Sunday, November 22, 2009

Iowa City

Well, it has been a crazy few weeks. There's so much I've been wanting to write, but haven't had any spare moments, and much of what I have been processing wasn't ready for the world wide web.

A couple weeks ago, Jeff Dodge and Troy Nesbitt asked me to consider planting a Cornerstone Church of Iowa City, along with Salt Company at the University of Iowa. I told them I'd pray.

That whole week, every page in my Bible seemed to say, "YES! GO!" It came less as a command, and more as an invitation to a journey. My mom had some great insight on this- this is what God seemed to be saying, "The path you're on is a good path. But Mark, what would you think about going with me off the path onto a trail you can't see? Follow me. You're going to love the view. Let's go."

I went in to Jeff and Troy a week after I was asked to pray about it (I don't sit on decisions for too long), and said, "Let's do this. Count me in."

The day after, Andy and Amanda Sage were visiting TSC. I asked Amanda what she thought of the night. Staring at the 700 dispersing students with a look of heaviness, she said, "I couldn't help but think this whole time... 'What if this never existed? What if Cornerstone and Salt Company was never here?'"

In the millisecond I had to think, a thousand names went flooding through my mind (Leatha, Rachael, Wally, Martin, Mark, _______ (insert your name here; I probably thought of you!)

If she only knew how prophetic that statement was to me.

As if it weren't enough, she followed it with, "I just wish there was something like this in Iowa City for my brother."

It's as if God put the exclamation point on the decision. "YES! GO!"

There are so many more little pieces to the puzzle, but this summer we will be moving to Iowa City to plant Cornerstone Church of Iowa City (First services early September) and Salt Company at U of I (TSC kickoff on August 26).

Since it was announced at Salt on Thursday and Cornerstone this weekend, over 100 people have said, "I'm thinking God might be calling me to go with you. Please pray for me." Wow.

There will be much more to come. But for now...

Anyone want to buy our house?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Facebook Holdout Has Ended

I'm coming out of my walled in compound with my hands up, holding a white flag of surrender.

I've met my match. The global social network was too much for me to handle.

Gone are the days of not being able to put a name with the face, or a face with the name.
Gone are the days of not being able to get in touch with someone because I don't have their email.
Gone are the days of "free time" and "getting stuff done". That's old school.
Gone are the days of not being able to instantly be updated about all aspects of everyone's life (and getting other people's thoughts on it)

What's next?


Sign me up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

No You Didn't

Yes I did.

I really did trade away this (MJ rookie Fleer Premier)
To get this (Mike Greenwell rookie):

Why did I bring that up? Because it was an illustration in my talk last night at TSC. For a weekly ministry update click here.

Some friends from Pine Cove camp took our family out to Hickory Park. We looked over and Makai had his shirt off. He's in the "fascinated with muscles" boy phase. Boys-Teens-Men, they never really get out of that phase. C'mon fellas, didn't you flex in the mirror today?

I didn't.
This is not at all an uncommon scene in our office... Pastor Tom on his knees. He is the most fervent 72 year old I've ever met. Perhaps his rival is Max Barnett, who will be speaking to our TSC leaders in January. More on that in a couple months.
No guitar strap, no mic stand...are you kidding me? That's not going to keep Makai from rocking out!
There have been Darth Vader spottings around our house. He sneaks around like a ninja.
Makai and Jett.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Today I did my birthday ritual by reading the story of King Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16). My greatest fear in life is that my most passionate, sold out, and radical for Jesus days are behind me. I read Asa's story to remind me that complacency and shipwreck are crouching at my door.

I hope this year will be more fruitful and sanctifying than any year to this point.

I'm overwhelmed by the love poured out to me by my wife, kids, staff and student leaders. They each gave me some meaningful and generous gifts. For example, Cameron has been saving for quite some time and he gave me $5, which is all the money to his name. He put the money in a Spiderman card that he drew himself. I love that kid! Leatha has been saving money from a small side job and used a couple months wages to buy me some gifts. Our staff and leaders poured on the love with an ISU sweatshirt, a gift card, and some jack to take Leatha out.

I have no idea why, but I'm a blessed man.

And old.