nyc, 5

Okay, so I'm sure some of you are pretty sick of seeing pictures of NYC. This is the last post of them and then I'll get on to other topics.

nyc, 4

Don't worry, there's only one more group of pictures after this, then I'll get back to posting some thoughts.

nyc, 3

nyc, 2


nyc , 1

My recent post with pictures from Grand Haven inspired me to throw up some more photos I've been meaning to post. Back in the spring Brooke and I went to NYC for a church planting conference. While this was Brooke's third or fourth time visiting this metropolis I had never been there. As someone who loves city life I was completely enthralled with NYC. I took a ton of photos during our five days there and had planned on posting them but never did. So, again, better late than never.

I took so many pictures that I think it will be easier to do several posts with a few pictures on each instead of throwing them all up right now. Some of the pics in this series of posts are pretty basic, some are my attempts to be a little more artistic (notice I said "attempts"), and a few are just for fun. For those who don't know, you can view a larger image by simply clicking on any picture. Enjoy.


amazing race auckland

Okay, so in general I usually can't stand "reality" television shows, particularly reality competition shows.  However, when our friend Sarah told us that the last episode of The Amazing Race took place in Auckland I felt compelled to watch.  I've never seen a full episode of this show before now so I can't really tell you anything about it but if you'd like to watch the episode and get some good shots of the city we'll be living in you can click here.  

I'm still not a fan of reality television but it was nice to see some footage of Auckland as I'm eagerly anticipating our return.  


grand haven beach a month ago

Here are a few pics from our visit to the beach while we were in Michigan.  I meant to post these when we got back from the trip but then... ya know... I didn't. Better late than never right?


countdown complete

Current Facebook status:
Friends - 0
Groups - 0
Causes - 0
Apps - 0
Videos - 0
Status Update - Blank
Account - Deactivated

I've disconnected and I feel as if a great burden has been lifted off me.  Do you smell that... it's freedom.



Is this a picture of Anton Chigurh as a child?

Wait... that's just me as a kid with a bad haircut.  I should've known right away.  I'm sure Anton didn't smile even as a young lad.


dropping it like a bad habit... which for me it is

After using it for the past 3 years I have been wrestling with the idea of quitting facebook for awhile now. Last week I finally decided that I was actually going to do it.  I also decided that I would do a 10-day countdown before leaving FB to allow folks who wanted to stay in touch the chance to make sure they had my contact details . Once I made the decision to quit and announced it on my FB profile (and status updates) I received an unexpected backlash. I've had quite a few people try to persuade me to stay on FB and harangue me about why I could possibly think quitting FB would be a good thing. Because of this response I have decided to do a blog post with some of my reasons for quitting FB. I'm not going to post all of my reasons and some of the things I'll post below are more a response to the "outcry" for leaving.

Before I get to any of my reasons I feel I should state that this is a personal decision I am making and not a wholesale condemnation of FB and those who use it (which is how it seems some folks have taken it). I readily agree that FB can be a great tool and that is has many good things to offer. My decision to leave is exactly that, my decision, and I don't have any issues with people who choose to use FB. Brooke is going to continue using FB and I think that's fine. At any rate, in no particular order, here are my reasons/responses for choosing to quit FB:

- For me FB is a huge timesuck. I have found myself wasting way too much time on FB and it is too convenient a distraction for me when I'm procrastinating (which I tend to do). I have found myself going on FB to check out one thing and and then realizing that I have wasted an hour checking out photo albums and updates that I didn't really need to. Again, I'm not saying this is a problem for everyone or that it's a reason for everyone to quit FB, but for me it is.

- I never keep up with my FB messages. I currently have an inbox full of messages that I haven't replied to. Since these messages don't pop into view every time I log onto FB I tend to forget they're there and then never respond. I find it much easier to stay on top of my normal email and to reply to them in a timely fashion. So for me the format of FB is not a more convenient way to "stay in touch."

- FB is a technology I don't really need. I guess I'm the new version of "Old Fashioned" but I have an email account, a Skype account, and a blog. This makes it very easy for people to stay in touch with me if they so choose. I had several people comment on my FB page that I shouldn't leave because it makes it so easy for people to stay connected with me. I personally think this is an exaggeration. If you don't have time to check my blog, send me an email, or give me a call; then I think the argument can be made that you aren't really that interested in staying in touch in the first place. The interesting thing to me here is that the majority of people (not all) who have tried to tell me I shouldn't leave FB because it makes it so easy to stay in touch are people who have never really communicated with me through FB.

- Following on that thought I think FB fosters a false sense of community. If you think you know what's going on with me or that you are "staying in touch" with me because you look at my FB profile occasionally, you are sadly mistaken. While I'm not denying that it can be used for good, I think FB creates the illusion of being connected with people when in reality you have little more than a latent awareness that other people are out there doing stuff. This type of "community" in my opinion is analogous to the sound-byte public discourse we've become accustomed to. There is definitely something alluring to this type of latent awareness but I've decided to reject the allure. If you want to know what's going on with me and what I'm thinking then my blog will give you a better picture of that than my FB page. If that doesn't work send me an email or, heaven forbid, call me so we can actually talk.

- Contrary to popular opinion, just because you can use a particular form of technology doesn't mean you should and just because many other people are using it doesn't mean you need to.

- I'm sick of having to ignore hundreds of "invitations" to use stupid, time-wasting, FB applications and am embarrassed to admit that I am guilty of having "invited" people to use them in the past.

I have several other reasons why I'm quitting but I'm sure that if the ones I've listed aren't good enough for you then you won't be happy with any of my reasons.  That's okay, I don't need you to be.  I look forward to staying in touch with all of you who want to stay in touch, the touching just won't be taking place via FB.  Four more days and the habit is dropped.


making red dragons real

A few weeks back Brooke and I attended a weekend class called, "Strategies for Urban Church Planting."  During one of the sections the speaker was discussing the fact there is a huge gap between how Christians tend to perceive themselves and how the world at large perceives them.  Unfortunately the cartoon above is often the way that Christians are viewed.  Even more unfortunate than that is the fact that there are many Christians and Christian groups who have proven this stereotype true.  

According to the Bible the Church is God's chosen vehicle for delivering the good news of Christ, too often we deliver it as bad news.  The Church is to be a body of love, unity, mercy, and grace, an institution working for the restoration and renewal of the world.  It is to be a group of people who are radically committed to forgiveness knowing that they have been radically forgiven by God.  The speaker went on to say that the average postmodern young adult sees this idea of the church as being as plausible as red dragons.  What he meant was that describing the Christian church in this way seems to be as realistic to many people as a report that giant red dragons are destroying downtown St. Louis would be.  The more distressing thing is that beyond destroying the reputation of the Church, Christians are guilty of destroying the reputation of God himself.  When we fail to demonstrate the grace, mercy, and love of God we make the existence of an all-powerful yet gracious, merciful, and loving God seem as plausible as the existence of red dragons.

It would be easy to point my finger at other people and blame them for the image of Christianity that has been portrayed to the world.  Unfortunately I'm as much a part of the problem as the next person.  My own hypocrisy, negativity, and lovelessness dishonors Jesus as much as anyone's.  All I can do is repent and ask him by his grace to give me the strength to be a better living picture of his love to those around me.  It is my hope as we go into the heart of Auckland that the church we plant there will reflect a true picture of Jesus to a skeptical watching world.  It is my hope that this work will be a small step towards correcting the stereotype above.  My prayer is that the not-yet-existent church plant in central Auckland would demonstrate the actual existence of the true God to a city that has largely written him off as a mythical creature.