine is. And then came the head-butt.

It's not wise to come down on him too hard however. Sporting competitions are contests jam packed with emotion and adrenaline rushes. I have had plenty of moments in my own sporting career (which culminated with four years of division 3 hockey at Bethel University) that I look back at now with amazement.

Learning to control your emotions and make qua…

movie review: Glory Road

Let me warn you...I don't know exactly how this post will come out. I am dealing with some raw emotions.

Tonight Stephanie went to the Redbook and rented our family a movie. The movie she rented was Glory Road. This is a movie about the 1966 Texas Western men's basketball team and the amazing run they went on to win the national championship. It is also a story of racism and courage.

Watching this movie made me realize that I absolutely hate racism. I hate it. Looking at someone and judging them simply by the color of their skin is freaking idiotic. There were a couple scenes in the movie that depicted the way the black Texas Western players were treated. In one scene their hotel room was vandalized and blood was smeared all over the wall. It makes me so upset.

Racism is still a pervasive issue in this country no matter how many people try and deny it. I hear it in the way people talk; even people who claim to 'not have a problem' with others, if you listen carefully yo…

i prefer spaghetti to frog

Italy 1 - France 0

emerging leader tearing it up

I came across a nice little Q&A with Matt Chandler on Mark Driscoll's blog today. I have been listening to Matt's preaching on my ipod for a couple months now and I love it. The guy is smart, intense, funny, current, and theological. He's a must download.
From Driscoll's blog:
The Scouting Report identifies emerging pastors of innovative churches that haven'’t yet gained much national attention. This month a good friend named Matt Chandler, who pastors The Village Church in the great nation of Texas, answers 6 questions.SUBJECT: Matt ChandlerAGE 31AGE OF THE CHURCH: 30 years oldMEDIUM AGE OF THE CONGREGATION: 27 years oldLENGTH OF TIME PASTORING THIS CHURCH: 3 years1) What growth has transpired in your three years as pastor?168 to 2700 in average weekly attendance.2) What three things have been most difficult for you?(a) Managing such rapid growth, (b) figuring out how to theologically educate people of diverse backgrounds, and (c) putting the right people in th…

rumor has it

During high school I somehow got hooked on listening to the band Fleetwood Mac. One album I enjoyed was the Rumors album. So far, listening to that album has been the one and only time I have enjoyed hearing or dealing with rumors.

Rumors can start so easily. Anybody who went through 5th grade knows what I'm talking about. Sadly, the devastation that rumors often create does not go away as simply as it begins.

Rumors and gossip start when people open their mouths regarding things they don't fully know or have no busy talking about. Lies and distortions then flow easily off our tongues as our own selfishness drives us to leak information or twist bits of truth for our own gain. This can happen quietly; a person may start spreading a rumor or manipulating some piece of information without even noticing it.

What I have experienced in my life is that most confusion is eliminated when people deal directly with one another. I am so grateful that the leadership of my church is strong e…

my next 24 hours should look something like this

10:00 pm. Just woke up. 30 minute nap.

10:30 pm. Leaving to work the night water shift in Maple Grove.

4:30 am. All the plants are wet. Driving to Bethel Seminary. Stop for a fountain pop at SA.

Update: Didn't end up leaving Maple Grove until 6:05 am. Arrived at Seminary at 6:30 am.

7:00 am. Just woke up in my truck. Have to shower in the locker-room before work at the Sem.

Update: Woke up to shower at 7:35 am. Work starts in 25 minutes.

3:00 pm. Leave work. Drive to interview in Maple Grove.

Update: No interview today. Staying at Bethel until 4:30 pm.

5:00 pm. Get back home. Love my kids and wife.

5:05 pm. Sleep.

church marketing might suck, but kevin hendricks doesn't

I had a fun lunch today with Kevin Hendricks, chief blogger at Church Marketing Sucks. Kevin is a neat guy who has a lot going on right now between being a dad and maintaining a couple really great blogs.

If you have not checked out the CMS blog by now you are missing out. It is a site whose mission is to help churches produce great marketing and communications materials. They also have a couple partner sites that are very beneficial to anyone who does church marketing: Center for Church Communication and the Church Marketing Lab

Like Mark Batterson says - the church has the greatest message in the world and it deserves the greatest marketing. Way to go to Kevin, Brad and everyone else at CMS who are making sure that this happens.

wholly yours

Here are some lyrics that hit me this morning. They are from the David Crowder Band's song: Wholly Yours.

I am full of earth, You are heaven's worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
And You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me, You are divinity
What a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries holy, holy God
You are holy, holy, holy
I wanna be holy like You are

You are everything that is bright and clean
And You're covering me with Your majesty
And the truest sign of grace was this
From wounded hands redemption fell down
Liberating man

But the harder I try, the more clearly can I
Feel the depth of our fall and the weight of it all
And so this might could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me, making me clean

sticking to a healthy spiritual diet

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Isn't it the worst when you're on a diet and someone around is enjoying a food you really love but aren't supposed to eat? You look at the person's food and can almost taste the flavors in your mouth. Every fiber of your being desires to walk over and ask for a bite. Just a little bite. Just to try it. Just a taste.

This is what I'll bet happened to Adam and Eve when they first ate the fruit in the garden and sinned against God. It is a process like this that trips people up all the time. Sin looks good. We want to try it. We don't want the whole full blown sin because we know that sin is bad for us (or we think we may be able to avoid angering God and losing his blessing and approval). So we just take a bite and think we'll be o…

back from the cabin

We just got back from my parents cabin in Emily, MN. We arrived there Sunday morning and spent the extended weekend playing at the park, helping with some landscaping, going on boat rides and grilling meat. It was nice to spend some time with my brothers and parents.

Probably the most exciting moment of the weekend happened this morning while I was preparing to take Stephanie and the kids out on the lake in the peddleboat. Jacob was sitting in the back seat and when Stephanie stepped in from the dock the waves combined with her momentum and sent Jacob flying off the back of the boat into the lake. Stephanie screamed and I hopped over the side of the boat and pulled Jacob safely back up onto the dock. We were soaked and he was a little surprised by it all, but overall everything was OK.

My parents have invested a lot of time and sweat energy into the cabin and it shows. They have landscaped rock formations and stone paths outside, redone the interior cabinetry and paint, built a great fi…

the responsibility of a father and husband

I was reminded today of the great responsibility a father has in raising a girl. I was in the shower when Isabelle came into the bathroom repeatedly saying "Daddy, Daddy!" Stephanie, the Izzy-interpreter, told me that Isabelle wanted me to look at her pig-tails. She does this every time Stephanie dresses her or combs her hair.

I believe that this behavior is part of the hardwiring God has placed in girls. Woman are made by God to seek love and affirmation from a man. As girls this man is to be their father; as grown women it is to be their husbands.

Sadly many men do not fulfill this God ordained responsibility. Fathers abandon, belittle, degrade or ignore their daughters. Husbands speak harshly, cheat, shut out, or shut down with their wives.

God please give me the strength, wisdom, ability, patience, and love to treat the women in my life the way you desire me to.