Sunday, September 30, 2007

Digging the window well

Me digging a ditch - click for more pics

In the continuing saga of the basement remodel I had to dig out the window well to make room for a larger egress window. The concrete cutters are coming in the morning to cut the foundation to accommodate the larger window. The concrete guys need the well to be a foot below where the cut will take place so let the digging begin. I only had a couple hours this afternoon to get this done - and I did. And I learned some lessons...

First of all, I should be thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a great job where I typically use more of my head than my back. And next time I complain about my work day, maybe I'll grab a shovel and dig a hole.

Second, you can only handle life one shovel load at a time. At one point it wasn't looking like I would finish the job in time to head back to church. In fact, I became a little overwhelmed. Then, I reminded myself to concentrate on one shovel load at a time. It worked. I finished in time. Tye out.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Willow Creek Small Groups Conference

Me and Rob at Willow Creek

Greetings from Chicago! Rob Williams and I are here in a suburb of the windy city sitting at a Starbucks enjoying a fine frappuccino. We are attending The Ancient/Future Small Groups Conference at Willow Creek Community Church. The conference has been excellent and once again my thinking has been challenged in a number of areas. I had a chance to chat with Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson again. I went to a break out session with Joe Myers (The Search to Belong) and had my community paradigm realigned. I really enjoyed interacting with Joe.

As I stand on the precipice of the launch of nearly 60 Impact groups at NCBC, I am reminded that people have a God-given inclination for community. And people connect in community in many ways, not just small groups.

Finally, I love Willow Creek's music. O MY! They do such an awesome job of leading us to the throne of God in worship. Their use of visual technology really added to the experience. That’s it for now. Tye out.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Prepare for Impact - "Why> Pursuing Answers to Life's Biggest Questions" series

My crazy weekend culminated with an incredible day on Sunday as we signed up Hosts for small groups and tried to connect folks to small groups. It was crazy! We started out Sunday morning with just over 40 Host homes and ended the day with between 50 and 60. Here's what happened...

Saturday night I headed to the church around 7:15 PM to go through all the groups and figure out which groups could take more people and which ones were full. I put all this info into a spread sheet and then created spread sheets for each of the days of the week with the Host homes on them so people could walk up to the table and sign up for an existing group. I finished up around 10:15 and headed home after a long day.

Sunday morning I was back in at 6:45 AM to put the books out on the table. What happened next I would have never predicted.

After the 8 AM service the table was flooded with people trying to find a group to get into. We were also selling books to folks who were unable to be in a small group. It was crazy, but all good!

After the 9:20 service, it was crazier than ever! We had Hosts picking up their packets and books, people purchasing books, and folks trying to find a group to get into! I have never heard "Pastor Tye?" uttered so many times in my life. It was great! I loved every minute of it!

At 10:55 we still had a crowd and someone came to get me to lead Host Orientation at 11 AM. Typically we only have a couple by now because we have been conducting these all month. Well, we have about 12 people to be trained at Hosts! O MY! Then it was back to the table for more mayhem! (I'm lovin' it by now!!!)

I ran home, scarfed some cold pizza and headed out to cut the grass - no kidding. Then, clean up and work on the spreadsheets based on the changes the morning brought.

Back at the church at 4:30 to prepare for another round. It was a little slower in the evening, but Host Orientation had about 18 people there. INCREDIBLE!!!

At the end of the day, one group had 18 in it and was going to have to multiply already!!! Two groups that had zero people had LOTS of people. I'll bet the Hatfields and Page's were shocked when the phone started ringing all afternoon. Applegate's group got a crowd as did Schmidt's!

I still have a few hours of processing to go this morning and the groups should be fairly well established. In the coming weeks I'll be giving updates and small group ideas.

A very tired, but fulfilled...Tye out.

Mackenzie's movie night

Mackenzie asked mom if she could have some friends over for a movie night and she did this past Saturday night. But Mackenzie took the creative route to make this happen. Check it out...

First, she set up a "ticket window" and then put Monopoly money outside so everyone would have money for entrance. Then, she passed out vouchers for snacks. She had everyone form a line to get their snacks. Everyone moved into the "movie theater" to watch "Space Jam."

Mackenzie, you are the hostess with the mostest! You are also a fine leader and I am very proud of you! AWESOME! Dad out.

Drywall taping party

Chris, me, Larry and Mark
(Click on pic for slideshow)

My busy weekend continued right into Saturday when 3 guys came over at 8 AM to help me tape the drywall in the basement. Thanks to Chris, Larry and Mark who came over and helped! Mark Retter brought his banjo over which really sped up the process.

Once everyone left around noon, I took a a couple hours of break time and then headed back down to keep working. I finished up around 6:30 PM. I still have about 38% to do - but remember, 68% of all statistics are made up on the spot. : )

This is a short week because I have conference this week so I am taking the week off from working on the basement - I need the break. We'll hit hard October 1! Tye out.

Jammin' with D. Anthony

This past weekend was extremely busy! It started off with a Friday night band job in Iowa City. The band was ok but we all had a good time playing. We played at the Eagles Lodge in their dance hall which is connected to the front bar area. Even though our area was non-smoking, I think I inhaled enough smoke to cut my life short a few days. : (

I was thankful for the extra work (think $$$), time to blow my horn, and to mix it up with people who don't typically go to church. Salt and light... Tye out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yogi Berra quote of the week

"Yeah, what paper do you write for, Ernie?"
(Yogi's comment when introduced to Ernest Hemingway.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Men's Fraternity Wednesday AM group launches!

Men's Fraternity Wednesday morning group launched this morning with 70+ men in attendance. Excitement was in the air as the men began arriving shortly before 6 AM! The coffee was hot and the donuts fresh. Click on the pic for a slide show.

The exciting part for me was the number of new guys that came out. I wish that every single man in our church would be there to experience this 24 week journey to come to grips with what authentic manhood is really all about. This "Quest for Authentic Manhood" is truly designed in such a way that every single man would benefit from it.

In case you missed our first session you can still join in at any time! And, there are no strings attached! Just come on in and check it out! Tye out.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yes, there is a website - ha! So, why not join me in talking like a pirate today, and then by watching Pirates of the Caribbean. Here are some phrases that'll have ye ole land lubbers talkin' like me pirate in no time at tall! (from

Ahoy! - "Hello!"

Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, "Whoa! Get a load of that!" which today makes it more of a "Check it out" or "No way!" or "Get off!"

Aye! - "Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did."

Aye aye! - "I'll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over."

Arrr! - This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. "Arrr!" can mean, variously, "yes," "I agree," "I'm happy," "I'm enjoying this beer," "My team is going to win it all," "I saw that television show, it sucked!" and "That was a clever remark you or I just made." And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!

Tye out. ARRRR!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What is the definition of a man

In order to promote the need for Men's Fraternity at our church Andrew (my son) shot a "man on the street" video. It is well done! Check it out and let me know what you think. Tye out.

Men's Fraternity Tuesday PM launches with 43 men!

Last year we launched our very first Men's Fraternity group at New Covenant Bible Church. But I knew that there were men who could not make the Wednesday morning group so Joe Meyer started a group in his home and did a great job.

This year it was my goal to launch a Tuesday evening Men's Fraternity group that would meet at our 46th street campus. We put together a leadership team and began planning.

Tonight at 6:30 PM we launched with 43 men! And of that group about 35 were first time attenders to Men's Fraternity.

Thanks to our team leader Tom Green, and the rest of the crew: Mike Johnson, Gary Thompson, Shaun Elhard, Ken Owens, and Dave Dawson. You guys did a great job tonight.

Monday, September 17, 2007

after about 80 sheets of drywall - this is all that is left

Last night I put up the last piece of drywall last night with the exception of the east wall of the bedroom which will get finished when the window comes in. Tonight I carried out a truckload (literally!) of scrap drywall to take to the dump in the morning - see pic. I then cleaned and straightened up the basement. You can also click on the pic to see all the rooms with the drywall up. Enjoy!

Wednesday and Thursday night I will be putting screws in all the areas I skipped earlier and making sure we are ready to tape.

So, hopefully we be taping the joints on Saturday. I can't wait! Tye out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Yogi Berra quote of the week

If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be. - Yogi Berra

The drywall is all done!

Tonight at 11:45 I put up the last sheet of drywall. Larry came over Wednesday for about 3 hours and Scott Kacena came over Thursday for about 2.5 hours. Friday night I worked alone until about 1:30 AM and then back again Saturday for about 12 hours. This was a lot of work and I'm glad to hit this milestone.

This project got turboed when I was working on a coaching class I recently completed. There was a couple things that was going to be difficult to deal with. Through working with a professional coach, I was able to identify next steps and to follow through with accountability.

Next comes taping the drywall joints. We are waiting on the bedroom window to come in and when it does I'll call the concrete guy to come out and cut the window opening.

Shouldn't be long before we are painting! Tye out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Yesterday was a sad day for me. I very clearly remember sitting in my office when one of the admin's came in to tell me that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. I didn't think too much of it because it is a tall building and the potential of a small airplane hitting it would be rather high if the pilot was having trouble. That was not the case.

I was then standing in my pastor's office watching CNN when the 2nd plane drove into the other tower. In that moment I knew our world had changed and would never, ever be the same.

Then at 10 AM I stood before 44 ninth and tenth grade students in Bible class (I was an adjunct teacher) and told them what had happened and I said these words:

The world, as we know it, will never be the same.

It's true. Air travel is WAY different. Men and women have lost their lives in an attempt to stop those evil people who wreaked havoc on thousands and thousands of innocent people. And the threat of another act of terror is always looming.

Then there were the brave firefighters, rescue people, and normal people who arose to the occasion to help others who never returned to their families.

Alan Jackson performed a song he wrote just for the occasion. Click here to watch it.

We know that there will never be peace until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ returns to the planet and sets everything right.

21:1 Then1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist,2 and the sea existed no more. 21:2 And I saw the holy city – the new Jerusalem – descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence3 of God is among human beings.4 He5 will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.6 21:4 He7 will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more – or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist." Revelation 21 NET Bible

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Yogi Berra quote of the week

"I haven't seen him."
(Yogi's reply to a teammate when told that he was waiting for Bo Derek.)

We did the tile in the bathroom today!

I am one step closer to having our basement remodeled. Don Purdy came over and helped me tile the downstairs bathroom. As always, click here for pics of the day. Larry came over and helped for a while before heading down for the Iowa game.

It was a good day. I was glad to get this job done, plus it was cool spending time Don since we have never had a chance to hang out. Typically I wind up helping the person who is helping me, but today I laid most of the tile. Thanks Don, and Larry too, for a job well done! Tye out.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Firefox is BEST

I was complaining to our IT guy the other day that I could not listen the music online at He told me that the problem was with Vista OS and that if I downloaded Firefox it would work perfectly.

Well I downloaded Firefox and he was absolutely right - and I love it! Firefox works so much better than Internet Explorer. Once I downloaded the Google Toolbar so I could have my online bookmarks I was a happy camper!

By the way, you can hear the band I played in two weeks ago (Hammond XK3 and tenor sax) by clicking here and then select "Worship in Song" 8-26-07 and then you can hear our brassline by clicking 9-2-07. Or click here, and then here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Jazz @ Konstantinos

Tonight I had the privilege of playing with the Iowa Vanguard Jazz Collective at Konstantinos in Cedar Rapids. It was an awesome night and the band never sounded better. It was a great setting and there were a handful of people there enjoying the music.

We are hoping that this will turn into a regular gig. Stay tuned for details. Tye out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Contentment and Entitlement

Early this week I read about the children of Israel in my read-through-the-Bible of the new NET Bible and how they complained to Moses about the manna they had to eat every day.

11:4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them craved more desirable foods, and so the Israelites wept again and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 11:5 We remember the fish we used to eat freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we are dried up, and there is nothing at all before us except this manna!” Numbers 11:4-6 NET Bible

God was hand delivering all the manna they could eat every day - free food! But like many of us they complained about the free food. You see, they felt entitled to have better food than what they were currently receiving. And, they actually said that it was better back in Egyptian bondage and slavery!

The question is one of contentment verses entitlement. It is so easy to begin taking for granted the nice things we enjoy. Here in Cedar Rapids I often see beautiful houses, two new(er) cars in the drive, house full of furniture, and even a boat and/or motorcycle in the garage. Expensive vacations are fairly common. I quit doing the "what was your favorite vacation" ice breaker because it was depressing to hear about all these trips if you were unable to afford them!

Are we content, or are we feeling the pull of the entitlement attitude?

Bottomline, are we content with what you have? In many parts of our country and around the world people are dying of hunger and poor living conditions. Let's choose to be thankful for what we have. Tye out.

4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. 4:12 I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment,8 whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. 4:13 I am able to do all things9 through the one10 who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 NET Bible

Labor Day was for laboring

Yesterday was Labor Day for us here in the United States and at my house it was labor day all day long. We are trying to get our basement remodeled and thanks to Larry Smith who met me at Menard's at 8:30 AM we were able to get the drywall we needed to finish up and some other odds and ends.

By 9 PM last night I had finished the family room and now we only have about 8 more sheets to hang. This Saturday we are laying tile in the bathroom.

I did manage to spend a little time with the fam cooking out on the grill and then later a bike ride with kk.

Maybe next Labor Day we can have a picnic and not do so much work. In the meantime, I thank God for the work he has given me at New Covenant Bible Church and for a day to catch up on the remodeling. Tye out.