Mormon Steak = Disappointment


I never really had anything against mormons. I mean, of course I think they aren't right, that they need a God who will give them His love and not just some random planet. In fact, I always heard them talking about steak, so I figured if I ever had to hang out with one of them, we'd just have some delicious steak and maybe I'd lead them to a relationship with the real Jesus.

That is no longer the case. For you see, I have been decieved by the LDS church. They have claimed steak, and given us this!!!


Notice the complete lack of meaty goodness? I learned, while here in Mesa, which has a huge mormon population, that a mormon "steak" is actually just a building. What's even worse is, they don't even drink COFFEE?!?!?! I don't know how they grow so fast... an anti-coffee, anti-meatygoodness marketing strategy is a poor marketing strategy.

I am so very sad. I certainly don't mean to be offensive to anyone at all, but I expected to soon encounter a mormon steakhouse with steaks good enough to make a weaker man change his religion; you know, after everyone was sure I was strong enough to handle it. Now I am disappointed, and I have only one thing to say.

STEAK (meaty goodness) > STAKE (no meaty goodness)

Dear Mormons,
This is all in good fun, I still would love to talk to you about Jesus and how you can change the world and live in freedom and gain unfettered salvation from this sinful world :). Please don't be offended, you can make fun of me if you want!


Go to the invisible children website for more info! Spread this to whoever you can. You can help any of the cities still holding out for rescue. The other cities still in need of Rescue are:

Harrisburg, PA
Baltimore, MD
Richmond, VA
Huntington, VA
Charleston, SC
Chicago, IL
Wichita, KS
Albuquerque, NM
Las Vegas, NV
Albuquerque, NM
Spokane, WA


Why I miss having a band

When I say band, what comes to mind? I know for most, it is a guitar, a bass, drums, maybe a keyboard or violin, or a whole marching group... essentially, a bunch of instruments, and possibly singing. From this definition, we have a new "band" virtually every week here where I work, and I have lots of fun with them each week.

But to me, that isn't a "band". It is a group, a team of people meeting for a specific purpose. It's great, and people are blessed by it, but it isn't a band.

I want to be part of a group of people who create music and encourage each other, a group where each person makes the others better, a group that is a cohesive unit rather than simply individual musicians.

I have been a part of two such groups. They were amazingly talented individuals, but together we would create... I think that's what I miss most. I write so many songs, but the songs I write are rarely just for acoustic guitar. I hear riffs and bass lines and drum beats that I can't play... and empty places in the songs longing to be filled with someone else's creation.

The connection that comes with creation... I miss that most of all.

Out-of-Office Pranks

Jared and Jeremy were out of the office on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I was the only one in the 3F area.
I felt the need to express my love for these two gentlemen, with the help of a few friends.
So, without further ado...

Jared's Office

1296 Army Men. 96 Cowboys and Indians. 1 Office. Enough said.

Jeremy's Office

For this office, we decided to do a traditional "Foiling" of almost everything in the office. We would have done every book, but that would have been ridiculous... so we did every one of his pens, instead :). The curtains fell off, but some pics should be available soon...

The Overlooked Life

Recently, I saw a story on ESPN and about a young pitcher, Nick Adenhart, who died as a passenger in a hit-and-run accident. I will admit that I completely ignored what little was said about the other passengers in the car, two of whom were dead at the scene. There was so little said (and that only in the ESPN article) that I naturally assumed that not many people would be interested.

Then, on facebook, I see a friend with an R.I.P. message to Courtney Stewart, and I ask what happened. She tells me that Courtney had been her friend, and that she had been killed in a car accident with her friend... Nick Adenhart.

Inside of me, I felt like something was so wrong with this scene. Something in our society tells us that one person's death matters more than another, and so one gets tributes on national television, while another is mentioned on a third-tier news website which lists "TMZ" as a main source. To me, it just feels wrong.

I wonder what this world would be like, if we considered every life important? What if Mother Teresa wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime type of person, and no one slipped into the margins of society? I'm not saying that the young lady who died, or the other two young men involved in the crash, were in the margins of society... far from it, the girl was a college cheerleader, and from what I hear, an amazing all around person. I also certainly don't want to detract from the tragedy of Adenhart's death, because the loss of a young Major Leaguer with so much potential is a modern-day tragedy by definition.

I simply think there is something wrong with a world indifferent to the toll of AIDS in Africa (5800+ Africans die of AIDS each day) yet utterly captivated by the loss of one baseball player.

The Tough Conversation

This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you...
I remember what my mom used to tell me before she'd punish me for being a stupid kid. And trust me, I was a stupid kid quite often, way more often than I got punished for it. It always struck me as odd, this idea that hitting me would hurt her more than it hurt me. I mean, I knew what I did, I was just too much of a little jerk to stop. Still, when I was done crying, there was my mom, fresh tears falling from her face as she explained to me what I had done wrong. It was almost as if she were convincing herself as well.

Now that I'm older, with a heart that probably loves more than it should, I think I know a little bit of what she was going through. While I don't have children and I don't go hitting stupid people, I do have to have conversations that I know will hurt, and I hate those conversations. We all need to have the tough conversation from time to time, the conversation confronting someone with something you know will blindside them, something you know they don't want to hear. It is a part of living in community, perhaps one of the hardest parts for all involved.

It is hard to be the one confronted, to be told you have hurt someone or done something wrong. Sometimes you want to lash out and defend yourself, if only to assure others that you did not mean harm by your words, or actions, or to show how your actions were justified and right. Other times you just want to hide, to take back the last day or month or year, wishing your ignorance or insensitivity hadn't left you blind to something so obvious.

To be the one doing the confronting, I have learned, is for me even more difficult than being confronted. It starts with that sense of dread, as you realize what you need to say, and that it will either cut to the core or be completely ineffective. Then, as you take the person aside (it's even harder if it's your friend), and begin the conversation, you read their face... and you want to turn back, to soften the blow, to tell them it will be alright...

I've had to have a few of those conversations recently, and I find myself more on the confronting end than the confronted. I love people. I love my friends. I start these conversations, and I see them getting defensive as my words land like punches. I see them bristle, and in their eyes I can tell I've hurt them. I question myself... is this really for the best? Am I wrong for saying this?

Then I keep on going, because in the end you have no choice. If you really love someone, you have to be willing to confront them with the reality they refuse to see on their own.

As I saw my friend begin to tear up as his lip quivered and his voice wavered, this last conversation I had tore me up inside. I knew that he had been blindsided, that he meant well and was only trying to... well, it doesn't matter what he was trying to do. The point is, I knew this was something he had to learn, and that this conversation needed to happen, but it really sucked. As I led him to a place where he could clean himself up a bit and blow his nose, he thanked me for talking to him, and that made it even harder. As I walked away, hearing his stifled sobs...

I wonder how God feels, when we constantly don't get what He's been trying to tell us our whole lives. I wonder how much it hurts Him when we pass up something that could have been beautiful, purposeful... life changing. I wonder if it hurts Him more than it hurts us when we lose that financial or relational security we once had, and we fumble about like children in sudden darkness, scared of the unknown and longing for something to cling to. I mean, He knows how it will work for our benefit, and how it will bring us back to Him, but does it hurt His heart the way a loving parent is crushed by the cry of the punished child?

I think that is what is beautiful about a God who is willing to live in relationship with us. He knows our pains inside and out. He is the Sovereign over all creation, Creator of the Universe... and yet, this pain that you are going through right now...

It hurts Him more than it hurts you.

Cutting Loose

"I know I'll go crazy if I don't go crazy tonight!" -U2
Being a young minister, I am told to try to be "above reproach". I am constantly encouraged to be patient, and kind, and of impeccable moral character. Essentially, I feel like I'm being asked to do all of the things that everyone else wishes they could do, as if those discipling me want me to be some sort of "Super Worship Pastor" who shoots love lasers out of his eyes and is impervious to all temptation.

While the idea of leaping tall church spires in a single bound is appealing, I am learning more and more that I am not ever going to be "Super Worship Pastor". I am a regular guy, who God is using in amazing ways, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I've been given. Most of the time, I try my hardest to be that person I feel like He would want me to be, the one who's mentors look upon him with pride and validation. I want to make my youth ministers, my family, and my old mentors proud and happy, and above all I want to make God happy. Most of the time I live my life with this as my goal... but not always.

See, there are times when I just need to go vent, times when I feel like cussing at the world and its stupidity, or at the old boss who won't send me a copy of my w-2 because she's too lazy to search her boxes for the documents from a store that closed almost a year ago, or at the people who don't seem to get the basic rules of social interaction and not hurting those around them. There are times when I feel like pulling a Noah, getting stinky drunk and forgetting my problems for a bit (Genesis 9:20-21). There are times when I feel like just escaping and wallowing in my own self pity like Elijah (1 Kings 19), or like asking God to send bears to maul stupid people (2 Kings 22-25).

I give these examples to make a point. The point is this...

God uses regular guys, even when they screw up.

Yes, we should try to follow Him, but we can't expect to never fall. This leads me to the question I am trying to answer...

What do I do when I feel like cutting loose?

I know I should be setting an example in my life at all times, and that I should strive to be above reproach and not going on my own power and strength... but should I give in to reality, or try to constantly hold on and keep everything inside? What does it look like for a minister to truly let loose without hurting his ministry?

I've been having "one of those days"
for a few weeks now,
and I think I might go crazy if
I don't go crazy...