Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2007

Reasons For/Against Listing Our House

The reasons not to list our house on August 1,

1. The housing market stinks
2. There is not a massive Minneapolis exodus to Monticello
3. Our neighbors house was on the market for a year and never sold
4. The people behind us have their townhouse listed for almost 10 G's less
5. I don't have a new job nailed down yet
6. With three kids keeping the place 'showable' will be insane

The reasons to list our house on August 1,

1. We feel that are being called to move
2. Abraham didn't know where he was going either (read more)
3. God is BIGGER than housing markets and $
4. Big Faith takes Big Risks for a Big Jesus

So...anybody interested in moving?

Putting Pop in a Water Glass is Stealing

One thing that really makes me upset is when people come into my store, ask for a water glass and then fill it with pop. It predominately happens with high school boys, but there have been multiple instances where it has been adults doing the stealing. I have even seen mothers come in and blatantly take pop for their kids. Nice example - I'll bet those kids will be the teenage boys in 10 years.

What happened today takes the cake though. A kid came in an asked for an application. While he was sitting in the store filling out the job app he was swearing and making a lot of noise. Then he comes up to the counter and asks for a water cup. Unbelievably, he proceeded over to the pop machine and filled up the cup with soda. Are you freaking kidding me! We didn't feel the need to interview that dude.

I'm sure I filled up plenty of water cups with pop in my day - but man it drives me nuts.

Weekend Update

It's been a great, long day. After church my wife went gung-ho and decided to rent a carpet cleaning machine. I wasn't completely jazzed about the project but Stephanie and an amazing friend of ours cleaned all the carpet in the house! It was sweet! Thanks AF.

Note: We're hoping to get the house on the market August 1. To all the Negative Nancy's: we know it is a tough time to sell but we feel the call of God to move and we're trusting him with the details!

In the meantime, I spent 3 hours in the garage cleaning, organizing, packing, and sweating my butt off. The kids loved it all. They swam, played baseball, rode bikes, and generally caused major havoc outside all afternoon. To end the night Stephanie cooked a fantastic spaghetti dinner and then the family all went to McDonald's for ice cream.

We're tired but we had a great day.

Moving Forward

By the time many of you read this it will probably be too late, but I would ask you to pray anyway.

Some background - last Thursday, frustrated from not hearing back from Target, I decided to search a few ministry job sites, looking for something that might be a good fit for me. I was very excited to see a job opening at a church in MN. The job looks like a position that would be fun and creative and stretching at the same time. The technical requirements of the position are a little beyond what I have previously done, but it is all something I would be interested in learning - so I applied.

Some older background - almost 12 months ago, after being on a 6 month leave from the ministry where I served, I came to the difficult decision that it would be best for my family and I if I resigned from my position as Associate Pastor. It was clear to me then, and has been made clearer since, that were some significant areas in my life that God needed to work on before I could continue in past…

Top 20 Church Logos

Kent at Church Relevance says,
A good logo design is…Distinctive. Memorable. And timeless.
It is aesthetically pleasing.It is scalable, looking good while as large as a billboard or as small as a dime. It looks good in color as well as black and white. And it is simple enough that it can be applied to a media spectrum as broad as paper to plastic and t-shirts to websites.Most importantly, a good logo communicates the unique qualities of its brand.With that in mind he identifies his Top 20 Church Logos. Which are your favorite?

Not What I Signed Up For

My crabby quotient has been extremely high lately, which means my compassion quotient has been atrociously low. Not that compassion is normally a strength of mine, which spells all the more disappointment in the lives of people around me.

I remember singing "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart" when I was growing up in church. Somehow I picked up the notion that Jesus was going to make all my days great. Blue skies and birds singing. Ha. I was a touch off on that notion.

You might think that growing up in church, going to a Christian university, completing a Master of Divinity degree, working in ministry for 6 years, and consuming all the sermons and blog entries I can, would have some kind of positive effect on that 'joy, joy.' But tonight I'm wondering about that.

What does it really take to meet Jesus and have your life radically changed? I'm not sure that's happened. I mean, I know of Jesus, we've talked a few times, I try …

Keep Drinking Your Soda Friends

If I hear one more news station report about the study linking soda to heart issues I am going to puke.
(CBS News)BOSTON People who drank more than one diet soda each day developed the same risks for heart disease as those who downed sugary regular soda, suggests a large but inconclusive study.It is interesting that in the lead of the online article the word inconclusive comes up, but during the TV broadcasts the news anchors are reporting this like some kind of matter-of-fact study.

What really annoys me is that they spend a majority of the report discussing how diet and regular soda seem to have the same link to heart problems, all the while ignoring the obvious fact that most people are eating a Big Mac and large Fry while sucking down their soda of choice.

I know I went to public school but I kind of wonder what is harming the heart more in this meal - the soda or the 100's of calories and fat grams consumed while chewing?

Here's to drinking soda - regular or diet - Cheers!

Target Update - I Got an Interview

Finally some good news to report. I got a call from a woman at Target yesterday. I have an interview set up for August 7. I will be interviewing for an Executive Team Lead position, which is a person who oversees different areas in a local Target store.

Had to wait two weeks to hear from them, now I have to wait two weeks to interview. But at least is is progress! Praise Jesus.

Weekend Recap

On Saturday my wife and I went to the Macaroni Grill for dinner with our friends Jon and Emily. We've known them since college and Emily does our taxes every year so we took them out to say thanks. Then we hung out at Starbucks for awhile, talking and playing cards. We had a free babysitter so we took advantage of the chance to stay out a little later than normal.

Yesterday we a family day. After church (Open Door) in the morning we ran some errands. Then, when lunch and naps and a disappointing Twins game we done, we did some browsing at Barnes and Noble and Pier One before eating Chipotle for dinner. We are at the point now where we have to buy food for all three kids; freaky stuff, especially considering that Jacob eats 3-4 quesadillas by himself!

Next we went to a church service in Edina at The Upper Room. I'm pretty excited about a position I applied for at the church (Technical Arts Director), so I wanted to visit and say hello to the Creative Director. He was a r…

Submitting to the Lord's Will

Last night I was talking about some things with Stephanie and this section of James 4 came to mind,
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (ESV)I have a lot of requests , um, demands for the Lord. I have wishes that pertain to my employment, where I live, the type house I live in, the behavior of my kids, the size of my family, the life change I want to see in myself (and others), my future, my safety, lifestyle freedoms, etc, etc.

The problem is that I often state these things pretty arrogantly, without regard for what the Lord's will would be in each of them. I have a picture in my head of what my life should lo…

Pay Attention to Your Inner Life

George Macdonald once wrote,
Foolish is the man, and there are many such men, who would rid himself of his feelings of discomfort by setting the world right, by waging war on the evils around him, while he neglects the integral part of the world where he lies his business, his first business - namely.his own character and conduct.Powerful words. I have been here. Running to this or that or the other "good" thing, all the while ignoring the junk that was turning over inside of me. It seems easier, I think, to heal ourselves by healing the others around us. But the attempt is futile.

I can not solve my inner pain but solving yours. I can learn something from your journey, yes, but my own character cannot be healed until I face it, expose what is dark to light, ask others to walk alongside me, and start to deal with it head on. Not an easy road. Not a glamorous one. But the only other option is stagnation, delusion, fragmentation, and sometimes even death.

It is a common…

Advice For A Daughter On Selecting a Husband

These are the words of advice written in a letter from John Quincey Adams to his daughter, concerning the things she should look for in a potential husband.

I read them today and thought instantly of my Isabelle.
Regard the honor and moral character of the man, more than all other circumstances, think of no other greatness but that of the soul, no other riches but those of the heart.

Boys Need to Be Taught To Be Men

Last night we had an employee who didn't show up for his shift at work. He didn't call either. Just left us hanging without him. So, he's done.

This is the second time in a month that we have had to fire someone because they didn't show up for work. In both cases the kids were boys I hired, had hopes for, worked extensively with, gave second chances to, and fought for with my other managers. And they burned me.

I'm amazed at the short sightedness kids have regarding their futures. They are so caught up in the here and now, in hanging out with their friends, that they don't put any thought to how the choices they are making today are going to impact them tomorrow. Because of the way they handled the job at A&W, they have blown any chance of a positive reference from me.

Sadly, from what I can discern, much of these young kids behavior is a reflection of the example, or lack there of, they are seeing at home. This makes me all the more convinced of the n…

Our Set Backs are Set Ups

Some timely advice from Steven Furtick,
...what seems like a set back to me is usually a set up for the activity of God. Do yourself a favor. The next time someone brings you bad news, smile. And instead of agonizing over “how will I get through this?” anticipate what God is about to do. He must be setting you up for something.Can't wait to see what God has in store for my family and I. Really I can't. So the sooner he wants to show me...

The Bourne Ultimatum

Can't wait for this movie to come out. All the Bourne movies rock. I don't go to the theater too often (because it is so stinkin' expensive) but I think I'll make an exception for this one.

Target Update - Still No Word

Still haven't heard back from Target. It's been a week of torturous waiting. Talked with my brother tonight who reiterated that Target HR is notoriously slow. Doesn't make me feel much better. Hopefully tomorrow.

PS- I'd really appreciate your prayers on this on. Ask God to expedite the process and provide me with a job. Thanks.

Irony

For the better part of an hour my kids (particularly Izzy) have resisted going to sleep. All the whining and disobeying was driving me insane. Tonight I know, if only in part, what it was like for my parents. Finally they are both asleep.

Now I miss them!

YouVersion Example

YouVersion used one of my posts on their blog as an example of how YouVersion could be used. Cool. Check it out. And if you haven't heard about YouVersion make sure to read more about it here.

Beckham Comes to America

I'm pumped about David Beckham coming to America. I've been a fan for a long time. Hopefully American soccer will increase in popularity. I hope my kids want to play someday.

Top Ten Signs You are a Blogging Addict

Top Ten Signs You are a Blogging Addict (HT: Acts 29 Blog) 1. You technorati yourself daily (No)
2. You prefer blog commenting over actually talking to people (Sometimes)
3. You have thought about live blogging your "interactive marital event" (Never!)
4. You call other bloggers by their blog names, "Hey Tall Skinny Kiwi" (No)
5. You think about blog subjects while on the toilet (Yes)
6. You have more than ten RSS Feeds in which you subscribe (Yes)
7. You have commented on your own blog with a pseudonym (No way, maybe)
8. You tell friends you could quit blogging anytime you want (I could, honest)
9. You have blogged from your cell phone (I wish)
10. You are not satisfied with blogging. Now you are a twitter (Nope)

Prayer Thoughts

Why does God command us to pray for the well-being of others? If he has already purposed to heal them (or not to) our prayers make no difference. Or do they? Does my prayer (or lack thereof) somehow force God's hand? Like...God wanted to heal "Jim" from his cancer, but since I didn't pray everyday for a month, God was forced to alter his plan and let Jim die. Or, does prayer somehow put up resistance to the work of evil so that God has more freedom to do what he wants?

Prayer is a mysterious thing when we use it to try and manipulate or force God to act. The Bible seems to teach that a) Prayer influences God to act; b) God does what he wants in all circumstances. Maybe, then, prayer, in regards to prayers for others, is more about us feeling empathy and compassion for people, and it is an act of slowing down and putting someone else in the center of the universe for a change.

Growth in Capacities Comes With Growth in Size

Heard a pastor say in a sermon recently how much he enjoyed watching God increase the gifts in a fellow pastor as God increased the size of the ministry. This was an encouraging thought. I often get ahead of myself and worry that I don't have the skill set for the size ministry I see myself playing a part of. It was liberating to think that as God brings growth in a ministry he will simultaneously increase the capacity of those he has purposed to be involved.

Hybels at the National Church Conference

The family headed up north to my parents cabin today. I am wandering around the house picking up the tornado-like debris left by my children and listening to Bill Hybels plenary session from the National Church Conference.

I am amazed at the fact that I never tire of listening to Bill Hybels. Much of his session I have heard in various forms before, but every time I hear it I am inspired a new. He is a man packed with wisdom, passion and experience. Really liked his stuff on the difference between a hankering and a holy discontent. Also, he nails it on the head when he says that church people need to be dead serious about their spiritual gifts and making sure that they use the ones they have and quit faking with the ones they don't have.

What inspired me most was the section of the talk where Hybels expounded on 2 Corinthians 4:18. Trusting in what is unseen is the place I find myself in a lot lately. Hybels explained that in his view, faith is walking towards what we know God…

Savoring Starbucks

During my drive to the bank this morning I realized it had been a while since I enjoyed a cup of Starbucks coffee. I decided to indulge myself and I am loving every sip of it. Unfortunately I can't completely indulge without some tiny amount of buyer's remorse. I have heard to many preachers (probably been one) who hammer on people about drinking expensive coffee while the world starves - notwithstanding the fact that coffee beans provide income for many farmers around the globe.

Today I had a thought. How about preachers take a moratorium on dissing Starbucks on money Sunday, and they start hammering the parents who spent thousands of dollars on food, hotel, and SUV gas driving their kids around to play sports? Or, how about we focus on the money that gets spent on fertilizer, mowers, sprinkler systems, and lawn care products in the name of having the greenest yard in my neighborhood (which is really about pride anyway)?

What other things would you say are a bigger waste t…

Aiming For The Bull's Eye

I am waiting to hear from Target this week for a potential interview. My brother works for a Target store in Minneapolis and he has connected me with a few people. It is amazing how many people work for Target. Since I have been talking about it I'll bet I could make a list of at least 15 people I know who are associated with Target in some way.

I am hoping to get a position as an Executive Team Lead. This is an in-store management position where I would lead a certain department of the store. From what I can discern Target is a responsible, top notch employer who takes good care of their team members. The position I am hoping for would be a challenging step up from my current management role which excites me. Also, the benefits of the position are attractive and would help to relieve some of the current pressures facing my family.

Stephanie and I are cautiously excited and optimistic. Please pray that I hear from the district recruiter today or tomorrow, and that I don'…

Piracy and the Environment

This is a great poster! (HT: Digital Inspiration)

Check out this post for information on how to save energy and the environment in simple ways with your computer.

The Gospel Coalition

If you are into..

- growing spiritually
- engaging in great conversations
- developing your doctrine
- Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, and other Christian leaders
- reformed theology
- connecting the Gospel to the culture

Check out this new site: The Gospel Coalition

Movie Review: Breach

Today is definitely an extra coffee day. I have stayed up way too late the last couple nights and I am feeling it this morning.

Last night I watched the movie Breach. Breach is a film based on the true story of what many people label "the greatest security breach in US history." It recounts the months leading up to the arrest of FBI agent Robert Hanssen (played by Chris Copper), who for decades was spying for the Soviet Union and passing along top secret information. The movie was very suspenseful and the spy vs. spy activity that developed between Hanseen and Eric O'Neill (the agent charged with drawing Hanssen out, played by Ryan Phillippe) was intense.

I had no problem staying awake and dialed into what was happening in this film. If you like government-based, suspense-filled films than you will enjoy Breach. Plus, when you only pay $1 at the Redbox, how can you pass it up?

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (PG-13, with very limited, implied but not shown, sexual cont…

Quick Thought

Going to work at 2 pm bites after spending the morning biking, wrestling, drinking chocolate milk, going to the park, watching cartoons, playing with squirt guns, eating frozen pizza outside, and pitching baseballs to your kids!

Rain Is For the Birds

This afternoon we had some serious rainfall for about an hour. When it was finished I happened to look out the window and see some 7 or so birds walking through our yard sucking up worms. It reminded me of this verse, which then forced me to entertain the idea that just maybe God caused some rain to fall on the ground today so that his birds could have an easier time finding some lunch. Have you ever thought about that before? That God sends rain for things like that? Seattle must have some severely hungry birds. But I digress.

Being in the middle of some streching times right now where we are trying hard to discern the hand of God, just the thought of him sending rain for the birds was comforting. If my God cares that much about those stinking blackbirds, then, as his image bearers, he must care quite a bit for the well-being of my family and I as well.

Oh that God would deepen my faith so that all my joy would be wrapped up in the delight of his goodness. Tomorrow I will begin…

YouVersion

For the last couple years I have been following Lifechurch.tv from a distance and I am impressed with the creative ways they have embraced technology to reach people for Jesus. Their latest initiative is called YouVersion and it looks like it is going to be very cool. In their own words YouVersion is...
a free online Bible that allows users to associate video, audio, images, text, tags, and links to other websites with any verse or series of verses in the Bible.Basically, Lifechurch.tv is putting the Bible online and creating ways for people to explore, interact, and benefit from it. The hope is that people will benefit from user-generated content and that people may even find community and relationship with one another through the sharing of information. You can read more about all of YouVersion's features, here.

You can learn more about the project on the Life Church blog here, and on the YouVersion blog here.

Great Customer Service

I had a great customer experience today while getting our van's oil changed. My kids were with me and they were getting a little antsy waiting for the mechanics to finish their work. That's when something happened. The man working the front desk noticed what was happening and he took the initiative to change the TV channel from morning news to cartoons. He did it all on his own, like I wasn't even in the room. Then when we went to pay he addressed the kids kindly with some jokes. They really enjoyed it and his actions made what could have been a difficult situation much calmer and easier to deal with.

That is customer service and that will bring us back to that particular shop again.

Because I Said So

Right now I am watching Because I Said So with my lovely wife. Usually I enjoy watching 'chick flicks' with her but this movie is not among my favorite films. It has a very predictable storyline and the mother character played by Diane Keaton is honestly painful to to watch. PAINFUL. So far she is completely obsessive, bossy, possessive, and over bearing. Praise the Lord my own mother is nothing like her. Anyway, I better get back to watching the movie.

Knock, Knock

Knock, knock. Another door to knock on. Another one that seems promising. I guess we'll see.

But I don't want it if God doesn't want it for me. I'd rather get denied 100 times than get a job that God doesn't have for me. So my prayer is that he is in the details of this one and that some good my come of it so that my family and I can settle down into a bit more steady frame of mind.

Amazing how uncertainty and anxiety makes us pray. Maybe God brings some waves into the waters of our lives simply to cause us to speak with him. Maybe. I'll have to ask him someday.

Twin Cities Churches Fighting Homelessness

A friend from seminary, who is pioneering some great work in the West Bank area of Minneapolis, posted this satirical news article. Read it though and consider how plausible something like this really is and how much of an impact churches could have if they worked it out.
A network of large Christian churches in Minnesota’s Twin Cities has announced a multi-point plan to fight homelessness. The announcement of the “Twin Cities Open Door Campaign” comes in response to what leaders are calling a “crisis of conscience” and contains many bold measures, most notably, plans to make church building spaces available to overnight guests that will be bussed to and from city centers.

Rest the rest...
(HT: Church Marketing Sucks)

Pick A Door

Another one of the things that I felt was a good opportunity for me fell through yesterday. And though I am not too bummed about this particular instance, I am frustrated at the ways things aren't coming together. I am ready for a change and I feel like I keep pushing open all these doors only to find empty rooms behind them. I am encouraged by the truth that God is for me and that he has a plan for me, and I am praying that he would make it a little more obvious what my next move is supposed to be.

Vacation Highlight #2

Loved having extended, uninterrupted time to be with the kids. Working so far from home and so many hours each week wears on me sometimes. It was nice to wake up and know that I would be available to the kids each day. We did lots of fun things. A few highlights for me were...

1. Driving to South Bend and visiting the beautiful Notre Dame campus. Go Irish!
2. Taking Jacob and Izzy to watch Surf's Up at the movie theater. (only 2 0f 5 stars though)
3. Walking around St. Joseph looking at all the painted cars and having ice cream.
4. Playing in the waves of Lake Michigan.
5. Jumping on the trampoline.
6. Going walleye fishing with Jake and catching some big ones.
7. Swimming and playing the pool.
8. Multiple wrestling matches in the bedroom. jujhj

You can see pictures of many of these events here.

What Trees Teach Us About Relationships

I was doing some garage cleaning tonight and came across a piece of paper with something I had written on it a few years ago. It says...
I have not done a lot of research on this, but I read that the interweaving of forest root systems provides the different trees with stability and nutrient sharing. This is remarkable to think about. God created the natural world to be dependent on relationships. He also created the human world the same way. When I look at my own life I see the most trouble in the times when I am alone, or even not physically alone but instead alone by means or emotional detachment with those around me. Satan loves to pull people into isolation, out of relationships. That's what he did with Eve in the garden and that's what he wants to do to you and me as well.

Vacation Highlight #1

On Friday night Stephanie and I had a chance to go on a double date with our good friends the Kerr's. We went to Comerica Park in Detroit and watched the MN twins play against the Tigers. Baseball in an outdoor stadium is sweet, can't wait for the Twins to get an outdoor place. Everything about the night was perfect - free tickets and parking, great seats close to first base, a free hat from the gift shop, a hot dog and nachos, being next to my love, 70 degree temps, and an 11-1 thrashing by the Twins. You can see more photos of the stadium on my Flickr page, here.

Welcome Back

Hello blog. I have missed you (actually not that much come to think of it).

Had an awesome time with Stephanie and the kids. I'll try to share some stories and pictures when I get a chance.

Now it's back to the work routine.