Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

A couple of weeks ago we were thinking about not having a Christmas Eve service at night because it didn't seem like we'd have many people there. Glad we changed our minds. Real simple, but a great service, I think. This sounds strange, because I spoke, but the service really got to me. I felt real grateful that Jesus was born and I get to know Him.

Not that this is about me, but this has been a great Christmas season for me. Sometimes I just get tired of Christmas because it's so commercial. Maybe it's because this has been such a crazy year, maybe it's because my kids are at a real fun Christmas age, or maybe I'm excited to be alive post-OHS, but this season and tonight's service would definitely be my most memorable Christmas in a long time. We had some friends over after the service for dinner and I didn't want people to leave (not saying I normally do want people to leave, but you know what I mean). Just great to hang out with friends.

Our neighborhood did the luminary thing too. I don't know why we do this. When I was a kid we did it and I figured it was so Santa Claus could find my house. Whatever the case, it looked awesome. I drove around for about 15 minutes late tonight just looking at them. They look even better when you turn your lights out. Everything's so peaceful.

Well, Merry Christmas... here's hoping you have the peace of Christ in your heart and in your life tonight. Thanks for being a part of our lives.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ongoing Buster saga..

This just won't go away. Tonight at dinner Mac starts barking outside, so Michael says, "She misses her Buster" and then proceeds to ask me again where Buster went. So this time I say he went to dog heaven. He stares at me, not having the first idea what I mean by 'heaven' and just before I'm about to add, 'where all good dogs go', I realize I'm talking to my son about heaven for the first time and I'm about to make a deep theological statement that I don't want to make.

Quickly deducing that my son probably is too young to comprehend to the redeeming work of Christ on the cross or the hope of new life offered through the empty tomb, and that I don't think that relates to Buster anyways, I said, "Buster got sick." To which he responded, "When he gets un-sick can he come back."


Monday, December 18, 2006


this is an old picture of our 2 and a half year old middle kid, matthew. pretty goofy kid. matthew typically gets up between 6:30 and 7:30 and walks into our room, whining that he wants some milk. so today, at 7:15, he throws our door open and announces he wants some milk. i tell my wife i'll get it cuz i'm going to get up and go running anyways and matthew comes over to my side of the bed, i help him into the bed and he lays down exactly where i lay down. so i look at him and say "what am i supposed to do?", meaning, 'where am i supposed to lay down since you're in my spot.' and he responds, "you're supposed to go get me some milk." it was probably funnier if you were there, but it was pretty funny... trust me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm real jealous...

So I'm looking at the website from my newspaper back home, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, and there's a thing about how they got to see the northern lights last night because of some crazy solar storm. That would be sweet!
Here are the pics.

This could give me nightmares...

Caught this throught Relevant's site. It's the original Ronald McDonald commercial. 1 minute long. Watch it and wonder how McDonald's even survived this kind of marketing ineptitude.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

10 years of Hope

Bobbi-Jo and I attended our last staff Christmas party with Hope Community Church last night. Lots of fun. Because this summer/fall has been such a whirlwind, and because we're not going to really to be gone, I've hardly had time to think about leaving Hope, but I did yesterday afternoon.

When I moved down here I was looking for a big church. When I couldn't find one, I found this little 'startup church' called Hope Community Church that was affiliated with my church in Ohio. I really didn't want to be a part of a 'startup church', but as I started attending there, even though I was the only single twenty-something in the 150 or so people that were attending at the time, I found family. I found a really warm group of people that were seeking after the Lord and loved me. And I got a job, a wife, a whole new group of friends, another job, and a crazy journey out of the whole thing. And, in large part because of Mike's heart, I have a radically different understanding of God's love for the world and how He wants to use the church to speak into our culture.

It's pretty impossible to think about what my life would be like if I hadn't gotten a random phone call 10 years ago from a secretary at my church in Ohio letting me know about Hope. It's impossible to describe how fulfilling it's been over the past 10 years to see and be a part of this church growing and affecting so many people's lives. It's impossible to describe how much the people there mean to me.

Last night was not really a goodbye, but it did provide some form of closure... like 'we're going now and things aren't going to be the same and that's alright'... more than alright, what God has done here deserves to be celebrated. And to be honest, I'm too excited about what God is doing at Visio Dei to be the least bit sad or nostalgic. Sunday was amazing. I don't know what happened there, but it was amazing and it would again be impossible to describe how excited I am to see what God is going to do in and through this group of people.

Thanks so much for being a part of my journey and letting me be a part of yours. Life's pretty great...

BTW - spent the morning at the Royal Bean on Hillsborough... Amanda fixed me a cup of the Kenyan Peaberry in a french press and I had a fresh cranberry scone... highly recommend this place, stop by sometime.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Random stuff...

So we're driving to our home group last night and Michael says something from the back seat of our minivan. Here's how the conversation continues:

Bobbi-Jo: "What'd you say, Michael?"

Michael: "Where's Mackenzie's friend?" [Mackenzie is our dog]

Bobbi-Jo: "Mackenzie's friend?"

Michael: "Mackenzie's friend Buster. Where's Mackenzie's Buster, mommy?" [Buster is our other dog that died last December]

Bobbi-Jo and Jeff: Complete silence

Michael: "Where did Buster go, Daddy? Where is he?"

How does my kid, out of the blue, ask where the dog is that died a year ago? And what am I supposed to tell him? Crazy.

In other news, found out I have to pay $800 to get my car, which I don't particularly like, fixed. Not much I can think of that I would less enjoy spending money on than my 11 year old car.

I love cold weather. Wish it would stay just like this for 2 months... with some snow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Now that I think about it...

If you haven't read the post below, read it and then come back to this post.

The woman I heard speak yesterday is named Kimberly Smith. She started this organization. She told us yesterday that she believes change will happen as we (the folks that were there listening to her) go and tell everyone we know about what's going on. That's kind of what I'm doing.

Why don't you drop her an email letting her know you heard and you're thankful for her and you're praying for her. And you could also include the fact that your heard it from me and that you'd love to have her come speak at Visio Dei. I'm sure it would be encouraging to her to know the word is spreading and would be a pretty obvious way of letting her know we'd love to hear more.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Some things stop you in your tracks

I went to a lunch today hosted by a local businessman to hear a woman from this organization talk about human trafficking and sex slavery. I don't pray for the Lord's return often, if at all. Today I did. I begged the Lord to come back this afternoon. She talked about some horrific things that thousands and thousands of children and young women have to experience every day.

She does a lot of work in Sudan and Romania to prevent children from entering sex slavery, but some of the most shocking stuff was about the US. She said Atlanta is known as one of the best cities in the world for businessmen to fly in, get any type of sex they want, and be home for dinner. She talked about an investigation that found just one of the sex trafficking rings had 1,000 sex slaves locked in basements of different houses all around Atlanta. Atlanta! That was just one ring. They were set to bust up the whole ring but it leaked somehow and only 20 kids were rescued. They found information that detailed how much different services cost. I have to write this because she said it and you should know that this is real... and you don't want to read it... but she said they saw that for several thousand dollars, someone could pay to rape a child to death. That some of the kids are just used up and they're considered expendable. This is in Atlanta.

This article from the NY Times verifies some of the information about Atlanta:

I found this story linked on her website about a brothel in Raleigh they busted up earlier this year. I copied an excerpt from the article because I found it amazing we don't have a state law that deals with this yet.

"Taber worked with a girl not yet a teenager who was brought to Chatham from Florida by her father, or at least a man who claimed to be her father.

He set her up in business.

"She was so traumatized, she won't speak of what happened to her," Taber said. "When she was brought in, her system was full of vet medications; that's how she was being treated for worms."

Yet in that case, there have been no trafficking charges filed. In part that is because there is not a state law that speaks to the issue of sex trafficking."

Here is the website of the organization: Here is the page with links to articles:

I've asked her to come speak some Sunday at Visio Dei and she sounded like she would like to make that happen.

I don't know what to say.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Three months ago today...

Seems like it was a year ago, to be honest, but three months ago today was my surgery. Crazy! Really hard to believe.

I feel great. An occasional pain in my shoulder or chest but that's it, and the only medication I take is baby aspirin as an anti-coagulant. Thanks to all of you who helped out after the surgery. It was overwhelming to receive that much help, and we needed all of it. What a year to look back on. Had a third kid, had a little heart surgery, and got to plant a church. God has richly blessed us.