Monday, April 30, 2007

Fanfare for the Common Man

I have been listening to the "Meditation" channel on Yahoo! Music LAUNCHcast during my devos and this tune has come on a couple of times - Fanfare for the Common Man by 20th century composer Aaron Copland. You will probably recognize it right away. You can click here to hear a clip. I think it is really cool.

Copland wrote in his autobiography: Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, had written to me at the end of August about an idea he wanted to put into action for the 1942-43 concert season.

You see, fanfares had become popular during WW1 to start off a symphony concert and Goossens thought that it might work again during WW2.

As for the name, Copland titled it Fanfare for the Common Man rather than giving it a title that had something to do with the war effort.

Copland's fanfare was very simple with that very memorable F, Bb, upper F motiff. And if it makes you think of ABC's Wide World of Sports it is for a good reason. They used it for their theme for a long time - might even still use it!

It was debuted by the Cincinnati Symphony on March 12, 1943 on tax day, for the common man. Tye out.

Panera Ponderings - a response on margin

I received an excellent comment from a "Linda" (it was an anonymous post so I couldn't ask permission to use her post as a blog entry) and wanted to see it. She pleads the case for those who may need a little extra grace because of life circumstances. Take a read:


I hear what you are saying, and can appreciate the frustration that comes from dealing with people who don't plan out there time very well. I am guilty of this more times than I would like to admit. I have worked in service all of my life, and have experienced this from both sides of the fence. I would challenge you to look at the situation closer. Please humor my creative writing below.

The Mom that is running late may be a a soldier's wife doing the "single parent thing" while her husband is in Iraq. She was up most of the night with a child who misses his/her Dad. She thinks the shot of caffeine will get her through the morning meeting with her boss.

The man whose day is packed with activity may be taking care of his wife and kids, and his Mom who is trying to take care of his father at home, even though the Alzheimer's is getting to be too much for her. There are three, younger, more educated people in his office that want his job, and he is so stressed that his health is at risk. He is starting to lose patience with everyone he comes in contact with. He doesn't speak up (he has to wear a strong face for his family). He over eats, smokes, and thinks he's "dealing" with the life he has been dealt. He knows that insurance rates are going up because he's checking into a private nurse for his Dad so they won't have to put him in a nursing home.

Some people are hurting on a daily basis and we just see the "mask" they put on that day. They make poor choices, they put their health at risk, and they may not get out of bed until the last minute because they can't bear another day.

I wore one of those masks the year my Dad was dying of cancer. At times I hid in humor, at other times I got impatient and I am sure I was very hard to be around. I know I left very little room for margin. I was blessed with loving people who saw me through it and loved me. Now I always wonder what kind of day someone is really having when they are rude, impatient or unpleasant. The margin may be on my part, and how I react to them. I am not saying that everyone has a "story", some folks just manage their time poorly. I just wanted to suggest a different perspective. I appreciate your blog, keep sharing! Linda

Linda - thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting! Please know that I did my dead-level best to treat each of those "margin deprived" folks with grace and patience because that is what they needed.

Since my gift in life is "implementer/refiner" I am always trying to "fix" things which is the reason I blogged on this. If you don't have margin, think of ways to create it. If you are in a season - pray your way through and don't take out your frustrations on others.

And trust me, I know what life without margin looks like. Thankfully, I am not there right now.
Tye out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Panera Ponderings

As many of you already know, I work at Panera (yes, behind the counter with an apron, hat, et al!) every Friday and this section of my blog is dedicated to my observations of people as I work.

Margin. That is the word for this week. I have observed that people have very little margin in their life.

For instance, a working mom wakes at the last possible minute, runs out of time and decides to put her lipstick on at the traffic lights while she rushes her kids to school/daycare. Since she didn't have time to fix coffee she decides to whip into Panera to grab a quick latte and cinnamon crunch bagel. This is where the fun begins.

She walks through the door and there is the line - about 7-10 minutes of waiting. It has just now dawned on her that she is going to be late and guess who she is going to blame for it?

Now she steps up to the register and orders her latte (skim, no whip, xtra shot, blah, blah, blah) and bagel and thrusts the money in my face as if to say "hurry up - I'm late!!!"

Now folks. Who's fault is that she is late? My inability to crank out her order in 30 seconds?

Margin. I've noticed that people don't have margin. They cram their day full of activities and leave little time for unexpected delays and when those delays occur it raises their blood pressure, they treat people like, well, less than people, and since their cholesterol is now skyrocketing they are probably going to have a heart attack and now our insurance goes up!

Margin. Saturday morning it was my turn to be the customer and I needed a bagel pack for our Small Group Leaders Training. I needed to be at the church at 8ish, so I left the house around 25 minutes early. As it turned out, it took me 15 minutes to wait in a very long line and get my bagels, and while other people in the line were all stressing and everything, I was calm, cool, and collected. I arrived at the church at 8:05 AM ready to go, stress-free.

Margin. Margin says if it takes you 15 minutes to get there (not likely in CR) then why not leave 25 or even 30 minutes ahead. When you get stuck in traffic you can relax and enjoy the time alone. Margin. Try it - it works. Tye out.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chauffeur for the day

I had the awesome privilege of driving the bus for our Administrative Professionals day yesterday. This was our opportunity to serve and give back to those who have so faithfully served us and the Lord here at NCBC. Make sure you read Kim Pagel's blog entry on the day!

I am actually feeling a little guilty because I was able to partake of the food as well! It was a windy, rainy day but not one person complained and it seemed as though the ladies enjoyed themselves.

Thanks for letting me drive the bus! It was a fun day of serving! Tye out.

Creating Space For One More Person: Job Well Done

Creating Space For One More Person: Job Well Done

Headless man at NCBC retreat prays

Some people need prayer. Notice the man with his back to the camera. This man REALLY needs it. In fact, it looks like he lost his head in the prayer meeting!

The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments

Having spent 8 glorious years in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I felt comfortable enough to post this one. Maybe "backwards" ain't so backwards after all! And don't forget, it's a sin to judge others. Besides, we know that y'all are just jealous that you don't live in such great state as Tennessee! Here is the email I received this morning, and I quote:

Some people in Tennessee have trouble with all those "shalls" and "shall nots" in the Ten commandments. Folks just aren't used to talking in those terms. So, some folks in middle Tennessee got together and translated the "King James" into "Jackson County" language.... no joke, read on...The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments (posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Gainesboro, TN.)

(1) Just one God

(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa

(3) No tellin' tales or gossipin'

(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'

(5) Put nothin' before God

(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal

(7) No killin'

(8) Watch yer mouth

(9) Don't take what ain't yers

(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff

Now that's kinda plain an' simple, don't ya think? Y'all have a nice day.

Tye out.

P.S. I guess the northern version would be like: "what part of 'no' don't you understand?"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

American Idol Gives Back - INCREDIBLE SHOW!!!

American Idol gives back was lived up to all my expectations. It was entertaining, had awesome performances, and raised money for a worthy cause. Since one of my top five strengths is input (the collection of data, sometimes for no apparent reason) I used that gift to help you navigate to sites you may wish to check out.

I also thought it was a touch of class not to bid farewell to one of the contestants!

The real "winner" tonight was the fight against AIDS/poverty, especially in Africa. Millions of dollars will be added to this cause. It does my heart good to see American Idol leveraging their influence to give back. Congrats to American Idol!

I think that the Celine/Elvis bit was totally over the top and worth watching the whole program for. See my notes below. They never did tell us how they did it, but I would imagine you'll be able to find out with a google search. You can also download it to iTunes - I know I will!

This entry is going to be a long one. Enjoy!

Earth, Wind, & Fire – wow, what a blast from the past! Love those hot horn licks! Back in 1980 (I think) they won a Grammy for the instrumental arrangements courtesy of Jerry Hey and the Sea Wind horns! It still sounds good to me. Click here to watch a video – how cool is that!

African Children’s Choir – singing with Josh Groban. He has an amazing voice. (I’m reduced to tears again) The AFCC came to our church years ago and touched my heart in a deep way.

Rascal Flatts – I love this group, band, et al! Joe Don was a bit pitchy. Must be a TV thing. Besides that, I love their sound, their songs, and their incredible energy. I hope to get to see them in concert at some point.

Carrie Underwood – first, she is lovely. Second, tears flowed nearly immediately. I wish she would have sung a different song. But then again this was not about her; it was about the AIDS/poverty crisis. I think Carrie is my new fave singer. She is amazing.

___________ Opera on idol? Who was that group? I hope someone liked that – I didn’t.

Jack Black (Chris Farley reincarnated?) – dude! He can sing! Better than Kiss’s original! Here's the judges comments:
Simon – better than Sanjaya
Randy – Dog, check it out…
Paula – School of Rock wants their diploma back
Seal best rendition of Kiss’s… (I agree!)

Terri Hatcher - lose some of the make up. You don't need it.

House (Hugh Laurie) – same ole arrogant shtick. We love watching his show though.

Ellen Degeneres – she is typically very funny, but she seems to be struggling. Personally donating 100 g’s.

Paula Abdul - why does she wear tops like that? Please.

Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees (help me!) - hilarious.

Simon’s response to the people living in deplorable conditions. He seemed genuinely concerned about those people. Actually, he seemed overwhelmed.

Kelly Clarkson – nice bluesy voice. What an incredible contrast - vivacious highs, and silky lows. No wonder she was the original Idol.

The Simpsons – if you have ever seen the actors it’s even better. (I’ve actually never seen a single episode of the Simpsons. Click here to see actors on Conan.

Malaria – kills one child every 30 seconds in Africa. (no, malaria is not a rock group)

Celine Dion & Elvis Presley – INCREDIBLE!!! This was a show stopper! Two TRUE American Idols performing

Annie Lennox – ok vocals – not my style. Cool, innovative website though!

BonoYou’ve been told that you can’t be the generation that ends stupid poverty. It’s not true.

I have to confess that I did not call and make a contribution to AIDS/poverty. I'm sure that many did and I am thankful for that. Have a great week! Tye out.

Servant Leadership

At New Covenant Bible Church we are on a mission to raise up servant leaders and one way we do this is through an 8 week study called Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager. Click here to check out the book.

This morning we reviewed the four tests of a servant leader:

1. Welcoming and accepting feedback.
2. Succession planning when your season of leadership is past.
3. Letting God be the leader and you be the servant.
4. When you are treated like a servant you should respond like a servant.

As I was reading the Bible this morning I ran across a verse that talked about the problem a leader faces when they experience success. King Uzziah followed the Lord in all he did:

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. 2 Chronicles 26:4-5 NIV

Check out what happened later in his life:

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. 2 Chronicles 26:16 NIV

Uzziah's pride led to his downfall. We have to constantly guard against pride. Pride results in a self-serving leadership and although there may be short term successes, ultimately it will be the downfall of the individual and/or the downfall of the company/church they lead.
Lord, help me not to become proud, but to have a humble, servant's heart fully submitted to you to be a servant leader giving you all the glory! Tye out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Amercian Idol Update

I can't believe I am doing this! I didn't think I would be able to report on Idol this season, but I am!!!
Chris Richardson - boy band singer. I'll never like that sound.

Melinda Doolittle - man, this chick has got some pipes! I really dig that big voice and smooth vocal stylings. She would be my vote for AI.

Blake Lewis - Imagine - it was flat and went no where. But, that was the nature of the song.

Lakisha Jones - Good, but I prefer Melinda.

Phil Stacy - nice clear voice. It didn't do anything for me.

Jordan Sparks - great passion, incredible song, but sounded pitchy to me. But, the judges liked it! I think things sound different at home.

There you go. Melinda Doolittle is my pick for the next American Idol. Tye out.

Idol Gives Back - African Children's Choir

I forgot to mention that the African Children's choir will be performing tomorrow night. They came to the Gospel House Church when I worked there and they were absolutely incredible. This show is going to be a treat. Tye out.

Idol oops!

My last post talked about the American Idol Gives Back show to be aired tonight and all the great performers that will be featured. Celine, Rascal Flatts, et al will perform tomorrow night. Tye out.

Idol Gives Back

Tonight I am going to be camped out in front of the TV to watch American Idol - finally! Some of my fave performers will be there in an effort to raise money to stamp out AIDS and poverty in Africa. Bono, Irish rocker and lead singer of U2 will be making an appearance to talk about his passion to stop poverty and AIDS through his ONE program.

Here is what Idol posted on their website:

Bono Joins Many Other Celebs in Idol Gives Back! April 23, 2007Posted by Alex
As part of his ongoing efforts to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa, U2's Bono will participate in the
IDOL GIVES BACK fundraising special airing Wednesday 8/7c on FOX. The two-night special begins tomorrow 8/7c.
The Irish singer will meet with the six American Idol finalists to talk about the work of ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History ( and how the IDOL audience can help. The IDOL contestants also will perform "American Prayer," a song written by Bono and Dave Stewart about the AIDS emergency in Africa.
Bono joins an illustrious group of celebrity participants on the special, including Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Earth, Wind & Fire, Il Divo, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Josh Groban with the African Children’s Choir, Jack Black, Helen Mirren, Rascal Flatts, Quincy Jones, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox and many more.

Earth, Wind & Fire, Celine, Josh Groban, Rascal Flatts, and Carrie Underwood are some of my faves! This will be a cool night for a great cause.

I first learned of Bono's passion to do something about the AIDS/poverty crisis in Africa at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit last August. Now you can say what you want about Bono, but this guy is putting his money (and christianity) where his mouth is. This has become a passion for him because he read in the Bible that this is what christians are supposed to do. And, he can't understand why the church doesn't give a rip. (me either)

Check back later for my Idol Gives Back update later tonight. Tye out.

P.S. Rumor has it that Celine will be singing with Elvis tonight through the miracle of technology like Natalie Cole and her father Nat King Cole did. We'll see!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Recording with the Kirkwood Student Jazz Band

I got a call two Friday's ago after I got off at Panera from Tim Feldkamp out at Kirkwood College. The lead alto sax player was out of town and the band was scheduled to have a recording session on Monday and he wanted me to play for the band in the session.

So, I headed out to pick up the music and begin practicing because Tim said that it was going to quite challenging. It was.

I worked on difficult sections Saturday, and then on Sunday I worked on the parts between playing in brassline at all four services. I even stayed after the "welcome lunch" and practiced part of the afternoon.

Monday at 3 o'clock I sat down in the lead alto chair for the first time since leaving CCM back in 1981. And I have to say it felt good! Well, until I screwed up the next to last measure of the first tune not once, but twice! How humbling.

All in all the session went well. I had several solos and enjoyed working with the young people. I was invited back on Wednesday to cover again! It was a lot of fun! Thanks to Dr. Tim Feldkamp for having confidence in me to pull off the book! Tye out!

Christian McBride - your humility is cool man!

Christian McBride performs with the CR Jazz Band

Our big band (CR Jazz) had the awesome privilege of playing with bassist Christian McBride. He was fun to hang out with and talk jazz with. He was fun to be around and exuded humility. And you all know that I love to talk about humble, servant leaders. Check out this cut and paste from Christian's blog My Thang as he defers the credit for an upcoming album release to the other guys in the quartet:

New York Time Posted on 4/17/2007at 4:57 AM
Last September, a CD featuring myself, Javon Jackson, Cedar Walton, and Jimmy Cobb entitled "New York Time" was released on Chesky Records. I've gotten a number of e-mails congratulating me on "my latest CD". "I" even got a five-star review in BBC music magazine with a big half-size photo and everything. But I must tell you, this in no way, shape, or form is my CD. It was my understanding that this was to be a co-op CD that was centered around Mr. Jimmy Cobb, as there was another CD recorded the day before "New York Time" with Mr. Cobb, myself, and Hank Jones entitled "West of 5th." As you can see, my name is listed first on the CD jacket insinuating that it just might very well be my CD. I wish I could take credit for putting together a band like this, but I can't. So, the next time you see Jimmy Cobb, give him some extra dap! HE'S the man on this CD! (written by Christian McBride on his blog)

It is so refreshing to meet people who are humble, yet great. Thanks Christian for blessing us with your musical talent, and your humble ways! Tye out.

CR Jazz Band at Kirkwood Pictures

In case you checked out the last post before I had the pics uploaded you can check them out by clicking here. Special thanks to John Maurice for coming out to take pics! I"ll have more later from Todd Stafford who also took pictures. Kirkwood Community College will be airing the entire evening at some point in the future, so stay posted for details on when you can watch.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jammin' with the CR Jazz Band

Last night I had the awesome privilege of playing with the CR Jazz Band at Kirkwood College with guest artist Christian McBride. I was so pleased to see several of my friends, a co-worker and some fellow musicians from New Covenant Bible Church come out for an evening of big band jazz. You can click on the pic for a slideshow courtesy of John Maurice.

The concert went great and Christian McBride was absolutely phenomenal! He did things with an upright bass that I had never heard before. It was so awesome getting to jam with such a monster player like Christian. And he was a cool guy too! He played with the student band during the first half of the concert and afterwards he was debriefing with the rhythm section on how they did - an educator to boot!

I really enjoyed getting to take some solos (improv) on three of the tunes. I felt like a fish in water. We did this cool thing on Tunisia where I traded fours with Rene Ybarra on trumpet. I kinda screwed up the timing on the solo break, but it all came out ok. Broadbottom was a cool kinda ii-V7 chord structure that was a lot of fun to solo over. I wound up playing some real bluesy licks on that one. Finally, I played an alto solo on Sister Sadie an that one almost got away from me! I got so wound up I almost overplayed it. (Click here to see a clip of the GRP All Star big band performing this one. The alto player is a monster!)

Thanks to Todd & Amy, Scott & Andi, Joe & Delene, Tom & Gina, and Dave & Beth for coming out to hear the band. Special thanks to John Maurice for taking pictures! It was great to look out into the crowd and see some familiar faces! Thank you so much!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

CR Jazz Performing April 21, 2007

Jazz Bassist Christian McBride

Announcing Kirkwood Community College Instrumental Jazz Fest with Christian McBride at Ballantyne Auditorium, Main Campus Saturday, April 21st at 7:30 PM

Kirkwood's annual Instrumental Jazz Fest this year features special guest, famed jazz bassist Christian McBride. Performances with the Kirkwood Jazz Ensemble and CR Jazz Big Band, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets from Kirkwood Student Life, (319) 398-5578.

I joined the CR Jazz band back in January and we are performing this Saturday night at 7:30 with bassist Christian McBride and I am JAZZED!!! We have been rehearsing every Monday night and it's time to the show to go on!

We are performing some great tunes including Ya Gotta Try, Sister Sadie, Broadbottom, and several others. Yours truly has several solos and I cannot hardly wait. Director Tim Feldkamp has been awesome to work with and he is passionate about jazz! Thanks Tim for your hard work, dedication and commitment to continuing this incredible artform with the next generation.

We performed last Sunday night at Coe College with our lead trumpet player Rene Ybarrro in his senior recital. It was a great night and the band was cookin'! This Saturday night should be a great evening of jazz and I hope you can make it! Check back next week for a report and hopefully some pics! Tye out.

Yogi Berra and Christianity

I read a quote by Yogi Berra the other day that really amused me.

If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how are we going to stop them? Yogi Berra

This got me to thinking about the implications this may have on church life and Christianity in general. Check it out.

If people don't want to come to church, how are going to stop them? I can think of several ways we can stop people from wanting to come to church! Here are a few:
  1. Live like the devil through the week, and clean up on Sunday (that's hypocrisy)
  2. Refuse to "love your neighbor as yourself"
  3. Live in isolation of your community ("those sinners!")
  4. Talk negatively about your church
  5. Have a holier-than-thou mentality (they'll spot that one a mile away!)

I want to do everything in my power to love on people, serve them, help them when they need help, and share the gospel and if necessary use words. Tye out.

The Ascent of a Leader

I just finished reading The Ascent of a Leader. This book is really all about servant leadership and the difference between servant leaders and self-serving leaders. They talk about two ladders that leaders typically climb: 1. The capacity ladder and 2. the character ladder.

The capacity ladder is short ladder and it's rungs help a person climb to the top on the backs of others in many circumstances. The four rungs are:
  • Discover what I can do
  • Develop my capacities
  • Acquire title of position
  • Attain individual potential

There really isn't anything wrong with each of these, until you know that the rungs are attached to two runners: 1. Environments of mistrust and ungrace, 2. Relationships of power and leverage. Can you see the problem? This ladder is about being self-serving! I have worked with leaders like this and they typically use and abuse people on their climb to the top. It creates a toxic environment!

Then there is the character ladder. Here are the rungs on the character ladder:

  • Trust God and others with me - humility
  • Choose vulnerability - submission
  • Align with truth - obedience
  • Pay the price - suffering and maturity
  • Discover my destiny

The runners on this ladder are 1. Environments of grace, 2. relationships of grace. These healthy environments create the fertile soil for leaders to serve and people to grow.

I have worked in both kind of environments and I can tell you that now that I am in an environment of servant leadership and grace, I'll never go back to serving in an environment of ungrace.

In order to reach the fifth rung (which is really all about legacy) and stay there the author gives seven things a leader can do to prepare for this:

  1. You must confront complacency, avoiding patterns that may lead to indifference or hubris.
  2. Seek out new ways to express your compassion and convictions
  3. Remain teachable and make yourself available to teach others
  4. Instead of comparing your influence to others', place your future fully into the hands of God
  5. Share the benefits of your influence with those around you, rather than at their expense.
  6. Approach your relationships and priorities in a fluid way instead of scheduling your life to the point of excluding relationships that really matter.
  7. Aggressively seek to resolve your own character issues and weaknesses, continuing to trust others with your vulnerability and to align with the truth, even when it exacts a high price.

I feel pretty positive about each of these challenges. I am more often than not guilty of #4 and need to work on this. #6 can sometimes be a problem for me too.

If you have studied servant leadership at all, this book will be a different perspective on the same topic. I am still angry about the self-serving leaders that have hurt my family and me over the years and I need to practice forgiveness, sometimes on a daily basis. Tye out.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as 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....
Mk 10:42-43NIV

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech - the blame game

Tragedy struck a college campus yesterday when a lone gun man killed 33 people and wounded 26, the worst in US history. Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones, including one eastern Iowan.

And the blame game has ensued. First, the blame was directed at school officials for not acting soon enough to warn students. Then, there was talk about the security at the school. And even though we haven't heard it yet, the whole "outlaw guns" thing, although they did make mention on the news tonight about the fact that the guns were legal and registered. The blame game has ensued.

This is not about a student who snapped. I believe that this student had been prepared during his entire life for this moment. We live in a culture that has devalued life. An unborn child can be aborted at will, legally. They have been trying to get euthanasia legalized for quite some time now. It is ok to kill before they are born, and then choose who can live and who can die at the end of life.

In Columbus Ohio a school bus driver is told not to say "Merry Christmas" because it might offend someone. The ten commandments are no longer welcome and Christmas and Easter breaks have been replaced with a more political correct name. It is sad that Christians are seen as extreme with dangerous teachings. As a follower of Christ and the teachings of the Bible, I wholeheartedly and categorically reject the taking of innocent life.

If you ask me, I think we are blaming the wrong people. God's word provides us an answer to this evil act. Man is sinful, horribly so. Without God, we are all hopeless and in the end are capable or even diabolical acts of evil. This is the clear and plain teachings of the Bible. (Romans 1)

Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins so that we could have eternal life. I wish that the student who did this would have known Jesus and his love.

Please join me in saying a prayer for the families of those who lost loved ones, those who were wounded, and the survivors who will be heading to class where so much pain was inflicted.

Dear Jesus, Comfort the bereaved, honor the memory of the deceased, and challenge the living that life is worth living, even in painful circumstances. Please help those affected to seek to forgive this troubled student and to move on with their lives knowing that our lives are in your hands. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007


When the new pastor of our last church shocked me with the news that I would have to be on my way I felt more rejected in that moment (and betrayed too!) than I could ever remember.

Rejection hurts. The wife whose husband abandons her for a "newer" model. The man who faithfully serves his company for years only to be downsized. The child who is neglected by their parents. The woman whose second husband walks out. The 40 year old single who deeply longs for a mate to share his/her life with.

Yesterday I spoke with a divorcee who has been deeply wounded. I also spoke with a "downsized" chemical engineer. Their pain was evident on their faces as they tried to celebrate Easter. "Happy Easter" wasn't very happy for them.

If this is you, take heart. Do you know what the Bible says about Jesus?

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow and familiar with grief. Isaiah 53:3 NIV
In fact, many of God's people were rejected as well. Think of the disciples, the prophets, and Moses to name a few.

You see, I can kinda understand. I sent resume #63 to New Covenant Bible Church. Man, I was rejected by some really fine churches before God brought us here to an incredible church! I am thankful that my trust was in God to get us through a very difficult and dark period of our lives.

If you are feeling rejected today you are in good company with Jesus. Take your cares to him in prayer and allow him to heal you and make you complete in him because you already are! Tye out.

Others were tortured...Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. These were all commended for their faith...God had planned something better for us so that only togetherwith us would they be made perfect. Selected from Hebrews 11:35-40 NIV

Why I blog?

I found this article today and thought I would share it with you. Some have questioned me about blogging and what does it really accomplish. Well, today I read something that resonated with me so I'll share it with you. It is written by Ken Gosnell and is entitled 4 Ways Blogging Can Change Your Church. I have used Ken's four points and then the explanation that follows is mine. : )

1. Blogging will bring churches closer together as it closes a communication gap
It is truly my desire to eventually develop a blog for some of the ministries I oversee: Small Group, Men's Fraternity, ABFs. I would hope that people would be stopping by to see what is going on and interact with one another online.

2. Blogging will help to develop sermons and classes
Blogging helps me get my ideas down on "paper" and then get some feedback. Even though I am not developing sermons right now, but I'm still thinking devotionally as I read through the Bible and as ideas come to my mind I try to get them down on the blog.

3. Blogging will break down barriers and remove masks
As God is teaching me things I try to share those things with people so they might benefit from my personal struggles and how God is helping me grow. The apostle Paul was brutally honest with his struggles and that encouraged his readers.

4. Blogging will help the church to engage the culture
It also helps pastors like me engage the culture. I don't ever want to get trapped inside the stained-glass halls of the church isolated from the very culture Jesus commanded us to penetrate. I can do this by blogging about cultural issues and things in the culture for example jazz music, Zanny Henseler on Deal or No Deal, or ways for the church to be more effective.

There you go. I hope you enjoy reading my blog and find something here that helps encourage your life, makes you think about something, or just gives you a light-hearted moment in the middle of your day. Tye out.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Our 2nd annual Easter dinner with the Pagel's

Today we enjoyed our second annual Easter dinner with the Pagel family. We enjoyed some great food (ham, sweet potatoes, scallop potatoes, green bean casserole, fruit salad, salad, and some great home made yeast rolls!) and a wonderful time of connecting and sharing. The kids enjoyed playing Wii while we enjoyed some good coffee, chocolate cake, and chocolate pie. You can click on the pic for a slide show.

Then there was the second annual Easter egg hunt. Jon Pagel, Morgan and MacKenzie took part and MacKenzie took top honors collecting 30 eggs, Jon had 28, and Morgan had 26. All in all it was a great time and the competition was stiff! The candy tasted great too! Austin Spooner stopped by too and enjoyed some time playing Wii.

I am so thankful for good friends like the Pagel's. They have been so encouraging to us ever since we met them over two years ago. Thank you so much for being our friends and being so gracious to us. We really enjoyed the day with you!!! Tye out.

My blog on

Last Tuesday in staff meeting I learned that my blog was featured on I have blogged about their blog because they have had some posts that have helped my time management. Their blog encouraging us to take the bold step in reducing our email inbox to zero empowered me to do just that and I did! Click here to read about it.

As you know, this blog is about the things I care about so I blogged about this breakthrough in my life. It was so exciting! You can imagine how surprised I was when I saw my blog copied and pasted into their blog. How cool is that! Click here to see the post. Tye out.

He is risen indeed!

He is not here, but has been raised! Luke 24:6 (Net Bible)

Today is one of two days that Christians around the world have celebrated for nearly 2k years! There is an incredible amount of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Typically, I am teaching on Easter Sunday, but this morning at our 8 AM service I am the pastor of our overflow seating area. This means that I am responsible to help welcome people and oversee everything. (translation: I'm not really doing anything!)

From my memory as I sit in the back of the overflow area "overseeing," I want to share a few of the evidences for the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1. The fact of Jesus' death - This is important because some would say it wasn't a miracle at all but that Jesus merely "swooned." but didn't die. A Roman soldier attested to his death as he thrust his spear into his side to pierce his heart. The Bible said that water and blood flowed out indicating a breaking of the pericardium.

2. The fact of the guard - Pilate had the tomb guarded because the Jews were fearful that the disciples would attempt to steal the body and falsify a "resurrection." There were probably between 16-20 Roman guards who would be punished with death if they allowed a prisoner to get away. In fact, they would be punished severely (flogged) if they even sat down while on duty.

3. The fact of the seal - there was a seal placed on the tomb to keep robbers out. Wax was placed on either side of the tomb and one on the stone covering the grave. This wax was sealed with the governor's seal and to break it meant death.

4. The fact of the post resurrection sightings of Jesus

  • Mary Magdelene, the other women, to Cleopas and the other disciple on the road to Emmaus, and many others
  • 500 at one time 1 Cor 15:3-6
  • He had a body – he ate fish
  • He was recognizable
  • He was seen my all sorts of people - Fisherman, educated men, women – at different times and different places.

In it’s[the New Testament] pages are contained six independent testimonies to the fact of the resurrection. Three are eyewitnesses: John, Peter, and Matthew. Paul, writing to the churches at an early date, refers to the resurrection in such a way that it is obvious to him and his readers that the event was well known and was accepted without question. Are these men, who helped transform the moral structure of society, consummate liars or deluded madmen? (Know Why You Believe, Paul Little, p25)

5. The fact of the stone - the stone that was placed in front of the tomb would have weighed around 1 1/2 tons. He was most certainly dead, and he was securely laid in the tomb. The angel of the Lord had to roll the stone out of the way so the disciples could see that he was gone. Christ rose through the linen wrappings and through the rock - in his body.

6. The fact of the changed lives of many people - Peter became a bold proclaimer of the resurrection in spite of heavy persecution; Paul, who was killing Christians in the name of Judaism, became a follower of Christ because of the resurrection; 3000 on the day of Pentecost.

There are a lot more things I could share, but I think you get the point. The most important thing is that Christ changed my life and he can change your life too and give you hope not only in this life, but he'll give you eternal life - free! Believe in him today! Tye out.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 (Net Bible)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

iPod - BIG/little blessings

I love those iPods, but have had mixed emotions about something that is so proprietary, especially when you can get an mp3 player for so much less, and besides, who needs white headphones. By now you probably know that I prefer to stay away the latest fads especially since they cost so much money.

Well, I have been using iTunes to purchase songs and then I found out you can only sync iTunes with an iPod. Rats!!! So, I figured that I would eventually own an iPod, but at $200+ I figured that would be never...

Someone knew about my "dilemma" and today GAVE me an iPod. WOW!!! I will now be able to use this to listen to podcasts as well as music while I'm reading without having to fire up my laptop. That's gi-normous!

God is so good...even when you don't get an iPod. Thank you Lord for your BIG/little blessing today! Tye out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Zanny got her new Escalade!!! (Deal or No Deal)

As you can see, Zanny got her new Escalade last week and had it at church with her on Sunday. A friend was kind enough to send me the pics. You can click on the pic for a slide show.

I have to secretly admit (can you do that on a blog?) that I had hoped she would be holding a sign that said "Hi Tye!!!" Oh well.

Zanny, we are very happy for you and hope you derive a lot of joy driving your new Escalade around town. It's a fine looking ride and I don't know if you realize it or not, but it matches the color of your sunglasses! (I'm so funny!)

Zan (can I say that), you have receive an awesome gift. My challenge to you is to find out how God wants you to use this gift to bless and encourage others.

Happy cruising! Tye out.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Mackenzie at the hop

Friday night Judy and I took Mackenzie to her elementary school's Sock Hop and it was a blast. They have been learning how to do the Cha Cha Slide, Macarena, and the bunny hop. It was a lot of fun to watch the children dressed in their poodle skirts and the boys in jeans and tee-shirts. I even got into the action with a black leather coat, white tee, jeans and white socks with high waters. Click on the pic for a slide show.

Mackenzie has a new friend - Kayley. When they started the cha cha slide for the second time I couldn't help but get out there and give it a whirl, and since a lot of other adults were out there I thought it would be ok. It was a lot of fun and quite the work out. (actually it was developed as a work out for Bally's Fitness Center)Afterwards we all went to Culvers for ice cream. Tye out.

Happy Birthday Morgan - no April's fool!

Happy birthday Morgan! 14 years ago today we had a beautiful baby girl at around 10:15 PM in a Cleveland hospital. She has brought so much joy into our lives. She was one of those babies that you could sit in the corner and she would play for hours without needing much. cried very little and was easy to have around.

Today she has matured into a lovely young lady who is our fashion bug of the family. She enjoys the more trendy clothing and jewelry! God loves variety she has been just that for us! She ran track this year and is the manager for the boys soccer team.

After church Susie, Hannah, Brenda, Judy, Mackenzie, and myself headed out to Pizza Ranch. Then, tonight we had Dairy Queen ice cream cake with the rest of the family!

Happy birthday Morgan! We love you soooo much!!! Dad out.

Gene Baxter's Holiday - April Fool's Day

Sitting at a table in the lobby of Panera near the entrance, Gene Baxter celebrates April Fool's day in a cool way. As people walk in he very nonchalantly tells them that something is hanging down from their clothes and it is hilarious to see them inspect their clothing and then Gene would say "April Fool's Day" and they would smile and laugh. Cool stuff. I'm told that later on he'll move to the mall and do the same thing.

What you don't know is that I am told that Gene Baxter has been doing this for 25 years, and that he is 94 years old. You go man!