Saturday, October 31, 2009

Leaves and Halloween

It's easier to worship when every tree in Iowa seems to be on fire.

This is the perfect time to cue the Elizabeth Browning quote, "Earth is crammed with heaven. Every bush is aflame with the fire of God, but only those who see take off their shoes. The rest just pick the berries."
Cameron gave Beck a Bob the Tomato tattoo.
Ava gave Makai the same tattoo. I guess we all have different gifts...
Our church had a big open house today (Click here for weekly ministry update). One of our pastors saw these inflatables sitting unused Friday night and called for a spontaneous party. Why not put them to use?
The kids had a blast before going to a nursing home in a neighboring town for trick or treating...
We rolled into the nursing home, and it was empty. They cancelled it because they didn't want the kids bringing in the flu, which is going around. Talk a hope deferred making the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12)...
But then we went to Grandpa and Grandma's... "but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life"
Today at the open house one kid dressed up as "Paul Sabino". Unfortunately he wasn't there to enjoy it, as he was in Indianapolis on a Father-Son trip to a Colts game.
Happy Paul-o-Ween.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anthem on iTunes

Over two months after it's release, Discmakers finally got the Anthem "One Life" album up on iTunes. A general search for "Anthem One Life" is the quickest way to find it.
My personal favorite songs are:
1. One Life
2. Take the Day
3. Lost Sheep
4. Both the Selahs

But I don't think those are most likely to have mass appeal. I guess that list would be:
1. Glory
2. I Adore
3. To Do Your Will
4. I will lift up my voice
5. One Life (it's still a little unconventional, however, with phrases like "definite God" and "shed our mortal woes")
6. Take the Day (Any song Ryan Seiler writes is going to be very... "original"... and yet it has a way of getting in you. This is one of those songs.)

Our goal is first and foremost is to inspire passion for Christ in the youth of our church by giving them a relevant lyric and melody. I hope Anthem will be a spark of revival for the next generation.

So now that it's on iTunes, God can finally use it...

Oh wait, He already has been. But the global nature of technology is still cool and used by God.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Makai, the Stuntman

My brother taught me how to build half pipes and launch ramps growing up. Who would've guessed how well that skill would transfer into being a dad? Instead of wood, we just used scrap paper.

This is the consequence of being the youngest child available to test the effectiveness of our launch ramps. Jett (our 3 month old) was napping at the time, or we would've tried to jump two kids...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cornerstone's New Auditorium

Today we had our first services in the new auditorium. The pictures tell the some of the story...
During the 9:00 service, every seat appeared to be taken (1,040) and there were a couple hundred people sitting on concrete steps in the unfinished balcony. The 11:00 was also packed, but there weren't quite as many in the balcony. Next week's Saturday night service should relieve some of the pressure.

(Below) Every hand seemed to be raised during "Jesus Paid It All". It was cool to see the worship temp so hot on the first day of services, and the focus of every song, drama, video, and message was Jesus Christ and his kingdom (i.e. not the building).

The Cafe provides a great place to hang out and enjoy some bean.
The baptistry in the entry serves as a reminder of our union with Christ.
The green room is a great place for the servants who lead us throughout the weekend to hang out and relax.
The video room was in full gear.
This sweet little baby is Jaida Paullus, the new daughter of Andy and Jill (who serves on staff with TSC). God has a special plan for her life- may He lead her on a path of righteousness for his name's sake. Bless you, Jaida!

For family movie night, we were struggling on what to watch. saved the day with some "Leave it to Beaver" and "Brady Bunch".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Last Week

One of the highlights of my week is meeting on Thursday mornings with a group of new believers. Last week, Bill had a message on his heart. So I had him preach it to 4 of us in the chapel of the Memorial Union. It was amazing. Click here for more on that.

Notice the curtain that you can pull over the cross if it offends you. Welcome to Iowa State University.
Moroccan tea from Cafe Milo is a must for last minute sermon preparation. Especially when you're fighting a cold.
The main point of my message from John 3 was, "Missing the point of life is easy, even though God has made it hard to miss." Then I had four points on "How to miss the point of life."

It wasn't that great, so I won't bore you with all four points. But I thought the opening story (via youtube) was a good contrast of two guys- one who missed it, the other got it.

Have you ever seen this on a t-shirt? Sillyness, right?
Well, not for Michael Jordan. Start watching his closing remarks at about 7:53...

Then you have a guy building his house on a rock... start at about 1:53 to hear his words to his family and then skip to the end around 6:40.

What a contrast. Just when you thought Jordan was going to close his speech by thanking people and, perhaps God, he goes off on how much the game of basketball has been there for him.

That's a great way to miss the point of life: live life for _______ (insert "sports" or anything else that doesn't matter for eternity)

Here are some pics from church history class. We went to Des Moines and visited the Greek Orthodox church.

Father Basil shared about the history of the Greek Orthodox church. I have a lot of thoughts on this. Too many for now.
Afterwards Stan made some poor man's lemonade at Chili's. I think his drink reached the supersaturation point with sugar.
Friday night I got choked up as I watched a beautifully redemptive wedding. Congrats to Dan and Allissa. Bless your new life together. I wish I had more time to tell the world how God blessed your broken roads.
On the home front...

Somehow putting the first letter of their name on a pancake (here with peanut butter), makes all the difference.
Tonight I finished "Oliver Twist" (illustrated classics) with the kids. Makai was noticeably quiet in the other room.

He was busy making crafts. It was a small miracle that he only wrote on the paper and not the walls, computer, NEW WASHER...heaven knows we don't want that 1978 (?) beauty marked on...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Being Critical?

I'm not in favor of suspending all moral or doctrinal judgments, but sometimes I wonder why I'm so critical.

Monday, October 12, 2009

(Not Just...) Another Retreat

I'm still in recovery/processing mode from the Salt Company retreat this past weekend. With all the God did, reflecting on all of it is like trying to get a drink out of a fire hydrant. Here's a summary...

Ed Noble

A great friend and spiritual mentor came from San Diego to teach our college students. He's the teaching pastor at Journey Community Church (click here for his blog); he was my youth pastor for one year back in Omaha. Ed is one of those guys whose life with God is something I've strived to imitate. As vast as his wit and theological knowledge might be, it's matched with an intimacy with God. It's sad to say, but there aren't many pastors with the kind of inner life that should be imitated. I don't want to be that guy.

I wanted our students to be exposed to his teaching, because it leaves you expecting. It's like getting an injection of faith. You walk away thinking, "The God of the universe wants to use a shmo like me to do miraculous things."

I heard similar messages from him as a freshman in high school, and believed it. As a young, insecure 15 year old with no special gifts or talents to boast about, that was a defining moment for me.

My kids love Ed- he makes them laugh. The last couple days they've been asking for "Ed stories."

From the Messages

"Following Jesus at a safe distance keeps God safe...and distant."

"Elijah was a man just like us" (James 5:17-18) ("homeopathos"- same feelings). This is almost unthinkable that James would say this to the new, mostly Jewish church. Elijah was the guy who has an empty chair reserved for him at Passover Seder meals. He is one of the most important figures in the O.T. As Ed said, this story is for emulation, not adulation.

Elijah- "Eliyyahu"- his name means "Yahweh is God". He declared to Ahab, "I live before the face of God"

God often sent Elijah "away"...Is it more important for me to act, or for God to act?

Book recommendations: Letters from a modern mystic (Frank Laubach), Imitation of Christ (Thomas a Kempis), Life Together (Deitrich Bonhoeffer), Richard Foster's bibliography

"Defiantly put God first, even (especially?) when it seems crazy"

"Avoid like plague the cruel insidious effects of guilt and shame. They turn you away from the one you need when you need him the most. Guilt and shame is way overrated as a method for change. God is not about conformity, but transformation."

"The hardest thing I've had to deal with- more than anger, greed...- is discouragement."

"Don't make decisions in despondency (i.e. times of desolation)"

"What are you doing here?" (God to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9). Invite God into your dark places...
“The process of becoming conformed to the image of Christ takes place primarily at the point of our unlikeness to Christ’s image. God is present to us in the most destructive aspect of our cultural captivity. God’s involved with us in the most imprisoning bondage of our brokenness. God meets us in those places of our lives that are most alienated from God.” (Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mullholland)

The Barn Dance

There's something very cool about seeing 300 college students line dancing- especially after such a "heavy" session. I went in there for 3 minutes, and I think I'm still coughing up the dirt I inhaled.
Isaac is a funny cat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Surfing for fun

Last night instead of watching a late night movie (as if the Viking/Packers game wasn't enough), I chose to catch up on some blogs and do a little internet surfing.

Here are some waves I caught...

Bob Thune...
went yard (baseball metaphors are a must this time of year) with his two posts: "Why you shouldn't go to seminary": For Part 1 click here and for Part 2 click here

is the best band of all time. Is there any doubt? Click here for article, here for interactive view, or here for pics.

call of the year (props

More from

from Desiring God's latest conference on Calvin (click here)

Food for thought...
regarding his meeting Rick Warren and Saddleback visit (click here)

Jim Rome (.com)...
on Favre. Note: Reading or listening to Jim Rome is like eating candy. It won't make you a better person for having partaken. But somehow the laughter will enrich your life in some small, insignificant way...

Favre telling the Packer fans they just need to let the past go and move on…would be like Roger Clemens telling Barry Bonds to stop cheating. I’m sure Packer fans will get right on that. Like Bernie Madoff telling all those people who he ripped off: yeah, I know you thought you had retired at 60…now you have to go back and work until you’re in your 90’s…let it go already…just move on!
Jim Rome (.com) on the Twins preview tonight (click here)

Mike Easton...
who just left for overseas, watches the Cyclone game via skype (Des Moines to East Asia)- click here. This is a reminder to pray for our friends overseas. This is part of the suffering... missing much anticipated sporting events. Mike, sorry about the game. What did we expect?

Reed, I'm also feeling your pain way out there in Central Asia... some of the best 72 hours of sports that has ever happened in the Twin Cities...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Give us this day...

Every morning I try to make the Lord's prayer the first thing that comes out of my mouth. Well, you never know what "daily bread" you're going to need for the day. Today, we needed a washing machine.

Last night our washer, already on its last leg, finally died.

Leatha has been checking Craig's list for the last couple weeks. This morning she prayed that God would provide for our need. Then she went on Craig's list and found this beauty for $30 that had just been posted.
Both the hot and cold work on this one- not to mention the spin cycle!

Tonight I'm going to bed with a prayer of thanks.

Church history class

There's nothing like blogging from class. Dr. Houghton has more
doctorates than I have kids. That's a lot. He has given us a thorough
history of baptist denominations. I guess you could say he's hitting a
home run in an academic kind of way. Go twins.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kid Conversations

While watching some NFL today with Beck...

Beck: "I don't like cheerleaders"
Me: "Why not?"
Beck: "Their bodies are always coming out of their costumes."
Me: "I don't like that either."
Beck: "Why do they have to show off their privates?"
Me: "Good question."

I'm thinking, "I hope we have this same conversation 15 years from now."
Makai in nursery today...

Girl: "That's mine"
Makai: "No. Mine."
Girl: "Mine"
Makai: "No. Mine.
Girl: "Mine"
Makai: "Mine. Thank you."
The poor girl had no comeback for his kind selfish response. Does the Proverbs say something about a soft answer helping you get what you want?
Baby Jett.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Farming and Friends

For a weekly ministry update, click here.

Here are some other pics from last week...

If you're in Iowa in October, you have to experience the joy of harvest. Riding in a combine is soul therapy.
Here are some mean faces.

Beck's friend, Trey Nesbitt, came over on Tuesday.
Silly face

It's been a long week, so we hit up some carryout from Fareway and the Cafe. Lettuce wraps for Leatha (and Jett) and the rest for us. Movie night will follow (Little House on the Prairie- the Disney version, not TV show)