Thursday, March 27, 2008

Growing A Healthy Church

This weekend I'm pumped to be attending a "Growing A Healthy Church" seminar that's being held at our church.

I've heard nothing but good things about this course and even though I'm no pastor or church planter, I'm hoping to learn lots that can help me with leading College and Careers and hopefully in other ministry areas as well.

Speaking of ministry, I got some pretty amazing news yesterday. Supposedly some Wal-Mart stores in the US are now carrying my book! I don't know how many stores have it in stock or if it's selling, but that doesn't really matter. I'm just thrilled to know that such a big chain of stores somehow got a hold of something I wrote. And through the grace of God, maybe just one life can be changed.

Stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Saying "no"

Today I said no to something that I was asked to do and I can't tell you how good it feels. By nature I'm somewhat of a people pleaser (which I think deep down most of us are). So when I get asked to do things, I have a really hard time saying 'no'.

Over the years, I've gotten better at this, but I still find it difficult sometimes when I'm asked. Mostly because most of the requests I get are for good things. Great things even. But sometimes a good thing can turn into a bad thing if you're not the right person for the job or you're over-committed as it is.

So I said no. I explained that I've got a job that I love that is my focus. Ministries that are my passion. And family and friends who I'd like to spend more time with, not less.

It felt good to have the freedom to say no. I wish I could have learned this very important lesson years ago- it would have made life a whole lot less complicated.

Friday, March 21, 2008

NCAA March Madness

I don't really know very much about college basketball. If I had cable, I'd probably watch it. But I don't, so my knowledge is pretty limited.

But still something about March Madness draws me in year after year. I keep track of teams that I can't recall the names of at any other time of the year. I check stats. I watch the highlights online. And I do this all because of some genius idea: brackets.

Every year with my limited knowledge I take a random shot in the dark and pick my bracket (basically you call which teams are going to win and advance). Then I have fun watching "my teams" and seeing which ones advance.

There's probably better things I can do with my time, but I really enjoy it. And there are prizes which makes it all the sweeter. Two years ago I nearly won an awesome prize pack, but lost on the tie-breaker question.

So my bracket has been entered and until the tournament is over I'll be checking the scores and keeping track of the games. At last check I'm 11 for 13, so we'll see how well this year goes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On A Hill Too Far Away

With the Easter season upon us, I have been re-reading parts of one of my favorite books "On A Hill Too Far Away" by John Fischer.

If you haven't read it yet, I can't recommend it enough. I'm not one to write in the margins of books, but this one had so much meat in it that I couldn't not jot down thoughts and underline paragraphs.

One quote that has really struck me today:

"Sin is what prevents even the most well-meaning of us from completely conquering the evil in our hearts. We may climb the highest mountain and yet descend to the lowest form of greed. We may find a cure for AIDS and yet be powerless against the bigotry, prejudice, and self-righteousness that festers in the hearts of gays and straights alike. We may give much of what we have to feed the poor but not be able to come up with even a morsel for the hunger in our own souls. We are a study in contrasts. We all ate of the fruit. We are filled with the knowledge of both good and evil at the same time, and we cannot always choose correctly. Something went wrong. The cross tells us that. If something hadn't gone wrong, we wouldn't need a cross." (On A Hill Too Far Away, p. 67)

The truth is no matter how hard we try, we'll never "arrive". Which is why the blood of Christ is vital and His grace is needed to carry us through each day. There truly is wonderful power in the blood.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hound of Heaven

"As for me, I look to the Lord for his help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord Himself will be my light." (Micah 7:7-8)

Those verses have been the cry of my heart for the past couple of months because of a certain situation that I've been watching unfold. And while for a long time it seemed like the situation was covered in darkness, I am now seeing cracks of light break through into the darkness.

So I wait in faith and I trust that one day very soon the darkness that fell like a blanket will disappear completely. Not because of anything I've said or done. But because while an army of believers have been on their knees praying, the hound of Heaven has been leaving the 99 to pursue the one who is lost.

And I trust that one day soon that lost sheep is going to be found.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

MAD Media & Design

For the past couple of years I've learned quite a bit about creating websites. And what started off as a hobby has really taken off.

I designed a site for the MAD Christian Radio Show and from that two people saw it and asked me to make similar sites for them and it has kind of snowballed from there.

I'm currently maintaining 10 different websites and with the increased workload, I figured it was about time I set up a website for myself. After all, what looks worse than a web design business that doesn't have its own website?

So I've launched a site under the name "MAD Media & Design". MAD being in tribute to the MAD Christian Radio Show. You can check out the new site at

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Today I felt a longing I haven't felt in months. I want to go back to school. I miss it.

I miss completing assignments. Learning all kinds of neat stuff. And being in that kind of environment.

Don't get me wrong- I love my job and I wouldn't stop it for anything. But if things were back to normal with my health, I could have the best of both worlds. Work on finish my schooling and work part-time, like I was doing before the summer. After all, the last time I checked there isn't a huge demand for people who have 3/4 of a degree.

Actually, maybe it isn't the school that I'm missing the most right now. Maybe what I'm missing most is what 'normal' used to be.

Getting up early. Driving my siblings to work. Picking up a cup of steaming hot coffee. Stopping in at the gym. Putting in a full day of school work and a couple hours of work work in the evenings. Going out with friends. Taking part in sports. Having hobbies. Experiencing restful nights and fruitful days.

Life has changed and with that change has come a 'new normal'. And maybe not having school is only a small part of the equation. Because the longer this goes on the more the 'new normal' starts to look just like the 'normal' and that can be a hard thing to swallow sometimes.

Is it wrong to so greatly desire something that you used to have? I don't know. But I do know that what I don't have here is temporary and truly, I could be a lot worse off. I know that and I'm grateful. I also know that those who are 'missing something' are often the ones who end up with the most in the end, just not in the ways they thought.

Tonight I'm comforted by the words of Rob Lacey as he interpreted the beatitudes:

"I'll tell you who'll laugh the last: the people who don't think to much of themselves, who know they're a mess- their ticket to heaven's already in the post (first class).

Who'll be happy? The people who know about grief, who don't shove the mess behind the sofa, but face it- God himself is going to put his arm around them.

Who'll be content? The modest, gentle types, who don't go round grabbing- they'll be given the world.

Who'll be laughing? The people who only want to do the right thing, like it's their food and drink- their 'good news in tray' will be piled high.

Who'll be laughing? The people who don't hold grudges, who forgive and forget- they'll get treated likewise.

Who's laughing, deep down, already? The people who aren't polluted with stuff that mugs the heart- they'll get to see God.

Who's laughing, deep down? The people who stop fights and start friends, who turn fists into high fives- they'll get known as God's children.

Who's laughing? The people who get slapped down for doing the right thing- they get given the security code to heaven's gates."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Things I Want To Do

When I was younger I made a list of things that I want to do while I'm alive. Over the years, I've been able to cross some items off my list. But I've also added more.

So here is my list. Any suggestions? What do you want to do throughout your lifetime?

Things I Want To Do
*items in bold have been crossed off. Although for most, I wouldn't mind doing them again :)

-Travel to: Chicago, Nashville, Colorado, California, Europe (Holland, Switzerland, Italy), Cayman Islands, Panama, Israel, East Coast of Canada, Washington DC, South Carolina
-Set foot on an aircraft carrier
-Go on a missions trip
-Get my boating licence
-Learn how to ride a horse
-Write a book
-Ride in a helicopter
-Take an extended road trip or train trip on my own
-See U2 in concert
-Work in Christian radio
-Go white water rafting
-Go to GMA Week
-See an NHL hockey game
-Be an extra in a movie/tv show
-See a baseball game at Wrigley Field
-Get a hole-in-one
-set foot in all of the Great Lakes
-Complete an Incredible Adventure
-Go whale watching
-Learn how to fly a plane
-Ride a camel
-Go rock climbing
-Learn how to take really good pictures
-Open my own business
-Drive a BMW
-See an article of mine in a big magazine
-See a musical
-Visit an art museum
-Drive a motorcycle
-Master digital video and audio editing

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Paradox of Faith

Do you ever feel like faith can be a huge paradox sometimes? That's the way I feel right now. It's not that I don't trust God, it's just that I don't know how to act based on that trust.

I have been praying for something for over a year now. There is a situation that needs God's intervention but the people involved seem to be ignoring His leading every chance they get. So as a bystander who really cares about the people involved, what do I do?

Does moving towards acceptance mean that suddenly I'm more passive in my prayers? Or is there a way to to accept what's happening while still 'storming the gates of heaven' for change?

I'm not sure. As hard as I try, accepting the situation 'as is' seems all too close to giving up faith that it would change. But at the same time I don't want to live at odds with reality.

Thus the paradox.