Wednesday, April 30, 2008

a word from the message

I was reading Ecclesiastes this morning in The Message and thought I would share these verses with you. Here goes:

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes -God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don't skimp on colors or scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed. Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 the Message

Let me know how it goes. Tye out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The staff that plays together...

Today was our fifth Tuesday of the month staff party at New Covenant Bible Church and it was a blast! You gotta love a church that values teamship so much that they provide this in order for us to spend time together.

The festivities started out with some great food from BBQ This! which included double-smoked chopped beef, smoked turkey, cheesy potatoes, and delicious brownies to name a few items.

Mark Forstrom (our Senior High Pastor) was in charge of our game time this month and we did some awesome icebreaker style games to help us get to know one another, and to have fun of course! We ran out of time but not before we were able to pose with a tug-o-war rope even though we never had the tug-o-war. You can click on the pic for a brief slideshow.

The final question to discuss was "what most do you like about the staff at NCBC?" I responded that I love the grace that our staff gives and receives. I have worked in legalistic environments before where verbal lashings were the norm during staff meetings and you constantly worked to protect yourself from the next verbal rebuke in front of everyone. This is most definitely NOT the case at New Covenant where we value grace. This environment is fertile soil for attempting great things for God and discovering how best to serve him and his people. In a "graceless" environment everyone works at self-protection and often to the detriment of one another and the organization.

Secondly, I appreciate our value of teamship. We do everything at NCBC in teams. No one person leads ministry at our church, pastors included. Everyone does everything in teams.

NCBC has to have one of the healthiest church staffs on the planet. I wish that everyone could experience what I have over the past nearly three years. Tye out.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomorrow is the National Day of Silence - this is a truly Christian response

(I am reposting this article I wrote about a month ago)

I first heard of the Day of Silence at a board meeting recently. On April 25, 2008 students are being encouraged to have a day of silence in honor of a student who was shot and killed because of his sexual orientation which I would assume was homosexual. While I completely disagree with the homosexual agenda, I whole-heartedly disagree with violence to gays.

I am writing today because I have never believed that we will get anywhere with those we disagree with by carrying banners, protest marches, petition drives and the like. We are called to love those with whom we disagree. This is called grace and I would rather be known for what I am for rather than what I am against.

Our senior high pastor, Mark Forstrom, has written an incredible article on the subject and it is posted on his blog. Much of what he says is an answer Don Wildmon and the American Family Association (AFA) which has a very ungracious and unchristian response to the Day of Silence. (Please know that Tye's Jazz dot com does not endorse AFA in any way.)

Here is part of Mark's response which can be read in its entirety on his blog:

I’ve started receiving numerous emails about boycotting the April 25th Day of Silence (details below) and I want to offer my perspective for consideration.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about it as well as some research about this event. The website says the purpose of the event is to: “observe a daylong silence to protest the bullying, harassment and name-calling—in effect, the silencing—faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies in schools.” In contrast, The American Family Association website (AFA) claims their purpose is “to disrupt the classes while promoting the homosexual lifestyle.” The Mission America website goes even further: “This pro-homosexual day communicates clear (and false) messages to ALL students in the school that: homosexuality is a worthy lifestyle; that it has few or no risks; that some people are “born” homosexual, including students; and that those who oppose this behavior are hateful and uninformed.”

Despite what these Christian organizations infer as to the purpose of the event, I believe we must base our response on their stated purpose, not our assumptions or interpolations. To do otherwise makes us look like fear-mongering, paranoid, extremists, who don’t understand plain English.

Surprisingly, I can fully agree with the stated purpose of the Day of Silence which says that the bullying, harassing, and name-calling of gays is deplorable. Though I strongly disagree about the correctness of homosexuality, I believe we should love those with whom we disagree. If we’re ever going to reach their hearts and change their values, I believe it will happen through love, not protesting.

Click here to read the rest of the article. I hope you will. Tye out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A REALLY busy weekend

I am writing this from East Iowa Bible Camp which is halfway to Des Moines from Cedar Rapids. We have a retreat for our elders, deacons, and equipping staff two times a year where we talk about the direction of the ministry and spend time working on alignment between the ministries. It is always a good time and I enjoy it immensely!

Yesterday I drove to Rock Falls, Iowa to see one of my best friends - Daniel Liberek - who is a missionary in Belgium. It was a 2 hour and twenty minute drive each way. It was an awesome time of catching up and talking about times gone by. I must be getting old.

CR Jazz Big Band dress rehearsal was last night with guest artist Carl Saunders and it only took us a half hour to go over the charts. Carl is great player and the concert tonight will be awesome!

I left CR around 9 PM with a caramel machiaato from Starbucks and arrived at the camp around 10:00 PM.

Sunday afternoon I am playing with the New Venue Big Band at Riverside Casino (no, I won't be gambling) entertaining the ballroom dancers. I am pretty excited about this because I get to play lead alto.

Alright breakfast is smelling good so I better check out. Have a great weekend!

I'm Mr. Incredible!

Mackenzie has a friend over for the weekend and you just gotta love watching two ten year old girls play and have a good time with one another. Michaela and Mackenzie...I'll come back to them in a minute.

I was getting ready to leave for CR Jazz Band dress rehearsal when I looked up at the ceiling in our bedroom and noticed a wet spot. RATS! (that's Christian swearing) What should I do? Call a roofing pro? Go up in the attic and check it out? hmmmm. I was running close on time and really didn't have time for this.

So I decided to put a bucket up in the attic to catch the water until I get back this afternoon and then I would address the issue. So I got some 2x4's and a drywall mud bucket and headed up.

Oh, did I tell you my attitude went down the drain? "Why me?" "It's been one thing after the next!" "When will the trials never end!" "We'll never get ahead financially at this rate!" Woe is me.

I discovered that birds had built a nest in the ridge vent and it was wicking water and dripping it right on our ceiling. I cleared out the nest and in 10 minutes I was finished!

I was getting ready to leave and I was celebrating my minor victory over the roof leak and Michaela shouted out "you ARE Mr. Incredible!" Thanks Michaela for believing in me! I then told my wife and Mackenzie that THAT is my love language and I need to hear that kind of stuff!

We all need an encouraging word from time to time. How about building up someone you love today!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Being Salt & Light means you should pay your taxes without complaining

I would imagine that most of you have already filed your taxes and might have even received your refund back in the mail. I did.

Jesus tells us to pay taxes if they are required:

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away. Matthew 22:15-22 NIV

Pay your taxes and don't complain. I don't like paying them any more than you do, but it is something we are supposed to do in order to be salt and light in this world.

The one thing I would say is that you have the opportunity to vote for people who want to tax and spend a lot less than they are now. Also, I would be careful about voting for the person who is offering everyone free stuff - you and I will have to pay for it! Tye out.

Senator Obama's remark's

Senator Obama made some remarks that have probably hurt him, possibly beyond recovery at this point.

At issue are comments Obama made privately at a fundraiser in San Francisco last Sunday. He explained his troubles winning over working class voters, saying they have become frustrated with economic conditions:

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

(as reporterd by JIM KUHNHENN and CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writers Sat Apr 12, 3:15 PM ET)

Everyone is frustrated with the economic situation our country is in. But I'm not looking to the government to solve my problems. I am trusting God with my life and the Bible tells us to pray for those who are in authority over us.

What if Huckabee had made these comments? Think about it. Tye out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adult Singles Leadership Team in Springfield Illinois

(L to R: Ginny Larsen, unidentified Union Officer, Steve Cooper~front, Ed Larsen~back, another unidentified Union Officer, Dianna Burnett, Dave Taylor)

This past weekend the leadership team for our Singles Together ABF, a Bible study group who also does activities, headed to Westside Christian Church in Springfield, Illinois to meet with a team that has been doing what we are trying to do for around 20 years now. It was our goal to meet and interact with members of Westside's singles leadership team and attend their ABF on Sunday morning. You can click on the pic above for a slideshow.

We left Saturday morning for the four hour drive and after lunch went to the Lincoln Museum which was totally amazing. The Ghosts of the Library featured special effects produced by Holavision where ghosts interacted with an onstage performer. It was truly amazing and well worth the trip. (In case you have been there, click here to discover how they do it.)

Saturday night we had supper with about 16 people from Westside's Single's leadership team and then had dessert at Julie's house where we interacted with them on several topics we were hoping to get answers on. The fellowship was great and the dessert was even better!

Sunday morning we went to the ABF, church, and then headed back to CR. Thanks to Steve Cooper for arranging the trip, Ed Larsen for driving, and Dianna Burnett, Dave Taylor and Ginny Larsen for going as well. Thanks to Gary Winkleman and his great team of folks who made us feel so welcomed. Tye out.

My question about Sangwoo Youtong Chee was answered by a blog reader!

ssonia replied to my blog post I have a question with this response to what a Sangwoo Youtong Chee professor of theology is. Here is her/his response:

Sangwoo Youtong Chee is my grandfather. Before he died, he donated a chair or endowement to Regent College. JI Packer was the first to occupy the chair and did so until his retirement. Dr. John Stackhouse currently holds this professorship.

Thanks to ssonia for answering this question. I have always secretly hoped that I could attend Regent University to work on a master's degree. But I would need an endowment to do that. Tye out.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some blogging tips

I have begun reading Seth Godin's blog and find it insightful and interesting. It also helps us pastor types to stay connected to the real world! He offers some tips for those who blog and I thought this list was good. I enjoy blogging a great deal and hope that you enjoy reading my blog. Here is the post right from Godin's site:

You can improve your writing (your business writing, your ad writing, your thank you notes and your essays) if you start thinking like a blogger:

  1. Use headlines. I use them all the time now. Not just boring ones that announce your purpose (like the one on this post) but interesting or puzzling or engaging headlines. Headlines are perfect for engaging busy readers.
  2. Realize that people have choices. With 80 million other blogs to choose from, I know you could leave at any moment (see, there goes someone now). So that makes blog writing shorter and faster and more exciting.
  3. Drip, drip, drip. Bloggers don't have to say everything at once. We can add a new idea every day, piling on a thesis over time.
  4. It's okay if you leave. Bloggers aren't afraid to include links or distractions in their writing, because we know you'll come back if what we had to say was interesting.
Click here to read the rest of the list.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I have a question

What in the world is a "Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology." Looks like a melancholy individual who drinks Chai Tea and watches YouTube videos.

I tried to cut my thumb off!

I was slicing a bagel for Mackenzie Sunday night and I violated the age old adage - never cut toward yourself.

I sliced my thumb bad enough that it wouldn't quick bleeding so I went down the emergency room for some super glue. Judy was already planning to head down to St. Luke's Hospital to get her work for this week for her nursing clinicals so we rode together and while I waited to be seen she did her work.

I was able to get some reading done. I am currently reading the Dummies Guide to 30 Minute Meals. It won't be long and I'll be preparing some quick and tasty meals for the family...but taking my time with sharp appliances in the kitchen!

The weekend in review

It was a great weekend weather-wise and I was able to get out and ride my bike 33 miles on Friday and 24 on Saturday. It was awesome getting back out on the road! Also, Friday Judy and I was able to spend some great quality time together.

Saturday night I played a band job with the New Venue Big Band in Burlington Iowa and it was a fantastic concert. The only thing was that we left around 5 PM and didn't return until around 2 AM but the pay was good and we had a nice time chatting during the car ride.

Sunday morning I was the campus pastor at the Washington High School site and also played in our brassline. Things went well and I thank the Lord for what he is doing there at our "fifth service."

I left Washington High School pretty quick to make a 12:30 meeting with a group of men I had invited to help us form a ministry called S.W.A.T. (Service with a Tool). We had around 15 men show up to here the vision for this exciting new ministry and we had a lot of great interaction and discussion. We are off to a good start and I can't wait to see how God is going to bring this together.

All in all it was a great weekend.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More Frank Caliendo - Letterman 2008

I've enjoyed video week and hope that you have too.

I think this guy is amazing. I put this video up because I love the interaction between Dave and Frank. It is obvious that David is really impressed with Frank and enjoys talking to him.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Frank Caliendo - amazing impressions

Frank Caliendo has practically become a household name. We saw him at Riverside Casino a couple weeks ago and even got a picture taken with him. His John Madden impression is unbelievable. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Christmas and Easter - I've been thinking

I've been thinking about our Easter traditions a lot. Not the Easter bunny, chocolate eggs, etc. I have been wondering for years why we blow the doors off the church with huge pageants, special choruses, special emphasis, and huge outreach efforts on these two days.

Aren't we supposed to be reaching people every day of the year? I know what you are thinking. People who don't typically go to church will actually show up for these two days which reminds me of the fellow who came to church and complained to the pastor:

Pastor, every time I come to church they always sing the same songs: Up From the Grave He Arose, and Away in the Manger. (laugh now!)

This leads me to the my second thought about C & E. Why in the world would we "put on the dog" for these two days when we know that unchurched folk are going to be there? Are we trying to impress them? Are we trying to win them? Well, if this is the case, then pray they don't come back until the next Christmas or Easter because when the dust settles on the next Sunday they are going to be very disappointed, and possibly disillusioned.

What set me off tonight? I just read a blog post over at PastorHacks that resonated with me. Check out what they say:

The danger in giving in to the impulse to do something radically different and humongous big and special at these times is what we communicate both to our community and those we are inviting to become a part of our community. What we subtly communicate (and sometimes not so subtly) to our people is that their job is to invite people who are not in our churches to come on Sunday morning so that the Pastor and the drama team and the worship guy and the Holy Spirit can take a whack at them. (click here to read the rest)

This leads to a third point. In essence we are saying to our folks: You bring them to church and we'll lead them to Christ. It has never been the job of the church to lead people to Christ, unless you define the church as the people that inhabit it. This communicates falsely to people that they are unable to tell people about Christ.

I, for one, was thankful that at NCBC our worship pastor Gary Hoobler incorporated some of the new music into Easter rather than rehashing the same old songs we've sung year after year because it makes us feel good.I don't ever want to anything because it's "tradition" and makes me feel good.

(Please read the disclaimer on the lower right of my blog right now!)

Any thoughts? Tye out.

The Chanukah Song by Adam Sandler

This is a really funny song. There are a couple of PG-13 moments. Only Adam Sandller could pull this off. He plays guitar pretty well too. Enjoy!

My Favorite Motivational Speaker - Matt Foley

Have you got rowdy teenagers? Why not enlist the services of a motivational speaker? Have him come over to the house and give your kids a good talking to! I highly recommend Matt Foley. Here's a video clip of him at his best!

Ten Questions for ministry relationships

Here is a list of questions to ask yourself about your ministry relationships right from Craig Groeshel's blog.

Ten Questions: Ministry Relationships

1. Are the people closest to me in ministry lifting me higher or dragging me down?

2. How have I intentionally developed the leaders around me in the past week?

3. Am I speaking transparently with at least two other close trusted friends on a weekly basis?

4. Am I submitting myself to the correction and coaching of at least two mentors?

5. Am I holding a grudge against someone?

Click here to read the rest.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Will Ferrell is Harry Caray

I love this clip of Will Ferrell doing Harry Caray on Saturday night live. I never knew of Harry when he was alive but I have heard all about him. Enjoy!

How's your relationship with Christ?

I just recently subscribed to Craig Groeschel's blog and I he is starting a series today for leaders. Craig is pastor of

These are great questions to ask yourself to determine how you are doing in your relationship with Christ. I would liken these questions to a heart rate monitor. The HR monitor cannot cause you to have a good heart beat; it merely tells you what your heart is doing.

Today he lists ten questions to ask ourselves about how our relationship with Christ is going. I'd encourage you to stop in and check out Craig's blog. Craig writes:

Today we’ll examine some questions that surround our Relationship with Christ.

  1. What did I learn in God’s word this week?
  2. Is my burden for prayer growing or diminishing?
  3. Does my heart break for the things that break the heart of God?
  4. Have I grown accustomed to or accepted sin in my life?
  5. Am I doing ministry out of an overflow of God’s work in my heart or out of my own strength?
Click here to read the remaining five.

Tye out.

Happy birthday Morgan!

Today we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the birth of our precious daughter Morgan. This morning two friends, dressed in full disguise and disguising their voices as well, kidnapped her at 6 AM right out of her bed and took her blindfolded to Panera for breakfast. Cool idea Hannah, and Susie!

I baked the cake this morning and we'll probably have something special for supper tonight if I can get out of work early enough, otherwise it will be take out from somewhere.

Morgan - we are sooo proud of you and thankful to God every day for bringing you into our lives 15 years ago tonight at 10:17 PM! Love, Dad. Tye out.