Sunday, August 24, 2008

Moving Allyson to St. Ambrose University

(Allyson and Rachel in their dorm room)

On Friday morning we loaded Allyson's stuff, mostly pink things, into the back of the van and headed on out to Davenport, Iowa where Allyson is entering her first year at St. Ambrose University. Sharon Pagel and Robin Koskamp stopped over to help her load and to send her off. Thanks for being here Sharon and Robin! Click on the pic for some more pictures.

We arrived at St. Ambrose around 11 AM and a crew of about six students, all wearing the same "moving crew" t-shirt, descended on our van and started carrying Allyson's stuff up to her new room. When we arrived in the room Rachel, her new roommate, was there to greet her and to help her get her things sorted out and moved in. Thanks Rachel!

There is a Famous Dave's right around the corner so we headed on over there for lunch and then to Sam's Club for some dormitory room necessities: Animal Crackers, bottled water, power bars, cereal, etc.

We are so proud of you Allyson (yes, she reads my blog!)! You are going to have a great first year! Love you!!! Dad out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Night at the Kernels Game

We don't typically get a family vacation, so every year we try to do something fun with the family in its place and this year we decided to go to a Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball game. The whole family went including Andrew's significant other, Erica. It was a good game and the company was even better. Click on the pic to see a slide show.

Toward the end of the game Mackenzie was able to get a foul ball that one of the worker's caught and gave her - click here to see pic. It was a fun night! Tye out.

Iowa State Fair with the Clark's

Last Friday our family headed to West Des Moines to reconnect with friends from Cleveland, Ohio who moved to Iowa this summer. Since the state fair was in full swing we decided to head on over to the fair on Saturday. It is a huge event with all the "stuff" that makes a fair: corn dogs, funnel cakes, and some really creamy ice cream. We finished the day off with a few rides, although they were quite expensive. Click here to see a slide show.

Thanks to Greg and Suzanne for hosting us. We had a great time!!! Tye out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grace - It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it!

Our church is going through Romans together and after yesterday's services it was absolutely evident that our senior pastor Bob Westfall has been "swept away" by the concept of grace. Grace is a hard truth to grasp because most of us tend not to be grace people. We are taught from childhood that when we do good things, good things happen, and when we do bad things we upset people and they are no longer happy with us. Not with God.

God loves you as much now as he ever could and you could never do anything to make him love you any more or any less. But why do we try? I believe that it is the most audacious, pride-filled attitude that says we can do something to merit God's favor. The reason we try to work on our sin is because deep down we believe that we can "buck up" and do better. We can't.

In our newly formed ABF Dave Kvindlog led us through a study of grace and when we looked at these verses, I knew I had to share them with my readers today:

It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this. Titus 3 The Message

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Judy is now an LPN!!!

On Monday Judy took her LPN boards and PASSED so she is now officially an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). It has been a long journey for her and also for the family. We are all so proud of her and I'm so happy for her.

She just wrapped up the summer semester of her clinicals for her RN and has two more semesters to go. She will then take the boards for her RN (Registered Nurse) next summer and voila!!! I am thankful for her "stick-to-it-ness." Congratulations Judy! You worked hard and you deserve this award!!! Tye out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Humor

Who I'll never be

One of my top five strengths on the StrengthsFinder is adaptability. This word needs no definition or description. And it serves me well, especially when I go Southeast Asia in November to train pastors. As a jazz musician you are constantly adapting to the ebb and flow of the band so it is also good in that setting. As a pastor it really serves me well because it helps me adapt to the ever-changing needs of people. It also helps me to embrace change - I love change!

Adaptability also has a negative side. In fact all strengths have a downside, and for me the downside is that I can adapt so well that I often become some besides myself. It also causes me to doubt my leadership ability because I see some of these incredible leaders and think that I will never measure up.

(I took the following from Craig Groeschel's website swerve)

I’ll never be as a great a leader as Bill Hybels.
I’ll never be as deep as John Piper.
I’ll never be as smart as Mark Driscoll.
I’ll never be as creative as Ed Young.

Click here to read the read the rest of the list.

Craig goes on to say what he can do:
  • Cast a compelling vision and move people radically toward Christ.
  • Recognize talent and gifts in people most overlook.
  • Reach people for Christ who are far from God.
I have to be the very best Tye Male that I can be. I may look to some of these leaders as examples, but at the end of the day I have to be me and do what God wants me to do in the context where he has placed me.

I'll never be Hybels, Warren, or Westfall, but I am absolutely committed to being me. Tye out.

P.S. I'll never be as good a writer, speaker, and church founder as Craig Groeschel either!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Back in the saddle, and then onto the pavement - ouch

I love bike riding and this year has not been a good year for riding. Combine the fact that the weather was bad in April and May, and then the flood hit and I worked 152 hours in two weeks and then wound up in Juarez, Mexico on a missions trip my bike riding has been at an all time low.

Everyone in the family had stuff going on today so I decided to head out for a nice long day in the saddle. I headed north to Center Point and then west towards Palo. I stopped by Pleasant Creek Lake for a ride around the lake and on the way back out I was climbing a steep hill (on the road) when I jerked on the handlebars and to my surprise my 46 year old rear end and left arm were the next thing to make a horrible impact on the road. The bike did a wheelie over backwards and right onto my butt. I survived, but I'm already getting sore.

I headed downtown CR were I was again impressed with the need to do something with flood relief even though I don't know what. I rode by the Flyin' Wienie and saw John and Sandy Herder. I enjoyed a creme soda there and sat in the rain just hanging out. (see pic)

I managed to get over 50 miles riding done and it felt good to me back in the saddle again. Tye out.

Joe's Crab Shack

Joe's Crab Shack's famous Crab in a Bucket

My family hates seafood so when I saw Joe's Crab Shack when we went for lunch on Thursday at Leadership Summit I gently asked the group if it would be possible for us to go there for supper and to my surprise they said yes. I ordered the King Crab Leg Bucket with B sized potatoes and corn on the cob. It was delicious!!!

The rest is history. At least until the next time I'm out with friends. Tye out.

Meet Ronnie and Matt Spaulding

I have wonderful friends from Medina Ohio who now live in Des Moines. Ronnie was one of my worship leaders at First Baptist. I drove out to Leadership Summit on Wednesday afternoon and spent the night with her, Matt, Thomas and Sarah and it was a great reunion. We talked late into the evening and it was such a nice time.

Thanks to the Spauldings for hosting me. It was great.

P.S. Ronnie is an incredible cook. Well, after a near gourmet dinner, she fixed this incredible dessert. It is a creme puff with coffee ice cream. yum yum! (See picture above)

P.S.S. I didn't think to get a pic of them. Sorry!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Some REALLY personal take aways from Leadership Summit

The stuff you are about to read is very personal.

This Leadership Summit has meant more to me than the past two years put together because I think I am in a place today where I desperately needed God's touch on my life. Combine that with the fact that the speakers have been over the top and I can boldly say this has been an awesome experience.

The past five years have drained me of many of the things I hold dear. Loss of ministry, loss of home, loss of community, and subjected to some of the most incredible rejection I could ever imagine.

Then this incredible, grace-oriented, Christ-centered, loving church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa called me to serve there - New Covenant Bible Church. And now I am sitting at a conference in Des Moines because they care about leaders and my personal welfare. Thank you NCBC.

Anyhow, here are some of my take-aways. I like bullet points, so here we go:
  • I have lost "it." (I have become a fulltime pastor and a halftime follower of Christ)
  • My discipline of eating healthy, sleeping right, and daily exercise has gone out the window.
  • I have avoided making the hard decisions that come with leadership.
  • I have failed to reach my neighbors with the love of Christ.
  • Co-dependency is an issue I deal with, and in ways I never would have believed.
  • I MUST find my sufficiently in Christ, and no one else. I soooo desperately crave relationship with people that it controls me. It's Christ first in all relationships.
  • Grieving over loss I have experienced in the past year.
  • My love language is words of affirmation. And I have to learn how to sustain myself with God's help when I don't get this need met in my life.
  • I've ignored issues that need to be addressed.
  • I was told the other day that I was a self-serving leader. ouch. But am I willing to listen that kind of criticism? Aha! One of the test of servant leadership is the ability to deal with feedback even when it hurts.
  • I've failed to fail at something this year.
  • My devo life has slowly gone downhill, too slow to notice until it was WAY out of wack.
  • God is calling me to do something more with the CR flood that I am doing right now. I don't know what this means right now, so please don't ask me.
  • As a sensate (Sacred Pathways), I really enjoy worshiping God when the music is loud to the point of overwhelming and it is played with great excellence by people committed to their craft. I love the light show, cameras, big screens. I love the way the worship leader directs our attention to God through all the above.
  • The above statement is the reason I need to get away periodically and experience worship in the way I best connect with God.
  • I've only read two or three books this year. Last year was 18.
  • I have become disorganized again at home.
Are you surprised? Shocked? Disappointed? Probably all three, unless you live in my house. Why would be willing to blog this? I am willing to risk being transparent so that others might be challenged and motivated to improve yourself. Let me know if this has impacted you. I would love to hear about it. Tye out.
Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 NET

Leadership Summit - Willow Creek Worship Band

True confession. I look forward to the worship music at Leadership Summit as much as I do the leadership talks and this year the band was hotter than ever! It never ceases to amaze me at how free I feel to worship God when the band is really good. And they did not do any new music. Most of the songs have been written in the last ten years and I knew every one of the songs. It seemed strange to hear them do "Famous One, "Agnus Dei" and "How Great is Our God."

Thanks to Willow for setting the pace as we seek to reach out to our individual cultures in a way that is relevant and honoring to God. Tye out.

P.S. If anyone reads this from Willow Creek, I would like to volunteer to play saxes with the worship band. email me:

Leadership Summit - Craig Groeschel of

Craig Groeschel of has taken the stage. His topic is: "It" Here are some of the take aways. Some churches/ministries/organizations have "it" and some do not have "it."

Ministries that have "it":

1. Are laser focused.
What are you doing that you need to stop doing.

2. See opportunities where others see obstacles.
What is God trying to show us through our greatest limitation?

3. They are willing to fail when those without “it” tend to play it safe.
What has God called you to do you are afraid to attempt? When are you going to do it!

4. They are led by people that have "it."
If you don't have it, what are you going to do until you get it?

Craig confessed that at one point he had become a fulltime pastor and a partime follower of Christ. Let God break your heart. Let God get you back to where you have "it."

I am afraid that I have lost "it." It has been a difficult 5 years and the last year has been exceptionally hard and in the process of trying to survive I am afraid I have lost "it."

Create for me a pure heart, O God!
Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me! Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey! Psalm 51:10-12 NET

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Leadership Summit

I have already been challenged in a number of areas of my life. Upon entering the worship center at Lutheran Church of Hope in Des Moines I was immediately touched by God's presence as I listened to Willow's incredible house band lead us in worship. I love to hear excellent musicians performing excellently for the glory of God.

Bill Hybels' opening talk dealt with the steps a leader takes to make the high impact decisions that leaders must make. He also talked about many leadership axioms. He was honest, transparent, and even apologetic for past mistakes. I love hearing Bill talk because I can soooo identify with him.

I have been challenged about my personal devotional life, which has not been up to par for some time. I have to be more intentional in my devo life. I have also been guilty of not dreaming big and taking risks like I once did.

The conference has already been worth the trip to Des Moines. Tye out.

Leadership Summit 2008

Today and tomorrow I am in Des Moines attending Leadership Summit. LS is hosted by Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. We are going to be hearing speakers address the topic of leadership and this will be my third year in a row.

I hope to get some blog posts about the Summit and anything I have learned. Stay tuned for details. Tye out.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Airline Mechanics Humor

I found received this today and it caused me to chuckle and thought you might enjoy it as well.

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a "gripe sheet", which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction. The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the "gripe sheets" before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by Qantas pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

P = The problem logged by the pilot.
S = The solution and action taken by the engineers.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Click here to read the answer and many more.

Tye out.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy Anniversary to my bride of 23 years!

On Sunday Judy and I "celebrated" 23 years of marriage. I put celebrated in quotes because our little celebration consisted of a dozen red roses, a heart shaped pizza, and a card. Judy studied all day (and evening) for her nursing finals so I went ahead and worked all day except for a brief time together over lunch. Click on the pic for a brief slide show.

People congratulate me when they hear the news, but the truth is that Judy should be the one congratulated for hanging with me for all these years, especially in the early years of our marriage.

Happy anniversary sweetheart. I love you!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Carrie Underwood - A Star is Born

Did you check out my last post? If not, watch Carrie's American Idol audition.

Alright, now you are ready for this. (or maybe not) The transformation of Carrie Underwood is unbelievable. Her most recent single "Last Name" has turned heads every where and driven a stake in the ground for the future of this young lady. The producers have very wisely selected music that suits her and accentuates her vocal styling. Keep up the great work Carrie!

From a musical standpoint I would like to point out some of the cool things that happen on this one track:
  • Bass player does some really cool licks throughout.
  • That screaming Hammond B3.
  • Can you hear the slow picking of the banjo?
  • The way Carrie's voice builds throughout?
Here ya go. Click on the pic to watch. (you'll be redirected to YouTube)

Carrie Underwood's American Idol Audition

Most of you know by now that my fave female vocalist right now is Carrie Underwood. I dig her sound, gritty and edgy vocals, and her ability to wow my heart. But her first American Idol audition was good, but somewhat lack-luster. Even given that, you can hear all the above in a small way. Finally, notice Randy's comment at the end. You have to be impressed with the judges ability to see and hear things in the contestants that could potentially turn them into stars. More on this on the next post. Dig this.


If you haven't seen this sketch from Saturday Night Live you have missed a treat. I was just sitting here at Panera in Cedar Falls this afternoon enjoying a IC Caramel beverage and listening to one of the funniest skits ever on SNL. Will Ferrell is absolutely hilarious. I hope you enjoy it!

Click here to watch.