Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011

Where do I start in talking about 2011? LOTS to "unwrap" here...LOTS happened...
I started this blog a few days ago...decided I just didn't like it! I saved it for myself for another time. Frankly this year has really hurt...I have felt lost...awkward...confused...just strange for a a great deal of the 2nd half of this year. The year started with a dream...a challenge...renewed vision and direction for me and our church...anyone who has read this blog or lived this with me...knows where that journey led...(if you're new to the blog...just head back to May and June and start reading!)
God's faithfulness though is what has been my focus over the past week as I thought about how to finish off the year...I have thought about this BEAUTIFUL, funny, adorable, cute, snuggly, little girl that was a true gift from God this year. She has been sunshine in the midst of a storm...a true miracle and treasure from God. SOOOOOO grateful for her and that God blessed us with Sadie Lynn Boucher THIS YEAR...that wasn't an accident!
I'm also quite grateful that the very week that the decision was made to close our church (and put me out of a job) that our school system offered me a full time position. WHO GETS THAT?!?!?! God was soooo good to give us $ and insurance while many struggle to find a job. AND to have a job that I enjoy...I'm grateful.
OBVIOUSLY there are other blessings...Sadie isn't the only amazing family member that I have!! But those 2 things are my 2 biggest highlights from the year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Little Puppy

Alright...for those of you who love pets beware! If you don't like pets...SOFTEN UP!

Today was a sad day over here...after 12 1/2 years, we had our little puppy Zeke put to sleep...I know...12 is old for a puppy, but he was a he was forever a puppy! That little dog brought a lot of joy to our family...he was my leg warmer while watching playing buddy...he was sooo stinkin' stubborn! He just did things his way...I'll even miss yelling at him for his little whimpering when he was gated!! (That used to make me sooooo mad though!)

I still remember like it was yesterday...the first time we brought him home and I played with him in the kitchen...FUN!

The bottom line...for us...he was part of the family. Just part of who we are...A LOT of tears were shed today...lots...I already miss the little guy...his night time licks...even right now...if he were here he would be looking at me with his little Zeke look...head tilted a if to say..."WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING UP...get to bed!" I think people really miss out when they don't have pets...I know that loss is hard...that life has enough trouble without pets making it harder...but the fun and joy is sooooo worth it!

Here is what is on my mind though...enjoy the moments...sure with pets, but more than that... With the people in your life. Don't have regrets...say you're sorry while you still can...forgive that person while you still after that dream while there is still life in you...use your life...your remaining days to influence people in positive ways...AND DON'T STOP OR LOSE HOPE...appreciate what you have while you have it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A MRI...A Picture...Today

I had a MRI today on my right's been bad for over 20 years...hurt it back in High School. Kels made me an appointment with a knee doc a couple of weeks ago...guess she was tired of watching me struggle to get up and stuff...( it bad when the doctor walks in and says..."oh...from the looks of your x-ray I would have thought you were 20-30 years older!" Nice!! Guess my knees really are 60-70 yrs. old!!) I had a MRI...they put you on this uncomfortable table...tell you to not move anything...AND they keep the room freezing cold...THEN the machine turns on...and it is STINKIN' loud!!

SO...during the time I was in there...I prayed...for 30 straight minutes...with loud banging of the machine...I prayed...prayed for A LOT of It was just sooooo good to come before God and put some people in front of him.

Then...there was physical therapy today...while I was in there the therapist had a picture on the said: "Attitude...a little thing that makes a BIG difference." The picture was of 1 drop of water falling onto a completely still body of water...then you see the ripple was really a powerful pic for me...1 drop of water created a GREAT DEAL of ripples...our attitude will dictate whether those are positive or negative ripples...

Which brings me to today...what are we going to do today? How long will we allow the circumstances of our past dictate how we live TODAY? When will we step up and say...I am a child of the LIVING God...saved through the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ...I am created to do great things for God!

LIVE. Live today. With whatever circumstances you are in...THRIVE. Make the most of what God has placed in front of you. Don't be so consumed with yesterday or tomorrow that you miss your chances today!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dashboard...GREAT STUFF!

Pastor Sam NAILED it yesterday...we started a new message series at church called Dashboard. You know...the warning lights that go off on the dash of your car or van...they let you know...TROUBLE...BETTER GET YOUR VEHICLE IN TO BE FIXED! (I probably like this soooo much 'cause of our own dashboard problems!)

So Sam hit 12 Spiritual Warning Lights that could go off on the dashboard of our a some highlights that hit me..

*If God answered all of your prayers NOTHING of significance would change on earth...
This one is HUGE...we pray and pray and pray for God to help US with US do with OUR kids...OUR homes...OUR jobs...NONE OF WHICH ARE BAD...but what about earth shaking stuff...what about people that need Jesus...what about issues that affect our city, nation, world...what about...Are our prayers EARTH SHAKING? Are we PLEADING with God to do some CRAZY STUFF?

*You keep going back to a place where God moved you to spiritual growth.
-This is mine RIGHT NOW! Been thinking of this one for a couple months...I used to go to the East Race...down to the river...for times of meeting with God. Over the course of this year I have tried to go back have that time with God...only I've been forcing it. The time has come for me to find a new spot...a new place to connect with God...I've been moved into a new season of life...and the time has come to find a new spot to connect with God. I look forward to finding it, just as I have finally gotten to a point of being excited to find out how God wants to use us now.

Here is the thing on the last can't force can't force change...simply make the most of each moment that you're in right God and wait...and wait...and wait...NOW that is ACTIVE waiting! It's not's not just sitting around...BUT waiting on God...looking for him and GRABBING EACH MOMENT AS IT COMES!

Can't wait to see where my new spot will be...can't wait for that feeling of connection with God...the time of seeing HIS clear vision for how HE wants to work in his church and through me...did I mention that this is fun! (Now there is a shift over the past few months!) It's fun to try to unpack what God is doing all around me and how I and my family fit into that.

Enough for now!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Had the privilege to preach today at Keller Park Church...the church is making a HUGE difference in the Keller Park Neighborhood here in South Bend...Really making a difference as they practically have been serving there...Their pastor...Ryan a friend of mine and has a true shepherd's heart...a deep care for people and where they are. I believe the work he does there brings a smile to God's face!!

Today I talked about wisdom...about making sure that we have the right filter...that we use GOD's filter for figuring out what the best decisions are for our lives. And I'll admit was just good to preach this morning...not because I was preaching, but the process it takes to get it done...and the opportunity to speak to a group of people...a group that is truly living out the Great Commission...I enjoyed the time of prayer...pleading with God for words to share...for insight...the research through the Word...looking for ways to practically connect the Word to our lives...(Not tooooo hard to do when you get to speak on the book of James!)...the concern on Saturday night of whether people would connect with it...Ryan thanked me several times...but let's be honest...I'm the one who is thanking him for the opportunity to share the have my own heart stirred up again...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Word of the Week: Courage!

Asked my students what courage was...some really good discussion! We decided that if fear is absent then you don't need courage. Why be courageous if you aren't worried or just isn't needed. So in order to have courage, we have to be confronting a struggle, fear or worry of some kind...

When I think of courage with my mind runs to their homes...I don't know all of their stories. I don't know what life is like at home...but some of the stories I's heart-breaking...students dealing with sick parents...another with a parent that has passed away...some not living with mom and dad anymore...others watching mom and dad going through a divorce...One student came up to me and told me how her young cousin passed away in a car accident.

These kids have courage to simply SHOW UP and give their best at school. I'm so proud of them...for working hard...for working to overcome some of their life circumstances. It is a privilege to teach these kids.

Then I think about the teachers and staff...thinking of things that are happening in their personal lives yet...they show up every day and pour their lives into these students...all while more expectations are heaped on them...and frankly the much of the blame for student's low scores. It is a privilege to serve with a group of people that want to make a difference in these kid's lives.

Then there are our administrators...both have walked through some illnesses over the years, yet they still have smiles on their faces as they work with us, the kids and their parents. They have courage each day as they face the struggles of doing what is best for our school...I don't envy the principals, and I'm soooo glad that they have not lost hope in these kids!

COURAGE...facing TOUGH STUFF and being willing to walk through it.

What is your struggle...your fear right now? What is the wall that you can't see over? The thing that makes your stomach turn? Will you be willing to face that struggle? Will you be willing to walk through that fear? It may not feel good...but as you face it and walk through it...YOU are living with courage!! So take the next step...(Hey...have you ever written something and thought that just maybe you were writing a note to yourself?? Hmmmmm....)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Random Stuff Around the Bouchers'...

Random Stuff as it pops in my head...
-Chloe ran a FANTASTIC final race at her City meet this week! SO proud of her!!
-1 1/2 years ago, Chloe would walk during a 1/2 mile run!! SO STINKIN PROUD OF HER!!
-DID I proud I am of the way she has improved...NICE!
-Wish I would have been a swimmer...that has sure helped Chloe's running!
-Wonder what Sadie will grow up to be like...the older 3 are so unique...wonder what...
-Luke received his first progress report...It was really good!!
-Teaching was like watching myself through the lives of several kids...
-What is it about drummers...they just have to push and tease people...then they give that smirk...the "What?!?! I didn't do anything?" smirk...(not that I have EVER given that look!!)
-Teaching is really is like preaching 5-6 times a day...I come home feeling spent each evening...
-Why do we sometimes expect more out of others than we do ourselves...that sure is backwards!
-Teaching a group of kids math...helping with their skills...the group is a challenge, but I really am enjoying connecting with these kids.
-Took my 7th grade band out to the football field today...rehearsed for a halftime song we are playing next week...
-Since we were outside...I raced the band in a 40 yd. Dash......
-OH...did I mention that I beat the 7th graders?? Some athletes in the class...guess the old band teacher can still run a little
-SPEAKING OF RUNNING...Jaden ran a 6min. 30 second mile...WHAT?!?!?! That is faster than any of my mile times this year!! (OR last year!!)
-THE KID IS 8 YEARS OLD!! Now he just needs to keep his limbs healthy
-I'm a different teacher after having worked with Jim Brown and the guys at Grace Community...I work differently...and better...A little of that DNA rubbed off!
-Wonder what life will be like in 5 years
-I know this...Sadie will be 5...Luke 10...Jaden 13...Chloe 16...Whoa!
-This weather is AWESOME! 80 during the at night! Almost makes me want to move to Cali!
-Feeling really blessed...amazing Savior...BEAUTIFUL wife...great kids...and so much more!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You just never know...

You just never know what is going to encourage someone...I cannot tell you how many times a simple note or text...really encourage me. Today was one of those days. 3 very simple things made my day...

First it was a call from a very good friend...the call was for a microphone that he needed, but he ended up encouraging me more than I can express...AND it all happened in less than 5 minutes! It was simple...but soooooo good!

Then I received an email...from another friend...asking for came out of the blue, but his request really encouraged my heart.

THEN...the icing on the was really short...the shortest of the 3...a got it...a text...very few words, but it came from a person I deeply respect and haven't talked to in a made my day and encouraged my heart to hear from him and know that he was thinking of me.

You have been there haven't you? A time when someone shares a simple word...a phrase that just lifts your spirit...just pushes you forward...simply makes your day. Not a huge conversation, but something to boost you up...

Today made me think...who do I need to encourage...who do I need to give that boost too...let's be honest...most of the time we don't even intend to encourage in those moments...they simply happen. BUT let's pray...pray that God allows us to influence people...not just in the BIG ways that many can see...but in the little the simple the times that we may never even know about...

SO DO IT...send that text...that email...that quick call...the one that will lift someone up...don't think for a SECOND that it doesn't it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Word of the Week: Integrity!

I have been wrestling this school year with how to best influence my students...I realize the fact that the majority of my students will not be playing the instrument they play right now when they are my age. So yes...OF COURSE I long to see them be the best musicians they can EVER be! And MORE THAN THAT...I long for them to be the BEST PERSON they can possibly be. THE VERY BEST!

SO this week I started a word of the week...we take some time to discuss the word...and my hope is as we do this week after week...these life skills...maybe a story that is shared will help to shape my student's minds, hearts and lives.

This is all about integrity...all about doing the right thing when people are and are not watching. Being the very most trustworthy people...people that their parents, teachers, peers can trust...

This made me think about my life am I doing with protecting and guarding my integrity? I have LONG had the desire to be the same man at work as I am at be the same at church as I am at home...

If you are reading this...that is my prayer for prayer is that you will walk through this life with integrity...that you will hold your head high, knowing that you are trustworthy...that you do the right thing even when people aren't watching you. AND I pray...that if there is something...something that you are holding back...something that you think no one else can see...something that holds you back from living with integrity...that you will deal with it through the forgiveness of our God AND through walking with others in accountability!

Monday, September 26, 2011

If this couch could speak...

15 years ago my brother and sister in-law gave this couch to us...before that it belonged to my grandma...I remember when it was moved into her new apartment when I was in 5th grade after my grandpa had passed away.

Whoa...lots of memories...think of all the things that this couch has seen...think of the moments...the memories...sad stories...heart breaking stories...AMAZING joys...tears of joy and broken moments...prayers...teaching moments...wrestling...couch-covers...TONS of nights...FUN memories!!

A couple of moments for me...

My favorite of all would have been sitting on that couch interviewing my grandma...I had to interview someone and then write a paper on them in high school. I will never forget (I just got CHILLS thinking about it!) that time with was sooooooo priceless...hearing about her growing up years...her life with she missed him. (Over 50 years of marriage! Cool story there...Kelsey's wedding ring has gma's diamond in it is rounding 70 year of marriage in that diamond!!) Priceless times.

I also remember watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy with Gma...THEN YEARS LATER...I got to sit on that couch and watching the same show with MY KIDS!

That couch has a lot of was beat-up...torn-up...but it was still hard for me to send it to the curb...LOTS of memories!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Used to "reflect" every Sunday night or Monday morning...thought I'd bring that back for at least 1 week!

My thoughts from church this morning and more...
-LOVE being at Living Stones and the people we are reaching
-Message touched the people around us...could see it in their body language...lots of tears
-This series is PURE POWER! EVERYONE has been Sucker Punched...that out of the blue thing that happens to you and just feels like a punch out of no where...the sickness...a family member's affair...hearing about cancer...a heart get the idea...something that just comes out of no where.
-When I heard a few of the stories...stories from people here at they are hurting...what they have or are going through...this is home.
-When I heard a few of the brought tears to my eyes...that people live with such pain
-When I heard a few of the made me praise God that I have never had to walk alone
-Sam...i.e. Pastor Sam...gave people permission to ask God questions when they get sucker punched...YES! Job sure did!
-By the way...STOP AND THINK FOR A MOMENT about his life was turned UPSIDE DOWN in a matter of moments...loss of he worshipped God...whoa.
-ALSO...glad Job asked some tough questions...I know I times I feel guilty for asking.
-BEST QUOTE OF THE MORNING: "If I can't get an answer from God, where will I get an answer?" Think about this...when we question God...we are telling him that we have no where else to one else to turn too...that if he doesn't have the one will
-BUT...know this..."the key to healing is not getting the why questions is focusing on HIM." True healing happens when we get our eyes, heart and mind focused on Jesus Christ!
-As you work through your pain...focus on how to serve others.

More Stuff...
-I used to love every Sunday morning...seeing Aaron Tuttle...he has the very best smile that I have ever was SO GOOD to see that smile this morning!
-Living Stones is a very friendly place...especially for a church its size...impressive!
-Wondering how to get involved...feel lost in that area--want to...not sure where/what
-Chloe went to the opening Kickoff for the youth tonight...SHE LOVED IT! JUST LOVED IT! Had a blast...GREAT JOB STONES!!
-Been spending time on the Cost of following Jesus...been spending time asking God to break my heart for struggling people and people that need him
-Kelsey is amazing...the way she takes care of our way she raises our kids...the woman of God she is...I'm blessed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How much is it?

How much does it cost? This is something that I have been thinking about a lot this week...NO...not because we just had to redo our family room, have furnace issues AND have things we need to fix in our van. (Although it sure could be those!!)

I have been reading in the Gospels...Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...been reading about what it costs to follow Jesus...Also...been thinking and reflecting A LOT on what it cost Jesus to come down here. I feel overwhelmed and convicted when I think of this...Jesus gave up the "best seat in the house" to come down here...he was sitting right beside God the Father...sitting in perfection...enjoy the PERFECT company of his Father, yet...because he LONGS to give us the chance to have that same company with God, he gave that up...and he came down here to live.

This convicts me...because I like to feel sorry for myself sometimes...convicted because when I compare ANYTHING that I have EVER lost in my life it simply doesn't come CLOSE to what God gave up for me...for you.

So, how much is it? Salvation is free...It's free...there is NO COST to accepting God's love...none! After we have taken that step, then we must live in obedience and THAT is costly AND worth it!! Doesn't mean that we don't enjoy life, but our focus shifts...shifts from focusing on our happiness to focusing on how do we please God and encourage others.

Take the plunge...stop waiting around for tomorrow to come...stop hesitating and give your life to Jesus AND take the plunge to live as HE wants you to he wants you to live!!

DO IT! You'll be glad you did...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where you are...Make the most of it!

Where do you find yourself right now? Are you doing what you dreamed that you would be doing 5...10...50 years ago? Are you living the way you longed to live? Have the job that you want? Family? Money? How about a passion for God? A relationship with him? Are you closer or farther from him?

Where are you right now? AND better than that...are you ok where you are? AND even more than that...are you making the most of where you are?

Life is such a journey...lots of paths...detours...and the key is to make the most of each moment. God knows where you are...he knows your dreams...but more than anything else...he simply wants your heart...he wants YOU...He loves you...NOW GO! Go make the most of your life RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The search is over

It has been 3 very interesting months...emotional times...relaxing times...restless times. When we closed our church 3 months ago, we had no idea what we were going to do. Frankly we are still figuring it all out! But we finally came together as a family on where we are plugging into a church body.

We have weighed A LOT of factors...and it has been very difficult for all of our kids. We have visited some INCREDIBLE places...places where God is really working...and places where good friends are pastoring...frankly...that has made this very hard for me...knowing some of the pastors--we haven't wanted to jump too soon. And it has been hard because WE LOVE GRACE COMMUNITY!

Here is the is time to move forward...and I have been UNBELIEVABLY wrestless...frustrated...urgh inside! Just restless to get back to be more than just a Sunday attender...SURE I have liked sleeping in...liked not having Saturday night stress about Sunday...but I'm sooooo ready to get involved HOWEVER! Whatever...

The cool part is...the kids are excited too...excited to be settling in to the church where God wants us...

Looking forward to what God has in store for us at Living Stones Church...Why Living Stones? GLAD YOU ASKED!

They share A LOT of Grace DNA...LOVE outreach...LOVE serving people...
THEY REACH OUR neighborhood...YEP...MINE! They want to touch the 46614 &46613 zip codes...AND THAT IS WHERE WE LIVE! I simply love the southside of South Bend and look forward to jumping in and expanding our influence here in SB.
We wanted to LIVE church where we are and Living Stones is just that...real people...they even say in their bulletin that they are a "come as you are church!" NICE!
I could go on and on, but Pastor Sam is a friend of mine and might get a little bigger I'll stop now!

Where do we go from here?? GREAT question? No idea how we will plug idea what ministries we'll connect with, but I know where we are we are moving forward and I cannot tell you what a relief that is for me AND my family! (My kid's faces LIT UP when we said we were going there...Chloe asked to go to youth group this coming Sunday!)

Been a journey so far and looking forward to beginning to write the next chapter of what God wants to do with the Bouchers'...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Night Before School

Our house is BUZZING tonight...the anticipation of a new school year...Chloe moving up to 6th grade...J in 3rd and LUKE ENTERING KINDERGARTEN!! Plus I am starting tomorrow!

A LOT of energy tonight...boys that had trouble falling asleep...Chloe is bouncing is sooo cute and fun!! And Sadie is baby-talking like crazy...I think she is excited too...(I wonder what she will think tomorrow when she goes from having 6 of us to just her and mom!!)

The first days of school have so much much and teachers are full of dreams for the year--I have been prayer walking the hallways and praying for my students, teacher, admin and staff at our school. EXCITING!!

ALRIGHT...back to getting a few last minute things done!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

From the mouth of kids and other thoughts...

Tucking the boys in tonight I told them how much I have enjoyed being around more this grateful I am to Grace Community Church Goshen's leadership for paying me through the summer so I could be with my family...and have time to reflect and restore. We always pray before bed and Luke prayed this tonight...

"God...'at (at means "that" to Luke...)help us to move on from Grace Community Church so 'at we can really like our new church..."

Whoa...the prayer of a 5 year old! He really touched me with that kids LOVED Grace...they were more than just "the pastor's kids" there...they enjoyed their friends...enjoyed the people...their teachers...and what AMAZING perspective for Luke...He loved Grace, but he already sees the importance of moving on! I believe that God will honor my little man's prayer...God will lead us to just the right church and he will have us fall deeply in love with the church!

Other things...
Today was the end of my summer...I have meetings tomorrow at Jackson...more on Wednesday and then students on Thursday. It is strange to think that after 7 years I will be back teaching full time...been part time for a lot of that, but this is different. A bit strange feeling...I am looking forward to the adventure of the school year...seeing what opportunities there are.

Feeling grateful tonight...grateful to be a child of God...grateful for my family...grateful for my friends...for how blessed my life is and has been...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"What If..."

School is about to start and "What if..." is a question that students LOVE to ask...last night Kels, Chloe and I watched "Soul Surfer" If you haven't seen is a MUST SEE! Powerful true story...and just as good as the movie was the documentary of the actual person...

What a question that has wondered through my head a few times in the past months...I learned A LONG TIME AGO to shut out that least when it is coming in a negative way...Between that movie and my class reunion last weekend...I have thought about some what ifs...

-What if I hadn't blown out my knee my junior year...that changed the direction of my the time it was I see a clear detour in my life...a detour that led me to Grace College to study music...a detour that led me to my AMAZING wife and 4 kids...a detour that gave me the opportunity to fall in love with a city I hadn't heard of and see many lives changed for eternity...Sure college soccer would have been great...but I wouldn't trade the last 20+ years for that!

-What if...what if I hadn't stepped out and spoken up and wanted to plant a church? What if I would have sat on the sidelines...truth?? I would have missed out on meeting some amazing people...missed out on watching people walk into the arms of Jesus for the first time...met people that have shaped my life forever...people that I dearly love...

-What if...I had been more strict with myself and not had a heart attack...(ooooo...this is a big one!) the answer I keep telling myself is the same one from the movie last night: "God works all things out for the good of those that love him." And I'm holding on to that to be honest...I could go on and on about how this has changed me...and changed me for the good (and it really has!)...but truthfully...I have to get back to you in 10 yrs or so and give you God's big picture on that one...from my earthly standpoint...I believe that if I had not had that heart attack I would still be the pastor of Grace Community Church South Bend...but clearly God had other plans...and I plan to find it out!

-What if...what if...instead of looking for God...looking to fall more in love with HIM...we keep feeling sorry for ourselves? What if...WHAT IF...we keep looking so hard for that next opportunity that we miss HIM...that we miss the opportunity to fall in love with JESUS...this is where I'm at tonight...

What if...can be a good question if it is used right...that movie last night moved me...challenged me..."What if..."

"God...move EVERYONE who reads this post to fall more deeply in love with stop worrying about the 'What ifs' and to focus on really do love us...for all of our questions...our struggles...our victories...thanks. In Jesus Name..."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Doing Great!"

I remember hearing a story about a pastor of a large church who was attending a conference and eating with some other pastors...they had gone around the table and asked how each one was doing...they all spoke of how GREAT everything was going in their personal lives and their ministries...when it got around to this pastor he said that it was time for him to go...because "we really don't need each other anyway since everything is so perfect."

See that pastor knew some of what was happening in the other pastor's lives...he knew that one of them had a marriage that was in trouble...another pastor's ministry was falling apart...yet they all had to much pride to admit what was happening and ask for that pastor removed himself from the conversation...

How often do you do this? This isn't about spilling every struggle to every person you know...but do you have people that can share your struggles...that you are willing to be honest with? If not...I encourage you to pray for that person to come into your life...OR maybe they are there and you are not willing to open up...DO IT! Be willing to be honest and share the struggles of your heart...that life just isn't as perfect as put it out to be...THEN you will find true encouragement to walk through this life!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Do you like your seat?..." Class Reunion!

We had our 20 year class was good to see some of my classmates and hear what they have done over the past 20 years...during our dinner Saturday night...Julie Solomon (Cookro) who I had gone from Kindergarten through graduation with read some papers from 3rd grade. They were sooooo funny...they were short letters from each wasn't the it is...

"Dear Julie, Do you like your seat? I don't. Your Friend, Timothy"

AND THE DEAL WAS...we sat by each other!! Ouch!! Now you couldn't find a girl than Julie and I wrote that! We got a good laugh about it, but I imagine it wasn't toooooo funny at the time...

Reminded me how much our words can hurt others...Julie read mine letter through laughter Saturday night, but how often do we say things...simple things...that can shoot through someone's heart.

Let's be careful with our words...careful to say things that encourage other them up. I'm lucky...I wrote that in 3rd grade and Julie is forgiving!! So that makes it funny now...BUT it is toooo easy to hurt others.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pain Creates Compassion

Pain...tragedy..."tough stuff"...disappointment...these things can destroy a person if you are not careful. BUT they can also do something else...the difficult stuff in life can create compassion. Those hard things do something inside of us...make us want to help other people...make us understand another person's struggles...

I was reflecting this morning on a story from some months back...a person was going through a very difficult situation and another person really came along-side of them and loved them. I wrote this in a journal entry at the time...

"Then it hit me...we just want no pain...but without pain there is no room for moments like this...what a teachable step up when someone else is hurting!"

We long to live without pain...but it is truly in those painful moments when we are softened to think of other people. It is in those moments that we become more compassionate to others.

Allow your pain to help other people...allow it to soften you and to push you towards helping people.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Give Everything You Have!

Coaches OFTEN talk about giving everything you have in sports..."Leave it all on the field!" I have to confess that I was EXTREMELY proud of Chloe, Jaden and Luke at the Triathlon on Saturday...they had to swim 25 yds...ride their bikes for 1.3 miles and run a 1/2 mile.

During practice (YEP...we practice for the triathlon...the older actually ask to practice!) Luke didn't think he could do was quite a struggle to get him to finish...QUITE difficult. At the race he really stepped up...his run was what most impressed me...we were so proud of him...and it was his first race ever!!

I cannot say enough about the week that Jaden had last week...we once again spent time thanking God the night before the race that Jaden could even do it...1 month ago--we asked his doctor if we should have him try the race...she said: "he can try it...might be good to have a goal out there for him." 1 month ago he could hardly run...he had an AWFUL time after he had broken his leg...he didn't want to do the race...mostly because he didn't think he would finish as well as what he would like...So he worked hard and raced yesterday...

THE BEST PART of his race was how he felt afterwards...he felt like he wanted to throw up! He had left EVERYTHING on the race course...he gave his best!! And he finished 2nd in the 7-8 yr. old group and had a fast enough time that he would have finished 5th in the 11-12 yr. old age group. I am so proud of his effort more than his place...he gave EVERYTHING...wish you could have seen the look on his face when he had someone coming from behind trying to catch him...PRICELESS!!

THEN there was Chloe...3 years ago...actually 2years ago she had to walk several times during her run...YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN HER SATURDAY! He was MOVING on her bike and on the run. (Not mentioning the swim...cause OF COURSE she rocked that!!) I was a PROUD PAPA when she was sprinting the last 100-200 yards...she GAVE EVERYTHING and blew her time from last year away by 45 seconds...YEP...she felt like throwing up too!

So proud of the EVERYTHING they have!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How are you refueled?

Some years ago I went through some of those personality of them revealed how you were energized or how your personal energy tank was refueled. Some people LOVE to spend time with people...and when they do, it restores them...fires them up--refuels them. Others are simply DRAINED when they meet with just saps all of their energy and they just HAVE TO get away-by themselves to restore.

How about you? How are you energized? What refuels you? Does spending time with people fire you up or drain you need time to get get by yourself?

Personally...I am refueled by spending time with people...I like to have quiet sometimes, but not nearly as much as I enjoy a good meeting or time to hang out. My tank gets FILLED up by spending time with people...that is why I feel SOOOOOOO good today...Last night I had the chance to talk with a friend a hadn't talked with in over a month and then this a.m. I had my first meeting in a month with a friend...MAN--it was sooooo good! I left my conversation this morning just ENERGIZED! Spending time with people just charges my batteries...especially when the conversation is focused on our walk with God...his church...and vision/direction of our lives. GREAT STUFF!!

Understanding how we get refueled can help us understand better how we need to recharge...if you are a person who gets recharged by better MAKE TIME for that...and if you are recharged by being alone...make sure you make time to be by yourself... was just good to be with friends...good to hear what God is doing in their life and wondering where we will be in the next 1-5 answers from he conversation...but just good to be hanging out together!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BLAZIN' Hot day in and out of the pool!

Yesterday was Chloe and Jaden's Conference Swim was HOT! REALLY--REALLY hot out there! Arlington Swim Club did a good job of having everything ready and running...5 teams were was a fun day!

Having a great meet at the end of the season depends on how you prepare during the season...WAY TO OFTEN kids (well...PEOPLE) want to have results without the work that goes along with it...they just want to go do it! Chloe and Jaden work hard at their swimming...Chloe does EVERYTHING that the coaches ask and several times this season Jaden is quite coachable...he would ask to swim longer with the older kids...

Then this week as they prepped for the meet...we talked to them about the heat...and got them to drink a lot the day before the meet and told them to eat WELL at the flee sugar especially...we told them that we would get them treats AFTER the meet! Excellence is planned neglect...if you want to be excellent and at your best you have to give something up...SO...yesterday they both gave up sugary snacks and ate really well...

Their sacrifice paid off!

Chloe improved ALL of her times in each race...I loved watching her track down 2 swimmers in her 100 IM--showed her heart and desire to be her best! She won 2 of her other heats...scored points for her team and beat some swimmers that she had not beaten all season! PLUS she is an AMAZING teammate...several times she would stand at the fence cheering on her teammates! AMAZING job to Chloe!!

Jaden came in to the Conference Meet as a top 5 swimmer in each of his races...he ended up winning 3 conference titles yesterday and came in 2nd on his other race...the one he lost may have been my favorite...he was ranked 4th coming into the race and was tracking down the leader at the end...he cut 7 seconds off of his time in that race...7 seconds!! Crazy! Loved his attitude after that race too...his understanding that shaving that much time off is a HUGE accomplishment!!

Both of our kids had a FANTASTIC meet...and the biggest reason was because of the work and discipline they had in practice and then their willingness to be disciplined on race day so they could be at peak performance. Proud of those 2!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Journey Moves Forward...

A good friend asked me Friday night..."how yuh doin' man?" I think I gave him a blank stare at first...THEN Luke had to go to the he gave me a few minutes to think...I came back and talked to my friend for a few minutes and the question has been in my head for the past 3 days--how am I doing?

Sunday morning came and we spent our 2nd Sunday at Living Stones Church...a FANTASTIC--Jesus centered--community impacting place--the pastor and I are really good friends and the church has similar DNA to Grace Community...As I worshipped during the last song tears came to my eyes...I don't even remember the song...but the point was "God...I'm lifting my hands to you...submitting to your plan...your direction..." And I don't know what that means...or what it will look like.

Here is what I know about our new journey right now...
-God is in control
-I am REALLY...REALLY...REALLY enjoying my family...REALLY! I have NEVER had time like this to spend with my kids and there is NO POSSIBLE WAY I AM GOING TO WASTE A SECOND OF IT!!! We are making some memories!!
-I will be teaching school in August. AND I am already praying for my students...parents...staff...etc. God opened this spot and I WILL NOT MISS OPPORTUNITIES!
-Awkward...good word to describe how I feel about a lot of areas of life...this is a strange season right now.
-AMAZING time meeting with Pastor Bob Combs in Ohio...he has been a life counselor of mine...just loved the conversation--he doesn't tell you what to do...but his questions and comment pierce the heart
-Conclusion from my time with Bob...(that is another blog post!)
-What is aching my heart...that the people of Grace have to find a new church home and that they ACTUALLY find one and plug in...I pray for them often and by name
-Did I mention how much fun I am having with my kids?!?!?!?!?!
-Read the book: Plan B and am in the middle of "Church in the making" LOVE both books. (Oh...go ahead and read between the lines on the 2nd book...Yes I would LOVE to be back in full time ministry again if God provides the right opportunity!)
-Started a new workout plan...running and working out--been wanting to do this for some time.
-Next steps in ministry: NO CLUE! Not sure about church...not sure about the planting? Lead pastor somewhere? A VERY attractive thought is to be on staff with a healthy, thriving church and team for a season (or longer)...Not sure but am definitely praying along these lines
-Missing Grace...all of it...already talked about our people, but I miss the guys in Goshen--realize with my time off that the past 2 years has been quite hard being relationships with those guys had slipped a great deal...not our love for each other, but the fact that we rarely spent time together--face to face time matters...missing the guys-need to get over there and play some ball with them
-NO NEW STUFF: I have added things to my life for YEARS! I LOVE to be to be involved and I have promised my family to not just JUMP into things for a season here...that I won't just say YES to things so that I'm busy...but say yes to the best things for reaching people and my family and my health...
-Next step? Digging Deep into the Word...Figure our our church home...wrestle through with God and Kelsey on our next ministry spot...Reflect on the past 7 years-lessons learned?...Prepare a plan to personally grow this upcoming year-I want to be intentional about the time that I have been granted right now.

Much of what has been going through my head is hard to put in words...I don't really know how to express all that I have been feeling...BUT I am CONFIDENT that this time of awkwardness will continue to develop our family's character!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things I Am Learning

Whoa...the past month and 1/2 have been some of the most emotional days of my life. Last week...when everyone was out of the building for the last time--I was walking around alone...My emotions just let loose...I cried and cried and prayed through my tears...thanking God for the honor of being a pastor...for the honor of serving the people of Grace Community Church...I didn't want to walk out the doors that day...didn't want it to be finished. It was a difficult time...

This week...I honestly don't think that reality is sinking feels like I'm on vacation and the reality of finding a new church to attend and the fact that I am not a pastor at this time...crazy...

BUT...I have been reading a book titled: "Plan B." Figured that was a GREAT book for me and our family's lives right now! I'm marking up-folding up pages and putting book markers (well...actually torn up posted-note pieces!) EVERYWHERE...this book is SO RIGHT is what nailed me yesterday and what I am putting out in front of me as I reflect, restore and refuel this summer:

"Often in life, the what, when and where are not going to turn out the way you want them to turn out. You don't always get to choose those things, but you get to choose the why."

PERFECT! That is RIGHT WHERE I AM LIVING TODAY! I thought the what, when and where was right here in SB--leading Grace Community Church SB/Mish and planting other campuses around the region. CLEARLY...that was not God's long-term plan...

BUT...Although the what, where and when are different now...does that mean that I check out of the game? Or that I only serve HIM when I am in a full time ministry position...ARE YOU KIDDING ME...of course not!! I have to focus my energy on the WHY EVERY SINGLE DAY! Why am I here? It's simple...I have the OPPORTUNITY to still influence people for love HIM with all of my heart...and to pour my life into people...done! If I am doing that--the what, where, when will take care of themselves.

MY PERSONAL PRAYER is that through all of this that I will honor my Savior...he himself had that ultimate Plan B (OK, OK theologians...I know..."God doesn't need a Plan B..." Just stick with the whole context of the point!)...think about it...Don't you think Jesus would have preferred Plan A...that the world would be perfect and without sin...that he wouldn't have to die?!?!?! OF COURSE...BUT he choose to give us free will...he choose before time that Plan A would really mean A WHOLE LOT OF PAIN--Even for himself.

SO...As I walk through all of the emotions of closing the church and the dream of planting this church--I am going to work hard to focus on the "why" of life...and WHY am I posting this?? So you all can keep me accountable and make sure I keep my focus right! So thanks for your help!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"As you walk along..."

5 years ago I came on staff at Grace Community Church...I had known Pastor Jim for some years before that-known about his passion for lost people-his heart for the church and that he was a fantastic speaker. What I learned as I hung out with him was his understanding of his guys on staff-that although he had high-very high expectations-that he DEEPLY cared for the guys on his staff. He spent whole staff meetings simply asking how the guys were doing and finding out more about their families. Sure he wanted to reach lost people...sure he wanted to be sure that they were doing their jobs...but he cared just as much about their hearts...speaks to his character.

Trust is another word that gets thrown around in leadership circles...the bottom line is Jim trusts his leaders...and PROVES IT by allowing them the freedom to lead and make decisions. He lets us do our jobs without him "looking over our shoulder." NOW don't get me wrong...there is accountability and he'll be asking what is happening...but you know that when he questions something it is because he longs to understand and wants to make you better.

HERE IS THE THING I LOVE THE MOST...Jim is a "as you walk along..." type of leader. He's not into tons of meetings for meeting sake...his training and leadership happen as you walk along in life. Grab the teachable moments...he is the best I have seen at this...he wants people (and himself) to learn from every get the most out of it. Jim has a good example that he follows on this...Jesus led this way...he didn't have seminars and classes...I imagine he taught around campfires and along the path...Jim gets "it."

It has been a honor to serve and learn from Jim as we have walked along through life...God has truly blessed him with gifts and Jim has maximized his impact...Jim tells me "you know God will tell you well done..." and I believe that Jim's influence in my life is one of the reasons why. "Thanks Jim for allowing me to serve with you at Grace...God has expanded his Church and I have learn so much from you. Love you bro!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Service At Grace Community Church SB/Mish

Where to begin..........

I prayed a lot last week that God would be honored through our final service...along with that I prayed that the people of Grace would be honored and encouraged. It was quite a powerful, moving and emotional morning. We had debated with our leadership over whether to have our last service this week or next week...although it was Father's Day it was good that we did it yesterday...many people have talked with me, especially over the past week that emotionally they are "done." That they just could continue to go through this for another has been a month of services now since we announced that we would be closing...emotional roller coaster...

Our service lasted for 2 1/2 hours yesterday...2 hours of that were people sharing how God, Grace Community and how PEOPLE have impacted their lives...marriages restored...people that have come to Jesus...friendship the pastor I have a lot of the "inside scoop" on some of these stories...and the amazing part for me is that people are truly speaking from their hearts...the stories are real and not just emotional reactions...

NOW...we would not be Grace Community if we only shared the moving stories of life change! I was ambushed AGAIN this week as about 10 guys had nurf guns and shot me in the middle of the was a fun moment!! I had to run through the building to get away from the gun fire...good stuff...I have just loved the fun that we have had here....

Travis and the band led very, very well...they allowed the Spirit to just move in them and through them...the closing song was "Not To Us" has been a theme song for us...and no better way to finish...before that I read a list of things that we have done ministry-wise in the community and finished with 30 baptisms and 450 people that have expressed faith in Jesus Christ in 4 years...AMAZING NUMBERS! 450 people have their names etched in THE Book of Life through the Spirit working through the people of Grace. Incredible #'s! We gave God a Grace Community clap offering and then sang "Not To US"...tears flooded a lot of faces...powerful, encouraging, honoring...

There was a surprise for me prayer was that God and our people would be honored...God and his people did something for me too...I felt deeply honored by what people shared yesterday...many stories of changed lives are burned in my mind...memories that made me feel that I invested well...not a goal of mine yesterday, but I left encouraged...sad to see this chapter end-very encouraged by the life change that has happened.

Toward the end of the service I was given a book...a book with pictures of Grace and people signed it...Kari Tuttle presented it--it was a powerful moment...she spoke into my life...said that the book has been written for my families time at Grace...this book is complete...BUT she and the people expect to see our family have MANY books on the selves in the future...ways that we have influenced lives...GREAT STUFF!

A lot of emotions...honestly not even trying to figure them all out...trying to soak it in...learn from this...grow from him...and PRAY HARD that as the people of Grace stay FAITHFUL...stay connected to our Savior and the local church...that they will influence MANY, MANY, MANY people toward Jesus Christ...

I love you Grace Community and am so thankful to have had you in my life!

talked about this being a chapter in my life and how the church expects there to be many more books

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Be Still and KNOW...

Got back from a run just a while ago...wanted to clear my head as we move toward our last service at Grace tomorrow...I had a GREAT is soooooo humid and the sweat just poured off of the same time-it felt like God was pouring strength into me...spent time praying as I ran for every family of Grace SB/Mish by name--pleading with the Father to guard their faith and love for him and HIS church.

Then-God gave me a not in a spooky kind of way...but through a scripture and a song. As I got ready for my shower and verse and song that just kept running through my mind was "Be still and know that I am God." HE is God...HE has a plan...HE has control--even when we don't! This morning was quite tough for me...heading to the building for the final Saturday prep for the service...tonight though-I'm I sit still before he gives HIS encouragement through HIS is so true...HIS WORD IS LIVING AND ACTIVE.

"Thanks God...that when we become still before still the trouble in our hearts."

God is good.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"How are you doing?"

GREAT QUESTION...we ask that ALL THE TIME..." are ya?" "Doing OK?" That has been a tough one for me to times you could ask the question every minute in an hour and get a slightly different answer...had times in your life like that?

Here is what I know to be true...God...the Almighty God...PROMISES to "never leave us and never forsake us." That he remains with us even when we feel like he is not there...and he loves us sooooo very much. I am so glad for that...glad that I don't have to earn his love...

Today I am very thankful for good friends...people that are willing to speak love and encouragement into my life--God has blessed me with people who really invest in me...I am so grateful...

So when people ask me: "How are you doing?" I say "Alright" Because I am...I'm hurting due to a significant loss that is happening with church...and I am good-knowing that I have loving family and friends in front/behind/and beside me...

Bottom Line...God is good-therefore-I am too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Spot

(Picture from my spot)

I went to the East Race today...there is a spot along the river where someone made a cement slab just for me...(nice of them!) I have spent HOURS in that spot praying and seeking God. I have praised him and celebrated victories...I have had dreams of what God could do in the city birthed there...and more than once I have cried...

Today I remembered...remembered why I took the leap of faith to start this church...why our family went on this journey-sometimes with great cost--health problems...lost friendships...strained family relationships--but through all of it, God has shown himself...he has sustained us, directed us. He has provided a path through darkness and has given HUGE blessings. I thanked God today for the opportunity to be a pastor for HIS have the opportunity to serve the people of South Bend...And I asked him about what is next...what the next step in our journey will look like. (No answers BTW!)

This much I know...God has ALWAYS been with us...he will continue to be with us...AND he takes these tough times in our lives and develops us into better people...God is good.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Best Smile I've Seen in 6 weeks!

Jaden gets a look in his's a look that I know all toooooo well-when he gives it you don't have to see any part of his body except his eyes...when "The Bouch" as I call him gives that look...his eyes just light up. It happens in sports--when he gets that look...I feel bad for whoever he is playing...(unless it's me!)...when he gets the look when he is wrestling with Luke and Chloe...I just KNOW what is coming...he has the same look when he performs in his school concerts or when he is practicing for a presentation at school...his eyes just LIGHT brings a smile to my face thinking about it!

Truth be told...we haven't seen that look in Jaden's eyes for weeks...ever since that AWFUL day at school when he broke his leg...the look has been's not that he hasn't had good days, because he has had A LOT of them...he has had fun...he has made the most of his situation...but that little something extra has been missing...

Today he went back to the doctor...his cast has been off for a week and his leg is just sooooo weak...when sitting in a chair he could lift his leg to be straight. He is going to physical therapy on Wednesday, but I just couldn't wait that long. So we went to "Daddy Therapy."

At first it was tough...I had him try to lift his leg from 90 degrees to straight...I had to help him for the first 8-10...then I started having to help him less...a little later we showed mom what he was doing...he did 20 this time ( was more that 20 cause I just can't count! :) and I applied pressure to his leg and made him work for it...AND THEN IT HAPPENED! The look...that look that just MADE MY DAY! That little glimmer in eye..."The Bouch" was back! Something clicked in his head as he started to do these exercises...I gave him a goal for tomorrow...that I would be able to add weights (rocks actually!) to his leg and then lift those by the time I got home from work. THE LOOK CAME AGAIN...he said..."Dad, I want to lift 20 rocks tomorrow!" MADE MY DAY AGAIN!!

This is such a simple thing...something we all take for granted...simply lifting our leg...yet for my big man--it meant the world to him...for the first time he actually believes that he is going to walk and run again soon. (I'm thinking of waking him up for some midnight exercises!!!! ;)

Random Reflections

-School is out and knowing that is would be a VERY emotional week, I took it easy this morning...Went for a run...prayed and then had a meeting out at Southpaw. (Figured out our family's summer vacation too!!) I have continued to run throughout the school year, but it has been tough over the past months since Sadie was born. I have to get up earlier and have my run done by 6:30, so I can take Chloe to the bus was VERY RELAXING to get out there and just enjoy a PERFECT morning.

-This coming Sunday is the final Sunday for our church--crazy to think about all that God has done and that 2 weeks from now--I won't be working here--lots of emotions have been running through me...our family has poured our lives into seeing this church launch-reach and love people and working towards being self-sustained. Yesterday was probably my hardest day so far...I have had more emotional days than yesterday...but honestly I was in a daze most of the day...(AGAIN...this is why my run was sooooo good this morning...sunrise-cool breeze-exercise and Jesus-->PERFECT!)

-God is working in a group of people in our church...they are praying about staying together and seeing where God leads them...praying for wisdom and direction for them daily...great group of people...

-Jaden is really hurting...he got his cast off last week and his leg is SOOOOOO weak-he is going back to the doctor today-we are going to ask that he gets some physical therapy...he is walking incorrectly because he doesn't trust his leg and he has very little strength. Hard to watch a kid who can run an under 7 minute mile barely walk...and he is a lot like me and he is very what is happening with the church really eats at him...he won't seem like it around people...but it is tearing him up.

-I praise God for of them is about to walk through the door right now and we're heading for lunch! Love that God gives us great people to walk through life with!

SO...since it's lunch time-I'm DONE reflecting for now!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God's Grace

Grace...undeserved favor...for so many people that word is just group is unwilling to allow God to give them grace...they feel that they don't deserve it...the believe that they shouldn't receive grace and that they must do something to earn it.

Then another group of people have a hard time giving grace...they sure want it for themselves, but they do not give it to other people. They hold on to bitterness and anger...frustration...pain...they just won't let it go...all the while hurting themselves more than they are anyone else.

I am proud to have been involved in a church that HEAPS ON GRACE! A lot of people say "we should show grace" but when someone comes in...someone struggling...they receive judgment instead of grace. I have learned a lot over the past 5 years that I have been on staff at Grace...none bigger than releasing God's undeserved favor on people...And the truth is...we all are going to need some grace from someone someday!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Journey

We said that last week would be our only funeral service...that we were not going to stay "down" even though is it tough and emotional right now. Everyone is at a different place in their journey...everyone is processing things differently. The neat thing is watching the people of God come together and encourage each other.

We gave everyone the calendar for the month today...told them of the process we are going through as we close...AND I told them how much it speaks to their character that they came back this says a lot about the people there today...that they want to finish well.

I preached on "Attitude" this morning...and we looked at the life of Joseph...Joseph was given a dream by God...a very clear dream that his brothers and parents would bow to him and his leadership. Joseph HAD to have been VERY EXCITED about his dream...I imagine that he had picture of what that might be like and how cool it would be to get to that point. I compared that to our dream of planting a sustainable church is South that would passionately pursue the heart of that would love people to that would be IN the community...and that has been an exciting vision that God has given us.

HERE IS THE TRICKY PART...look what happened to Joseph...think of his journey...his brothers want to KILL HIM...and they instead choose to sell him off! (Which was a blessing when you think about it...Joseph was probably devastated when his brothers sold him...but his life was actually saved in that moment!) Then he worked his way into running a leader of Egypt's home...only to have that taken from him by the owners lying wife...THEN he goes to his way up to being in charge of things...helps out a guy in jail...only to have that guy FORGET ABOUT HIM...Think of what Joseph must have been far away did his dream have to feel at that point.

HERE IS THE THING...Even in the darkness...even in the hopelessness that one day his dream would happen...EVEN THEN...Joseph did the right thing over and over...he trusted God...he lived his life with integrity. Who would have blamed Joseph for having an affair with the leaders wife? Really? Didn't he "deserve" some "happiness?" BUT...Joseph knew better...he knew that he needed to do right by GOD...not by his own personal feelings ...

Then there was breakthrough...The guy finally remembered Joseph and the LEADER OF THE COUNTRY put Joseph in charge of everything...THEN...his brothers show up...I wonder what that moment was like for Joseph...when he saw his family again...when they finally bowed to him...finally he had his dream come true...only the journey was REALLY tough...LOTS of detours...but all of those detours led him to the place where he saved his family.

For us...the message is that God NEVER has a PLan B...he ALWAYS has us where he needs us...sadly at times this means that we experience things that don't seem to make sense...times where like Joseph we have our dreams is the question though...someday when we are able to see more clearly...someday when we see Jesus face to face and we are able to understand more of the big picture...will we see that the pain led us to a different path...a better path for more people...that our pain was actually our and someone else's encourage more see more people come to him...I'm staking my life on that truth...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Facebook at its best

I have been following a friend on Facebook whose wife has been having serious complications with her pregnancy...he has been able through FB and Twitter to update everyone on what is happening...this is truly FB at its best...the number of people that can pray and pray specifically is MULTIPLIED because of FB.

The same has been true since I posted about our church closing...I have received some GREAT encouragement from people that I am only connected to because of FB. God has used them to really uplift my life--simple words of encouragement--showing that they care. Thanking God today for FB...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thanking God for Kids!

Some people have wondered why we would want 4 kids...WELL...with everything that is happening in our lives there is nothing more priceless than a simple smile from Sadie Lynn...Every morning Sadie gives me her priceless smile and it just makes my day...that little baby girl is just adorable...Just lights up our world...

Then today is Luke's bday--he turned 5 today...5 years ago we were at a very interesting spot in our lives...a spot where we wondered what God was up too...THEN God came through in a huge way...Luke has given us so much joy and SOOOOOOO many laughs over the past 5 years...he is SOOOOOO funny! Just love that little dude...We got him a new bike and you should have seen him riding that thing over a ramp we built last summer...HE GOT AIR!!

AND JADEN...that kid is just an overcomer...he has been in a cast now for about 3 weeks...but tonight there he was...serving our neighbor and sweeping her sidewalk while hopping on one leg! LOVE THAT HEART...making the most of your circumstances!

Chloe...............words cannot express what she has meant to Kelsey and me over the past weeks. With Jaden hurt she has had a lot more responsibility and she is rising to the occasion. She is turning into such a young lady of God...proud of her...

In the midst of everything else...these 4 amazing people...the 4 that God has given us have provided so much encouragement. I am soooooo grateful for each of my little ones!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Ending of a HUGE part of our lives...

Last Tuesday the leaders of our church decided that it was time to close our campus. We had set out benchmarks for 2011...goals that if we were close to reaching them we would continue to move forward. Our attendance had grown this year, but in the past month we have found out that several families will be moving away-AND the big one is that we are not a self-sustaining church...honestly we are not close-we have A LOT of young families and we just have not been able to get over the financial hump...

This has been VERY HARD for a lot of people...we have a group that really loves each other...our Savior...and serving our community--they enjoy getting their hands dirty. I have been praying hard that people will stay strong in their faith through this time...that they will find and connect with a church that loves Jesus and JUMPS into the community...

Personally...I haven't EVER cried this much in a week...I care DEEPLY for the people here...for this church...our family has poured their lives into the work here and it has been very rewarding. I have not had a plan B...never wanted to do anything else with my life...I have a sense of peace about the decision...YET...I feel sick about it...years and YEARS of investing my life...Can't really put this into words real well...

Here is what I know...I know that God loves me and this group more than we can even possibly express...I know that our God is faithful-that even though we didn't have a plan B-he already knows what will happen...I know that he wants us to be real-to share our hurt, anger, joys with him...(Our last Sunday will be a CELEBRATION of what he has done here!) And I know...that the influence of Grace Community Church South Bend/Mishawaka will be far reaching. I am deeply sad by this AND I am confident that God will continue HIS WORK through HIS people. Lots of feelings and emotions...Thank YOU LORD that I know you!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Do the right thing because it is the right thing

I have said this phrase MANY times over the past 5 or so years...mostly I say it about our church...we do the right thing-we take care of and love people in our community because it is the right thing to do. We have had people take advantage of the help that we give...but the bottom line is...our job is not to judge who "deserves" help and who doesn't...our job is to love and take care of people. Why? Our Savior did that for us..."even while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Even though we hurt him...reject him...deny him...he STILL loves us and gives us the opportunity to come to him. is time to not hold back your love...SHARE IT...sure you will get hurt in the process...sure there will be people who are ungrateful...BUT...the reward you get...the "well done" you will received from your Master...THAT is worth every bit of it...Now get out there and serve someone else!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Been a while!

Been well over a week since a post...a few things have taken place in that time and honestly I haven't known what to say. SHOCKING isn't it...Boucher was a bit speechless!! I'm not a big writer, but I usually don't post something just to write...but for the first time since I starting blogging...I really didn't know what to communicate. Ever had those moments in life? Where you are going is happening...and your just not sure what to say...what do you do in those moments?

For me...I prayed a lot...I OFTEN pray for wisdom and discernment...but over the past couple of weeks, I have been BEGGING GOD even more...I simply long to respond to people...speak to people in a way that honors God and shows people respect...a prayer has been to see people the way GOD sees them and to see the best in them. THAT IS QUITE HARD sometimes...but the alternative...just always speaking your mind and not thinking the best in others...that is a dark road...probably "fun" in the moment...but doesn't do you or anyone else any good.

I have also been reflecting a lot on how good God is...on how he just simply has a plan worked up...that when we pray...we need to focus our prayers on HIM...focusing on the fact that NO MATTER how he answers...he has OUR best interest in mind and he loves us more than we can EVER imagine!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stop saying "I should..." and GO DO IT!

The South Bend Tribune published an article today about the keys to a healthy heart...OBVIOUSLY the article peaked my interest! Another reason it got my attention was I was at the doctor today. (STOP WORRYING wasn't because I'm sick or feeling bad!) I realized when I was there that I haven't been to my family doctor in almost a year!! WHICH MEANS that I haven't been sick enough to go! (Very profound huh?!?!) I used to go to the doctor for colds and other junk at LEAST 2-3x's per year...

Here is the thing the past year I have changed my diet. I have DRASTICALLY changed my diet...I still eat "fun" foods, just not NEARLY as often!! I have exercised more consistently in the last 14 months than EVER in my life...AND I have maintained my body weight for a year. (In the past I used to go waaaaaaaay up and then down...up and down...up and down) Isn't it interesting that when you start to eat the right stuff and take care of your end up seeing the doc less!! THIS ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE!! point is this...and I cannot say it STRONG ENOUGH...PLEASE stop saying "I should start to take care of my body..." "I should really start to exercise..." and STOP JOKING about what you eat...cause frankly IT ISN'T FUNNY!! This message isn't just for those that are over-weight...there are some people (as I was) who just BURN UP CALORIES and don't look overweight...BUT YOU KNOW that you aren't taking care of your body and that you aren't healthy!!

When we aren't taking care of ourselves it is robbing God, your family, and yourself of the very best YOU!

I did that for many years and I have had to deal with the regret...I KNEW my family history and limitations...I KNEW that I had close family pass away at a young age due to heart disease...BUT I went around eating and living like I was "it wouldn't happen to me..."

I encourage you to take responsibility for your own body...YOUR THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN and don'tnot wait until any longer...get to your to a what needs to be done to honor God with your health...TRUST will be sooooooooo glad you did!!

Aim for a target!

14,975 people live within 1 mile...1 MILE of our church building...86,822 people within 3 miles...and 179,581 within 5miles...THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE! And frankly our church was drowning in the fact that we were attempting to touch EVERYONE in that area! the beginning of 2011 we made the step to focus our influence on the 1 to 1.5 mile radius of our church...we wanted to make a maximum impact and to do it in the best way possible. NOW...this has come at some sacrifice...BUT...the benefits are amazing...

This is so fresh in my mind because of the opportunity I had to meet with Mrs. Martin today...she is the principal of McKinley Primary Center which is our neighborhood school...Mrs. Martin is PASSIONATE about the kids in her building...she LOVES them! She is giving up part of her summer so they can have a summer school experience. "NO ONE" around here gives up their summer! AND she is allowing us to have our Field Days Camp at the school!! WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US!! I am sooooo excited about the work that she is doing and how that allows us to influence our community!

I love how when we focus our attention...when we narrow our focus...clarify our direction...then God blows open opportunities for us!! VERY COOL!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We started a new series of messages at church...We are calling it Amp'd-a study on the book of Ephesians. I LOVE the book of Ephesians...probably my favorite book in the has a DEPTH of our understanding of God and it is VERY practical...VERY! Real life stuff...

This week was about ENCOURAGEMENT for those that follow Jesus...THINK ABOUT THIS...God...before ALL CREATION knew who you were and picked you to be on his team! That is INCREDIBLE STUFF! Just INCREDIBLE...God didn't know the idea of me...HE KNEW MY NAME...AND he picked me to follow him. I think that is some REAL encouragement!!

WATCH IT! Some of you are going to jump on this one...your going to make this EXTREMELY complicated...I encourage you to not go there...simply rest in the fact of knowing...that you can KNOW FOR SURE that you will be in heaven one can know because you simply believe in Jesus Christ and what he did in giving his life and rising again..AND you have made him LORD...he is in charge of your life...if you have done that then you are are going to be with Jesus...


Friday, April 29, 2011

Tornado Relief! JUMP IN!!

Hey Grace Community Church...NOW is the time for us to step in and help!

We have an opportunity to partner with Church of the Heartland (the church that used to run Ugly Mugs) and provide relief for the families in Alabama. Church of the Heartland is partnering with a church in Alabama to bring supplies and possibly a team of volunteers.

We will also be collecting items throughout the week and next Sunday.

Here are the ways you can get involved…
#1 Items to bring church:
-Diapers and wipes
-Baby Food/formula
-Bottled Water
-Juice (individual)
-Packaged food for distribution

#2 Give monetary donation (Check to Grace Community Church and note “relief”)The money will be given to trusted ministries DIRECTLY involved in the relief effort.

#3 Drivers are needed to take donated items either to a ministry connection in Indianapolis or straight to Alabama

#4 Volunteer a few days…working side by side ministries helping those affected by this disaster.

Mr. Douglas...a teacher with a legacy!

Today was our staff vs. the students basketball game at Jackson. It was fun to beat up on the boys a little bit...they are always sooooooooooooooooo cocky (unlike me!) and then the old games take 'em apart a little! It was fun!

Today reminded me of the my first staff vs. student game when I was in 8th grade...I will NEVER forget the EVER COMPETITIVE Mr. Douglas shoving me into the wall!! I was a LITTLE upset, BUT he is a teacher that I just LOVED! (He did finally apologize!)

Mr. Douglas ran his gym class in a way that he truly invested his LIFE into his work and into the boys. Back in the day we had separate classes for girls and boys...Mr. Douglas would then split us up in AAA, AA and that everyone would have a chance to compete and win...not politically correct today, but it gave EVERYONE a chance to be successful at their level...we would give $.25 at the beginning of each new sport and if we won our division he would give us trophies! The battles in his class were INTENSE...FUN memories!!

I'll never forget one time I was complaining about a call in basketball...Douglas grabs his whistle and in his unique voice starts yelling..."Boucher...if you want me to blow the whistle...I'll blow the the game Boucher." The next time I touched the ball..."WHISTLE" "Foul on Boucher!" I looked at him in disbelief! The next time I got the ball..."Whistle" "Boucher walked with the ball...come on Boucher...what's the problem...get your head in the game?!?!" Seems mean...but you can bet I didn't whine about any calls for the rest of the year!!

At the end of every school year...Douglas would use his own money and put on a SPORTS DAY...Mr. Douglas had people from all over the world come and check out "his program."...Sports Day was an ALL DAY LONG event...and it was a CARNIVAL! Races...Pop drinking"6 pieces of peperoni...more than you'll ever get in the cafeteria!")...he would pay for a band to come and they were usually ROCKIN! THEN...we would earn points and get prizes...and he bought A TON of stuff for prizes!! He was a VERY generous man!!

Douglas was also good at pouring MANHOOD into his students...he was a man's man and he expected us to man up. To walk like treat the girls compete with EVERYTHING we had...and to "not wear polka-dotted shorts..." He wanted us to battle against the odds...he would tell us..."give me the worst team and I'll beat all of you in volleyball...doesn't matter who I have...we'll win...I'll will us to win!" Crazy thing...he was right! His intensity was contagious...he longed to pull the best out of each of us and in his unique style he sure did!

My brother and I can go on FOREVER telling Douglas stories and using his unique voice to do it...I am grateful to him for the fire that he burned in me...for the time that he took to pour his life into us! I have A LOT of great memories from Manchester Middle School...MANY of them revolve around Mr. Douglas!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How you live matters!

What you do...both when people are watching and when they aren't matters. Plus you just never know when someone is watching don't know when their eyes are on you.

Those of us that have children see this in them ALL THE TIME! We "catch them" doing good or otherwise...and the look are their faces is priceless! The look of "OH you just saw that?!?!" Just priceless!!

Here is a good thought your children grow up...or maybe they already are...what will they see in you? Will they see a life that is consistent with how you raised them? Will they see a lack of integrity in your life? Will your life reinforce the principles you are teaching them? How you live really matters!

Over the years...between teaching and pastoring, I have heard parents say: "I don't understand why he/she acts like this...why do they act this way." At times, it is obvious that mom and/or dad are trying to teach principles and values that they are not living themselves. SO OF COURSE their kids aren't going to buy it! They aren't going to follow!! HOW YOU LIVE REALLY MATTERS MORE THAN WHAT YOU SAY! Another way to say it is...what you teach with your ACTIONS is more important than what you teach with your words!

The question we all need to answer is...Are we consistently living our life in the way we expect our children and others to live? THEN...the 2nd question is do we acknowledge our mistakes...our we make things right? Do we say we are we show our kids that we are a work in progress...OR do they just see inconsistencies...

"Train a child in the way he should go..." PART of that training is living the example in front of them.

This is the thing that is most convicting to me...AS Jesus looks at our he sees how we live and what we he knows every motive that we have...What does he see...For starters...I'm glad he is a forgiving God AND I'm glad he gives us HIS Spirit to help us! 'Cause we can be inconsistent at times...

How you live your life matters! You are influencing way or the ARE influencing people...MAKE THE CHOICE to POSITIVELY influence others!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Enjoy the moment!

WAY TO OFTEN we run from one task to the next...from one event to the next...from project to project and we never take time to breath...never take time to enjoy the moment...



ENJOY THE MOMENT...enjoy how 8 people are now sure that when they die they will be in heaven! They responded to Jesus Christ...made him in charge of their lives!

Enjoy the moment...that we had our largest attendance ever (next to our Sunday after soccer camp last year)...MANY visitors...Some people that have been prayed for and invited for a few YEARS came!

Enjoy the moment...your hard work paid off! You went out in the community and EGGED delived a dozen eggs to over 400 homes and many people showed up because of it! WELL DONE!

Enjoy the moment...the powerful and moving moments of worship on Sunday...the priceless time of reflection...BIG POWERFUL music!

Enjoy the moment of all the smiling faces at the Egg Dash.

Enjoy the moment of all the work that went into filling the eggs and it took less than 30 seconds to finish the dash!! LESS THAN 30 SECONDS!

Enjoy the moment of seeing soooooo many people serving...serving because they love Jesus...this church and our community!

ENJOY THE MOMENT because you know as well as I do...that trouble isn't hard to we HAVE TO-HAVE TO-HAVE TO enjoy these amazing moments!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Special Day!


This morning was one of the 2 very best church services and Sunday mornings that I have EVER been involved with!! I beg God a lot...plead with him to show up...I long to see people in our community come to Jesus...I plead with him to change people's lives...ask him to allow us to influence people right here in South Bend, Indiana. That he would give us the opportunity to share HIS story with people and then have the respond to it...

There was a lot happening today...people praying...playing instruments...singing... teaching children...setting up food...putting out eggs for our egg dash...greeting and welcoming people...setting up people...and so many more! There was a GREAT DEAL of investment into this morning and frankly these people invest like this weekly! So when God shows up the way he did is breath-taking and rewarding!

The building was electric (It was our 2nd highest attendance EVER!) and you could sense THE Spirit of God moving in people. The music and time of reflection was priceless...and then it happened. And I just LOVE IT when God allows us to see this...people responded to follow Jesus Christ...It is SOOOOO fun to see people take the step to make Jesus in charge of their is a moment to CELEBRATE! After we prayed and people acknowledged that they turned to Jesus...POWERFUL...just powerful!

Then we headed out for our egg's a dash because it is over in about 30 seconds!! 5000 eggs GONE in 30 seconds! CRAZY! It was a really fun atmosphere and Michelle and her team of people did an INCREDIBLE job making this happen. What a fun time for our church and the community!

On a morning when we celebrate the amazing miracle of Jesus' resurrection it is soooo FANTASTIC that God comes through and changes people's lives! Our goal this morning was to honor God...that he would be pleased with EVERYTHING we the end...he blessed us beyond our dreams! Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Still Blown Away...

I first gave my life to Jesus over 30 years ago and I am still blown away by what God did for me...for all of us. Jesus LEFT HEAVEN...HEAVEN!! It's perfect there...NO screaming...crying...sadness...and he gave it up to come down here and be hated, beaten and die...and to do that when he didn't do ANYTHING wrong! We are barely willing to suffer at all! We LONG for "the easy life." AND JESUS HAD IT ALL...but gave it up for 33 years to live down we could have the opportunity to experience heaven. I am overwhelmed today...overwhelmed with his sacrifice...I am sooooooo thankful too...thankful that he didn't stay in that grave...that he ROSE UP! Ultimate victory!! Now if we choose to follow him we can experience heaven...(what a day THAT is going to be!!)

I encourage you to spend some time in John 18-21 this weekend...allow yourself to be overwhelmed with the greatest gift ever given!

Monday, April 18, 2011

So much to carry...

I don't even know where to start this blog today...I left school this morning with tears in my heart aches for some of these young people...The choices they are making...the things that they have already been exposed to by friends or their own families. It leaves me with a heavy heart for them. Many of them have struggles at home...parents that fight or just don't pay attention to them...some don't live with their parents. There are some that are really the ones raising their syblings...

Every year that I have taught school I leave with kids that I would love to to take in and provide a place of safety...of encouragement...of structure...a place where they can see how much a mom and dad love them...and hear about the God of the universe that can help them. They carry such a load.

It is a priviledge to be a be part of their have the opportunity to influence them and to know them. I only wish that I could get into their heads and provide the message that GOD LOVES THEM...that HE thinks they are BEAUTIFUL...HE longs to know them...and he will meet them RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE AND WALK WITH THEM FROM THERE! They don't have to be perfect...God will walk with them...and will provide the strength to overcome...more than thrive.

DON'T GIVE UP...DON'T EVER GIVE UP young out God...learn to trust again...MAN...the load they carry!

JESUS said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11: 28-30)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Going Egging!

Part of the mission of our church is to be IN the community...we don't expect people to simply come to us...AND I simply do not like going door to door...I don't like it when people come to my door selling stuff so we don't go selling Jesus that way. SO...on Saturday we went egging! It was quite cool to take a dozen eggs to 400 homes around our church building and egg people...NO...NO...we didn't throw the eggs at people...instead we give them the eggs that were picked up from a farm that morning! It is sooooo good to simply serve people with nothing expected in return! Fun sharing Jesus' love in simple and practical ways! And definitely a more constructive way to go egging!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's YOUR job!

This is YOUR one is YOUR responsibility...YOU get the blame...bottom line? It's on YOU! Huh? SOOOOOOO glad you asked! I am reading through a book called "Axiom" by Bill Hybels...I read it a while back and am going through it with some leaders in our church. A quote in the forward got to me it is... "The leader's third responsibility (if you want the other two, you'll have to buy the book!) -and toughest of them all- is self-leadership, the commitment to constant improvement as a leader. Few things are more tragic than seeing zeal, talent and a God-given goal fail because a leader neglected to get better." MAN...that is many people blame EVERYONE ELSE for things that happen...even for their own personal failures...when we MUST take responsibility for ourselves...we must be LIFELONG learners...keep growing...learning...being stretched. When we do we will more effectively lead others!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A GREAT Vacation...even some blood!!

Vacation was really good! We got some projects done and I played A LOT of hide-n-go seek tag with the kids and neighbor kids!! We basically run and run and run until someone gets caught...I LOVE THIS GAME! Jumping fences...falling around corners...the kids get skinned knees...holes in their pants...grass stain...PERFECT! We also played a serious game of "fumble." It's a game we created where you use a small football...inside the team "fumbles" the ball and you score when you get the ball under the piano bench...THEN...IT'S ON...not a whole lot of rules!! Bodies flying around...tears shed...A LOT of laughter...and even some blood! I got a knee to the nose and ear...after the game I was bleeding behind my ear...I HAD NO CLUE THAT I WAS BLEEDING...the game must go on! Then we found some of my blood on Jaden's shirt...might be because he had me in a serious head-lock!! IT WAS SOOOOOO FUN! Then of course there was Wii Bowling...I had to "step away" for a minute and Chloe "bowled" for me! ONLY she threw it in the gutter EVERY TIME and I lost my pro status!! I OWE HER! We ended vacation with our first family trip to Strikes and Spares...road some go-karts...played mini-golf and bowled. Chloe and I raced with the go-karts and Luke road with me...You should have seen Luke! A great week!! Good times!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tech Fast!

I am just about to leave the office and head on vacation! Looking forward to a week of hanging out with the family...This vacation is going to be a technology fast for me...I'm not going to be checking email...blogging...visiting blogs...heading to Facebook...I'll be turning my cell phone off and no research on the internet...I try to do this a couple of times a year...I get soooooo reliant on tech stuff and it is just good to put it aside and focus on family! SO here we go...see you next weekend!! Looking forward to some time with the family and getting things done around the house!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't Burn Bridges!

I will never forget the winter of '94...I learned a VALUABLE lesson that winter...I had taken a semester off from school (which is a blog post for itself!) and my dad had gotten me a job at his work. IT WAS SOOOOO BORING! Not because it was my dad's work, but because it was winter and the warehouse at a lumber yard is just not that busy... After working there for a short time they cut my hours because there wasn't enough to do...naturally as a young guy I was pretty ticked off! So I decided to start working for my neighbor who owned a landscaping business...BUT instead of going to the manager and giving notice...OH...I gave"I'm done today!" He was a bit upset...(and so was my dad!)...of course at the time I didn't think I was wrong, but as time passed I realized that for AT LEAST my dad's sake I should have given more notice...and frankly, I should have talked with my dad about it! STUPID! (Hey Dad...I'm still sorry for that!!) After about a year I wrote the manager a letter and apologized for how I handled things...told him that I wanted to be a man of integrity and I just BLEW IT! The lesson I learned is that you just shouldn't burn bridges...I claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ and I just didn't handle that well...not for the job or for my dad...and you just NEVER know when you might need a job or the help of someone you are GOING OFF on! What sparked this story was a guy from our church used to the the worship pastor at a church in Michigan...and when he was leaving that job he had a choice to make...he could either go off on everything he didn't like...OR he could finish well! He chose to finish well...really well and here is the CRAZY PART... Because of that...he was able to go back their this week and talk about how his family was going to go to China...and the people gave him a SIGNIFICANT amount of money!! HOW COOL IS IT that he and his family were able to do this! Had he burned that bridge...had he said things to hurt people on his way out...had he not finished well...this opportunity would have NEVER happened! 2 Things...make sure you finish well with whatever you are doing! If for no other reason than for the sake of your Savior Jesus Christ! AND...who do you need to talk with and apologize? Apologize for the way you have handled your family...former clerk??...go make it right and STOP burning bridges!