Sunday, February 25, 2007

Blizzard warning!!!

As I mentioned in my last post, Cedar Rapids was starting to get some pretty serious weather. It kept getting worse all afternoon as everything got a glaze of ice, hence the photo. As you may know, this ice coats trees and limbs break off and snap power lines. Yup! We lost power around 6:30 PM and realized we had a short supply of candles and D batteries. Also, the gas tanks on the cars were both low. I did not heed the blizzrd warnings and prepare.

That is the way a lot of us are. We know that eating unhealthy foods will shorten our lives, but we keep doing it any way. It amazes me at how many young people take up smoking knowing that they are literally smoking their life away. We "hear" the warnings, but we don't heed them. (I'm a preacher, I can change, if I have to, I guess! - the preachers prayer adapted from Red Green's Man Prayer.)

2000 years ago Jesus Christ came at the exact time he was predicted to show up, did the exact things it was predicted he would do, and then died a cruel death on a Roman cross. And by doing this he paid for our sins because no amount of sacrificing and legalistic works could help me!

We are all terminal! Each and every one of us has an appointment with the undertaker. The real question is: have you accepted Jesus' free offer of eternal life? Why not do it now!

So you're probably wondering how everything turned out? Allyson and I hopped in the car and headed for Walmart (they were running on generators) where we got some batteries, Coleman fuel, and some candles. We pulled back into the driveway and the electric was back on! In any event we are now prepared! Bring it on! Tye out.

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 The Net Bible

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The best man at Best Buy

My son has been working at Best Buy now for several months and has really been a good exprience for him.

After KK and I finished at Panera, we decided to head over to Best Buy and pay him a visit and with the ice storm there was hardly any customers there and we got to spend a few minutes with him.

As I stood there and looked at my son I realized again that he is a man, a fine young man and I am very proud of him and I told him so! He looks sharp and is quite handsome, but I'm a tad prejudiced. He is very good at what he does there and the company really likes him.

I am so proud of you son! I love you and am thrilled to see all that is happening in your life. Tye, uh, dad out.

She is her father's daughter!

This morning was kinda cool. I had to have Allyson at Panera this morning at 5:50 AM. I typically take my laptop and Bible and work up there for a couple hours whenever this situation arises. I drove her to work this morning because we are having a serious ice storm and it was getting worse by the minute.

I came home around 7:45 to fix breakfast for Judy because she was leaving for a Beth Moore Conference and on the way home heard on the radio that it had been cancelled.

Mackenzie and I wound up heading back down to Panera to have a muffie and enjoy the cool atmosphere of Panera all the while giving Judy some quiet time around the house. She worked on her homework and I worked on the previous blog post. We had a good time together and it was confirmed once again that this Mackenzie is definitely her father's daughter!

Bill & Cheryl Curry (click on pic to see slide show and they are in it!) were there and I found some time to chat with them, and so did KK. She actually wound up talking to them for quite some time and they said they enjoyed it.

It was a fun time and I enjoyed sharing part of my life (my panera life) with Mackenzie. Tye, uh, dad out.

Panera's Pastor

As most of my regular readers know, I am working at Panera (behind the counter) every Friday. This has been fun and a bit of a challenge in that it has been hard to learn so many new things only working one day a week. They tell me I am doing fine, but most of the time I don't feel like it. : (

Yesterday my register was not working properly and it was very frustrating to say the least. And it seemed like I had more than my share of controlling people who were very impatient. This is where things get interesting.

I am absolutely committed to servant leadership, but I can tell you that the senario yesterday really put it to the test. To top things off, there are always a handful of people each day who are quite impatient and condescending. They treat you like a second class citizen and that is really hard, unless you are a servant leader. Check out these Bible verses I read this morning:

Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. Galatians 5:14 (The Message)

Freedom comes when you are serving, not being served! This means that when I choose to serve others in love (that's critical) then I am the one set free. True freedom then is to serve. Paul continues on to say:

For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. Galatians 5:15

You see, you are experiencing true freedom when you serve others. It's the kingdom upside down! So, how are you doing serving others? It is NOT always easy, but it is the right thing to do! Tye out.

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. Galatians 5:16 The Message

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm a celebrity!!! (not really)

Our Jr. High guy Mark Eades did an announcement video for the Jr. High students and it is pretty cool. I actually have a cameo appearance! My son, Andrew, shot the footage and edited - all in about an hour. Pretty good, huh! Here ya go!

Great job Mark! Thanks for being a servant leader at ncbc and loving on our kids! You are the greatest!!! Tye out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Why all the Ashes?

Since I was raised in a protestant, non-liturgical church Ash Wednesday has never been in my day-timer, or palm pilot! As a matter of fact, I really couldn't tell you much about it at this point, but I'm going to look it up and I'll be right back...

Ok, already hit a road block (no, my internet connection is not down). It signals the start of Lent. What's that? Again, I'll be right back...

Here's the scoop on Lent:

Lent is a time of preparation for Holy Week. Holy Week recalls the events preceding and during the crucifixion.... Fasting during Lent is a way for the Christian to identify with Jesus in his suffering....

Lent is...considered to be forty days long, due to the fact that Sundays in this season are not counted among the days of Lent. The traditional reason for this is that fasting was considered inappropriate on Sunday, the day commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus. (

How cool is that. This is a tradition of the church, not a biblical mandate. (I'll get to that later) Fasting. Now my understanding is that we are supposed to fast something to remind of us the suffering and resurrection of Christ. That's Lent.

Ash Wednesday then is:

The priest or minister marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes, in the shape of a cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown.

The symbolism echoes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one's head signifying repentance before God (as related in the Bible). (

How awesome is that? That explains all the people up here at Panera who have ashes on their heads, well, the reason they are supposed to have them.

I'm not real keen on all the trappings of Christianity, think bumper stickers, bracelets, pins, etc. But this whole idea of Ash Wednesday makes a lot of sense to me, even though I (personally) would prefer to do without the externals. I am in no way judging my good friends and others for doing this.

Personal application: I think I am going to fast chocolate. It has become an addiction in my life and I need to turn that over to God. (I know a pastor who "says" he fasts watermelon - in Cleveland, OH! He was joking!)

No ashes for me. But, I think I'll apply them to my heart. See you in 40+ days. Tye out.

Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he puts us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23-24 (The Message)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Shout to the Lord - I felt like it yesterday!

Yesterday was "brass line" Sunday which means that me and four other horn players have our opportunity to worship God with our horns stuck in our mouths and give him glory with the gifts and talents he has given us. I have to confess that the music wasn't the jazziest we have ever done, but it left a deep impact in my soul yesterday especially (but not limited to) during the 8 AM service. (Click here to listen)

Shout to the Lord by Darlene Zschech way back in 1993 has left an indelible imprint on my mind which I won't soon forget. It's not that it's nostalgic, it just touches something deep down inside me. I'm not one to get all goose bumpy just because a song brings back memories. In fact, many songs of the church bring back some bad memories to tell the truth.

I could feel the tears welling up inside through out the set, and then after Shout to the Lord, we came to My Savior Lives by Aaron Shust and the tears came out! (you can listen to the song on his website!) In the meantime, check out these lyrics:

My Savior My God by Aaron Shust
I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my savior

I take him at his word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
For him to be my savior

That he would leave his place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my savior

My savior loves, my savior lives
My savior's always there for me
My God he was, my God he is
My God he's always gonna be

That's me. And that's why I want to shout to the Lord today! Tye out.

A First-Timer's Guide to Jazz Jam Sessions by Bill Anschell

I received this from a fellow jazzer (Peter Hart) and thought you might enjoy it. (btw, I play saxophone)

Excerpted From Bill Anschell's A First-Timer's Guide to Jazz Jam Sessions (Copyright 2001, Bill Anschell)

Piano - Pianists are intellectuals and know-it-alls. They studied theory, harmony and composition in college. Most are riddled with self-doubt. They are usually bald. They should have big hands, but often don't. They were social rejects as adolescents. They go home after the gig and play with toy soldiers. Pianists have a special love-hate relationship with singers. If you talk to the piano player during a break, he will condescend.
Bass - Bassists are not terribly smart. The best bassists come to terms with their limitations by playing simple lines and rarely soloing. During the better musical moments, a bassist will pull his strings hard and grunt like an animal. Bass players are built big, with paws for hands, and they are always bent over awkwardly. If you talk to the bassist during a break, you will not be able to tell whether or not he's listening.

Drums - Drummers are radical. Specific personalities vary, but are always extreme. A drummer might be the funniest person in the world, or the most psychotic, or the smelliest. Drummers are uneasy because of the many jokes about them, most of which stem from the fact that they aren't really musicians. Pianists are particularly successful at making drummers feel bad. Most drummers are highly excitable; when excited, they play louder. If you decide to talk to the drummer during a break, always be careful not to sneak up on him.

Saxophone - Saxophonists think they are the most important players on stage. Consequently, they are temperamental and territorial. They know all the Coltrane and Bird licks but have their own sound, a mixture of Coltrane and Bird. They take exceptionally long solos, which reach a peak half way through and then just don't stop. They practice quietly but audibly while other people are trying to play. They are obsessed. Saxophonists sleep with their instruments, forget to shower, and are mangy. If you talk to a saxophonist during a break, you will hear a lot of excuses about his reeds. [or, he might talk about how he regrets selling his Mark VI back in 1982] Brackets mine.

Trumpet - Trumpet players are image-conscious and walk with a swagger. They are often former college linebackers. Trumpet players are very attractive to women, despite the strange indentation on their lips. Many of them sing; misguided critics then compare them to either Louis Armstrong or Chet Baker depending whether they're black or white. Arrive at the session early, and you may get to witness the special trumpet game. The rules are play as loud and as high as possible. The winner is the one who plays loudest and highest. If you talk to a trumpet player during a break, he might confess that his favorite player is Maynard Ferguson, who was the merciless God of loud-high trumpeting.

Trombone - The trombone is known for its pleading, voice-like quality. "Listen," it seems to say in the male tenor range, "Why won't anybody hire me for a gig?" Trombonists like to play fast, because their notes become indistinguishable and thus immune to criticism. Most trombonists played trumpet in their early years, then decided they didn't want to walk around with a strange indentation on their lips. Now they hate trumpet players, who somehow get all the women despite this disfigurement. Trombonists are usually tall and lean, with forlorn faces. They don't eat much. They have to be very friendly, because nobody really needs a trombonist. Talk to a trombonist during a break and he'll ask you for a gig, try to sell you insurance, or offer to mow your lawn.

Vocals - Vocalists are whimsical creations of the all-powerful jazz gods. They are placed in sessions to test musicians' capacity for suffering. They are not of the jazz world, but enter it surreptitiously. Example: A young woman is playing minor roles in college - some local critic describes her singing as "...jazzy." Voila! A star is born! Quickly she learns "My Funny Valentine," "Summertime," and "Route 66." Her training complete, she embarks on a campaign of musical terrorism. Musicians flee from the bandstand as she approaches. Those who must remain feel the full fury of the jazz universe. The vocalist will try to seduce you --and the rest of the audience -- by making eye contact, acknowledging your presence, even talking to you between tunes. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP! Look away, make your distaste obvious. Otherwise the musicians will avoid you during their breaks. Incidentally, if you talk to a vocalist during a break, she will introduce you to her "manager."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Home brew

Coffee roasting equipment

I've been roasting my own coffee beans for a while now thanks to Brett Mason. I love good coffee, and I don't like paying the high prices, so this works out pretty good for me.

Brett was so gracious and helpful with this newbie to the world of coffee roasters. In fact, he even hooked me up with my own personal roaster (used) and some green coffee beans to get started. He also gave me a coffee grinder so I can grind my own beans. Thank you so much Brett!

It warmed up to a balmy 30 degrees today (after sub-zero temps) I decided to roast some beans today. You have to do them outside because it does make a little bit of a mess and is a little bit smelly.

So, how does one roast coffee beans? It's actually very simple. But first, the equipment list:

1. A hot air popcorn popper
2. Wooden stirring spoon
3. Metal basket strainer
4. Green coffee beans

It's hard to believe it is that simple, but it is. It takes around 8-10 minutes to roast the beans, a minute or two to cool them, and then package them up. That's it! Tye out.

Daytona 500

Today is the first day of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Race series and I have taken my place on the couch with remote in hand ready to go. Usually I would be resting up for the evening service but not today. And btw, no redneck jokes about NASCAR standing for "non-athletic sport centered around rednecks."

Do I have a favorite driver? Sorta. I like Jeff Gordon. I also like the fave bad boy, Tony Stewart. But if you know me, you'll know that I want to enjoy a good race - and a safe one.

But for those of you who know about NASCAR and restrictor plate racing, more than likely there will be the "big one" at some point. (Click here to see a "big one at Daytona") This is because they all essentially the same horse power due to the restrictor plates, so they all ride around together until a wreck happens.
This all makes me wonder about some things. This is dangerous stuff. In fact, 6 years ago today Dale Ernhart, Sr. died in this same race. I often wonder why I am so attracted to something that is so dangerous and life-threatening. Someone else is potentially sacrificing their life so I can enjoy mine.
That's what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us. He sacrificed his life for us so that we could have eternal life. Have you accepted Christ, or even considered his offer of eternal life? Tye out.
He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. Isaiah 53:5 NETBible

Frank Caliendo - impressionist

I couldn't sleep tonight. So, I came downstairs to chill out and since I enjoy watching comedy routines I decided to click on a guy I ran across this guy a few weeks ago and laughed so hard I could hardly breathe. He is best known for his impression of John Madden. (I miss getting watch John on Monday Night Football.) And, as it is with most impressionists, there are a couple of unfavorable words so don't click if you'll be offended. Tye out.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Does your church speak "Christianese"?

I just read a really good article about Christianese? Do you know what this means? Christianese is the language Christians speak when they get together. They say things like:

Have you been washed in the blood? (sounds violent)
How are you doing brother? (are we family?)
Let's get together and fellowship! (interpretation: let's eat!)

Some of us have been in the church way too long, and we have forgotten that when a person shows up to our church they don't know our language - Christianese. So we wind up confusing them! Take a minute and read this next paragraph and I'll be right back:

Videns autem turbas ascendit in montem et cum sedisset accesserunt ad eum discipuli eius et aperiens os suum doce bat eos dicens beati pauperes spiritu quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum beati mites quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram beati qui lugent quoniam ipsi consolabuntur beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt iustitiam quoniam ipsi saturabuntur beati misericordes quia ipsi misericordiam consequently beati mwido cordequoniam ipsi Deum videbunt beati pacific!

Whattayathink about that? Unless you are fluent in Latin (I'm not) then you are as confused as I am. Just think about what it must be for the new person coming into our church!

So, are we speaking the language of the people? or Christianese? Since I spend a lot of time these days interacting with seekers I have been especially sensitve to this issue. I never want to confuse someone when it comes to the truth claims of Jesus Christ.

In Brad Powell's book Change Your Church for Good...The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping Brad says this:

In order to work right, the church must be relevant. It must communicate God’s truth and hope in the language of the culture in which it’s situated. Unfortunately, many consider cultural relevance a compromise for the church. Though they may be sincerely motivated, they’re wrong.

This has become a passion for me. And if you ever catch me speaking Christianese I would appreciate it if you would remind me! Amen! uh, I mean, cool! Tye out.

Foods to calm you down fast

I don't know about you but when I'm feeling blue or a little depressed (as is often the case during the long winter months) I love to eat. And this winter I have already put on about 7-8 pounds - yuck. But, this week I started back on my exercise regimine and eating healthier and smaller portions. (I've already lost about 2 pounds)

So are there any real comfort foods out there? This article indicates that there are. Here's the article copied and pasted in: (posted Tue, Feb 06, 2007, 10:55 am PST from Yahoo! Food)

But true comfort foods do exist.

1. Berries, any berries - Eat them one by one instead of M&Ms when the pressure's on. For those tough times when tension tightens your jaw, try rolling a frozen berry around in your mouth. And then another, and another. Since the carbs in berries turn to sugar very slowly, you won't have a blood sugar crash. The bonus: They're a good source of vitamin C, which helps fight a jump in the stress hormone cortisol

2. Guacamole - If you're craving something creamy, look no further. Avocados are loaded with B vitamins, which stress quickly depletes and which your body needs to maintain nerves and brain cells. Plus their creaminess comes from healthy fat. Scoop up the stuff with whole-grain baked chips-crunching keeps you from gritting your teeth.

3. Mixed nuts - Just an ounce will help replace those stress-depleted Bs (walnuts), give you a whopping amount of zinc (Brazil nuts)-it's also drained by high anxiety-and boost your E (almonds), which helps fight cellular damage linked to chronic stress. Buy nuts in the shell and think of it as multi-tasking: With every squeeze of the nutcracker, you're releasing a little bit of tension.

4. Oranges - People who take a 1,000 mg of C before giving a speech have lower levels of cortisol and lower blood pressure than those who don't. So lean back, take a deep breath, and concentrate on peeling a large orange. The 5-minute mindfulness break will ease your mind and you'll get a bunch of C as well.

5. Asparagus - Each tender stalk is a source of folic acid, a natural mood-lightener. Dip the spears in fat-free yogurt or sour cream for a hit of calcium with each bite.

6. Chai tea - A warm drink is a super soother, and curling up with a cup of aromatic decaf chai tea (Tazo makes ready-to-brew bags) can make the whole evil day go away.

7. Dark chocolate - Okay, there's nothing in it that relieves stress, but when only chocolate will do, reach for the dark, sultry kind that's at least 70% cocoa. You figure if the antioxidant flavonoids in it are potent enough to fight cancer and heart disease, they've got to be able to temper tension's effects.

I like the dark chocolate option. Tye out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart

I love Valentine's day because it gives me an opportunity to tell the women in my life how much I love them. I picked up cards and candy for each of my three daughters and wrote a personalized note to each. No card for Andrew - just Little Debbie cakes, his fave.

V-day started for Judy last week. I brought home a heart-shaped tin of chocolate to kinda get things kicked off. Then, on Saturday there was flowers - roses and carnations in a heart shaped vase.

Tuesday night we headed out for a little Valentine's celebration at a new restaurant for us - Texas Roadhouse. It was a great experience and we really enjoyed the atmosphere, service, and food. I was so happy to give Judy her Valentine's gift - a heart-shaped diamond necklace. I wish I could have given her more, but you know what they say - it's the thought that counts!

That brings us to tonight. I gave her a special V-day card with a note telling her how special she is to me. She really is! What a wonderful woman God has blessed me with. Happy Valentine's day to you and my wonderful family! Tye out.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Happy Birthday Judy!!!

Welp, several years ago (I'm not allowed to pinpoint the date) a precious baby girl was born to Bob and Kay and today we are celebrating this momentous occasion. Andrew was out for the evening and Allyson was on a senior high youth group retreat. So, that left me, Mackenzie, and Morgan to celebrate Judy's birthday so we did our best to make her feel special. You can click on the pic for a slide show.

Morgan gave her a movie, and Mackenzie and I gave her a warm up suit to stay warm in. We also shared our cards with her and enjoyed seeing her excitement as she read the notes.

As the husband of Judy, I am so thankful that she was brought up in a home where the Lord was first place. She was taken to church at an early age and trusted Christ at an early age as well.

I am also thankful for my beautiful wife of 21 years. Happy birthday sweetheart!!! We love you!!! Tye out.

Find a good spouse, you find a good life --
and even more: the favor of God.
Proverbs 18:22 The Message

Mackenzie's Titanic Project

Mackenzie sips the finest as a second
class passenger on the Titanic

Today was Mackenzie's Titanic day at school. The children studied about the Titanic and concluded their study with a project. Mackenzie decided to do a scale model of what an iceberg looks like and thanks to her big (creative) brother Andrew they built a wonderful scale reproduction of an iceberg similar to that which probably sunk the Titanic. You can click on the pic for a slide show.

Mackenzie dressed as a second class passenger and gave a speech of what it would have been like for people of her estate to be aboard this magnificent ship. Judy says that Mackenzie definitely gets the best dressed award.

Mackenzie - we are soooo proud of you and this awesome project! You are the best third grader alive and we love you so much!

Morgan's amazing flute playing

Last night Morgan (2nd from right) performed with the Oak Ridge Middle School 8th grade band and they were outstanding! It was a packed house as the students performed. It has been exciting to see their progress over the past couple of years and to see the level of playing go up exponentially.

Congrats Morgan (and all your friends) for an excellent evening of band music! I love you sweetheart!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Zanny Update

I've noticed that I get hits every day from someone searching for Zanny Henseler updates and I wanted to let you know that I have not heard anything. Last I heard she was trying to come up with $25k for the tax bill on her lime-green Cadilac Escalade she won on Deal or No Deal.

Zanny actually left a comment on my blog. (Click here to read it) Rob and Amy, regular readers of who go to her church, have left comments on my blog and kinda kept us posted on the progress. They know Zanny's mom so I'm really depending on Rob and Amy to keep me posted and I haven't heard from them in a while.

BTW - A girl who was in my youth group (I think she was old enough back then) was on Deal or No Deal - Josie Butkovic. You can do a search and find out how she did. Congrats Josie for even making the show!!!

So, Zanny, we're dying to know how it's going. If you get a minute between can collecting please leave a comment or email me! Tye out.

God's grace and leadership

God has given us our ministries. We don't have to prove our worth through our ministry, and we don't have to wallow in our mistakes. You don't have to earn your place as a pastor or leader in the church. - Rick Warren

I really appreciate this comment by Rick Warren. I have to confess that there are so many times in my life that I get bogged down trying to make God and people happy with me. I've made so many mistakes, said so many unkind and wrong things to people (even last night!), and continue to struggle in this warfare that we know is not flesh and blood, but is a satanic warfare.

Many times I can wholeheartedly agree with the apostle Paul when he talks about the struggle between what knows he should do and yet doesn't do it, and the bad that he should not do and yet continues to do that. Only by prayer, study, and full reliance on God can these things be overcome.

Thankfully, God sees us through the eyes of grace and mercy. That's where I get in. Tye out.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You might a pastor's wife if...

I saw this on Emily's (I don't know her last name) blog and thought you might enjoy reading this. She is the daughter of one of the men who serves with me on our Small Group Leadership team. I hope you enjoy this! (Iadded personal comments in red) Please remember that this is for fun - don't take it too seriously!

You might be a pastor's wife if... secretly want to sneak away and never come back.
...everyone is allowed to have an emergency except you.
...people think your husband only works three hours a week,'ve been to thousands of potlucks. (Or "fellowship dinners".) know the difference between the prayer chain and the gossip mill. suffer from "PWS" - Pastor's Wife Syndrome.'d love to stay in bed just one Sunday before you die.'re never supposed to get sick - or even tired. (or a combination of the two!)
...caller ID becomes your new best friend.
...your best friend lives over 1000 miles away. (actually, it's 588 miles) are loved by the most wonderful people in all the world. night gets interrupted three weeks in a row by someone else's family. like to bowl - and give the pins names of people who cause your husband grief. don't tell your husband everything people tell you.

Tye out.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hooray!!! Judy has been accepted to Nursing School!!!

It has been a long six long years on Judy's road to becoming an RN and today we heard some of the sweetest news that we have heard yet:

Congratulations! You have been accepted into our Nursing - AAS Program for fall 2007...There is a possibility for [a] summer start.

This was the word we have been waiting for so PRAISE THE LORD!!!

Judy was finished with her class work and was ready to start clinicals when we had to move to Cedar Rapids. This was a huge downer, but Judy has been a trooper.

So, once we arrived in Cedar Rapids they welcomed her by saying that she would have to take 5 hours of classes - more money, more waiting.

Today was a huge answer to prayer and I am thrilled that Judy has taken this one step closer towards becoming an RN. And I couldn't be more proud! I love you sweetheart! You're going to make a great nurse!!! Tye out.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

NCBC Men's Retreat - Battleground

This weekend almost 60 men headed for Camp Wyoming about an hour east of Cedar Rapids for a retreat that we won't soon forget. Here's my "forward observations." (you can click on the pic for a slideshow.)

The bus arrived at 1915 hours (7:15pm) and the "recruits" were met by their drill sergant Travis Klopfenstein. We were assigned to a fire squad (4-5 men) and given a name - we were Bravo Squad. We created tee shirts with our squad's name on it.

Steve Adolph led us in worship and then Steve Jenkins gave us our first "Briefing" (talk). Steve J. told us about his father who was a decorated combat veteran with the Marines serving in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Lt. Colonel Bob Jenkins was a forward observer with an artilery unit. Col. Jenkins landed on Iwo Jima and helped take the island.

It was a great weekend with lots of stories from Steve's father's life as well as others who have served our country. The outline was simple:

1. Prepared to Die - Christ laid down his life for us, and we need to be prepared to do the same.

2. Know the Enemy - Our battle is not with flesh and blood; it is a spiritual battle against satan

3. Stand Inspection - Are we fully prepared to stand God's inspection?

And we did have some fun too! We had spud shooting competition which was a blast - ha! We also got to do some tubing on the snow. It was a great weekend.

Special thanks to the leaders (hope I don't miss anyone): Steve Jenkins, Travis Klopfenstein, Steve Morris, Kurt Tennyson, Jeremy Bushlack, and Bryan Fentress. You guys did it right! Tye out.

P.S. Did I mention it was below zero degrees most of the time and NO ONE complained!

Go Peyton Manning!

Alright, most of you who know me know that I don't go out and buy my fave team's jersey's sweatshirts, clocks, and pens. I don't have a banner outside my house and a flag on my car. Not me.

So, you wont be surprised when I show up to our ABF Super Bowl Party tonight without a team jersey.

BUT...tonight, although I will not be wearing official NFL apparel (costs too much any way) I will be cheering on Peyton Manning and whatever team he is playing with. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching this young man play the past few years and was bummed when they repeatedly failed to make the Super Bowl.

I am predicting a Colts win. I am also predicting some great fun with friends from our ABF and some great snacks. Go Peyton!!!

9 degrees below zero - IT'S COLD!!!

It was minus 9 this morning when I left. This is just too cold. But you know what? How can I complain? I'm not homeless - I have a nice house. I have at least one good winter coat, warm shoes, gloves, and a hat. I have sweaters galore. Not to mention all the hunting gear that could keep three people warm for a long time!

Ok, I'm cold, but it could be worse. Tye out.

I finished the Old Testament this morning

I started my annual read through of The Message, a translation of the Bible by Eugene Peterson on November 22nd and I finished the Old Testament this morning - that's 10 weeks and two days. O my!

This version is very easy to read and because the translation is so straight forward I can honestly say that I rarely stop and think to myself, "Self, what did that mean?" Also, I have taught myself to speed read by the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Method and I am probably reading around 450-500 words a minute with comprehension.

Here are some of my 30k foot level thoughts of this read through:

  • God has a plan.
  • He loves his people unconditionally
  • His mercy is not exclusive
  • He honors those who honor him
  • Like our earthly fathers, God has his way of getting our attention when we step out of line
  • God responds to prayer
  • God is absolutely sovereign
  • He still responds to prayer even though he is sovereign
  • He promised to redeem Israel (this happened through Jesus)
  • He promised restoration and peace in the land (this is yet to come)

That is just some of my observations of this lightspeed read through. I can't wait to get to the New Testament tomorrow morning! Tye out.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Meet John Carlson - saxophonist

It's a long story, but I'll try to be brief. I have heard John Carlson (and the Willow Creek Band) on the radio many times and enjoyed his vivacious style alto saxophone playing, and his Michael Brecker influenced tenor sax playing. Well...

Wayne Watson came to sing at our church and his road manager, now solo artist Bill Pickup, was using some cool music for the prelude. It turns out to be John Carlson and the Willow Creek Band. They recorded some of their original arrangements that were used at Willow and called the CD "Preludes" which is no longer available. (John has since released an expanded version of Preludes entitled Preludes II)

I would use this CD to get ready for concerts and solo performances because it helped me zero in on my sound very quickly. One song, "How Excellent is Thy Name" was so groovy that I used it in my concerts and solo performances and I learned John's solo so well that people couldn't tell that I was playing along with someone on the CD!

So, I wind up doing an interview for a mom & pop radio station for I don't know what reason, and the interview is from a pastor's perspective on Christian radio. It turns out that John Carlson was listening (just wait - I'll explain) and when I talked about playing big band music he looked me up and emailed me.

As it turns out, John had left Willow and is now serving at Parkview Evangelical Free Church in Iowa City - only 39 minutes away. We began exchanging emails and discovered that we have a lot in common. I set up a time to get together and talk shop and see what God has been doing in our lives and on January 12th I enjoyed coffee with one of my fave saxophonist! I'll tell you more later. Tye out.

Panera's Pastor

I just completed my 5th week working only one day a week at Panera. The team there has been very patient as I have attempted to refine my bagel-order-getting, drink mixing, floor-sweeping, and inventory restocking skills. Did I mention cash-register skills? Oh my.

The cash register. The Panera team has been faithful to train me on the cash register, but I'm a little on the thick-headed side. I think I can, I think I can...uh, no way.

Yesterday was my first day to man my own register. I was so nervous - rightfully so. At 6:00 AM my first customer stepped up and ordered two bagel packs: 26 bagels/4 tubs of spread. That's 26 bagels that have to be sliced - easy. But ringing it up, that's another story. Then he gave me 3 gift cards - YIKES! Thankfully, he was very patient and I survived! But, not everyone was patient...

Patience. I've noticed that a lot of people have no margin in their life. They leave themselves 2 minutes, 38.6 seconds to get 2 bagel packs, a chai tea latte, and a cup of coffee only to realize that 10 other people had the same idea. Now, they want me to perform like "Dash" on the Incredibles. I'm pretty fast, but not fast enough to make up for their lack of planning. I'm not complaining! The customers come first!!! And, they make my paycheck possible.

One last thing. We were absolutely deluged with bagel orders - must have been the full moon. By 10:30 AM we were out our most popular bagels. A lady came in and was miffed that she couldn't get her fave bagel. She actually said that it was wrong that we ran out of bagels and companies who get bagels should have to order them ahead of time. wow. That is pretty judgemental.

I suggested she fill out a comment card and voice her anger to the "powers that be." I wasn't exactly sure why she felt like arguing with me. I smiled and said thank you.

Thank you Lord for an extra paycheck - answered prayer. And Lord, please help this precious soul for whom you died understand that there are way worse things in our world to be angry about. Tye out.