Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Have a safe and happy New Year!  My wife and I are in Hot Springs, Arkansas relaxing this week on some much needed vacation.  Don't worry, I'll be back to preach this coming Sunday though.  You can keep up with the on goings of our vacation in the right side bar of my blog at or if you follow me on Twitter at  I'll be back to blogging and everything else when we get back later this week!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pastors Preaching Seminar featuring Pastor Bob Merrit of Eagle Brook Church

I'll be attending this event with some other local pastors. Thought I'd pass this opportunity on for those who might be interested. For those who might not know, I was Pastor Bob Merritt's teaching assistant for a couple of years at Bethel Seminary, but I would recommend this to you even if I wasn't! My wife and I attended Eagle Brook Church for a while shortly after we got married, and he is an incredibly gifted communicator.

Pastor Preaching Seminar - Bethel University

30-Minute Sermons in a 30-Second Culture
8 Principles to Help Your Sermons

Thursday, January 29
9 a.m.-1 p.m. • Eastlund Room

In today’s rapid-fire culture, many seem to be looking for simple answers to life’s often-complex questions. Communicating God’s relevant truth in ways that will compel us to live a faith of substance has become even more crucial, given this fast-food mentality.

Come hear some practical ideas on deepening your impact from the pulpit at this valuable seminar for pastors, sponsored by Bethel’s Office of Church Ministries.

Cost (includes lunch):

  • $25
  • $20 for Bethel alumni and/or each additional registrant from same church registering as a group

No refunds after January 26. Attendees must pay in advance.


  • Download the form and mail or fax to the Office of Church Ministries.
  • Call the Office of Church Ministries at 651.638.6301 (toll-free: 800.255.8706, ext. 6301);
  • Or email
The registration deadline is Monday, January 26.
Space is limited!

Featuring Bob Merritt

Bob Merritt has been the senior pastor of Eagle Brook Church since 1991, leading the church through a period of explosive growth.

In his messages, he tackles tough topics and answers life-changing questions about faith, family, and much more—while keeping the church’s mission to reach others for Christ at the forefront.

Merritt received an M.Div. from Bethel Seminary and a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from Penn State. He has also served as adjunct faculty in preaching at Bethel Seminary.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yet another reason my wife rocks

She got me an Apple iPod. The 120Gig Classic! And in the dark gray body! 100% perfect, exactly what I've been wanting for 3 years, but never specifically told her about or asked for!!!! It's already loaded and ready for the road. Hundreds of sermons loaded, and 1048 songs, plus some sermon videos as well. I know I am way behind the times in just now getting one of these things, but I still feel like I hit the jackpot!

We are heading to Sioux Falls tomorrow, but ended up with some unintended visitors tonight. My father-in-law and the boyfriend of my wife's aunt had the transmission in the Chrysler Pacifica they are driving (my wife's aunt's vehicle) start to act up really strangely. It won't stay in gear unless you stay on the gas. The transmission light is on, and nothing is open tomorrow. They are hoping they can make it to the Twin Cities tomorrow, but didn't want to risk things in the dark with sub zero temperatures over night. So we have yet to pack, and we are leaving town in 6 hours! We'll make it work.

Monday, December 22, 2008

First Congregational Church of Waseca, MN Christmas Eve Service

Come and celebrate the birth of
Jesus Christ our Lord!

First Congregational Church of Waseca, MN invites you, your friends, your family, your neighbors, and even complete strangers to join us for our Christmas Eve service, 8:00PM December 24th, 2008.

We are located at 503 2nd Ave. NE in Waseca, MN (click here for a map). The church is located just to the North of the Central Intermediate School. Christmas Eve service will begin at 8:00PM and will be followed by an afterglow that everyone is invited to in the church basement where treats and refreshments will be served.

We will NOT have church service Christmas Day, but will join together again for Church December 28th at 10:00AM for our regular service. No Sunday School December 28th.

Catching up with my life

I have a bunch of things I would love to blog, but I've been quite busy the past few weeks. I got taken out for over a week with a miserable cold after Thanksgiving, and since then have been trying to get everything organized and arranged for out Christmas Eve service at 1st Congregational Church of Waseca, MN. This is my first Christmas Eve service as Senior Pastor, and I must confess I am totally AMPED for it! It's still a few days away and I can hardly wait. Imagine how kids get antsy to open presents, well that is how I'm feeling for this service. Weather is supposed to be good, and I'm praying for a HUGE turn out to hear about Jesus!

We traveled to Colorado for Thanksgiving and spent some great time with my in-laws and some of my own aunts and uncles who call the Ft. Collins/Loveland area home. It was a very nice get away, but unfortunately much too short. But life and ministry call! And I was reminded on this trip just how much I hate United Airlines. Horrible planes, goring you for extra money at every opportunity, and bad service. It's no wonder airlines live in bankruptcy!

I have almost all of my Christmas shopping wrapped up which is a relief. Before this past weekend I was at a loss as to when I was going to get around to it, and what even I was going to get people this year. Everything seems to have worked itself out now.

I installed a new (used) phone in my office the other day. It was given to me by my friend Jeff a year ago with the thought I might sell it on Ebay. The battery life on my office phone was nearly zero, so I dug this out and hooked it up. It's a fancy 3-line office phone made by Venture. It is more phone than I really need, but I do really like it. I has a great speaker phone which is a must if you ever get put on hold. It also allows me to tap into our fax line at the church so that when my secretary is on our primary line, I can still call out. Not that it is a frequent problem, but it is nice to have that option.

We'll be traveling to Sioux Falls, SD to visit my family for Christmas for a few days and I am really looking forward to that. After that we will be taking some personal time, but we haven't (yet) figured out exactly where we are going or what we will be doing. We're trying to balance low cost, fun, new, and hopefully somewhere warmer that Minnesota. We'll see what that translates into.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pastor James MacDonald announces he has cancer

Dr. James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in the suburban Chicago area wrote the following on his blog:

Yeah, no doubt about it. PSA rising, sent for a biopsy and then the dreaded diagnosis . . .“I am sorry to confirm you have prostate cancer.” It’s a moment I have imagined through the years as occasional aches and pains led to tests, but always in the past the confirmation “all is well it’s just . . .” Not this time though; I have cancer. This of course confirms what I have taught so many times from God’s word . . . the effects of sin visit themselves randomly upon the creation in varying degrees and at various times (John 9:1-3). God promises only that His grace will be sufficient as His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), and that He has a purpose in the life of His child that will advance our good if we submit to what He has lovingly allowed (Hebrews 12:5-13).

So that’s it! I have cancer and I can diagnose the theology as well as any oncologist can diagnose the pathology. But here’s the great part. I truly believe those things. I am not especially anxious, I am not struggling with God’s goodness or asking a lot of penetrating ‘why’s?’ I am more aware of my pending mortality and the brevity of this life by eternal standards.

Pastor MacDonald has definately been influential in my thinking through my faith, and I would invite you to lift him up in prayer as he and his family go through this together.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trevin Wax is giving away a bunch of books!

Blogger Trevin Wax is giving away his 10 favorite books from the past year. For a chance to win click over to his blog and read the post for requirements. Yes I am entered.

Friday, December 12, 2008

That's my King

From The A-Team Blog.

The preacher at the church I attended today read this, and it struck me as an excellent meditation piece. It's from a sermon by S.M. Lockridge...

He's enduringly strong. He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast. He's immortally graceful. He's imperially powerful. He's impartially merciful. That's my King. He's God's Son. He's the sinner's saviour. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He's honest. He's unique. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He's supreme. He's pre-eminent. He's the grandest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the supreme problem in higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of historic theology. He's the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That's my King.

He's the miracle of the age. He's the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He's the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He's the Almighty God who guides and keeps all his people. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. That's my King.

Do you know Him? Well, my King is a King of knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway of peace. He's the roadway of righteousness. He's the highway of holiness. He's the gateway of glory. He's the master of the mighty. He's the captain of the conquerors. He's the head of the heroes. He's the leader of the legislatures. He's the overseer of the overcomers. He's the governor of governors. He's the prince of princes. He's the King of kings and He's the Lord of lords. That's my King.

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . . but He's indescribable. That's my King. He's incomprehensible, He's invincible, and He is irresistible.

I'm coming to tell you this, that the heavens of heavens can't contain Him, let alone some man explain Him. You can't get Him out of your mind. You can't get Him off of your hands. You can't outlive Him and you can't live without Him. The Pharisees couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Eagle Brook Church takes a Sunday off - No Church December 27 or 28

Over the years I have noted many goings on at Eagle Brook Church here on my blog. Eagle Brook is one of my favorite churches on the planet. They are doing great things in the Twin Cities Metro area with campuses in Lino Lakes, White Bear Lake, and Spring Lake Park. I receive their emails they send out to church members, and the most recent one I got was interesting enough I thought I would pass it along (see below). While it sounds strange, I think Eagle Brook Church is making the right choice for their people. Unrelated, but I should also mention, EBC has recently redesigned their web site, and it looks and works great!


Eagle Brook Friends, In case you missed last weekend's service, I wanted to catch you up on a few important things we covered. (As always, you can catch the entire service on our website.)

No Weekend Services December 27/28

"What? No services on December 27/28?" That probably sounds strange at first – to not have church on a weekend. But, as Pastor Bob explained at the top of his message last week, there's a story behind the decision. This year Christmas falls in between two weekends. We have our regular services on Dec. 20/21, and then, after a one day turn-around, we have our 17 Christmas services on Dec. 23/24. In those five days, that equates to 29 services. The next day is Christmas, and then we have one day to turn things around for services on Dec. 27/28. That would be 41 services in nine days.

Add to that, it takes about 625 people to make a weekend happen. Of those 625 people, over 500 of them are volunteers. After looking at the enormity of 41 services in nine days, and the responsibility falling on our core staff and volunteer teams, our Leadership Team & Church Board determined the best decision would be to call on our teams to pour their energies into making our Christmas experience, and the weekend before Christmas, the very best they can be—and then give all of the dedicated staff and volunteers time off on Dec. 27/28 to be with family and friends.

If it still seems strange to not have church, we encourage you to go and be the church—go serve somewhere that weekend. And then we'll be all back together on Jan. 3/4 with a great new message series, "Ask Anything," to kick-off our new year!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kutless Lyrics - All of the Words

"All Of The Words" by Kutless

How do I speak of the indescribable to You
I will try to explain these feelings that are true
So looking to the sky I will sing and from my heart to You I bring

All of the words in all of my life that could never explain and never describe
All of my love, which is nothing to hide so I lift up my hands and I worship
I worship You

In your presence I forever choose to live
I will praise You for it's all I have to give
So looking to the sky I will sing and from my heart to You I bring

All of the words in all of my life that could never explain and never describe
All of my love, which is nothing to hide so I lift up my hands and I worship

By Your grace You let me come talk to You
It's not that I'm worthy I thank you Jesus
For the love that You have shown

All of the words in all of my life that could never explain and never describe
All of my love, which is nothing to hide so I lift up my hands and I worship

With all of the words in all of my life that could never explain and never describe
All of my love, which is nothing to hide so I lift up my hands and I worship
I worship You

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Breville ikon Hemisphere LCD Blender

We got a new toy for our kitchen. Well, it's really not a toy, but an incredible piece of machinery.

A bit of background first. For our wedding, we received the top of the line Cuisinart Blender. We don't use a blender a whole lot, and in the first 2 years of owning this blender we used it maybe 15 times I'm guessing, and never for prolonged periods, and not to chop ice that I remember. This past July my wife was making a smoothie for herself, and while doing this the Cuisinart unit decided to grenade itself. It shredded the metal gears on both the drive on the base as well as on the jar. It destroyed the bushings in the jar as well. Metal shavings all over our counter! Obviously we weren't pleased, especially considering the light usage.

We brought the unit back into Bloomingdale's (a few weeks ago) where we got it, and they refunded our money. The salesman (my wife tells me) suggested the Breville BBL600XL/A Ikon Hemisphere LCD Blender. He said it was the best he's ever sold. He said they would have to order it, but that it would be worth the wait. So today my father-in-law gave me our new unit (they picked it up for us since we don't live in the Twin Cities any longer). I unboxed it tonight, and am very impressed. The unit weighs a ton and is beautifully constructed. Everything from the seal on the top of the jar to the plug for the outlet is well designed. This is clearly a blender a step above the competition. Of course you pay for that, but thanks to generous friends and family members we did not have to foot the bill for over half of this unit.

BBL600XL Feature 1
The 54 ounce (1.6 L) engineering grade borosilicate glass jar is designed to resist scratching, chipping and fogginess for optimal clarity. The baked enamel measurements in both metric and empirical volumes provide for sharp viewing and accurate measurements.
BBL600XL Feature 2
Control Pad
The pad is designed without crevices for fast cleaning and gives you precise control over the 750 watt motor’s 5 speed settings and pulse function. It also features two special presets for ice crushing and smoothies and a back lit, easy-to-read digital timer.
BBL600XL Feature 3
The jar features easy blade removal for thorough and effortless cleaning of the jar and Hemisphere™ Bowl/Blade System. All jar and blade parts are top-shelf dishwasher safe. The Bowl/Blade System easily locks into place and seals for leak-free performance.

An extra little bonus that comes with this blender is that in the sizable operations manual is a very nice set of recipes that can be made in the blender. I'm looking forward to giving this blender a nice workout some time soon!