Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prayers Needed!

We're pretty excited. On Thursday morning at 10am, Lisa (pictured above before a hot date a couple years ago :) ) has her first interview with the South Bend schools for a position opening next year! We've really been praying over what kind of job, which school system, all of this. Lisa has taught 5 years in the Coldwater schools, up in Michigan (where we're from). I'm not lying here when I say SHE IS SO TALENTED as a teacher! Our prayers are that God uses her to bring His light wherever she lands.

A few areas of specific prayer:
  • feeling comfortable in the interview setting
  • having composure to think 
  • being able to be herself and not say words that aren't hers
  • that the interviewer(s) would be relaxed and encouraging 
Thanks everyone, in advance, for praying!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Volunteers: The Musical

This was so much for to do. After the 5th service, we were saying, "Aw, it's over! Rats!" Great job everyone on this!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why I LOVE our Volunteers

Why I LOVE our volunteers:
- they often work 2x as hard as people who could get paid
- they serve with JOY!
- they are the first to encourage one another and our leadership
- they get/breathe/recast the vision of our church
- they understand that they are a PART of the bigger picture of what God is doing
- they know that it's really not about them, but about others
- they go the extra mile to make something good, GREAT!
- they give around 15-20 hours of volunteer time every weekend that they serve
- they challenge me to take my leadership to new levels in order to serve them well
- they simply are the BEST around

Here are some pics from our weekend celebrating volunteers, including smooth stone award winners Leroy King (vocal team, Heir Force Band team leader, MC3 teams), Dalene Stuteville (drama team, drama writing team), and Brian Warrell (weekend band team, Heir Force Band, First Impressions Team).


A friend of ours overheard a comment from a person behind them coming for the first time. They said to their friend, "I'm glad your brought me here." Love that!

Another friend of ours brought her husband for the first time who was burned by church in the past. Sunday afternoon he asked her, "Honey, what are we doing this coming Saturday?" "I dunno? I was thinking of going out with the girls," she replied. "Oh, 'cause I was hoping that we'd go to GCC as a family this Saturday." God doing a thing. I love it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm an Addict

I've tried to keep it a secret. I've struggled long and hard with this. A confessional moment here. I must admit, I am an addict. A Mac addict, that is. Yes, I know, if you know me, there have been signs of it all over.

It started when I was young. In sixth grade I was chosen by my school to be the first of 2 students who got a chance to work on an ORIGINAL Apple II Computer. Yes, that was the black one with a monochromatic screen. Oregon Trail where people looked like boxes was pretty sweet.

I wasn't satisfied. I had to have one at home.

So I talked my parents into an Apple IIe. Now, DOUBLE FLOPPY DISK DRIVES and a GREEN monochromatic monitor. Does anyone remember tying "\" symbols to underline words in a document. Oh yeah.

Still not satisfied. College began. I needed some firepower.

Mac Classic. 8mHz processor with 1 MB of RAM. Oh yes. Many a Sim City game was played on this. Of course, some sweet Print Shop posters were made as well.

THEN. I strayed... In a moment of weakness, I bought a Gateway. I realize now that it was the cowprint boxes that sold me. All 667mhz of processing glory and Windows 98. We still have this machine, it is in the toy room with a barbie kitchen next to it.

Definitely not satisfied.

Two years ago, I got a Power Mac G5 Tower which I still use everyday almost. It's a Duo Core (not Intel - I bought just before they released them) and a 1.67 gHz processor with 2G of RAM. Now, audio, video, photos - it's all good. After I finish a project or two, I'll be switching this over to Leopard.

Love it, but I wasn't satisfied when I needed to carry all 50 lbs of this tower into Barnes & Noble to surf the web. I needed something more...

So, this year I finally got a Macbook (which I'm typing this on). I really enjoy Leopard on it and the fact that free Wi-Fi through AT&T is becoming more readily available everywhere (Barnes & Noble).

I say I'm an addict because I'm still not satisfied. When I want to surf the web and don't have Wi-Fi or my Macbook, what is a man to do? I've added a new thing to "the list". Yes, it's an iPhone, but not just any one. The one with 3G technology that will allow much faster downloads.

Article on it's announced release on June 9th HERE. Anybody buying?

But, will I be satisfied??? Hmm...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Anyone Else Experience This?

I've heard of "Standing on the Promises of God", but "Laying" on them?

Our cat - Flankie. :)

A Good Old-Fashioned... Shed Moving??

We had the need for a shed. We looked at prices at Lowe's/Home Depot/Menard's, etc and found that the cheapest stable ones were about $1200! "Yikes!" said our budget. So we looked at other options. Some GCC members from across the street told us about a guy selling his shed a few doors down. We agreed on a really good price for us and it was a go. Now, HOW THE HECK DO YOU MOVE THIS THING? So after much research we decided to use the old Egyptian technique of rolling this thing on timbers. And what do you know? It worked!

The best thing was we had great friends to help us out. This is so important for us guys who tend to like to be do-it-yourself-ers. I'm often reminded of Pastor Mark's mantra: "The team outperforms the individual in the long run EVERY TIME." Or as I read in a fortune cookie once, "Many hands make light work." Brains + Brawn = Shed Moved! (notice the plural on brainS)

DC, Jeff and Cody - You guys literally rocked the house! ... or shed (more specifically)... :)

Photos by Anna and Sophie.

Monday, May 12, 2008

When Criticism Comes

We've received some "collateral heat" from Tim Steven's interview a few weeks back. The "Summer Nights" sketch that we were a part of has been getting a lot more hits (now over 20,000) since the interview. The comments are in line with what Tim has received. We, honestly Lisa, was feeling a little beaten up. A teammate and friend of mine Brian Warrell, encouraged us with this from Chuck Swindoll's book Hand Me Another Brick:

Every leader must develop the ability to measure the value or worth of criticism. He has to determine the source and the motive, and has to listen with discernment. Sometimes the best course of action is to graciously accept the criticism and learn form it. Other times, it must be strongly resisted.

Nehemiah's critics were constantly in agreement with one another, and their reaction was not a quiet, mildly disinterested one. No, they were angry! They became sarcastic. Look at the sarcasm in verse 3 "Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him [Sanballat] and he said "Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!'"

Can you imagine a comment like that? But Tobiah made a crucial mistake. He claimed that a mere fox "would break their stone wall down." But what they built was not "their" stone wall. The Lord wanted the wall built. He happened to use Nehemiah as the construction superintendent, but God commissioned the work and owned the final product. Carping critics typically look at the situations from a human point of view-their walls, their plans, their comfort, their procedure, their arrangement-usually wrapping their derision in carefully crafted logic or, even worse, cleverly contorted Scripture. They don't stop to think that they may be criticizing God's project.

People who look at life from the human point of view have problems with projects that require steps of faith. We as leaders who are Christian need to ask ourselves, "Am I really looking to God for vision, for growth, and for direction, or am I taking the easy way out, allowing the status quo to earn approval from my peers and to keep my position secure?" If we earnestly and genuinely seek God's best for our lives, we must keep our eyes open and our attitudes positive-not lacking discernment, but remaining focused and positive. And we must never forget that those who are, by nature, negative and critical will always, always be around to create opposition. Nevertheless, the work , must go on. Progress should not stop because a loud minority to disparage us or hinder the plan.

Good stuff and a great reminder to keep focused on the work, not on the critics.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Birthday Crashers??!!!

Mark Beeson inspired this post as one of those weird "doo-doo-doo-doo" (cue Twilight Zone music) moments.

Okay, so I've heard of wedding crashers. I've heard of party crashers, but BIRTHDAY CRASHERS!!!?

Our family was celebrating Sophie's 7th birthday at the mall. Five of Sophie's 1st grade friends and her sister all were there. We went to Build-a-Bear and had a great time. We then proceded to the food court in the mall to have pizza and then cake. So we finished our pizza from the pizza place there ($18 for one large pizza - I wouldn't recommend it-BTW), and got out the High School Musical cake. Just as we're doing this, a nice older lady (pictured above) stopped by. Here is the run down of the conversation from that point on:

Lady: "Oh! Somebody's having a birthday!"

My wife, Lisa: "You bet! Sophie's turning 7!"

Lady: "Congratulations! That looks like a nice cake."

Lisa: "Thank you."

(awkward moment of pause)

Lady: Do you think I could have a piece of that cake?

(my wife's wheels spinning in her head)

Lisa: Sure! You can have a piece of cake! What's your name?

Lady: Mary's my name.

Lisa: Here's your cake.

Mary: Do you think I can have a cup of that Sprite too?

Lisa: Um... Of course.

So our friend Mary sat with us for about 15 minutes (between 2 seven year olds) and ate her cake and had some Sprite. One of the funniest things was watching the kids on either side of Mary. They were just eating their cake and stealing glances at Mary. I could see their brains ticking "does not compute... does not compute..." (check out the smirk in the girl sitting next to Mary!)

It was one of those weird moments when you say something like Mark said, "ZOW!"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Oh What a Night!

Wow! It finally happened! Dustin and Brinn are married!!! Dustin is our Programming Director at GCC and is loved by all. Brinn is an amazing lady who oozes kindness and compassion. Dustin has chosen wisely.

It was a great evening. Two wonderfully beautiful people (inside and out) getting married. The lady next to me said, "This was a match made in heaven!" I tend to agree.

Highlights for us:
- Dustin's amazing media throughout - the one played at the start (which I'm sure will be posted somewhere was a tear jerker)
- A fun, intergrated service - yes, he planned it like a service planner! (As we sat in rehearsal on Thursday and Dustin passed out service orders, Brendan Sweeney commented "Is Dustin going to run his family by service orders?")
- Amazing dress for Brinn - simple and elegant
- Chuck Taylor's for the guys in the wedding party - very Dustin
- Pastor Paul sounded curiously similar to Job from Arrested Development - lots of energy :) and a great message about Love and Respect
- Trace singing Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You" - perfect energy for the end
- Brinn's cousin, Brennan playing some pretty sweet piano chops at the beginning, especially for a 14 year old.
- a replay of Dustin's proposal media that he played on his iPhone for Brinn back in December
- Dancing to a mix at the end with my wife and 2 girls - Sophie commented "I could have danced ALL NIGHT!"
- Bubbles at the end to send them off
- Seeing the love in their eyes and being reminded of how much I love my wife - 13 years on June 10th!

Congratulations you guys! I can't wait to see what God will do in and through you.

Okay - I got a little late in taking photos. But here are a few, not like anyone there was taking any photos!!!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I Just Love This Ad

Something that is communal. Something that is summer. Something that is spontaneous. I love it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dancing with Our (Little) Stars

We are so proud of our girls. Anna and Sophie have made amazing progress this year. Neither one have had any tap training until this year. THEY LOVE IT! (pictured below with their teacher, Miss Karin) Also, they are getting the ballet training that continues to give them a firm foundation.

We have been so pleased with Conservatory of Dance as our kids' dance school this year. Our girls have learned SO MUCH. Highly recommend for parents looking for dance studios. A few observations:

- kids are challenged appropriately, yet to the point of stretching them.
- kids are adequately PREPARED, which gives them CONFIDENCE in performance
- kids participate with students who are more advanced which helps them see role models to emulate

This is great. We will continue to trust the teachers/instructors at Conservatory of Dance.