Posts Tagged ‘Dana’

My Pitch To NBC

March 28, 2011 1 comment

I have a few shows I watch on TV (understatement).  Dana usually reads while I find out who’s voted out or find out who shot J.R.  But every once in a while Dana gets into a show, and I love it because it’s another shared activity we enjoy like brushing our teeth or not laughing out loud when Bis goes into a raging drama queen moment over something non-existent.  Happily, Dana picked up on a show called “America’s Next Great Restaurant”.

Ten people who have an idea for a new restaurant chain go through the preparation for starting a restaurant while four knowledgeable investors weed them out until there’s a winner who receives three of his/her restaurants in three prime cities in the U.S.  The investors give them chances to show off different parts of their plan: taste, look, name, menu, etc. in front of hundreds of regular people who vote on their favorite in a particular category.

Last night’s episode got me thinking about having a reality show of my own: “America’s Next Great Superchurch”.  Yuck!  Here’s how it would go: Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Kirk Cameron gather a bunch of church planters in their preparatory stage.  They give them the chance to finalize and hone their plans: look, feel, name, liturgy (or lack thereof), theology (or lack thereof), proposed leadership structure, financial plan, pastoral staffing plan, pastoral vacation plan, pastoral family plan, church values, church mission statement, location, space plan (facilities).  Then they give unchurched, dechurched and churchy-type people the opportunity to cast their vote on these individual aspects of the church plant.  Rick, Bill, and Kirk wittle down the contestants until they get to the final one who receives as a reward…funding for thier new church plant.

Ugh!  I can see this actually happening in our media-rich church culture.  Yuck.  OK, let’s stay with this for a minute…  This could really work for some of these planters.  They could really get a lot of kinks worked out and the expert advice of some people who understand the business of church and the culture of church.  (I can hardly continue this, it’s killing me)  Ok, keeping going, Jim.

The winner receives money to go along with his/her well-planned design for a new church plant.  They are like a hiker who is all packed up and exercised, stretched out, has their pack, water, food, maps, matches, and Swiss Army knife.  There’s a problem, though – at least I have seen that it can be a problem.  It’s this:

You can plan and think and prepare, but there’s one thing you can’t plan, understand, or prepare for: The Holy Spirit.  The Spirit blows where He wants and how and when.  A hiker plans for certain types of weather and the wind brings something different.  The hiker prepares for a temperature range and the wind brings El Nino (whatever that is).  The hiker brings water purification, but the wind dries up the spring. 

Embody Christ Fellowship started with a beautiful plan, and we’re still using most of it, but we’re finding that there’s a need to trust and wait and pray and lean on the power of the Most High God to pave the way into hearts.  Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and Kirk Cameron know something, but the Holy Spirit is the One who knows the hearts, minds, needs, and desires of His creation, the ones he desires to bring back into reconciliation.  Some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. 

Come Holy Spirit!


Tick Tock

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

It feels as though the clock is going backwards.  Here are the main reasons for such a feeling in ascending order:

1. I’ve been sick this week and sitting around the house, while I’m skilled, is not fun when it’s your only option.

2. Kind of tired of snow.

3. On Sunday morning we will complete a 6 month waiting period and finally go on a family vacation to Disneyworld.

There, I finally said it.  I don’t think I’ve posted anything about that on here before now.  It’s killing me.  Dana and I have kept it from the kids for 6 months.  Yes, it’s a secret to them.  Maybe you know how hard it is to keep something like that from your kids when you are super geeked and they are inquisitive, intuitive, intelligent people.  It’s hard! 

I’ve wanted to say something just about every day for the last month.  I’ve caught myself almost saying something about every day for the last month.  Plus, I made the incredibly irresponsible mistake of mentioning it in a sermon (my kids weren’t in the room).  I added about 60 people to the list of those who know and can’t let on to my kids about the trip……….excruciating!

But Sunday morning we’ll get up, I’ll go to church like normal and set up chairs, sound system, powerpoint, etc. and then return home (which is out of the norm for me).  At that point we’ll tell them we’re going on a vacation.  We won’t tell them where.  They’ll have about 1 hour to get psyched, fed, dressed, packed (backpack of fun – we’ve completed their clothes packing already).  Then we’ll get in the car and head out.  We’ll answer all questions about where we’re going with, “You’ll see” or “You’ll have to wait to figure it out” or some non-committal answer.

We’ll drive to the Grand Rapids Airport – their first chance to guess we’re headed to Disney.  We’ll head to the gate for Orlando – by this time Alex will have it figured out.  Once they guess correctly we won’t deny it.  Then we’ll arrive in Orlando and hop on the Disney’s Magical Express bus that will take us to our resort hotel (Pop Century).  Here comes the best part, the biggest surprise, and the part I’m most excited about:

A knock will be heard on our hotel room door and I’ll ask the kids to open the door.  When they do, they’ll find their good friends from Pella, IA, Haley and Skylar Hanson who will be joining us for the entire week at Disney.  They are going to FREAK!  I’m freakin’ a little just thinking about their freakin’.

Time is ticking by slowly, and it’s all I can think of.  Perhaps I should be looking forward with even more anticipation the Great Day when we shall with unveiled face behold the One who has blessed us and has made us to be a blessing.  It’s more than just wishing upon a star!


January 6, 2011 1 comment

I’m sitting at Lemonjello’s, a local coffee shop with free wi-fi and a hip feel.  I am always afraid I won’t fit in here, but I look around and see that they’ve done a good job of making everyone feel at home.  Next to me is a mom and her two little girls (hot chocolate and cinnamon roll).  In front of me is a guy in a rough leather jacket and short hair.  He’s reading philosophy.  A grandfather type guy is a bit away.  He looks like he’s reading some history book about WW2.  Across from him…looks like a mentoring relationship going.  Then there’s a couch with a coffee table.  At the couch a young couple.  No doubt Hope College Students.

He looks like my brother, Patrick, and she looks like my sister-in-law, Katharine.  But they’re different.  My brother’s been married for a number of years and when you are around them they’re affectionate, but not like this.  These two are cuddly and overly dramatic.  This girl, 20 maybe, owns this guy.  He just doesn’t know it.  He’s wrapped around her finger.  She gives a fake pout and he crumbles with dramatic flair.  They hold hands and giggle.  She runs her hands through his hair and his chest puffs out a bit; he’s a bit scrawny, so it looks a little funny, but it must work for him because her other hand goes to his chest.  They get up to leave and he goes out of his way to carry her trash.  As he’s away you can see her smile at the two little girls.  It’s the smile that’s in between “I wish I could babysit them” and “I could see myself with these little girls given by my chest-puffing, trash-carrying boyfriend.”  He comes back and they cuddle closer while the girls dance nearby.  It’s picturesque.

I’m sure near Seattle, my brother’s life is different.  He has a great marriage, but he carries trash full of diapers and broken lamps.  His life is not lived in a coffeeshop with children dancing.  He’s got a job, and sometimes it means he has to travel for a few days away from his family.  He’s got responsibilities, and while he and Katharine love their kids, I’m guessing she doesn’t sit at a coffeeshop and see other children and daydream about babysitting them.  When they’re together they hold hands and sit close on the couch, but the chest-puffing is done and while she may run her fingers through his hair…chances are that it’s to tame it on his way out the door.

At some point the bubble pops.  And that’s OK.  It doesn’t mean the love is lost, just replaced by a deeper commitment to grace and forgiveness.  You see the pin that popped the bubble is probably a mixture of bad breath and bad hair, extra pounds and less spending money.  It’s seeing your partner in a position where they don’t puff their chest or giggle at a joke.  It’s watching your partner make a baaaaad mistake and then, after a looooong discussion running your fingers through their hair or placing your hand on their knee with a look that says, “I love you still.”  It’s seeing the dirtiest, ugliest, most secret and disgusting part of their soul and pointing to it and saying, “I love you there, too.”

And that’s what God is willing to do for us.  The bubble never existed for God.  Once the goldilocks bubble we look through to see God pops and we can honestly say, “I don’t know if I like this or that about God” then God is able to say, “OK, I understand that.  Guess what?  I love you in that dirty, ugly, most secret and disgusting part of your forgiven soul.”  And our relationship with God starts to get really good.  Really real.

Like Patrick and Katharine, but into the even deeper places where the sweetness of the water is soul-nourishing.

Categories: The Slow Grow Tags: , , ,


January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I know it’s usually taboo to tell someone’s age.  It can be considered rude if the person is a woman over a certain age.  Did you know that correct etiquette dictates that when you sit down to eat at a dinner party nobody should start eating until the oldest woman at the table begins eating?  How is that not awkward?  I can see it now:

“Well, Erma, I’m famished, would you like to begin?”

“Whatever could you mean, June?”

I guess I don’t think it’s a big deal.  Well, maybe if you start talking about who can drive at a certain age, or perhaps when you’re allowed to start filling your lungs with smoke.  But when you get to be an adult, there is a leveling, an evenness that comes about.  If you’re wise you begin to see that those younger than you can offer quite a bit to your life.  If you’re the younger in a group and wise, you’ll begin to notice that you don’t know everything.

I spoke with a man who’s been fixing cars for a long time.  He sees young men just out of tech school who come into the shop with their certification and a certain knowledge that they have every answer…until they don’t.  He says, “They know more than they understand.”

The same is true in faith.  Today I had coffee with a friend who is in desperate need of a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.  A person to learn from (Paul), a person(s) to walk alongside him (Barnabas), and a person to teach (Timothy).  I’ve found these people, and know that without them I’m going to fall flat on my face because I know more than I understand, and those things I do understand don’t help anyone who’s still learning.

I’m married to a woman who’s all three of those people for me.  I suppose I am those for her as well.  And even though it’s not socially acceptable to pronounce someone’s age, I am confident she won’t mind me telling you it’s her birthday today.  Iron sharpens iron and if one falls down there is another to pick him up. I’ve found these to be true.  Happy Birthday Dana: b. January 5, 19**

And the Parent of the Year Award goes to…

January 1, 2011 1 comment

Now that we’ve begun the new year, I thought I would share with you our most recent entry into the 2010 competition:

We went to a Northwestern College alumni gathering on Wednesday night.  The women’s basketball team, ranked #1 in the nation and reigning national champs, were playing #2 Davenport.  Davenport destroyed them and gave them their first loss of the season.  I have never seen a team full court press the WHOLE game, but they did and it worked.  You would think that the Davenport team would get tired by the end of the game, but no.  I could swear they were coked up.  Intense energy.  They deserved the win.

After our sad little basketball court experience, alumni from around the greater Grand Rapids, MI area gathered in a seperate room for some food and conversation.  There was a buffet line with sandwiches, veggies, and a bowl full of those little bite-sized hershey’s bars in the shiny wrappers.  I had one.  Pretty impressive that I stopped at one.  Self-Control, baby.

My son…not so much.  While Dana and I were visiting with friends from long ago, Alex and Bis were playing with the other children of parents who were also not paying attention to their offspring.  After nice speeches by the womens’ coach (so proud of the character of the women on his team) and the alumni director (proud to let us all know that there is a building project starting soon on campus – for which he’d be happy to receive donations), and after we had talked to everyone we could, it was time to go home.

We gathered the kids and got into the van, drove home, got the kiddos into bed and sat down to read.  Then we heard this: “Mom.”  We try to ignore the after-tuck-in protests.  “Mom.”  Still we ignore.  “Mom.”  From the top of the stairs now.  “Yes, Alex?”  “I got sick.”

Apparently 25 bite-sized chocolate bars do not sit well on a child’s stomach.  Here’s something else I learned: my son doesn’t understand that vomit needs to go, without circuitous route, into the toilet.  I could swear the kid stood there and spun in circles while puking.  Dana cleaned it up.  I helped him get cleaned up and take a shower.

If anyone is reading this and has recently gotten married and is thinking about jumping right into parenting…it’s still worth it.

In front of God and everybody

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve got a meeting tomorrow night.  It’s supposed to be at the church building, but I think we’re going to hold it at my house.  Mainly because Dana is out of town – working in Iowa this week.  So, I’ll need to get the kids down to bed by 8pm when the meeting starts.  No problem.  I’m sure it will go exceedingly smoothly.  Nobody will cry or make a fuss.  Nobody will come running down the stairs asking for another drink.  There will be no arguments between siblings as the evening winds down and the meeting progresses.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen, right?

So.  Preparing for all or any of those things.

We say we want to live real. life. together.  This ought to be one of those moments.  Perhaps the kids will be, I don’t know…kids and have a moment of characteristic childlike behavior.  I can expect that, right?  I can just plan on it.  And my leadership team will be right there in my living room watching me deal with it.  real. life. together.

I look forward to it.  Maybe I can model how it should be done.  (uh, yah…right)  More likely, I’ll get some good pointers and perhaps be prayed for as I try not to lose my temper.  But this is what we want to be – a family of faith walking the path together.

If you’re reading this…think of me putting the kids down to bed at 7:55pm ET on Tuesday.  If you’re Dana and you’re reading this…enjoy a quiet evening.  I love you.

20 Does Not = 7

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I get home on time to see Alex get off the bus.  The bus, #7, stops way at the end of our road, and I can see it when it does so.  It gives me about 5 minutes lag time between when it stops and when the boy actually comes in the door.  He likes to dally, which is totally cool with me.  So, when he didn’t show up 5 minutes later, I wasn’t too concerned.  When he didn’t show up 10 minutes later…

I hooked the dog up to the leash and we decided to go looking for him.  I figured he had stopped at a friends house along the way without asking permission (a reasonably small offense), but I needed to know he was OK, so Jack and I headed out to find the little prodigal.

As we got to the end of our driveway a school bus headed straight for our driveway.  This is odd because it doesn’t come that way.  In it: one driver and one boy.  “I don’t know how he thought 20 was 7, but here he is,” the driver said like it happens every day that a kid gets on the wrong bus…probably does.

One scared little boy (usually full of power and sure of himself) ran down the steps of the bus and into my arms, crying.  It wasn’t the place he wanted to be, though.  He headed straight for his mother and there he cuddled crying and scared.  Poor little guy.

I feel that way, too, sometimes.  I get on the wrong bus and when I finally get it figured out I just want to crawl up into my Father’s arms and be consoled…the only arms that are able to bring me into the wholeness and safety, the only arms that, when they’re done holding me, set me off in the right direction – never wanting to get on the wrong bus again.

Categories: Yellow w/ White Trim Tags: , , ,