Thursday, July 31, 2008

Minnesota Viking Fan?

Well I would have never felt it was possible, but I just may end up being a Minnesota Vikings fan this year. It appears likely that Brett Favre will end up a Viking. I wish he would have just stayed playing so this whole fiasco would not have been an issue but that cannot be reversed now. Why are the Packers so defiant against letting him play again? Not sure as no matter how good Aaron Rodgers is, he will have a worse QB rating than Favre this next year. I love the Packers but I will always think Favre is the greatest quaterback to ever play the game. So for at least this upcoming season - I will cheer for both teams (despite the fact that they are bitter rivals).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who is getting cheated?

Who is getting cheated in my life - my family or Central (my church & job)? Ever since Andy Stanley gave a message at the Leadership Summit (in 2006 I believe) on cheating the church instead of your family, I have thought about this topic. I do not think I have the balance figured out, and for that my family has suffered. On a regular basis I communicate to my wife and boys that my job at the church is more important to them with long hours, many nights away from home, and choosing work over family time. The church gets my firstfruits and my family has to deal with leftovers. It sucks. I remember during that message at the Summit, seeing many of the church leaders struggling with this. How sad is it when some of the people having the most trouble choosing work over family are pastors? No one at church sets out to cheat their family, but the safeguards are not exactly in place to stop it from happening either. When talking to my friend Jeremy at work I told him of my struggle to avoid checking my work e-mail at home. He laughed and said he stopped trying to fight that battle a long time ago. It just stinks because I know at times it truly makes my wife so upset and hurt. Plus, I know given enough time of my kids getting the shaft, they'll learn to resent the church as well. What do I do? I do not resent the church or think it is a bad place...I just don't know how to manage giving my family what they deserve. I envy the men who are home in time for dinner and spend the weekends doing family stuff. Am I alone in this struggle? I press forward in my struggle. In youth ministry, I don't know if there will ever be an answer to this problem. Just something you deal with and hope that at the end of the day/month/year/lifetime that my family is still there in support of me and in relationship with God.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good morning!

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. I woke up at 5:30 this morning so I could squeeze in a run before work (also because it is bloody hot by the time 7 am rolls around). It was light outside but the sun had not yet peeked its face above Superstition Mountain in the distance. I hit the ground running and immediately felt a sense of peace and comfort. For whatever reason I seem to be able to listen to God outdoors better, and this morning was no different. He spoke to me on my bitterness, jealousy, and anger issues; calming them all and reminding me that He desires holiness out of me not my own wants/desires. He reminded me of how blessed I am in so many different ways. Then as the sun started to poke out and the sky was illuminated with pink and orange radiance, He reminded me of how great He is. I wish everyone I encountered could see and feel God as I did this morning, disbelief in God would be non-existent. Anyway, I ended up running seven miles which is the longest I have run in a couple of months and it felt so good. Truly I feel refreshed, restored and ready for a new day (how do you like that alliteration!). Thank-you God for a great start to my morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hello 1990

Okay so my wife and boys have been out of town (visiting family in Colorado) so I have been all by my lonesome self. So one day while shopping for some food at Wal-Mart, I happened to meander over to the DVD section. Low and behold the complete first season of Beverly Hills 90210 was on the shelf for twenty bucks. Now perhaps I shouldn't be admitting this, but growing up I was obsessed with this show. Yes it was lame-highschool-drama-going-on-their-thirties, but nevertheless like most soaps it was addicting. So I bought it and have since traveled back in time to 1990 and reunited with my "old friends." I am pretty sure I should have my man-card revoked for buying, watching, and enjoying it but oh well. FYI - I'm still pissed that Kelly and Brandon never got married on the show. Call me a sucker but it should have happened. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go mow the lawn and swing a hammer to feel like a man again. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One of my fears

So one of my greatest weaknesses as I have said before is my need to be a people-pleaser. I please people, often times at great costs, because I hate to think about them being frustrated with me in any way, shape, or form. So today as I was digging into Scripture I came across an interesting nugget in 1st Samuel chapter 3. In a nutshell, Samuel is basically a priest in training who gets called by God and hears a message pertaining to the judgment of Eli (current priest) and his household (who were wicked for their lack of regard, respect, fear and love of God). It is an extremely stern message (ie: judge his family forever) that shows the absolute hatred of sin that God has. Anywho, the thing that stuck out to me was the conversation Eli & Samuel have afterwards. It says Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision (No kidding! Who wants to deliver that message to someone?) but Eli forces him to tell (with a threat). So the text says, Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Now I know he was threatened, but I still admire the huevos he had in sharing everything - bad news and all. My people-pleasing would have kicked in and I am sure I would have sugar-coated that message enough to make Eli think he was about to receive a blessing. My point? Sometimes the truth sucks and is incredibly hard to hear. Sometimes we need to deliver some harsh sounding critique & words of truth to people who, chances are, not really wanting to hear it. But nevertheless the truth needs to be heard and we must constantly be willing to deliver the truth - hiding nothing - to people. I openly admit this is not something I am really comfortable with or even good at doing. Yet it is the only way towards healthy communication and in the end is the only thing that will truly help someone. Sugar-coating and people-pleasing gets a person nowhere, no matter how much they like hearing it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Vomit: "to eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth; regurgitate; throw up." (thank-you There are certain "pleasures" of being a parent that really make you thankful for your own parents but not so thankful in being a parent. Poor little Trenton-D is not feeling so hot. I am writing this post after just cleaning up the carpet and blankets in his room from a middle of the night vomit session. He is currently holding a bucket in front of himself while watching Spongebob at one in the morning. Hopefully the puking is done...but I don't want to take any chances. The only thing that makes me chuckle is that earlier tonight Danielle and I went on a date and left the boys home with my parents. I guess at one point Trenton walked up to my mom and puked all over her pants. So I guess my cleaning it off the carpet is not that bad of a deal. Well maybe some sleep is on my horizon or maybe I'll keep cleaning up puke. Either way I am still thankful to have my kids which my just be the surest sign that I am supposed to be a dad.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A New Maverick in Town

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life." I find him to be one of the most fascinating leaders the USA has ever had. Though I struggle with some of the decisions he made (ie stealing Panama from the Colombians and then lying about it to the American Public), he was a man of action that did a great deal of good. I enjoy his views on progressive conservatism and the great legend of being shot in the chest but still delivering a speech he was to give. He was a rough rider his entire life, never afraid to make decisions even if they weren't the most popular. In the end, Teddy Roosevelt was a leader. I find it interesting in light of that, that John McCain has pushed himself as a TR Man. Who knows if that will end up being true (he would have to be elected first) but I think it is a good mold to pick by Senator McCain. McCain is a hard guy to get a solid grip on. He has never fit the Bush-Republican mold (on some issues yes, on other issues no). He is his own persona - a rebel "maverick" as some have called him. I like that some conservatives are uncomfortable with him. I like that liberals are uncomfortable with him too. Obviously like all politicians he is slippery with the unavoidable need to cling to certain special interest groups - but he is definitely worth keeping a close eye on!

All I know is that the closer that this election gets towards November the less certain I am on who is going to get my vote.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

You know what a hatchet is, don't you, Bug?

The other day while I was picking up a few items at Wal-Mart, I noticed Uncle Buck was in the $5 bargain movie bin. I couldn't help throwing it into the cart. I watched it last night and laughed the whole way through. It was good to see John Candy again. What a shame that he died. I still remember the People Magazine Cover after his death. My mom bought me the magazine because she knew how much I loved him as an actor. Irv Blitzer, Gus Polinski, Chet Ripley, Harry Crumb, Barf, Del Griffith, Ox and many other great roles. I think he is one of the most talented comedian actors of all time. So here's to you John Candy. You may be long since gone from this world, but I still enjoy your work.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why I love Jim Carrey


One of my favorite stories from the Bible was originally pointed out to me by my good friend Eric Grabau around 8 years ago. It comes from 2 Samuel 23:13-17. Basically David is in a cave and starts thinking about the past (when things were probably much easier) and how it would be nice to have some water from a well in his hometown of Bethlehem. The problem? The area is being guarded by the Philistines and there was no access to the water. The part that is so awesome is the 3 guys that decide to risk their lives in order to bring David something as simple as a glass of water because it meant something to him. David seeing their bravery, honor, and devotion sees the water as something far more symbolic and pours it out as a sacrifice to God. A small yet extremely powerful story. It makes me evaluate how I do life with people, especially those closest to me. Would I be willing to risk my life in order to honor and show my love to those closest to me? Would I be willing to lay it all on the line for even simple stuff to show my respect for those around me? What is my level of devotion to my family? My friends? I am completely blown away by the devotion those "mighty men" showed for David. On the flip side, what is my response to the loyalty, devotion and love that is shown to me by my family and friends? Do I acknowledge it? Does it cause me to praise my God? How do I honor those who have chosen to honor and sacrifice for me? I am forever grateful to Eric for pointing out this small passage to me. I often come back to it and think about my friendship with him. Given the chance, I would hope I would break through enemy lines simply to bring him a glass of water as well.

How do you cope?

I came across an incredible story this morning. Without giving away the whole story (you can read it for yourself) it is about a dad coping with the death of his son in Iraq. The dad is now going to Iraq himself having signed up for the military once more and volunteering to go to Iraq. What do you do when you are a 44 year old man and you lose your only son? How do you honor his memory? How do you cope with his loss? I honestly don't know what I would do in his situation. I respect him for choosing the path he did (despite the breaking of a promise in doing so). The article points out an interesting tidbit: "The whole reason he joined the military was out of his conviction that — wrong war or not — he could do something to keep another young man alive." He has the hope that he could possibly spare some family the trauma that his has faced. Support of country, support of military, support of families; all of this despite opposition to the war itself. I do not know Francisco Martinez but I have the utmost respect for him. I pray that he does indeed save some young men and women from the cruel hand of death and that his actions help reunite families back in America. It is a bold way to cope with the loss of a son, and it is honorable beyond belief.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I saw the movie Wall-E last night with some of my JH students, adult leaders, and even Trenton! I do not want to spoil it for those of you who have not seen it, but I loved it. In fact the more I think about it the more I liked it. It is such a creative and different film, especially for Disney. That being said, I don't know how many kids will enjoy the movie. Its like an adult cartoon. As somone sitting next to me said, it reminded me of good old Johnny-5, I half expected to see Steve Guttenberg pop out. So all that to say - go see the film. I think it is worth the investment.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I read an incredible book last night by a guy named Mark Danner. It was his account of The Massacre at El Mozote. I highly recommend the book as it gives some key insights into the brutal nature of the situations in Latin America during the Cold War and how the U.S. seemingly did very little to stop them. Anyway, one of the passage stuck out to me (pg. 82 of the book) when Captain Salazar of the Atlacatl (Salvadoran army trained by U.S.) talks to his men after they had pillaged, raped, and then brutally murdered men, women, and children civilians because they could weakly link them to the guerilla-leftist movement in the country. His speech went like this: "What we did yesterday, and the day before, this is called war. This is what war is. War is hell. And, goddammit, if I order you to kill your mother, that is just what you're going to do. Now, I don't want to hear that, afterward, while you're out drinking and bullshitting among yourselves, you're whining and complaining about this, about how terrible it was. I don't want to hear that. Because what we did yesterday, what we've been doing on this operation - this is war, gentlemen. This is what war is." Sorry for the language - straight quote from the book. I hate war. I hate that wars exist, have existed, and will continue to exist into the future. This is what war is. It is brutal. It involves the killing of innocent people. Children die. Women die. Men die. And in the end, even if one side brutally slaughters the other into submission, the opinions, hurt, anger, and mistrust continue long after the last bullet has been fired. I guess I just never really thought of war being so savage and ugly. Protected in my nice little suburban home and neighborhood it is easy to distance myself from the atrocities and pretend everything is okay and for the US military to "go get the bad guys." I'm not saying the US military does things or condones things of the brutal nature of El Mozote. I have nothing but the upmost respect for US soldiers - they have far bigger cojones than I do. I don't want to be Jane Fonda criticizing our troops and making it seem like they are wrong for being in the military. Its just that war is so terrible. I struggle as I read in Scripture in the Old Testament of God telling Israel to wipe out entire people groups - including the women, children and livestock. I see Solomon talking about a "time to kill" and it just sits uneasy with me. I trust God and know that He is wise in what He asks of us to do. But still. Can war in general be equated to that brutal massacre in El Salvador @ El Mozote? I don't know if that is a fair comparison. But I do know that in the end war is difficult and ugly and many people suffer as a result. If only we could solve our problems peacefully and not resort to putting a bullet through someone's brain to prove our being "right" in an argument/situation.