Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We Are Marshall

Friday night Judy and I had our first date in a while and we usually like to go to a movie and then out to eat. We decided to go see We Are Marshall and I don't think I was prepared for what was about to happen, to me. You can click on the pic for a movie trailer.

Here's a review from Yahoo! Movies:

A true story, based on devastating events, set in Huntington, West Virginia, about a small town steeped in the rich tradition of college football. For decades, players, coaches, fans and families have come together to cheer on Marshall University's "Thundering Herd." For this team and this community, Marshall football is more than just a sport, it's a way of life. But on a fateful night in 1970, while traveling back to Huntington after a game in North Carolina, 75 members of Marshall's football team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash. As those left behind struggled to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones, the grieving families found hope and strength in the leadership of Jack Lengyel, a young coach who was determined to rebuild Marshall's football program and in the process helped to heal a community.

In the movie, the plane crash takes place in the opening minutes of the movie and from there on out we see the story unfold of how a town and college deal with the loss of so many people and the potential loss of a football program. At that moment I could feel the emotion begin to well up within me and the tears began to flow. As the story unfolds we learn about the people left behind how they try to cope with such tremendous loss.

I never stopped crying. In fact, I don't know that I have ever cried that long before in my life. This story touched my life in a deep and profound way.

We Are Marshall is a story about loss. I must confess that I am still processing all the emotion from that day. The good news is that while loss is a reality of life, Jesus can bring healing. Tye out.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

NCBC Brass Line

I have the awesome privilege of serving in an instrumental group called Brass Line. We perform every third Sunday of the month now and you can listen to us online each month by going to and clicking on the media link. Then click on sermons, then select the date you want and click on Worship in Song. To listen to this month's Brass Line click here. (the link will be live Monday morning some time)

We had an awesome day as we provided backgrounds for the choir and congregational singing. The style is like the band Chicago. I think you will enjoy listening in.

I really enjoy playing with this group because we can laugh and have a good time while playing some cool music. We are serious about what we do but we can have a good time doing it. Does that make sense?

Thanks to Jared, Karen, Dick, Ray, and Steve for your hard work and dedication to excellence. I really enjoy playing in this fine group. Tye out.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

This morning we woke up to about 2-3 inches of snow. I arrived at the church around 7 AM for Brass Line rehearsal and then it started snowing again. It snowed all morning and we wound up with probably around 6-8 inches. It was absolutely beautiful out!

Judy and Mackenzie got the driveway cleaned off and did an awesome job! Thanks ladies! Tye out.

Singles Together ABF launched tonight with 37!!!

Tonight we launched a brand new ABF for singles called Singles Together. It is a multigenerational community that has been 5 months in the planning stage and we launched with 37 people tonight! I am so excited!

It all started back in August when I invited about 10 people to join me for an informational meeting about forming an ABF for single adults. We met nearly every Sunday night at 6:30 to plan for the launch of this new community.

We were so excited to see 37 people (including 8 leaders) show up tonight in the library of New Covenant Bible Church. You can click on the pick to view a slideshow.

Hats off to the formation team who helped this become a reality: Dianna Burnette, Peggy Eichenberger, Steve Cooper, Yvonne Kenworthy, Rob and Renee Borkgren, Tom and Connie Knepp, Ed and Ginny Larsen, and David Taylor.

Dianna is the Community Leader, Yvonne is the Assimilation Coordinator, and Peggy is the Inreach Coordinator. Ed Larsen is the Bible teacher. Steve Cooper is going to be helping with coordinating events. Rob and Renee are sponsoring a Super Bowl party.

Congratulations team! I'm looking forward to what God is going to do with this group. Tye out.

Am I a servant leader, or self-serving leader?

RANT WARNING - I went off a little here, so you might want to skip this entry. I am not angry (although it may sound like it)but somewhat hurt and wounded. I do want to be an encouragement to fellow laborers in the ministry. Also, some of my own personal pain is present in this entry. Please pray for me.


I love servant leaders! It has become a lifetime goal of me to be the very best servant leader I can possibly be. Over the course of my 15 (almost 16) short years of full-time vocational pastor I have met many leaders who are self-serving and unfortunately many of them lead nationally known ministries or even worst, they pastor churches. (a bit of a rant there - sorry)

But I love it when I meet men and women who are peak performers and they are servant leaders. They realize that leadership is a gift from God and is not to be lorded over those they lead.

Why am I ranting today? I heard of yet another pastor of a mega-church (that is growing) who is a self-serving leader and I guess it brought back some bad memories and some personal pain. What I mean by this is that people are treated as a means to an end and it is sad but true that they wind up running over the very people they should be serving. Please know that God can work through leaders like this - he works in spite of them.

How do I know this? This was me at one point in my ministry. This is a very regretful and sad part of the history of my ministry. In fact, if I have ever hurt you as a result of my self-serving leadership style, please let me know and I would love to apologize and learn how I might serve you. (I'm not kidding.)

Self-serving leaders worry more about how things look (and how they reflect personally on them) than they do the people they lead. They say things like: "That won't look very good [on me]."

Think of it this way: Jesus discipled 12 men and they continually let him down and were a poor reflection on him. They were fraught with problems and often did things that would embarass any leader. Yet, Jesus continued loving them and discipling them. I don't always serve like Jesus did, but I can tell you that it is my goal.

Why do I sound so angry today? (a friend held me accountable on this post so you are now reading version 2.0 - thanks!) I'm just wandering if you have you ever been mistreated/abused by a church or ministry? You should never be mistreated; not in marriage, not where you work, and ESPECIALLY not at church.

I am thankful that I am in an environment where servant leadership is valued, taught, and modeled. It has been a great time of healing for me personally as well as my family and now I am extremely motivated to be a servant leader.

Am I a servant leader? I can only imagine that there are people who believe I am a self-serving leader and they are probably right. I will forever be struggling to be the kind of servant leader Jesus wants me to be. In fact, servant leaders value feedback, so I would love to hear from you how I am doing - and please tell me! I promise to listen, apologize if need be, and learn from my mistakes. If I don't, then I don't deserve to lead.

I must confess that I have had a tough weekend and some painful memories were resurrected. I want to be an encouragement to folks and I hope maybe something in the post challenged you to be a servant leader. If you believe in prayer, would you say one for me today? Tye out.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 NIV

Panera's Pastor

Alright, the cats out of the bag. I started working one day a week at Panera - the one I "work" at when I'm using their WiFi. Friday was my third day - I only work on Fridays from 6am-2pm. And it's working out pretty good.

In the coming months I am going to be sharing some of my Panera Ponderings about life in the workplace, retail customers, and and other random musings. Here's the first installment.

I like working at Panera because it is a positive work environment. The managers are so encouraging to everyone there.

I also like the team atmosphere. Everyone pitches in and helps. Each person does their part and is patient with others as they do theirs.

So far I have had an extremely positive experience working there and really enjoy it. If you are in the area on Fridays make sure you stop by and see me. Tye out.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rick Caldwell - Global Director of Men's Fraternity visits our Fraternity!

Me and Rick Caldwell

Last week we had the privilege of hosting a visit to Cedar Rapids by the Rick Caldwell, Global Director for Men's Fraternity. He came to our Men's Fraternity on Wednesday morning and talked to our guys for a few minutes after our regular session. He was able to affirm our program and encourage our guys as we have hit the halfway point this year.

Rick is an energetic (think energizer bunny!) who is like on turbo all the time. At lunch Wednesday with Ed Luebe and Joe Meyer he affirmed our work and challenged us to continue doing things with excellence. He also gave us some cool ideas for next year, including going through year number one again. He says that Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock did it THREE years in a row. Authentic manhood means that the men who have gone through MF this year will go through it again next year, except with two or more men with them.

Rick then met with our leadership team for supper (click on the pic for a slideshow) and then he met with the four area churches who are using Men's Fraternity for a roundtable discussion. It was cool to hear leaders using the same terminology because we are all in the same "fraternity!" Rick offered great suggestions, stories, and refinements that I am sure will help us not only now but also in the future.

On Thursday morning he addressed over 50 pastors and leaders about how to build a healthy, sustainable men's ministry. Then at noon he challenged business leaders, pastors, and other leaders with the importance of discipling our men.

It was a great visit that left me exhausted, excited, enthused, and highly motivated to continue with this awesome program called Men's Fraternity. Tye out.

Zanny Henseler - Deal or No Deal Update

Alright, someone asked the question - anonymously - whether or not there is any update on whether Zanny has been able to come up with the $25k sales tax for her prize she won on Deal or No Deal: a Cadillac Escalade totally tricked out (the kids say "pimped" but I have a hard time saying that).

So, Zanny, will you let us know how it is going? Just curious! Tye out.

John Coltrane's widow passed away Friday

LOS ANGELES - Alice Coltrane, a jazz performer and composer and wife of the late saxophone legend John Coltrane, has died. She was 69.

Coltrane died Friday of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, said her sister, Marilyn McLeod.
(AP Newswire)

I don't know why, but I'm feeling a little sad today. I found out yesterday that Trane's widow passed. I really don't know much about Alice Coltrane but apparently she was an incredible musician as well. Click here if you would like to read the article from Yahoo! News. Sadly, she was not a Christ follower, but embraced Hinduism.
Today I'd like to talk about John Coltrane, the jazz saxophonist who died in 1967. Trane, for a lot of us young sax players, was one of the many greats we listened to and looked up to. His style was "vertical" as he improvised across the chords as opposed to say a Cannonball Adderly who played very horizontally. This style is no more clearly seen than in the tune "Giant Steps." In fact, you can click here to see the transcribed solo, and then click here and select Giant Steps from the drop down menu and watch the solo literally fly by. Be prepared to scroll fast!
I have to say that my all time fave tune by Trane was "Lush Life"; it's almost spiritual for me. Running a close second would be "Moment's Notice." To this day I still feel like my greatest tenor sax influences has to be John Coltrane. Too bad he died in '67. I wonder what would have been.

Many Jazz greats died in their prime - some drugs and alcohol. John's fave horn was a Selmer Mark VI like the one I had - well, mine was a few years newer than his - a 1968 ish model. (There's a picture of it on Trane's website if you watch the entire slideshow.)I even used an Otto Link just like his. However, I gave this horn up to God when I gave my life to him. I wish I had it back. (Call me crazy, but I'm actually praying for one!)

I'm sad today. I wish I had my tenor back. (woe is me!) I wish I could have met Trane. Maybe I will someday in heaven? Tye out.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

God is big! (and he cares about me!)

Most of you know by now that I am an avid reader of the Bible. My love for God's word got turboed last year when I decided to read through The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language for the first time. I could hardly put it down! I started on January 1, 2006 and finished April 30th just four months later! OH MY!!!

I started back through The Message again November 22 and am on track to finish in three months this time. It's incredible! It's the potatoe chip factor - you can't eat just one!

Check this out. I read this passage a few days ago and wanted to share it with you. It is a paragraph about God's love written nearly 3k years ago by King David:

God's love is meteoric,
his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness
nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.
Psalm 36:5-6 The Message

Peterson tries to capture the essence of these verses with language that you and I understand. God is a great big God, with great big plans and purposes, yet he loves and cares for me! That is amazing! He loves me because he loves me, not because I am loveable! Have you ever thought about this?

Mere words from finite human beings will never be able to describe an infinite God who created the heavens and the earth. No wonder people struggle with understanding a gracious, merciful, loving God who came to planet earth to die for our sins. wow. Tye out.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The book that can change your life - part 3

We have talked about how the Bible is a book that change your life. I shared a message at New Covenant Bible Church December 31, 2006 on this topic and you can click here to listen online.

The Bible is a unique book for a number of reasons, one being that it has stood the test of time and incredible criticism. Many skeptics have made predictions that the Bible and/or Christianity would be silenced. Check out this quote:

The noted French infidel Voltaire, who died in 1778, declared that in one hundred years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history.

Only fifty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire’s press and house to produce stacks of Bibles.
(Geisler/Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, pp123-124)

Bernard Ramm rightly observes:

A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put.

No other book has been so chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized, and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology or belles letters of classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such venom and skepticism? upon every chapter, line and tenet?

The Bible is still loved by millions, read by millions, and studied by millions. (Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences 1953, 232-233)

You can stand up at any High School commencement service and quote Ronald Reagan, Bill Gates, Plato, or Shakespeare and no one will get offended. But quote the Bible and all hell will break loose! Why is this? Because the Bible is a unique book that has stood the test of time, persecution, and continues to influence civilization in general:

The influence of the Bible and its teaching in the Western world is clear for all who study history. Civilization has been influenced more by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures than by any other book or series of books in the world. Indeed, no great moral or religious work in the world exceeds the depth of morality in the principle of Christian love, and none has a more lofty spiritual concept than the biblical view of God. The Bible presents the highest ideals known to men, ideals that have molded civilization. Geisler, A General Introduction to the Bible, pp196-197

So, how about it? When was the last time you opened this living, active, and dynamic book? Why not start right now! Let me know how it goes! Tye out.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The book that can change your life - Part 2

December 31st I had the privilege of sharing the message in all four services. You can hear the message online by clicking here. I opened the message with stats and statistics about the durability of the Bible. The Bible is a unique book!

It is the kind of book man wouldn't write if he could write it. The Bible portrays it's characters in stark reality and doesn't hide their short-comings.

It is the kind of book man couldn't write even if he wanted to. 40 different authors, over 1500 years, writers from diverse backgrounds, and not one single error or contradiction.

The bible is unique in its teaching. Fulfilled prophecy is one of the many indications that this book is from God. The prophecies about Christ are specific. Other prophecies like the one against Tyre in Isaiah 28 and the prediction of Christ being born in Bethlehem are specific and to the point.

We all need to get in the word on a regular basis and allow this book, the Bible, to change our lives! Tye out.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalms 119:105 NIV

Zanny Henseler visited my blog - I think...

I have arrived as a blogger!!! Eat my dust! (smile) I have always thought that it would be the "holy grail" of blogging if I could get a comment from some famous person I had blogged about. For instance, I have done book reviews and had always hoped to get a hit from the author. Or in the case of the show Deal, or No Deal I was hoping to get a hit from Zanny Henseler, the lime green girl who won a Cadillac Escalade, but came up short on the tax bill of $25k. Well, she left a comment on my blog - I think. Here's the comment:

Anonymous said... hey tye this is Zanny the lime green girl. Rob and Amy attached this website to my moms email. We just cheked her mail. That is awesome you got to watch the show. Im glad you liked me. I still havent recieved the green machine, but were are going to town on saving cans!!!!

Now, I'm wondering if this was one of my friends playing a practical joke on me, or if Zanny really left this comment. Does it really matter? Not really.

This blogging thing is an amazing phenomenon. People like me can publish their ideas for others to read and it is one more way for us to multiply our influence. It is also a place where many people can "meet" and share ideas. I have enjoyed hearing from many of you and each week I get hits all around the world. Tye out.

Happy New Year - a year of prayer

Happy New Year everyone! New Year's is a time for looking back, and it is also a time for looking back. As I look back over the past year I feel like I personally had one of the best years of my life. The ministry is going fantastic, I'm involved in the community now through various avenues, and we were able to move into our own home again.

One of my goals for 2007 is to have a more meaningful prayer life. I have finally been able to have a consistent prayer life that feels like I am finally communicating with my heavenly father the way I need to be. Here's what I'm doing:

1. Create a list - I want to be praying for all the teams I am currently working with so I started by listing all the teams I either lead or serve on which also includes my family. This also includes my cousins, and my only uncle, Lane. Employment needs, health, and special concerns are other categories. My list currently has almost 200 names which leads me to point number two...

2. Plan your prayer - With 200 people to pray for I quickly discovered that I will not be able to pray for every single person and issue every single day. So, I now pray for each ministry team once a week. I pray for my family every day, and also for those who have yet to accept Christ as their savior.

3. Budget time for prayer - I love reading the Bible and in all likelihood I will finish the Bible in February - only 3 months. But, I have been stopping early so I still have time to pray.

4. Prayer helps the memory - no kidding! I'm not the best at remembering names, and I have A LOT of names to remember. So, when I am struggling with someone's name, I put them on my prayer list and I pray for them by name. It really works!

I have found that by having a plan that I don't feel defeated like I used to, and I now have an objective to reach each day. I am really excited about this "break through" and the best part is I am already seeing results.

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 NLT