9/18/17 : Blessed

I'm very blessed. Tonight, I'm exhausted from driving all over Denver, talking to a million people and having a blast with exciting teenagers and peers. 

But ultimately I just feel blessed. 

I've got a good family, brothers and sisters and in-laws and nephews and parents and grandparents who love me, a super hot wife that thinks a million more about other people than herself, and a good job doing things that make me happy for a reason I can stand behind. 

I also get to sleep in a nice cozy bed for a few hours before doing it all again tomorrow. 

9/17/17 : Thanks NFL... (for nothing)

Last week, Sam Bradford did what #1 overall picks in the NFL draft do: he looked amazing. Foolishly, I did what I do every season with every Minnesota sports team: I got excited.

This morning I received news that Sam Bradford was sitting today with a sore knee. This is the same knee in which he has torn his ACL... twice. The doctors couldn't tell from the MRI if it was torn again or not because of all the scar tissue. 

Long story short, the Vikings lost badly. 

In other NFL news, I have very good players on my fantasy teams that all decided to take a day off today. Not literally... they just sucked. So I lost in both my leagues. 

So all in all, today was a good day. But NONE of that had to do with the NFL at all. 

9/16/17 : I was wrong...

I remember being in college and thinking that once I graduated I was going to be on a concrete path leading to the rest of my life. I'd have direction, a firm idea of where I was going and how long until I get there, and not much flexibility to change that path. Most of you probably already know this, but...

I was wrong. 

I'm a few years out of college, and I've had the same job the whole time, but I still have no idea what God has planned for my future. I'm fairly certain I will have the same job for the next couple years as Morgan is in a grad program that lasts that long, but beyond that? Also, there seem to be so many doors that are open and worth exploring right now! I just keep praying that God will yank me into the right door and slam it shut behind me. 

My good friend Mollie Dupper says that sometimes God opens doors and shows us the light on the other side. Then when we step through He slams it shut behind us, shuts the lights off, and just whispers - Trust me!

Well that hasn't really happened to me yet, but I can tell you that I have no idea where I'm going to be, what I'm going to be doing, or what will be the focus of my energy 10 years from now. It stresses me out sometimes, but for the most part I'm at peace with it. The difference between being at peace and feeling stressed is usually whether or not I pray this prayer:

God, I trust You to lead me and guide me in life, and I'm committed to try my best to do what You have for me, TODAY. Move me when I don't wanna move myself so I don't miss opportunities to glorify You. 

Be blessed!

9/15/17 : Stars Go Dim

Tonight at College View Church the group Stars Go Dim came and did a concert for Union College and whoever wanted to come from the community. I hadn't really listened to much of their music, but I can tell you by the end of the night I was blessed. I was blessed by the music, the message, the commitment to excellence by the band, and most of all the testimony of the lead singer.

Here are a few of the songs they did:

This guy's voice is my jam too. 

9/14/17 : 98%

A few years ago I took a leadership class with a young lady named Morgan and we took a personality test by Myers Briggs. It's pretty well known, and you end up with 4 letters that describe you and tell you all about yourself. My first letter was "E" for "Extroverted". It turns out I am 98% extroverted.

Today marked the first day of the first Preview Days of the year. We have some really fun prospective students visiting this weekend, and it's already been a blast. All day long I've been talking to people I know, people I don't know, current and prospective students, my wife, my boss, my friends, etc. Lots of talking and people. I never got tired. 

Now I'm home. Its almost midnight. There is no one around except my wife who allows me to be chill and "turn it off". I'm tired. 

So I'm going to sleep. I had to leave you with this video though. This is a compilation of great commercials. 


The "more more more" girl is Morgan when she wants a "vamped up Fall wardrobe". 

 

9/12/17 : Bazz!

9/11

I feel sad. I was sad when I woke up and realized it was September 11. When I've had the time to stop and reflect, it has made me sad to think of the thousands of people whose lives were dramatically affected that day. It seems that literally every person I talk to knows exactly where they were and what they were doing when those planes hit the Twin Towers. That's how deeply our country was impacted. 

I also feel frustrated. All day long I've known that I wanted to write something about 9/11; something that remembers and honors those whose lives were lost. So I began searching the internet for other users' contributions: memorials, photos, tributes, etc. I thought it might inspire something thoughtful and maybe I'd find some photo or video that sums up how I feel about the day. 

But as I scrolled through several news feeds I not only had a hard time finding my inspiration, I struggled to find anything about the attack in NYC, 16 years ago today. Instead, I found a lot about the hurricanes (not unimportant by any means), an update of a shooting in Plano, TX that left 8 dead, an article telling me that parliament is divided (this is still news?), Australia had a poll that looks "promising for marriage equality", and FINALLY an article about 9/11. Except that article was only talking about how some Fox News reporter had the AUDACITY to say something insensitive to prove a political point. Literally nothing else in mainstream media searches.

I don't remember 9/11 that well. I was 9 years old. I remember that I was mostly upset because I couldn't find any cartoons on TV after school, until my older sister came home in tears, explaining to me the gravity of what those news stations were showing. What happened on that day has become more important to me as I've grown older because I have read about the stories of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for others, the heroics of rescue teams, and the unveiling of how ugly this world can be. 

As I turned to older generations again this year to learn and grow from their memories, I've been disappointed, and quite frankly, disgusted. Everything is so polarized it has completely overshadowed a lot of the things that really matter. The two sides can't even stop bickering long enough to respectfully remember and honor the lives of everyone affected by the horrible tragedy that shocked our nation. 

That attack on the US reminds me of a fatal car accident. In one split second, everything changed and we were left shell-shocked, trying to pick up the pieces. I believe right now, our nation is in a fight for its life, but it's not from a sudden, terrible accident. Its more of a steadily advancing, terminal auto-immune disease. We've been slowly destroying ourselves from the inside-out.

16 years ago we came together as a nation, embracing one another and lifting each other up as we united in a struggle to get back on our feet. I believe we can do that again. I'm discouraged, though, because I don't know if we are capable of such a dramatic shift without a traumatic, jarring accident to snap life's priorities back into their rightful places. 

I hope I'm wrong.

9/10/17 : Project Impact Photos

I wrote last week about Project Impact and how excited I was for that day this year. Unfortunately, I had to catch a 7 am flight out of Denver in Omaha, and wasn't able to participate in the community service. When I landed I could barely talk because of a cold I picked up earlier in the week, and my back was stuck in a bent over position because of a flag football game. I was so pumped about this worship event that we were opening up to the community, but it was all done on such short notice the pieces weren't all together yet. 

Needless to say, the event happened, and I was blessed. A church from Omaha came out to run AV production for us on our very meager budget, the band was put together from various musicians around Lincoln as well as past and present Union students, and despite my inabilities and illness, God blessed! Throughout that day I saw the entire body of Christ at work, from His hands to His feet, and His heart to His voice. 

Anyways, Tim Floyd (Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Mid-America Union of SDA's) went to every event and took pictures all day, which he shared with me! Here are some of my favorites from Project Impact 2017. 

God is good!

9/9/17 : "Don't Forget About the Islands"

There is a lot going wrong in our world. In case for some reason you don't get on the internet or read newspapers or watch the news at all, I'm referring mainly to the hurricanes sweeping across the globe right now. This morning the first thing I read was a letter from Tim Duncan, one of the greatest (not to mention most humble and soft-spoken) power forwards in the history of the NBA. 

PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO READ HIS LETTER.

This gives me hope. Seeing athletes and celebrities put so much money AND effort into making the world a better place makes me believe it can be. 

In case you don't know much about Big Fundamental, he is a guaranteed Hall of Famer even though his career highlights are this boring. He wasn't fancy... he was just always good. 

9/8/17 : Rest Up

It's been a long week of travel, a wedding, work, music, and now finally I get to close it out with my wife, resting on our couch. 

Check out this video my boy Caleb did while in Pohnpei last year, and then look at the rest of the videos he has done. He's talented, which is cool... but more than that he is a good dude that loves Jesus. I'm glad he was able to do a year abroad as a student missionary, and extra glad he documented it so well with his camera. 

Blessings!

9/7/17 : Worship

What does it mean to worship God? 

I think Christians tend to put "worship" in a box that consists of singing songs of praise, or praying. The [practically] exclusive context in which I hear the word "worship" used, is in reference to singing. 

I just want to start talking about worship in a context that is more inclusive of what it is: a lifestyle.

Serving others, praying, singing, preaching, working, learning, breathing! Everything done to the glory of God and in acknowledgement of His presence, grace, and love is worship. 

Project Impact.jpg

Today was Project Impact at Union College, and something like 750 people gathered on front campus before going into the community to serve. I think it is my favorite call to worship that our entire campus takes part in. We literally shut down the campus and worship God through serving the community for about 5 hours in the morning. 

I'm not super satisfied though... this is an aspect of worshiping God that needs to be more prevalent in Christian churches and organizations. I firmly believe that the reason more people don't know, believe in, and worship Jesus is because all they see is some singers, preachers, and church-goers, but not enough people who are making the world a better place. 

I have never been super involved in outreach, or community service. I need to. If I'm not doing what I can, when I can, to make the little corner of the earth I live in a better place, then I'm not truly being a Christian. 

I just wanna worship. So I'm gonna. Starting tomorrow on my way to work. I'll listen to this. 

Then I'm gonna work, and I'll do my best to glorify God there! 

work work.gif

What are some other tangible ways to worship?

#hmu

PS this was done yesterday but didn't get posted.

9/6/17 : Perfect World - Perfect Video

9/4-9/5

Yesterday was a good day. I went to a wedding of two beautiful friends of mine (congrats Drew and Maile Meckelburg!) and by the end of it I was sick. It was the strangest thing. Throughout the day, as I traveled to Bismarck, ND, it just kept getting worse and worse. 

Then I got to Dakota Adventist Academy late and no one could tell me the wifi. It was bizarre. So I slept. Then today, I tried several times to log on and the website was down. 

So I flew from Bismarck to Denver, and now I'm here and feel terrible. I'm a complete weany when it comes to colds/flu, though, so I probably am not even that sick. 

Here's me. And this is why I'm not gonna post anymore. I'm going to bed. 

parks and rec.gif

9/3/17 : One Year (Engagement) Anniversary

A year ago today was easily one of the best days of my entire life. I had my dreams of how I would ask Morgan, some more elaborate and spectacular than others. I think the most ridiculous pipe dream of a proposal was a flash mob in the street in front of the Disney castle at Magic Kingdom with Cinderella escorting her to the top of the tower where Tinkerbell flies out of. I'd be waiting there with a Mickey Mouse Ring Pop. 

Ultimately, I just wanted to surprise Morgan. We had talked enough about it that I knew I had to do it sooner than later because otherwise she'd start being on high-alert. Here's a few things to know about our engagement story. 

1) When Morgan and I first started getting to know each other, we began creating a list of things that we wanted to experience together. It was silly things like watching a certain movie that was important to one of us, or a fun road trip to our grandparents house. The reason this list is important is because something Morgan added to the list made me aware that she was interested in me: romantic, truck-bed stargazing. We checked many items off the list, but truck-bed stargazing never got checked off, even 3 years into dating.

2) Morgan is very allergic to peanut butter, but she loves almond butter.

3) Morgan spent a year in Africa as a student missionary right in the middle of our relationship and the relationships she made while there are some of the most special relationships I think she will ever have. She LOVES those kids from that orphanage. 

4) Morgan loves family. 

5) When I asked Morgan to be my girlfriend, I wrote a song to sing that ends with "Will you be my girrrrllll....friend." 

Here's the story!

So I used my album release party as a reason to get my family in town without raising any suspicion. I "impulse" bought a constellation projector, and my roommate conveniently left his Ford Ranger at our apartment. So I convinced Morgan to go truck-bed stargazing with me in a good friend's garage/shed. I remember on the way there Morgan realized that I didn't have a power cord for the projector. I don't know how I changed the subject, but I got sweaty with anxiety while I distracted her. 

We laid "under the stars" for about 15 minutes, and then I stumbled around in the dark trying to find a switch for some Christmas lights that my friends had left out after a "photoshoot or something...." I brought Morgan over there, turned on the lights and there was a TV on a stand there, where she watched this video. 

 

Then, this happened. 

"Is this REAL?!"

"Is this REAL?!"

After she said yes, I went over and opened the garage door which had BOTH of our families on the other side. We all had a grand time together, eating smores and ice cream!

That's the story of one of my happiest moments I've ever experienced in my entire life. Now we're married, and it's still awesome. 

9/2/17 : Lincoln Jay Vliet

Well, this post is overdue, but yesterday and today were the first days I got to hang out with my newest nephew, Lincoln! He was born August 14, and weighed 7lbs 7oz and lays a whoppin' 19.5 inches long. The important thing is that when I FaceTimed my sister to congratulate her and meet him via the interwebs, I learned that newborn babies are not born blind. I'm not proud of this, but for some reason I thought they couldn't see anything at first, which my wife and sister promptly made fun of me for, and then educated me on the truth. 

Anyways, here are some pictures of the little fella. 

8/31-9/1 : The Value of Christian Education

Twice in one week I've missed now. I asked Morgan tonight, "Why did I choose blogging to do every day for a year?" 

Last night, after Union College's first home volleyball game, Morgan and I drove to Hutchinson, MN to 1) see my new nephew Lincoln and to 2) tell Maplewood Academy students how to make smart decisions for their futures (like going to Union College). Around 12:20am we passed the state sign for Minnesota and it felt so wonderful. There's nothing quite like the place that you grew up. 

So I got to meet little Lincoln (more on this tomorrow--he gets his own day), and then I went and shared this handout with all the students. This is my favorite piece to share with prospective students, teachers, parents, and pastors because it is what keeps me passionate about my job. 

Sorry its blurry. If anyone wants to show me how to include a PDF, let me know. 

Sorry its blurry. If anyone wants to show me how to include a PDF, let me know. 

There is a difference that is made when you choose an education that is tailored towards a life of service to God and our fellow earthlings. 

8/30/17 : Spotify

Couldn't post this last night 'cuz my internet was being spotty (TWC stinks..), but listen to the Project Impact: Worship playlist on Spotify! 

For some reason I can't attach a link, so just search "project impact : worship" on Spotify and you'll find it. 

8/29/17 : Project Impact: Worship

Next Thursday, September 7, is Project Impact at Union College. Project Impact is the longest running annual community service event by a college/university in the country. That is a mouthful... but its true! Something like 30 years now Union has been cancelling classes one day a year and spreading throughout Lincoln, NE to serve the community. 

I believe worship is a lifestyle, not just an act that you perform once or twice a week, and serving others is an act of worship (Matt 25:40). So this year, to close out this campus wide day of "worship", we're going to come together and invite the community to continue worshiping with us in praise.

I'm super excited for this event, as I love the opportunity for Union to tie Christianity, service, and acts of love among humanity all together. So anyways, if you are around Thursday morning, come to Union College and gather under the clock tower. Get off work or whatever you gotta do, and come serve the community in Lincoln. If you're free Thursday evening at 7, the doors will open at Woods Auditorium for Project Impact: Worship. Come worship with us there! I'll post videos of the set list so you can listen, learn, and then come love on Jesus through them. :)

 

Maybe on or two more. Who knows.... :)

8/28/17 : #HoustonStrong

Houston is the 5th largest city in the United States, with a metropolitan population of around 5 million. That city has been devastated by the hurricane and flooding that started this past Friday afternoon. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated, losing everything and have essentially become homeless. 8 individuals lost their lives already, and there are still survivors stranded, waiting for help to come. 

I know that very few of us can just get up and go down to Houston to help, but if we do all we can do, then that is all we can do! So just keep your eyes open, and if you see a trustworthy GoFundMe and you can spare $20, every little bit will help. If you have no money to spare, no time, nothing to donate, then you can still do the greatest thing of all: pray. 

Here's a link to an article that is very helpful if you want to get started helping right away. Do what you can! (Edit: here's another one)

#helpforHouston