Showing posts from March, 2013

Easter 2013 Recap and Reflection

Last night Stephanie told me it was my job to make sure the kids had the very best Easter ever.  I don't know if I came through for the kids, but I personally had a fantastic day.

It started with waking up refreshed, getting everyone out the door fairly painlessly, and showing up early to church.  I can't describe how much I enjoy being early to church and helping set-up, talking with my faith family members, or simply wandering around drinking coffee, holding babies, and seeing all the faces arrive.  At CANVAS Church we have a sign in the lobby that says, "Welcome Home," which perfectly encapsulates how I feel when I am there.

This morning at the church the most impactful part of the service came right after the sermon when a short video was played which posed questions about Jesus and our response to his amazing, saving work.  As the video ended the band broke out into a song, and though I'm not exactly sure of the words of the song, what I can say is that the…

Lord, Give Me Anguish

Starts a little slow, but becomes increasingly penetrating to the heart of God's people.

Gay is Not the New Black

Today I read an article that proclaims: "Gay is Not the New Black."  The article was written in a response to the growing number of people who equate the fight for gay marriage with the fight for civil rights of African Americans years ago.  The author of the article is an African American and he puts forth many reasons as to why the idea of gay marriage rights does not equal civil rights.  
Here are three paragraphs that stood out to me,
It should be noted that the right to marry is one of the most frequently denied rights we have. People who are already married, 12-year-olds, and people who are too closely related are just a few categories of people routinely and/or categorically denied the right to marry. Hence, the charge that it is wrong to deny any person a "fundamental right" rings hollow. There has always been, and, by necessity, will always be discrimination in marriage laws.Perhaps the most damning aspect of the civil rights argument is logical unsustainabi…

What We Let Our Kids Watch and Listen to Matters

I grew up in a Christian home that was for many years absent of most secular entertainment sources.  We didn't have cable TV, we didn't watch many movies that weren't G rated and the music that played in the background was almost always from the Christian radio station (with a few Christmas and cowboy or trucking records mixed in).  This created a safe atmosphere with very little exposure to swearing and sexually laced language.  I'm grateful for it, and grateful for the sensitivity that was built into my spirit for language that doesn't honor God.

Of course it wasn't possible to shield me from these things forever.  I heard classmates says things while riding on the public school bus that I would never, ever have heard at home.  Sleepovers at friend's homes where cable TV was available opened my eyes in a very literal way to a whole new world of images - and consequently, desires.  And it was in fourth grade at an outdoor skating rink that I saw my first …

How to Make an ISTJ Calm and Happy

When it is time to write a sermon I have found it is most effective for me to get out of the house and go to a coffee shop.  My mind is clearer and my focus is sharper there.  I am usually more productive.

The increase in output may be because, as pastor and author Mark Batterson often says, "change of place + change of pace = change in perspective."  However, I think something else is influencing me.  When I am out of my house I am not distracted by messes, dishes, house chores, or clutter; my mind is completely free to focus on the task I want to accomplish.

 In addition to Batterson's creativity axiom, here are a couple little formulas that I've found hold true for me:

Cleanliness = Creativity and Calmness.
Organized home = Organized mind.

Simply put, I function best when my environment feels under control.  This feeling of control comes in many different forms.  I feel like things are under control when my surroundings are clean and organized.  I feel like thin…

My Son Andrew! What a Guy!

I asked my boys what I should blog about today.  My son Andrew, who is 6 years old, looked at me with sort of crazy eyes and a big, open mouth smile, pointed at his chest and said, "How bout me?!"  OK, I thought.  There is plenty of material.

Andrew.  What words can I use to describe Andrew?  Wild, crazy, sweet, friendly, daring, bright, social, curious, and touchy-feely are a few.

Andrew brings energy and excitement with him in high doses where ever he goes.  He loves to laugh and play.  He loves to be tickled.  He loves to wrestle and hug and roll around smiling and giggling.

Andrew loves to have the spotlight on him.  In his kindergarten class he is a leader, an instigator, a helper, and a heartthrob.  He has many friends, makes many friends, and is the kind of kid that other kids love to be around.

Andrew can also slow down, cuddle on a chair, and read a book or watch a movie.  He wraps himself all around me like a boa constrictor working its way around its prey, with t…

Finding Deeper Meaning in Our Work

Over the last few months the Lord has been leading me into a deeper discussion and involvement with groups of people exploring the idea of marketplace ministry and a refocusing on classical notions of vocational calling.  This is peculiar because this is happening at a time when I am increasingly frustrated with, and questioning, what my future career goals and pathways are.

In an article for Bethel Seminary professor Chris Armstrong quotes Jeff Van Duzer (the dean of the Seattle Pacific University School of Business and Economics) who says, "The average person will work 100,000 hours in their lifetime.  This seems like an enormous waste if it's spent doing fundamentally meaningless things whose only value is a paycheck."  
Armstrong quotes Van Duzer again in an article written for Leadership Journal, "Part of burnout is losing track of your purpose.  Now you're working harder and harder, faster and faster for that which is seemingly more and more m…

Take A Moment to Say Thank You

I walked through a situation with an associate at work a few days ago that reminded me of an extremely simply, unbelievably important, and yet all to commonly overlooked management principle.

Take the time to say THANK YOU to the people who work for you.

The associate I was talking to was very upset.  The more we talked through his feelings the more clear it became that he was feeling overworked and unappreciated.  He was giving his all and he felt like no one recognized that.  Instead of saying thanks people were pushing him to do more and more, and they weren't taking any time to talk to him or understand the circumstances of his job.

Saying THANK YOU isn't just important for managers in business.  It is important for friendships, marriages, parenting and volunteer coordinators.  It is way to easy to lay all our demands on the people closest to us and to take advantage of our relationships.  If we're not careful we can very quickly use up all the relational deposits we…


Right around the beginning of the year many bloggers talk about choosing ONE WORD for the upcoming year.  The idea is that you select a word which encompasses your hopes, dreams, goals, or desires, and then use that ONE WORD as a way to bring focus for personal growth over the next twelve months.  Read this for a good explanation.  One example of guy who does this is Mark Batterson, who choose SELEH for his 2013 word.

In January I thought about joining in on the ONE WORD movement but I kind of missed the boat.  Ok, it totally set sail without me.  However, I'm ready to board now.  
My 2013 ONE WORD is....tender.
I would hope that the people who know me would describe me with many words like: playful, energetic, competitive, athletic, out-going, spontaneous, intense, and loving.  However, being the human being I am, I am sure I could also be described as being rash, brash, loud, impatient, short-tempered, competitive, intense and covetous.  
I am many thing, but one thing I am not…

What Does God Want?

"That's what you want.  But what does God want?"

Those are the words that smacked me in the chest last Friday.

Stephanie and I are blessed to have some really amazing friends, and there is one couple we have been close to for over twelve years, despite the fact that for half of that time they lived in Michigan.  They live in Owatonna now and it has been wonderful to spend more time with them.  Stephanie has been friends with the wife since middle school and the this woman's spiritual influence in Stephanie's life cannot be exaggerated.  Her husband is the kind of man I want to be like - manly, smart, Godly, and tenderhearted.

On Friday they were over at our house having dinner and hanging out, when the wife asked me if I hoped to return to full time pastoral ministry again.  I get asked this question a lot and so I went into my whole speech about how I would love to, but how it is hard to imagine since our family is so plugged into Northfield and the idea of b…

Quick Thought of the Week


Sticking Up for Someone Who Doesn't Look Like You

I stumbled across something on Twitter that has got my mind going.  There was a book recently written and published by a prominent pastor on the topic of American slavery and racism.

That's good right?  We need more voices within the church speaking Biblically into these issues.  But there might be a problem - this book was written by a white guy from Idaho.  I say might because being a white guy from Idaho doesn't necessarily disqualify you from writing about slavery and racism.  I would think, however, that it makes the topic a bit more difficult to write about in a nonacademic way.  I'm sure Idaho has its fair share of racial strife and history, but I'm betting it is not quite the same there as, say, Montgomery, AL.

One of the things I read about the book was a blog post written by a black pastor of a church in Tennessee called Fellowship Memphis.  In the post the pastor challenges the perspective of the book's author and comments on how the tone and content …

Taylor Swift and Screaming Goats - Happy Friday


1) I'm dropping a pretty serious post on y'all on Monday

2) I know everyone is Minnesota is consumed with the MN Boys High School Hockey Tournament (or at least they should be),

....this post is going to be a little on the lighter side.

If you know me, then you know that I love Taylor Swift's music.  For the last two years my wonderful wife has given me a T-Swift cd as a birthday gift.  What an tremendous woman I married!

Last weekend a friend of the family introduced me to the screaming goat phenomenon taking YouTube by storm.  There's some pretty hilarious videos out there to watch.

Then, in a moment of pure entertainment genius, these two wonderful, seemingly opposite things were combined into one!

Check this out and have a wonderful Friday!

Making Memories with Jacob

I am taking Jacob to the Minnesota Boys High School Hockey Tournament today.

I can't wait to spend  the day with my first born son.  Thanks to the generosity of a friend, this is the second year in a row we've had the chance to go down to Saint Paul and watch the games.  Each year is more and more fun as Jacob learns and loves the game of hockey.  Who knows, maybe some day he'll even want to play...check that - maybe some day I'll LET him play!

The plan is to watch the two morning games (go Edina Hornets!), before grabbing some pizza at Cossetta's and heading over to watch Tornado Alley at the MN Science Museum.  After that it's back to the Xcel Energy Centre for the 6pm game and some evening nachos.

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to spend one-on-one time and invest in my son.  He's at such a formative age right now and I don't want to waste any opportunities to affirm him and build into him as a young man. Going to an event like this giv…

The Emotional Pendulum

Isn't it amazing how many different ways life can go?  It can go good, it can go bad.  It can go happy, it can go sad.  Sometimes the road is paved and well marked, other times it is gravel and overgrown and feels impossible to navigate.  Throw in the seemingly uncontrollable twists and turns of our emotions and it is a wonder anyone even gets out of bed in the morning.

In the last ten days the circumstances of life, combined with my emotional responses to those circumstances, have had me bouncing back and forth between happiness and despair.  At times I am the jolliest guy in the world, content with all I have.  Then I read or hear something about the life of someone else and all that sweet feeling I had before goes away.  I'm like an emotional gas can with a crack in the bottom;  I get all filled up and then it all slowly leaks away.  Then it gets filled up again.  It is all smiles.

No particulair reason that I'm sharing this.  Maybe if you feel the same way then you…

I'm Bohemian, and I Love it.

We had a potluck at work today.  I love potlucks!  So much food, so many options, so many great tastes.  So fantastic!

The abundance of food meant that I could pack a little 'to go' plate.  Some of my work peers were chiding me a little bit, as I was putting a few treats on a plate for my family.  I had to explain to them that scrounging, mooching and grabbing up free stuff is in my DNA.  You see, I have Bohemian blood running through my veins.

What is a Bohemian you may ask?  Isn't it a song by Queen or something like that?  Not exactly, although you may enjoy watching that song sung like this.  According to Wikipedia, "The term "Bohemianism", when used to mean "social unconventionality", comes from the French bohémien "Gypsy" "because Romani people were thought to come from Bohemia, or because they perhaps entered the West through Bohemia."

I love my gypsy-ness.  I love my Bohemian history and the way that it has shaped me. …

Quick Thought of the Week


Why You Should Read Your Bible

Way too many Christians spend way too little time reading their Bibles.

It comes off arrogant and judgmental for me to say that (the charge of hypocrisy is probably valid also), but none of that changes the reality of my experience which shows me a majority of self-professing Christians are ignorant to what the Bible teaches.

This is remarkable considering most would likely confess a belief that the Bible is God's Word.  So, there on their coffee table they have the very Words of God, the words that teach them who God is and how he desires them to live, and they pass their hand right over this Word on the way to grabbing the TV remote.

Even more remarkable is the frustration people feel as they go through life, wondering what to do and say and how to act.  Christians like this are like foolish people stumbling around the darkness when the light switch is right on the wall next to them.

Today I was listening to a preacher talk about how the Holy Spirit works in our lives to brin…