22 December 2006

You look so much like... So, I am really bad with who people look like. Someone told me that I look like a country music singer. Seeing that I don't and won't listen to country music... I won't really ever know. Now, there's a site that tells you what celebrity you look like. I still don't see it, but it is fun to see the results.

21 December 2006

A Close call...

While driving on the frontage road on the South side of Black Road I had a close call today. This morning, actually all day it has been raining. As you can see from the picture there is a 90 degree turn on the frontage road. Many cars have driven off the road at this corner. I was able to see this first hand today. A car came up on the turn very fast and then hit the curb, it then jumped the curb practically doing a 180 degree turn in the air. The car landed on the curb after skidding across the grass. It then spun out on the street head on in the lane about 10 feet infront of me. I steered around the car into oncoming traffic, narrowly missing an accident. All in all it was a huge blessing being able to avoid the accident. I only wish two things would have been different: a) I had a camera with me to take pictures to post (b) I had a video camera rolling, it was like a scene out of a movie. This would have been great on YouTube.

20 December 2006

After a LONG afternoon of Christmas shopping, it seems appropriate to see just how rich you are. Christmas seems so quickly forgotten of its real meaning and message; it quickly becomes more about selfishness. A couple days ago my daughter and I were out running some errands. While out, we had the opportunity to give back. This provided a perfect moment to discuss how blessed we are to be able to celebrate Christmas, not just the gifts. So instead of comparing, try checking out how rich you are...

18 December 2006

After the survivor finale last night we had way too much fun creating a "personalized nutcracker".
Survivor Finale. A great time with everyone that was able to come. I was glad that Yul won.

13 December 2006

Quote of the day... and my thoughts

"Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln

I read this quote in a book I am going through. As I thought more about it some people that fit the quote came to mind.

• My wife - she is just simply great... she is a good: friend, mom, thinker, brainstormer, sudoko-er, apple cider maker, I could go on and on and on...
• My kids are good at making me laugh. I need that right now.
• My dad is good at leadership, grace, patience, knowing what to say.
• H. Solo productions is sooo good with graphic design and fast at it. He has a great eye for design, also a very good worship leader. He has such a good connection with leading people to honor God.
• Rhoda is so good at reaching out, finding new ways to get new students connected to God. She is so good at commitment and loyalty.
• Camille is such a good administrator, which I am thankful for. I am not great at administration, so it is a blessing to have her on the team.

A sign of a leader is to know your weaknesses and place people around you with strengths in the areas you are weak in. I am thankful for people that are good at the things I am not. Another sign of a good leader is to let people know what they are good and the good things they do.

11 December 2006

I have become an elf

I jumped in and found the humor of becoming an elf...
A staple in most youth ministry settings is pop and pizza. I ran across a some interesting effects of drinking a Coke:
* In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
* 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
* 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dialate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
* 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
* 60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
* 60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
* 60 minutes: You’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, peed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.
Just a few interesting tid bits for those of you Coke drinkers out there...
Interesting? Read more.
Jack is back... I know that my wife and I are excited for 24 to start back up.

07 December 2006

I cannot believe it... no Office
tonight. Bummer.
Ode to the 'bou

Lately Caribou Coffee has gotten some less than positive remarks concerning their WiFi service from someone that will remain nameless.

It is true, it is annoying having to log back in every hour. The part that is getting negative reaction is that you have to ask for an access card. Evidently they are difficult to come by. I guess that store employees hoard them or something?

I just sat back down from receiving not one but two cards just from asking. Aren't I lucky? Now if they would only make it so that you don't have to use the cards. I suppose it could be worse, I could be at Starbucks and not be able to connect at all the the pricey service of T-mobile.

By the way someone needs to show me how to post a picture so it's not backwards...

06 December 2006

I cannot believe this kid... you have to give him credit for trying it.

Thanks to Marko for the link.

05 December 2006

Attract or Pursue

I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday. We met at one of the best places to meet, second only to the 'bou. So, I grabbed my triple grande latte and then was given some help realizing that I met Scott on the wrong day. Our meeting was supposed to be Wednesday and not Monday... sorry Scott. He was generous enough to let me steal an hour and a half of his day off (thanks). Our conversation was wrapping up as we came across a topic I love discussing.

How are we, as the church, reaching people?

Are we attracting people to church or are we pursuing them?

What are the pros and cons of pursuing or attracting? Pursuing is a way of life in youth ministry. We have an incentive for everything... bring a visitor once in your life and you'll win an iPod. Pursuing seems to compromise the values of our message. Maybe a compromise is done unknowingly, but pursuing is more about getting the "person" and less about the "message". When we are attractive, there is something desirable in us that draws that person to want what we have.

I met with a group of youth pastors a few months back where we discussed this topic, Josh blogged about it. Bill Daily shared some marketing essentials. Bill's worked for Gatorade, Mastercard and Oakley as the VP of marketing. Now he's doing the marketing at Purpose Driven. Bill had some amazing thoughts on marketing your ministry. He verbalized this tension between attracting vs. pursuing the best I have ever heard. Here is what he had to say about it:
1. Don’t assume that you know the audience or what they want. You are most likely not going to get it right.
2. Understand the world the student lives in. Subtly grab a small piece of territory and connect with them.
3. Understand their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
I still don't quite know how to do this right. Maybe some of you out there know some things I haven't discovered yet. But, I love discovering the process of making your life and ministry "attractive". Making everything about it attractive... the smell, the look, the feel, the atmosphere... everything. How is that done? I think there are a small number of churches that have figured this out.

04 December 2006

Happy Birthday Emma!

We had a great day yesterday. My daughter celebrated her 5th birthday. I cannot believe how big she is getting. I am so proud of her. She is so beautiful and smart, she is turning out just like her mother. Emma had a great time with friends and family all celebrating. Glenda made a great cake; Emma requested a lavagirl cake. We started the day out waking Emma up singing to her. It was so great to see her have such a great day. My favorite thing she said all day was to her brother, "Sam, I am older than you, I'm five now." I can't believe it! She's 5... my little girl is growing up.
Flurry of activity

Whew! Since the Thanksgiving weekend it has been a whirlwind. I have really wanted to post about it, so I am going to give some quick highlights.

1. Thanksgiving at my grandparents. My grandma would talk every now and then like Yoda. "Coffee, would you like some?" Going out to my uncle's property. My kids had so much fun chasing the goats. Seriously, he owns 7 goats if i remember right. I was surprised at how my kids enjoyed feeding them. My son thought it was more fun to chase them. I was very proud of my daughter she did great (not a real animal lover). My wife wrote more about the goats. It was great to be with family.

2. IHSA Football State Championships. We drove home from Des Moines, IA and arrived at 11:30am on Saturday. A couple of coaches and I left for the IL high school football state championship game at 12:30PM. An excellent championship game between Mt. Carmel and Wheaton/Warrenville South.

3. 2nd Annual Stadium Turkey Bowl. We start off bowling with a frozen turkey. This is not as easy as it may sound. One wrong move and you hit a turkey leg and... gutter ball. After bowling with a frozen turkey we head out for some flag football.

4. Snow! December 1st it snowed. This is a controversial subject since some here in the Chicagoland area aren't fond of the winters. I love them. Let it snow! To add to the fun, I get to do some snow plowing this winter.

28 November 2006

'Star Wars' Kid named most-seen clip on Net

The video clip of a Canadian known around the world as the "Star Wars Kid" has become the most-shared footage on the Internet, a British net-tracking firm has determined.

The once-private tape of Ghyslain Raza faking a light-sabre fight, using a golf-ball retriever in place of the traditional Jedi weapon, has been seen online by about 900 million people.

Unedited version

I am thinking that this might just be what we need...

This is the perfect blend of football and faith.

23 November 2006

A great day of family, food and naps. My dad and I took a walk with my daughter and son this morning. On the way home, I had my daughter on my shoulders and my dad had my son on his shoulders. We were about 10 minutes from home when my son fell asleep on my dad's shoulders. He was out! It was so funny to see him sleeping on my dad's shoulders. We came in ready for lunch and the nap shortly followed the turkey.

As I sat with my daughter before her bedtime, she said, "daddy, my heart is happy." That made the whole day.

I hope that your day has been one full of thankfulness. A day full of wonderful family moments, great food, and plenty of naps between football games.
Happy Thanksgiving! More to come later as we eat and eat and eat. We just arrived at my grandparents. Wow its late, or early either way I should be sleeping.

22 November 2006

Funny story...

A big-game hunter went on safari with his wife and mother-in-law. One evening, while still deep in the jungle, the Mrs awoke to find her mother gone. Rushing to her husband, she insisted on them both trying to find her mother.

The hunter picked up his rifle, took a swig of whiskey, and started to look for her. In a clearing not far from the camp, they came upon a chilling sight: the mother-in-law was backed up against a thick, impenetrable bush, and a large male lion stood facing her.

The wife cried, "What are we going to do?"

"Nothing," said the hunter husband. "The lion got himself into this mess, let him get himself out of it."

21 November 2006

Great quote...
"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all." Sam Ewing

...that pretty much says it

20 November 2006

Not only do I like the North Face gear, but I love the tag line "never stop exploring". I would love to do a North Face trip, that is a lifetime dream of mine. There are so many good principles that apply to always exploring. Exploring makes me think of life as a kid where I would spend days exploring and getting dirty. I wonder what ways that we can continue to explore as adults? Hopefully we never loose the wonder and excitement to find something new, to experience something unknown; that we never stop exploring.

15 November 2006


Lately, this concept of being teachable has become more real and more important. Being teachable seems to correlate so closely with humility. When there is an understanding and a realization that who I am, where I am in life, everything about me is because of God in me. It takes so much patience and love to deal with someone that is proud or unteachable. I don't know if it has to do with the massive amount of information that is available at an instant. I am sure that doctors deal with this a lot; having someone come in that has already diagnosed themselves. What is it in us that makes us unwilling to be open to constructive criticism? And what is so hard about being able to give actual constructive criticism, not just criticism. In so many ways the church mirrors our culture. I am afraid that the culture is more teachable than the church. For some reason we get the idea that Christ in me gives me the authority to tell everyone else what to do? Like somehow I now know something. All we have is the knowledge of who we can go to and who we can rely on. I know that this really takes things to the most basic, simplistic level. I am afraid that we underestimate the damage of an unteachable spirit or a proud spirit. After being in full-time ministry now for ten years, I feel that I have more to learn now than the first day. I love being with my children and seeing the how teachable they are. Just this morning my daughter is asking me about how a car turns. "Daddy, does the car go where you turn the steering wheel?" Are we willing to risk it and ask questions? Do we believe that we can learn from anyone, young or old? Or is it only the older that teaches the younger? It would be a contradiction if I thought I could answer these questions... actually at this point in life I feel I have more questions than answers.

14 November 2006

Wow, ministry hurts. I am sure I am not the only one, but man this stuff hurts.

13 November 2006

Warning: there are snakes in the grass...

Time to Rock!

Air guitar will be taken to a whole new level now that, "scientists announced Monday that they have developed a high-tech T-shirt that turns the strumming of an air guitar into music."

Read the story.

Maybe someone will use the shirt on American Idol.

12 November 2006

Blackhawks 1 - Blue Jackets 0

Visited the United Center for a Chicago Blackhawks game. We had GREAT seats... 6 rows up from the ice, in a perfect spot to catch all of the action. There was a lot of checking. A puck went over the glass and hit a guy in the head, he had to get taken care of by the paramedics. A couple of fights tried to get started but one referee was all into breaking up the fights tonight. Chicago scored in the second period. Their goalie had a great game... 28 shots on goal. Not a bad way to experience my first blackhawks game, Blackhawks win.

07 November 2006

The new Simply Youth Ministry website is up and running. Its pretty sweet. Check out Josh's site for more.

Will Farrell was on Letterman last night. My wife and I were watching him. I cant believe that it is up so quickly on YouTube.

06 November 2006

Purpose + Passion =

This afternoon I was enjoying some time in one of our fine local coffee establishments. At a table next to me was a man and a woman obviously discussing the finer points of this business. The man was the regional manager of sorts and the woman was the new hiree. My ears perked up when I heard the man say our mission is to... he proceeded to read in a monotone voice the mission of this company. I perked up again when I heard him say our passion is to... again he read nothing more than the words printed on a corporate manual. And then it hit me. He didn't BELIEVE it. This mission was not a part of his DNA. This passion did not drive his decisions.

Recently I heard Bill Hybels on a podcast say, "vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in people". "If the picture doesn't produce passion or excite people there is a problem". If you cut yourself you bleed your values.

I am sure there are some skeptics that want to defend the regional manager, but he didn't even have the mission of the company memorized. I mean really how much of a corporate mission is it if you don't even know it? The girl across from him had more interest sparked by the incentives offered. I would not be very convinced by someone that hardly even knows the mission that supposedly drives this company.

Maybe it is too much to ask of this guy? Maybe not? Is it too much to ask to have the mission memorized? Should it consume him more? If not maybe it shouldn't be called a mission statement?

There is no doubt that the words "mission", "values", "purpose", and "passion" are overused and therefore now cheapened.

Does the mission of the Church, not just your church consume you? Does the vision of the future produce passion in you? Does the vision of the future of your church produce passion in you? Do you bleed the values of the DNA of your church?

Just one more good thing about spending time at a coffee shop.
Which are you? This is great...

31 October 2006

Trick or Treat

Today it was just the opposite. Sam and Emma's good friend, Caleb, came over and we all went out trick or treating. The all love it, everyone was having so much fun. It was so cute to see Sam running up to the doors. Emma and Caleb were racing to each house. We had the Lion, the Princess, and Jack Sparrow scoring big time on candy. Sam made the connection that people were putting "dandy" in his "punkie" (candy in his pumpkin candy carrier). As we were walking home Sam was digging in his candy and it was getting dark. We knew it was time to get done with the neighborhood stuff. We had a few stops to make before the night was over. As we walked up to the house; I see that Sam has unwrapped a small chocolate bar and is excited to be enjoying his "dandy". We stopped by grandma's house and some other friends' homes all the while Sam is enjoying a candy here and there.

This is where the treat ends and the trick comes in. No one had eaten dinner, so we stop and an enjoyable food establishment. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Sam was obviously hungry. As we were finishing up; Sam was eating one of J's small pieces of broccoli. He coughed a bit and got the piece of broccoli adjusted. He coughs again and up comes everything from the last 2 hours... EVERYTHING! All over the floor. We felt so bad for the people that work at this place. Sam blew some major chunks, it was chocolate in color, serious technicolor yawn.

Good times. Trick or Treat.

29 October 2006

I just had the chance to carry my daughter back up to bed and tell her I love her and kiss her goodnight. I am so thankful for the little blessings like kissing my daughter goodnight. In the moment as I tucked my daughter in, it made me think of the verse I talked with our students about this morning... Psalms 139:14, "for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."

I am so thankful for times like these that put everything into perspective. After quite an interesting night. Things can get to be so complicated and difficult at times. At times it doesn't seem even worth it, but there's a moment that brings everything into perspective.

Fearfull and wonderfully made. How cool is that?

26 October 2006

Open W I D E

A pumpkin big mac? Somehow I think someone would still try to eat it.

A 3-year-old climbed into a stuffed animal vending machine to get a SpongeBob cartoon character. He wound up inside the game having a blast in there, hugging all the stuffed animals.

Read full story

Its interesting how driven people are to get the things that we want, no matter the cost is. Its funny when it is a child; its annoying and selfish when you are an adult.

20 October 2006

Last Practice

Today was the last day of practice for football. As I look back on this year, it has been so great. I am really proud of our team. They started with nobody expecting anything and they came out and proved that they were there to play. They have won more and done more that anyone thought they would. Over the season it has been cool to see the attitude of the team change. They have really grown. Most of all, I have loved it. The last couple of months have been so rewarding. I have gotten to hang with some great guys.

18 October 2006

Field Trip

Remember the good ol' days of field trips. Today I went on a field trip with my daughter to the pumpkin patch. She was so excited because not only did I get to come, but I was also the bus driver. We went on a hay ride, walked through a petting zoo, she plugged her nose at the smelly animals and came home with a kid-sized pumpkin. When the kids were getting off of the bus my daughter walked by and then turned back and gave me a kiss and said "I love you daddy". It really doesn't get much better than this.

17 October 2006


I love a good, thick, spicy, hearty, warm-you-up-during-fall bowl of chili. But too much of a good thing might not be so good. Sunday afternoon there was a slight chill in the air and I was looking forward to a bowl of chili that I knew was waiting for me at home. Sunday afternoon a few friends came over and after a disappointing Raiders game we decided we would head out to eat. J decided that he would have chili and for some reason the chili sounded great. So, round two/bowl two... chili vs. belly. Monday morning I awoke to the chili greeting me and I vowed that I would never eat chili again. Until Monday evening, out with some youth pastors, watching the Bears game. What would really do the trick? A great bowl of chili and I was assured it was some of the best. So, after my third bowl of chili in two days; I would say I have had my fill of a good thing.

Until, maybe tomorrow...

I just returned home from a meeting with a few youth pastors. I drove 7 hours for about 5 hours of meetings. Why? I was asking the same thing myself. About 4 of the 7 hours was driving in the rain. As I drove back at night, in the rain it became very obvious to me that I was in for a bit of an interesting drive. The rain was really coming down. When passing semi trucks visibility was virtually nothing except for a faint hint of the white stripe on the side of the road. There was never a time where I could loose my focus. It was crucial that I stayed totally focused on the road. As I drove a verse came to mind...

Philippians 3:15-16, So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision? You'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

I dont doubt God's call... Now it's focus.

13 October 2006


you know you have them... you just never thought they were this fun...
Something we made at Stadium and now it made it way to YouTube...

09 October 2006

Google to acquire YouTube

Can these companies leave well enough alone? 1.65 billion in a stock transaction... here is a clip from the story...

Google announced this afternoon that it would buy YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site, for stock that it valued at $1.65 billion.

Google beat out a number of other YouTube suitors, including Microsoft, Viacom, Yahoo and the News Corporation. By successfully negotiating the deal, Google has once again proved that it is the Internet’s dominant player.

Under the terms of the deal, YouTube will retain much of its identity and will keep its name and its office in San Bruno, Calif., more than 25 miles from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View.

Chad Hurley, YouTube’s co-founder and chief executive, has repeatedly said he would prefer for his company to remain independent. Asked about such comments in a conference call with Wall Street analysts and investors held late this afternoon, Mr. Hurley said his company did want to stay independent, adding that “by working with Google, that’s still the case.”

Even if Mr. Hurley wanted to keep his company independent, why would he for 1.65 BILLION! It just shows that everything is for sale. Just about anyone is willing to compromise their standards vor a price.

Read the NY Times Story

Read the MacWorld Story

07 October 2006

Glue Boys. Amazing trailer. Everyone should see this movie! I was given the opportunity to see about 5 minutes of this movie when we were out in CA two weeks ago. There is no doubt this movie will mess you up! It is heartbreaking. This is a great example of how big the world really is and how narrow our U.S. worldview really is. We have got to do more to reach the world!

Support Glue Boys
Coffee and WiFi

So, I though I would do a random post on two of my favorite things right now... a strong cup of coffee and free WiFi. These two things should be available everywhere, but sadly they are not.

28 September 2006

A great day

I am out in sunny southern CA at Saddleback Church for some meetings with some great youth ministers from all over the country. Today we discussed our main purpose for being here PDYM and had the opportunity to be inspired by Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share. He presented an amazing structure for reaching students through evangelism. I am really looking forward to bring it home and getting started with some eTeams.

To top it all off we headed to Downtown Disney. We had a great dinner at the ESPN sports zone and you can't leave ESPN without hitting the video games upstairs.

What a great day. It is such a blessing to be able to be around like-minded youth workers and share life, share your heart, and share some fun experiences (drunk guys on a shuttle).

26 September 2006


Last Friday evening the football team I coach with played the defending state champions at our homecoming game. Our humiliating loss has really pointed out our weaknesses as a team. It was probably one of the most difficult losses that I have experienced. I hate losing! In the weakness of losing there can be a lot learned.

Lately I feel that I have been in an uphill both ways, losing battle. My weaknesses seem to be exaggerated and pointed out more often. This is never fun. Weaknesses are humiliating. Rather that fight the weakness maybe the best thing that I can do is to embrace it.

2 Corinthians 12:9, But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

More than anything I want to experience Christ's power in my life. If His power comes through my acknowledgement of my weaknesses, then so be it.

19 September 2006

I just realized why i like ye 'ol pirate...

Arrr! Ahoy mateys! Today be the day of ye 'ol pirate. In honor of the day, a pirates tale...

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a sailor named Captain Bravo. He was a manly man's man, who showed no fear when facing his enemies.

One day, while sailing the Seven Seas, his lookout spotted a pirate = ship, and the crew became frantic.

Captain Bravo bellowed, "Bring me my red shirt!" The first mate quickly retrieved the captain's red shirt, and while wearing the brightly colored frock, the Captain led his crew into battle and defeated the pirates.

That evening, all the men sat around on the deck recounting the day's triumph. One of them asked the Captain, "Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before battle?"

The captain replied, "If I am wounded in the attack, the shirt will not show my blood. Thus, you men will continue to fight, unafraid."

All of the men sat in and marveled at the courage of such a manly man's man.

As dawn came the next morning, the lookout spotted not one, not two, but TEN pirate ships approaching. The crew stared in worshipful silence at the captain and waited for his usual orders.

Captain Bravo gazed with steely eyes upon the vast armada arrayed against his ship, and without fear, turned and calmly shouted, "Get me my brown pants!"

Laugh or you will be forced to walk the plank...

17 September 2006

Putting the pieces back together

So this has been a week for the record books. I have had my heart sink as I realize that I have lost everything on my computer... Calendar dates, contacts, music, sermons, family pictures... Everything. Gone! I am now picking up the pieces of my humpty dumpty document and trying to put them back together again. Oh, and I also got to clean up the water in my basement. Somewhere around 60 gallons of water in my basement.

In all of this I was able to meet Rob, a highly skilled Genius at the Apple store. Rob helped save my files and me from loosing "it" at the store. I was amazed at how people are willing to drop some major cash for their kids at the apple store purchasing ipods. I was more than entertained watching people during all of my time at the genius counter. People really have NO patience. Most of all I am reminded that no matter what is going on, I can have peace in the middle of it.

11 September 2006

Holy Huggables

Huggable Jesus is just one of the "the dolls that love you back," offered by a couple of biblical doll-makers in Boston, who hawk plush dolls "that pack fun and faith into one lovable, kid-sized package."

There is also Huggable Moses, who cradles in his arms two pillows like tablets and recites all Ten Commandments at the push of a button on the front of his brown robe, which is tied up with twine.

Are you kidding me?


06 September 2006

Candy Scabs

How cool are these! Only the grossest kids would eat or lick their scabs.

Car modifications

This has to be the most useless modification anyone could do to their car. Why would anyone do this?

05 September 2006

Irwin... Croc Hunter

Quite a surprise to have such a freak accident take the life of such an adventurous wildlife explorer. The crocodile hunter was so much fun to watch as he interacted with crocodiles, snakes, and more. He was inspiring to see his passion for life and for the outdoors. What is even more amazing is that he pulled the stingray barb out of his own chest pulled the stingray barb out of his own chest before he died.

If only we had the same passion for eternal things. Imagine the difference that would be made. Life is so short. This has really made me remember that it is not worth waiting around for something. We need to live passionately, especially for things with an eternal purpose.

03 September 2006

Church freeloaders look out.

Is there such a thing as church downsizing? Maybe some mega-churches are starting a new "trend" in church life... downsizing based on church involvement like tithing and serving. It will be interesting to see how this goes over.

WINSTON-SALEM — Julie and Bob Clark were stunned to receive a letter from their church in July asking them to "participate in the life of the church" — or worship elsewhere. "They basically called us freeloaders," says Julie. "We were freeloaders," says Bob. In a trend that may signal rough times for wallflower Christians, bellwether mega-church Faith Community of Winston-Salem has asked "non-participating members" to stop attending. "No more Mr. Nice Church," says the executive pastor, newly hired from Cingular Wireless. "Bigger is not always better. Providing free services indefinitely to complacent Christians is not our mission." "Freeloading" Christians were straining the church's nursery and facility resources and harming the church's ability to reach the lost, says the pastor. "When your bottom line is saving souls, you get impatient with people who interfere with that goal," he says.

I can think of a few letters I would write...


26 August 2006

Quite possibly the coolest pajamas ever ... what a beautiful find...
Armor of God PJ's

Never, Never, Never Give Up

Quite a day, our football season opener game was today. What a game! It was a fight... until 2 minutes into the fourth quarter the game was scoreless. We pulled it out 8-0. I was so proud of our football team today. The guys never gave up, they worked hard every minute.

It's a great reminder especially in ministry to never give up, go hard - always, never, never, never give up.

...never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Winston Churchill, The Churchill Centre

21 August 2006


I learned a new phrase today. It came to me as I was "in the office", "taking care of business". There is a little coffee shop in Wheaton called La Spiaza. What a find! If you are within driving distance, it is so worth it. I had too much water on the way up and had to visit the restroom. On the wall was a few inspirational quotes, obviously about the necessity of coffee in life. Its always nice to have something inspiring to read in the bathroom. One in particular caught my eye... P C B. Pause for Coffee Break. What a great thing, no, not coffee (yes I enjoy coffee more than most) but the pause. Life is so hectic and crazy, void of a simple thing like a pause. So, I decided to take the advice of the info on the bathroom wall, which isn't something I always recommend, but I took a pause for a coffee break. Take time to pause, reflect, enjoy; good friends, good coffee, good (insert your own "something" here, just pause. And if you are in the neighborhood, visit the bathroom at La Spiaza (114 N. Main, Wheaton) and be inspired and maybe get a cup of coffee.

14 August 2006

Daily Doubles

For the few days there has been football, football, and more football. I have been coaching on a local high school football team. It has been so great to get around football life again. It has been incredibly busy and tiring, but extremely rewarding. Mixing teenagers and football great things are bound to happen.

I had a realization during practice today... Life would be so much fun if it were done through the rules of football. If everyone were wearing full football gear (helmets, shoulder pads, etc.). What if you could just level someone? But what if the same team emphasis and spirit was evident around us? What if you could trust your team? Maybe all of these leadership books, seminars, conferences, yada, yada, yada... What if all they have done is complicate a few simple team rules? Trust. Who do you trust? Passion. Do you love what you do? Do you want to be ON the team? Character. Will you have the integrity to do it right the first time even if no one is looking? I am sure there are more, but if you have ever been on a team you know the incredible value of a team as a WHOLE, not the parts but the whole.

What if working as a team could really be this easy? I suppose that lies in the hearts of the players...

09 August 2006

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

this has to be the most creative use of a treadmill ever.

07 August 2006


I like my new nickname... What is your racing nickname?

05 August 2006

Just saw Talladega nights with Dallas. Hillarious. Too many one-liners to remember.

02 August 2006

Appalachian State University is HOT HOT HOT

Since it has been sooo hot lately I thought it would be nice to share some hot humor...
Baseball, sweat, and Church

A great night Monday... I visited the home of the Chicago Cubs with my dad, grandpa, and uncle. First, wow, it was HOT! As we were driving in on 55 the temperature read-out in the truck was 105. As most people know Thorntons are know for being professional sweaters. We have great skill in the ability to sweat. We had great seats to see the Cubs get totally crushed. I could care less if the Cubs win or lose, but it was even painful for me to watch the horrible pitching. I would take a Dodger Dog anyday over Cubs baseball, but that is beside the point. The final score was Arizona 15, Cubs 4! The Cubs pitching was some of the worst! It was a homerun derby for Arizona, if they werent getting hit by wild pitches. In all of this I realized: Cubs fans must be on something... it was the 9th inning and the fans were cheering like there was going to be a 2 out rally of 11 runs! I realized that everything about baseball is over-priced, tickets, food, parking, etc. 39,000+ people paid to come see the Cubs get whooped, that is crazy.

I highly doubt that any of these things will ever transition into church... people coming when it is over 100 degrees to sit outside for 3 hours and pay for a ticket to get in. The one I hope catches on in churches is the amazing loyalty that the fans displayed. The home team was down and seemingly out, but the fans never gave up on them. The Church seems all to willing to give up when we get "a run down". Too many people are all too willing and ready to throw in the towel and give up. Why is it that we have lost our will to fight? And I dont mean fight each other!?

Oh, one other thing that will maybe catch on in churches... there is a respect for players that do well and maybe even cheer each other on to do great things. Just a thought.

26 July 2006


I have just returned from my last week of camp and now I am sick with whatever makes you hack up a lung and spit out sweet lugis. I have been gone for 3 of the last 4 weeks. Some things I have learned:

1. I really dont like being gone that long. I missed my wife and kids too much.
2. I cant take it like I used to.
3. Camp is still an amazing spiritual experience.
4. There is something special about removing distractions and focusing on God.
5. I missed my family.
6. Life goes on while you are gone whether you like it or not.
7. People talk too much while you are gone.
8. Flat tires on trips are not fun.
9. Did I say I missed my wife and kids.
10. God is SO good.

14 July 2006

Junior High Camp

What a wild week. Junior high camp was such a great time. I am exhausted, but I know that God did great things this week. I was able to hang with some great friends and laugh A LOT. Camp is known for things like staying up late, doing stupid things, and doing more stupid things; but camp is really about life change. Camp, for a brief moment, give an opportunity to step outside of the world we are consumed in and focus on things eternal. I wonder how much difference it would make if our adults would take a brief momentary break and focus on some eternal things (Godly things). It certainly changes attitudes and perspectives.

Next week: senior high camp!

07 July 2006

Fishing excitement

My daughter has been wanting to go fishing for some time now. So, we prepared to go out fishing at the dupage river. I picked up a fishing license and some worms (which Emma loved playing with). Emma quickly lost interest after a few uneventful casts. She quickly became much more interested in throwing stick and rocks. She also found a bell that was in the tackle box and began to ring that, so fishing was pretty much done for. Except for the excitement to come. As we were walking along the riverbank, Emma shouted, "dad look". And there was a snake swimming in the water. I tried to figure out what kind of snake it is but couldn't figure it out. I tried to take the bait near it, but the snake didn't go for it. Never a dull moment.

06 July 2006


I got to help put my son to bed tonight. I love his intensity to be held. It was very difficult, well more difficult than normal, to get him into his pajamas. All he wanted was to be held. No matter how I would position him he would find his way around and work his hardest to climb up to have dad hold him. One of the most special moments as a dad.

It made me wonder how intensly am I strving for my heavenly daddy to hold me... Am I constantly, no matter of where I am, striving to climb up and spend time with God? There are so many worthless things that we strive for. Watching one of the too many talent based shows, it amazes me what people strive for. I am even more amazed at the things that "followers of Christ" choose to strive for. I am blown away how eventhough we are to see others as Christ sees them, we still look at them according to physical/outward charasteriscis.

How great would it be to be brave/daring/willing enough to drop the act and genuinly love God. It would be so great to return to the unhindered passion and intensity of a child wanting their parent.

Psalms 17

05 July 2006

Fireworks, Family, Friends, ...

What a great day. The family hit the pool. My daughter had an amazing time. She was jumping off of everything there was to jump off of. Somewhere the switch flipped and she was brave. She had no fear today. She was a fish today. It was a great time. We played so hard, it was great.

We then met up with some friends and grabbed Little Ceasers pizza and some Caribou coffee. It is so much fun getting together and letting our kids hang out and play. We watched an amazing fireworks show. It was intense! So in true small group fashion, we decided that we would just hang out until the line of the cars went down. We stayed so long just enjoying great friends that the entire parking lot was full by the time we ended up leaving. It was great just hanging out and chatting with great friends.

All in all a great day. I guess even the war zone that continues to explode in our neighborhood.

01 July 2006

We are home

The missions trip was a transforming experience. It is so great to be home with my family again. We experienced so many things in Mexico, but probably the best was just serving. It is great to get back to what serving is all about; selflessly giving to another. We did our job, expecting nothing in return. We never met the people of the church, never had an awards banquet, no celebration dinner. Our team was proud to give our best and honor God. That is why we came. Pure serving. It feels good. Sometimes we forget what it is like to just serve, too often we are expecting a pat on the back or some kind of recognition; I don't think that is truly serving.

29 June 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my 10 year anniversary to the love of my life. Glenda and I have been married for 10 years now. It is so amazing to look back over the years and celebrate where God has brought us. After 10 years we are so in love and have such a great family. We have 2 beautiful children that are growing healthy and love God. Glenda is so wonderful. Glenda is such a servant, she is so giving, loving and caring. Time and time again I see what a big heart Glenda has for others. About 13 years ago when we first met this was one of the things that attracted her to me, her magnetic personallity. Glenda has a way of drawing others to herself and making them feel special. She is the best listener. I have learned so much by watching her in conversation and relating to people. I have no idea who or where i would be without her today. She has helped me grow in so many ways.

Babe, I love you. Today, I celebrate us ... 10 years! WOW! I am looking forward to our future together. God has so many incredible things instore. I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years hold.

27 June 2006

Another HOT day in Mexico. We got to our worksites today. We are assisting the remodel of a local church. Today we painted and painted and painted. White and beige. It was a lot to get used to, because the paint was a lot different. It seemed like it was watered down. The best part about the whole time was that we were able to meet the pastors of the church and talk with the asst. pastor. He shared the heart of the church and his passion for ministry. It was really cool to meet these people and and see their passion for God.

We are so spoiled in so many ways in the states. So many people dont even realize how blessed we are and how good we have it. If these people had one ounce of what some of the locals have here... I would predict a lot less whining. It is refereshing to serve. It is refereshing to see people so authentically excited about Christ.

I think I have drank 5 gallons of water today. We are downing the bottled water faster than we can get it. Absolutely no public water, bad news.

It is great to serve. Philippians 2:14.

26 June 2006

Hello from Mexico.

It is hotter than spicy guacamole down here. And let me tell ya it is spicy, but oh so good. Our flight was great, we landed 20 minutes early. So, we got to stand outside twice as long. We finally arrived at the place we are staying. The food is authentic Mexican, it is awesome. One of the team tried to eat some sauce that ended up being too hot, "it almost came out because my stomach rejected it". Honestly an exact quote.

Being near the ocean is such a calming time even if you are dripping sweat. I am literally sweating just thinking about sweating. God is going to do great things. I know it. I know I just need to hang on!

22 June 2006


Summer football practice is under way. I love it. It is so much fun having the opportunity to get back on the field. There are so many things I love about it. I just love football, what a great game. I love team-based sports. Team sports teach so many invaluable life lessons. In fact I would go as far to say that the lessons learned through team sports cannot be learned elsewhere.

I walked into the high school Tuesday evening as we were preparing for a 7 on 7 passing tournament. The smell of the hallway in the summer brought back so many memories of summer practice, two-a-days, hell week, weightlifting, ... I just cannot say how excited I am to be back involved with football.

The other aspect is coaching. Coaching has become something that I get really excited about. There is a special bond between the coach and the player. A great coach can take a player to a new level of competition.

It is very interesting how much the coaching and team aspects have crossed over into the church and business world. So many "Monday morning quarterbacks" think they know team just because they think they know sports. In fact many consider themselves coaches or leaders that have no business leading or coaching. A coach was once a player, a leader is a learner (being taught). Too many self appointed leaders think they have nothing more to learn. Too many self appointed coaches have no idea what they are doing. You must be willing to be part of a team to be able to be a coach. You must be humble enough to continue learning to be a great leader. NOT everyone is a leader! NOT everyone is a coach!

At this point in my pastoral ministry I am so much more aware of the absolute necessity of a tight-knit team. I am so frustrated with lazy team members that won't pull their weight. There are no victims on the team. A true team member takes responsibility for their involvement or lack of involvement. A true team member puts the team before their self. A true team player seeks relationship between the other team members. A true team player give it their all. If you are not willing to go the distance then get OFF the field and quit wasting time and screwing things up.

Coaches have some of the best one liners, the one I will leave you with...
Leave it all on the field.

Whatever field you are in love it! Leaving it all on the field means that you give it your all, you have done your best. You know that you could not have done one more thing. I challenge you to leave it all on the field. If you cannot do that it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing and where you are doing it.

21 June 2006


It has been HOT here lately. And to make it worse the wind is out of control. There is nothing better than ice cold water on a hot summer day. It is amazing how children have the ability put everything into perspective. I have been carrying a heavy burden lately. This past week has been "that week" if it could go wrong it has. Today my wife had to take our daughter to the doctor's office and I spent the afternoon with my son. We crawled around the family room and wrestled. It was such a refreshing time. It does not change what is going on, but it is a reminder of values and priorities. It is such a blessing to have such a great family; my wife, daughter, and son are so wonderful! Why is it that when "stuff' happens family takes the hit? Family is our support. Family is our team. Wow! What a blessing children are. My son will never know the impact of this time. There is no doubt I was in need of God reaching in to my world today. I am so glad I stopped and looked at things in that "childlike" perspective. I don't do that enough.

07 June 2006

1 Year Today...

One year ago today, my son Samuel was born. Kids are such a blessing! Wow! Right now everything is "gaachk" or something like that. He will see a ball and say "gaachk". So we sit down and play catch for a bit, he loves throwing... just about anything. I thing he understands that it is fun to throw stuff. Monday evening I had Emma (my 4 year old) and Sam in my car and Emma was making Sam laugh so hard. She was making funny faces in the back seat of the car. There isn't much better that hearing your kids laugh together. I can't imagine, if I feel this way how does God feel about us, His children.

01 June 2006

Syringadenous (adj) of or relating to the sweat glands.

We are watching the national spelling bee. The kids that are crazy smart! I have NOT recognized ONE word that they have had to spell. This is intense stuff... maybe not. But they sure are smart. I did learn a new fun word to describe my over-active sweat glands.

31 May 2006

It is an exciting day. Stadium is on iTunes. Stadium is the youth ministry at First Assembly of God. You can subscribe to the Stadium Podcast through iTunes. Our Student Ministries team will be putting the sermons from our services and a weekly podcast with some of the "personalities" of Stadium on iTunes. Enjoy!

29 May 2006

Just finished an intense round of Phase 10 and can I say... I WON! J, Andrea, Glenda and I were crazy and completed all 10 rounds. This was my first time playing and I pretty much dominated. Saw X-men 3 last night - EXCELLENT - I wont spoil it with who dies but let's just say they are key people.

26 May 2006

Do you remember the old rhyme - I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. My wife and I did the unthinkable. We told our four year old daughter that we were going to get ice cream at a favorite ice cream place of ours. We had a 20 minute drive before we get home and all 20 minutes my daughter is ANXIOUSLY awaiting our arrival at the ice cream shop. There is nothing better on a warm summer evening than enjoying some ice cream with the family.

25 May 2006

It is Spring! I love Spring. There is a freshness and a newness that comes with Spring. My daughter, most mornings, will wake up and ask if today is Summertime. I like the summer, but Spring is still the time when you see the grass green up again (hopefully), trees are getting their leaves, the birds are out again, there is a new life about Spring. Synonymous with Spring is growth. I have been thinking a lot about growth lately. My yard is not much to look at. The grass is too tall right now, I need to mow. The landscaping needs major attention, because there really is none. I have two shrubs. For those that care... a variegated dogwood and a "burning bush" (whatever the real name is). Both of these are growing great, but I love great landscaping. It hurts to look at my feeble landscaping and know what it could be. One of the most planted shrubs is a spirrea. They are a fairly durable shrub. You shave them off in the Fall and new growth comes every Spring. If the dead Fall growth is not cut off it chokes out the new growth. I am not a landscape expert, but I do know that the purpose of the shrub is to grow.

Our reason for existence is to grow. I want my kids to grow. I want my relationship with my wife to grow. I want to grow to be more like Christ. Have I been willing to let God trim off the "dead stuff" to make room for new growth? Are we truly committed to growth? Growth looks good but it is hard work. How often do we give up/stunt our growth? I am committed to GROW! Get out and enjoy the Spring!