Showing posts from March, 2007

What's Up With Me

Here's a snapshot of my life right now...
I started working as a flower delivery man for Lynde Greenhouse and Nursery to make some extra cash in April. This means I am delivering plants from 7:30 am until noon, and then working at the restaurant from 12:oo pm until 8:00 pm. 70 hours weeks. No fun but necessary to survive and start eliminating some of the debt that is crippling us.I had applied and was hoping for an adjunct teaching position at Bethel University. Found out this week that someone was hired for a one year, full-time position. The hiring erased the need for adjunct professors.Stephanie and I are hoping and praying that God would lead us and open up some critical doors in the next couple months.
Reading: Healing the Shame That Binds You, First, Break All The RulesListening to: Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Tim KellerTonight I went to work-out with Stephanie at the Monticello Community Center. As soon as I took some strides on the treadmill my body starting scream at…

Life is Pushes Down the Tubes

A young woman that I work with expressed some anxiety today about what her life might be like after she graduates high school this spring. She wondered, "What if my life goes down the tubes?"

It made me think. Life doesn't just go down the tubes by itself. Rather, we determine the direction of our lives with the decisions we make, the people we spend time with, the places we go, the things we intake and allow to form us, and the passions/desires we pursue and let dominate us. Sadly, many people think that they are nothing more than victims of time or chance, and so they live like there are no future consequences to the chooses they make now.

It is a non-negotiable rule of life that when you takes steps in a certain direction you will make progress towards the end goal of that pathway. Therefore, if you don't like what lies ahead of you in the direction you are walking, then you must turn around and start walking in a new direction.

This is exactly what Biblical re…

Bringing Sexy Back

Has the church become too focused on sex? This guy doesn't think so.

The Central Questions My Kids Are Asking

(picture stolen from Stephanie's blog)

Stephanie has been working hard with Isabelle over the last week to get her potty trained and we are experiencing some good results. Jacob didn't get the toilet thing until he was 3. Isabelle is less than 2.5, but I hear girls usually catch on faster and Izzy is very girly. So girly in fact that the last two times her Nana has given her money she has picked out and purchased dress up shoes and the princess dress she is wearing above. Izzy loves to play in her mommy's make-up and she is constantly using the phrase "That is so cute." It is especially adorable (and, I think, very revealing about the feminine soul) how Isabelle will ask me, "Am I a princess?". Which of course she is!

Jacob, on the other hand, is all boy. He wants to play outside, ride his bike, and wrestle. With his gift money he bought a toy shark and a toy T-Rex. Jacob loves to imagine his animals doing battle. The constant question Jacob ask…

10 Preaching Tips

Project Management Source has created a list of 27 tips to help you improve your public speaking. Here are 10 that can help you preach better:1. Know your audience.
“Prepare [a sermon] that is understood and appreciated by those listening.”4. Personalize your sermon.
“Most people will relate and respond better to your [sermon] when you combine the facts with a collection of interesting tales and examples.”6. Stick to time limits.
“If you find yourself running late, know beforehand what you can afford to omit. In case you run short, be prepared with additional material that goes with the flow of your [sermon].”9. Make a strong start.
“Start off on the right foot with your very first words and you’ll find that it’s easy to hold on to your audience’s attention for the rest of the [sermon].”10. Watch your body language.
“It’s what you don’t say that tells the most about you.”11. Maintain eye contact.
“Look at your audience, not through or beyond them when you talk.”12. Pace yourself.
“Speak slow…

It Shouldn't Matter, But...

Craig Groeschel has a great series of posts going under the title "It Shouldn't Matter, But..." He says,
In the church world, there are a bunch of things that shouldn’t matter, but they often do.Check them out.

Part 1 - The Church's Environment
Part 2 - How the Pastor Dresses

A Question

Why do I look forward to putting the kids down to sleep at night only to miss them once they are dreaming?

God Owes Me Nothing

Last night I listened to a couple of extremely powerful messages by Matt Chandler. He is going through a series on the cross and he sets up the series with a few weeks discussing the glory of God and the passion of God for his name. I can't remember which message it was, but in one of the first two Chandler states emphatically that "God owes you nothing!" I have been internally rocked by that phrase all day.

I would never say that God owes me something out loud, but I sure live like it. Too much the unsaid driving force in my live is the belief that God owes me financial security, good health, a nice home, easy parenting, healthy and safe children, success in my business and ministry endeavors.

Why does he owe me these things? Because I said a prayer to ask him into my heart. Honestly, that is what it boils down to at the most basic level. Because I am a Christian I think that God is supposed to make my life nice and that all my needs will be met. I live like God …

Run for Fun

For Christmas I got a Foot Locker gift card from my in-laws. Last week I finally got around to picking out a pair of shoes. Unfortunately the store didn't have the color I wanted in my size so I had to order them. The weather here has been so beautiful that I can't wait to get my new shoes so that I can start running again.

I used to think that 'run for fun' was a complete oxymoron. But since I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2005 I have really enjoyed it. I haven't done much running recently but I'm excited to get my shoes and start up again this spring.

The Laws of Scarcity and Abundance

Heard a guy preach yesterday on the difference between the 'law of scarcity' and the 'law of abundance.' He contrasted the world's approach to resources (get as much as I can, horde as much as I can) to what Jesus taught and did.

A couple key takeaways:
"One loaf of bread in the hands of Jesus can feed the whole world."
"We become the body of Christ when we allow our bodies to be broken and our blood to be poured out for others." (both physical and metaphorical)

It would be easy for Stephanie and I to be motivated right now by the fear of scarcity. Thankfully we have a mighty God who is able to do immeasurably more than we can dream or ask.

When Mom's Away the Family Will Play

Tonight was Girls Night Out for Stephanie so after work I had the kids all to myself.

First we hit up a local park. The weather is absolutely amazing here. 60 degrees and no wind. Since Jacob told me he had to 'number 2' and he was running around the park holding his backside I figured we should head home. This was after I had him standing next to the tennis court for his 'number 1.' Random question: At what point is indecent exposure ticket a real possibility?

After I took a quick shower (which is a scary event with 3 kids in the bathroom waiting for you) we headed to the Community Center play land. The fun didn't last long there though because the kids kept hassling me about going to the bathroom.

So, we came home and hung out for a while watching UCLA beat Kansas in the NCAA basketball tournament. Then we had a snack (ice cream for Izzy and I, popcorn for JT) and watched Toy Story. I have seen that movie more times than any other I think; I still really like i…

The Root Beer Bear Arises From His Slumber

The Root Beer Bear came out of hibernation a couple times this week.

On Thursday I took a co-worker and some root beer to a local senior center where it was Staff and Resident Appreciation Day. The residents really enjoyed having me walking around in a bear costume handing out root beer floats. Despite the fact that I was sweating more than when I played hockey, I had a wonderful time seeing smiles on tired old faces. One woman kept calling me Mike each time I would walk by her. It was sad and funny at the same time. The half hour I spent there reminded me of the weekly church services I used to hold at the senior center in the community where I live. I miss those people. It was a rare time where I allowed myself to be loved simply for who I am instead of as the person I think others would like my to be.

Then yesterday another co-worker and I visited a local elementary school carnival. The Bear was a massive hit with most the kids. Except for a few terrified little souls with bur…

Heart of a Pharisee, Head Full of Orthodoxy

John Newton, writing in a letter to a correspondent on controversy (Works of John Newton, 1:270-272):
Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit. Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines, as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace.Wow. That hits hard to a person like me.

(HT: JT)

A Little Cell Phone Courtesy Please

A woman came into the store today with the volume of her cell phone speaker phone at an obnoxiously high level. In fact, it was so loud that the poor elderly gentlemen ordering before her couldn't keep his mind straight and ended up ordering chicken instead of the fish he wanted.

Then the rude woman sat down at a table and ate her meal without missing a beat in her conversation. We even tried turning on the juke box but she didn't seem to notice. I was amazed at her inconsiderateness towards the people around her. She was the star of her own world and she wasn't bothered at all about the affect she was having on the people around her.

How often do I act like that? Living without a consideration for the affect I am having on others.

Side note... how many of you (or how many of the churches you attend) have some sort of 'please turn off your cell phone' message during announcements or in your service program?

Blades of Glory

I absolutely can not wait for this movie to come out.

The Racism That (Regrettably) Still Lives in Me

Today at the A&W a co-worker (who is black) called to let me know that he wouldn't be coming in tonight. It turns out that something happened between his son and some policeman in Milwaukee. Sounds like the police may have roughed the kid up a little bit, but no one is releasing much information for my co-worker was going to try and find out what's up.

While discussing the situation with another co-worker (who is white) I found myself sort of heading down the mental trail of "another black person who thinks the while police are out to get him." Instead of feeling empathy for the man and the uncertainty of his son's situation, I found myself mentally debating whether or not my black co-worker was looking at the situation racially. Which is exactly what my unconscious brain filter was causing me to do.

It was such an awaking to the sin that lives inside of me and how much 'renewing of the mind' I need, no matter how far along I think I have come in my…

Great Preachers Are Collectors

Rick Warren has a great article on preachers becoming collectors. Here's a quote that sums the whole thing up...
I’m convinced this is one of the most helpful habits you can develop as a preacher – the habit of collecting. Don’t go through a single day without collecting something for future sermons. It will save you hours in the long run, and your messages will be far meatier.

Fathers Don't Shame Your Children

Its slow enough in the store today that I can write this...

A man and his wife just came into the store. Trailing behind them and playing happily were a couple of boys, probably around the ages of 5 and 3. As mom and dad were looking over the menu board something happened that made the littler boy start crying. Dad freaked out and grabbed the older boy and spoke sharply into his son's ear. This caused the offender to start crying and to hide his face on first dad, and then eventually mom's leg. Apparently calmed down, Dad tried to step back in and soothe his son. But nothing worked. No bribe of root beer, no letting the boy pick out a seat. Nothing. The interchange between dad and son was finished.

The older son was visible ashamed of himself and the entire situation. The way he was treated publicly by his dad was causing him to shut down and withdraw. From his body language he obviously wanted to hide.

I know I have reacted this way towards my own kids and it is not r…

Lion Chasing Updates

The tests I took last week went well, though I won't get any official results for the next couple weeks. I am also still waiting to hear more on my pursuits at Bethel.

In the meantime...

Stephanie has been talking with an old friend over the last couples days and it looks like God might be opening up some doors for us that we never would have expected last week. Isn't that so often how he does things?

I'm so thankful that He sees things from a much bigger perspective than me and that He doesn't always answer my prayers the way I hoped He would. For now we are praying for His wisdom and guidance as we plan for the future. Please join us in those prayers.

I'll keep you updated.

Texting the Pastor Will Keep People Awake

The ESV Bible Blog addresses an interesting idea in their post Blackberry in Church? The main thrust of the post is examining the place/effectiveness of teachers interacting with hearers in real time through text messaging. The ESV blog highlights two other posts on this kind of preacher/audience interaction. You can read them here and here.

I love the idea of this because it connects preaching with the place younger people are at. My brother is 23 and he is constantly text messaging on his phone. And so are all his friends. It is becoming, for good or bad, the dominate way young people communicate with each other.

One thing I think would be awesome would be for a preacher to have a 8x10 flat screen on his podium that would display real time text messages for him next to his manuscript. That why (assuming his is a multi-tasking, polished and practiced, not too ADD preacher) he could either save or respond directly to a question or comment from the people listening to him. Somethin…

The Cross and Criticism

From a 1999 Journal of Biblical Counseling article called "The Cross and Criticism," by Alfred Poirer.
"In light of God's judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God's criticism of me in Christ's cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. And the most devastating criticism turns out to be the finest mercy. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blame-shifting."I found this amazing quote in the middle of a great blog post by a guy who received some criticism for his rapping at Bethlehem Baptist Church. You can read all about his inner journey from anger to thankfulness here.

(HT: JT)

Why Crosby is the Best

Why is Sidney Crosby the best player in the NHL? Count how many guys are standing around him in the clip from Saturday...

Visitors are Like Detectives

In the past I have had discussions with people regarding the necessity of worrying about first impressions in church ministry. I wonder to myself (and I guess whoever reads this) "if the restaurant industry knows first impressions count shouldn't the church care as well?"
"Customers are like detectives looking for clues on how good the service and food will be," Eileen Wall said. "The first thing they see is how it looks. The environment impacts expectations, once you get in there, that's where the people clues take over." Restaurant News, March 12, 2007I love the idea of people being like detectives, although I expect the idea of church visitors being associated with customers makes some people instantly react. That is an understandable reaction. But at the same time, we have to acknowledge that the Sunday service is in some forms a consumable product for people far from God. Most churches even acknowledge this by encouraging visitors not to …

Object Orange Objects

Joe Thorn pointed out this article highlighting the unique response of local artists to neighborhood decay in Detroit. It will take about two seconds for you to read it. can watch this video about it.

A Couple Things for You To Read

A concise, Scripture filled piece by Mars Hill Church on the consumption of alcohol.

(HT: Steve McCoy)

Here is a great article by Tim Keller - "Deconstructing Defeater Beliefs: Leading the Secular to Christ." Can't remember who pointed it out but it is a great read for people interested in sharing the Gospel (with particular implications for preaching and teaching to people far from God).

Happy Birthday to My Wife

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife Stephanie!

This afternoon we celebrated with her family at Space Aliens. The kids have been looking forward to it all week. There is a game room there where the kids can win tickets to redeem for cheap toys. It is scary how completely insane Jacob and Izzy get walking into a room filled with lights and noise and chaos.

Last night Stephanie and I enjoyed dinner with a couple close friends of ours. It was wonderful to get out of the house and spend time laughing and talking and eating with people we love. Plus, Stephanie had a email coupon from Houlihan's for a free birthday meal so we ended up splitting a 12 oz New York Strip steak dinner for only $7.00.

Speaking of free birthday food, Stephanie also signed up with Red Robin. We celebrated her birthday early on Friday with the kids there. Jakey and Izzy split a kids meal, and Stephanie and I split a double cheeseburger meal, so we made it out of there only dropping $8.00. Signing up for those…

March Madness

I watch about 7.5 basketball games all year. So why do I always get so intrigued with the NCAA basketball tournament?

Final Four Prediction: Florida, UCLA, Georgetown and Ohio State

Championship: UCLA over Ohio State

Human Depravity Displayed

The sad depravity of humanity apart from the light of Christ...


The Lambs Expose Us

Heard an amazing podcast today from Timothy Keller. There are some life changing things in here that I don't want to forget. It is a teaching from John 21, centering on...

1. What the church should be
2. Why the church alone can never do it
3. How Jesus enables the church to do it

One part of the teaching that really hit me was Keller's challenge to change the world (create an alternate city within the city) through true friendship. He took Jesus' words in John 15:15 and made the saying: "A true friend always lets you in and never lets you down." This means that to be a true friend a person doesn't spin others and doesn't use others.

Keller then told a story to show how on our own we can never be true friends with people. The story was built on Jesus asking of Peter to 'feed his sheep' and illustrated how difficult a thing that is because...

1. Sheep need to be feed, they do not feed you
2. Sheep are needy and weak
3. Sheep are ugly
4. Sheep do not g…

Tests and Lion Chases

Today is a big day.

I am taking some tests this afternoon that should help me understand myself better and that should help me live in a more integrated, healthy way.

Then I am off to do some lion chasing at Bethel University. Hopefully I can post some positive things on the chase in a couple weeks. I am hoping a pretty exciting opportunity materializes.

Pray for me.

If you think about it.



To0 much time reading Sex God. :)

Furtick and Elevation

Here is a pretty sweet blog by a pastor whose church is rockin' it. Check out his posts Nice is Overrated and I Promised You a Good Comeback. Read the second one first, they go together.

Here is a video that his church (Elevation Church) recently used to make a major announcement. Using videos like this is a great idea. Video causes people to tune in during a time when they usually turn out.

Find out more at the church blog.

Funny Kid Stuff from Jacob

If you would have been in the bathroom with my 3 year old son Jacob and I on Thursday night you would have heard the following conversation take place...
Dad: "Jakey, do you know where your poopey comes from?"

Jacob (with passion): "From my BUTT!"

Dad (both of us laughing): "Yes, you are right. But do you know what makes your poopey? What is it made of?"

Jacob (thinking): "Stinky socks?"

Dad (both of us laughing): "No, it comes from the food in your stomach. When you eat you get energy and muscles. It is the extra stuff you don't need."

Jacob (very seriously): "Oh. But Dad, when my food goes all the down here [points to his thighs], then I get diarrhea."Can't argue with that.

End of the NCAA Road

The remarkable Bethel Royals hockey run came to a hard end Saturday night in Green Bay, WI. The Royals hit a brick wall named the Green Knights and we unable to muster much of a threat in the game losing 4-1. I wasn't able to make the trip, but I listened live on the internet and after talking with my brother Aaron, it sounds like it just wasn't Bethel's night. In classic NCHA fashion, St. Norbert out worked, out hit and out muscled the lighter, more skating oriented Bethel team. You can read some of the game highlights here.

It was an exciting season for the Royals filled with many 'firsts.' They are a young team with an impressive core of players returning next season. It just sucks that I have to wait until November to watch the boys play again. Hopefully my brother will work hard in the off-season and put himself in the position to lead both the team and league in scoring next year. He has the potential.

Elimatnating Partiality

Read this passage from the NT Book of James first...
A group of middle age handicapped people came into the restaurant today. I have always struggled with physically and mentally handicapped people. The make me uneasy and nervous. To be honest, I usually do what I can to avoid them. I do this mostly out of fear and insecurity.

I really admire the people who give there time and lives to helping the handicapped experience the fullest life possible. I don't think I could do it. I prayed so many times during my wife's pregnancies for healthy, normal functioning babies. There was some shame that came with these prayers. I don't know if it is shame from God or shame from myself.

What I do know....I wish I was what I am not yet.

Over the years I have been working on it. I have made the greatest strides interacting with people with Down Syndrome. I thank God for giving me a greater spirit of love and compassion. I am also thankful for my friendship with a man whose sister h…

Blogging Again

One of the primary influences of my blogging passion was this dude.

After a long hiatus he has started blogging again and I'm pretty excited about it.

Welcome back.

How to Raise a Pharisee

I am always on the look-out for good advice because most days I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to raising my kids. One thing is sure though: I want them to know and love Jesus Christ. So with that in mind I bring you this...
Carey Hardy, Senior Executive Pastor at Grace Community Church, recently gave a seminar at the Shepherds' Conference on How to Raise a Pharisee, which contains a number of helpful reminders of what not to do as a parent:
Majoring on external instead of internal issuesExcessive controlOverreacting to failureBeing unforgiving and impatientElevating preference over biblical principleUnnecessary separatismJudging others…other familiesBeing “belligerent”—a fighterFavoritismNo humorBuilding up their self-esteemLack of genuine spiritualityRead the whole thing for explanation/elaboration.(HT: JT)

JB Named to MIAC All-Conference Team

Congrats to my brother Jeff for making the M.I.A.C. All-Conference Team. This is the second year in a row that Jeff has made the team. All the coaches in the conference vote on which players should win the award so it is a nice acknowledgment of his talents. In all, six Bethel players were recognized (plus an additional 3 named honorable mention), including the perpetually jovial Steve Eastman.

I never made the All-Conference Team, but then again, Jeff has accomplished many things in hockey that I never did. The thing I am probably most jealous about is the opportunity he has had to play on the penalty kill unit. I was never considered a good enough skater to kill penalties at the collegiate level but I think I could have and I would have loved it.

Good Leaders Collaborate and Don't Just Dictate

Great words on leadership.
"I firmly believe in choosing great people to help run this company and its large and diverse set of businesses. It can’t be about one person. I have to be a collaborator not a dictator, when it comes to running this company, even though a CEO has a certain set of responsibilities, and accountability himself to shareholders and to the board. It’s important to really find great people, and to enable them. And that’s what I’ve tried to do."
Robert Iger, President and CEO of Walt Disney as quoted on the Financial Times site (January 31, 2007)(HT: Tony Morgan)

And the Boys Keep Winning, Winning and Winning, Winning

(the title of this post should be read to the theme of 'Let's Get It Started' by the Black Eyed Peas)

Wow, what a season for the Bethel Royals hockey team! Last night they continued their remarkable run defeating the UW-River Falls squad 2-1 in WI. It was an extremely exciting game with action up and down the rink all night long. Both goalies were solid and made many great saves. Jeff wasn't able to put any points on the board but he had some good plays, blocked a couple of crucial shot attempts, and was a gnat in the face mask of the Falcon players all night long on the penalty kill. Read the NCAA game story here.

Up next for Bethel are the Green Knights from St. Norbert. This promises to be another difficult game for the Royals who are 1-17 against St. Norbert since the two teams first met in 1989. However, this season has been one of heroics and new beginnings for the Bethel boys. So all bets should be off on Saturday night. You can read the St. Norbert previ…

What Kind of Intelligence Do I Have?

My wife did this today so I wanted to as well. No big surprises but it might help some of you get to know me a little better. Almost all of the job ideas are things that I have considered doing. I'd still sort of like to go to law school.

Your dominate intelligence is linguistic intelligence.

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

Becoming Clean Inside and Out

Casey Ross recently posted an observation on something he noticed happen in one of the Sunday School classrooms at his church. You'll have to read his post to get the complete story, but Casey ends with this...
Once again, I'm confused. The unchurched kids are engaged and having meaningful experiences. The churched kids act as if they don't need it. Somewhere along the way, these churched kids have been programmed to not care or to care about the wrong things. Where and when does this happen?It seems to me that this same behavior happens with adult Christians. To be honest, I find it happening in myself sometimes as well. My guess is that as time goes by and our relationship with Christ continues, our external behavioral sins decrease. Hence, we feel there is less to confess. And this is good. As Christians we should lie less, drink less, speak unkindly less, etc.

But the hard reality is many times Christians are guilty of trading external sins for internal ones. We g…

All in a Day's Work

My guess is that there was never a long line of young men in Israel lining up for this job in the priesthood.

Satan Hates

Image just launched a billboard campaign in multiple cities where they have church locations. The theme of the campaign is Satan Hates There are some pretty catchy sayings on the billboards and an ironic story behind the denied billboard application in Las Vegas. You'll have to check out the Swerve blog to see what I'm talking about.

Two Worship Experiences Are Better Than One

Interesting post by Craig Groeschel explaining his theory that two worship experiences are better than one.

I listened to a Catalyst podcast recently that featured an interview with Dave Ferguson. In the interview Dave talked about how his church (Community Christian Church) has always tried to take a proactive approach to church growth; which means they went to two worship experiences before the first one was full. It sounds like Gary Lamb is doing the same thing in Canton, GA.

What happened to the 80/20 rule?

Lots of Time With Nothing to Read

Some people always have gum in their purse. Others always have some chap stick in their pocket. Today just about everyone has a cell phone within arms reach. For me it is a book.

I try to never go anywhere without a book. I am pretty sure I picked up this trait from my mom. Ever since I was a little kid I have enjoyed reading. Many times I stayed up late into the night reading while the rest of my house slept.

Whenever I go on a car trip or fly somewhere I bring a book. I try to take advantage of any delay or down time I have by reading. But today I forgot my book at home and I am dying without it. Work is so slow and I have nothing to do. So I am doing a little Bloglines cleaning and posting all the stuff I have marked 'save.' Hence the multiple blogs posts.

I hate not having a book with me.

Does Your Church Have Services or Experiences?

Craig Groeschel, of Life, talks about why his church has started referring to weekend services as 'weekend experiences."
In their book, “The Experience Economy,” Pine and Gilmore explain how people are seeking experiences. I love to experience a great concert, movie, or day at the lake.More so, people desire (or need) to experience the reality of Christ. As a staff team, we decided to change the name from “weekend services” to “weekend experiences.” It is not that I’m opposed to “service,” I simply prefer experience. Why? I want to help people experience God’s presence.If the name-change doesn’t do anything else, it helps our staff think differently about what we’re trying to accomplish on the weekends. Let’s experience the holy presence of our Heavenly Father. Groeschel and another Life Church pastor have an insightful and helpful ministry blog going called Swerve. Check it out.

10 Signs You're Not Ready for Change

From the mind and blog of Tony Morgan comes....

10 Signs You're not Ready for Change
You see other organizations as the competition instead of the idea incubators.You're trying to avoid criticism that comes when you fail...and when you succeed.You're afraid of the culture.Your life is fast and cluttered and there's no space to dream.You value getting it right over getting started.You believe conflict is a bad thing.You've stopped asking questions.You think systems and strategy are the enemy of creativity.You're expecting to receive credit for your ideas.You think you've already arrived.

The Root Beer Bear @ Mite Night

This winter I had the opportunity to do a little local advertising at the local hockey rink. Our store partnered with the Coon Rapids Varisty hockey team to sponsor 'Mite Night.' Four times during the season some little kids would come out and play a 4 minute game in between periods at the high school game.

As a sponsor of the event our store was able to send the Root Beer Bear out on the ice to 'referee' the game. Then we served root beer to the kids after they skated. Since I am the most experienced skater at the store, I got to be the guy who went on the ice in the Bear suit. It was a fun for the kids and great exposure for the store at a family/community oriented event.

Many Things Can Happen in a Year

Yesterday my wife and I did something that I never thought we would do.

Then, in the late afternoon, we went over to my parents house to have dinner and celebrate my mom's birthday. It is amazing how quickly time goes by and how much can change in a year. Last year on my mom's birthday she and my dad verbally committed to sell the house they had lived in for 20+ years, the company my dad worked for was deteriorating and I dropped some shocking news about upcoming changes in my life.

This year was much calmer and more focused on being together as a family (despite the absence of two siblings). We all talked about how faithful God has been and how thankful we are to be in the position we are in now. Even though it was difficult to see a year ago, God's wise hand has been on all our lives and we all consider our current state better than our previous one.

Oh yeah...I haven't mentioned it before but my mom is blogging now.

Bethel Wins the MIAC Tournament Championship

Congratulations to my brother Jeff and the entire Bethel Royal hockey team (what up Easter!). Last night they defeated the St. Thomas Tommies 5-3 to claim the first M.I.A.C. hockey championship in Bethel history. Adding to the sweetness of the win is the fact that in the previous 19 years Bethel had an almost unbelievable record of 1-46 against St. Thomas. It was the third victory of the year for Bethel over St. Thomas. Bethel moves on to play in the National DIII tournament next week.

Here's a couple pics from the game last night. The first one is of my wife Stephanie and our son Andrew.

This one is Jeff and I after the game.

Schultz on the Need for Change at Starbucks

Scott posts an excerpt from a memo by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on the 'state of Starbucks' and relates the words to leaders who "have either become blinded by the reality of decline or are too proud to honestly and openly admit that mistakes have been made and that change is indeed necessary."

Here's a quote from Schultz....
"I take full responsibility myself, but we desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it's time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience." Link to memo

How Parents Influence Their Kids Future Careers

Margaret Feinberg wrote some wise words in a recent article called The Family Factor:Every mother and father naturally dreams about what their children will grow up to be and accomplish. Often unknowingly, parents project unrealized dreams on their offspring. Whether you are aware of it or not, your family has a tremendous impact on how you answer the question, "What the heck am I going to do with my life?" Through their reactions and responses, both stated and unstated, your family provides a framework for approval and acceptance. They not only give you roots; they give context to your life. One of the reasons family is such a big factor in directing our lives is because parents play a pivotal role in introducing us to new ideas and concepts. They help us become familiar with particular professions or pastimes, and once we are comfortable in an area, we are sometimes less likely to venture off into new territory.Of course, not all of the pressures that friends and family ex…

Letting Go of It

Gary Lamb has a great post illustrating the question, "Why is is so hard for people to let go of the 'crap' in their lives?"

Royals Advance, Jeff Goes to the ER

Despite blizzard like conditions outside last night, the inside of the Schwan's Super Rink in Blaine was packed with students cheering on the Bethel University Royals. The BU boys didn't disappoint as they defeated visiting St. Olaf college 5-1 on a wintry March night. With the victory Bethel advanced to the M.I.A.C. Championship game on Saturday. Read more here

The picture above is Bethel's reaction to their first goal in the game last night. My brother Jeff is #17.

As usual the scoring attack was balanced with multiple Bethel players getting goals. My brother Jeff played a solid two way game. He had one real nice move in the third period, jumping with the puck in between two Ollie defense men before shooting it off the goalie's face mask.

The scariest moment of the evening happened with about 4 minutes left in the third period. My brother had the puck in the offensive zone and he tried curling back up the boards with it. Just as he turned a St. Olaf defense man che…

Selling Paper, Fighting Evil

Great show. Super funny video. Hilarious character.

(HT: Steve McCoy)