Thursday, October 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
We are totally moved into our new home and new roles as a CARES team at Coldwater Springs apartments. Leah is literally days away from completing school. We are hoping and pushing for an Oct. 15th graduation. Septemeber has been very overwhelming with moving and a trip to CA to celebrate with Leah's brother who got married. We have a string of flu like viruses through our little family which I am currently trying to see through...
Last Night we had a great homegroup with folks from our church. I find great value in God's people meeting in homes, with food, and discussing the scriptures, sharing life together, and impacting each other's stories. I think everyone should do it. Its just not that easy...
Who's house will we meet at? Who will provide the food? What about kids? pets? football? curriculum? These are just the easy questions. Put together a diverse group of people from different traditions, cultures, and point of views and ask questions like "what do you think?". Oh My! On top of those you have to navigate both the "babbling brooks" (those who talk to much) and also the "dead seas" (those who don't talk at all). You navigate those who think every question is "too personal" and those with PHD's in TMI... either could potentialy sabotage healthy discussion. As a leader I struggle with gently steering the conversation. It might be easier to be hands off, watch the sparks and ignorance fly and then call time after 35 minutes. The other easy option would be to script and control the whole thing. Nah. There's something wonderful about the organic process of people learning courtesy, grace, and community together.
I'm getting better at it. It's an interesting skill. I'm just wondering how to put it on a resume.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So what does (a not to be named ministry) do?
At the apartment we will assist the managers and leasing agents by planning great events, performing welcome visits, and doing we care visits. (a not to be named ministry) has an excellent bussiness model and the research is pretty overwhelming that apartments with (a not to be named ministry) teams have way better retention and happier residents. I'm sure some apartment management companies are very excited about having happy residents, but I'm sure all open their eyes when they see the thousands of dollars they save by turning apartments less. The evidence also shows employees stay longer when there is a (a not to be named ministry) team there to help them, appreciate them, and pray for them. Again...this translates into Big bucks for the management companies.
I thought this was a ministry?
54% on people in Metro areas live in apartments. Thats right, more than half. Less than 5% of apartment dwellers have any connection to a local church (compared to about half who dwell in single family homes). There are some real challenges for churches to get "in" to these communitys even if they would try, the gate is usually locked. We will live with these folks, inside the gate, become their friends and show them Jesus. They call it intentional relational evangelism and it's what Leah and I have been trying to be about. The cool thing is... the events, meeting space, and advertising are being funded or at least subsidized by the apartment company. NICE! We will be held accountable to attend training, have spiritual conversations, and yes they even track how many times we share the gospel. That'll be okay.
Aren't you busy planting a church?
YES! The events they want us to do are things we would do anyway; community gatherings, service projects, and intentional acts of kindness. They encourage us to work with outside organizations and even to have volunteers come help us with the events. Does this sound like an un official partnership? We will see. So it will be our "job" to meet and greet all the new residents in the community (about 33 households last month). Not only do they give me the address, they give me a reason to be there. Oh yeah, I also get the keys to the pools and clubhouse. YES! Don't get too excited. Its alot like doing campus ministry at a public school. We are governed by Fair Housing and I am quickly becoming familliar with conceopts like the "five resident rule" (if five residents ask for a Bible Study than it's cool). There are no ristrictions however on us having a book club, philosophy night, or educational seminars. I am confident our past experience and current perspective will allow us to navigate this well. We also see this as a wonderful oppurtunity that will be a blessing to our church and in a new way allow our church to be a blessing to our community... specifically an extrememly "unreached" portion of it.
What about moving your kids into an apartment?
Yes we have these concerns and thanks for expressing yours. We will be moving into a 3 bedroom apartment that occupies just under 1,400 square feet. It also has a full size washer/dryer, his and her sinks, and other cool upgrades you might choose if you were building a new home. We also get access to amenities like the gym, movie room, tanning beds, and pools. Yes... you can come visit. Apartments have changed a lot even since we moved out of Palm Court eight years ago. More and more we want our kids to know the adventure that is following Jesus. More and more the so called American dream of owning a home and having a nice car, big tv and stainless steel appliances seems like a distraction to this. We don't mean to pass judgment on anyone else, but for us this seems like a good way to practice living simply.
So that's what we're up to. We are pretty excited. We covet your thoughts and prayers.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
On Saturday my phone charger broke and and so did my car alternator. I understand these are minor inconveniences but seriously? Not really the evidence of the new season I was hoping for.
I was hopeful that Sunday at church would be a kind of homecoming with lots of excitement and record attendance. It was just another hot Phoenix Sunday with a lot of people missing and it's own unique struggles. Again, this is something I'm used to but it's not really indicative of a new season of harvest and fruitfulness.
I spent the entirety of Monday morning with Isaac at the dentist. He had a couple of fillings, a tooth extraction, and several crowns... Oh and lots of drugs to try to minimize the kicking and screaming. They had more work to do on the top but I stopped them when the bill hit $2,000. Welcome new season of monthly installments! It fills like another car payment... if only I could drive my son's baby teeth to work. CASH for CLUNKERS?
Today is meet the teachers night and it's also Leah's first day back at school. Today I got to take gum out of Olivia's hair and tomorrow both the girls get shots. Why does being a good parent involve so many opportunities to make your children scream?
Leah and I remain excited about what's ahead. I hope this real and a bit self pitying post doesn't cause folks to be concerned. I'm just realizing that there is still quite a bit of finishing to do in this new season.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I continue to shine and grow professionally at UPS and the Hampton Inn but I feel like real potential maybe limited at both of these places. IF there were some upper management changes at UPS I would be excited to stay, endure another peak, and see how raises pan out in the spring. IF a full-time driving opportunity became available at the hotel, I think I would jump all over it. Generally speaking I think ,most people who don't work at UPS think working at UPS is a better job than it is. I also think people would be surprised to know what a van driver makes after tips and gifts. If none of these things pan out... back to daily checking jobing.com and career builder. I think eventually I could get in at UOP or a similar school working in enrollment.
Sometimes I wish there was more wealth in church planting, but for now I am helpful that soon I might have ONE non ministry job that would allow some sustainability in our home.
Leah will finish school and get a job. Then we will join the rest of the country as a two income house doing our best to raise our kids well.
CARES is still green lights. We know yes, just not where or when... except for close and soon.
I'm realizing this post is alot like the last...just trying to keep our loved ones in the loop. We are keeping on. We are survivng... not yet thriving but at least survivng.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we are hopeful for these next steps.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
More and more, autumn is becoming my favorite season. In a desert where our seasons are nice, nice, nice, and extremely hot!... autumn is the first relief from extremely hot. I am looking forward to this autumn as a season of change once again. Leah will be finishing school. I don't think either of us knew what a huge impact this would have on the rest of our lives. We are both older and adding one more thing has had a much bigger effect than it used to. Regardless, Leah has learned a lot, including recession resistant marketable skills. Come the fall she should have more flexibility with her schedule, a means of income, and greater capacity to run our house the way she'd like to.
We are going to be be placed as a CARES team with apartment life christian ministries. We are already approved and just waiting for the where question to be answered. We will serve like chaplains / activity directors for an apartment complex, and receive severely discounted rent in exchange. Moving into an apartment seems backwards, but I am convinced the American dream of owning a home and a dog is overrated. I am also really looking forward to this opportunity to reach the un churched and demonstrate the love of Jesus in an apartment community. The reduction in rent may allow me to cut back on my other work hours and/or allow us to get ahead a little bit on the debt and bills front. The time I spend as a CARES team will overlap some with what I do for the church, and those two roles should really compliment each other. I also recieved a call from the area director this week to talk about a certain apartment possibility...in the same neighborhood we live in right now. If this works out, it would mean very little adjustment for our kids as far as friends and school and also for our daily commutes.
Olivia is going to start kindergarden. Both her and Isaac will be in school. We just need to come up with a plan for Abi and I will have a real plan to get sleep. I have found watching three kids and sleeping is impossible. Inevitably one will not happen. All this to say... I am hopeful for what's a head.
Right now we are all okay. I am thankful for the various ways God has provided for us, and I don't want to miss all the oppurtunities that exist here and now. I'm just wondering how long this will last.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
When our sending church bought us a computer for our new church plant they paid aprox. $200 to have Office Pro 2007 installed on the machine. They also paid for a service contract through 2011. Recently the hard drive on this machine crashed. I have no idea were those important discs that came with the machine ended up at and I have spent the last three hours of my life being transfered back and forth between Dell and Microsoft with each saying the other one has the ability to get me up and going again with out buying a new liscense. I am convinced that is not so...(which really bothers me as far as integrity and customer service are concerned).
So dell would be happy to sell me a new copy for $900! I laughed and said, "Why don't you sell me two new machines?" I finally hung up. This whole process has left me really unhappy with Dell, Fed Ex and Microsoft. I didn't like 2007 that much anyway. I found a copy of 2003 I'll be able to use. I'm certain I'll eveuntally find the discs that came with my machine. There'sjust a principle here I really disagree with. I am defeated and dissapointed. I am a goggle docs guy for life. OpenOffice... a new biggest fan.
It would cost Dell nothing to help me download a new copy and give me a new product key. It would cost Microsoft nothing to help me download a new copy and give me a new product key. I already paid for the liscense and they both know it! This is what makes me want to drive off a cliff... and lump both companies in with Wal-Mart and the cable companies. Makes me want to be Robin Hood.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Despite these challenges we press on. Lots of good things are happening at church. We have a team of 14 from Minnesota helping us with our outreach activities this week. We are going to have a great neighborhood party this Saturday...sno cones, bouncers, ponies. Yes, I said Ponies! We handed out a ton of cold water yesterday and have more waiting to be handed out tonight. I am also very excited for the oppurtunity to be speaking at the FCA youth camp this summer. Just wish I could focus on these things and not be so distracted by all the other junk. God is good, and we will press on.
Ryan Underwood, youth pastor at DGT is blogging his teams activitys and you could also follow him on twitter.
Monday, June 15, 2009
1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
but I believe the recent marketing ploy by FED-EX to campaign against recent labor legislation is at best misleading and at worst downright dishonest. UPS is an airline and a trucking bussiness, just like FED EX. Please use your voice to help level the playing field.
This website (brought to you by FED EX) totally changes how I feel about a competitor I once respected. Cheap shots and telling lies is the wrong way to get bussiness.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some strange prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?"
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in somber tones,
"For miles I carried you along.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand."
-- author unknown
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Above it someone put up a homemade motivational poster... it says
NO SERVICE FAILURES,
100% ON TIME DEPARTURES,
NOTHING BUT EXCELLENCE.
Ok that someone was me. This simple act of positive vandalism has been a real morale booster. Myself and my partners tap it on our way out like its some kind of "Remember the Titans" esque lucky charm. We are unsure how long it will stay up. Heres to one full day!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
The whole role, office, privledge (whatever you want to call it) is still a trip to me and it's hard enough to hear people in my church call me this... but people outside the church?
Maybe I get overly caught up in semantics, but this seemed significant and very encouraging to me.