Archive for April, 2007

This morning we continued our fourth week in the Alive series.  One more week to go:  ALIVE in our Faith for next Sunday.  This morning’s topic was ALIVE in the mundane.  We had another video to show.  It was an extreme sports theme on normal household chores and tasks.  Here is the video we showed this morning:

Here is the video, Not So Wild Hogs, I promised that we showed last Sunday morning at the Living Stones Church.  All of it was written, taped, cast, edited, and published by Doug Harsch.  I think you’ll get a good kick out of it:

samsung-plasma.jpgO.K., I can’t take the guilt anymore.  I have to come clean.  I have to make a confession to everyone in the blogosphere about my guilt and shame.  I haven’t said anything for six days now because of my humiliation, but today is the day I confess…I’m a pathetically weak man…

Earlier I announced in a previous post to the whole world that we would not be getting an HDTV.  This upset Kelly and she commented so (see earlier post).  Well, after taking such a public stand, I now must come back to confess…I foldedI collapsedI caved with just the slightest of pressure.  My fierce exterior front of publicly declaring… “I’ll never….blah blah blah” came crashing down with barely a “huff and a puff.”  We purchased an HDTV.

How did it happen?  I’ll tell you:

1.  My manhood was called into question.  That’s right my manhood.  It hit me out of nowhere.  Saturday morning, my wife is at a jewerly party that is being put on by Traci Capelman (the Fox28 news anchor…the “man mocker” that she is).  Kelly was telling Traci about how she really wants to have a new HDTV and how her husband doesn’t want to get one, etc.  Traci stops Kelly and says, “Wait a minute.  You mean to tell me that YOU want an HDTV but YOUR HUSBAND doesn’t!?  Isn’t that a little backwards?!”  So what are you trying to say Traci?  That I wear a skirt.  (Scene 2 of Saturday’s drama) Isaac, my ten year old, when my wife was once again encouraging me to at least go look at them (the HDTVs), said the following (while pointing at me), “You’re the mom!  Mom should be the dad!”  I think Kelly and Isaac set me up to begin with, but, they pressured me into AT LEAST going to Best Buy to “look” at the HDTVs.  Well, when I conceded to take the trip…it was all over.  The kids were cheering and jumping up and down, etc.  They sang hymns in honor of how great their dad was for letting them get a new HDTV (as if Alex even knows what an HDTV even is?).  I had to at least prove I was a man.

2.  So we get to Best Buy and I’m immediately overwhelmed and end up sitting down on some display “home theater set up” and my wife handles just about everything (thus proving I am the real man).  The funniest part was when we finally purchased one (that’s right…we purchased it…Kelly explained how the money she makes from a job she works will be able to pay for…) the salesman looked at me to explain how a certain cable plugs into the T.V. from the wall, etc.  As he talked I just stopped him and said, “You need to tell her (Kelly), I don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about.”  He smirked and looked puzzled and said, “O.K…that is a little unusual.”  Again…the manhood questioning, what’s up with that?

3.  Well, the T.V. we purchased on Saturday broke.  Literally, it started to act funny on Sunday and by yesterday it was completely out.  So we had to take it back to Best Buy and they exchanged it for a BETTER ONE that was more expensive for the same price as the original!  AND yesterday the Comcast guy came to hook up HD cable.  So, we bring our new HDTV home and Kelly is setting it up (because I don’t do those things well and get frustrated and she is better at it…and I’m lazy).  She had a question about the setup so she calls Comcast for technical support.  A lady answers all of her questions and Kelly hooks up the new HDTV just in time to watch American Idol (picture me sitting my fat butt down on the couch waiting for my wife to finish hooking up all the cables in the back of the TV so I can finally watch my show (which…good show last night).  At the end of Kelly’s conversation on the phone I hear Kelly say to the Comcast tech support, “No, he’s here.  He’s sitting on the couch.”  Then she giggles, the lady on the phone giggles, Kelly hangs up and says that the Comcast lady asked, “Is your husband out of town?”  Kelly said, “No, he is sitting on the couch.”  The Comcast lady laughs out loud and says, “That’s a new one.”  Again…my manhood in question!

So, the bottom line is this.  I’m weak.  Very weak (and most likely lazy).  I caved and bought a TV that I very triumphantly said I wouldn’t purchase and then I’m so ignorant I have to have my wife deal with tech support and salespeople to make it happen.  I said it.  I confess it.  I’m weak. 

But man does that T.V. look awesome!  I’m like a mosquito in a bug zapper…”It’s so beeaauutttiifffuullllll….ZAP!”

I wonder if this means now that Kelly got her HDTV I can now get my Harley!!!  I hope I can ride it with this skirt I’m wearing.

Postscript:  I’ll have the video from the past Sunday on the blog tomorrow.  Check back to see a great “Not So Wild Hogs” clip.

I’m looking forward to today.  The Living Stones Church staff is headed out to Michiana Christian Service Camp for an all-day staff meeting.  Although it is raining outside, I’m looking forward to our time together.  Always lots of fun, good laughter, important evaluation/analysis, and excellent dreaming about what lays ahead. 

We just finished reading together Andy Stanley’s Seven Practices of Effective Ministry (we are currently reading Good to Great by Jim Collins).  The purpose of this day retreat is to work through the evaluative questions at the end of each of the seven practices.  Very good material like:

  • Practice #1:  Clarify the Win (define what is important at every level of the organization).
  • Practice #2:  Think Steps, Not Programs (before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you want to go)
  • Practice #3:  Narrow the Focus (do fewer things in order to make a greater impact)
  • Practice #4:  Teach Less for More (say only what you need to say to the people who need to hear it)
  • Practice #5:  Listen to Outsiders (focus on who you’re trying to reach, not who you’re trying to keep)
  • Practice #6:  Replace Yourself (learn to hand off what you do)
  • Practice #7:  Work on It (take time to evaluate your work – and to celebrate your wins)

Should be a good day!

Sunday morning at the Living Stones Church we were continuing our series on ALIVE:  Dealing with Boredom and Apathy.  This week we talked about becoming ALIVE in the context of our work.  We used the movie, Wild Hogs, as sort of a thematic spoof for the morning.  That being said we had several neat things going on:

  • Watched a video, written, filmed, edited, and produced by our own Doug Harsch entitled, “Not so Wild Hogs.”  It was great.  I’ll try to get it posted on my blog soon.  I actually went to the filming on Saturday which was in a REAL biker bar.  Props goes out to Mike, who owns Murphy’s Bar & Grill on Mishawaka Ave!  He was great to let us infringe on his bar to film the movie.
  • Watching Curt Lynn, Mark Osterhout, and David Kneip as bikers…how awesome is that!?
  • Jaynie Romer scored, via her family, a real Harley Davidson to put on stage for Sunday.  These are the pictures of the bike.  It was a sweet bike.  Props to Mike Schrock and his friends and family for making the trek down from Sturgis (MI…not the biker rally one!) to let us borrow it.  Mike started the bike in the auditorium to get it on the stage…it was beautiful…excuse me, I need to find a tissue.
  • Preached in a Harley Davidson t-shirt.  When has that ever happened?  I think I looked very intimidating.  I had some biker intimidation going on.  I could just see it in people’s eyes.  [Or maybe they were just repulsed by me in a t-shirt?]
  • 80 degree weather!

It was an awesome morning.  Having a great time.  Did I mention I wanted to get a Harley?  Kelly said after the three kids are out of the house, if I wanted to kill myself, go ahead.  What do I have in my bag of bargaining chips?!?!

Church Weather

Posted: April 21, 2007 in Living Stones Church, worship

Rumor has it that today (Saturday) and tomorrow are supposed to be perfect weather days!!  In the 70s, sunny, beautiful days!  It has not been in the 70s for two consecutive days on a weekend since September 2006.  It looks to be the perfect weather to go to church.

Got off the phone with Curt Lynn who was telling me about his experience at the biker bar (see earlier post) last night with David Kneip, Mark Osterhout, and Doug Harsch (just picture it!!) shooting a video for our worship tomorrow.  According to Curt, drunk Harley riders seem to enjoy, when in groups of 15-20, making sarcastic comments to guys trying to make a video for a church.  As Curt was telling me what was said I was laughing so hard…I think if you miss the video, you will regret it for life!!  In the end, Curt felt they made a positive impact on those at the bar and even ran into a woman who had been to Living Stones Church several times.  If you own a bike, ride it to church tomorrow!

Saw something very interesting (and a little funny) as I was driving back to the church from lunch.  Our church is located on Donmoyer Avenue here in good old South Bend.  On the 900 block of Donmoyer I saw two mormons, dressed in their shirts and ties, going door-to-door delivering their “Mormon message.”  My thought, “Here come the Mormons!”

Then I got to the 800 block of Donmoyer and there were two Jehovah Witnesses also going door-to-door delivering their “Jehovah Witness” watchtower message!!  My thought (after I giggled out loud), “…and I guess the Jehovah Witnesses are coming too!”

I’m trying to picture in my head the irritation of our neighbors enjoying what is a beautiful day, or working in their home, or just relaxing only to have the doorbell ring and have to put down whatever you were doing to deal with the Jehovah Witnesses (picture irritation already).  Not five minutes later, you hear the doorbell ring again…this time it is the Mormons!!  (picture greater irritation).  You deal with them, close the door, and begin to think how you can prevent yourself from having to endure this episode again…maybe even call the neighbors to organize together or at least warn.  Make up signs to go on the front door…

Here at the Living Stones Church we are very much convinced that God wants us to serve and bless those who live in the neighborhoods and schools around us.  We are a neighborhood church.  Because of that, I get pretty sensitive about what goes on in the neighborhood, especially in the name of Jesus.  As a church we already have a lot of competition (and I don’t mean by that other churches).  One of the greatest competitions we have is obnoxious Christianity.  You know…things like GOING DOOR-TO-DOOR, or calling during dinner, or handing out anonymous tracts, or starting a public access channel program!  Especially for those who know nothing about church or Christianity, they make blanket statements about Christianity based on their experiences with the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses or that channel 99 public access thing.

It isn’t enough to have a message of good news (which I do not believe Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses have).  But the messengers of that message has to be good news.  And irritating people in the name of Jesus isn’t good news!  Now, personally, I’m pretty irritating.  I get that!  But as a church, we need to think, what are the methods and means by which we are delivering the good news?  Are those methods and means in fact, good news?  If not, STOP DOING THEM!  YOU’RE MAKING THE REST OF US LOOK BAD!  And honestly, I do a good enough job of that on my own, without any additional help!

My current moral dilemmaDo I go door-to-door warning people that people are coming door-to-door?

Kelly and I have led a His Needs/Her Needs (emphasis mine) Growth Group over the past three months here at the Living Stones Church.  It has been a blast of a group, lots of laughter (which you have to have do discuss such serious topics and issues).  As a group we have worked through Dr. Willard Harley’s book, His Needs/Her Needs.  I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to anyone married or thinking about doing so.  The thing I like the most about it is it takes marriage, which is a complex relationship, and makes things simple (also my definition of a genius…someone who can take something complicated and make it simple).  This is important, especially for guys, who already feel completely idiotic when it comes to relationships.  The language of relationships is like Rocket Science jargon.  So, Willard breaks it down for us simpletons in a few basic points (which he does a much better job of communicating in the book):

  1. Everyone has a love bank.  You make deposits or withdrawals based on positive or negative experiences with your spouse.
  2. Emotional Needs (that we all have) are the things that most influence our deposits or withdrawals of love bank currency.
  3. In the main (and this is generalized which he concedes) men have a “top five” emotional needs; and women have a “top five” emotional needs.
  4. Unfortunately (or as God designed?), men’s top five ARE NOT women’s top five…thus the potential struggle and frustration in marriage (I’m still trying to convince Kelly my #1 emotional need is also her #1 emotional need…so far I haven’t been persuasive enough).
  5. Men’s top five are (in order of importance):  sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, physical attractiveness, domestic support, and admiration.
  6. Women’s top five (which also are corresponding to the men’s top five): sex, sex, sex, sex, and sex…oh sorry, I misread my notes…O.K…I’m back…O.K…affection, conversation, openness and honesty, financial support, and family commitment.
  7. When a spouse fails to meet their mate’s emotional need (even one of them) it makes their marriage vulnerable to an affair (at worst), resentment and anger (at best).  All it takes is one emotional need unmet for someone to enter into the scene, meet that particular need, and establish very high “love bank credits!”
  8. Over and over again Harley point out that when most couples get married they find each other irresistible.  This was so, especially in the dating phase, because they met each others emotional needs (or as much as they could for that state of their relationship).  In marriage, when we become more comfortable, selfish, or lazy, we begin to not commit as much time to meeting our spouse’s emotional needs.  Over time we find we have gone from irresistible, to incompatible.
  9. If you want to rescue a marriage that has become “incompatible” then both partners need to commit to once again meeting each other’s greatest emotional needs and thus becoming irresistible again.

Willard Harley has another book entitled Love Busters.  I just got it in the mail yesterday.  It is his second book that is supposed to be the part 2 of His Needs/Her Needs.  In it he contends that there are behaviors that destroy love.  He covers that in part 2.  But overall, his premise is that a good marriage isn’t all that difficult to understand.  It basically takes two commitments:

  1. Do the things that causes your spouse to love you (meet emotional needs).
  2. And avoid the things that causes your spouse to dislike you (overcoming habits that destroy romantic love).

Fortunately for Kelly, I have no habits that destroy romantic love and I have clearly been meeting all of her emotional needs and thus she finds me absolutely irresistible.  At times it can be a little overboard.  But, it is “the cross” I must bear. 

American Idol Live

Posted: April 18, 2007 in Culture

Sanjaya is in the bottom three. 

What could be happening?!  Could it be true…

Who will it be…fight about it over the break.”

Man…long break…but good Martina McBride song.

O.K.  Blake is back, safe and sound.  Sanjaya is in the bottom two.

America voted, after the biggest top seven vote over 38 million votes…Sanjaya…you are going home tonight.”

My family just erupted in cheers.   “J‘ from myspace…have a cheeseburger!

I’ve Been Sanjayaed

Posted: April 18, 2007 in Culture

O.K.  I actually got a piece of hate mail via e-mail.  It was vicious, I’m upset, I’m feeling some feelings of anxiety…sort of in a post-traumatic type of experience.  I don’t know if I should be angry, upset, cry, call the authorities.  Someone actually sent the following picture and said he was “my hero.”  How could someone be so cruel?  He he