Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best Of 2011

I'm not a "resolution" guy when it comes to the New Year.  However, at the beginning of 2011 I did say I intended to blog more and I did.  I actually blogged almost 50% more than 2010.  Still not as much as I wanted, but more than the previous year.

With that, I figured I'd jump on the "Top Posts" bandwagon.  Of the 31 blogs I posted in 2011 here are my top 5.  (For clarification, I ranked them by my favorite and most read... enjoy!)


Over the last couple years God has really been working the importance of gospel community into my heart and mind, but it’s only been this past year that I’ve REALLY got to see it played out.  Over the past year I’ve been fortunate enough to see this group of young adults (that I was blessed to lead within Element Church’s college/20 somethings ministry called theSHIFT) form this community of believers where the accepting & fulfilling love of Jesus Christ was actually experienced and lived out. 

Never before had I had the opportunity to be part of a group that lived and experienced life together, but these people did.  They shared in each other’s successes and failures, in love and anger, gain and loss…they lived life, together, across the entire spectrum.  Now, I’m not typically a formula person, but I’ve been so taken by what I got to be a part of that I have spent the last year trying to figure out the nexus between biblically guided community and gospel centered community.  Before I get too much into it, I think it’s worth mentioning that community IS church and church IS community.  At least that’s how it’s meant to be.  They are synonymous with each other. FULL POST


I am currently in the process of buying the house that I currently rent.  First off…holy junk, I’m gonna be a HOME OWNER!!!  As I make the transition from renter to home owner I started thinking about how it applies to so many of us as Christians.  Here’s what I mean…

As a renter there is no real investment.  Your commitment to the house you live in is limited to the contract you signed.  You pay the rent you are obligated to pay, but beyond that you don’t have to commit anything else to it.  If the water heater goes out, it’s not yours, so you call the owner and they fix it.  Anything that breaks or needs attention outside of normal care taking isn’t your responsibility.  FULL POST


(This was actually part of a series PT2, PT3 & PT4)

First, let me open this post by saying this is about men being Men…and I get to write this post for two reasons: 1 – It’s my blog and I get to post what I want and 2 (and more importantly) - I’ve been this or should I say, not been this. I’m not proud of it, but I was and I’m not anymore. The fact that in the past I’ve struggled through this, skirted responsibility to lead my family and often chose the selfish and highly immature road to personal comfort qualifies me to relate to this sad & pitiful way of life, but does not qualify me to write this post. What qualifies me to write this post is the fact that Christ has called this out in me, led me toward confession and repentance and drastically changed what I understand it to mean to be a man and to lead.

It used to be that I thought a man was the guy that pushed his way through others. FULL POST


This last week I got the awesome opportunity to attend Desperation with our youth group (Fusion Student Ministry – Pastor Andy’s blog HERE & twitter HERE). Desperation is a youth conference put on by New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. Really it isn’t JUST a youth conference, it’s more than that. Now I know that may seem cliché, but there is such a focus on prayer and obedience to the Holy Spirit, that it isn’t just an event. I loved being able to go. I went as one of the leader/chaperons. Realistically I probably required a chaperon more than the students, but Andy let me lead… I even got to drive the 12 passenger van.

When we arrived Pastor Andy gave each of the leaders a journal that he had wrote each of the student’s names on their own page. FULL POST

And #1... (Mainly because it's MY favorite, but it IS also my #4 ALL TIME viewed blog.  And because ALL the best things are about her.)

Today…I write about HER!!!!

She is an amazing soul. First and foremost, she loves God; she has a deeply intimate relationship with Jesus and her anointing by the Holy Spirit is readily apparent. Her heart for people is incredible; she extends grace the way that God gives it to her. She is creatively brilliant; she writes (if you want a peek into her psyche check out her blog Daily Offensive…she signs her posts with a heart [update: Her new blog is called sarahmichal, and it's AMAZING!]), she makes jewelry, she’s a photographer, and has an amazing eye for art (I’m pretty sure her brain operates in art mode most times). She has the best sense of humor (she gets my sense of humor so that may not be saying much), a laugh that’s SO infectious, the best Eeeeee!!! ever, and she’s an amazing mom. She is also absolutely gorgeous; she has THE most captivating eyes I’ve ever set mine on and that smile…oh that smile, it melts me every time. FULL POST

There they are, the Top 5 of 2011... enjoy.  See you in the new year.

Headed toward 2012,

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Love

I know it's been a while since my last "real" post, but things have been crazy, busy (especially with the holidays). In this post, being that my lovely bride just had her twenty-****th (it's close to 30 so I'm censoring it for the protection of her youthfulness), I'm going to brag on here for a bit. For the record, this is in no way prompted by the amazing blog she posted about me (HERE). I would have done it anyway; she just beat me to it.

Being that her actual birthday was on Monday, we celebrated it on last Saturday. It was such a fun night. I don't think we've had that many people in our house at one time since the last SHIFT event (shameless plug for the most awesome college ministry I know HERE), which was maybe New Years Eve 2010. In an attempt to make her birthday the best I could, we not only rocked a chocolate fountain, but also a Photo-booth (by the amazing Charity Remington Photography) and cupcake decorating (which I unsuspectingly provided as ammunition for cake-smashing into my lovely's face. she'll get revenge. It's already started, right Denae?) It was a night chocked full of friends, food and fun (I know, I know, cheesy. But, I'm going to be a pastor; alliteration is a key part to preaching, so I have to practice). But I digress, this isn't a blog about her party, it's about her. Not so coincidentally, this blog will probably follow a similar path and feel to the one she just posted. Mainly this is because we have a lot of the same things we love about each other.
Not all of us are lucky enough to marry our best friend. But as for me? I got to become friends with this amazing woman, that in the end. I couldn't live without. Here's my brag list. (and why I can't without her)

She loves Jesus. Did you expect the first one to be different? This is what binds us together. He is the foundation for where our marriage starts, everything it's about and where it's headed. Her love for Him is so evident and I love getting to see it lived out. I've joked that the main way the Holy Spirit speaks to me is through my wife, but the truth is God often really does use Sarah to speak to me (correct me, teach me & reveal truth). I think it's meant to be like that. The way she loves Jesus makes me want to seek Him more. The thing I love the most is that although we have our own personal relationships with Him, we get to share in a relationship with Him together. One of the best parts of my day is after work when we close our "reconnecting time" in prayer together.

She makes us her priority. After Jesus, her family is her first concern. She loves me and our boys fully and without reservation. With me, she makes sure we have time for each other. She also makes sure I have time for myself. With our boys, she's gentle with them and encourages them. Often time she brings calm and balance to the testosterone fueled chaos that is a house full of guys. She takes care of us and it's not a burden. When we got married I offered her the choice to stay home or work outside the house and she chose to make our house a home. and she does it quite well.

She trusts me. As much as I'm still figuring out how to lead my family well, she's confident in my ability. When I have doubts, she reminds me of why she has confidence in me. This is huge for me; it's the trust she has in me that builds my confidence to lead. I don't always do it right and I definitely don't do it perfect, but she maintains a faith in my leadership that encourages me. When I make a decision for our family, she trusts that I'm seeking and listening to God and that the decision I make, even if it doesn't make sense at the time, is what I feel is best for us. And she continues to trust me even when those decisions don't turn out the way I thought or intended.

She reminds me of who I am. This kind of goes with the previous one, but it's a little different. Sometimes I forget that I'm not the same guy I used to be. Sometimes the "who I was" tries to sneak his way into the "who I am". When that happens, it can be frustrating (to say the least). But I have this amazing woman that points me back to Jesus. She helps remind me who I am. And for the record she knows who I was. I've told her it all. I've shared details and stories with her that would make my parents cry. And none of it matters to her. She sees me for whom God has made me and introduces me to that guy anytime I need to reconnect with him. She also reminds me of who I'm called and desire to be. I've not hidden that fact that although I am full time active duty military, I'm not called to this. That's what I do for the time being, but this is only the mean time and preparation for what God has called me to. My wife reminds me of that frequently. Sometimes God uses a still, small voice to remind me of the big plans he has for us; sometimes that voice is my wife's.

She is creative and brilliant. This actually holds a lot of different meanings. It is her unmatched creativeness that has made our house into a cozy little home. I can't tell you the number of times people have said (something to the effect of), "Wow, Bruce. Being married has dramatically increased the attractiveness of your home. Sarah has done amazing work." Prior to marriage, decorating consisted of a picture hung on the wall. After marriage, decorating consists of hours poured over Pintrest for that one more decor idea that will make the house perfect. Here creativity doesn't stop with the house; she makes jewelry, is a photographer (I know. EVERY ONE'S wife is a "photographer" but mine is ACTUALLY really good.), can cook, writes and does the occasional voice over for Element Church promotional videos. OH and she is a fabulous clothing aficionado. The girl can dress. which adds to her smokin' hotness! She's also brilliant. She shines brighter than anyone I know. She is smart and witty and funny. She has a wisdom that never ceases to amaze. She often has the perfect words for the situation.

She's amazing and I'm luck and SO blessed to have her.

Oh, and her eyes. Oh those eyes. I get caught in them every time I look at her.

Happy Birthday, love.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Checking In...

It's been a while since I've posted anything (over a month and a half, yikes).  But, just because I haven't doesn't mean there is nothing to write about.  On the contrary, there is a TON to write about; I've just been slammed busy.  God has been quite active in our lives and has been reintroducing me to some simple, but important truths.  In the coming days I'm hoping to post some really cool (HUGE) new.  But, this post? This post is just me checking in so that you know I haven't fallen off the edge of the blogging world.

In the mean time, here's some tidbits of what God has been reminding me of...

Prayer is our LIFE LINE!  It should be the basis for how we approach life (and God).  Philippians 4:6 tells us so.

When we faithfully give our time and money (joyfully), God will indeed, "pour out a blessing so great [we] won’t have enough room to take it in."  (Malachi 3:10)  It's a simple, but absolutely profound truth.

Alright that's just two things, but they're big in the wake of this most recent news in our life.  I'll be back in a couple days.  Can't wait to get the word out there (and I mean that literally).

Can hardly contain myself,