Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Relational Ministry - Part 2

Our first house-deal fell through…obviously God was at work. We ended up where we live now…that’s a story for a post in and of itself. We’ll just say that as we were leaving the house (unsure of whether this was for us) and Mel said, “I want to see the bathroom one more time.”

As she opened the cabinet, she found a little piece of paper in the far back corner that had Hebrews 11:1 written on it…it was a piece of our confirmation that we were to purchase this house. Even though I was quick to doubt…I told her, “Go put that back, that’s for the people who are supposed to buy this house!”

So, we moved in, determined that we would live on mission among our neighbors. Relational Ministry – from a natural overflow of an invested relationship, we would share about who Jesus was. Not with Jesus tracks and a sign in the yard that says “we don’t drink or smoke because Jesus doesn’t.”

Instead, we would be intentional about getting to know our neighbors and look for opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. It’s not a cop-out for not talking about Jesus every time we’re together. It’s taking a long look…realizing we would be living here for years. Over that time we would have numerous opportunities to share. If we’re too forceful upfront…we could ruin opportunities for years to come. We wanted this to be natural part of a relationship with people we genuinely cared for.

So, we were one of the first houses built on our block and as people moved in, we would take them a welcome gift. Nothing big…just some cookies or rice crispy treats. That was our first step in getting to know their names and introduce ourselves. We would leave telling each other "You remember their name? Roland I think? Or was it Ramon? I don't know...go ask him again." Names are important to people...it says something to them if you can't remember their name.

Over the past 6 years, we’ve hosted a block party at our house on Halloween for the entire neighborhood. We don’t play Awesome God over the speakers the whole time…we play music people out here like. We try to take a night that was meant for darkness and somehow be a light for Christ. It’s crazy at times to see over 100 people standing in your front yard from all walks of life, but now everybody knows the pastor in the corner house throws a pretty good party!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Relational Ministry - Part 1

Relational Ministry is a term that has been in my family’s vocabulary since 2001. That is the year that Mel and I started doing a program called CARES by Apartment Life. We were a CARES team for nearly 2 years here in the Sugar Land Area.

The overall concept of the program is this: In exchange for a rent free apartment, we served as the event planners for the community. On the faith side of things, the apartments knew we were Christians and allowed us to share our faith with their residents…in a non-threatening way of course.

I’ve never learned more about sharing my faith than I did in those 2 years. All through High School, I was very outgoing and handled myself fine in relational settings. Upon entering college, I was involved in a relationship that killed my self-confidence, causing me to second guess myself in nearly every relational environment.

I spent the first years of my marriage, unlearning years of unhealthy habits – such as standing in a corner with my plate of food as a shield anytime someone new came to talk to me. ☺ Since my wife is such the relational guru…I had the best coach in the world. While serving as a CARES Team, Mel would come and take my plate away from me and make me go talk to new people…I cursed her at the time, but I love her for it now!

Mel went on to work full-time for Apartment Life, serving as the Regional Director over Houston. At that time, we stepped down from being a team and purchased our first house. As we prayed about where God would have us live, our number one prayer was this: “God, we’ll live where you want us to…just put us in a place where we can have a Kingdom impact on the people we live among.”

ONCE Wins Big Last Night

Mel and I were so excited about Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova winning best song last night. Here's their performance from the show...I love to watch the underdog win!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning

I've never seen my wife happier! We are cleaning all weekend. The girls have gone to Grandma's and we have less than 48 hours to make this house ready for Baby Boy. (No, we have not agreed on a name yet. :) See my wife's blog for the latest on that.

Seriously though, a whole weekend dedicated to cleaning...on the happiness scale, this is up there with our wedding day. No joke. She's like giddy the whole time... "and what if we do this?" "Do you think we should move this here?" "We should put some shelves there."

We'll have some pics soon...because this my friends, is a memorable weekend. It's pre-baby nesting at its best!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Death By Suburb

As a staff, we are all reading different books about the suburbs. When we go to staff meeting today, we will each give a synopsis of what we read in our book and then we'll enter into discussion about our current suburban context. We started this last week and it was a very enlightening conversation. Our Connections Pastor Brandon Baca started doing some great research on our area and brought it to our meeting. It was amazing to hear some of the statistics he shared.

So my reading is from a book called Death By Suburb. Just seeing the cover intrigued me and I was really drawn to dive into it!

So far, I would equate it to a "light" version of the Celebration of Discipline by Foster. It's basically an exploration of how to engage in the spiritual disciplines while living in suburbia.

However, this guy really starts to shine a bright light on the veneer of suburbia. He has no problem calling a spade a spade and including himself in the mix. In fact, he sort of tells on himself the first 3 chapters. He's refreshingly vulnerable.

Here's a great quote from the book. "The suburbs tend to produce inverse spiritual cripples. Suburbia is a flat world, in which the edges are clearly defined and the mysterious ocean is rarely explored. Every decision gets planned out, like the practice of registering at retail stores for one's wedding gifts. Only tragedy truly surprises."

How true is that last statement! We're so prone to predictability in our lives. We're prone to worship safety and accomplishment. We covet the neighbor's house and cars. We compete with each other through the accomplishments of our children. It's only when tragedy comes knocking on the door that we're awakened from our slumber. I like that Goetz is trying to give some avenues for living what he calls "The Thicker Life" in our suburban context.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Chores After Kids

Not that I've ever been that great around the house in the first place...

But man, I really stink now that we have kids. I'll preface this one by saying I am not a night person at all. Truth be told, I could crash every night at 8:30 if this world allowed me too. :) However, I live in reality and it's a rare night that Mel and I go to sleep before 10:00.

That being said...there are many things that are piling up around the house that only I can do. Like, take the kid clothes stuffed, highly wife-organized Rubbermaid bins to the attic so they don't obstruct the walkway in our master bedroom. Or attempt to annihilate the growing weed population in my backyard. Put safety covers on all the outlets that have plugs (this is a big one cause I have to turn off the power to each outlet, then unscrew the current fixture, screw the new one on...etc). I need to clean the garage and add shelving to the laundry room. This is just the short list.

Needless to say, most of these are best achieved when the girls are sleeping. That means it either happens after 8:00 at night (the dead zone for me) or early in the morning before they wake. I used to have no problem waking early, but for some reason, I do now. Major sleep deprivation is my excuse.

So...at 5:00 a.m. this morning, I was removing caulk from our shower. I hate caulk. And it's like this mad sprint to get it done before the girls wake up.

Mel and I are so different...she will stay up to till 2:00 a.m. cleaning (like last night). I just look at her in sheer amazement, while I crawl into bed.

Overall, I'm still trying to learn how to fit all my house duties into my schedule now that the kids are here. They don't do well around weed eaters.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New Transform Website

An organization called Transform Ministries that I'm a part of with my friend Casey Cease has launched their new website! Check it out when you get a chance...click the image below


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Designer Replacement

Ok...so a while back our church lost our graphic designer. He's pretty incredible and is now working at a great place that lets him drink beer while he works. Hilarious. But since he's been gone, I've become his shoddy replacement.

Anyhow, 98% of our graphic design has fallen into my court these days. That includes the big jobs that you want to look good...stuff that actually represents your church. So, Phil has now become my 24 hour Adobe Support (via Ichat) and Aaron is my inspirataion for photography and shots like this.

But even with these great mentors at my disposal, there are some things I just can't achieve in the time frame necessary, without the proper tools. So...I have invested in my first Wacom Intuos Pad. (Notice it says for the "serious photographer and designer," that's me...very serious. Serious doesn't equate good though!)


I wish I had this tool a little earlier so this current series graphic wouldn't have taken me so long!

So...we have a new series with Crossbridge coming up soon. When Chuck and I discussed where we wanted to go with the logo, I knew I couldn't make it happen without the Wacom Pad. Once I get it done, I'll try and post it! Aaron, keep posting pictures so I can bite off your work. Phil, don't ever close out Ichat.

Pancakes and Princesses

So last night I got to have pancakes with my 3 Princesses. Soon, we will have one little warrior to add to the mix, but for now, it was a very "pretty" evening. My wife heard that IHOP was having National Pancake Night yesterday. We all got a free stack of pancakes...it was a glorious thing. Truly, one of my favorite foods in the world...and it was free. The service was terrible, but have you ever had good service at IHOP? Anyhow, it was good to be out with my girls...and good to have it for free. You should try it next year!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Don't Judge Too Quickly

A friend of mine sent me some of the new Ameriquest Videos. These are classic...it's been a while since I've seen some good commercials. Superbowl kinda let me down this year.

video

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Double Dipping

What do you do at 1:30 a.m. when you're up with your sick 3 year old? You blog while you hope the cool bath brings her fever down.

I'll be attending a Super Bowl party on Sunday with some friends of mine. Now thanks to this article, this is all I'll be thinking about.

On Sunday, millions of Americans will be plopped in front of big-screen TVs watching the Super Bowl — and, yes — stuffing their faces with chips, dip and anything else they can get their hands on.

So, this brings up the question: Is double dipping really that bad?

A new study by Clemson University set out to answer that exact question.

According to The New York Times, the study was inspired by an episode of "Seinfeld" in which the character George Costanza is confronted at a funeral reception after dipping the same chip twice.

Clemson University food microbiologist Paul Dawson said he proposed the study to get undergraduate students involved in scientific research. A team of nine students had volunteers bite a wheat cracker and dip the cracker for three seconds into a tablespoon of dip, it was reported.

They repeated the process with new crackers, for a total of either three or six double dips per dip sample. The team then analyzed the remaining dip and counted the number of aerobic bacteria in it. The students found that on average, three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from the eater’s mouth to the remaining dip, the Times reported.

"The way I would put it is, before you have some dip at a party, look around and ask yourself, 'would I be willing to kiss everyone here?' Because you don’t know who might be double-dipping, and those who do are sharing their saliva with you," Dawson told the Times.

The study is set to be published later this year in the Journal of Food Safety.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Wow...

How they find my blog...someone Googled: "unintentional love bite" and ended up here. Don't know what that says about my blog, but thanks for visiting. :)

Here's what they found - Love Bites