Archive for September, 2009

This past weekend Kelly and I traveled to St. Louis to meet five other couples that were our best friends as we graduated from Harding University back in 1993!!!  It was our reunion.  I’m not really good at keeping in touch.  Some of them I had not seen or spoken to in about 13 years.  Yet as soon as we saw one another, we immediately started talking, laughing, and carrying on as if we had seen each other last week.  It is an amazing dynamic.  I have a BUTT load of memories with Tim, Lane, Clint, Byron, and Shawn.  They were with me as God shaped and transformed my life and called me into ministry.  They were there to encourage that journey and to help me grow.  I’m proud of what they have become.  Great husbands (six couples still married after 16 years…we have defied the statistics), fathers, and disciples of Jesus.

One moment of scary truth was when Tim McKenzie (my roommate throughout college) was talking about his oldest daughter who is now a Freshman in High School (Isaac will be there next year).  When he mentioned her being in High School I thought, “Oh man…our kids are about 3 1/2 years from beginning the journey we were on when we first met!”  It was that “we’re getting old” moment.

A Call From Our Neighbor

Posted: September 24, 2009 in Living Stones Church, vision

I received a call late this afternoon from an older gentleman who lives a few blocks away from the church on Woodside & Dale St.  When I answered the phone he asked if he had reached the Pastor’s office.  I told him he had.  He then said that he had seen the story about the Shoe Event for Monroe School.  He said (as best I can remember to get it just right):

“I’m very happy with my Roman Catholic Church, but I have to tip my hat to a church that is doing a great thing in our neighborhood.  Thank you for doing that.”

I appreciated him taking the time to hunt down our phone number and call to say that.  I don’t expect everyone to come to the Living Stones Church (although they should 🙂 ) but I at the very least would love for our neighbors to think to themselves, “I”m glad that church is in our neighborhood…it is better off because of it.

This is brilliant.  I think it is because his name is Sam.  Thus, Sam I am presents – Sam

The Shoe Event

Posted: September 23, 2009 in Living Stones Church, Schools, South Bend, vision

I believe this very well could be one of the best things the Living Stones Church has ever done!  Even on Sunday everyone was still aglow because of such a GREAT event.  Thank you to Jennae Gee, Jim Ruth, Wally Last, Kristin Harris, Jeff Lentych-Hack, the whole REEF team…and A BUNCH of volunteers.  I am so proud!!  Seriously…I love this church!!

One of the most well-organized and smooth events!!  GREAT response from families from Monroe School.  You can see a few news clips here and here.

Here are some pictures thanks to Heather Donahue:

Guaranteed to Make You Feel Better

Posted: September 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

Well…the Mayor of South Bend officially acknowledged that the College Football Hall of Fame was moving to Atlanta (even though the rest of us heard last night…exclusively…first…on WNDU…does anyone else find that obnoxious?).  It was controversial from the beginning.  It was supposed to be self-sustaining.  Never attained such status.  Required tax payer investment to keep it going.  They projected 200,000 visits per year.  Barely mustered 60,000.  I went once.  It was nice.  Once.  Didn’t really picture myself going again.  But now there is a building that will be vacant (at least by 2010) in the middle of downtown.  Great.  Another vacant building.  And the building isn’t paid off for another eight years.  Another blow to South Bend?  Good news for tax payers in South Bend?  Should Mayor Luecke (and our city government) also leave for Atlanta?

Third week of our Unafraid series continues this Sunday!

9.22.09 Biggest Loser

Posted: September 22, 2009 in Biggest Loser, The Biggest Loser
  • (dynamics of group survival)  “Boo hoo hoo we had to send Alexandra home.”  Allison says they might be able to save their butts by losing 150 lbs. collectively and everyone quickly forgets about Alexandra!!
  • Challenge: if everyone loses enough weight to equal 150 lbs. NO ONE goes home (115 lbs. after rewards and challenges they earned in show).  Problem:  it is week #2…very difficult to lose weight in week #2!!!
  • What is wrong with Tracey? Why is it taking her so long to get out of the hospital?  In answer to what was wrong she said it was a – “big deal” and  “huge” – what does that mean?  No go ahead from doctor.  WHY?!    I want a diagnosis!!!
  • Julio…teams turning on you dude.  Better kick it in gear!
  • Curtis Stone’s tips:
  1. 3-4 ounce portion size on meats (Sam’s commentary:  give me a break)
  2. Learn how to cook:  grill, poach, steam, bake, broiled (non-oil)
  3. Salads at restaurants are not necessarily healthy (Chicken Caesar Salad = 1010 calories)
  4. Replace pasta with zucchini strips (in one serving you could save 248 calories
  5. No sodas (one 16 ounce soda with three refills equals = 747 calories) – by the
  6. Desserts – go with fruits
  7. Snacking – add a  protein to snacks because it makes you feel fuller and it gives you more fuel for your muscles
  • Danny…quit blubbering dude.  “That dude needs a lexipro”  – Kelly (my wife)
  • (challenge is to move across balance beam above water)  Can those life vests really keep them afloat?  They look ridiculous!!  Are they life jackets from NASA?  Helmets?  Really.   “Put a shark in the water and then we’re talking!” – Kelly (my wife)
  • Total pounds lost as a collective group =  155 lbs!!! (Julio lost 19 lbs…whew)
  • No one is going home!!!  (wish that would have happened last week)  Let’s see what happens week #3…

Growth Groups Fall 2009

Posted: September 17, 2009 in Living Stones Church, vision

Growth Group sign-ups are UNDERWAY!! If you haven’t done so yet, take a moment and GO HERE and sign-up for a Growth Group!!! 

Facts about Growth Groups:

  • They begin the first week of October and end the last week of November (it is an 8 week commitment).
  • We have lots of different kinds of groups (e.g., men, women, couples, etc.) with lots of different topics and different days of the week.
  • They are a great opportunity for the possibility of spiritual growth and friendship.
  • If there are study materials necessary (book study), you are responsible for acquiring a copy of the book (we recommend
  • Being in a Living Stones Church Growth Group entitles you to a little bigger mansion in heaven.  Eight weeks now…larger master-suite for eternity (good trade)!

The Shoe Event

Posted: September 17, 2009 in Living Stones Church, vision

This Saturday is the big Shoe Event.  Very excited to hear the stories about the day and all the great things that are going to happen.  Got a call just a few moments ago from Monroe School with last minute details for the event and follow-ups in regards to the students, etc.  The final statement in the conversation (as recounted to me by Jennae Gee) was, “Oh, and we just thought what you were doing for the school was really great and deserved attention so we asked the school corporation to contact the media.”

our response:  [insert laughter]

Why?  Because we have been wrestling with this issue for the past two weeks.  Typically Samaritan’s Feet (our partners in crime) usually sends out a press release for these types of events.  They do so because they are a non-profit organization that relies on donations and the generosity and partnership of others.  When spotlighted by media it helps them in regards to fund-raising and promotion and is the tool by which they can acquire support from coaches, sponsors, etc.  It is a noble thing and I appreciate their perspective.

We, on the other hand, have a different agenda going down at the Living Stones Church.  After two different leadership meetings in which we discussed the proposed press release we decided we would rather NOT have a press release or the media being called.  In exchange, we would provide Samaritan’s Feet with a video of the day (that we produced) so it could be used on their website for promotion, etc., but we didn’t want any of the families from Monroe to receive shoes, be blessed by Living Stones Church, see a WNDU camera show up and think – “Oh there it is.  That is the underlying reason why they are doing this.  Promotion.”  If the community discovers anything that we are going, that is fine.  But we would rather the community discover it, not us having to say to the community, “Look what we are doing!”  This philosophy could be whack and not smart…but that is what we decided :-).

So…for the record 🙂 if any media outlet shows up Saturday morning (and it is a Notre Dame home game so…) to cover the Shoe Event, let it be known…WE (the Living Stones Church) did not call or seek out any coverage.

Also let it be known for the record:  It is going to be one butt-kicking day here at the Living Stones Church.