Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cookies for Fire Fighters

Morgan and Mackenzie with CRFD Personel
(Clic on the pic for a slideshow)

9/11 had a profound effect on me this year. I watched that documentary by the french guy who was filming a NYFD when the 9/11 call came in. It was too much. Andrew and I stayed up until 1 AM watching.

The next day, 9/11, I decided that I wanted to do something to say thanks to fire fighters in our area. Thanks to Judy for spending the afternoon baking chocolate chip cookies and right after supper we headed out to deliver cookies. It was our hope to bring a little sunshine to people who lay there lives on the line and rarely here the words "thank you."

At the first firehouse, we dropped off a plate of cookies to the station on C Ave and I think the men were a little shocked. They also seemed somewhat preoccupied - maybe a meeting or something.

Second stop was 42nd Ave. They invited us in and they were quite surprised. They gave us a tour of the station and even posed for pics! (Mackenzie wearing the fire coat)

Third stop was on 19th Ave (I think) just off 1st ave. Again, they were so surprised and welcomed us in even though Monday night football was on!

The last stop was near Coe College downtown. We received a complete tour of this very old fire hall that is a two story. The guys there were thrilled we stopped and posed for a lot of pics. (pics with fire truck in background)

Most of the stations we stopped at said that they rarely get visitors. All them were very receptive to our visit. It was a moving night, and gave me an idea for next year.

Next year, I would like to take goodies to all the fire stations, paramedics, and police in Cedar Rapids on 9/11. Would you join me? Let me know how you would like to help.

Cool Created Creatures at the Cincinnati Zoo

(Granny Nickloes, unidentified kid, Morgan, Judy, Andrew, Mackenzie, and Allyson)

Man, I'm behind on the blogging thing. You could tell, couldn't you! Well, back in August we took a week off and went to Cincinnati to visit family and the family decided that they wanted to go to the Cincinnati Zoo for a day, so that's what we did. Click on the pic above to see a slideshow.

It was an awesome day at the zoo as we marvelled at God's creation. The variety was incredible. While most of what we saw is explained by zoologists as a work of evolution. Well, that takes a lot of faith and I'm not buying it. God created some of the most extrordinary creatures I've ever seen. Most of them have been given engenious camoflage that gives them the ability to hide from predators.

But I have to say that the most incredible created creations were those wonderful people who accompanied me to the zoo. God has blessed me with such a wonderful family. Thank you Lord!

Pictures from Men's Fraternity AM

I finally got caught up on my pictures tonight. Click on the pic and check out these pics by Kim Pagel (Rusty Nails) of our second meeting of Men's Fraternity. Click here to read about Men's Fraternity at New Covenant Bible Church. We had 142 men the first morning and 125 the second. We had 17 at the evening version that meets at Joe Meyer's house. WOW!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Men's Fraternity PM

Brian, Steve, Zach, David, & Joe

Tonight we kicked off Men's Fraternity PM and we had 17 guys there. Just like the morning version, we had the banner out front of Joe's house with a flood light on it - I think we confused a couple of airline pilots trying to land at the airport :) There were more pick up trucks than cars and minivans - my kind of meeting.

Hats off to Joe Meyer and the leadership team of Men's Fraternity PM - Steve Boerhave, Zach, Harlan, Brian Wohlers. It was cool watching all those cars stream down Landau Drive in seach of a men's group that is geared to helping men lead lives of authentic manhood.

Joe started the evening version of MF in reponse to many men who could not make it to the AM Men's Fraternity. Thank you so much for opening your home and being so gracious to lead this awesome group.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What is the name of your city?

It's been a while since I blogged a devo. I just finished the book of Ezekiel and a phrase caught my attention.

And the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is There . Ezekiel 48:35

This is speaking about the millenial kingdom when Christ will rule and reign from the throne of David. For thousands of years Christ has been rejected but one day he is coming back and will set up an eternal thone. And the name of the city from that time on will be: The Lord is There.

What about your city, spiritually speaking. The bible tells us that we are his temple (1 Cor 3:16) so let me ask you the question, "What name is on your city?" I'm not going legalistic on you here, so hang on. I wonder if people in your realm of influence know by your love and servant leadership that the name on your "city" is "The Lord is There"?

Love someone today in the name of Jesus. Serve someone today. Be a blessing to someone. Share the love of God with someone, and if necessary use words.

All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other. Jn 13:35NCV

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bill Clinton gets fired up

I got home from church tonight and Judy asked me if I heard about former president Bill Clinton's interview where he went off on Mike Wallace. No. So, I went out and read the article and sure enough Clinton got fired up and I must say it was refreshing to see him fired up about something. Click here to see video.

I have to admit that I never really felt safe when Clinton was president because he downsized out military when we know full well that there are evil people who would like to see our great country brought to its knees. But I have to say that it is good to hear that he went after Osama Bin Laden.

There's a catch to this story. Can we believe what Clinton is telling us? Is this not the man who said "I did not have sex with that woman"? Hmmm. What should we believe? I wish I knew.

The man of integrity walks securely,
but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. Pr 10:9 NIV

I'm not feeling well : (

Welp, it was bound to happen. When you burn the candle at both ends you lower your resistance and you become susceptible to getting sick, and there you have it. I survived a long day today and I'm thankful to be home. We're watching Forest Gump right now - I love this movie. I'm taking Tussin (generic Robitussin) to take the edge off the pain.

Judy asked if I am heading into work tomorrow. Of course I am. Lots to do and I would go stir crazy sitting around here. Tomorrow I'll be in my usual spot up at Panera recharging my spiritual batteries, studying the word, reading some, and chatting with friends.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you.
When a believing person prays, great things happen. Jas 5:16NCV

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm glad it's Saturday!

Whew! This was an extremely busy week. It started out with a day off on Monday that turned out to be a work day for me. I am teaching lessons now (sax, flute,clarinet) on Monday night and I now have three students. Tuesday was the typical busy day getting ready for staff meeting. In addition to this, I have been busy trying to arrange meetings for Men's Fraternity PM and Adult Singles ABF. I am also the point person for our Impact that launches October 8th and we are launching over 60 groups.

Wednesday morning I arrived at the church at 5:15 AM to get ready for the official launch of Men's Fraternity. We were all humbled when 142 men showed up. Then It was more emails meetings, and getting ready to meet with the Men's Fraternity PM leadership team Wednesday evening. I got home around 9 PM.

Thursday our Men's Fraternity AM met to debrief, uh, celebrate Thursday morning at 6:30 AM. Then it was more emails and arranging meetings. Lunch was L.C.A.E. (Linn County Association of Evangelicals) at the Salvation Army. Then another meeting. Back to the office for more emails and work on the MF PM.

Thursday night I played with a city big band at the IMax center. That was a welcome rest and a lot of fun in a busy week.

Friday, typically my day off turned into another work day as I worked on MF PM promo materials. I also met with a couple for whom I am playing for their wedding in October. Friday night I played at Covington Church in a "Singspiration" - remember those? Darryl Broderick and I performed some pretty bluesy numbers on piano and sax. It was a lot of fun, but a late night.

This morning I was at the church at 7:45 AM for Leadership Community. I got to play in the band and the whole morning was phenomenal. I came home for a couple of hours, and then back to the church for a premarital meeting then back home for a few hours before small group tonight.

Whew - what a busy week, but a good one. Praise the Lord for the ministries that are finally coming together. Tomorrow I will be leading an Impact Host Orientation at 11 AM and then Adult Singles ABF planning meeting at 6:30 PM. Our team is coming together nicely and we are excited about this new ministry here at NCBC for adult singles.

I am so thankful God brought us here to NCBC where I have the opportunity to lead ministry, equip leaders, and make disciples through many different avenues.

I'm going to bed. Nighty-night.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Men's Fraternity Launches at NCBC

(Me and Lance greeting the guys!)
(Click on pic for slideshow)
This morning we launched Men's Fraternity and it was an incredible morning! Before I share with you the good news, I just want to say thank you for some of the poeple who have supported the launch of Men’s Fraternity. From Pastor Bob’s announcement and support, Peggy’s eNewsletters, Gina’s printing the business cards and flyers, Kim’s tips (prelaunch idea), numerous staff involvement, deacon and elder support, etc, etc, etc. Thanks to the Men’s Fraternity Leadership team for their tireless efforts and commitment to excellence that made this morning possible, not to mention a summer of 6:30 AM meetings every week since the first week of May. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This morning, our team arrived between 5 & 5:30 AM and began setting up. We set the room up for 120 people. Coffee was made – lots of it! (thanks Jim Knudsen) 8 doz donuts were delivered at 5:30. Everyone took their positions: 4 greeters, 19 table leaders, 3 sound guys, Matt preparing the dvds, Ed giving oversight, and the rest of the team executing the plan. Then, at about 5:40 we gathered in a circle to pray for the morning – I’m not sure we were prepared for what was about to take place.

At 5:45 our first “customer” arrived – Jerry, a new guy to the church. Then, it was a steady stream of men for the next 25 minutes. The east parking lot filled up and men were circling the parking lot (lots of pick up trucks!) looking for a place to park. It looked like the final scene in “The Field of Dreams” with a steady stream of trucks and cars (very few mini-vans!) coming from 2 directions! 4 men walked in, then 6 at a time, and then it became hard to shake everyone’s hand because there were so many streaming in. A couple of guys asked if there was something else going on because there were so many cars in the lot. I said “no, just Men’s Fraternity!”

At 6:10 the activity center was buzzing with activity and the team hurried to set up additional tables for the overflow. I wasn’t in there when we started but they said it was a powerful moment when 142 men sat down around tables and watched the launch of Apollo 13 (think Tom Hanks) to signify that Men’s Fraternity was officially launching! WOW!

Needless to say, we are all on cloud. We only had one dozen donuts left – and they are prob gone by now. Relationships are already forming and men are mobilized!

Mission accomplished. To God be ALL the glory!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

T-Minus 9 hours & 4 minutes to Men's Fraternity Launch

Welp, tonight I am resting at home and thinking about what will be taking place in just a few hours. Starting May 4th I called 6 other men to join me at 6:30 AM to begin discussing the start up of a new ministry at NCBC that would be an entry point for men into men's ministry. Two weeks later we added two more men with a total of 8 plus myself. We worked through a mission statement, the structure of the leadership team, defining positions, and began strategizing toward a September 20 launch and here we are!

After weeks and weeks of planning and 4 successful pre-launches, tomorrow morning we will officially launch Men's Fraternity at 6 AM and I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight.

Our mission statement: Men’s Fraternity provides men with an encouraging process that equips and teaches them how to live lives of authentic manhood as modeled by Jesus Christ and directed by the Word of God.

We are praying for 200 men. There has been quite a buzz around the church and I can't wait to see how this is going to work out. Emails have been flying around, invites have been passed out and enewsletters have been sent. The donuts are ordered (8 dozen), table leaders have been identified, sound techs have been trained, and we are ready to launch! I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes!

For more information on the DVD series we chose to use you can go to and click on "Authentic Manhood."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Uncommon Valor

Sunday night my son and I stayed up until 1 AM watching a documentary by a frenchman on firefighters that was being filmed in New York City when the call for the first hit on the World Trade Centers took place. I was rivoted from the opening scene and I think the thing that impacted me more than anything else was seeing that hollow look in the firefighter's eyes as they waited on orders as to what to do next.

These firefighters were strapping on 60 lbs. of gear and ascending a stairwell that presented immiment danger - i.e. a collapsing building. Their courage was incredible. They actually believed they could go up there and put that fire out.

Needless to say, many lives were lost by firefighters attempting to rescue the people trapped as well as save a burning building. As the men made their way back to the the station, they openly embraced (hugging and even kissing - love them New Yorkers, many weeped, and others just collapsed under the weight of such an overwhelming event.

So, we decided to do something to say thank you to those who serve our community often with little or no thanks. And we did. (read the next blog)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you on 9/11

I was sitting in the music office of FBC working on music. Debbie Catanzarito walked in in tears saying something about a Cessna crashing into the World Trade Center and it being a terrorist attack. My initial response was like - "you've got to be kidding me. You think that a Cessna hitting a buidling of this size is a terrorist attack? Come on Debbie, that's a stretch."

Well, as we watched the news with total disbelief that an airliner had hit the tower I couldn't believe it. As we stood there watching, the second plane drove into the other tower. That was a sick feeling. I'll never forget it.

Our church had a Christian School and we locked the place down fearing what we didn't know what we should fear, but we needed to protect the children. As I went to teach my 9th-10th grade class I told them what had happened and that the world as we knew it would change drastically, and it has.

May we never forget this dark day and innocent lives of over 3k people who lost their lives in an hour's time. Please pray for our troops fighting the aggressor and for the families who have been impacted by not only 9/11 but also the war on terror.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Did man really evolve?

Ok, I found this pic online while looking for a pic of Steve-o the cro hunter and thought it was pretty funny. As I sit here at my computer typing this I am wondering if we really are further ahead of men that lived 6,000 years ago when God created the earth and mankind. hmm

Steve-o the crocodile hunter is dead

Terri & Steve Irwin

I feel sad this morning. It started off as a good day with a 17 mile bike ride - it was a bit chilly but still enjoyable none the less. I got back home and opened my laptop to discover that Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter had died. I liked that guy. He did things that I wish I could do. I'm kind of a scared-ee-cat and not much of a risk taker, but I admire those who do.

It's strange to feel sadness over someone I don't even know, but then again I feel like I knew Steve because we do share some things in common: we're are both fathers, husbands, and human beings. Terri, his wife, will now raise an 8 yr old daughter and 3 year old son alone. His 3 year old will prob not remember much about daddy-o.

CNN interviewed Jack Hanna, dir. emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, who knew Steve quite well. When asked about the way Steve died Jack said that the Sting Ray has a God-given barb on its tail to protect from predators. hmmm

God-given barb. I wonder if Jack is a believer. A quick Yahoo! search brought up an article in Today's Christian that confirmed that he was a believer. Click here to see article.

I wonder if Steve-o knew the Lord. I hope he did. I hope Terri has a support group. She’ll need it now.

So, today, let's celebrate the life God has given us and say a prayer for Terri Irwin and the kids. Also, let's share the love of God with someone today, and if necessary use words.