Monday, December 31, 2007

Decker Trip Part 3

So, today was pretty awesome. We decided to go to Legoland California. They have this special thing on New Years Eve for kids where they count down the new year and drop a giant Lego block (instead of the crystal ball) at 6:00pm. They claim they have their own time zone so kids can experience the party and still meet their bed time. I wasn't sure what to expect before we got there, but man it was pretty cool. Pulling in, every sign was made of real legos. When we finally got in the park, it was like a giant kids room on crack! (not sure thats the same description they give in the brochure). Everywhere you looked there were giant things made of legos. The Christmas tree you see in the picture is made of solid legos and is probably 40 feet tall. Unbelievable! Lots of cool rides and not too bad lines. Around 5:00pm, we made our way over to the stage area where they had a band playing and were handing out free noise makers, glow bracelets/necklaces, cool glasses to watch the fireworks with, and a commemorative lego brick with the date and event name on it. We counted down the brick drop and watched a great fireworks display while being rained on with confetti and dancing to music. Almost like times square but with a lot less drunk people and a lot more kids. It was a great time. I'm still not sure who has the job to create all those lego sculptures, but they have way to much patience and time. After that we went to dinner at the spaghetti factory for my birthday. (yes I turned thirty*gulp*four today) Got stuffed and got sang to. Tomorrow I get to go golfing with my buddy Ryan. Should be good times. Pray I can stay up another hour and a half. I've never missed a midnight on new years eve before, but now that I'm officially old, I'm pretty tired...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Doh!

The Deckers as a Simpson's characters... (click on picture to get a bigger view)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Decker Trip Part 2

Well, we arrived at our resort yesterday and it is awesome. The resort is in Escondido and called the Lawrence Welk Resort. Now I know I may offend some of you that are a little older, but I really don't know who Lawrence Welk is, except that he had a tv show I think. Anyway, his resort is really cool. Each building of villas is named after a famous golf course. We are staying in one called Pebble Beach. Just a few feet away is a great activities center with tons to do, but most important to the girls... swimming! They have two pools, a splash park, and a water slide. Of course we hit this pretty much after getting out of the car when we arrived. The pools are heated which is a good thing because it's in the 50's/60's. Emma rode the slide last night until she was proud that her lips were purple from being cold. Today we went to moonlight beach then La Jolla Cove. The beach was great. First time for the young girls. Of course we wore regular pants and sweatshirts because it was chilly, but that didn't stop the girls from slowly getting wet and eventually fully emerged. The best part was watching the girls make sand angels which they have talked about doing the whole trip. The only downside for Sydney was that the sand felt "crunchy" in her pants. At La Jolla Cove, we climbed on rocks and went to Children's Beach which has been takin over by seals. Amazing. Girls loved it. Oh and I almost forgot, on the way to La Jolla, we stopped by Torrey Pines Golf Course (home of next years US Open) where Chrissy let me get a new shirt for my birthday. (score!) Tomorrow I get to play one of the two courses here at our resort while the girls swim. (big surprise) Well, Keep praying for us and we'll do the same for you. More to come later...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Decker Trip Part 1

Well, our trip is underway. We left Denver last night to beat the snow (and it sounds like it was a good idea) and drove to Albuquerque. We stayed in the same hotel our middle school group stayed in on our way back from Mexico last summer. We didn't get in until late, but Emma was wide awake and excited because she claimed it was her first night ever spent in a hotel. Anyway, we decided we would drive today until we got tired and then into San Diego tomorrow. So, on the way through Arizona we passed a sign for the exit for the Grand Canyon. Hmmm. Why not?!? So, we pulled off and headed to the large tourist drenched ditch. There was only one problem. It was another hour away and we had about 30-40 minutes of daylight left. That meant I got to see what the old van could do. We finally got there and none of the girls knew what the Grand Canyon was before we arrived. Once in the park, and after getting lost and panicking because light was fading fast, we quickly found a good overlook, . We got out walked to the edge, looked at it, took a couple really dark pictures and got back in the van and left. Perfect. Ten minutes later and it would have been too dark. Anyway, even in the fading light it was amazing. God's quite an artist.
We are now in Needles, California, staying in a motel that looks like a CSI crime scene waiting to happen, but anxious about gettin to our resort tomorrow. I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

California here we come...

So Christmas went good. Our girls woke us up at 5:50am to open presents, so we drug ourselves out of bed and bundled up to go open gifts. Little did we know that the girls had been waiting for an hour already to wake us up. Anyway, we were very excited because our big gift to the girls this year is a trip to Disneyland in California. I created some big tickets that had the Disney princesses on them and said "one ticket to Disneyland". When they opened them, we got the reaction from two of them we expected, but our middle daughter Sydney was a surprise. She automatically started bawling and saying "I don't want to go" over and over. Ooops. Not sure what she thought Disneyland is, but as a four year old, who knows. Anyway, it took Chrissy 4 hours to convince her to want to go on the trip, now she is the most excited of the three.
So, tomorrow we load up the van and head west. But there is still something about packing up the vehicle with the family on a trek to a theme park that still reminds me of National Lampoon's Vacation. Can't wait to get there, and I'll make sure to park in the furthest spot from the entrance to make sure we're the first ones out. Pray for the Decker vacation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cleaning the office...

So today I have been cleaning my office. One of the things I love about being a Jr. High pastor is that it seems like the more obscure things you have in your office, the better it is. My students are always giving me things for the office, like pictures, souvenirs from their trips to the grand canyon, etc.. I definitely have some favorite items . Among my top fav's are:
- A "grow a dork" doll (see below)
- My space-man helmet
(see below)
- A signed bowling ball we broke at one of my first bowling outings with the middle school group here. (long story about how it got broken)
- My autograph of George Costanza (Jason Alexander) from Seinfeld.

- A fathers day pic
ture/painting done by my daughter.
- And of course, my cast and director signed movie poster from the movie "The Goonies" (my
favorite)
Anyway, it's nice to have my office cleaned up so I don't come back to a dump after the Holidays.













Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Personality Test

So I saw this free personality test on Marko's blog, which he saw on someone else's blog, and decided to give it a try. It's rather short and didn't take long, but here's my results...
Click to view my Personality Profile page
ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events.
ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity.
ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

PotPourri

> So our Airband Championships we had on Sunday night went awesome! The students did great, but we had a group of dads dress up like the band Queen and perform Bohemian Rhapsody with the band name "Spleen". Funniest thing was their students didn't know they were doing it. Hopefully have pictures up soon.
> Driving to work today I heard a chipmunks Christmas song and halfway enjoyed it. (don't tell anyone)
> Roger Clemens may have used steroids, but not until he went to the Yankees... (go red sox)
> We finally have a candidate for the High School Pastor position coming first week of January. Please pray...
> Yesterday I started a new "get healthy" kick by going to the gym for the first time in a month and drinking Coke Zero and eating celery for a snack. Let's see how long it lasts.
> Coke Zero is not as good as Classic Coke.
> Found a great place for free fonts www.dafont.com. Check it out!
> I hurt my finger about a week ago and it still hurts. My wife thinks I should be wearing a splint on it, but who wants a splint on their pinky?
> My girls came in and woke me up with hugs this morning. There's nothing better in the world...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Party

Since I am temporarily covering the leadership duties for the high school youth group as well as the middle school group, that means double the Christmas parties to plan/attend. We had our middle school party last Tuesday which was a blast, now tonight is our high school party. As part of the party, we will be eating a great meal, having a gift exchange, and having a gingerbread house construction contest. We also have to dress up like our favorite Christmas character. This really had me thinking of what to wear. I don't want to go as the usual Santa Clause or Rudolph. Even the grinch is a little overdone. I wanted to be something different, so I got a costume to make me look like I'm from the play "A Christmas Carol". I have a full old time suit with top hat, vest, and ascot. I think it looks pretty good. But once I got it home, I realized I look a little like dumb and dumber too. Oh well, should be good times...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Air Band Championships!

In our High School youth group we are having our first ever "air band championships" this Sunday night. Students are encouraged to pick a song, form a band and perform to the song with no real instruments. Like lip-syncing and air guitar on steroids. We will have the fog machines, lights and everything else "rocked" out. So here's where I have a problem. I need to pick a song for me and my intern Jonathan to perform as well as a band name.
If you have any suggestions, let me know....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Attack Of The Books!

So I just realized that I have a pile of around 7-8 books to read that I am anxious to get to. On top of that, I just ordered another one from Amazon that I have been wanting to read for a while now. So.... this now begs the question: why do I still watch TV when I get home instead of reading these? I guess it's that I'm ADD and that i can flip through channels during commercials and it would be very hard to flip back and forth between books after each chapter. Needless to say, I have started reading at least two of them and hope to get through most of the pile sometime during the Holidays (ya right). So to help me out, if you have read any of my book pile listed below, let me know if it is good and I should jump on it now or if it's a stinker and should put it in the permanent "to read" pile.
List 'O Books:
Hidden in Plain Site : by Mark Buchanan
UnChristian : by David Kinnaman
The Ragamuffin Gospel : Brennan Manning (no I've never read it even though it's been around forever)
An Emergent Manifesto of Hope : Various Authors (trying to get more insight on the emergent church and where it stands)
Contemplative Youth Ministry : by Mark Yaconelli (already started this one, after owning it for a year)
Holy Wild : Mark Buchanan
Sex God : by Rob Bell (my autographed copy)
2gether 4ever: Notes of a Jr. High heartthrob : by Dene Larson (just ordered this one)

Monday, December 10, 2007

This kid rocks!

I thought I was OK at drums, but this 4 year old rocks! Man I feel old....

Friday, December 07, 2007

Book Review

Jim & Casper Go To Church
OK, I read this book about a week or two ago and found it to be a real easy read. I read it on the plane to/from Atlanta for the Youth Specialties Conference. The basic theme of the book is that a believer (Jim Henderson) decided he wanted to hire an atheist (Matt Casper) to go to different churches around the country to get his raw untainted opinions of the experience. The insight that is given in the book is very helpful, but I think you need to remember the context as well. The parts that talked about the lights and pounding music and the "show" made me reflect on why we do what we do. In fact, I had to guard myself from sitting in our worship service and just being critical about everything, and remember I was there for worship. It is interesting that for Matt, the upbeat band lead worship was not that inviting or impressive. And when he talked about what was said before the offering was being taken, actually made me change the way I word what I say when I am in charge of the prayer before the plates are passed. I also agree with his assessment that churches need to be more involved in reaching out to their communities. But, I also think that some of the criticisms that were mentioned, while I respect his opinion and truly feel like from his point of view were probably spot on, I think as a Christian it's totally different. For an atheist to go into a church and experience worship for the style and words is much different than the way I feel a Christian would experience it. I just want to make sure that we remember that church is a place for Christians to worship as well as an outreach to non-believers. So some of the worship music that Matt didn't like might be an amazing experience for someone who is worshiping the God they believe in. The holy spirit, who Matt is not indwelt with, might use some of that music that he did not like to truly minister to those who are indwelt. All in all, I think the book was good and a good read for anyone in church ministry.
SCORE: 4 cups of starbucks (out of possible 5)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy?

So through a few links, I came across the link for a new documentary/comedy movie called What Would Jesus Buy? The movie is put out by Morgan Spurlock who has done documentaries such as "Super Size Me" and the show "30 Days". I am a big fan of documentaries and watch them on TV whenever I can. In fact my wife thinks I'm crazy because the documentary channel is one of my top 5 (others include ESPN, game show network, Travel Channel, and Discovery). The movie follows a (fake) preacher, Rev. Billy, and his "Church of stop shopping" choir as they go around preaching to the public to stop their consumerism and get Christmas back to it's meaning. So, after watching the trailer for it, this movie looks like it could be really funny as well as informative. At first glance I admit that I thought it might just be a blasphemous movie that criticizes Christians, but after reading a Christianity Today review, and seeing an interview of Spurlock at Imago Dei Community in Seattle, I now want to see it. The fact that this year I saw Christmas items out in stores at the end of September, really scares me. I think we do need a wakeup call that consumerism is not what Christmas is about and to show God's love, we need to get back to the meaning of Christmas and maybe give others what they need and not just another starbucks gift card. "Beware of the Shopocalypse" as Rev. Billy would say. I might just have to check this movie out.

I'm back!

After a year and a half since I blogged last, I am back in the saddle. I have had allot of stuff to say lately and so I decided to give the blog another go. I guess when I realized that there are around 5 blogs I read daily, I thought that I should be doing my own as well. So, tell your friends, your neighbors, that little old lady that is always in the produce department at the store squeezing the fruit, and anyone else that the blog is back baby!