A lack of direction

November.30.2005

I had a bit of a curve ball thrown at me yesterday. I try not to discuss work very much in my blog, but my boss took me out to lunch to discuss what my short term goals are. The scary thing is that I really haven’t thought about it. Ever since I left college I have just put in my time. I don’t have a destination so to speak in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to advance. I want to succeed. But at what? I know I have a passion and a calling for ministry, but I have never been sure if that is full-time or just as a volunteer as I am now. Jamie and I know long-term that we want to run a camp (hopefully in Wisconsin), but that seems pretty far off in the distance right now.

To further confuse matters, my best friend emailed me yesterday asking me what I would consider doing as a full-time Christian ministry/business. He suggested something like a retreat center in the Twin Cities area. I’m not sure that would work for me, but it is perking a sense of curiousity in me.

Lord, please give me a hint of the plan you have for my life. I know you don’t want me to be anxious, but I am eager to follow and do Your will for my life. Please bless me with a work that is both enjoyable for my being as well as benefitial for Your kingdom. Amen.

Snow is finally here!

November.29.2005

I’m not a meteorologist or anything, but that looks like a lot of snow. Considering mankato is right in the middle of that mess I would say we will get quite a bit more as well. It was actually quite nice to do some shoveling this morning. Great way to get the blood flowing nice and early.

Last night we had a large group for the senior high youth ministry. The senior high youth pastor just had surgery for a hernia yesterday so I filled in along with one of my friends. We thought we were well prepared. We were wrong.

The night was supposed to have a drama by one of the senior high youth. It turned out that she knew nothing about the drama and ended up bailing on us. So instead, we just did an informal Bible study and I talked a little at the end about the decisions students can make about sex when they are in high school. It is a tricky topic with kids. They are being told sex is a great thing, but at the same time they shouldn’t mess with it. I don’t disagree with the truth of that message, but it certainly can be confusing for kids.

We also played this crazy game that my friend Jake taught us. It’s called “Buck, Buck.” To play it, you make a line of kids kind of hunch over and then another kid runs and jumps on top of them. Then, as more kids pile up, either the line below them collapses or those jumping on top fall off. Who ever holds out the longest wins. Pretty hilarious stuff.

I stayed after until about 9:30 to watch football and talk to some of the youth. I had a long talk with one student who is a strong atheist and is really bitter towards God. I did my best to present a message of hope to him, but he is just too bitter to listen. I am hopeful that he will keep coming back so I can just show him love and grace.

Not much going on tonight. Jamie and I will probably watch the Biggest Loser finale (yeah, I know, but we are hooked on the show, okay?) and the Amazing Race. Other than that, just doing laundry to catch up from the weekend and probably some dishes.

Going Back to Work

November.28.2005

The worst part of not being at work is the coming back. My wife and I got back to Mankato around 8 pm last night and I unpacked until 9 pm. There is still some to be done, but most of my things are unpacked. I think Jamie still needs to unpack her massive luggage though…

But back to the topic at hand. I really do not want to be here today. I don’t think anyone really does though. I see the blinking red light on my phone and I have very little motivation to actually check what the messages are. It doesn’t help that it is raining today which in general makes me sleepy and unmotivated.

Of course I will press on and get some stuff done here in the next few minutes though. I just needed to write something to vent my frustration of coming back to work after a long break. Especially when that break is back in Wisconsin…man I miss Wisconsin…

Packers dropped another one as well, bringing their record to 2-8. I think this is the worst I have ever seen them do in a season. I was reading that if the Lions cut Mariucci free that the Packers might pursue him. That would be pretty nice. I really respect him as a coach. If we can get Mooch and get the first pick in the draft to get Reggie Bush, I’ll suddenly be reenergized for Packer football.

Also had a great time at my old church yesterday. It is always really encouraging to see how that congregation continues to grow and pursue God. Whenever people say that traditional churches are dead, that is the first church that comes to mind that is fighting that stereotype. They may sing hymns, but they aren’t dead. God is doing incredible things there and they are incredibly humble about it. I hope someday my family can live close enough to attend that church again. It would be a huge blessing.

Day after Thanksgiving…

November.25.2005


While some people view today as a day to indulge in mass consumerism, to me it is much different. In fact, this whole weekend I am kind of declaring as a weekend of rest and “doing” very little. My body and mind really need some recovery.

The big meal yesterday was great though. I think I am still full. We ate lunch at 1:30 yesterday and I didn’t eat dinner and I still didn’t eat much for breakfast either. I had some great time with friends and family too. My dad’s side of the family was very excited to see my wife’s big belly and was eager to give their rendition of how their kids were born. It was kind of weird to think that I am actually that old now. I have officially moved from being one of the faces at the kids table to another adult with kids on the way. Scary.

Today I plan on watching a lot of football. My wife is spending time with her mom and sister setting up Christmas decorations at her mom’s house. I plan on spending time at my mom’s house, passing in and out of conciousness while watching college football (Texas vs. Texas A&M) and spending some quality time with my mom’s cat. My mom should be back later this afternoon so hopefully we can spend some time together as well.

Well, that’s about it for now. I pray that you are all having a great Thanksgiving holiday and that you are having a restful few days.


Well, I’m staring a long drive in the face tonight. 5.5 hours. Ugh. To make matters worse (although I love her dearly) my pregnant wife will require regular stops along the drive. I’m kind of hoping we can go an hour at a time between stops, but even that will just kill our road time.

The upside of this trip is that this will be the first time we have had a long trip since we bought an iPod. I took the time to load the iPod up with some NPR staples such as Prairie Home Companion and This American Life. We always try really hard to listen to those shows when we travel and it will be a nice treat to have them at our command for the entire trip if we see fit.

I am really looking forward to seeing relatives and friends back in Wisconsin as well. There is something about that state that just feels like home yet. I am really hopeful that someday I can get back there, but I know the odds of it aren’t great. Still, I am eager to see my parents who I haven’t seen in about six months now.

Well, I need to get some work done before I take off around noon. Have a great Thanksgiving and safe travels if applicable.

Oh my poor Packers…

November.22.2005


Poor Brett. Gotta give him credit though. This has to be the hardest season of his career. He is honestly doing so much, but it is being choked out by a rebuilding defense and an offense plagued by injuries.

I was talking to my coworkers (all Vikings fans) and they all think Brett should be traded after this season so he can end his career on a high note.

Since when did Vikings fans start looking out for the best interest of Brett Favre? I have a suspicion that they really just don’t want to play against him anymore. I don’t blame them either. It would scare me too.

I don’t think it would be the right time to trade Favre though. I really think he needs to finish his career in Green Bay. Also, kind of as an upside to a horrible season, we could end up with Reggie Bush from USC if we do bad enough this year. From the all the college ball I have watched in the past few years I am ready to say Reggie Bush is the best all around player I have seen in the last five years. Sure would be nice to pair him with Favre for a few years and to have him with Aaron Rodgers long-term.

For that to happen though the Packers would need to drop several more games though. I’m not sure my heart can take that. It’s painful enough each time they lose. I honestly think I am too emotionally involved with this team.

Unhappy with my church…

November.21.2005

As some background, I have been at the same church since I moved to Mankato. That is about 2 years now. During that time I have been heavily active in youth ministry and have always gotten something out of Sunday morning worship.

Well, that is until we got a new lead pastor. I want to be clear on this, I think our new pastor is a great guy and is theologically very good. The problem I have is really in his preaching style. I have always been a strong believer that successful preaching should be similar to the way Jesus preached. Speaking in parables, Jesus used stories to convey deep theological meanings to the masses using everyday situations that they could grab hold of and easily remember in their daily life.

That just is not happening with our new pastor. Instead, I feel as though I am in a theology class where I am just having information crammed into my head. It’s frustrating and I know I am not alone in my frustration.

Also, the worship at my church has taken a significant drop in contemporary status. It seems we are stuck in a time-warp circa 1995. My hope is that this is more a side-effect of not having a lead worship pastor for the past 6 months, but I have my doubts. It is starting to look like this is just who my church is. Ugh.

At the same time, I look at this complaints and realize I may be asking for too much. Why can’t I simply be happy with the worship I have? Isn’t it really more a condition of my heart than anything else? And if there is a problem I have with it, should I be the one to make the change somehow?

Not really sure what to do on this one. Advice is welcome.

A New Approach to Prayer

November.18.2005

Perhaps it’s because I was never formally trained. Perhaps it’s because I’m just not very good at it. Or perhaps it’s because I simply do not practice enough.

Whatever the reason, I have never felt very good at prayer. Sure, there are moments when I feel like a prayer all-star, where I use all the right words and for some reason I just know that my words are going straight to God and He has this big smile on His face. Then there are other times when I am sputtering and suddenly in the middle of my prayer I lose focus and don’t know what to say next.

Yesterday I listened to a podcast from Covenant Life Church that was a great new way to look at prayer. It focused on how prayer is much more an example of showing we are helpless without God than it is a petition for His care. God cares for us regardless if we pray or not (a concept that makes sense to me, but I never really thought about), but it brings Him joy to know that we are surrendered to Him.

So now I find myself praying to simply keep my ego in check. I reveal my struggles and joys to God like an eager child who is desiring the affection and care from their parents. Hopefully I can keep this mindset for the next few months as my life seems to be quite the rollercoaster as of late.