Sunday, March 29, 2009


With the lovely Spring weather in Northern Indiana...

We're looking forward to 2 months to the day when we're going to...

We'll try not to gross our kids out like this. Or maybe we can't help it...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday Traditions

My daughter, Sophie, just turned 8 yesterday.  Our family likes to make a BIG DEAL out of birthdays.  We've started traditions along the way and have kept many of them.

Here are just a few highlights:
  • on birthday mornings all the other family members wake the person up with a LOUD rendition of Happy Birthday
  • a Krispy Kreme donut with a candle in it is on their plate
  • balloons and flowers are at their place
  • birthday person gets to choose where we go out to eat - usually it's Carrabbas!
  • a poster of some sort with pix from the past year (sometimes a baby pic) is sitting by their place
  • for the kids, dad writes a birthday letter to each of them every year which I read to them.
We've been doing this last one since they were able to understand things (around 3 years old).  In this letter I love having the chance to, in writing, affirm God's working in their lives.  I also point out strengths and growth that I've seen in the past year.  I highlight a few key memories which will help preserve them for the future.  Often, I will challenge them to growth in a key area as well.  

Here is a small portion from the letter that I  wrote Sophie this year:

There is a verse in the Bible that says: “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” Philippians 4:1 You are my joy and my crown, Sophie. I’ve told you this from the very beginning of your life and whispered it in your ear as I held you in the hospital. Joy is something that runs deep inside me when I get to be with you. You make my heart smile (if it could)! A crown is something that a king or queen wears and is proud of. It is something for others to see. I have to admit, I want others to see what a wonderful daughter I have in you.

These are things that I want her to know.  I've heard countless times about the difference a daddy makes in the lives of his daughters.  In fact, Kevin Leman wrote a great book about it.   

We treat birthdays with a lot of love in our family because we believe that this not only speaks, but shows VALUE to our kids.  I wonder if you have some birthday traditions that we could learn from?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Intentional Community

Our worship leaders, Trace Rorie, Jason Miller, Don Reynolds, Seth Bible and myself are getting together at Panera on a weekly basis now. We're finding that as things get more spread out between 2 campuses and various ministries that we need to have that regular contact, not only to "get 'er dun" but to build a sense of community and awareness of what is going on in each other's worlds.

I've been at points in my life where silo ministry has happened. People are working together, but they're not really "together" in truest sense. When things are smaller and only a few people involved, community can be less intentional. You do things together. You go to lunch. You work on projects because you are the only ones. As teams grow, the intentionality toward community must grow as well. We're choosing to make this an important part of our week. I can better pray for my brothers since I've heard where they're at. Our full staff team does this as well each week. Tim Stevens, our Executive Pastor did a great post on this a few years back.

I have to admit that this is a challenge for me because while I crave community, I also crave independence. As a person who has "IDEATION" as his chief character trait (check out Marcus Buckingham's Now, Discover Your Strengths), I like to do a bit of trail blazing. I realize though that as Mark Beeson has said that "the team outperforms the individual in the long run every time." I believe it and I'm willing to sacrifice some of my individuality and time to build God's church.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best Mix Around

My wife, Lisa, and I are Diet Coke addicts.  Yes, you can say "that aspertame'll kill 'ya!", but we're responsible for boosting the local economy by purchasing fountain Diet Coke.  Note that we still are fans of cans ("that aluminum'll kill 'ya too!") but nothing beats a good 'ole fountain DC when you're thirsty.  

So, we have an unsaid rating system in our heads as we move around town as to which places have the best mixes.  The mix is an art form, we believe.  In fact, McDonald's (our favorite mix) has a standard special blend for all McDonald's across the country.  So here's how it breaks down locally:

Top 5
  1. McDonald's
  2. Sam's Club (we love the cafe' ladies there as well)
  3. Speedway (particularly the one at Edison and 23)
  4. Chick-Fil-A (the owners, Kathy and Brian go to GCC!)
  5. Phillips 66 at Day Rd & Fir (you can choose cubed or crushed ice or BOTH!)
Anyone else as anal-retentive about their fountain drinks?

Great Wikipedia article about the history if you're interested... yeah, I'm a geek!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Turning Down a BLT

I just met with my good friend, Gene Ort, over lunch today.  We talked about what it means to have a relationship that maintains it's focus on Christ moment by moment.  We thought about some of the spiritual attacks that seem to come our way consistently - patterns of temptation that occur more frequently than others.

Gene brought up the idea that if we are mindful of spotting things as temptations, we're that much more apt to treat them as potential for sin.  Understanding how and when these temptations creep in can be a great tool for us in defending against them.  

I've heard the acronym "BLT" used for watching for patterns of temptations.

B - BORED - When we're bored and not engaged in something, we can get off target.  Like King David, when he wasn't engaged in his kingly duties of going off to battle, he fell into sin with Bathsheba.  

L - LONELY - We were created for community.  God's intent for us is to point each other toward Him.  Proverbs 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."  When we isolate ourselves, we're daring Satan to take aim.

T - TIRED - When we overwork ourselves, cheat on sleep, and run an unsustainable pace, these are ways that our guards can be let down.  We drop patterns of protecting our hearts - prayer, Scripture memory, meditation.  "Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23 

My brother Gene and I have the kind of commitment to each other that holds us accountable.  I'm grateful for Gene.  


Friday, March 13, 2009

Yep, it's True...

Hillsong London is coming to Granger Community Church on Tuesday, April 21st at 7pm. Tickets are $10. It is going to be awesome! Bring 10 friends! See you there!

Check out Jason Miller's blog for more details.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baby Dane!

We had a chance to go see our Ted and Angela Bryant and their new baby, Dane last night.  What a beautiful family and what a cute baby.  It is great to know people like the Bryants who are some of the most intentional people we know.  They make time for what is important.  They are shining the light of Christ wherever they go.  They inspire us.  They encourage our faith.

We used to live just a couple streets over from the Bryants.  We miss them.  Was great to welcome their new gift into the world.

BTW - Ted founded and  runs Green Lockers which is a non- profit that helps get unused school supplies to kids around the world that need it.  Brilliant idea.  I love watching this thing grow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LIVE - This Weekend

Some of my teammates and I are heading up to Hudsonville, MI this weekend.  We're going to's LIVE Tour.  It features a day of training with some really great people.  Matt Maher (Your Grace is Enough), Brenton Brown (Lord, Reign in Me) and Michael Gungor Band (Friend of God) will all be there.  

Really looking forward to a time of worship that has nothing to do with anything that I have planned.  Sometimes it's difficult to allow God to minister to you when you're thinking about the execution of a service.  I'm hoping that the gift of this day/evening will be a great renewal for myself and our team.  

I'd really like to hear Matt Maher speak about Worship Old and New.  Having grown up Eastern Orthodox, the idea of giving new meaning to old forms excites me.  I'm also looking forward to Michael and Lisa Gungor's session on songwriting.  I've watched these two for a while, since they were up at Resurrection Life Church in Grand Rapids.  Love their hearts and I'm amazed by their talent.

For $55, this is a great deal.  

A Month or So of Thinking...

I've been thinking a lot this past month about blogging. This crazy cyberworld of ideas that is inundated every moment with more and more words.

I've been thinking a lot about the "why" of my part in adding to this pile.

In the past I think I've made some wrong conclusions about why I should maintain a blog. I had this crazy notion that everything I should say had to be either witty or at least original. Hitting both witty and original was the ultimate.

What I've found is that my focus (ashamedly) all too often came pretty much back to me. Maybe even saying this brings things back to me, I'm not sure how to psycho-analyze that one...
I don't know how long this will last, but I'd like to try a stab at simply sharing life with others. I'd like to help the people I lead at Granger Community Church get a better sense of who this bald guy who sings and occasionally acts like a cheesy music teacher really is. I'm going to "share the journey" as my friend, Jason Miller puts it.

Image management is a dangerous temptation in the world of blogging. I think of Brad Paisley's "Online" song. My hope is that you get more of the real Dan here. Not a "I've got it all figured out" Dan. We'll see what happens.