Thursday, December 29, 2005

Yep, It's Time, I'm Back

I am a serious pragmatist. Especially with regards to time. I really want serious bang for the proverbial buck when it comes to my use of time. This doesn't mean that I'm totally organized when it comes to my use of time (I'm working on this). So maybe this is why I haven't written in a while. Or perhaps I reallly didn't have a whole lot to say. Kinda like now where I'm rambling. One way cool thing is that I'm blogging now for the first time from my brand spanking new Power Mac G5! Oh yeah baby! She's got POWER. Dual 2.3 Ghz processors. I thought I'd show you a pic:

So now I need to really learn how to harness the power of this thing. I made my first iMovie of my daughter Anna's 1st Grade play, The Three Little Pigs, where she played the Big Bad Wolf. She's the cute one with a black shirt and a wolf hat:

More later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Ah yes. We achieved the impossible on Tuesday around noon. After having served faithfully for several hours at Monroe Circle Community Center, my wife, Lisa was STARVED. We came up with ideas, Taco Bell, the usual. Then, as often happens, we both get a prompting, possibly from the Holy Spirit, but more likely from our hunger - CHINESE, BABY! Oh yeah. And we didn't just want a small lunch portion of Chinese. I mean this was KING-SIZED hunger. So what better way to feed this need than with not just Chinese, but CHINESE BUFFET.

So we live more on the west side of town, near 933, so we thought "Hey, this is a big town. There must be a Chinese Buffet on 933 right. I mean, this road goes right by Notre Dame." (Note: King's Buffet, by the mall is not our favorite place. Maybe because it was formerly a "Chi Chi's" and the cactuses and sombreros on the walls don't exactly conjure up the richness that is Chinese Buffet heritage.)So, our perilous journey began. So we found a Chinese Restaurant, no BUFFET. Found a buffet, no CHINESE - INDIAN! DOH! Found another Chinese Restaurant, no BUFFET!!! We found Italian, Greek, Mexican, American, and Indian restaurants but NO CHINESE BUFFET!!! We had our mind and bodies set to feed from the never ending trough of MSG!

Should this be so difficult? I mean, let's face it - pretty much on any corner where there is an old restaurant that has gone out of business, a China Buffet has popped up. You've all seen them - old Wendy's, Bill Knapp's, and Burger Chef's - now, tastefully decorated with several statues of Bhudda and a goldfish pond. THESE PLACES ARE EVERYWHERE!!! We had achieved the impossible!! We could not find one! Foiled! And so we dragged our tails back to Casa del King's Buffet (formerly Chi Chi's) and pretty much gourged ourselves on every chicken and rice dish imaginable (yeah, I had a tater-tot or two as well, and an onion ring - authentic Chinese, baby!) The best part is that you get "free" dessert included. Those pre-cut "Little Debbie" ho-ho things are always a treat. And certainly the 4 shades of jello. Yep, life is good - VIVA LA BUFFET!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Tribute...

A man of God. A husband. A father. A diligent co-worker in ministry. A talented artisan. And much more could be shared about Doug Coney, who went home to be with Jesus this past Monday evening.

Doug had just completed possibly the largest set that he ever built - our set for LOST. If you haven't seen it, it's FANTASTIC! With working waterfall and plane wreckage that he picked up on a short jaunt down to Atlanta during Hurricane Katrina. Doug's dedication to his craft and the ministry at GCC was incredible. Late late hours. Pressing deadlines. The man ALWAYS came through with something amazing.

I came to GCC for my first weekend service during the Matrix series (see photo). I simply could not believe my eyes. All these pipes and smoke and TVs. I couldn't believe that a church like this existed, and much more that it might be interested in me! Needless to say, I was impressed with the production. All the welding and cool lighting really made the place intriguing - especially for those who had a conception that church was boring or irrelevant to culture. Doug was our first line of offense into the first impressions that people have of GCC and ultimately of Jesus. From a performer's standpoint I have to say that I always was glad to know that Doug was in charge of our safety in the structures he created. He never cut corners. He got the job done right. This legacy of excellence is what Doug leaves us.

So many lives were changed because of Doug. I think of the first bridge weekend a few years back, the cross weekend last year, and "The Gap" bridge this year. All built by Doug, but representing "THE bridge" that Jesus created by his ultimate sacrifice. Countless people crossed from the darkness to the light on the set pieces built by Doug Coney. Eternity was impacted by this man. This inspires me to make the most of every moment for the kingdom of God. As Chris Tomlin's song The Way I Was Made says: "I want to live like there's no tomorrow." In light of Doug's life and tragic passing. I want to live that way. May tomorrow be everything it could be - without regret of time wasted in some sort of holding pattern! May we write the songs that need to be written; may we create the art that shouts to be created; may we love those who are in greatest need with extravagant love; may we forgive those who have harmed us with generous grace; may we LIVE, truly LIVE without regret!

I'm so saddened for his family. To Lesley, Peyton and Dalton. My heart goes out to you. I will pray for you and your family daily to experience the "peace that goes beyond all understanding". May Jesus and this body called Granger Community Church walk with you every step of the way as you heal from the pain of this loss. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

99 Cents of Scrumtralescence...

All right. Consider me boring. Maybe even obtuse. But I am a man who considers himself a serious connoisseur of the Taco Bell Bean Burrito. I have been this way for over 10 years. I have experienced several evolutions of this classic taste sensation during the past decade. From it's humble beginnings as a side menu item, to that craze in the mid-90's with "low fat" menu items (low fat cheese - a fine rubbery texture- yum!), to it's most recent and (to me) most glorious of all incarnations - THE BEAN BURRITO ESPECIAL. 99 cents of pure scrumtralescence. Here are the specs from

A large flour tortilla loaded with a huge portion of hearty beans, cheddar cheese, creamy jalapeno sauce, onions and tangy red sauce.

And although I have been a B.B. fan (those of us who are in the club call it B.B. for short) for all these years, it is not until this latest version that I can tell everyone that there is no other competition on the Taco Bell menu with regards to value, portion and taste. I mention taste last because of one particular aspect of the B.B. Especial - the jalapeno sauce. Now, Taco Bell still serves the regular bean burrito for 89 cents, but this would be a most unwise purchase my friend. "What's the difference?" you ask. It's the sauce. That creamy, tangy jalapeno sauce. It makes my mouth water even as I write this. It's that last ten percent of the recipe which takes a normal, nutritious menu item and skyrocket's it to the top of the taco heap!

We all could take a lesson from the B.B. Especial. It's the last ten percent that makes something really special. I realize that more and more in the programming that I'm involved with at GCC. Really good arts elements become great ones with that last ten percent. I'm reminded of this with a Gwen Stefani song that we did a few months back. "Rich Girl" was the tune which has a part for a female rapper. We could have just had our rapper come onto the stage by walking out from the back curtain. However, we chose to have her enter by spinning her around on a very glammed-out high back chair. This was that final 10 percent which made for a WOW experience. And don't even get me started on what's happening for our new LOST series.

Regarding our families, friendships, or jobs, I wonder what it would look like if each of us would take whatever we do beyond the normal 90% and go for that last 10%? Would our marriages be stronger? Would our families feel more connected? Would our jobs be that much more exciting to go to? Would we make a bigger impact? All this, brought to you by the Bean Burrito Especial and our amigos at Taco Bell!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Knock knock...

Knock, knock...

Who's there?


Dwayne who?

Dwayne the tub, I'm drowning.

It's amazing how quickly we can go from swimming at a good stroke, with confidence and reasonably good form to the point of barely keeping our heads above water. The road from making headway to treading water is a short one. This has been the story of the last few weeks for me. A couple weeks ago, things were pretty smooth. I just came off the Leadership Summit with new ideas. Ready to focus on my part in advancing God's kingdom in more effective ways. Fastforward to this past week and we're talking SWAMPFEST '05. During this, God led me to a scripture:

2 Timothy 4:5 "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, dispatch all the duties of your ministry."
  1. Finding myself overwhelmed, my mind gets really cloudy. I find that because everything seems so daunting I don't do anything that is important. I'll perform some menial tasks to avoid the huge mess in front of me. Paul reminds Timothy to "keep your head". At a breaking point I'll forget about task prioritizing and just start picking at the pile instead of being strategic.
  2. Ministry is tough work and we must "endure hardship." For some reason I had the idea in my head that things would be easy once I got out of "the real world". Yes, there are benefits to being in professional ministry, like a flexible schedule, but since I help lead in ministry, I'm under that much more attack. As John Eldredge often says, "We live a life opposed." Satan has leaders targeted.
  3. When I find myself completely stressed out and buried, it's usually because I try to do way too much on my own. I think of how geese work together and form the "flying V"(also a way cool, vintage, headbanger's guitar, I might add), depending on each other to take turns cutting through the hardest headwinds. I think that's what's being addressed in the "dispatch the duties of your ministry" part of the verse. Notice, he says to do the work of an evangelist (Timothy's calling/gifting) but to "dispatch" the other duties. Once again, this challenges us to be ruthless with our schedules as to what we can delegate to others vs. doing stuff ourselves.
With all that being said, maybe it's time for you and I to pull the plug and "dwayne the tub"?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I can't takes no more!

Remember Bluto from Popeye? In each episode, he would push (often torture) Popeye to the point of saying: "I've taken all I can takes! I can't takes no more!" Every time this came up, it usually had to do with someone that Popeye cared about - Olive Oyl, Pappy, or Wimpy. At this point, Popeye would bust out the spinach, and get down to business. Today at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels challenged us to take a cue from Popeye. Is there something that really gets our blood boiling to the point of actually doing something about it. It seems to remind me of James challenge of "Faith without works is DEAD." Bill called it a "Holy Discontent" that he said needed to be fanned into flames. I'm still trying to figure this one out for me personally. Several things come to mind:
  1. I hate lame church services that are irrelevant to people's lives.
  2. I hate that kids at churches are often forced to sing songs that are way over their heads theologically and topically - "Blessed Be Your Name" for Kids? Come on, man!
  3. I hate that there are kids in Africa who will be orphaned tonight because of AIDS!
  4. I hate that kids are often under-challenged to make a difference for Christ in this world.
Just thoughts. I'm simmering on these for a while and asking for God's guidance. Hopefully, for the remainder of my life I'll be, as the sailor with disproportionate forearms might say, "Strong to the finish!"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

We've Been Invaded

Okay, so my daughter Sophie finally has her first BIG GIRL mattress. And I want to emphasize the BIG part of that statement. BIG just doesn't seem to capture the essence of the monster that has taken over a massive portion of my daugther's room. We were thinking "hey, let's get our little girl a nice plush-top to add cushy to her tushy." So we purchased a "kid's mattress" set from our "shopping club"(don't get me started on reasons why you should NEVER, I mean, NEVER EVER join a shopping club). So we never saw this beast before we purchased, figuring we'll save $100-200. In it comes this morning. And yes, as I said before, it is a "kid's mattress set". The thing is easily as tall as she is. The little blue step stool (above) gets her so she can then step on the box spring which then almost gets her on the mattress. And we didn't want to get her a bunkbed because she might fall out and hurt herself. Now we're not so sure that the bunkbed wouldn't be lower. Hmm. And what about sheets? Do you buy an extra set? Do they have a big and tall shop for bedding? I'm not and anti-plushite, but it concerns me that these giants may be taking over. Unwittingly, I have aided their cause. I better go and check on my daughter...

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Doers, the Dreamers, and Me...

One of my favorite movies is the original, "Muppet Movie". No, not the highly lame, "Muppets in Space" or "Muppet Treasure Island" - uh, definitely not. We're talking where it all started. The movie begins with a wide angle pan shot of the Florida Everglades. We gradually focus in on a log with a frog, or a frog with a log, whichever you prefer. My favorite childhood green buddy, Kermit busts into "The Rainbow Connection". The final line being, "The lovers, the dreamers and me." Kermit has a dream - to go to California and make a movie. The tension throughout the rest of the show is between how some characters believe in this dream and that others don't.

I think we all live in this tension. Each of us has "dreams" we would like to fulfill and each of us has stuff that we simply need to "do". The problem is that I often find myself dreaming and then feeling guilty that I haven't gotten things DONE. Or I find myself in this frantic state of doing, so much that my soul starts to wither because it hasn't DREAMED in days. Rarely, if ever am I in a state of balance. So I guess I'm either a frustrated dreamer or an exhausted doer. I think I'd rather be the former and dream with a little guilt. It is here that I find fulfillment, even if just for a time. Even if the dream never really results in anything tangible. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "Better to have dreamed in vain, than never to have dreamed at all."

"The Muppet Movie" ends with Kermit and the gang finally getting the chance to make a movie and yet somehow Animal destroys the entire set. Even through this seemingly disastrous ending Kermit still holds onto "The Rainbow Connection" - the dream. Something about human... err... frog souls - we've gotta keep dreaming the dream.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Riding tandem. Something about it that seems to be so metaphorical. Each person we passed as we rode around Mackinac Island would make the joke "she's not peddling you know." After about the 5th time someone made the joke it kinda lost its impact. I guess as we peddled up and down those small hills, I simply trusted the love of my life and partner. I knew she was peddling because I know she cares for not only for her well-being, but our collective well-being. Ater 10 years, we've pretty well decided that it's the collective that makes our bike go.

Just last month we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We went up to Mackinac Island, where a spur of the moment jaunt from Traverse City became a most memorable honeymoon location. We had it all planned out. Honeymoon at the Grand Traverse Resort - yeah, baby! One of the most posh places to stay in Northern Michigan. We walk in our first day - massive red wine stain on the floor (alright, it looked like blood!) right when we walk in. Welcome to your stay at the Bates Motel. Pretty quickly after we figured out that bubble bath and jacuzzis don't mix,( yeah, 3 foot high bubbles) we decided to depart the next day for a short trip up to Mackinac Island. We ended up staying at the Cloghaun Bed and Breakfast on the Island. Much more quaint, and a lot less reminiscent of the Bates Motel. All that to say that Mackinac Island has become very special to our hearts. We keep going back. This trip was our 4th back in 10 years. We highly recommend staying on the island overnight. The bands at the pubs are really talented.

And so we choose each time we go to Mackinac Island to ride the tandem bike. We certainly could ride separate bikes, it might give us more independence and better steering. But, we're tandem people. We share the load. I think that's the way God made us.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Rob Bell, of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, MI tells the story of his young son who has just waded into the water after collecting two handfuls of smashed sea shells. Now these shells were the type that are all over the beach. Thousands upon thousands have washed up and been trampled upon. The child decides to wade into the water with shell fragments in hands. After a while his father notices a beautiful starfish floating on top of the water within reach of his son. Rob yells to his son to pick up the starfish.

Anxiously the boy looks at the starfish and then looks at his fists, full of broken shells. And then back to the starfish and then again, back to his hands. Suddenly he bursts into loud sobs. Rob shouts out, "What wrong, buddy? Just pick up the starfish!" To this the son blurts out through his tears, "But then I'll have to drop these shells!" Isn't that the case we often find ourselves in. We want the broken shells that are in our hands when our Father wants to give us the coolest starfish in the ocean! We'd rather hold on to what is comfortable or what we know, rather than give up control and allow God to bless us beyond what our human minds can fathom. I learned that lesson this week. God blessed me beyond my imagination by taking away something that I thought I wanted. For this lesson and for the blessing, I am eternally grateful. May we all trust God - the giver of every good and perfect gift.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Viva la Revolution!

It seems crazy but this Jesus thing in my life continues to cause a REVOLUTION in my soul. The biggest change that seems to be coming is that I'm consciously present. I think that satan LOVES to get us distracted enough that we aren't fully present, mentally or emotionally, in any given situation. I'm thinking much more clearly and with a greater sense purpose. I am more aware of the awesomeness of God. This has also allowed me to become much more creative in the moment. So I will stop with the "wah" about not having anything clever to say. I'll just keep typing and end with... "Viva la Revolution!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Word-Smith I Am NOT

It's an interesting thing how the mind works. Some people think in images, some in language, others, like mine, think in tunes. I really appreciate people who are wordsmiths, who know just how to craft a sentence for greatest impact. "I have a dream..." or "The only thing we have to fear is..." and then "Ah'll be baack." or "You gotta have the eye of the tiger!" Uh, well, maybe not all lines are completely classic. However, I realize that having a blog means that I'll actually need to work on how I craft words in order to keep the masses coming back for more. One problem is that (my wife can back me up on this) I SUCK AT TELLING STORIES! I either leave out details, get the wrong details, give too many details or get the order wrong. So any recommendations on storytelling recources would be a plus if you have them. With that I'll leave you with the profound thought, "Wherever you're at, there you are." I saw a movie with that, but I forget the detail of the name of it. DOH!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

AHA!, anonymous is NOW possible.

I did get my settings right so you can post anonymously now. Cool? Cool.

Hey Everyone!

I started this blog to help encourage our friend Jim Zuber. If you'd like to send a posting or prayer to him, just CREATE a new posting. If you don't want you email address printed, I think you can post an anonymous posting. Thanks everyone.