Wednesday, January 17, 2007

yes...yes...i know it's been a b-gillion years since i written...instead of making apologies let's just get down to what my heart has been chewing on....




I’m sure you like millions of other Americans were salivating at your TV’s this weekend as the premier of the the new “24” season launched. Yes, I was one of the over 33 million that took in not only Sunday night’s 2-hour episode, but also Monday’s 2-hour experience as well. I watched it with students of course and it was pretty fascinating to take in their comments and reactions as we held our breath at times and then “oooo-ed” and “aaaahh-ed” as Jack Bauer once again beats the odds to save the day. I must admit I am not a die-hard “24” fan, but it is an incredible show that will keep you on the edge of your seat with anticipation and suspense. Mmmm…yeah…Jack Bauer…everyone is talking about him…not just girls, but even guys (you know he must be amazing when guys talk about him!ha!) are in awe of him and his role in the show. For those of you who don’t know he is the one who the world is depending on to fight evil and bring down the bad guys before they destroy the world. And Jack is always up to the task…he knows what to do…his hunches are always right…he’s strong…he’s tender…he stands up to opposition…he cares about the lives of people…he’s gives up his own life for others…
Man…sounds like someone else I know.
The more I have thought about it, the more I think I understand why people are so drawn to this show…and to Jack in particular. People long for a Saviour. It doesn’t matter if the story isn’t real…or that Jack is really Kiefer Sutherland…the bottom line is that we all want someone to save the day…we all want somebody to come in and change what is bad and make it good again…we all are hungry to see somebody lay everything on the line for others and do whatever it takes to bring peace and happiness…we love to watch someone come in the nick of time when it seems like there is no hope and do the seemingly impossible…rescue and save. Every living human being has this deep desire embedded in their souls for a Saviour. That’s so cool to me…the best part is that there really is someone like that who is alive. His name is Jesus…and he truly is the one who has given his own life so that other may truly live in freedom and peace.
Hmmm…Jack & Jesus…sounds like a great book title…hehe…

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Introspection...


Tonight a friend of mine and i went out to a dance party...i know...you probably are wondering what kind of "dance" and who the friend was...hehe...i'll leave that up to you to figure out. I stepped outside my sliding glass doors and noticed that a storm was moving in, so i layed down in the grass on this little hill...God did a lot more dancing than i did i must say. As a matter of fact i'm still at the dance party now...i'm out on my little cubicle patio watching the lighting dance across the sky in a random, scattered, yet designed pattern. It's started to gently rain now...a nice, warm, spring night with a trickling of rain...mmm...yeah...it's so nice to just drink it all in. i'm not even sure the last time i've done this.
The past couple of weeks I have been in that mode of analyzing...it's those periods of time when it seems like life has to go through this grid of thoughts, fears, doubts, dreams to see what will make it through and come out on the other side....mmm...thunder has begun to speak out here now...everything gets questioned...including things that aren't even real or haven't even happened yet...it seems like my mind goes into a funk of trying to figure everything out and know the way i'm made...why i'm where i'm at...and where i am or could be going. Most of the time i can't stand myself when these seasons come...i feel like a little boy who has no clue about himself or life...the only thing he knows is that he has so far to go and so much to learn....i know these times are good, but they just don't feel like it...in fact, it's totally the opposite...i just feel lost and messed up.
I'm learning that sometimes things do make sense but for a lot of the time we walk on earth, there is so much that doesn't add up in our tiny, minute minds. If it could just fit into the boxes of life we have constructed it would be so much easier...death, life, brokeness, sin, shame, pain, fear, i want to take them and just figure the equation that works them out and then get through them and be on with life. It just never seems to come together like that...i find often that the questions and equations almost multiply the thoughts and issues in my mind--leaving me seemingly farther than where i was at first. Why go there?...why not just bury it and go on...for some reason God sees something more in these times of wrestling and angst than i do.
More and more God is giving me grace to just let these times be...recognize they are here...call God into them...but most importantly, realize that it doesn't mean i'm a screw up and continue to love and give and serve...in the midst of these phases of life. Mystery...the unknown is so hard for us who want to be known and to know...to be in control--but at the same time mystery breathes life into our hearts because there is something bigger...something larger...something that demands our awe, our wonder, our time to just stop and say, "i don't get it...i don't get you, God...and that's ok...as a matter of fact, it's amazing." I haven't necessarily even said that to God lately, but i have been reading and thinking and starting to move there. I stumbled upon a quote the other day that just spoke deeply to me and where i've been...

O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

-"O Me! O Life!" by walt whitman


poetry is so incredible because it helps us put wild thoughts and churnings to words...to at least try and communicate the incommunicable. this piece of poetry has been simmering inside of me...not because it answers all of my questions, but that it helps me see that others have walked through these waters...and that it's ok to be there...and let it be there...and continue to live on and seek God. As a matter of fact...without these times God would lose so much of His power, His mystery, His adventure if i never stumbled and bumbled through these frail, human thoughts. It reveals in me that God is actually bigger, not smaller and that i will never figure Him out...but i still need to keep seeking. Life isn't supposed to make sense...otherwise God would become genie and we His masters. The "nonsense" is what awakens our need for something that is bigger than we are...that is more...and that awakened needs moves us on in this journey. so here i am...that might be all i know, for now...but God is here too...what He's up to...don't take me down those rabbit trails right now...I'm here...and He's here...somewhere...and for now, that's all i need...

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

"When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer" by walt whitman

dancing is a mysterious, beautiful thing...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

a prophet-friend...


I’m sure you’re intrigued to see a picture of some random guy in this space tonight…his name is Mark Palmer…he is a year younger than me. I was in Bible college with him…studying to be a pastor. On Monday his life here on earth was done…he passed away after battling cancer for 2 yrs. Can I share with you a little of his story? He was a hilarious guy…about 6’8…played basketball in college…could knock down 3-pointers like mad. He was a visionary…saw things a little bit different than everyone else…saw God and church differently than anyone I had ever talked to in school. I remember at times wondering where he was getting all these crazy ideas…why he just wouldn’t fit in with everyone else and what they thought about God and church. That wasn’t Mark…he was innovative…He loved to create.
I graduated a year before he did but I stayed at the college and worked so I continued to build a friendship with him. He always covered his dorm room windows with covers to keep the light out so he could take afternoon naps…he was a die-hard nap lover. His senior year my brother hooked him up with an incredible girl named Jen…he wasn’t huge into girls, but they fell in love and got married after he graduated. A few years later after they had moved to downtown Columbus to start a house church they had a son, Micah (his name means “who is like the Lord?”). It wasn’t too long after they discovered that Jen had an aggressive cancer. They were living in Columbus so I was able to go see them one day and spend time with them before Jen passed away. I remember going to the graveside service and watching Mark read a poem he had written as he stood overlooking her casket. He eventually remarried and then tragedy struck again when he became sick and succumbed to this horrific disease. He leaves behind his second wife, Amy and his son Micah whose real parents passed away before he even entered pre-school. Did I forget to tell you that Micah means, “Who is like the Lord?”…yeah…”who is like you Lord?”…who would craft a story like this…it just doesn’t seem right. Then again, creativity can take on a lot of different forms…to us, what seems like utter horror could be something totally different to a God whose ways are so much higher than ours. Mark was all about creativity…he challenged everything from a different perspective and was always uncovering something new. He was an amazing man…a faithful husband…and a loving father. Even in your death you still echo creativity, my friend…and point me to where all your creativity came from…the True Creator. You are and will be missed…I can’t wait to see you again…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Saying Goodbye...

I wanted to let you peek into my journal from march 8, 2006...
(Sigh)…Today I had to say goodbye…for the last time. One of the things in my life I hate to do more than anything is saying goodbye to people. I will beat around the bush…change the topic of conversation…stammer and studder…until it’s absolutely unavoidable. There was no more avoiding it today…it came…and it was hard. I was a part of Shirley Korver’s funeral…there’s been a lot of tears over the past 5 days. I got back from Chicago just in time to be with her before she passed away…when I went into her hospital room her sister said, “She has been saying all day that she was excited that you would come and visit.” Shirley has been the heart and soul of our ministry. Behind all the lights, the music, the people, the retreats, the camps, the messages…there has been a small, frail, tiny lady with a heart and passion to pray and bring down the power of God to keep our ministry alive and growing. Inside of that little lady was a power so alive, strong, huge that made her and incredible woman to be around. She loved God…and she loved people. That’s it…no getting caught up in preferences, tastes, opinions, likes and dislikes…there wasn’t time for that…there were more important things in life…like hearts, people…and more importantly students. She loved all of you…she prayed fervently, passionately and endlessly until this past Saturday when she said goodbye and left her shell of a body and went home. Yeah…she has to be loving life right now…while were all here trying to make sense of this sin-sick world we live in. So…that’s where my heart is today…I miss her a lot…I will miss her smile…her little body that shook back and forth…but most of all her life of prayer. I’m so excited for her that’s she’s home…but for her to do that she had to leave us here. I can’t wait to see you again, Shirley…I hope my life reflects even in the small way some of yours. We love you and miss you…

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Momentum...

ok...i'm back...after Florida we converged on Scioto Hills for our Winter Retreat. Here i am with some cool cats! We had almost 50 students attend which was so encouraging for me. Seeing new freshman and unsaved students there gave me so much anticipation to see God do some great things. Our band led worship for the weekend which was great too. We found the only Calstumi Band t-shirt that has ever existed: At the same time in my heart I wondered what Satan thinks of weekends like this and how He would rise up in attack. The weekend was powerful...hanging out with students...living in a cabin with 25 guys...hehe...enough said there...and the highlight...one of our foreign exchange students Sonny made a decision to begin His journey as a child of God! I love this kid! I was pretty stoked about that...Wes and I prayed with him...it was so intimate to listen to him talk to God in his own language...the kingdom of God moved forward that weekend and it was humbling to be a part of it. Sure enough Satan reared his ugly head on the day we left camp...sickness settled in and students were puking left and right! We had to pull over 3 times to let kids yack and clean themselves up. It was no surprise...i should have known Satan would throw this at us after all that He did that week...we overcame it though, got back home and are moving ahead with victory and momentum as a group. ETOU!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Deep Breath...

A Picture can screem a thousand words!...so much has been going on over the past month...and so little time to sit down and tell you about it. i'm sitting in my hotel room in chicago and finally had some time to share with you all that has been going on in my life.
Obviously these pictures aren't from Chicago in February...at the beginning of this month i had the privilege to fly down to Florida with our worship band and lead music for a Spiritual Emphasis week at Indian Lakes Christian School. They payed our way down there and took care of us while we were there!...it was a dream come true! We had a chance to go to the beach a couple times, stay with Mandy and her family at their mansion, and just spend time with students. The school of a thousand students was incredible. We made a lot of friends and God moved in hearts while we were there. i also had the chance to speak to them that week as well. It was an intense week with a lot going on and God gave us the strength to serve and pour out into the hearts of others...His kingdom moved forward. We made a ton of memories...Here's the Calstumi Band fam'...
more is coming...tomorrow...i have to take it in chunks...

Monday, January 30, 2006



It's hard to believe, but in almost 12 hrs. from now i will be heading off to FLORIDA!...This has been in the plans since this summer when the Calstumi band was playing at a summer camp and a guy there asked if we would love to come and lead worship at a school near Tampa. Since then the students there raised money to cover myself and 10 students that make up our band to fly down to Florida to lead worship at a Spritual Emphasis week. It really is hard to believe it's actually happening...it hasn't really hit me until today that we doing this...we don't really deserve it, but my heart's desire is to humbly love the people there and serve them with everything inside me. The whole week is going to be unbelievable...the people down there are taking care of us the whole time and lavishing things on us that are above and beyond...the first night down there we are staying in a hotel on the beach! Here's a picture of where were staying the first night...

All that i hear inside of my heart are 2 words...mercy & gracy...the past month i have really been asking God to be merciful to me...i have really come face to face with all my flaws, failures and fears and i have asked Him to have mercy on my heart and life and to withhold from me what i do deserve...i am nothing without Him and trips like this i could think of hundreds of others who deserve it more than i do. Not only has He shown mercy, but then given grace...things that sometimes i are more than i could dream of! i love that passage in Ephesians 3:20 where it talk about a God that can do "far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."(the Message)...yeah...i could have never guessed or imagined or dreamed it up like this! Pray that we are humble...servants...unselfish...loving...searching for needs...and deeply grateful...pray that we can be used by God and His Spirit to advance His kingdom there in powerful ways...through music and sharing His Word (i'm speaking as well). I will let you know how things go and maybe even post something while were there...don't hold your breath though...hehe...thank you, Father for all that we are in You and all of Your gifts that leave us in giddy awe...I can't wait to see what you have in store for us...make Yourself BIG this week...