CHC Talk Planning Retreat 2007

This is pretty sweet. Ustream.tv allows live streaming for anyone...just another step forward for us voyeuristic and self-obsessed people.

Scroll down to the bottom for some recorded footage.


How Does the Holy Spirit Interact with Us?

Here’s a journal post I wrote this morning based on the following verse:


Acts 4:8a “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”


Reading through this passage reminds me of the importance of being connected to and prompted by God’s Holy Spirit.  When Cedar Hills (the church I helped to start 6 years ago) began we had to work hard to convince people that the Holy Spirit can work in advance as easily as he can “in the moment.”  In reflection, I wonder if the whole conversation is somewhat of a fallacy.  Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit works “in the moment,” but he also guides us far in advance.  When we are faced with predictable circumstances in which there is a usual method of operation, we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our planning process.  I’ve felt this a lot recently in terms of planning our gatherings.  Song choices have coincided well with teaching topics with more effectiveness than I have expected.  I have made several recent choices based on a feeling that it’s something that we “should” do, not necessarily because I see the great fit.


The converse is true as well.  In situations where we are unable to prepare or where change occurs, we must rely on the Holy Spirit for leading “in the moment.”  We also must be aware that the leading we receive in the moment may be apparent to us or it may be a result of the progress he’s been making in us in the past.  As Christians we should be continually relying on the Holy Spirit for his leading whether in the everyday progress of life or “in the moment.”



I've been organizing my little corner of the blog-o-sphere and came across this post that i wrote December 26, 2006 and never published. I've grown over the last year, but this is still a good reminder for me.

here ya go:

who would jesus yell at?

for a long time, i've been pretty confident in my answer to this question. religious people, religious people and religious people. i feel a sense of quiet satisfaction, believing that my perspectives differ in many ways from the american church at large. you could call it smugness or arrogance, but i prefer to think of it as righteous.

the way this plays out in my life is through a sort of informal personal mission to live my life in such a way that will challenge the church (read, all christians) to examine it's beliefs, hold them up to the light of christ's love and see how they match up. granted, not only is this a very lofty goal, it's also birthed out of a naive and pompous belief that i've got things figured out. ( i know, i know...i'm a jerk. but let's stay focused here, okay? i'm trying to explain that i've been wrong.) this belief has led to a lifestyle in which i take great pride in not listening to very much "christian" music, (is that music that has a personal relationship with god or music that's marketed to christians? whatever) disconnecting from pop "christian" culture and generally rebelling against anything that titles itself "christian" so that i can show people that following christ isn't about wearing a shirt with a fish on it or knowing the personal details for every member of audio adrenaline.

anyway, i read a christmas manifesto from moby today, and the comments awakened me to a blindness that's been in my heart. all this time, i've been seeking to set people straight. it's all been sort of under the surface, but it was definitely my goal. now, in processing who jesus was and how he lived, i'm realizing that he didn't seek to set religious people straight. he wasn't trying to show them where they were wrong. in fact, he seemed eager to support them in their search for truth without dismantling all their false ideas first. he was interested in helping people build on whatever foundation they had, not tear every weak or faulty foundation to the ground before rebuilding. however, that's what i've been trying to do.

so, w.w.j.y.a? me. he would try to encourage me lovingly, but in my passion and misguided arrogance i would believe i was doing him a favor. he would try again, knowing my intentions and wanting to build me up. still i won't respond. finally, he'll let loose a verbal lashing and i'll finally see that i'm today's pharisee. i'm the religious person who's trying to get all the other religious people to do it "correctly."

wow, i've got a lot to learn. i'm sure i've been the cause of much offense to my brothers and sister and for that i'm sorry. i don't have the answers. i'm not more righteous than you (probably much less given my attitude) and i have no right or responsibility to set anyone straight because i don't even know how to love. and as 1 john 4:7-8 states, we must love one another. god IS love and anyone who doesn't love doesn't know god.


Black Friday Stumbling

Here's some cool animation at petpunk.com.

Here's a cursor-crazed rabbot at andrius.enu.lt.

nuTsie.com allows you to upload your .xml library from your iTunes (a file describing what's in your library) and then play it over the web. I haven't actually been too impressed with the gui yet since i haven't found out how to browse my iTunes library, but if this works it'll be awesome!

eatliver.com offers random comical pictures ranging from political to, frankly, kind of gross.

(this picture's worthless at this size, but the caption at the top says it's comparing the space it takes for travel by car, mass transit or feet and bikes.

It's 7:30am and I'm already an hour and a half late

Black Friday, named for its propensity for thrusting struggling businesses into the black, is well under way. Most sales I've seen advertised started at 6am this morning.

when i first heard the term "black friday" i thought it was some sort of reference to this day exemplifying the commercial exploitation of everything in our nation. Apparently it's not that dark a shade of black.

I was not raised to think this way. We hit the sales as hard as anyone else. As I've grown I've realized that my parents spend relatively responsibly (although I've heard financial woes expressed over the new kitchen counters) and while they are not averse to spending on credit, they are diligent in repaying those debts quickly.

Somehow, I missed that part when I was young. On tour in Las Vegas with the performing choir I was a part of in college, I leaped at the chance to get a free water bottle for signing up for a credit card. Then there was a booth offering a free t-shirt. It became a sort of joke of who could get the most free crap for signing up for credit cards.

A couple thousand dollars later, I came to grips with the fact that I spent money on credit that I didn't actually have. That's why now I'm not going to spend any money that I don't already have. Being in debt can be manageable and even advantageous for some people. For us, the freedom that comes from having zero consumer debt (we did finance a house) is priceless. Especially because life keeps rocking, debt or no. Unexpected tax bills, emergency room visits and the like are always sneaking up on us, reminding us that having no debt allows us to pay those off quickly, rather than adding a big chunk to an already heavy load.

So today, black friday, we'll be participating in National Buy Nothing Day. To me it's an intentional statement toward our nation learning to live within its means. It's an intentional choice not to go into the lion's den where I know that everything is aimed at getting me to buy more than I came for. And I probably would, just like most Americans. That's why companies do it...it works.


follow-up on the previous schissler post

jeff is currently sponsored by Transition Bikes, Sandpoint's own Alpine Designs, Utopia Optics, 661 Protection and their subsidiaries Royal Cycling Clothing and Sunline Racing, Magura Brakes and e.13 Components. he also has a blog of his own at schissler.blogspot.com

two posts prior is a video of Jeff riding in Sandpoint, ID.



I get this newsletter on parenting from enjoyparenting.com. it's a cool resource and they've got a lot of good stuff to say. today's reminder was great, if phrased a little intensely. it sounded like something that i feel i hear a lot these days so i thought i'd pass it on.

here's the article, it's pretty short:

Attraction means pulling instead of pushing. The "pull" of attraction is not physical. You attract by focusing your mind. Your thoughts have a sort of "gravity" that pulls matching thoughts, conditions and events into your awareness and experience.

Today, try this experiment...

Think of *one* characteristic that you really, really adore and appreciate about your child. Something that makes you smile when you think about it. Pick a keyword or phrase to remind you of this trait, and write it on the back of your hand. (If your child can read, use a code word or symbol instead.)

The idea is to focus on this aspect of your child as many times as you can today. But don't tell your child specifically what you're doing -- the power is in what you think, not what you say.

You might also put little reminder Post-It notes in places like door handles, telephones, the fridge, your car visor -- wherever you frequently look or reach.

After a full day of focusing on this aspect of your child, review the day and note how it affected your interactions.

Can you see how, through your intentional focus, you
*created* (attracted) that experience?

the purpose and outcome of this is right on the money. i've found this to be one of the most effective practices in my life in terms of appreciating people on a consistent basis.

however, the whole "attraction" thing is just more ethereal than it needs to be. one could do this same experiment with something more tangible, like the color blue. if i spend mywhole day focusing on the colr blue, i will tend to see more blue that day. does this mean i've attreacted more blue into my life?

when we got our new car (a subaru forester) we suddenly began to see a lot more foresters on the road. does this mean that a bunch of people bought foresters at the same time as we did? did we attract more foresters into our life, or just become more aware of the foresters that were there all along?

these traits that we "attract" in others by focusing on them are there all along. we may allow other aspects to crowd them out of our perception. by focusing on aspects that we appreciate i our family, friends and coworkers, we will likely be surrounded by more of those traits than we thought.

don't think the things that used to bug you disappeared. it's just that now the positive aspects in focus have squeezed others out of the limelight.


jeff schissler is still the man!!

my friend jeffrey, who recently moved to san luis obispo, is good at riding his bike. here's some video footage to prove it.

oh, and jeff's sponsored by some great companies which i would be willing to list here if he'll remind me who they are.

hi jeff. hi monica. see you guys soon.

Christmas music is playing already!! AHHHH!!!!!!

For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com

In an effort to not be left behind, I've added this handy countdown widget so you know exactly how long until Christmas Day.

Every year, Christmas is such a wonderful reminder of the birth of Jesus and just how much commercial success we can milk it for. It makes me proud to be a capitalist!

If you're planning on exchanging presents with someone you care about, or even someone you feel culturally or socially obligated to, here's a great way to give a gift that will benefit a seller who could use some help.

NightLight is an organization in Bangkok, Thailand that helps women and children caught in the vortex of the sex trade, to climb out and find gainful employment elsewhere.

This is a link to the website where you can buy jewelry made by these women. In this way, we can continue to express our love for each other tangibly while also helping some people who are doing there best to make a living without renting their bodies. The gifts we give are nice, but the gift of freedom is one I rarely have opportunity to give.

Merry Christmas


Higher Education, Here I Come!!

In August 2001, I moved from Clovis, CA to Sandpoint, ID with Eric & Nicole Rust to help start Cedar Hills Church. I was 22 years old, idealistic as the day is long and very energetic. A couple years later I met an incredible woman who would be come my wife. Less than a year after we were married, we had our first daughter and now we're expecting number 2.

The next chapter in our lives has been a mystery to us until recently. After much discussion, deliberation, waffling, prayer, vacillating and a bit of him-hawing, we've decided to move nearer an institution of higher education so that I can finish a bachelor's degree that I started nearly a decade ago (ouch). We're moving (back for me) to Clovis, CA. We're gonna live with my parents, at least for a while, and I'm going to attend California State University Fresno.

What am I gonna study? Great question. Maybe electrical engineering, maybe mass communications, maybe whatever degree my previous 3 years of college have gotten me closest to.

While we're very excited about this decision, the reality of having to leave so many people that we love is sinking in with each passing day. I know that part is only going to get harder and am sort of bracing myself for the impact.

Regardless, this period of our lives has been a time of incredible change and growth that will stay with us always. The relationships we have here have meant the world to us. It's hard for me to imagine life without those we've grown close to.

The plan at this point is for our final day with Cedar Hills to be December 30th. We'll probably roll out around the first of the year. I start school mid-January. Wow.

Matsiko Choir coming in 2008


worth enjoying

If you're interested in good music, and hopefully you are, check out the overdubs podcast. I'm friends with the band so I'm definitely a bit biased. But still, it's fun. The newest episode is a never-before-released song called "working song."