Monday, July 31, 2006

Who Said this?

Whoever is wounded deeply, God will use greatly.


Whoever is used greatly, will be deeply wounded.

Is that even right?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Is there something wrong with me?

This weekend Ashlee Simpson and Ashley Parker Angel were in town for a concert and if I would had the cash...I would of went. Is there something wrong me? I mean, I would of gone only to study youth culture, or something like that. Seriously though, what the heck is wrong with me. It's not that I even like them, I don't know what it is.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Camp Velocity...Day 5

I can't believe it's almost over. 1 talk to go, tear down the sound/lights, haul the gear out to the trailer, say good byes to some veyr good friends and head home tomorrow morning.

My parents just left and they surprised us by taking our older two, including the birthday boy himself, Bobby Jay. So, it's quiet with just Zachary. That could be because he's soon as he gets up, it will be loud again.

Highlights this week:

  • Spending the week with some great Jr. highers.
  • Getting to hang out with Dave Kurt, Jason Shinn, Mark Butler, Phil Woodman, Dana Kidder, and Clint Beiri. These are great guys and I wish I would of spent more time with them. There are other great youth pastors here as well and it was great talking with them.
  • Hanging out with my kids. What a blast!
  • Watching the guys lead worship. I am so proud of them and they did a great job.

God is Amazing!

As some of you know, we have been struggling to find a truck/driver to pull back our trailer full of equipment. Well, I spoke with this awesome guy last night from Calvary Baptist in Canton and he is going to come back down and haul the trailer back to MI for us. Wow, what an answer to Prayer!

By borrowing equipment and a trailer and finding folks who drove for us, we were able to save the camps we partnered with something like three thousand dollars. Yippe, Super-Duper.

Bobby is 4 today! He is on the Left.

Current Thoughts on Pastors and Bible College/Training

I don't know why I have been thinking about this lately, but I am amazed how many pastors have absolutely no biblical training whatsoever. I am probably thinking about it because I can't wait to start my Masters and hopefully I will in the winter of 2007, hopefully. I am either going to do a Masters of Theology or maybe a Master's in something like CE, or something other than an MDiv. I have always wanted to do one in Communication but I go back and forth.

But, it just amazes me how many pastors/youth pastors I know without any ministry training or biblical training. I went to bible college and majored in Youth Ministry and it has been incredibly valuable to my last 11 years in ministry. But sometimes, I struggle with folks who don't think any kind of ministry training or biblical study is important. They say things like..."Well, I don't want mess up my thinking and bible college will do that". I don't know, I guess if I went to my doctor and he said that he had a business degree, I guess I would leave pretty quick. I know that is a very simplistic answer, but I don't understand why they wouldn't want at least some kind of training. I hated taking Greek, but now I am glad I did. I didn't want to take all those youth ministry classes but they have been extremely valuable to me. So, I don't know why I struggle with it. I had somebody tell me once that there isn't anything in higher learning that they couldn't teach themselves from some book. I highly disagree.

So, do I think it's absolutely nescessary for a pastor to have some kind of bible college/seminary. No, I guess I don't. But, for some reason I have a whole more respect and admiration for folks who have worked their tales off getting the education.

I know these thoughts are incomplete, but I have been thinking about this a lot. One of life goals is to complete a masters and I have been doing a lot of wrestling as of late if it is the best choice for me and family. We have decided it is, now I just have to figure what school and what degree and oh yeah, how to pay for it and how to do homework with three small kids. Little things.

What a Night

I can safely say that tonight's session did not go that well. The worship was awesome and Shinn and the guys did an awesome job in the auditorium. But when the middle school students left and came over to my room, something just didn't connect. I can definately say that my talk tonight didn't go all that well. Couple of problems:

  • There are quite a few kids who have heard me speak more than a dozen times. The crazy thing is they remember my stories, why do they? I am trying to tell new stories or reworked stories, but they catch on. They say stuff like..."I love this one, you already told that 2 years ago, you told it differently last time".
  • We had some sleepers tonight.
  • I don't know if I can say this, or it will sound toolish, but I just don't do as well speaking to crowds of 100 or less. I know that sounds bad, but it's been a long time since I have spoke to smaller groups of kids. My comfort zone is definately bigger groups, and I need to retool to connect with the smaller groups. It's a whole different ball game speaking to smaller groups than the larger groups.
Then we had some Jr. high guys, just being jr. high guys and during a prayer, the serious moment of the night, they just started laughing and couldn't stop. It was funny, but probably came at the wrong time.

Well, I don't know what the purpose of this post was, other than being disappointed with myself. 2 talks to go, got to finish strong.

On a different note, my folks came down for Bobby's birthday, he is 4 years old July 28th. Yeah.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coming Soon

I am going to post very soon, my (to become yearly)..."If I picked the Speakers for the National Youth Workers Convention" List. I know most people won't care who I think would do a great job, but I am an event lover and there is no event I love more than this one. So, I am going to post my list very soon.

PS...I can't believe Group & Doug Fields is starting another Convention for Youth Pastors. Don't know how I feel about this. I love Group and Doug Fields and I love NYWC and I know there probably isn't any competition going on between the companies, wink? So, we will see. I hoping to make it to both, but don't know if I can swing it.

More Summer of Love Tour

I can't believe we only have 2 days left! The tour has gone really well and I will be sad when we are all done. One of the original dreams for Project311 was to put on tours like this one, so it's a little sad that we won't get a chance to do any more tours for awhile. They are just too time consuming and expensive. We tried to save youth pastors as much money as we could by borrowing equipment and a trailer. With that being said, I am glad God opened up some doors for us to partner with some great churches and youth pastors this summer.

I have one more summer camp Aug. 16-18 that I speak at and then I have Elevate's summer camp Aug. 7-11 at SpringHill, IND. It will be my first time there and I am excited to see it. I also can't wait to get to know the staff and leaders of Elevate. I spoke at SpringHill Camp, MI last winter for one of their teen retreats, but I didn't get inited back this year. Very sad I am.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Big Zach and Little Zach

These are two Zach's in my life. The one of the left is my Zach, the tornado himself (who almost, somehow just pulled over the dresser in our hotel room), and the one on the left is one of my very best friends.

As a youth pastor, I have had a hand full of kids through out the years that my wife reminds me of when I have wanted to quit and didn't think I was making any kind of difference. Well, Zach is one of them. I met him in 1998 and we instantly made a connection. He was always the first to serve and we had so much fun his senior year of high school when we interned at the church.
Anyway, we named our Zach after him. I love this guy and I am so proud of him. He is the Project311 worship leader and he just graduated from Taylor University. He is heading out east in the fall to do some further study on the music industry. I am so blessed to have him in my life.

What a Great Camp!

Summer Celebration was a great camp. Project311 did all the production/worship and speaking for this middle school camp on the campus of University of Miami, OH.

What made it a great camp? Well here are some thoughts:

  • Veteran Leadership. There is just something about partnering with youth pastors that have a ton of experience. No knock against young youth pastors, but the difference is unbelivable.
  • Tom Robinson has been a youth pastor for over 30 years and this man just oozes wisdom and patience and love. He's amazing. He treated our team like Kings and shepherded us all the entire week. I look up to Tom and he is definately going to make my..."If I picked the speakers for NYWC".
  • History. This camp has been going on for at least 15 years. All of the younger youth pastors and volunteers had all attended this camp when they were in Jr. high, so it makes for a cool time.
  • The students were really cool. Responded great to the worship team and for some reason, talks. Although, I am not entirely happy with the talks, so it was cool students still responded.
  • Freedom. I think the # 1 mistake camp planners make is when they schedule too much and make students do something at all time. I think it's wrong. They need some freedom, not crazy freedom, but some choices and some opportunities for them to decide. Summer Celebration has some great freedom for kids.
  • Happy Schedule. I think the # 2 mistake camp planners make is the schedule. They just have to plan every second and most of the time the schedule doesn't work with middle school bodies. Why do we have breakfast at 7:30am at camp? Because that's the only time the camp will do it...wrong, we are paying, they will move the time. I am speaking at a camp in August that has the breakfast at 10:00am and they let kids sleep in, how cool is that.
  • Godly Leadership.

I Like Cheese

Call me a "Tool" but Project311 made some T-Shirts with some of the stories/phrases I use in the comedy stories I tell. One of them, which I don't think is that funny, is the "I Like Cheese" story. I just don't get it. But kids who have heard the story ask me to tell it the next time they see me, it's crazy. Anyways, it's one of our best selling shirts. The top selling shirt you ask? Well, that's "El Pepe" of course.

**Disclaimer. I know Tony Morgan said not to sell anything on your blog, but here goes. If you would like to support Project311, we have a wonderful line of T-Shirts for sell. Just a hint, wink!

Camp Velocity...Post # 2, Day...3

HighLights from Day 2 & 3...

  • 3 of the youth pastors who organize this camp, pulled me aside last night to pray for me and lay hands on me. You would be surprised how many camps I go to where no one prays. So, that was awesome. Plus, I really love these guys and it was great.
  • Middle School kids are so cool. I love the fact that they ask me to sign stuff. It's so funny to me. I told a story about how I loved the. 79 cents fountain drinks from Speedway, so a bunch of them had their youth pastor take them to Speedway and then they brought me the cup to sign, how funny.
  • Tonight went really well. Students Laughed, actually we all laughed hard. And that opened up ears to Listen and I believe we had some Learning moments.
  • Here are some pictures.

The High Pants

From time to time I enjoy a good "High Pants" moment from the stage. I know what your thinking..."How could you scare those the Middle School Students Like that"? Well, at least I have fun with it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Bekah

Some days I would love to know what Rebekah will be like in 10 years, or 15. As we pray for her, I am so excited to think about what God will do through her.

Mess up...Oops

Little slip of the words tonight. I was telling a story about my Aunt and Uncle from PA and how they go deer hunting at night with bright lights, but what I said to a group middle school students was...

My Aunt and Uncle from PA go Beer hunting with bright lights, oops. It wasn't as bad as the whole "My boyfriend pulled my pants down", but students laughed at my mess up.

Geeks & God

Here you go, this is my "Must Read Blog" for any ministry leader. These two guys do an awesome walking you through tech issues and how they can make or break your ministry. They have a lot of basics, which is awesome for a guy like me, and then have so much stuff that is way over my head. They are two of the smartest guys I know and they have helped me in so many situations.

They will definately make my "If I picked the Breakouts & Speakers at NYWC" post coming in a few days. Please check it out and subscribe to their podcast.

Geeks & God

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Theme for Camp

The theme for Camp Velocity this year is "Too Much". Basically, we have Too Much of everything and not enough of Christ. I love it. Simple, yet challenging.

Holy Cow

Just found out the other speaker,
  • Noel Heikkinen
  • got in a car accident on the way here and totaled his car. He's alright, thank goodness. He's hoping to be in here in time.

    I am looking forward to hanging out with Noel. I have heard a lot about him from my friends Jason and Dave and had a lunch and a couple of conversations with him. He's a pastor in Lansing, MI and he's unbelivable. He teaches at conferences around the world and he a great teacher, so I can't wait to get to know him a little better.

    For this camp, middle and high school do worship together and then they split apart for the talks. I teach middle school, Noel teaches High school. But, we decided to do something different this year, we are going to team teach the first night and the last night. Should be a blast.

    Camp Velocity...Day # 1

    We are here at Camp Velocity on the beautiful campus of Kenyon College in Gambier, Oh. There is a group of about 10 churches that have done their own summer camp for a longt ime. They basically rent out a portion of a college campus and have camp. This is our third straight year and it's a blast. We drove pretty much all day yesterday because we had to head down to Dayton, Oh to pick up the trailer with all the sound/light gear and then we headed over to Gambier from there. So, 8 hours in the car, not too shabby. Quick highlights so far:

    • All the adult youth pastors for this camp get here a night early and hang out, that's always fun. Plus, they helped us unload the trailer and it only took 15 minutes. Awesome!
    • We found somebody last minute to haul the trailer from Dayton to Gambier. A guy from Calvary Baptist drove all day for us, what a blessing!
    • We ate dinner at Ryan's Family Steakhouse, need I say more?
    • The camp put my family up in an Super 8 motel in town, need I say more? They got us a suite, much more space than a normal hotel room. The guys are staying somewhere on campus. It even has a whirl pool tub, yeah, I know.
    • We have had virtually no problems with set up or tear down. The last couple of years it took us forever to set up, but this year it has gone awesome. It's been great to have Chad because he's a work horse. Jimmy has also taken care of all the lighting w/Zack's help, so that's sweet.
    Funny moment so far?
    • About 10 minutes ago, my youngest son (Zachary the tornado) pulled a fire alarm in the auditorium we are in, funny? Maybe not funny, but quicker than I thought he would.
    • My middle son than proceeded to blame it on his Uncle Jimmy, that was the funny part.
    Many pictures to come.

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    Been Thinking About My Calling...

    Lot's of thoughts swirling around my head, but wanted to lay out an intitial piece about my calling. I was reading my buddy's blog ( the other day and he has some interesting thoughts on youth pastor discouragement/calling and then back a little while ago, Andy Jack emailed a bunch of folks about "calling". So, I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Don't have any mind shattering thoughts but here is what I think so far, and it's the very beginning stages...

    Early on in Ministry (1-6yr) I felt/knew I was "called" to be a youth pastor. A church hired me at 19 and our youth groups did very well. I was extremely passionate and never wanted anything else. I also didn't let anything get in the way of ministry,, college, health, nothing short of being the world's greatest youth pastor.

    Middle years in Ministry (7-9) Things slowly started to change, what was once important, was not. I started to get my prioities right and set healthy boundaries. See, the first 6 years I was all about numbers. We did outreach events that attracted thousands of kids and I found my identity in that. I stopped taking myself so seriously and started to realize I put my "calling" above my family.

    Last few years in Ministry (10-11) I don't know if I can say I am "called" to be a youth pastor. I have been a youth pastor for the last 11 years and it is for sure the main way I use the gifts that God has given me. But I know for sure I am called to be a child of God, a husband and a father. My calling, I belive is my family. For years, I messed up and was so consumed with my "calling" to youth ministry that I neglected my family. So now, being is a youth pastor is definately a huge part of my life, but I feel like the bigger part is my calling to my family.

    Maybe I am not as committed as I used to be, maybe? I don't know. I love youth ministry, the local church and students, I just love my family a whole lot more. I know all youth pastors do as well, and I know these thoughts are pretty elementary, I just needed to write it out. Again, simple thoughts, but just a few that are swirling.

    Night before a trip

    Well, here we are again, the night before a trip and we are still up getting things ready. Someday, we will go to bed at 9pm the night before a trip. It's amazing to me though how good Tracie is at packing up what we need for a week away. Wherever we have stayed in the past 7 years of doing this, she always makes it feel like home. Doesn't matter where we are, within minutes she has everything set up and ready to go.

    This week we are in Gambier, OH at Kenyon College for Camp Velocity. This is our third straight year and I am so blessed to be apart of this camp. I picked up the guys from the airport yesterday and I heard all about their week in Mexico. Sounds interesting to say the least. This week in Mexico was going to be my last Adventures in Mission ( trip for awhile, so I guess they did a great job. I have done maybe 10 Adventure in Mission trips over the 4 or 5 years and each one has been unique, so I bummed I missed it. But, I am excited to head down to Oh. The guys are meeting us at our house in the morning and we will head over to Chad's, then to Calvary Baptist and then to Jason Shinn's mother-n-laws (that's a long story) and then to Kenyon College.

    I am still in need of a truck to haul our trailer back from Gambier, late Friday night or early Saturday morning, please be praying, or at least I will be praying.

    Camp Velocity gets over Friday night and then once we head home, things ramp up for us pretty quick. Including...Family in from PA, then heading out the Willow the first week of August, I teach JHI that first weekend, then we have Elevate's Summer Camp at SpringHill (Ind.) and then we get home, pack up and I do one last summer camp, then we head out to Chicago to live temporarly in a basement, and then the move. Wow, it's going quick.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Great trip with my Dad

    Well, that was a quick trip to the NorthWest side of ChiTown. It would of been a blast to see the cub's play, but I don't think we would of got it in. I have been so busy and there has been so much going on, that it really hasn't sunk in that we are moving and starting a new position. Well, it's sinking in. The toughest part of the move is being 5 hours away from family. My parents are my best friends and I love living close to them. So, it's tough thinking about not golfing with my dad every Sunday and having dinner over there whenever we want. But, it's great to know they love us and support us.

    My dad loved the neighborhood we are moving into and my prayer is I can get them move out there. My mom is almost is done with her Masters degree and my dad's work has some offices in IL, so we'll see.

    Seldom known fact about my dad is that he builds furniture. Great furniture. He built Bekah's cradle, her bed, a blanket chest for Tracie, a hutch and the list goes on and on. He's one of the guys who has incredible hands and can do anything with them (fix, build, craft, etc). My dream and prayer is that my dad could quit his job and build furniture full time.


    This is Chad & Janice, who I went to the movies with the other night. I have known Chad for about 7 years and I have known Janice for just about 1 year. I first met Chad because I brought his band, Son of Adam, in for one of our youth group events. Son of Adam was great and they even got a song played on the hit WB show, Smallville. Anyways, I love these people. Janice grew up in East Africa and I love hearing her heart and stories about Africa. Well, we are at lunch the other day and she says to me "I can't listen to my pastor speak after hearing you" (ok, kind of toolish of me to repeat that) but it was a great compliment. Then, Chad says, "If you start a church someday, I will lead worhip for you". HUH? Start a church. Interesting thought. Wouldn't I have to be old in order to start a church? Just Kidding.

    Anyways, this guy has been a great friend over the years. He's the kind of friend who believes in the "brotherhood". I will explain. In Feb., our pipes froze at our house and for 5 days we were without water. We couldn't afford a plumber and I didn't know what to do, I tried to fix it, but it didn't really work so well. So, Chad calls me and he says, man you sound down, what's going on? Well, I told him and then that night at 9:00pm, he shows up at my house, crawls under my house, and spends 2 hours fixing my pipes so my family can have water. Never complains, never asks for anything, nothing. It was unbelievable. This is the same guy who helped me refinish my floors, and he helped me tear out my shower and tile it because we found black mold. He is a great example of a friend and of Christ's servant heart. Man, I am going to miss him.

    You, Me and Dupree

    A couple of nights ago I saw...You, Me and Dupree. Well, I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. Maybe it was because I was having a You, Me and Dupree moment. I went with my friends Chad & Janice and it was the first time, maybe ever I went to the movies with a married couple. Tracie is camping with the kids and my buddy Jason was going to come, but it was too late for him to make the drive, so I went Chad & Janice.

    It was stinkin blast! The movie was funny, not very vulgar, really not very vulgar at all and it was funny. Some of it was stretching "funny", I don't actually know what that means, but it sort of sounded smrt. Well, I really enjoyed it.

    I'm so excited

    First, I haven't spent this much time with my dad in a while and its been a blast. No cubs game though. We ended up scouting out Bekahs new school and checked out our neighborhood.
    Second, I got my official 'welcome to willow' gift today and it's cool. A book, mug, gift cards and so much more.
    Third, my Tigers beat the chisox again. What a time to move...the boys are finally winning.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    In Chicago

    My dad and I headed off to Chicago today and we almost caught a cubbies game. But we did catch the tail of New Community at Willow, so that was fun. I needed to get a few things done and asked him if he would like to come and he did. How fun, just me and my dad. Maybe we will catch the cubs tomorrow.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Wow, what knockouts!

    My sister-n-law, Stephanie, got married last night and my two ladies were in the wedding. Let me tell you this...they were the most beautiful women in the place! My wife was the maid of honor and she looked great and Bekah was the flower girl and she was beautiful! They both did a great job and Bekah was as cute as can be walking down the aisle. She is now 3-5 in ailse appearances and she seems to be doing really at family weddings, not so good at non family weddings. I am so blessed.

    ***A disclaimer. I am not saying I am a knock-out, that would be toolish. I am saying my beautiful wife and daughter are knockouts.

    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    A turn of events and some changes

    Well, I am suppose to be in Matamoros, MX right now. Actually, I was supposed to fly out at 6:30am this morning to teach 6 youth groups at the Adventures of Mission basecamp in Matamoros. But, I am not there and I am sitting in my living room.

    I just got off the phone with my brother who is in MX with Zach and Drew and I am feeling bad for not being there. Let me just say this, I hate backing out of a trip, nothing worse. I think I have only done it once before and I was deathly ill. Thank goodness Zach and the boys have all the bases covered and I was able to back out.

    Why did I back out last minute? Well, that's a long story. But the simple answer is some health issues. Turns out the infection on my knee a few weeks ago wasn't caused by a bug bite, but a cyst of some sort...still working on the details of it all. But, a few days ago I found one on my neck and I needed to make sure it didn't get infected like the one on my knee. So, off to the doctors again. They numbed it, drained it and cut it off. How much fun. I asked the doctor about my trip to Mexico and he said it should be fine if I stayed out of the sun, kept it dry, didn't sweat and relaxed. So, after praying and talking with Tracie, we figured it would be best not to risk another infection. And because the guys were already going, they would be able to fill in for me.

    The cause of these little friends...stress, poor diet and I don't know what else, yet. So, I know this a great sign to make sure I change my lifestyle.

    I did talk with the guys tonight and the Matamoros trip is night and day to the one we just got off of. So, I will be praying for them. They get back Friday and we leave on Sunday for Camp Velocity. I can't wait for Velocity. This will be our third year and I am honored that they asked us back. I get to hang out with Mark Butler, Phil Woodman, Jason Shinn, Dave Kurt, Dana Kidder, the boys in the band and how awesome is this...MY FAMILY! Yes, they get to come on this one and I can't wait. We leave Sunday for Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.

    Reason # 123

    We were just about to leave for church and Bekah (my beautiful daughter) and I were talking about the wedding we went to yesterday. She was the flower girl and did a fantastic job! Anyways, she told me I should of wore a tie to the wedding and I said I didn't want to and she said...

    Well, you did tuck in your shirt, even though it made your belly look HUGE!

    Reason # 123 to get going on the weight loss.

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Packing up and heading out

    Well, that week went by quick! Seems like yesterday we were unloading and now we are getting to leave. I would of blogged more but for some reason the University's wireless kept kicking me off the wireless and I had to keep going back on and that happened every two minutes. I think it's because my compuer is a Dell. Never had that problem with my ibook, never.

    But, what a great week. Really no was great, worship went really well, the talks went great, great response from students was great, great feedback from youth pastors and the Summer Celebration staff told us they were really happy.

    Now it's time to head out. Our good buddy Jason Shinn drove down to pick us up.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Been crazy busy, but here are a few pictures...

    Great Picture of the guys. These guys really gelled together and did a great job. Chad, Jim. Zack, and Drew.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Day One Pictures

    Some of back of the room shots and a little Zack Barker rock star photo. Gotta love it, gotta love it.

    Day # 1 is over and it went well

    After the evening program last night, the organizers of this fine camp brought in comedian Joby Saad to do some comedy. I saw Joby for the first time at the NYWC in Nashville back in November and I didn't know what to think then...I just couldn't figure out what was going on. But, he did well last night and it was a blast getting to pick his brain afterward.

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    My brother is Famous

    Here he is with one of my idols, Ron Burgandy.

    Here he is with the cast of Smallville. Man, he is cool!

    Set Up Pictures

    Our "Summer of Love" tour has begun and we are almost set up. We just have to wait for an electrician to show up and tie us in, so we can power up the lights. Also, Stefanie is on her way home from Amsterdam and should be rolling up tomorrow evening to run tech. What a great team! Here are some pictures of the set up.

    Couldn't of done it without Todd & Dave

    Can I even begin to express how thankful I am for these two men in my life...well, I am going to try. They drove down with us today and helped us unload. It was huge.

    Dave is the Chairman of the Board for Project311 and Todd is also a board member. I met Dave a few years at a camp I was speaking at and a mutual friend re-introduced us. I met Todd while I was the Jr. high pastor at NorthRidge church and his daughter was in my jr. high group and I worked with his wife at the church.

    Anyways, I love these guys. They have been an incredible blessing to me and my family. They both have continually gone out of their way to see how we were doing, ask tough questions, speak grace into my life and flat out take care of us.

    If I were to type out a list of all the ways they have blessed/helped/provided for my family and Project311 , it would take many much more multiple posts. Let me just say, they are both amazing and I pray for them and their families daily.

    We are Here! But...

    Lot's of pictures to come, but we have arrived at University of Miami of Ohio! We unloaded, and we are about 45% done with set up, not to shabby.

    We could not of done it without Todd and Dave, two Project311's board members. Todd drove us down and pulled the trailer and helped unload, and Dave, well, what can I say. His phone guided us here with some mad GPS and his muscles unloaded many boxes.

    But...I still don't have a truck to take the trailer across Ohio for our next camp, uggh. Will work on that tomorrow.

    This is really exciting! The only thing that could make this camp better, is if my family was here. Man, I am bummed. But, they have to get ready for my sister-n-laws wedding. So, I will call every 10 minutes.

    My head is spinning

    I hate last minute stuff, and yet that's my pattern this last year. It's super late, I don't have everything done that I needed to get done and we have a whole lot going on and my head is just spinning. My stomach is crazy upset because of some very tough stuff that we have to take care of in order to move and tonight, I wish it was July 9, 2007. I know that probably sounds like a leadership cop out, but man, what a year it has been.

    My mother-n-law said something to me yesterday that has really stuck with me. Actually, she said it 5-6 times an hour. We stopped at their house on the way home from Chicago and she said, "I hope you guys have thought this thing through". The thing, being the move, a new position and moving our family 5 hours away. At first I thought, you really think I would move my family and put ourselves in some pretty tough positions without thinking it through. I feel like we have bathed this decision in prayer from the beginning and we both (Tracie and I) have an incredible peace about it all, but even though we have a peace about moving, there are some huge realities that we have to get through in order to move. So, this next month is going to be tough. Some financial obligations have to be taken care of (not getting a paycheck for almost a year creates some interesting financial obligations), we have to pack, we have to get our house in Livonia all settled (that's a story in itself), we have to get a move in date from our new residence, I have 31 talks to give at two summer camps and a mission trip, my sister n law gets married, and I leave tomorrow. Man, like I said, tonight my head is spinning.

    Even with all this, I know God is in control and it will all work out. I know it will. It's just tough and I know he will provide and carry us.

    Saturday, July 08, 2006

    We Found One...God Provided

    I will post more about this later, leaving in a few minutes for a wedding, but God is incredible. Just as we were about to put down a security deposit on a house, we got a phone call, and that call led us to our new home (well, at least for a year...that's how long the lease will be). Let's just say, this had to be and we feel is a definate God moment and it took a huge burden off our shoulders. What a blessing. Will post more later.

    The "Summer of Love" tour is almost here

    Project311 has it's first tour heading out this Sunday and we are extremely excited! I got home from Chicago tonight (I guess that will be reverse soon) and I headed over for the band practice and I was so excited. I was so excited for a couple of reasons:

    1. The band sounded great!
    2. They really gell together.
    3. A former student, who just graduated from Taylor is leading the band and that's very exciting for me.
    4. My brother is the bass player.
    5. My good friend Chad is drumming for us. Chad is just flat out sweet. This guy has has been a great friend and he has a great heart.
    6. I finally heard Drew play and he was awewome. It was fun hanging out with the boys.
    7. We got everything into the trailer! Yippee! I didn't think it could happen, but it did.

    So, we leave Sunday for Oxford, OH and a camp called Summer Celebration. I can't wait.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Fingers are crossed

    Well, we might have something...A place to live that is. It's more than we want to spend, but we figure to be 10 minutes away from church would be worth it. I think it's NorthWest of the church and it's a nice little neighborhood.

    Right now we are a one car family and the other houses we have looked at are 25-40 minutes away from the church, and almost cost what this one does. So we figure we could live farther and spend more on gas, or save on gas and live closer with car.

    On a sad note, gas prices are much higher here. I paid 2.83 in Detroit before I left and I just spent 3.33 for a whopping total of 76.77 to fill up the Tahoe, ouch!

    So, we are close. We love the house and it would be perfect, so we are praying.

    First post from a Dell

    This is my first offical post from a PC. I just picked up a laptop from my new church and I thought I would stop and try it out. Honestly, I am a little lost. There is no apple key and it's messing me up. It's much stiffer as well, not as cool. But, it's brand new and it's a laptop and I get to use for free, so I will not complain. What a blessing.

    Also, the hunt continues for a house. We were all set to look at one this morning, one that we were really praying about and the guy cancelled because he had to leave out of town last minute. We could look at it on Saturday, but we won't be here. So, prayerfully it will work out.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Please pray for the Raitz Family

    Today we are heading back out to Chicago to hopefully & Prayerfully (is that the spiritual word for hopefully?) find a place to live. We are just hoping (praying) we can find an affordable rental house in relatively close proximity to Willow. But, we'll see.

    Actually, yesterday on a family walk I figured out what would be the easiest for us with this transition. If I could invent a time portal, then we wouldn't have to move from our area or our current home and then I could walk through a closest like contraption, that I could place in my garage, and I could anywhere I wanted. Sort of Quantum Leapish, but I would have full control. So, it would really save on gas and we wouldn't have to box everything up. Ha, I am so funny. That's weird, I never go all science fiction, but I did there. Huh.

    Anyways, we are praying that God will open up a major door and provide a miracle for us. Thanks for praying.


    It's been fun checking in with my brother about how DC/LA is going. He's given me the scoop on the event, the set ups, the speakers, bands and all that. For some reason, I am just a plain sucker for all that stuff. Mainly he drove around bands and speakers. So, it's been fun to hear from him about the bands, who has a high "tool alert" and who are genuine. I would love to post a list, but I feel that would unfair. They asked him to do LA as well, but I don't know if he is doing that one.

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    I got bumped for David Carr

    I was suppose to speak for the student ministy of LakeWood Church over the weekend of July 22-23. If you don't know LakeWood, maybe you have heard of their pastor, Joel Osteen? Or seen there church auditorium?

    Anyways, it's not because I am special, although my nickname in high school was..."Special Raitz", you get it?

    Anywho, one my buddies (Tom Elmore), a guy who I have known for more than 10 years is LakeWood's Student Ministry Pastor. Tom and I first met years ago at a John Maxwell conference. Anyways, he was going to have me down to teach his students there. Well, I get a call from Tom the other day and he says, Man I am sorry, but can we reschedule you? Geez, I thought. I already planned my travel schedule and I really wantrd to check out LakeWood and hang out with Tom.

    So, Tom tells me why. I guess, He has been trying to get David Carr, the first pick in the 2002 NFL draft and the starting QB for the Houston Texans, to come out and David's agent called and told him David could only do the weekend that I was already booked to come.

    So, of course, I stepped aside so David Carr of the Houston Texans could speak that weekend. I guess it's not too shabby to be bumbed for an NFL QB. I mean, he's kind of a big deal, people know him, he has many leather bound books (ht to Ron Burgandy).

    But, I will get a chance to go out again, soon.

    My Idol Just Retired

    Man, why I am crying? I am listening to Stevie on the radio right now, and I can't help but cry. I grew up watching and idolizing Steve and I loved watching Wing games with my dad and brother. He is by far one of the most respected player in sports history. He is a stand up guy, led by example, is a man of honesty and always played his heart out. If 2 or 3 other wings played like Steve this year in the playoffs, we would of won the cup.

    What a great example and a great hockey player. We will miss Steve.

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    My brother is in DC

    A couple of months ago I get a phone call from a mentor/friend who helps with DC/LA (a youth event). He asks me if my brother would be interested in helping one of his teams for the event and I tell him, I think he will be. So, my brother flies down to DC to be a driver for the artists and volunteer for the event. Secretly, I wish it was me because I am sucker, I am talking MAJOR SUCKER for big events. Probaly my dream job, other than coaching baseball at the collegiate level, would be running a big event like...DC/LA, NYWC or something like that. I just have always loved big events. I have always been the dork that gets there early to check out the set up and count's the chairs and dumb stuff like that.

    Anyways, so my brother, Jimmy has always loved events as well. So, he's having fun catering to the every need of folks like...TobyMac, Kendall Payne, SuperChix, Hawk Nelson, Sanctus Real and so on. He was secretly hoping he would get to drive around the David Crowder Band, but he found out they already had drivers. My brother tells me that the DCB is getting worked hard this week in DC. Not only are they leading worship at DC/LA but also at an event called Jama. So, after they play at DC, their gear gets torn down and taken to the other event, they lead at Jama, and then their gear gets torn down and taken back to DC. Crazy.

    I told him if he sees Marko to give him a nice slap on the rear, but I don't think he would do it and he hasn't seen Marko. I guess Marko is like a ninja at these big events, he's just everywhere and at the same time. Sort of like the ominpresence of Thom Schultz. JK

    Anyways, I thought it was cool.


    So, I must be an egyptian, cuz I feel like I am getting the plagues! My doctor tells me that she thought my skin rash was poison ivy, but then she said it must be a VIOLENT reaction to the medicine I was on for my knee. Well, whatever it is, it is a pain in the arce! I have never itched like this before, it's amazing.

    She gives me a steroid cream, ie...I think it's called the "Barry Bonds Cream" and I was like, you know I have so much to do today, I will get it tomorrow. Then the next day comes I was busy and then we had a party for the boys and so this morning I take it to get it filled from my local rite aid and they tell me it's going to be a day's wait!!! AHAHAHAHAH#$^%$&#$%&! It's all my fault, my wonderful and wise wife told me to get it filled right away and I was like woman, I am the man, I will get it filled when I want. Well, now I will itch.

    I went to Bally's this morning to sit in the hot tub to hopefully make the rash, boils, blisters, whatever they are (they are nasty, I will tell you that) feel better (don't you love public hot tubs!) and it did feel great. Then the shower room was empty, so I turned one shower on cold and one on hot and went back and forth. Again, felt great. So, hopefully I can get the cream tomorrow.

    Back to the plagues, I found 2 frogs in my garage, what's next, we'll wait and see.