A Great New Year's Eve

(warning: no-caps post)
jen and I went over to jason and jen hauck's house for a new year's eve party with eric & nicole, bryce & melissa (happy new year's!!! it just turned midnight) and bob & april. it was such a fun night. we started with some fondue including venison and beef in oil as well as bread in molten cheese. we moved on to a very sophisticated wine tasting. unfortunately, i'm the low-brow member of the group. i had to have my pregnant wife smell each glass to tell me if it was any good or not I had some company with bryce, who is also not much of a wine connoisseur.

the wine tasting finished nicely with just a hint of a buzz. we moved rapidly on to catch phrase where the women proceeded to make the men look like women (a sexist way of saying the women kicked our testostorized asses) we spent a large portion of the time rolling in laughter over what eric thought "beaver cleaver" meant. let's just say he had no idea it was a television reference.

it was a great night. i had a conversation with melissa that got me really stoked about public relations. i'm gonna study p.r. at fresno state and am stoked to see what comes of that. she convinced me of a few key things.

  1. being in p.r. doesn't mean pimping companies that suck. she is very intentional about choosing great clients who offer a great product and challenging those who she thinks could use a little more brainstorming.
  2. being a p.r. rep doesn't mean pretending to be an objective person and claiming a product is great. full disclosure is an important aspect to what she counsels her clients to embrace, and i'm all about that.
  3. being myself can be a plus. i am not good at kowtowing to "the man" and i also suck at pretending to be something i'm not. my online persona matches my real life persona pretty well. i used to think my online persona was too playful and goofy, but i am a playful and goofy person. a professional persona online would definitely confuse any potential employers and possibly land me a gig that i would hate and do a bad job at.
thanks melissa for the info. i'm very excited about the possibility of telling people about incredible new companies and getting paid or it. hopefully his whole public relations thing will work out.


Farewell Cedar Hills/Eric & Nicole Rust Are Incredible People

Today was my final day at a Cedar Hills Sunday gathering for a while, and probably last ever as a staff member.

I moved to Sandpoint in 2001 to start CHC with Eric and Nicole Rust. In 2004 I married my wife, Jen and in 2005 we had our first child, Ani. Our second baby is due in May of 2008. Needless to say, my life has changed dramatically during my tenure at CHC. I've learned a lot about myself. I've become very familiar with my weaknesses. In more recent years (maybe even months) I'm starting to recognize and embrace my strengths as well.

At this point, I hope I don't ever take a paycheck from a church again. While there are many great aspects to working for a church, the challenge of balancing "work" and "ministry" is not one that I negotiate well. I look forward to being involved in ministry in the future as I definitely believe God has used me for His purposes. I just want that to be on a volunteer basis.

Throughout the past 12 years of my life there has been a constant source of friendship. Eric and Nicole came to Fresno and became the youth pastors at the church I grew up in. After I graduated high school I worked as an intern for Eric with the youth ministry. I went out of town for college for a year or so, but then they called me and said they were moving to Sandpoint, Idaho and wanted me to come do music for a church they were planning to start. It's been over 6 years since we moved up together. We've been friends through the birth of both their kids, Courtney & Mitchell, my wedding, my first child, Ani, both of our first house purchases. On a list of "important life events" we've been friends through several.

Thanks Eric and Nicole for the friendship, leadership, kindness, generosity and love you have shown me and my family throughout this time when our lives have been entwined. As we enter this new era, I hope that what I become is a reflection of the great things I've seen in you and your family. Thanks.


It Got a Lot Better Tonight

It's way past my bedtime and the whole house is dark save the digital glow of my wife's macbook pro. It's way past my bedtime but in the interest of balance I have to share an update after my last post.

Things started looking up this afternoon. The new Christmas clothes I got looked a lot better in the mirrors at home than they did at the store so my self-image (which apparently changes in less time than it'll take me to write this aside) improved. Then tonight, the going-away party was a blast. We hung out at Doug and Kaycee Lutz's house and most of our friends from the band and tech teams were here. It was a great night of hanging out together. I got to connect with everyone for a bit. The kids played well together. The food was great. I couldn't ask for more.

This was another great reminder of what incredible friends we have here and how different life is gonna be without them. It also served as another proof that things that seem like a big deal right now won't be soon. Life moves pretty fast ("if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it," thank you Ferris Bueller) and for me that means that the thing that's bothering me today probably won't be bothering me tomorrow. And whatever I'm proud of now will fade quickly.

I'm really gonna miss the people I've gotten to work so closely with in the band and tech teams of cedar hills. They are truly a remarkable group of people. Between my family and friends, I couldn't have planned out a better life.

P.S. Also, as I was googling the Lutz's to try to add some linkage, I came upon this video of Wade, their eldest son. I shot this video like 4 years ago and posted it to youtube and googlevideo. Somehow, it made it to clipplay.com, whatever that is. Here's the video.

One Hell of a Day

I don't know why but I'm in a bit of a funk today. I have to be careful in these kinds of moods because they feel so pervasive and I can easily lose perspective on life. I like to think that's because I'm a creative artist. Maybe I just need to grow up.

Today's malaise is likely the result of a combination of factors.

  1. I had my last day in the office on Thursday and while it was a good normal day, there was no real closure to it. I don't have a sense of being done. Technically I'm not. I'm playing on Sunday, but I should be pretty much done and yet I feel as though there are ample loose ends still needed to tie up. I couldn't tell you what they are though. I think I'm just worried that the little things I did will catch people of guard and get dropped. Some of that's natural but I've been working hard to minimize it. I hope I did a decent job.
  2. I'm ready to start something again. The past several months have been about finishing, leaving and saying goodbye. I'm ready to say hello and start something new.
  3. This time of transition has left me without a sense of accomplishment. I've always struggled with that in my job too because with an ultimate goal of "transformational growth" for people, how can one ever know if that job is done? Currently though, I just don't have a sense of being able to actually complete anything. It's all dangling, waiting for the next step.
  4. I'm worried that 2 families living under one roof is going to be tough on my wife. Jen is pregnant and in the midst of a huge transition. That doesn't make for a relaxed person. She's feeling a strong sense of wanting somewhere to call "home" where she can have the space that she needs and just be who she is. At this point that looks to be farther on the horizon than she's really comfortable with. And if she's feeling stress, then so am I. I really hope I can finish school in a year.
  5. I feel very frumpy, out of shape and unattractive. I know that kind of stuff shouldn't matter and I also know that men really aren't supposed to sweat it, but today, that's just how I feel.
So there it is.

Tonight will be a blast. We're having a going-away party with the band and tech team from the church.

Tomorrow will be fine.

Even this afternoon things will probably start looking up.

It's hard for me to stay down for long.

I'm starting to feel better already.


If I Ever Get Attacked By A Kindergarten Class I'll Be Ready

Good to know


If you want to know how you'd fare, click here.


Urgent Message!!

I just came across this p.s.a. on youtube. Apparently an age-old disease is resurfacing in our youth based on a lack of education and inoculation. Don't let your kid become a statistic.


Blue Like Jazz For the Illiterate

My buddy Brian Hale posted a blog about this and it looks interesting. I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also heard a lecture by Don Miller that helped me to rethink the way I see ministry.


Apparently I May Be a Sucker

So, as to the previous post, here's a link from snopes.com which confirms or debunks rumors and urban legends.


To Quote Will Ferrell Playing Alex Trebek...

"...and the show has reached a new low."

I was chatting with some friends the other day when the subject of a new hallucinogenic drug arose. I don't remember the context of the situation, but suffice it to say such strange topics are not a rarity. This "new" drug is made by fermenting human sewage and seems to be known, from my limited internet research, as "jenkem."

There's a relatively extensive wikipedia entry describing its origins with Zambian street children as well as recent media attention. The thing that's gonna make this hard to control is that everyone can make it for free.

The thing that's gonna make it hard to use is that according to the wiki, "it has been noted that Jenkem usage will leave a taste of sewage in the mouth lasting for several days." Don't forget the Listerine chaser.

Ustream.tv Also Records

I don't know if I mentioned that before, but it's true. It'll record your show and then you can embed that as well. The recordings I have thus far are available only by special request (as if anyone would request them) due to the potential use of said recordings for blackmailing purposes. :)

Communication Training Session

Mobility P.R.'s Melissa Burns is helping our staff at cedar hills learn to better communicate to our church. here's the live feed via ustream.tv.


The Search For Truth

I just read a cool little article in Wired about "The Golden Compass." I wasn't aware until recently that there are conservative religious groups who are boycotting this film because of its anti-theistic story line. The article suggested that director Chris Weitz had broadened the meaning of the film to include any dogmatic authority, religious or otherwise. Philip Pullman, author of "His Dark Materials" which is the literary basis for "The Golden Compass" is reputed to concur with Weitz that book is ultimately about dogmatic authority more than specific religious entities.

The upshot in my mind is that boycotting a film like this does nothing more than prove that Christians are afraid of challenge. We (I say we to try to bring a little bit of unity to Christendom in this discussion despite my supposition that I have very little in common with the average American boycotter) give credence to the idea that what we believe in is a poorly constructed house of cards that will be downed by the slightest breeze of question.

In reality, at least as I see it, the God I believe in has no desire to create a dogmatic authority on earth by which to control its inhabitants. Rather He seeks relationship with each of us which, like any relationship, will have ups and downs and doubts and joys, etc.

If the foundation for my relationship with God was as fragile as "atheists" say it is and freaked out Christians apparently think it is, then I'd better be picketing every piece of art, rhetoric or legislation that challenges it in any way.

If the foundation for my relationship with God is truth then what can possibly shake it? Are questions about the nature of gravity going to make it hurt any less when I fall? Does an in-depth look into our physical world threaten to unravel its very existence? Of course not. The rub is that we can empirically measure physical properties of the natural world whereas in the spiritual we're left to rely almost exclusively on faith. Does this make the spiritual any less real, any less true? Is the nature of faith so subjective that we each create a truth of our own to govern our lives and potential afterlives?

If it is, then what's all the fuss about?

So bring on the questions. Bring on the winds of scrutiny and doubt. If I'm deluded, I want to know. How else than by a constant search for truth will any of us ever come into even a glimpse of what it may be?


it seriously snowed like 10 inches last night

it took me almost 10 minutes to get out of my driveway this morning. luckily i ws able to sort of slide into some previously-cut tracks on the road since the roads in our neighborhood hadn't been plowed yet.

i'll try to post pictures later.

i love weather like this. it's cold enough that the snow will stay light and there's a whole lot of it!