31 August 2005

preparing for fdc, babies, and more

as our 40 days campaign approaches, i am feeling more and more overwhelmed by the fact that in the midst of this major undertaking, deb and i will be bringing a new life into the world! i don't think i will ever forget fdc!

caitlyn's furniture should arrive sometime this weekend (hopefully friday) and i can't wait to put it together. i have been told that this is one of the most satisfying things an expectant father can do when he is preparing to enter fatherhood. i hope that it is not one of the most frustrating things b/c me and construction don't always play well together. i was able to put together deb's glider, but that was only a few screws and some velcro...this is a crib and a 5-drawer dresser. hopefully the instructions come in english as well as chinese, french, spanish, and unintelligible.

among other things on my plate there is this emerging worship gathering that jim wants me to research. i think this would be a great place to start such a multi-sensory experience, but now is unfortunately not the time i would choose to do research on a new worship opportunity - mostly b/c it is very labor intensive. i am excited about the possibility of leading an emerging worship gathering here at trietsch, but the legwork required to do it well, might just kill me!

i am also looking to put together a retreat next summer that will be an opportunity for incoming college freshmen to have a chance to hear some words of wisdom from those who have recently "been there, done that." i would like it to take place at bridgeport (that's their cross in the pic) and i would like to see who would be interested in an experience of this sort. i have a basic format that i would like to use, but i will need some help "fleshing it out" - as they say. any takers?


25 August 2005

interesting conversation

yesterday at lunch we talked about tattoos, body piercings, and other random stuff, but the conversation on tattoos got me thinking and that led me to ask deb about her thoughts on the subject. well, after a fairly intense discussion about the "pros" and cons of getting one, having one, and what-we-would-do-if-our-child-came-home-with-one, we were exhausted and tired.

so i thought i would open the floor to discuss this highly-charged issue...what do you think about tattoos? should christians have tattoos? if you were a parent, what would you do if you child came home with one? is there such a thing as an "appropriate tattoo"?

i have an opinion on the matter, but i want to hear what the rest of you think before i expound on the issue (you might be surprised at my opinion). i will join the convo in the comment section when asked.


21 August 2005

eventful weekend(?)

as part of my journey towards ordination i met with the dallas-denton district committee on ordained ministry to be recommended to preparations & qualifications (fancy methodist-speak for taking the next step). i was recommended unanimously! so that means i get to write more papers, have another interview (this time with the conference board of ordained minstry), and sweat out another vote on my ministerial worthiness.

completed some chores around the house, made some calls that i needed to make, and took out my wife for an evening of shopping and dinner at steak & shake!

woke up at 7:30, found out that deb had been up since 2am and was full of energy to clean the house and get ready for caitlyn's arrival. we spent the day moving furniture from one room of the apartment to another, cleaning out the kitchen so that caitlyn will have a dedicated area just for her stuff, and hanging pictures/rearranging knick-knacks/light cleaning. i can't believe that deb made it all the way till 6:30pm before she crashed, but she did! now i believe we are ready (at least space-wise) for caitlyn to come, but we are still working on the emotional level of being parents.

this morning was "back in the saddle" day at trietsch (aka dean wears uncomfortable tight-fitting jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat because jim says to). by the end of the morning i was ready to get out of the jeans because they were just too uncomfortable, but i must say that i could get used to wearing the hat...it made me want to be friendlier to the people i met this morning.

i also finished reading donald miller's searching for god know's what this afternoon. i enjoyed this book more so than any other "theology" book that i have read in recent years. miller did a great job of presenting the gospel of jesus christ in a narrative format that makes it accessible for all readers - plus he tells funny stories that keep you laughing throughout the entire book. i wanted to share just a couple of quotes from the book that i thought were especially meaningful/thought-provoking.

"the gospel of jesus, i mean the essence of god's message to mankind, wasn't a bunch of hoops we needed to jump through to get saved, and it wasn't a series of ideas we had to agree with either; rather, it was an invitation, an invitation to know god." (14)

"i want to tell you without reservation that is there is any hope for you and me, for this planet set kilter in the fifteen-billion light-year expanse of endless mystery, the hope would have to be in this man who contends he is not of us, but with us, and simply is." (149)

"the greater trouble with [gospel tracts] is that modern evangelical culture is so accustomed to this summation that it is difficult for us to see the gospel as anything other than a list of true statements with which a person must agree...perhaps our reduction of these ideas [i.e. the gospel] has caused us to miss something." (153)


17 August 2005

wednesday devos

as requested i have begun posting devotionals. the first one is available now. i will post a new one each wednesday morning.

words from the word

also, i changed the settings on this blog and wftw so that you can post comments anonymously (thanks again ian!)


13 August 2005

leadership summit reflections

this past thursday thru saturday i participated in a simulcast conference known as the leadership summit. over 110 locations in the us brought together over 54k leaders from all kinds of churches in order to hear God's challenge to us.

i went into it wondering what it would be like to watch a big screen for 2 1/2 days, pretending i was a part of the action at the main location. i soon discovered that i was fully engaged in the conference and quickly forgot about the fact that i was watching a giant projection screen. the summit was great! i am truly energized for carrying out the leadership which i have been called to do - and i believe that God is receiving glory for my success and confronts me in my failures as a leader.

i look forward to next year's summit, but i have to make the necessary changes in my life now, so that at next year's summit i will be able to leap to even higher ground and meet greater challenges.

bill hybels asked us to find our "holy discontent," the thing that wrecks us about the church/christian life. he told us that the things that wreck us, wreck God and that we should go out and make a difference in the things that wreck us. i discovered that the thing that wrecks me is the missing 20 to 30-somethings in the modern american church. i discovered that i want more than anything to see my generation find its place in the church body and find a way to worship the living God with meaning and purpose. i am even more committed to seeing that an emerging worship service begins at trietsch during my tenure here. without offering a worship experience that resonates with the generation that is missing from our churches, i will not be able to stand before my creator and say that i did all that i could.

thanks to ken ulmer i was reminded that my passion will remain only pipe dream if i do not turn it over to God, so that he can begin to work on it and make it come alive in the hearts of those who need to hear his message. he said that it all depends on who's hand it was in - if it's in my hand, it can only do so much; but if it's in jesus' hand, it can work miracles and change lives and impact the kingdom of God forever.

one of the rituals i plan to initiate is the weekly devotionals for those of you who want them. they will be available on my new blog page each wednesday morning. i hope that your journey with christ is blessed because of them and i hope that you will make comments on them each week.


07 August 2005

this post is "tax free"

yesterday debbie and i ventured out to stonebriar mall in frisco for an afternoon of shopping - debbie had b-day $$ burning a hole in her pocket! i knew that the main road to the mall would be clogged with traffic b/c not only was this saturday of "tax-free weekend," but a new ikea store had just opened at a major intersection near the mall.

when we got to the mall i was indeed thankful that most of our shopping was done in the maternity sections of the department stores or at specialty maternity stores (translation - less kids running around suffering from adhd-induced spats). as i took a rest from the shopping extravaganza, i sat in one of the "penalty boxes" watching the foot traffic pass by hurriedly. i thought to myself, i wonder why all these people come out to the mall when the stores are having an 8 1/4% sale, but every store in the nation could hang out a 10% sale sign, and no one would bat an eye? this puzzled me as i sat in the comfy leather chair drinking a very berry smoothie from thirsty's. i think i figured out what the attraction was...not paying tax on things you would purchase anyway, is kinda like stickin' it to uncle sam (aka - the man)! it's kinda like giving a big middle finger to those bureaucrats in austin, without actually having to raise your longest phalange into the air.

it also occurs to me that the state of texas is missing out on a deep well of dollars that could go to support children's health insurance or fund medicare for seniors or even settle the debate over school financing. so i wonder if tax-free weekend is such a good idea afterall...i mean it's not like we don't expect to chew up our savings by buying more things anyway!

ok, on to other matters. this morning i had the opportunity to lead the entire communion liturgy on my own during worship! it was an exciting time and i continue to feel humbled at the way God can use a broken vessel like me to spread his message and show his love. the words of the liturgy are so precious to me and i know that i am unworthy to be used by God, but i know that God has chosen me to carry out a purpose. thank you God, for choosing and using me!

in other news, i finished a 420-pg novel this afternoon. monster by frank peretti (author of this present darkness) was a terrific story about what can happen when humans try to take God's role as creator. highly recommended for those who like a good suspense/(mild) horror novel.

i hope reading this was not too "taxing"!


04 August 2005

new things

today, as i prepared the lesson for yabs, i decided to try a new approach to doing a small group bible study - reverse paraphrasing. as i looked over the text i wanted to reverse, i had to first think about what the text was saying to me, then negate everything. this was much harder than i thought it would be because i don't like to think about God not caring about me or not sheltering me from the storms of life. it made me think about all the things i tend to take for granted in my life and i wondered what kind of hell i would live in without God's protection and provision.

my thoughts then turned to caitlyn and her impending arrival on planet earth. will i be ready for her when she gets here? will she love me because i help feed her and clean her or will she love me because i first loved her? what will she look like or act like or be like? how am i going to pay for her wedding?! maybe i am getting ahead of myself, but she will be here before too long and she will require constant attention...dear God, help me to be the father to caitlyn that you have been to me. amen.

what prepares you for new things in life? are you looking forward at what is coming ahead of you or are you looking behind you at what you have accomplished in the past? if you are doing the latter, watch out - cuz you might run smack into a tree! God does new things in our lives all the time we just have to be on the lookout for them.

"see, i am doing a new thing! now it springs up; do you not perceive it? i am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (isa 43:19).


ps - found this today, thought it was kinda funny!

01 August 2005

happy birthday sweetie!

today is the 26th anniversary of the birth of my wife debbie. although i have only been a part of the last 7 celebrations, i feel that i have loved her enough for a lifetime (and then some!).

happy b-day deb!



have you ever noticed how much better things are a second (or even third) time around? i just finished re-reading a tale of two cities by charles dickens. i initially read it in the 10th grade for english class and i must say that it was even better the second time through! since sophomore year was over 10 years ago, it is no wonder i didn't remember much about what happened, but i must admit that dickens had me on the edge of my seat for the last 50-60 pages. pick it up if you are in the mood for a great narrative about love, friendship, sacrifice, and redemption - with a little turmoil of the french revolution thrown in!

you know what else is still good after multiple readings? scripture! at the request of a college student who will remain nameless (ahem...ian!), i will be starting a weekly devotional blog for your reading enjoyment. they will be posted on wednesday afternoons, beginning august 17th. if you can think of a clever alliterative title, please post it here - i will consider all entries and choose one (or maybe just make up my own).

just so you know, kelley is still in the hospital and the drs still do not have a definitive answer about what is causing her illness. i will keep you updated as i get word.