write or wrong

11/8/17 : Perspective

A few days ago a Baptist church was gunned down in Texas. I haven't spent much time reflecting on that; why it happened, how the families of the victims must feel, or even how to help. The main reason I haven't had much time is because I've been busy-- busy working, traveling, watching Netflix, watching the NBA, reading, or talking to my wife on the phone. 

Pretty lame excuses. 

While watching the NBA I came across this video:

I've reflected back to that statement a few times over the past few days. I typically just love to have fun, but the takeaway for me is that sometimes I just need to have some real conversations with people in order to keep my mind in tune with the things that matter. I need to make sure my perspective is always being widened beyond just what entertains me. 

Let's pray for the families of these victims over the next few weeks as that is when the shock will begin to wear off. They will need some comfort and peace more than ever. 

10/11/17 : Feelin' Blessed!

There are so many things to look forward to right now!

This weekend I'm going up to MN for the alumni weekend at my Alma Mater, Maplewood Academy. I love that school, I love the town, I love the people, and most of all, I want to play in the alumni basketball game and make sure the high school team doesn't win. 

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Then next week I'll be spending in Florida with my wife (half for business, half for fun!). There's some guaranteed relaxation time in there at SOME point. Regardless, Imma get mine (rest, I mean). 

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At the same time, I'm working on some exciting new projects at Union College that actually make me enjoy getting up in the morning! I rock into the office like this daily. 

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That's all just October!! 

In case you were wondering, marriage is still the coolest thing in life. My wife is awesome, she's super hot, she's super smart, and she's nice to me. Four days ago she said, "I wonder which of us will get really sick first, to the point where the other person has to take of everything..."

She's super sick today. To which I say...

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Just kidding... it actually makes me feel horrible every time I hear her sniffle. So please, if you're reading this, shoot up a prayer for that lady because she has midterms and grad school has her feeling stressed. 

Did I mention the NBA starts in one week? 

The Greatest Dunk of All Time

The Greatest Dunk of All Time

10/5/17 : 5 Second Rule

A pastor came to Union College a few years ago and said he tries to live by the "5 Second Rule". I don't remember the pastor's name or I'd give him the credit for this concept. 

I was familiar with the 5 second rule (pertaining to how long food was good after dropping it on the floor) growing up, but I'd often stretch it to 10 or 15 seconds, depending on what food it was and how much I wanted to eat it. However, this was not the 5 second rule he was referring to. 

He was referring to a rule that if you receive an impulsive thought, if you ignore it for 5 seconds without action it will go away or your brain will come up with reasons not to do it. He uses it when listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings. If he gets a thought like, Give that guy a hug, or Ask that man when his birthday is, and doesn't act on it within 5 seconds, he won't do it. So he goes for it within the first 5 seconds.

This evening as I was driving back from a movie (I saw Blade Runner and it was alright...), I looked next to me at a red light and saw an interesting young woman. She looked like there was no way she was older than me, although it was hard to tell because it was dark out and she had a hood on cinched pretty tight around her face. Her old Oldsmobile was rattling pretty loud and I'm guessing the air conditioning wasn't working quite right because she had her windows cracked open in the rain with fog forming inside. In the backseat she had 2 car seats that looked like they were for an infant and a toddler. 

For some reason, I felt the impulse to ask her if she needs help with anything. Her window was open so she would be able to hear me just fine if I rolled mine down and said something.:

But I let 5 seconds pass.

By then I came up with at least a few good excuses: 1) She would think I was weird, 2) She'd be offended as if she is some charity case and her pride would be wounded or 3) The light could turn green any second. 

Maybe I missed an opportunity to do good for someone else, maybe not. I know that by not asking out on my gut feeling, I left room for only one of those outcomes. So as I drove away I made a decision to act more impulsively when it comes to helping people. Feel free to join me!
 

10/4/17 : The Minnesota Lynx

Most of my life I have felt like I cheer for a state that is cursed. My earliest sports memory was watching this play, in my cousin's house in Hutchinson, MN:

First miss in 123 attempts, and then we lost. Ever since then its just been a bunch of losing. In fact, I've said many times, "The state of MN has never, and WILL never win anything. We are cursed", to which I've been corrected. A few times a friend has reminded me... Our WNBA team has won a couple championships...

I am ashamed to say that it brought me no consolation. I would openly say, "That doesn't count." 

That will never happen again. The Lynx won their 3rd championship in 5 years in 2015, and then last year they lost a heartbreaker at home to the LA Sparks in Game 5. Throughout all this last season I've been tip-toeing the line of being a real fan or just a casual claimer, while they've been fighting for a chance at redemption. 

They got it tonight. 

Its the first WNBA game I've sat down and just watched all the way through, and I was thoroughly entertained. Lindsey Whalen (a native of my hometown Hutchinson, MN), Maya Moore (the WNBA's Kobe Bryant), Simeone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles (this season's MVP) are so fun to watch! Candace Parker is basically the LeBron James of the LA Sparks and they played hard the whole game. 

But MN won.

LA closed the gap to 3 with just 20 seconds remaining and clearly had momentum when Maya "Mo-Money" Moore hit a double clutch runner across the freethrow line. I lost my mind a little bit. 

If you're a hater on the WNBA, then you stupit for that. I'm all in. Lynx are my ladies, and I may be too late to fully appreciate the dynasty they built in their long careers. 

But it feels good to cheer for a winner for once. :) 

10/3/17 : Maybe not EVERY day...

I want to say that the internet was down at the academy in Auburn, WA, as well as the cell service at every coffee shop, restaurant, airport and even my house until this moment, as that would excuse me breaking my streak of consecutive blog posts. Unfortunately, I don't think that'd be believable. 

It has been a crazy few days though, and lately I've been realizing that blogging every single day may not be the most effective daily discipline at this stage of my life. If I blog daily, then some of it is just fluff and most people won't read it because it doesn't apply to them. Also, if it becomes just a job then you end up with a lot of posts that are meaningless and mindless, even to me. That just seems like a waste. And at this point in my life, I don't feel that I have the time to waste. 

Let me explain.

I don't work out exercise daily. I've talked about this. However, I have back problems and I may not be Pre-Subway Jared, but I can feel in my heart and lungs that they aren't keeping up with stairs and brisk walks like they used to. I can't play sports that I love anymore for an hour without being stiff and achy immediately after. I know the exercises that I need to do daily to help fix these issues, but the problem has been that I don't have the discipline.

Also, the reason I went to Seattle this past weekend was to do a concert and lead worship for The Current, and independent ministry that I started along with four close friends about 9 months ago. Our dream is to help inspire and train ministry leaders (primarily youth at the moment) while worshiping alongside them. It is something that God put on all our hearts individually and then beautifully tied us and our dreams together, and it is a ministry that we hope to be a part of for the rest of our lives! It is slow-going, but it is even slower because I haven't had the discipline to work on these ministry projects consistently. 

Last, and most important, my spiritual cup has been running low for a while now. This tends to happen when I am not spending personal time with Jesus. I've been talking about Him, preaching about Him, singing about Him, teaching about Him, and praying to Him, but when I don't just spend time learning and listening to Him, I end up running on empty. I need the daily discipline of spending time with my Creator, but I haven't had it in ages. 

I believe that through this project I've built up some of the discipline necessary to start tackling these things daily, so I'm going to break my "EVERY SINGLE DAY FOREVER" pledge. Since only one individual ever asked to be on my "List" of people I'd pay a dollar to for every missed day, this won't cost me much. 

I'm actually excited to blog about some of the daily disciplines I plan on undertaking! I've already set some impending ministry project deadlines for myself, and I'm on day 5 of 30 doing 100 push-ups daily. I'm weak, tired, and pretty much a constant failure, but I'm okay with it because in order to fail constantly that means I'm constantly trying, and eventually I have to encounter success, right? 

Prayers appreciated!

9/29/17 : Auburn Academy

Today, Mollie and Azriel and I did a chapel and vespers service at Auburn Academy in Washington. It was the second time Azriel and I have done music here, as we came out 5 years ago (although then we were representing Union, not The Current, our independent ministry). 

Last time we came with a couple other good friends, Chavez and Lindy, and we did a few of Richard Young's old favorites. I found a video from that actual vespers, as well as one that we did here, but was recorded at a later date. 

I cringe listening to myself back then, but then again I cringe now too, so... I guess I gotta get over myself. 

Blessings!

9/26/17 : Sports Sports (Politics?) Sports

D-Wade is gettin' back with Bron Bron! He gave 8 million of his remaining deal with the Bulls back to them so they could reach a buy-out the day training camp started, and then signed with the Cavaliers today for 2.4 million. This has been the most exciting off season in the NBA as long as I've been alive, BY FAR. A few months ago I said, The dominance of the Golden State Warriors is no good for the NBA. It's not competitive and people don't wanna watch and it just makes players want to form more superteams.

Well, I was wrong. This is incredible. SO MANY ALL-STARS SWITCHED TEAMS! It's like we are all just watching some teenager control the NBA like he's on MyGM mode, 2K18 style. The NBA is fun. 

Meanwhile, in the NFL...

So the players, coaches, and even some owners responded to Trump's comments Friday evening with varied forms of familiar silent protests during the National Anthem, and some fans seem to be pretty upset about it. 

It seems important to me to remember what is being protested, specifically.

It seems important to me to recognize that everyone has the freedom of speech: players, presidents, AND fans. It doesn't seem important to me to use my freedom of speech to tell others that they need to find a different, equally peaceful/non-violent way to protest.

It is important to me to pray, to listen, to understand, and to love.  

9/25/17 : Everyone Needs a Kanye

Today, all I want is someone to call me in the middle of the night to hype me like how Kanye hypes Mike Conley. 

I'm lookin' at you and Izaby, Paradise. 

9/24/17 : DWade and the NFL's Anthem Protests

9/23/17 : POTUS & Sports

So quite a bit happened today! I usually just see a lot of content and opinions about sports on my Twitter feed, but interestingly enough, today Donald Trump had a lot to say about my favorite sports!

He got things started last night with this comment at a rally in Alabama. 

I don't like curse words, and will probably always keep them off my blog, but this tweet pretty sums up how I feel. 

Then he kept things going this morning in the sports world, starting at 7:30am. 

The Warriors responded...

and so did many others, even some of the biggest names in sports. It's rare that Lebron or Kobe decide to make a statement about politics. But I guess if Trump was going to go out of his way to take a shot at an NBA player, it opened the door for athletes to take a shot back? At least that's how I would feel if I was in the NBA. 

This is the next thing he said, which isn't sports related, but it happened today and it makes me nervous! 

This doesn't have to do with the president (although who knows what he'll say on Twitter... maybe he'll comment on it next!), but it is BIG news for the NBA! The WOJ is a beast, btw. 

So yeah... the West is STACKED and the NBA is going to be INSANE this year.

Also, Sam Bradford flew to see some doctor about his knee yesterday and no one knows if he'll play tomorrow. 

I'm not sure which bit of news carries the most gravity and impact on my life today: is it the impending nuclear warfare, the incredibly stacked squads in the NBA, or Steph Curry hurting the president's feelings by not visiting the White House? They're all pretty big deals...

9/22/17 : Anomaly

This tweet was well timed for my life tonight. 

There have been several times when God has opened doors for me. Sometimes those doors are opportunities to do something I have always wanted, dreamt of and hoped for. Sometimes they are unexpected and point in a direction I never thought of. The interesting thing, in my experience, is that I am most calm and collected when looking through a doorway into something unexpected. Surprisingly, I get filled with anxiety when God opens a door for me into something that I've been praying for. 

Currently, I find myself momentarily filled with fear looking towards the future. God seems to be opening doors and bringing people into my life that want to empower me, stretch me outside my comfort zone, and support me 100%. This is daunting because I feel the pressure of high expectations (which I recognize are mostly self-imposed), and the discomfort of stepping outside my depth. 

"Perfect love casts out all fear." 

Any anxiety, discomfort, or fear is not of God, so if I've been praying for a door to open and it does, I CANNOT let the discomfort dictate my direction. I'm reminded of one of my favorite Proverbs:

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your steps." 

I may have apprehension, fear, nervousness... but I choose today to welcome those feelings as promptings to get on my knees and lean on Jesus for strength and guidance, and to boldly walk forward through the doors that God opens until He stops opening them. 

Thanks bpolite4life. 

9/21/17 : Romans 8:11

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This realization SHOULD be life-changing. It is truly incredible what the implications of this statement are if I actually have the faith to believe it. The same Spirit that had the power to raise Jesus from the dead also lives in me?!

But it doesn't feel like it's life-changing right now. 

I need a revival in my heart. Sometimes, I get to a point where I'm going through the motions. I don't necessarily feel like this is a bad thing, because in a way, "going through the motions" is walking by faith and not by sight for me. Right now I'm in one of those phases.

That's why this verse is great news. If that Spirit can literally raise Jesus from the dead, then it DEFINITELY has the power to bring revival in my own life. So, I'm claiming it. 

Thanks for this promise, God. I'm pumped about it. 

 

9/19/17 : Every Day??

So, I have been blogging for about 83 days in a row now. I may have missed a couple here and there, but I set out to do a year of blogging every day. 

Here's the thing. I didn't realize that blogging is monotonous and I'd be annoyed with myself having to come up with things every day. I wish I had done something that makes me better, like eat a salad every day for a year, or do one more pushup every day for a year, or give someone else a dollar every day for a year. 

I was thinking the other day about how if a pastor sends a devotional thought every single day, people get used to not reading it, and they miss the days when there are gold nuggets for them. Just because the author is in the habit every day, doesn't mean the reader is too. Setting up a follower to create an unattainable habit isn't a recipe for success. 

So it is making me question why I'm doing this. It's mainly discipline I 'spose. 

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!

9/14/17 : 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!