Sunday, April 30, 2006

I finished the Bible!

Yesterday I finished my read-through (cover to cover) of the Bible. I started on Dec. 31st of 2005 reading through The Message and what I discovered is that I REALLY enjoyed reading it. In fact, I found myself having to quit reading because I would run out of time each day. Wow! What an experience! A complete read through in 4 months. How and why? (you were asking)

1. Evelyn Wood Speed Reading - I know most of you will probably think this is a sham like WWF Wrestling and the Ginshu knife, but it's not. I purchased the book, read it, and have since nearly doubled my reading speed. Also, the faster you read the better you comprehend. Click here for more info on speed reading.

2. Reading an easy-to-read translation - I have read the KJV through at least once because at Christian College you have to. It was frustrating to read, study, and understand. No wonder! It's over 300 yrs old. Then I read through the NASB - better language, but not good for readability. Then I read through the NIV, several times. WOW! The NIV is without a doubt the best English version we have. Then, I read the Living Bible one year. I loved it! Moral of this story? Find a translation that reads easy and read it!

2a. Readability of the version - I discovered that it is easier to read a Bible that is laid out in paragraph format rather than verse format.

3. A plan - I used an online read through plan that I designed. This provided accountability and motivation. Click here for more.

4. Sacrifice - I spent an average of 45 minutes a day reading. This does not include studing.

I started my second read through for this year. I'm doing the NIV this time.

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. Hebrews 4:12ish The Message


Ok, so I'm exagerating a bit. Last Wednesday I had to have a stress test - the one where they put you on the treadmill hooked up to the ole E.K.G. (see picture, but it's not me) I don't really care to run much because it hurts my achilles tendon, but the treadmill is not bad.

So, we started out walking and because I workout frequently it took a while to get my heart rate up to the target zone -170 bpm. We eventually got up into the 170's and I was feeling great! The cardiologist said he had all he needed and asked if I wanted to continue and of course I did. Once we got into the 180's I started really feeling it - lactic burn, and this non-runner was beginning to struggle. He again asked if I wanted to quit and you guessed it - no way! I told him that my max HR (maximum heart rate) was 192 so let's try for 190. I finally hit 190 at nearly 14 minutes of running, and as usual my heart rate dropped like a rock right back down to 120 very quickly. It was a great workout! So why did I need a stress test? Keep reading...

A couple of weeks ago I was out on my bike and for no apparent reason (while I was taking a break in the saddle) my HR went up incrementally to 229 bpm! Was it my HRM (heart rate monitor)? Nope! Was I having chest pains? Tightness? Nope, nope and noperoni (that was for TM in Dallas). I managed to get my HR back down into the 190's so I gently rode into downtown Albernett (pop. 250 I think) and called Judy to come get me.

Welp, my doctor, Jim Bell (and he is an incredible jazz pianist), attends our church and he gave me the report tonight. Everything is fine and I'm going to live to be 110 years old. YEAH!!!

Two Saturday's ago I stood on the side of a road in the middle of Iowa where there is mostly corn and beans and thought I might be taking a trip to heaven. And you know what, I was ready! But God thought differently!

You never know when your time will be up here on planet earth. Let's live for God and make the most of the days he has given us!

So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Ephesians 5:15-16NLT

Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. 1 Timothy 2:8ish The Message

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Servant leaders are BEST!

(Servant leader Mark Forstrom answers to the phone at ncbc)

I have almost "gushed" about the fact that our church is staffed with servant-leaders so I hate to keep talking about it, but I can't! Our Friday receptionist had emergency surgery Thursday night and one of our other Administrative Professionals was out sick. That left Brenda except for a few hours in the morning when the sick admin pro came in and worked - thanks Terri!

That leads me to servant leader Mark Forstrom. He stepped right up and offered to answer phones while he worked on stuff with his laptop. I enjoyed having him there working and it was hilarious to overhear conversations that he had with callers wandering why he was answering phones.

May I help you? Learn how to say this phrase and say it often. (Jesus did.)

A day with daughter

Mackenzie at Flowerama

Andrew and Allyson are off at the senior high retreat, which leaves us with Morgan and Mackenzie. Well, Morgan slept all day which left us with Mackenzie, who was bored. I auditioned for the Cedar Rapids Municipal band today so I took KK with me. She really enjoys being on the go and spending time with her dad.

We stopped by the flower shop where I buy flowers for Judy every week (that's not a typo) and bought her a beautiful white rose with baby's breath. She loved it!

Then, we headed to the library for books on the Statue of Liberty - cool stuff - while I studied for my small group which meets tonight.

What a wonderful day to spend an afternoon. I love you KK!

Pajama slammin' party!

Hannah, Susie, Brenda, Morgan, and Corrie

Morgan, our 13 year old, (pictured above with her friends) went to the girls overnighter last night and it looked pretty cool, that is as long as you like having your nails and hair done, as well as shopping in the local "shops." I understand that they also had a time of devos as well but I only heard about the nails, hair and shopping part.

I am so thrilled that our kids are so involved in our church. They look forward to going each week and have made a lot of friends. Thanks DeaJo and everyone who made this a fantastic night for our kids!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

American Idol thoughts...

Ok, up until now you haven't heard too much from me about music, the music industry, musicians, and the like. Well, today I'm going to break my "streak."

Our family didn't watch the first "Idol" but heard all about it from friends. So, we decided to watch the "Fantasia" season. All I can say is "how disappointing!" Enough said. : ) Ever since then, I am not allowed to watch AI even though I enjoy it a great deal - get out the violins!!!

Last night my daughter Morgan and I were allowed to watch for a little bit and MAN, what a treat. Kellie Pickler got up and registered a 10.5 on the cute scale. Then, she proceeded to butcher a beautiful song - too bad because I understand her past performances were much better. She even acknowledged the fact that it was bad. It was a delight to see her admit to everyone that it wasn't her best - a refreshing change of pace from the prissy, egomaniac, self-absorbed contestants we've seen in the past - no (fantasia) names please.

Next was Katherine McPhee (pictured above) and she was incredible! Her lows were full and controlled, and she hit notes square on. It was absolultely flawless, and quite entertaining - which is the ultimate goal. It was the kind of solo that you wished had not ended! She really brought it! Even Simon loved it. You go girl!!!

Well, there you have it. Shocked? I love music and I especially love good music done with passion and soul. How do you know when it is "Idol" worthy? You just know it, and when you hear it you can't help but stop and listen, shout, cry, get goose bumps, etc. You just know it.

Whattayathink? Let me know.

Missing God?

Don't miss God today. He's right there in every situation of your life. Someone has a successful surgery and we say, "God was faithful." Yet, had the surgery been unsuccessful, God is STILL faithful. God is faithful no matter what. And, he's always with us who believe on him and are his children, in the good times and bad.

But, do we realize this? I am guilty of NOT seeking God in EVERY area of my life. This morning I woke up at 5am to get ready for a Bible study at 6:30am and I said to God, "I can't do this. Only with your help will I succeed today." WOW! That was liberating!

Furthermore, even though God is there all the time, often our hearts and minds are not zoned in on that fact. Check out what Jeremiah tells Israel:

"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." Jer 29:13-4 The Message

He's right there. Invite God to be part of your daily routine, every aspect of your life, and he will! How have you invited him into your life today?

How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together: “Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion, a stone you can’t get around. But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me, you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.” Romans 9:30-33 The Message

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bike riding season 2006 is under way!!! Yeah!

Yesterday (sat) I spent most of the day cleaning my bike which was quite dirty. I also need to install my new cyclocomputer and new heart rate monitor - it was QUITE a job!

My HRM (heart rate monitor) also serves as a cyclometer but I had only intended to use it for HR. Well, that changed when my nearly 20 year old computer broke off my handle bar and repair parts, well, forget it. So I figured I just set up the HRM (Polar S150) to handle my cycling as well, like speed, avg. speed, max speed, etc. One problem - it doesn't do cadence. What's that? (you're asking...)

Cadence is the rpms a cyclist is pedaling. This is important to me because I happen to know that I maximize my output when I'm pedaling in the 95-105 range with a HR of about 165-170. So, I had to purchase another cyclocomputer to measure cadence. I bought the cheapest one you can get that still offers cadence, the Cat Eye Astale 8 (seen on the left in the pic below).

All this for a hobby? Yes! For me, I need to know what my bike is doing and how my body is responding to the stress I am placing on it. Also, it keeps cycling fun by keeping me informed with data and input.

Coloring Easter eggs!!!

Tonight we colored easter eggs and prepared the plastic eggs for hiding tomorrow. It sure is fun to see our youngest (Mackenzie) still enjoy the "wrappings" of Easter. We have a tradition of hiding the easter baskets and each of the kids has to find their basket. Then, it's junk food city!!!

The best part? Our children all know the real meaning of Easter, uh, Resurrection Sunday. Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins (and your's too) and I pray that this Easter you'll realize that the tomb is empty and Christ has arisen! Is he your Savior?

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8 The Message

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Discipleship = t-i-m-e

Discipleship takes time. Period. There are no shortcuts. Think with me for a second - Jesus spent 33 years here on planet earth of which 3 years we know anything about. In those three short years, he discipled on 12 guys, one of them a loser. From a success standpoint, it wouldn't appear that Jesus was very effective, but we know 2000 years later that he was extremely effective, yet he worked slowly and methodically with 12 men, and then even focused on three of those guys. Check this out...

With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots. Mark 4.33-4 The Message

This type of discipleship is costly because it takes time. Here's some Tye-ramblings:

  • He fitted stories to their specific needs - this takes time.
  • Jesus understood their level of maturity - ditto
  • In private times with the guys, he reviewed the days events
  • He took plenty of time for questions
  • There was time spent to address concerns and questions
  • He helped them understand the ramifications of events

Who are you spending time with? Who will be your successor? Find someone and start spending time with them by having coffee, golfing, biking (my fav), or maybe a even a phone call.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Need a laugh?

Ok, I needed a laugh today. You've probably seen this one before, but thought it would make you laugh. Got a better one? Send it to me and we'll see if we can post it! Tye

How Many Christians Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

Charismatic: Only 1 - Hands are already in the air.

Pentecostal: 10 - One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Presbyterians: None - Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman Catholic: None - Candles only. (Of guaranteed origin of course.)

Baptists: At least 15 - One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.

Episcopalians: 3 - One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks, and one to talk about how much better the old one was.

Mormons: 5 - One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

Unitarians: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists: Undetermined - Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Bring a bulb of your choice to the Sunday lighting service and a covered dish to pass.

Nazarene: 6 - One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans: None - Lutherans don't believe in change.

Amish: What's a light bulb?

Being cheerful keeps you healthy.
It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.
Proverbs 17:22 GNB

Are you praying for your wife?

I know that my wife needs her husband (uh, that would be me!) to be praying for her, but I have struggled to know what to pray for her. A few months ago I was in Lemstone Bookstore and saw a simple little bookmark style card that had some cool ideas for how to pray for our wives. Here's a few:

Lord, I lift my wife to You today and pray, according to Your Word, that:
  • she will know Your will for her life, please You in all repects and bearing fruit in every good work
  • her physical health will be strong and her stamina high
  • You will release her from worry and guilt over things she is not responsible for or in control of
  • her agenda and tasks today would go smoothly and that she would accomplish much
  • a godly mentor would come into her life
  • she will not gossip or keep company with those who do
  • You will give her discernment and wisdom and protect her from those who would deceive her

I challenge you (men) to pray for your wife every single day and even use this as a guideline. Let me know how it goes!

The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground. 1 Peter 3:7 The Message

Monday, April 03, 2006

What is 01:02:03 04/05/06?

Just thought you'd like to know...

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. Set your alarms so you don't miss it.

If you do sleep through it I guess you could celebrate it at the 1:02PM time, but for most of us that's nap time.

Thought you might like to know. :)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ignite - Launching a "Halftime" ministry!

Me, Lloyd Reeb, and Dave Sanders

This weekend we launched a new and exciting ministry called Ignite. I have been privileged to serve on the leadership team as we have worked together on curriculum revision for the small groups. All of our work culminated this weekend as we hosted Lloyd Reeb and Greg Murtha for a vision casting weekend for people who are in the "halftime of life." In essence, this is anyone who has finished about half of their life and are approaching a time in their lives when they will have options with their time, talent and treasures.

Lloyd Reeb's book Success to Significance was written as a follow up to Bob Buford's book Halftime. It was a pleasure to meet yet another servant leader who came to serve us and the people who came out for the conference - nearly 150 for the Friday night and Saturday morning conference.

Happy birthday Morgan

Hannah, Morgan, and Suzie

April 1 is typically "April Fool's Day", but for our family it is VERY special day because it was on that day (no fooling!) Morgan was born! And what a joy she has been to our lives. Friday night we went to her fav place to eat - Olive Garden - and enjoyed an evening together celebrating.

Morgan has made some great friends here too! Hannah and Suzie (pictured above) stopped by with a gift and balloons! Thanks guys!

Happy birthday Morgan! We love you!

Next generation worship leaders?

Worship Academy leads worship in "big" church

I've been to a lot of churches that talk about equipping next generation leaders by training children, but at ncbc we actually do it!!! These kids are serving God on Sunday's by leading worship, running powerpoint, and operating the sound console. I am so excited that our kids get to serve God and receive training to become better equipped.

Thanks to Loretta and Jeremy Bushlack for your energy, creativity and leadership that you provide our kids every Wednesday night in Worship Academy and on Sunday morning in children's church.