Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh my...

I am excited about our campus right now...about what God is going to do through us...there is an anticipation in me that is growing every day...What will our campus look like in 6 months...what all will we do in our new building...who will we meet that we don't know yet...who is living in darkness right now who will find salvation in Jesus...Oh my...if our local church...if we grab a hold of the vision God has called us to...if we seek out where he is working and JUMP in with him...

Hey Grace...we're doing that this year...we're jumping in with what God wants to do...look for how God best wants us to reach out to the 175,000 people within 5 miles of our new building...we aren't going to apologize for what God wants us to do...we WILL go...we will be relentless...we are going to jump in...

Are you with me?!?!?!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bring your family!

Yoder boys painting it up!

Pre-school Room...the kids are actually silhouette of our preschoolers...

Michele taking care of the door!

I love this...last night Jerimae and Karen brought their kids in to work on the building. I love watching families work together to makeCheck Spelling this happen. Several families have done this...I sure enjoy serving with my kids. What better way to teach your kids about serving than DOING IT with them!

HEY...You prayed and BAM! We are not only getting our doors, BUT they dropped the price by $2000! THAT is CRAZY STUFF...we still need the plumber to get better...he has been down with the flu for several days...

Things keep moving forward...KEEP PRAYING!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Reflections...just in time!

The day is closing and it has been a full one! Some thoughts before bed...

-Uncharted...our new theme for the year...PERFECT!
-Going where no man has gone before...
-Starting a church did that, BUT now it's time for FRESH vision
-BIG vision...BUT it must be GOD's VISION!
-Looking at EVERY area of our church...what does God want?
-I am so encouraged by the work that is being done.
-Anticipating that God is going to BLOW US AWAY this year
-We are in the final push for getting our remodeling done...
-The people have been AMAZING! (50 volunteers last week...another 15-20 today!)
-Great to have another campus...20+ volunteers from our Goshen campus helped last week!
-Volunteers have POURED themselves into this building...
-People have provided lunch for over a week now for the workers! (good food!)
-Friendships are being made and getting deeper
-LOTS of laughter!
-LOTS of prayer!
-It felt good chasing Rusty with the paint roller over the weekend (sorry about the paint on your shirt...o.k...I'm not sorry!!)
-Great memories!
-I'm longing for more of God...
-Needing more of him...
-Wanting what HE wants...
Another day is almost here...MAJOR prayer request...our goal is to have our first service on February 7...we HAVE TO have our "special" ordered doors arrive by the end of the week AND we need our plumber to show up TUESDAY...LOTS of other details, but those are the biggest!

HEY...good night!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

THAT is how I want to finish!

This pic is of Colin, a good friend of mine...he has poured his life into helping our church get started and into our new location. This Sunday he shared that his grandfather is quite sick...he thought he may pass away this week, so he went visit him...while he was there his grandpa was having some tests run and he asked the nurse if she knew Jesus! THAT is how I want to finish out my life is winding down, I'm STILL TRYING to bring people to heaven with me. WELL DONE Colin's were an amazing example to him and you touched me. WELL DONE.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Deep Verse

Reading in Colossians chapter 1 verse 16 it says: "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Just let that sink in for a minute...........

God made it all...all created things...look matter where you are in the world...look at the landscape...look at the uniqueness of creation...GOD MADE IT! He is a creative...Another part of the verse that grabbed me was "thrones or powers or rulers or authorities..." He puts powers in place...that can be tough to swallow at times...Our God knows all things BECAUSE he made all things. He is AMAZING!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good moment

Alright...through all of this crazy sickness at our house (we are in day 9 or 10) there a been a couple of funny things (and some not so funny, I might add!)...Saturday was Jaden's first Upwards basketball game...he had "gotten sick" (trying to be nice for those of you with weak stomachs!) 8x's between Midnight and 8 in the morning and his game was to be at obviously we told him that he wouldn't be able to play. As game-time was approaching Jaden told Kels "Mom...I haven't thrown up in a while...I think I can go play." THAT IS AWESOME! I love that kid's competitive spirit...his drive! When I got home from my meeting that morning I told him if it had been a conference championship game...or even a varsity game, I would have let him...What great competitive spirit! Where does he get that?!


Today is Martin Luther King Day, so since there was no school I switched my day off and hung out with the family today. It was nice! So what do we decide to do?!?!? Go bowling! I am terrible...terrible...TERRIBLE at bowling! My highest score is a 150 and I always hope and pray that I'll bowl a 100!! Here's a recap...

LUKE IS Soooooooooooooooooooo FUNNY! It was FUN to watch him rumbling up the lane and throwing the ball...I think he fell in 7 of the 10 frames! It was GREAT!

I bowled a personal best 153 today!! WHOO-HOO!

THEN...I bowled an 86...(I just LOL typing it!) I am soooooooooooo TERRIBLE!

Kelsey beat me in the second game...I hate to lose even games that I'm bad at! (I would like to mention at this point that I did have the best 2 game score!)

Jaden bowled at least 3 frames with his eyes closed! He is so funny!

Jaden also injured his this a contact sport?!?!?!

Chloe did well...nothing funny to share, except maybe her throwing style! BUT OF COURSE I can't say much.

BTW...WHAT IN THE WORLD is bowling alley doing putting a guy who bowls over 200 next to us...EMBARRASSING!!

Good times...

POOR CHLOE though...she ended her night by getting sick like the rest of us. She is the last one to get sick...we hope!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Whoa...THAT was Church!

This pic is from the middle of our service...This morning something happened in the auditorium...something fresh...people shared from their hearts...they shared their victories and their struggles...One man shared that he hasn't been IN church for 24 years, but thanked our people for being accepting...people shared of restored marriages...a teen got up and shared how much she loves her parents...another teen shared about how since she has let God control her life the "drama" has lessoned...another man talked of how much his wife's support has meant to him through a couple of VERY dark years...and I could go on and one...Alright, one more! The WHOLE GROUP gathered around one grandma and prayed after she shared about the struggles that her grandchildren were having. THE CHURCH stepped up today...they shared their hearts.

Toward the end of the service, we gave people an opportunity to respond to Jesus. After hearing all of those testimonies, we didn't want to have someone leave without that hope...AND AT LEAST ONE MAN PRAYED TO RECEIVE JESUS! "Thank you Jesus!"

I have believed for a long time that we should seek the Spirit's direction and PLAN our services like crazy. BUT if the Spirit moves...GO! That was this morning...we were going to have a testimony time...maybe 10 minutes if people were sharing...BUT the Spirit was moving in hearts and people shared for 45 minutes or more...This was great...glad God allowed all of us to experience was was fresh...GOD was honored above all else!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cpl. Jim Szuba

I'm watching the funeral for Cpl. Jim Szuba...a Mishawaka police officer who was killed on duty. I was in tears as his son spoke of him...what he meant to him...what he would he understood more now than before why his dad was hard on him...lecturing him...that it was prep for what was going to happen. Preparing him for the future...

What legacy will you leave? What will be left behind when you die?

It is moving to watch as row after row of police officers leave the funeral. These men and women risk their lives to protect me and my protect our community..."Thanks to you men and women for what you do in this community...I am so sorry for you loss and pray for you."

I can't imagine the loss of the family right now...the feelings...pride in their husband and father...pain for their loss...anger..."Lord, I plead with you for comfort for this family and that it would be found in you."

The YUCK has stirred up memories!

I'm home today...not by choice! I was sick through the night...haven't had a night like that in 10-12 years...actually the last time was the night after Kels and I went TO THE THEATER to see the movie "Titanic!" We were living in Nappanee back then...WOW! That was a life shaping year that year. I remember when we first moved to Nappanee...we had a decision to make...where were we going to go to church? It seemed "kind-a" big then, but it turned out to be HUGE! We had just come from a church that we LOVED while in Warsaw...saw the church go from 30 people to more than 100...we wondered what God wanted. Friends of ours said we should go to Nappanee Missionary Church...the church is a COMMUNITY and WORLD impacting church...GREAT PLACE.

Our other option was Ireland Road Grace Brethren Church...Kels' dad was the pastor...we talked and prayed...prayed and prayed...we decided to go to IRGBC...what a great decision! I remember one of the first conversations I had with Kelsey's dad...he talked to me about wanting to plant churches. I THOUGHT HE WAS CRAZY! (Now THAT is funny!) Fast-forward 10+ years and I'm still in South Bend...can't think of any of place to be in the world...and I was part of starting a new church! Wow...sure glad we made that decision all those years ago!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let's find the good

Why is it that we can so easily look at the things that need to be improved, but have a hard time CELEBRATING the good?! How often have you been in a conversation with someone and you give a complement and then there is a "but..." Why not just celebrate what is good...why not enjoy the good?

Let's do that! Today...find something to complement someone on and stop there! Do it with your spouse...your kids...your co-workers...your church members...your pastor...Find the GOOD today and let someone know the GOOD you found.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Reflections...

-I like having an office...wish I did now!
-The guys were WORKING HARD this weekend and today on the building
-Colin did a good job leading time yet
-We now have a team of 3 worship leaders...Jerimae-Colin-Mike...
-J is doing an OUTSTANDING job leading those guys!
-Pastor Jon's message on Demons...OUTSTANDING AS WELL!
-Love how he walked all of us through praying on the armour...we talk about it, but have never done that with people
-I feel bad for Green Bay's QB Rodgers...GREAT game HORRIBLE ending...
-Luke has been "sick" 3x's in the last 2 1/2 hours...not fun!
-I have a meeting with some peeps from church tonight...DREAMING about the future...I REALLY CANNOT WAIT TO GET THAT GOING!!!!!
-AND...thanks Gma for coming over to stay with Luke, so I can go!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pace Yourself

Chloe had a swim meet at Notre Dame today...(MAN THOSE MEETS START EARLY!) It is fun to watch her and see her improve. She is a determined and very teachable...(she was named swimmer of the week a while back!) I notice something with the best of the best...they know how to pace themselves. Even at this young age! I was A LOT of heats today...and noticed that ANYONE can start fast...and OFTEN the person who started fast or even way the first 50 yards, often lost. WHY? Because they went all out at the beginning...they didn't have anything left to finish. Did you catch that? They went all out at the beginning and didn't have anything left to finish.

Pacing yourself is NOT passive! I told Chloe that this week..."Sweetie you have to push yourself and not just sit back and pace yourself!" And today she did that and had a GREAT breaststroke time! Sometimes in order to be all we were made to be, we HAVE TO push ourselves...AND sometimes, we have to STOP-REST-RELAX...the key is balance...So let's do it...not just be great starters, but learn to pace ourselves well!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I called Rusty our Construction Guy today and he said that 2 of our inspections were done and that they gave him A BUNCH of things that we had to change...I got that sinking feeling in my gut...THEN HE LAUGHED! GRRRR!! I owe that guy! EVERYTHING was approved...the whole building...which is more than we expected! Now THAT is a breath of fresh air!! WHOO-HOO...Full steam ahead baby! The Goal? DONE by February and first service on Valentine's Day (or a week earlier if we can!!) SO NOW WE GO BABY!

Oh and Rusty...I OWE YOU MY FRIEND!!!! (I'll just wait until after the job is done! ;)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a team!

Andre, Dick and me...Workin' hard baby!

Don giving the youngsters some advice...
Dawn tryin' on a new tie! (BTW...that's a "BEAT TEXAS" shirt...BIG 'BAMA fans in that house!)

The kid crew...moving a heavy box of copy paper!

The empty room...

The crew...

Yoder sneaking away with some stuff...

Oh Yeah baby!! We moved out of our office building today...had a GREAT group of people and AWFUL weather...which made it really fun actually!! The snow was COMING DOWN and the group worked hard and fast. We got done in 1 hour and 15 minutes...ARE YOU KIDDING ME...Moved everything out of the office that fast?!?!?! NICE! Great team...

HUGE thanks to Kim and Fred for the use of their truck and Kim driving that beast over hear on this snowy wife for the pics! She worked hard and never took any pics of herself!!

We ended our time praying and thanking God for what he has done there...for the lives that will be changed for ETERNITY down there! A chapter in our history is closed...good memories...


I feel like a caged a dog that has been stuck on a leash!! (I LOVE IT when I get like this!) I just spent the last couple of hours dreaming...praying...planning for the future...I AM EXCITED! Yesterday I talked to Pastor Jim about direction for next year and my gut wasn't "burning" like it usually does after a convo like that...So I KNEW I had to cut out some time and just dream...let GOD'S vision for what HE wants to do here be renewed and refreshed in my heart and head...OH MAN DID HE DO THAT THIS AFTERNOON!! I haven't felt this passion...this fresh vision in a while...I feel like a caged lion now...just READY to explode out...

COME ON...NOW WE GO BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want to lead out of of PASSION for what God wants...Longing...deeply longing...from WAY down in my gut for God to do something fresh and new in me and here at Grace this year...something he has not done here before...What do we need to do to be ready for that?...ummmmmmmmmm, it's going to be fun to continue to work that out!

"Hey God, what are you up to and what do you want us to do about it?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cool Moment...

Some moments as a parent just freeze in time for's like I can feel myself taking a mental pic of the moment...tonight was one of those moments. And this moment surprised me! I expect to have these moments at Holidays, birthdays and vacations...even when the kids started playing sports and going to school concerts. BUT TONIGHT really GRABBED me.

I was sitting here in Kels' chair getting ready to post a blog and I look over at my chair and Jaden is sitting there reading his new Bible. He was completely "locked in" to what he was reading and sure looked a lot older than 6 years old. I LOVE that he wants to read his Bible...and I don't think that I will forget my "big" man sitting over there reading THE moment for me...I love being a dad!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Clearing Out

The process is on...spent part of today packing up my office for the big move-out on Thursday. God has done some work down here at the JMS building...caring for struggling families...prayer...counseling...Construction Zone for Kids...prayer...our first communion service...Toy Blitz...our first break-in!...Packing up food for the Thanksgiving sure has been good to us...thanking God for what he has done here...good to look think back to lives that were changed RIGHT HERE...Souls from darkness to light...RIGHT HERE..."thanks God for memories...stories of how you have moved in people's lives RIGHT HERE...thanks."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday Reflections...THE Living Stones Church

Yesterday we had the chance to visit one of our neighborhood churches. (Probably a 3 minute RUN from my house!) Sam, the pastor, and I have been friends for a few years...used to hang out at Panera together back when I was just starting out and he was taking an a capella Church of Christ church and adding instruments and a passion for OUTREACH to the southside of South Bend. There were some TOUGH days back then...both of us wondering if we would be in the churches we were in 3-5 years later.

WELL...Living Stones is now a impacting church on the southside of South Bend...I LOVE the southside...LOVE THESE GUYS and what they are doing in my neighborhood and for THE Kingdom. Yesterday was his vision message for 2010 and I can't WAIT to see how God is going to continue to work through them. Praying as they are looking to add a 3rd service...hire a children's pastor and worship pastor...AND they want to start a church on the Eastside of SB...they target a particular zip code...right now they reach out to the 46614 and 46613 zip codes ("42,000 people in this area and 11,000 kids"...I think I got the numbers right...heard it several times in the message!) they are looking to hit 46615...THIS CHURCH GETS IT and they have IT! Love you guys...keep up the good work!

Monday Reflections...Family

WOW...the past week has flown by and I believe it is the best vacation I have ever had. We have done more fun things, but as a family...the quality time we had together over the past week was priceless...This fall has been very hard on our family...lots of has just taken its toll. It was one of the reasons that we decided to get a break even though we are in the middle of a building project at church.

Having my family out for Christmas was so fun...I get to see my parents a few times a year, but rarely my brother and his family. We really enjoy was fun to watch the cousins react to each other. (And VERY GOOD for Jaden to have some older boys around!! He's not used to having other people push him around!!)

The time at the hotel with the kids was AWESOME! I think I still have water in my lungs from all of the swimming...We didn't go ANYWHERE for 2 days...just the hotel room and the was great.

OF COURSE it helps vacation to go well when the Buckeyes win their bowl game too! Fun hanging out with some ol' college friends in Warsaw and watching the game.

THEN...we capped off our week with some sledding! WHAT A BLAST!! Except for when Kels fell HARD...she's a little sore today!! I'm laughing as I typing thinking of Chloe, Jaden and Luke all flying in the air over the ramps on their sleds...Luke NAILED a ramp and just kept holding on! It was SOOOOOOOOOO fun!

I am soooooooo thankful for my family...for Kelsey and the kids. I love them so much and am grateful for the time we spent...priceless.