Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Good Day...

A good day is...

waking up next to your beautiful bride.
taking an early morning bike ride with your son.
picking vegetables from your own garden in the cool of the morning.
laughing with your family.
helping out a neighbor.
investing in the future (our children).
sitting down to a meal together.
trying something new.
seeing someone set free.
giving thanks to God for all the small things He does for us each day.

I pray your day is good.

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good..." (Genesis 1:31 ESV)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leaving for Camp...

The bags are packed. The snacks are bought. The registrations are complete. The bus is fueled. The stage is set.

We are leaving today for Christ in Youth Conference with our High Schoolers. Please pray for us that we would allow God to challenge and change us this week.

God bless.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guitar Man...

So my oldest son has finally started showing an interest in learning guitar.

As I have played guitar since I was in high school and continue to play almost everyday for my children, I've wondered when it would happen.

I've been careful to not try to push it, as I don't want to be that parent living out their "I-wanted-to-be-a-Rock-Star-but-since-I-didn't-I'm-going-to-push-it-on-my-kids" dream.

But he was recently given a youth sized guitar and it has inspired him.

So the lessons have began...and as the first assignment I created a playlist of "great" guitarists for him to listen to so we can find the type of guitar playing he wants to move towards.

In doing that, I've been reminded of how many truly great guitarists there are out there.

And here is probably one of my all-time favorites, Mark Knopfler, playing with one of his heroes, Chet Atkins:

Hope you enjoy.

And if you are into music and/or guitars, who is your favorite?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Words To Live By...

Last night at Youth Service, we started a study of the book of 2 Timothy.

As Paul's second letter to Timothy and written very near the end of Paul's life, we find it full of reminders. It is rich with words of wisdom for Timothy and the church. And as you read, the words begin to take shape as some sort of creed or motto.

The culmination in prose of a life lived out for Christ.

So as we studied last night, we discussed mottos - words to live by.

Justice for All

In God We Trust

Hakuna Matata

And in my research, I stumbled upon a wonderful thing - the state mottos project. Apparently, each state in the union has a motto (who knew!). And so a designer from New York decided to breathe new life in to these sayings.

Here is the description of the project from their site:


And as I perused the designs, I was enamored and inspired.

This is the kind of thing I love and strive for each day. To take something antiquated but foundational and communicate it with freshness and creativity.

So take a look at these images. Tell my your favorites.

Monday, July 18, 2011


So I'm a little bit of a nerd.

Cases in point:

-In most crowds, I get asked the computer problem questions.
-I gravitate towards the sci-fi section in movie and book stores. (who am I kidding, I don't go to stores anymore! I stream that stuff from the internet!)
-I like math.

I know there's all sorts of reasons, some that might require counseling, for those things. But I'd like to believe it's because computers and science and math are often logical. They have things in them that are constant. They can be figured out using a consequential path of reason.

Ministry is not often this way.

Sometimes things in ministry don't make sense.
Sometimes things in ministry don't add up.
Sometimes things in ministry are not consistent.

This summer we've been challenging our youth on the concept of being constant. To do this we've used the books of 1st & 2nd Thessalonians and 1st & 2nd Timothy.
Here's just a taste of the things Paul says here to be constant in:

"we give thanks to God always for all of you.."
"...constantly mentioning you in our prayer."
"...always seek to do good to one another and to everyone"
"Rejoice always..."
"...pray without ceasing"
"...remember you constantly in my prayers"
"...always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

A lot of times we go by this model in youth ministry that we want kids to be on fire. But I wonder if we wouldn't be better to teach them to simply be constant.

In their prayer life.
In their study of the Word.
In their relationships.
In their commitments.
In their love of one another.

And that pattern must start with us parents, pastors, teachers, and leaders.

So, how do you maintain consistency in your life? And what are you doing to inspire it in others?

Friday, July 15, 2011

A "Barn-Raising" Experience...

As I type this post, we are patiently waiting for the finalization of our loan process to buy this beautiful old farmhouse and adjoining property.

As a contingency of the loan we had to complete some repairs to the house last week. It was a tiring, overwhelming, beautiful experience.

The sellers came along side us to make the work happen as did so many of our friends and family. It was humbling and bewildering why so many gave up so many hours in the heat of summer to work on a house that was neither theirs nor ours yet.

Last Saturday we had a particularly large and motivated crew who spent most of the day knocking out job after job. One of the crew stated to me that it was a lot like a good old-fashioned "barn-raising".

I know for us and the sellers, the picture of community we saw last week was beyond what we could have imagined, although I know that it is what community is supposed to look like.

What a blessing to be a part of something like that.

God is good.

Monday, July 11, 2011


It's fun watching the culture of my children develop.

One particularly interesting culture is that surrounding meal times. It goes like this...

When Isaac, our 2 year old, realizes that food is starting to be put on the table, he runs to his seat and begins grabbing as much of it as his two little hands can handle and stuffing it into his mouth.

Invariably, one of my oldest two realize it and start yelling, "Mom! Dad! Isaac's eating all the food!"

The immediate response is usually for Hannah, our third oldest at 5, to sneak over, grab one of the food items in each hand and stuff one in her mouth and hand the other to Isaac in as fast a succession as she can muster.

This usually leads to my oldest two trying to grab the remaining uneaten food from the dish and Hannah & Isaac's hands.

Which, of course, leads to screaming, kicking, and slobbering.

Ok. Maybe I'm exaggerating...a little. But our kids definitely have developed the skill of eating in haste.

That was why I was so intrigued by my recent reading of Exodus 12. This is the chapter where God prescribes to Moses the details for the first Passover and the final plague in Egypt. And so it tells how to pick and prepare the sacrificial lamb and then it gets to verse 11:

"In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover." (ESV)

My kids would have no problem obeying that Bible verse.

But it set me to thinking, we are so often "in haste" about many things. Getting loaded in the car. Getting the bills paid. Making sure the lawn is mowed. Getting to that fun thing we are doing today. Making sure I get my share. But how often are we "in haste" for God to work in our life.

Oh, maybe when things aren't going our way. When we are at the end of our rope. But this posture of being ready for God to work at any time is the position He over and over tries to teach the Israelites in the Scriptures.

So how about you? What are you "in haste" over this week?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Legacy Part Three: Kinfolk...

So I'm a sucker for a great beard.

Here are some beards that have impressed me this week:

That last beard belongs to a fellow who wrote this article that opened my eyes, confirmed my suspicions and blew my mind. It all centers around Numbers 27.

So if you've been following along in parts 1 and 2 of this series of posts, you know that I've been thinking about legacy and passing on faith and character to my children and how delicate and yet wonderful life can be. And I've been thinking about it in regards to my particular situation.

But God, as He usually is, is up to something bigger than just me.

Yesterday we left off with Hoglah and her sisters being part of the great census in Numbers 26. But the problem with Hoglah and her sisters was that their father had died and they had no brother, so they were in danger of being left out of the inheritance of property as they got ready to move into the Promised Land. So these young ladies go to Moses and present their case, ending with:

"Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he has no son? Give to us a possession among our father's brothers." (Num 27:4 ESV)

Moses wisely consults God rather than making up some answer or offending the Women's Liberation Movement. And God answers by making a new law indicating that if a man dies with no sons, his inheritance goes to his daughter. If he has no daughter, it goes to his brothers. If he has no brothers, it goes to his father's brothers. And so on.

This can be called the law of the kinsmen redeemer.

So I read this and I immediately think of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is a widow who has no son. Her mother-in-law is also a widow and her sons are all dead. So Boaz, as a kinsman redeemer, marries Ruth and takes their family under his wing, thus securing an inheritance for Ruth's husband's family in the same tribal lands. (It was at this point that I searched and found my bearded friend's article which confirmed that Boaz was fulfilling the law prescribed in Numbers 27)

Boaz also happens to be the grandfather of David.

David happens to be in the lineage of Christ.

Christ happens to be our redeemer, paying the price for us so we can have an inheritance in God's eternal kingdom.

And sometimes we think an inheritance is just about some money or land.

God's got bigger plans.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Legacy Part Two: Begat...

So with all of these thoughts about legacy dancing around in my head, I picked up my Bible yesterday morning and started reading Numbers 26.

In this chapter we find Moses and Eleazar, Aaron's son, taking a census of the Israelite people. This is the second census since the Exodus as now all of the original generation had passed away and this new generation was poised to possess the promised land.

There were several things that stood out in this chapter to me. Like that the tribe of Judah had almost double the amount of people as most of the other tribes. Or that this guy Zelophehad named one of his daughters probably the worst Bible name ever: Hoglah!

But the thing that compelled me the most was just the vastness of how many people comprised the nation of Israel at that time: over 600,000 men, not including the tribe of Levi, women, or children.

That's a lot of people to take on a 40 year camping trip!

And as I think about all of the struggling and striving and praying and working that goes into my life and my pursuit of God and my desire to do the best for my family, it struck me how each of these people did the same thing. Add to that the fact that each of these people were a part of one of the greatest movements of God in history, it makes it kind of ironic that many of them never even got their name mentioned. And for a lot who did, it was only once on one page.

Yet each of those lives were important and valuable to God. He heard every one of their prayers. He made and cared for each of their children. He had desires and wants for their lives. He delighted in placing them in the midst of this part of His great story.

Tomorrow, I'll post about what happened to Hoglah and her sisters, but for today, let's just be humbled by the fact that our lives are so small compared with God's story and yet be awed by the fact that He takes such care in our individual life.

God bless.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Legacy Part One: Leaving...

I've been thinking a lot about legacy this week.

You know, that concept of what your life leaves behind. How you're remembered. What you pass on to your children.

On Sunday, I had a conversation with a gentleman about his Bible and how it had been given to him when he was eight years old. That was over 50 years ago. He is wanting to get it rebound so he can hold on to it. Maybe pass it on to someone. He then shared how his family had a Bible that had been passed down three generations. His sister currently has it and it will then pass on to her daughter.

That is what I want for my family. My children.

Even as we work to buy a little farm-ette, I want this to be a part of instilling values and faith and character. I want this to build a place and a time that is foundational for my children.

Today we began working on the property to get it ready for closing. It was wonderful to see our children as excited as we were for the direction God is taking our family. There are hardly words to express the feeling I got having my children working beside me.

In the Bible this would be called inheritance.

Tomorrow I'll post more about that concept and what I read today in the Bible that blew my mind!

But for today, share with me your favorite thing that was passed on to you from your parents. It can be tangible or intangible. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

One of My Favorite Things...

Yesterday I woke up and told my wife that I was going to get to do one of my favorite things...

Make a movie.

We were shooting footage for some videos for our upcoming Middle School camp and I was excited! I love the process of making a piece of film that moves or challenges or captures people. I love planning the story. I love shooting the shots with great people. I love editing the footage and watching it take form. I get a lot of joy from it.

After camp I'll share some of the video we made on here, but until then I thought I'd show you one of my current favorite online filmmakers:

Julian Smith is a prolific sketch video producer who got his start when he posted this video on YouTube and it went viral:

Now Julian makes his living making his art for our enjoyment. He hits on topics ranging from to faith to grandmas to just plain fun. He even shares my interest in up-to-date technology. Hope you enjoy his stuff.

So, what is one of your favorite things? Who is somebody who shares that love or inspires you?