Friday, December 30, 2005

Band: Try to track this. Matt is my wife's best friend's brother. Matt is in a band called CLING. You can listen by clicking on this link-->CLING.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Here are some of the pictures from Portrait Innovations. They did an excellent job and I'd recommend them to anyone. Since they do everything digital they are quick to take lots of pictures. Our photographer took almost 90 pictures and had some really great shots. Here they are.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pictures: We had some pictures taken yesterday. Mostly they were of Nathan but we also did a family portrait that really turned out great. I'll get those up soon I just don't have the disc with me at the desk.

Twice: I was reading in Mark again and I got to the place where Jesus starts healing people. I'm sure I've heard the story but I didn't catch this before.

Mark 7
Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva;

What a funny thing to do. Stick your fingers in someone's ears...and then spit.

But what was most fascinating was this story in Mark 8
Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village."

It took TWICE. I can't even speculate why. Was Jesus running out of power? no, I don't think so. Why?

Tipping Point: I'm reading an excellent book called The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I'll post more on it later.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas: I thought I'd put up a post and some pictures from our Christmas 2005. This is Nathan's first Christmas so it's been a very fun one and for an almost 10 month old he had a great day. My wife treated me great, of course, and gave me some great presents. I don't have a favorite but the expresso maker, coffee, wallet, and a Robert Jordan book are all excellent and things I wanted but would have never bought for myself.

Left to Right:
My sister Beth, my wife Heather and my Mom
and then Luke, my nephew, Nathan my boy and Abby my neice. Too bad half of them aren't looking.

Me, Nathan and Heather at my in-laws house

Here is Nathan with his Granddad. Nathan is sitting on the coolest Christmas present I have ever seen. Granddad made this rockin' airplane by himself. When I say "made" I'm talking about with some wood and a saw. Unbelievable!

Babies are always cute so I thought I'd finish up with a shot of some babies and their mothers. From left to right Heather and Savannah (my wife's cousin Greg's wife and daughter) then my wife Heather and Nathan and then Annie and Reid (my wife's cousin Bryan's wife and son). Reid is 2 months old and Bryan is in Kuwait and soon heading to Baghdad.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas: Well I just finished wrapping up Heather's presents and good thing because we are leaving out tomorrow for our Christmas voyage. First stop will be Hickory, NC for furniture shopping. Next stop will be Spartanburg, SC for my neice's birthday and then of course Christmas...which will be on Christmas eve. Then last stop will be Atlanta to spend with Heather's family. It should be a good trip.

Santa: So like I mentioned I've been spending time with an old childhood friend. BJ is two years younger than me and I did things growing up that reminded him of that...probably more often than I'd like to admit. We were riding back from church the other night and BJ said "Nick do you remember...who told me there was no such thing as Santa Claus?" "YOU DID."

So now that he mentions it yeah I do remember that. I think he was only 5 or 6 years old. In my defense my sister told me and I was so distraught I had to share the tragic news with someone. After BJ reminded me I was the bearer of this news he whispered under his breath so I could hear it..."bastard". We had a good laugh.

Monday, December 19, 2005

BJ: I have known BJ longer than any other person in my life except for family. BJ is two years younger than me and I remember my sister baby sitting me and BJ. Well BJ never left the area sowhen I moved back I made sure to get in touch with him. We had lunch one day last week and spent the day yesterday together... clarification. Heather, Nathan, Christina, BJ and I spent the day together. We went to our old church Portsmouth Alliance and then went out to lunch (where Nathan pulled the drink tray out of the waitresses hand and had coke dumped on him). We then went up to Richmond to visit a church BJ had gone to when training for his cross country trip ( So qe went to be sevice which was a great "experiiential" service. Then we ate at the nicest Arby's in the world and drove the hour and a half back.
It was a good day and good to spend time with BJ and his sister Christina, they are almost family. I have been praying for a friend dare I even say best friend to plant this church with me. I can't help but think...

P-town: So my old church is...old but it is also home so we went there on sunday. The church is about 6 miles from where I am going to be starting the Bridge in Suffolk anf I even live down the street from the SR. Pastor there. So needless to say there is much room for ill feelings.

Yesterday Palmer Zerbe gave me an excellent introduction and a big hug and made it obvious he was in full support of this new work and that they were going to give resources and people to this church plant. I was literally overjoyed by his public support, thanks God!

Involved: I have led many times a hands on worship experience I realized last night I had never been a participant. The stations were well done but for the first five minutes all I could think about is how much time this syuff cost and hoe much time it all took. But after not too long I was able to relaz and I went to the stations. The theme was realizing the incarnation of Christ and that it not only meant a human bitrth but a human life and a death. When I think of Christ as a babe I don't think of him as a baby destined to die. The experience was helpful.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Birthday: My birthday was on thursday. I turned 26. I know 26 isn't much older than 25 but it feels weird to say that I'm 26...I can't explain it better than that I guess. My birthday was excellent. Reasons why:

  • I slept till 10.
  • The painting I had worked on the previous 2 days was finished.
  • I had lunch with my Dad.
  • I saw my Grandma and Granddad.
  • I had dinner with my Mom and JD.
  • We ate an excellent seafood restaurant.

There are more reasons but it simply amazes me that I was with so much family for my birthday. That honestly hasn't happened since I was a junior in high school which was exactly 10 years ago. It's nice to live back home again.

inbubblewrap: I was reading David Trotter's blog that is listed in my "blogs I read section" and he mentioned a free giveaway site for businessmen. I've been checking the site everyday and registering for my free book for about a week. Well I finally won! Whoo Hoo. So if you are interested in free stuff check out inbubblewrap. Tell them I sent you.

Graduation: My dad graduated with his associate degree last night. I have to tell you that my dad isn't perfect but I really admire so much of what he has done in his life. A few years ago he retired from the Navy after 29 years of service and getting promoted to the 2nd highest rank he could go. After he got out of the Navy he went to college to get his associate degree. So last night was a big deal. He is currently going to Old Dominion University to get his B.A.

Quote: I heard a quote last night that I'll put here and then comment on later, after I process it.

Leaders are meant to be the custodians of our ideals.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Paint: Yesterday I painted our living room. It wasn't all that bad- about 8 hours of work. The pain in the butt was the 7 windows and tv nook that I had to paint around. Today I painted our kitchen. They are really bold colors but they look great. Heather and I almost had a meltdown on Monday trying to figure out the colors we wanted. We even ended up going to Sherwan Williams to get them to help us match colors. Turns out we had exact matches and we went with what we orginially picked out but it was so helpful to have a 3rd party tells us we were going well and the colors would look good.

So I'm the cheap labor of the week and it's so nice to cross more stuff off the list!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mark: I have been reading the Gospel of Mark in my not-so-daily daily reading time. I read Matthew earlier in the fall and his emphasis on the "Kingdom of Heaven" is so prevelant it really is hard to miss. So when I started reading Mark I noticed that Mark wasn't all about establishing Christ's kingship but seemed to focus on the outcast.

I recalled as I read that Mark is the same guy that is in the garden the night Jesus was betrayed. In some of the gospel accounts you read about one that ran off and the soldier was able to catch his coat so basically Mark ran off naked. What a loser!

Then Mark is the same guy that went with Paul and Barnabas on their missions trip and made it only a short time before he got homesick and wanted to go home. What a loser!

So with all that loserific experience Mark writes his gospel. He gives 6 verses to the calling of James and John (of the infamous three) but gives 10 verses to the calling of Levi, the sell-out Jewish tax collector.

Mark has a thing for putting losers in his gospel. What a glorious idea! Jesus has a thing for putting losers in his kingdom. Only he doesn't call us losers, he calls us disciples and followers.

Monday, December 12, 2005

So after our mini-adventure with church sunday morning I was a little gun shy to go trying new churches. I had almost sworn off churches until we get ours going but I was still looking to get my Jesus on. So I set out to find us a sunday evening service. I decided on The Wave Church. It's a ways away in Va. Beach but I figured "A church alive is worth the drive".

The worship was what I was looking for and the guest preacher was great. He talked about some stuff that I really needed to be reminded of. The main point was "Jesus died not to make bad people good but to make dead things live."

I forget that sometimes, I get caught in the mental trap of behavorial modification.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Church: So Heather and I don't have a church home for the first time in over 6 years. Last week we went to a Community church that seems to be doing well and has hit their 16th year of effective ministry in this area. After meeting with their pastor and our conversation I am encouraged by the ministry that he has. So like I said we went to their service last week and we enjoyed it and the sermon was excellent the music isn't quite as rockin' as we were hoping.

So this week Heather and I had decided to move to another church to try to find the music we were looking for. The phonebook said the service started at 9 a.m. so we got up early and after much searching we found the church (it is called New Life). We drove into the parking lot and there were about 2 cars in the parking lot and I decided we weren't staying. I guess I want a little bit of anonymity for a little while.

So by now it's about quarter after nine and we have just crossed off the biggest prospect for this Sunday. But not easily defeated we decided to go grab some breakfast and catch an eleven o'clock service at the community college.

So we eat breakfast at the Golden Corrall (I'll post about this below) and head up to TCC for Tidewater Bible Church. On the way in we see that there is another church called Greater Grace also meeting on the campus and so we go to their parking lot. I didn't want to get out of the car but only check it out but a woman caught us in the parking lot and invited us in to stay. Heather persuaded me to go for it so we did.

We walked in the door and the people tried not to act surprised but didn't do a very good job. It as evident that not too many (or any) white people come to their church. We had come this far and I wanted to stay open minded. Afterall I just wanted to get my Jesus on, I thought this might be the place to do it.

I don't even know how to go into it but after about 20 minutes Heather leaned over to me and said, I'm heading towards the bathroom meet me in the car. So after she leaves I wait the appropriate time and grab out bibles and head for the car as well.

I guess I won't be getting my praise on this week.

Maybe next week?

Golden: So we used to live in Frederick, MD which is only about 30 minutes from West Virginia. We used to joke that if you wanted to meet a West Virginian then go to wal-mart or golden corral.

Where we live now is at least 5 hours from west virginia and still the west virginians commute all that way for the buffet. Go figure.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Narnia: Heather and I saw The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe tonight and I must say...excellent. I was highly anticipating this movie hoping it would fall in line with the excellent fantasy such as was demonstrated in the Lord of the Rings...I was not disappointed. They stuck to the book well enough but not so much as you knew what was happening every second. The battle scene was excellent!

I have some criticisms but I don't want to criticize a movie I really did love. I think it is amazing that thousands and maybe millions of people will see a beautiful depiction of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in such a way that is easily understood.

I was reading in Mark the other morning and I remember seeing a verse that I underlined. It said (NPV) that whenever he (Jesus) taught them he used parables. Metaphors speak to the heart like raw facts don't!

Worship: I woke up today and I just prayed "Lord, make something happen today that is exciting." I'm not sure that's a fair prayer or that God answers prayers like that but it was my prayer. So Nathan and I went to the Post Office. Not terribly exciting but better than sitting around the house. So we're heading from the post office to the quick lube and Nathan got a little fussy so I started singing to him like I always do and this time it happened to be a worship song. Strange enough it wasn't a song I had ever heard before but a song from the heart, In that quiet between verses I felt the Lord ask, "exciting enough for you?" I'm not sure that' sa fair question...

The crazy thing is that the same experience happened again on the way to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, this time it was listening to the Derek Webb cd I posted about earlier.

God is good even when I make unfair requests.

Narnia: Heather has loved the Chronicles of Narnia for as long as I've known her and her love for the books has been the topic of our conversation for sometime now, especially with the movie coming out. To refresh my memory I reread the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe last week and tonight Heather, my dad and I are going to see the movie. I'm not looking as forward to it as any of the Lord of the Rings movies I am looking forward to it as much as any other movie.

I don't think it will disappoint!

Waiting: So I'm technically not employed this month, which is funny because I have been employed every day since I was 16 years old. I'm not bored yet either. The past two weeks we have unpacked the house. I painted Nathan's room and put up a chair rail. His room is smoky blue above the chair rail and is lion's mane (golden yellow) below. The rest of his room is a sort of Narnia theme complete with the huge stuffed animal Aslan. Blue and gold are my high school colors and well as the colors of my favorite store, Best Buy. Go figure.

I also painted my office. I chose a color called corkboard and it is a brown of sorts. I was going for the coffee house feel and after much searching I think I have found all of the office furniture I am going to buy.

The last two full and complete jobs we have finished are shopping for living room furniture and organizing and sorting the stuff in the garage.

So I said all that to say while I haven't been bored, by any means I am itching to get moving on this church plant. I think rather I'm overready for something exciting to happen for something to come by and get me jacked up!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

You know what old ladies problems are with driving? I finally figured it out today. As I stood beside an old woman as she backed out of her parking spot I figured it out. Of course if you think about anything for as long as I did you'd have figured it out as well. She was backing out of her car and I was visualizing the 300 ways I could make her move faster, the best of which included a rocket launcher and a meat loaf, and that's when I figured it out. Her car was too big for her. Back after the war when she bought her Buick I'm sure it was stylish. But now the 27 foot monstrosity is so big the old lady can hardly steer it.

Of course the ladies that drive the new contraptions aren't any better. I was at DMV yesterday getting my new VA driver's license and the lady asked for my help. "I can't turn off my windshield wipers". Although cold it wasn't raining and I wasn't sure why her wipers were on in the first place. In my mind I was aksing the question but my good sense said just turn off her wipers for her. So I did.

What a useless and pointless rant...I'm not even sure it made sense...but darn the old ladies, can't kill, can't teach them how to drive can't suffocate them with meatloaf.

History: When this blog started about a year and a half ago it was called "Step into the Party" one of the lyrics of my favorite John Reuben song. As the blog evolved it was clear to me that this blog needed a new name. It needed a name that made a statement, that said something clear, than sent a message so then ignoring all of those requirements I went with The Thinking Padre. That is afterall who I am.

So I was thinking with the job change and the change of focus in ministry that maybe I should rename my blog. Same great thoughts, same provoking posts but new name. I was thinking of mixing some of my favorite books or movies with my current name so far the submissions are:

  • The Thinking Future
  • Present Padre
  • Padre Gump
  • U2 Padre

All of those seem pretty lame but one I'm really consider is

Velvet Padre- after a great book by Rob Bell called Velvet Elvis.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I was going to lay down a sweet post but I'm on slow butt aol dial up and the 10 minutes it took me to log on took up my blog time. Now LOST is on in 2 minutes and I'm not going to make an entry.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Back: Well I'm not really sure if I'm back or not but I wanted to get an entry in so that my faithful know I'm still kicking. I have enjoyed the time away, not necessarily from my blog but from technology. I can tell that as the date draws closer that I actually go on payroll with my new job that I will start using technology again.

I like it, I really do.

To commemorate my time of absence I bought a Palm Treo 650, which for you not technogeeks it is a palm pilot and a cell phone in one. It has a full thumb keyboard and so far I really enjoy it and has already made my life easier. The whole point of technology after all.

Pain: We made the move to VA on November 23 the day before thanksgiving. I'm not sure how much I want to recollect of the drive down not because I don't want to type but because the event was so tramatic for me.

It started at about 9:30 in the morning on wednesday November 23. We picked the cat up from where she was living and we hit the road heading south from Maryland. I need to mention that I drive a green '96 Ford Explorer. She's been a good vehicle for me, I really enjoy driving it. But in her old age the "Green Machine" no longer has working heat. Well with an outside temperature of about 38 F (for my canadian friends 3.3 C) having no heat can be quite the experience. So there I am shivering my butt off with the cat sitting beside me in her crate and the rest of the Beast loaded to the max with my office books and furniture. This goes well for about 4 minutes before the cat start meowing at the top of her lungs. The volume was literally equal to a child's scream and/or a chain saw.

Me shivering, cat screaming. Then I smell something really awful. Cat's don't pee in their crates so it's not Maggie. I'm shivering real bad and after checking realize I didn't pee my pants either. So back to the cat. Sure enough she has peed in her crate and now is giving a death cluth to the front of her crate where there is no urine. This lasts for a short while until I hit the brakes and the pee go up to the cats feet and she slides down to the sespool awaiting her. I actually feel very bad for the cat but trying to help her would have been as useful as...well it would have been pointless.

So for 5 hours we drove. Both freezing both whimpering. Occasionaly one of us would cry out in pain.

Monday, November 21, 2005

She Must and Shall Go Free...: I've been wanting to get this album from Derek Webb but either haven't had the disposable funds or the store hasn't had it. Well today I needed to use up some gift certificates that we have that are for stores only in Frederick and lo and behold the Christian bookstore had it, so I bought it. He wrote the album to illustrate his passion for the church as the bride of Christ and I must say that the album is beautiful.

He wrote an album about the Church like Rich Mullins did for Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Moved: We have moved from Frederick, MD to Suffolk, VA this past week. The truck was loaded on tuesday and then unloaded on friday. We made it in one piece and enjoyed staying friday night not only in our new home but in our own bed as well. We're back in Frederick for a few days. Today is my final sunday and farewell luncheon and youth party and then Heather needs to finish up work. So on Wednesday we'll drive back to Suffolk to stay, thank goodness.

Fly: I was driving around Frederick last night just gathering my thoughts about this whole transition, thinking about the years past and imagining the years future. The past was comforting, the future was exhilirating but at the same time frightening. EAC has been a place of preparation for me, I have learned much and am ready to use what I've learned in a new ministry. EAC has also been a safe learning place, where people didn't try to beat me down when I messed up or fire me when I made a mistake. I look very fondly at the people of Emmanuel, they will always have a special place in my memories.

The mental picture I keep getting is that of a bird ready to leave the nest.

Birds are meant to fly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Settlement: We closed on the townhouse today. Things went very well and the people seemed as pleased to buy it as we did to sell it. I'll miss our first house. I think mostly because of Nathan. That's where we brought him home to, where we used to walk around the block...little stuff like that.

Wal-Mart: I saw a big yellow flag flying just under the American flag at walmart. I looked closer and it's the smiley face flag. Can walmart do that? do they own the smiley face as their logo? What is this world coming too?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I was sitting down to type this entry and heard a knock at my door. It was my next door neighbor, David. He wanted to make sure I knew he wouldn't be able to help me out this week packing the moving truch but that he was going to miss us. He also returned the reply card to my newsletter with a nice financial contribution. It's amazin how those keep coming in. It is encouraging to me because I feel that people are embracing the vision that is Suffolk, VA.

I preached today out of Matthew 6:25-34. This was the least nervous I have ever been and that means, I wasn't nervous at all. It actually made me nervous that I wasn't nervous. OH well.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Zorro: Heather and I saw The Legend of Zorro last night. It's one of those movies that doesn't blow you away but it was a good movie. The plot went way deeper than either Heather or I expected.

Etiquette: So I'm a pretty on time person and anytime someone is late, without good reason, it actually gets me a little angry. I've learned to calm down about it but it still irks me a little. Last night I was able to figure out why. So Heather and I sit down in our seats about 15 minutes before the movie starts, the theater is small but not crowded. So the movie starts and...people start coming in. So they are climbing over you while you're trying to watch the movie. I'm sure they don't like it but don't inconvenience me for your lateness.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Winter: Winter came to town this morning. You always know when official winter comes because the wind goes from non existent to blowing your front door off the hinges. It's really incredible. My lunch box shaped Explorer gets blown around the highway like a kite. Yikes!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Truth: Truth...truth is...truth is I'm done.

I preach this sunday (the 13th) and it's going to be a meaningful sermon from Matthew 6. Then on the 20th is my last Sunday (where I get to present the church plant in Suffolk!) complete with our farewell lunch. I know it will be special. I also have youth group tonight, next wednesday and then our final night tuesday the 22nd. That will be special as well.

Come to think of it...I'm not done at all. There is a group of students that I need to say a strong good-bye to and bring this bad boy to the end!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Redskins: I've been a Redskins fan all my life and I know they are not beating down the doors of the Super Bowl but there is some hope...thank goodness it's been more than 10 years.

Gank: I don't mean to steal ideas from fellow bloggers but this is worth posting one more place.
Professional Christians

Friday, November 04, 2005

Our Contract was accepted on the house.

Our New Home!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fall Colors: Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons. The rain is tolerable because the temperature is so nice. That and that rain makes for beautiful fall colors on the trees. The hoodies come out, shorts are still being worn, flip flops and the floor heat on in the truck. It might be heaven.

Green Machine: I noticed yesterday that the Green Machine, my 96 Ford Explorer, has seen better days. It was a beautiful work of art in it's prime complete with a 2" lift, 31" BFG AT/KO's, a Safari Brush Guard and KC Dayliters. I'm still real proud of it but...she's starting to wear down.

Giraffe: So I get back from the camping trip and there is a giraffe in my office. This is no small stuffed animal either, it's at least 4 feet tall. I guess it will go with Nathan's stuffed lion. I hope the giraffe doesn't get eaten.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

This weekend we went on our 4th annual camping trip. We went to Cacapon State Park just outside of Berkeley Springs, WV. I made sure that none of the kids that went were cousins and that kept the romance down a considerable amount. There must be something in the water in West Virginia.

The camping trip is always the best retreat we do. The students get real with themselves, others and God and this year was no different. God moved in mighty ways. We had a girl that has basically shut herself off from God for the past 3 years finally breakout of that, we saw a "spiritual" kid admit to a addictive sin and get help. We saw students recognize that this is all a process and that while they will fail they are not failures.

I prepared it all well and things ran smoothly but I can't take credit for the work of God. He did some amazing things.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Miss You: I've been studying the Life of Christ and specifically the parables and metaphors he uses. I started in Matthew and will work through all 4 gospels. I wanted to do this because in my opinion we spend more time studying Paul's words than we do Jesus' words. I enjoy the epistles they are so practical and fairly easy to understand. Jesus on the other hand...not so easy to understand.

Nevertheless, i have enjoyed doing this and today I reached Jesus entry into Jerusalem. You know that feeling that you get when you meet someone you really like but you're away from home and they don't live in your town. Getting to know them is awesome and you know you'll always remember them and will hopefully see them again one day but you enjoy them so much you don't want it to end but deep down inside know it will end. That's the feeling I got.

I know it's not over, you know, me and Jesus. But we have so little of his words, so little of his teachings, so little of knowing the humanity side of our Savior. Very sad, Very day.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This weekend is our annual camping trip. It always rains, is always cold and is always the best retreat we do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Failure: I have heard that it is not how we handle success or even the amount of success that displays our character but rather how we handle failure. Before I say what I'm going to say I want to make it clear that I'm not against failure. I fail all the time, too often. I'm pretty much a big failure but because of grace and because God uses failures like me...and Moses- life turns out pretty good.

I keep hearing it said that when something goes wrong it means we are doing something right. Meaning that as pastors or God's children we are working to expand God's kingdom, when things are going well then Satan or his minions come along and try to stop it, hence the bad things happening. Now I agree that we need to remember that our battle is against spiritual forces but I do not agree that if something is going wrong we should be so fast to blame evil forces.

What about blaming our evil world? Remember the apple.

I also think it's funny that when failure strikes we are quick to blame everything else except ourselves. Why didn't that outreach event work? was it the weather, society, or the tide of the ocean...maybe but more than likely it was poor strategy or excecution. Why wasn't that message effective? was it God's fault, was it society anti-jesus atitude, maybe but more than likely it just wasn't a very good sermon.

Maybe we're to blame for failure more often than not. I think so. But still the beauty remains that God uses failures and ugly things.

So fess up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I stumbled upon this list while reading Brian's blog (who left a comment about the C) so while taking no credit this list is very strangely true...and funny.

michael lukaszewski has a great list of the same 21 students you’ll find in any average youth group on his blog:

I read somewhere that the average size youth group in the US is 21. The more places I go, and the more students that I meet, the more I am convinced that there are really only 21 different teenagers in the whole world. They just keep moving around from city to city. Here’s my breakdown.

1. Weird Home school Kid. I’m sorry, but I’ve been a youth pastor for 13+ years, and most home school kids are kind of strange.

2. Star Wars Freak Boy. This is the kid that dresses up and buys lightsabers off eBay.

3. Christian Band Groupie. They have lots of t-shirts, CD’s and autographed paraphernalia and strangely refer to members of the Newsboys by their first name.

4. Facial Hair Guy. This guy could be 12 or 18, but he’s got that scruffy patch of something occupying space on his chin. It doesn’t look very good.

5. Super spiritual girl. Sometimes known as “I’m dating Jesus” girl. She likes to read books like lady in waiting and usually closes meetings in prayer.

6. The IT specialist. He will have a promising corporate career or become an underground hacker. He illegally downloads things from the Internet for his youth pastor so his youth pastor doesn’t have to break the law.

7. The “I refuse to leave” individual. This person graduated from your ministry at least one year ago, but tricks himself into thinking of himself or herself as a chaperone so they can stick around. The will
be in your youth service for some time.

8. Overdeveloped Middle School girl. That’s all I need to say about that one. This group of students did not exist when I was in middle school.

9. The Bible Scholar. This person likes talking about Calvinism and other topics. They are the first to look up verses when called for and like to share their deep thoughts.

10. The Christian School Only Person. Closely related to weird home school kid (see #1), this person will go to Christian elementary school, a private Christian high school and when it comes time to go to college, he will only consider Christian colleges. This person can make it through life without ever talking to a lost person.

11. Little Drummer Boy. AKA Rock Star. Very proud of their $150 acoustic guitar, they are experts at leading worship and being part of a youth praise band.

12. The Event Addict. This person keeps their youth group event t-shirts color coded in their closet. They show up at camps, ski trips, weekends, conferences and every other event known to man.

13. The hoochie. If unchecked, overdeveloped middle school girl may develop into hoochie. This girl rarely wears enough clothing.

14. Smothered by Mother. No matter where this person goes, they can’t do anything without checking in with their parents every few minutes. Their parents require extra information on every event and activity.

15. Middle School Cheerleader. Usually traveling in packs of three, these are very small girls, typically wearing braces. They show up to any event wearing cheerleading shorts.

16. The forwarder. This person will forward you at least four or five e-mails every week. Thanks to him or her, you’ll know about all the companies supported by Mormons. This person might be associated with the IT specialist (see #6)

17. The EO. EO’s only show up to your fun events. They don’t care about anything you have to say, but will surface several times a year. Due to the massive amount of events attended, they have amassed a large quantity of t-shirts, which they use as rags or to mow grass.

18. FBI Parent Agent. While this is not technically a student, this parent is always there watching your every move. They probably have a “Smothered by Mother” (see #14). They want to know who will be driving and will question your word choice in your messages. Even though they are not a teenager, go ahead and include them and count them, because they will always be around.

19. The Drama Queen. This girl is usually the center of attention and needs lots of counseling. They are always involved in a major event or scandal.

20. The Questioner. The questioner will ask you if they can read their poem at your next youth service. They may have a painting or a song that will really encourage everyone else. They want to lead worship even though they can’t really sing and lead a bible study, even though they don’t own a Bible.

21. The all American. These are your regular, everyday teenagers. They don’t fall into any particular category.

Yawn: I learned on Animal Planet last night that the average yawn last 6 seconds and the average person yawns 10 times a day. That means in the average life humans spend 3 weeks yawning. Bet you always wanted to know that.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

All my life I've noticed something was wrong but couldn't pinpoint the problem. So we're driving by a bank and It's always nice that they provide the time, I normally check the bank clock then check my radio clock and make sure all is well with my clock. Sometimes they provide the temperature which I again check against the guage in my truck.

So you look at the bank clock and it says 17 degress "C". I mean who in the US even knows what that means? Really it's just an inconvience, we have to wait for that to leave...what a waste.

Friday, October 21, 2005

We were house shopping today so I'm real tired. But when I get back expect thrilling topics such as Bank Clocks...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I sell Houses dot com: There is someone in our city that drives a Hummer, I'm not talking an H2 I'm talking the real deal Hummer. Complete with 35" tires that cost $200 each. On the side of the hummer is the magnetic advertiser that says I ask: So let me get this straight. I use you to sell my house. You get rich and can buy and H1, I still only get to sell my house. Yeah no thanks I'll pass.

On the same note we were watching a Nooma video last night, Kickball. I like to ask the kids goofy questions to get them warmed up like, What store was the kiosk in front of? and one of my kids asked "Nick, what kind of pastor drives a Range Rover." I said Rob Bell does apparently. I then explained to them the size of his church and how God is blessing that ministry with lots of people. The kid just said "oh". I have no problem with Rob Bell driving a Range Rover or pastor's having nice things (I like nice things) but I was just wondering if there are people that think like about Rob Bell and his Range Rover like I do about the Hummer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Books: I don't mean to overspiritualize this but there is something about books that is very...well spirtual. I'm not necessarily talking about the fact of reading but more of WHAT I am reading. It amazes me that if I sit and let God guide me the book he leads me to never fails to speak right into my life.

Water: The book is currently If you want to walk on water you've got to get out of the boat. I heard John Ortberg speak at General Council for my denomination and his message was encouraging to me. I thought his book would be the same so I bought it and it has sat on my shelf asking to be read for about 4 months now. I knew the time wasn't right and then finally on Monday I knew the time had arrived to read it.

Like his message the book is convicting but mostly encouraging. It kind of goes back to the Teddy Roosevelt quote I posted yesterday. Dare mighty may fail, correction you WILL fail but better try and fail than never try at all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I was reading a book this morning that reminded me of a quote my dad gave me when I was about 12 years old. I loved the quote so much I used to carry it around in my wallet. I eventually lost the paper my dad had typed it on but not before I memorized it.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, win glorious triumphs, and suffer much defeat- than to live in the grey twilight where one does not suffer much nor enjoy much. -Theodore Roosevelt

Weird: I saw that I missed a phone call while I was getting a hair cut. The message they left only said "I'm trying to reach Nick" and I saw it was a 678 area code which is around Atlanta so I figured I'd better call them back. The guy answers and I don't recognize his voice but he acts like he knows me so I go with it. Finally I ask him who he is and he laughs and says Ken Tyree.

Ken Tyree is my brother-in-laws brother-in-law. I play in a fantasy football league with him and his wife and some others in his family and I see him at holidays that we're at my sisters. So he talks some more and I can't help but wonder why he's calling me. So he talks and asks me how I'm doing, what I'm up to and how's the job. This isn't the Ken Tyree I know.

Finally it dawns on me that I actually know 2 Ken Tyrees and this one I met in NYC in 1999 and then ran into him in Chesapeake, Va about 2 years ago. It was just weird. Turns out he's trying to sell me some products and I guess he's so desperate he went digging through old business cards. So I made sure he had the wrong contact information and email address and told him to keep in touch.

Penguins: Last evening the family and I went to see March of the Penguins. Nathan (7.5 months) seemed to really like the penguins and he was even laughing at them at one point. Then he got bored and threw cereal pieces all over the floor.

I've been fascinated with Penguins since I read Blue Like Jazz and Don Miller mentions how penguins breed and how the female leaves the male to keep the egg warm and then returns at the exact day the egg is hatch to feed the baby chick and then care for it. He states that if God can do that with penguins, that they know exactly when to return and which mate out of the thousands is their mate, then he has put something in us to know that we need a relationship with God and where to find him.

Really the movie was downright amazing. Basically go see the movie but I'll point out a few incredible things. Like I said the penguins hop out of the ocean and walk or scoot on their bellies up to 70 miles to get to the nesting ground, the exact place they were born. Have you seen penguin feet?

The next is that after they pair off and copulate then the female lays the egg and they have to transfer the egg to the males feet w/out it touching the ice. If it touches the ice it dies. Have you seen penguin feet?

Then with 1/3 of her body weight gone the female goes back to the ocean. Oh yeah, it is 50 below zero this whole time.

Then winter hits the males and they have to huddle together for warmth. It's about 80 below zero and the wind can reach 100mph. The wind is so strong it's blowing penguins over. Of course many eggs are lost during this 2 months wait.

Then on just the day the eggs hatch the females return to take care of the chicks, they have to do that foot shuffle thing again and not let the chicks touch the ice. Have you seen penguin fee?

Then after going 160 days with no food and with 1/2 of their body weight gone the males scoot back to the ocean to feed up. And so the process goes, take care of the chick, get foot, and on and on.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Web Only Content: This is a insider tip for my blog readers. This information is not being told elsewhere and is a reward for my faithful readers. As you know I'm going to be moving a couple hours south of where I am currently living. While Suffolk, VA is not necessarily the "South" it is further south that I live now which makes it the "south".

So the real reason I'm moving: Sweat Tea and Carolina BBQ

Concert: I went to a concert on Saturday night. The concert was $20 a ticket and for me and Heather that is a crazy amount of money to spend on any one night of entertainment. But one of our good friends, Kristy, bought one of our tickets as a going away so we were able to afford to go. I can't thank her enough. The line up was Chris Tomlin/Matt Redman leading a good long worship set and then Louie Giglio came out and spoke and then Chris Tomlin did another worship set. HERE is a decent write up for it. It was part concert/service/worship but all in all it was a very worshipful time and the sole intent was to glorify God. It was refreshing and encouraging.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Saw a lady driving down the road on friday. The lady only had one arm. She was talking on a cell phone. Not hands free. Problem?

I'll be preaching for the last time at EAC on November 13, then I'll drive the U-Haul to Suffolk and put our stuff in storage until we find a place. Next weekend we're heading down with our house's contract in hand with the hopes of being able to put an offer down on a house in Suffolk. I'm also hoping and praying that we'll be able to close on our new house very soon after Friday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Altar or Stage, it's your choice how you follow Christ

Death is Grace: This topic has come up in two seperate social circles I have been in the past few weeks and while I had thought about it before but the conversations prompted me to put it down on paper...err...lcd screen. Nothing profound, nothing profane.

Death is grace

In Genesis 2: 9 there are two trees in the garden. The tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. In Genesis 3 we know that it was forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Woman and Man eats, God comes down. God curses the serpent, God curses man and woman.

Genesis 3:17-19 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

And then after the curse is given God comments on the tree of life.

Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

I do not believe that this is part of the curse, it seems like God is talking with the Godhead about this decision. And the decision to take away the Tree of life is to ensure that man does not have to live forever in his sin.

So I conclude a few things.
That humans were created to be eternal beings
Redemption is freedom from sin NOT eternal life (we already have that)

Back in the Saddle: So I'm back in the office today for the first time in what turned out to be 2 weeks. It started with Prayer conference the week fo September 26 and then ended with Catalyst Conference last week. In the time in between I was around for a few days but was doing such things as putting the house on the market, hosting open houses, and accepting an offer on the house. Just last night.

So here I am back in the office actually relieved that the work has piled up so I have somethings to do and somethings to check off the list. I have a list of "lasts" that will be coming up soon. Tonight is my second to last governing board meeting at this church, our last youth retreat is October 28-30...

Vendors: One of the things on the to-do list today is to sort through all the stuff I got from the vendors at Catalyst. It really is unbelievable the sheer amount of quantity that some of these booths give out. I was also amazed at some of the cool stuff I got. I'm not talking about pens and flashlights. The Bible Society was giving out free copies of Today's New International Version, leather bound with a need snap flap. Multanomah gave out 600 copies of Rick McKinley's book Jesus in the Margins. I've had this book in my cart at for about a month now so they saved me $15...simply amazing.

It was also very good for me to be able to see all of the products available and get information to store away for the church plant. Nothing revolutionary but products that will really be of help and some of it merely jogged my memory of things I need to add to the budget I will need to submit.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

c'mon all the jokes about has to be funny.

Josh- the sign says DO NOT lean on the railing.

Today we went down to the DC Festival. The actual festival wasn't amazing but I had a blast with the teens. Stuff is starting to wind down. I think we have 6 more youth group nights and we'll do one more event (corn maze) and then our final Fall Retreat. Things are winding down but today we were wound up and we had a blast. We were down in DC and the Festival was dragging a little bit so we hopped in the Air and Space Museum, I think our favorite part was the art section, which is where I took this picture.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Cell Phones: I've been at 2 conferences in the past 2 weeks and I've noticed something really annoying about cell phones. But I know I'm not the first to rant about cell phones so let's review. People talking real loud in public- it's annoying but kind of interesting to hear at least 1/2 of people's conversations. People talking with an ear piece but the ear piece being on the opposite side of their face that you're looking at- I've never mistaken it for them actually talking to me (like the commercial) but I get scared that a crazy person is walking by me.

But this one, this new one is really annoying. Cell phone traffic. In a crowd it's important to keep moving. Crowds are tolerable but as a collaborative group we need to move towards the exit. Like exiting an airplane we need to move to baggage claim, in a conference we need to move towards the cafeteria, we need to keep moving. But NO! People get on their cell phones, then they can't walk and talk at the same time so they stop. Then I'm faced with the perilious decision, do I run them over or do I walk around them. Well my evil twin, Rick, wants to run those mofo's over but the good twin, Nick just walks around them.

So here it is again a blog entry about nothing. Drive safely and be sure to tip your waitress.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Catalyst: With one day of Catalyst left I have to say that the experience has been unbelievable. I love the fact that I have been able to attend and have been taking copious notes. I hope to be able to share them when I get home, I hope I remember half of what I've heard.

Last night I got to meet Don Miller. He is my favorite author and as cheesy as it sounds reading his books really have changed my life. This morning I was able to finally put words to why that is true. Don Miller is somehow able to stand in the middle of our Christian ghetto and somehow have an outsiders perspective. That gift is one in a million...maybe scarcer than that. Don Miller is able to describe the Jesus that I met as a little kid and then as I grew up I was taught that that Jesus doesn't exist but somehow in my heart I knew he was still out there. Don helped me see again that that Jesus really does exist and he is the Jesus I have a relationship with and he is the Jesus I live for. I don't like the other Jesus I know...because like Santa he really doesn't exist (sorry kids), that Jesus is the institution created by the church, I want to know the Jesus of the Bible.

So back on track...I got to meet Don Miller. I enjoyed saying Hi to him and thanked him for writing his book. He signed my old copy of BLJ and I told him if he ever started a cult to give me a call and I'd be there. He laughed...I wasn't joking.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm in Atlanta for the week and I'll be starting the Catalyst Conference this morning. We came down a few days early so my wife can see her family and I thought I'd take the chance yesterday to visit with some old college buddies that still live in the area. Two of my friends met me at the Mall of Georgia for lunch and as I expected it was a great time. One of the guys had to get back to work but my other friend Nate was able to stay around a while.

Nate and I were never terribly close in college but we had mutual friends so that kept us together as friends. Out of college we started an email group with about 6-7 of us guys and that's how we've been keeping up for 4.5 years now. We try to throw in a reunion every year or so...

Well funny as it is, Nate is emerging as one of my better friends. I see Nate about twice a year, it will be 4 times this year and it just seems like our lives are going in that same direction at times.

Nate told me yesterday about how he's tired of the world the way it is and that he's ready to change it whenever God tells him he can.

I didn't know what to say.

I was relieved that I'm not the only one who is ready!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

300th Post: For the record this is my 300th post on this blog.

Pastor Appreciation Day: I'm sure that Christian bookstores are actually the ones that created pastor appreciation month to boost fall sales but I'm sure not complaining. Every year our church generously gives to us money, gifts, and gift cards. They even gave to us this year even though we are leaving them in a little less than 2 months.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

October: October is one of my favorite months. Normally the routines have become routine and October is the month when we start to do new things. I also love the weather around here in october. The heat finally starts to break so I can break out the hoodies, I carry the football around in the truck, the leaves are starting to change colors and fall off the trees. I love October.

Courage: I have decided to try to be a more courteous driver. It's really hard around here because there are three types of drivers. The really aggressive drivers (city drivers) and then there are the overly cautious drivers (country drivers) and then there is everyone else. My natural tendency is to be a city driver, they get places faster and have more fun getting there. But I know that makes people angry and what right do I have to ruin so many people's days.

Yesterday I was pulling out of a strip mall and the two left lanes were allowed to turn left. I was in the most left and an old woman was in the lane to the right of me but still turning left. As she was rounding the corner I guess she didn't realize other people used the other left turn lane because she was helping herself to both lanes, about 50/50 in each one. I saw she was older so I didn't want to give her a heart attack so I gave the horn a little tap. Well...she didn't like that.

She made some hand gesture out her open window.

Then she looked at me.

Then she was afraid.

As fortune would have it the next light caught us both. So there we were sitting side by side. I had decided to let it go but she wasn't convinced. She wouldn't pull up beside me and she wouldn't pass me even when I was turning left and she was going straight. She got lippy but then got scared.

Don't do that.

Friday, September 30, 2005

For Sale: Our house is on the real estate market as of today. Our house is listed HERE, for the curious folks who read my blog. I'm hoping they get the picture up later this morning.

Cat: I had to send my dog home with my mom because there would be no place to keep him when people come see the house and some people are afraid of dogs that might be potential buyers. So George made the move to VA before us, he's doing just fine. But the cat gets to stay because no one is afraid of cats. Well Maggie has taken to being friendly again now that she's not constantly being harrassed by the beast. It's sweet and all but again I'm reminded that cats only love you conditionally, you serve them. They've got the system figured out.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Formula: I reject formulas when it comes to spirituality or if you prefer "in our relationship with Christ." This week I was at my district prayer conference and there was a guest speaker that spoke on prayer. He did not give us a formula on how to pray but he did give us a formula in regards to the amount of prayer and the "quality" of those prayers. Meaning not to pray for things in passing and expect God to work but to sit down at His feet and petition on other's behalf. He spoke truth. I wanted to reject what he was saying because he was very modern in his thinking and very formulaic but if I rejected his words I would have been rejecting truth...I know that.

These are not scriptures he pointed out but ones I have had to mull over: Matthew 6 when Christ talks about not babbling on like the pagans and not to pray in public just for show b/c when we do that we already have received our reward in full. Meaning that God rewards our prayers Luke 18 and the persistent widow who petitions the judge for justice and we are to petition our heavenly father for him to answer our prayers.

My thought meets modern was uncomfortable.

I guess when the day comes that I'm sitting in a room of people and we all agree on everything...I'll know for sure I've surround myself with ignorance.

Everything's ok: So what do you do when you have a parent that wants you to sit down with them and tell them everything is ok with their child when you know it's really not?

Nick I'm concerned about my son
yeah me too
*shocked look on face*
But there is hope

A classic tale of determining our current reality...and then acting in a manner that begins to change that current reality.

Fang: I've been away for a few days and I was on the phone with Heather on tuesday and she told me that Nathan has two teeth coming in on the top (his first top row teeth). I got home yesterday and picked up my boy and looked at his teeth. They aren't the front middle teeth like one would expect. They are what will one day be the the eye teeth. So for the time being Nathan has fangs.

Anybody remember the books Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing and the sequel Super Fudge? The little brother, Fudge, in the story tried to fly off of the monkey bars when the older brother, Peter, was babysitting and Fudge hit the ground and knocked his front teeth out. They were his baby teeth but for the year or so Fudge had to live life with not front teeth. The older brother called Fudge "fang"...when his mother wasn't around.

I call Nathan "White Fang".

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I'll serve one up fresh tomorrow...

Old Skool
Going Public

check back around lunch time

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Painting---- CHECK

Just a few more things to do, little ones, and I'm all finished. It's been a good run and I've done good work and gotten a TON done and boy am I tired.

This week I'm off at our District and Prayer Conference and then Friday the house goes on the market.

Catalyst: I registered for the Catalyst Conference. I'm looking forward to Don Miller (of course) and Andy Stanley the most but I know some of the other guys will win a fan in me after I hear them speak. We'll leave out on Monday the 3rd and spend a few days with Heather's aunts. I'll attend the labs on Wednesday and then the conference on thursday and friday. While I'm doing that Heather will show off The Boy to her family.

Few More: A few more additions to the rap sheet.
Had glass replaced in the sliding glass door
Painted hall ways and stair wells (need to finish this today)

Home Depot: I had a comment in my other post about it now being called THE Home Depot. I'm not sure if the name ever changed or not but I don't remember it being called THE Home Depot in the past. It was merely Home Depot. I guess it's a "hype" factor. Just like I'm not "Thinking Padre" I'm "THE Thinking Padre".

All gripe All hype-THE Thinking Padre

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Doing the Bull Dance feeling the flow working it working it

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dump: took my annual trip to the dump. What fun! I dumped 140 pounds of stuff. Mainly a couch and some vinyl flooring I had left over.

Realtor: We talked to the realtor today and signed the papers to put our house on the market next friday. I'm praying for a nice quick sale at the price we're asking. The house work is going well and it's looking great so I don't predict a problem selling the house.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Machine: The verdict is in...I am a machine. In the past two weeks I have been working around the house. Let's see the rap sheet.

Removed shutters, cleaned shutters, painted shutters...Pressure washed house, replaced shutters and painted trim.

Stained deck.

Painted front door to match shutters.

Installed pergo floor in my entry way. (Thanks to my father-in-law for the help...well really I helped him)

Painted bathroom.

Fixed water damage around bathtub.

Laid new vinyl flooring.

Accidentally ripped out toilet...w/out unbolting it thus destroying.

Installed new toilet...not in the plan but was an easy install but require an extra 2 trips to Home Depot.

so tonight I need to paint the 1/4 so I can caulk around the tub and put the 1/4 round back...voila...bathroom finished.

I am the machine.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Commentary: I am finding that when you are leaving a current ministry position people like to ask questions. Which is fine. What really causes people to ask questions is when your current ministry is going just fine, there is no internal conflict, there is no pushing, shoving or running me out the door. I am leaving on my own free will and people have a hard time understanding that.

Where are you moving? Suffolk, VA

Are you going to be a sr. pastor or a youth pastor? Neither, I’m going to be a church planter-I’m going to start a church.

How many people are in the church? None

*confused look*

Well I guess this happens every few years either the church or the denomination moves people to new ministries. No one forced this on us, it is merely what we know God is calling us to do.

*doubtful look*

So when will you buy a building? Years down the road

What will you do till then? Good question, we’ll be developing a core group, starting with people we meet a few from the Portsmouth church then we’ll develop a bible study from there.

That’s it? Yep that’s it *confused look on my face*

Passion: So I am finally moving towards pursuing this new passion in my life. When people ask me why it’s actually very easy to answer. 85% of churches in America are plateaued or declining (Gene Wood) – The church in North America is on life support, it is living off of the work, money and energy of previous generations (Reggie McNeal). I know those not just as random facts to validate my passion but as truth, all I need to do.

Born-Agains by Generation-
Busters (1965-1976) 15 percent claim to be born again
Bridgers (1976-1994) 4 percent claim to be born again

New churches are best suited to reach new generations…and that’s what I want to do…that what I’m called to do.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Just Post It: Well here it is...I'll give commentary tomorrow.
September 13, 2005

Dear Governing Board,

After much prayer and consideration I have discerned the call to resign as the youth pastor of Emmanuel Alliance Church (effective November 23, 2005) to begin a new ministry in church planting.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve the youth and congregation of Emmanuel Alliance Church the past three and a half years. I am confident that I will take the experience I have gained here and continue to advance the kingdom of God. I will always hold a fond place in my heart for Emmanuel Alliance Church and the relationships we have shared.

The students have taught me how to love and how to lead. They have challenged me, encouraged me and made me laugh. We have made memories we cannot forget, I will miss them. I will miss you.

Heather and I ask you for your prayers and support for our family during this time of transition to Suffolk, VA. The next step in our lives is to move to Suffolk and to begin a church plant with the Mid-Atlantic District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. We take our experience and the knowledge we have gained here with us to Suffolk and once again thank you for the friendship and love we have enjoyed here.

Our prayers will be with you as you engage the future and as we work together for the same purpose of being and making disciples of Christ.


Rev. Nick

Mullet Sighting: This one is a rarity. Found on a older woman, with white hair next to a girl that has "juicy" on her butt. That's another post...enjoy the mullet.

A little girl bursts into the Bagel shop where I'm reading followed by her mid-50's grandmother. The little girl doesn't say a word but the patter of her feet is so random and inconsistent you can't help but notice her. She's hopping, skipping, dragging her feet and a combination of all. It made me smile.

From about 12 feet away the person behind the counter says "Good Morning"

Grandma says "Morning, Cup of Coffee please...laaarrrrge!"

I hear that!

Note to Self: Heard from Sermon from from the Summer 2005 (Money Sunday).

Mars Hill Budget:
25% of monies received is given away
75%--21% goes toward operating--54% Staff

The 14 biggest churches in Western Michigan were studied:
72:1 Staff to Attendee ratio (average)
179:1 Staff to Attendee ratio (Mars Hill)

$1579 given per year per person (average)
$546 given per year per person (Mars Hill)

Rob Bell addressed the problem...from the pulpit.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mexican Jumping Bean: So my boy likes to jump. Really it's quite amusing but sometimes he just likes to jump. It can go on for a good hour, just jumping in his "Jump-a-Roo".

Brain: So on Thursday September 1 I went on vacation. It is now September 12 and while my body returned from vacation just fine my brain must still be on vacation. I actually don't know where it is. I might have left it somewhere on my trip...It's getting to where I might need to go look for it.

I promise invigorating and exciting posts in the near future. Trust me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nathan did a little too much drinking while on vacation. How better to start a series of pictures than with my boy?

Sometimes you just gotta the middle of the your underwear...without a front of dozens of people...sometimes

A church on 5th

I've been doing work around the house for the past three day so I don't really have much to say. How bout some pictures from my trip?

This is a house that we passed while tromping around New York City.

A shot from Central Park

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wedding: I knew when the experience happened that I would want to write about it. I also knew that I would never be able to put words to such a divine experience. I also knew that I would still try. So here we go. I was in a wedding this past weekend for my friend who I have known since the first day of college. We have a great friendship and even though we live several states and a couple hundred miles away we still maintain a close and growing closer friendship.

I was serving as a groomsman and during the ceremony I began to feel...very...loved. Is the best way I know to experience it. I saw my friend getting married and his soon to be bride. I looked at them both- both very imperfect people, both screw ups, mess ups, can't get it right, just like everyone else humans. I saw their imperfection but I felt something much different. I felt something higher than humans are capable of, higher than can be achieved through effor.

Aside from my own wedding I have never even teared up at a wedding. I'm just not like that. But as my other friend also in the wedding party stood admiring his friend getting married I saw a tear come to his eye, he glanced at me and we both felt the feeling.

I think it was the idea of unconditional love, the feeling that although we screw up so much Christ loves us unconditionally. Anthony and I talked about it later. He called it grace, I couldn't argue.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Out: We're heading to my friend's wedding tomorrow morning. We'll spend friday and saturday in Walton, NY for the Blew's wedding and then head to Nyack for Sunday and Monday nights spending some time visiting NYC. I'm looking forward to it and am going to leave my computer at home so as not to run the temptation of being distracted by email or blogging or anything else that I do on this thing.

Padre OUT!

Fathers: I’ve been thinking much about father’s lately. Not particularly other’s fathers or even my own father but rather the role of “father” in the role of a pastor/youth pastor. What has stirred this is the overwhelming evidence and affect on a person by their father. Another unfortunate piece of information is that this effect is negative is most cases.

With the females in my group I can tell that they want to be told they are beautiful, they are worth fighting for and they are valuable to others. John Eldridge speaks of this wonderfully in his book Wild at Heart and a little booklet derived from Wild at Heart…can’t think of the name. But he’s not just talking hypothetical he is for real.

With the males in my group they want to know they are tough, manly, and capable of being a man.

For the past two years or so I have recognized this as one of my main responsibilities as their youth pastor. It’s not what I had in mind when I took this job but it has been one that has been a pleasure to fill. The ability to fill this role comes with a price because when you assume a father-like role all the implications come with it. You can’t be the king to sweep in and take care of the peasants, you can’t be the rich step-father using your emotional “money” to make it all better. Every word, every action towards that student is important and they feel it directly to their heart. So with that in mind you can see the things that might get difficult. What do you do when your students really disappoint you? What do you do when they are being stupid? What do you do when they need to be correct with stronger discipline?

Well the answer is you act with the love of our Father, with grace but often also a stern hand. It’s this paradox that can make it so difficult but really it should be no surprise that we are a father to man because we are about the Lord’s work a ministry of his, his priest. He is our father and others need to see the Father’s love.

Super Power: If I were a prophet of the Lord I think I would want my super power to be super fast running 1 Kings 18:45-46

Question: Did his servant also have super fast running? 1 Kings 19:3

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Adventure Park: tonight was the night we went to Adventure Park which is our new Putt-putt, arcade, laser tag, go-karts, bumper boats and more. It was a bunch of fun. I didn't do so well on the laser tag but I won the go-kart race and I won enough tickets to get the inflatable hammer I had my eye on. A good night overall!

Morph: I was referred to this book by one of my college profs-Doug White. It's sat on the shelf for a few months just waiting for the right time to be read. I started reading this morning and after the first chapter am ready to give an assessment on what this book will be about. The subtitle is a texture of leadership for tomorrow's church, this sums things up pretty well. Ron Martoia states that the idea of transforming or "morphing" is necessary in leadership. The idea of morphing means that all the substance stays the same but is reorganized to form something completely different. Of course his motivation is to make leaders and thus the church a greater organism growing the kingdom of God. Out of every leader is formed a ethos and out of every leader leaks their ethos thus surrounding the leader and the church with people with a like ethos. Meaning that leadership is the crucial first step in morphing into who God wants us to be.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Through Painted Deserts: The kind of book that makes you miss old friends, appreciate relationships and help you realize the deeper importance of life. There's so much more to say but none of it would be quite what I mean to say. One the best stories I've read, ever.

Direction: I have no directions. I needed to go to the new Adventure Park today to make a reservation for tomorrow night and I figured I had seen it off of the interstate (I-70) so I wouldn't take directions. MISTAKE. I was talking on the phone so I completely missed my exit and seeing adventure park. The good news is I made it halfway to Baltimore. I guess that's not so good news. I wasn't in any hurry so it didn't stress me out, I just thought it comical that I was driving up and down I-70...because I have no directions.

Meanderings: The good news about my meanderings is that I was able to listen to three sermons today. Not all on my trip to Baltimore and back but in all my driving today I listened to three sermons. I decided that I'd like to start listening to other people preach to make myself a better preacher. I'm not sure if it will work but I figured it won't hurt anything either. Don Miller; (June 26, 2005) Our Father in Heaven, Rob Bell, Josh Bishop and Letha; (July 31, 2005) Bringing the Cheese and Jeff Manion; Elijah's Meltdown (the link to this one disappeared since yesterday, sorry it was a great sermon) are the three I listened to today.

Van: The book I'm reading right now tells a 2 young men's adventure from Texas to Oregon. They are making this adventure in a Volkswagen Van from the 70's. Like a bunch of hippies they sleep in the van and live a minimalist life. Today I was taking my boy to the babysitters and I saw a green hippie van parked on the side of the road. I looked for the driver and sure enough he was a long haired fellow and not to stereotype but a hippie. Then this afternoon driving out to Adventure Park on I-70 at least 15 miles from where I last spotted him was the same guy in the same hippie van. No spiritual lesson, no stirring revelation, just a green hippie van with a long haired hippie driver, twice.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Mornings: I'm getting better about not sleeping all day but there are those days, the days off in particular that I like to sleep till about 9 or so. With Nathan waking up about 7 to eat that can get difficult. So what we do is after we feed him we put Nathan in our bed on days Heather doesn't work he lies inbetween us, normally he manhandles my face or in this case babyhandles my face. He does that for a few minutes or 45 minutes depending on how he's feeling and then falls asleep. When he wakes up he will resume grabbing my face and will smile at me till I smile back. It's the things like these that are so incredible.

Nathan: Nathan will be six months on Saturday. He has three teeth, specializes in rolling over and chewing things. Nathan enjoys long walks in his stroller and looking at people make funny faces. Looking for girlies to share these interests with.

Through Painted Deserts: My wife says I'm a nerd when I post the picture of the book I'm reading, I tell her that's not nice to say to someone but she does it anyway. Well...nerd or not currently I'm reading Donald Miller's first book, which was just rereleased this month. I wanted a break from the po-mo stuff I'd been reading and get into something a little more narrative in nature. Don Miller is definately one of my favorite authors mainly because he's not afraid to be honest and open. He describes a journey in his life not only covering thousands of miles but covering questions and ideas about his origins and the origins of his faith. In a time in his life when he questioned those things often deemed unquestionable or too dangerous to question he dares to ask them. I know from reading Blue Like Jazz (Don's second book) that he comes out on the other side a better man, capable of deeper thought and frankly a more devout follower of Christ. Go figure. The past year or so God has reminded me of the ok-ness of asking questions of him others frown upon. I'm reminded of Abraham, Gideon, Thomas, Peter and the list goes on.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Coffee: So I now have a justification for my 2 cup habit a day. This article on Fox News says that coffee is the number 1 antioxidant for Americans.

ipod: so I love my ipod and I've never been a headphone guy so I normally use my fm transmitter or rca cable not using the headphones. Good thing. Seems like one the earphones which provide excellent sound, by the way, that enter the ear canal make the noise quite loud which can result in hearing loss. The ipod is also especially dangerous because of the length of play. Now I've never listened to my ipod for 15 hours in a row but I could if I wanted!

Hurricane: National Geographic had an issue a few back about hurricanes and that there seems to be an odd number of hurricanes lately and even more projected in the next couple of decades. This number can be attributed to either global warming or just a natural trend that we haven't seen in a hundred years or so. So while the idea is not to panic we have to understand the population boom that is occuring in Florida and in the south in general. So not only does this mean more people are in danger for their lives but their property is at risk also.

With all that said it looks like New Orleans is going to get it pretty rough..

Names: Which needs me to my next thought...why in the heck to we name these things? We talk about them like they have personalities not forces of nature. I have an answer. People can be controlled, tamed, handled; forces of nature can hope to be endured and then when it's over you access the damage. The latter is far more scary.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Entertainer: Heather, Nathan and I went to a fair today down in Virginia. It was a ton of fun, lots of nice people, good free samples and a few entertainers. I noticed that the first entertainer we saw was funny, and overall enjoyable, he juggled and rode a unicycle. The second entertainer had a little monkey perched on his shoulder. He wasn't a friendly guy at all and he kept trying to be funny and tell people to pay attention but in reality he wasn't funny or entertainint.

Lecturer: I have been reading a lecture by N.T. Wright, an excellent lecture, you can find the like below if you are interested in reading it.

So since I study public speakers and/or entertainers I was reminded that preachers are neither lecturers or entertainers but they need to both be engaging and informative but most of all impacting people to align themselves with the will of God.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Story: That, in fact, is (I believe) one of the reasons why God has given us so much story, so much narrative in scripture. Story authority, as Jesus knew only too well, is the authority that really works. Throw a rule book at people's heads, or offer them a list of doctrine, and they can duck or avoid it, or simply disagree and go away. Tell them a story, though, and you invite them to come into a different world; you invite them to share a world-view, or better still, a "God-view". That, actually is what the parables are all about. They offer, as all genuine Christian story-telling does, a world-view which, as someone comes into it and finds how compelling it is, quietly shatters teh world-view that they were in already. Stories determine how people see themselves and how they see the world. Stories determine how they experience God and teh world and themselves and others.
-N.T. Wright (How can the bible be authoritative?)

bleh...: For the past 2 days I have opened this page with full intent on leaving a post but either the post would evade me or I just didn't feel like...articulating.

First Week: The first week back to school is always crazy for Heather and I and I thought this year would be all the more consider we now have a new one to take care of and I'm preaching this sunday which generally takes up more time and makes me more stressed. But this week has been great, I know because of our prayers and other's prayers. I was also careful to plan out my week and then guarded it, in regards to my time. So now it's friday, we are 2 hours away from getting through the week and it has been a GREAT week. Praise Him.

Enertaining: Anyone that knows me or has spoken to me for more than 10 seconds knows that I'm not much of an entertainer. Now I think I'm a pretty friendly guy and there are really few things that I enjoy more than good conversation, having fun with someone and dialoguing about the Scriptures (an odd combination I know but it will make sense in a minute). I'm friendly but I don't entertain, I think because entertaining is one way, not two way. Being entertained is self centered. Like I said I am preaching this sunday and I really enjoy preaching. It is an excellent discipline to submit yourself to, preparing and listening. But for some reason I lack the passion that I normally do. I think today I was able to get a grasp on why. The reason is that I feel like I'm entertaining the people in the church till my sr. pastor gets back from vacation. I get a feeling that we have conditioned our people to listen or pretend to listen. The idea keeps nagging at me -the scriptures lead to action. Always. The scriptures lead to action. So hopefully I won't entertain anyone on sunday, I pray that I'll lead them to action by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sometimes the things we want most in life are the things that will kills us: Anyone that knows me knows that Donald Miller is one of my favorite authors. He tells a little story in his book Blue Like Jazz about "Don Rabbitt" and tells how Don Rabbit wants to eat a carrot and he chases this beautiful carrot all over Oregon and then all over the U.S. and then he finally catches the carot and it's his and HE DIES.

I've really grown fond of that quote.

Probably because I seem to be continually dealing with people that want things. Nothing really want with wanting things, but the problem is they want things that will kill them. No not like eating rat poison will kill you but things that will kill you over time or spiritually. Truth be told I know very few people who don't chase after things that won't kill them eventually. Some people choose better things to chase after them, things like not-pornography, not-gambling, not-hookers, not-drugs, and not-other-obvious things, but in reality the death might be slower but it's still death.

Sometimes the things you want most in life are the things that will kill you.

Trust Me: It seems I lost my Sam's card. Which is really only annoying since I hate loosing things. So I go up to the desk to tell the lady I lost it and that I need a new one. I also told her that my card was/is connected to the business credit for the church so if I needed to report that I was doing so then. The lady then informed me that my card was NOT part of the business credit for the church. Well darn, I've been filling out expense reports for nothing! Then rather than wonder who's been paying for the goods every time I said "charge that to the business credit please" I told the lady that I was pretty sure it was.

I didn't get too aggravated but I couldn't help but wonder why she felt the need to not believe me. Why would I make that up? Of the two people standing there at that very moment, me and her, who would be the one better equipped to determine if indeed I was part of the business credit?

After she took the time to check to see if I was able to make credit purchases she said is a surprised tone of voice "oh you are on the business credit"

What I wanted to say: "next time when me and you disagree on something...believe me"
What I really said: "Thanks, have a good day"

The perk of my new Sam's card is that I got a new picture.

Good-Bye: Tonight one of my best friends and my only youth sponsor announces his leaving. He is a good friend that is leaving for all the right reasons. But that doesn't change the fact that I'll miss him as a friend on those youth retreats. I'll miss him as that other guy adult that I can vent to when needed and can lean on when I'm running late or need an errand. He is an excellent sponsor, I hate to let him go but I'm doing what's right.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Preaching: When I preach I take the opportunity very seriously. There are several reasons. The first being that I don't get to preach to often, maybe 3 times a year, so when I do preach I want to gain experience in preparation and delivery for when I am doing it every week. The next reason is that I know that for many people in my church it is the only time they are hearing from the word during the week. And because of this reason comes my final reason, when I preach I want the word of God to come alive for that person I want them to engage the scriptures and of course I want them to be stirred to action.

Because of these reasons I am always paying attention when I hear others preach. I pay as much attention to the crowd as I do to the preacher. I am hoping to learn what is engaging people. What is making them take notice? What is boring them? What parts of the text are they interacting with? and if I have the ability I ask them weeks down the road what the particular sermon was about and to see what they remember and if they actions changed because of it.

I was sitting outside with my son this morning and I came to that point once again, like I do for every sermon that I have to lay the message at the food of Christ. I have to surrender the sermon and be reminded that I preach not for the approval or benefit of man but I preach out of obedience to Christ. I think that when I study people and how they learn and how they are impacted I am being obedient but because of this study I sometimes wonder how I can best impact the person rather than ask how I can best be obedient to Christ. The paradox is that when I am obedient to Christ and what he wants me to say he uses my gift of creativity to impact people. Which is what I love to do.