Today, Life Insurance.

Weird day.  But a great day!  Today I kind of spontaneously co-organized an IRS protest downtown.  We got on the news, and Katie and I had awesome sound bites.  Best one I’ve ever been in.

Then, I had to have a paramedical exam at my house for life insurance.  They didn’t tell me they would be drawing blood.  “Uh oh” I thought, as visions of almost fainting in the Home Depot bathroom last time I got cut filled my head.

I was fine, until I looked over and saw 2 vials of my blood.  Then, wow, I don’t know what happened.  I almost passed out.  It got to the point where my hearing was getting dulled, and my face was apparently white.  I hate that.  I have NO idea why it affects me! So weird, it’s not like I’m a wussy or something.  Whatever, it just happens.

Anyway, then tonight Katie made some incredible chocolate martinis with chocolate truffles in them.  Yummy!!!

So yeah, weird day, but a good day!

Love You!  And love to anyone who reads this!

What’s Next?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how God has accomplished almost every goal I’ve ever set for myself in life.  He has completed almost every dream.

I’ve traveled around the world and had a blast.  I was just thinking today about how I rode on the back of a crotch rocket in Nepal 4 hours through the himlayas into the Nepalese plains, and drank some kind of fermented rice liquor with my tour guide’s brother.  He lived in a tiny little shack, and apparently was a tailor, because the only possessions I could find that were his were a sewing machine (foot driven) and some cloth hanging on the walls.  Other than that we sat on the dirt floor and just shared an experience.

I’m married.  Quite possibly the biggest desire I had that I wasn’t sure would be fulfilled.  I just kept on believing that God would give me the desires of my heart, and even though I didn’t always trust, He came through.  And I’m married to the girl of my dreams.

I own a few businesses, and work for myself.  I am SO INCREDIBLY thankful for this.

I used to sit down and write in documents titled “current life options” or “the goal” or “Life Questions” what I really cared about in life and what I really wanted to spend my time doing.  Here is something I wrote down…

The goal:  To live radically for Jesus and take as many people to heaven with me as is humanly possible.
To have enough passive income for me and my family to live abroad and minister.
What do I need for this?
1.      Jesus’ hand and guidance and will
2.    Be debt free
3.     Passive income

I still believe in this.  And I’m trying to, with Katie’s teamwork, pay of the debt and we are trying to figure out God’s will, as well as how to generate passive income.

But it still begs the question- how do I want to minister?

I think I really want to be in a great worship/Rock band.  Like the Pearl Jam of worship.  God has given me a lot of grace in this area, and it is something that I continually am laying down to Him and asking when or if He wants to move on it.

It is the desire of my heart.

One thing that complicates things a bit, though, is that it is also the desire of my heart to lay down my life for Katie and her dreams.

What does this mean for us?

When we got married, our preferences were like this: I like rugged country adventures.  She likes cities with theatre.  I like being in Rochester.  She wants to leave.  Although over time I feel we have both started to attach to each other’s desires a bit more.

Anyway, no real point to this post.  I just wanted to post something.  I am just incredibly happy right now.  I am married to the best woman in the world, and I have a great job, and most importantly, I am so uber-secure in the love of Jesus- more than I’ve ever been.

Pressure is off! :)

K and I just got back from our big trip to Antigua and Barbuda.  It was the first time in my life I had a job that allowed a budget, and I worked so entirely hard to give her this big trip that it was very stressful and tiring leading up to it.

We had some big reasons for wanting to do this big 2 week trip to the Caribbean.

First, I wanted to give Katie an opportunity to travel abroad.  She had never been out of the country, except for one 3-day cruise with her mother in which she was quarantined to her inner berth room due to a fever.  Not a good travel experience.

Secondly, you never know when you are married when you will start having kids.  And I felt like we needed to make this trip sooner than later- just in case.

And boy, do I feel good now! 🙂

We will post some images and comments from the trip soon, but I just wanted to touch on the area of how it feels as a man to do the following:

  • Set a budget
  • Work extra hard- for the love of your wife
  • Set goals and see those goals happen
  • Have an entire dream trip you picked out with your wife paid off- in advance!
  • Know that you gave your marriage- pre-kids- an opportunity you may never have once kids come.

It feels good.  Real good.

Traditions Flaming on an Open Fire

Part of the fun part of being married is coming up with some new traditions.  Well, this year my lovely wife and I decided that we wanted to try to roast chestnuts on an open fire, just like in the song.  She found some chestnuts at a grocery store, and really, well ok, it was her idea.  And a great idea!

So the plan was set.  We were going to spend Christmas morning huddled around our fireplace, roasting these chestnuts and listening to the song on Pandora.

I found a great site online that told me how to roast chestnuts like a real man.  So I cut my x’s on the flat sides, stoked my fire into some nice coals and began to roast!

Well, not quite…

I realized I didn’t have anything to roast them on or in.  You can’t use anything with teflon.  Do you have any idea how many non-teflon pans we have around here that I am willing to risk on an open fire?  Zero.  So I read in that article that you can use a fireplace shovel.  Perfect!!!

Apparently the author had never actually USED a fireplace shovel, or his was made by a different manufacturer.  You see, when the coals are nice and hot, and you sit a fireplace shovel filled with chestnuts into them, the black that you thought was just blackened metal bursts into flame!  What do you do with a shovel that is burning from one end and running toward your chestnuts on the other end like a Texas forest fire?  You start picking the fricking little things off one by one (and by now, yep, they’re hot!) and putting them on the floor.  By now, your fireplace shovel wildfire has moved halfway across the shovel and you need to decide pretty quick how to put the thing out.  I opted for a “beat it with a not-yet-on-fire-log” method that seemed to work after about 30 seconds of persistent rubbing.  Yikes.

So we decided to try it after the stores re-opened today.

This morning, I got up, ran to the store and got what ended up being a campfire smores roaster for about $5.  Man, was I excited!!

Chestnut roast, take two.  This time, I was ready.  I reloaded my little puppies on there with some new fellers, clamped the sucker shut, and was ready to roast!

Chestnuts roasting on my open fire.
Chestnuts roasting on my open fire.

25 minutes.  Flip them every 5 minutes.  Put them in a bowel with a towel for 10 minutes.  Hmm… they smell kind of like a sweet bread or something.  Peel and eat either plain or with cinnamon and butter (we tried both ways).


I let the wife have the first one.  She didn’t know what to think.  She said it tasted a bit like bread.  I tried them.  Honestly, I didn’t know how to place the taste.  I had to agree, it’s a bit like a cinnamon roll without cinnamon (unless you had it with the butter and cinnamon).  But there was this hint of something bitter- I can only describe it as a slight parmasean flavor.  Imagine that for a second- cinnamon roll with parmasean cheese.  Not in a good way, either.  It took us about 5 minutes to know for sure, but we decided that we didn’t really care for them.

But hey- it’s tradition.

What a chestnut looks like
What a chestnut looks like
My wife with our new tradition.
My wife with our new tradition.



Over half a year in…

Now, over half a year into marriage, I need to give a word of encouragement to those friends of mine who are still waiting for that special someone.

1. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
2. Trust in the Lord, and lean not on your own understanding.  (Proverbs 3:5)

I feel so blessed.  So humbled.  All I can give is my testimony.

God did this for me.  He gave me the desires of my heart.  A loving wife who is far and above all I could have hoped and imagined.  He really did it.

You can take my testimony for what you want.  You can claim it as yours or discard it.  All I know is that the testimony of Christ is the spirit of prophesy (Revelation 19:10)

I encourage you to receive it.  To hang onto it.  And to delight yourself in the Lord, because He has your best intentions at heart.  Even when you’re not perfect, and you stumble, and you have bitterness and hopelessness in your heart.  Keep hanging on to Him who loves you beyond all that.

The one thing I have learned about it all through all of this is so bold and certain I can declare it with utmost confidence:

God is in control.  Just relax.  God is in control, and has better plans for you than you can possibly imagine.

Wow. I don’t know where to start!

So today I get a call from a friend. We’ll call her Betsy. Betsy has a similar anointing as I do in worship. We have been through a lot together and worshiped together a ton. Good and bad times.

Apparently, we’ve both grown. God has been moving the church here in Rochester to get together and worship more. As he has been leading many of us to do this, the old way of doing things resurfaces first out of habit. In the past, we would focus first on the music, and secondly on the people so that the worship “experience” would be very touching to people, and, honestly, so we wouldn’t be annoyed at not being able to “flow” in the music. We would never say this outright, but I’ll be honest. This is how it happens many times.

God’s not into that. And we’re finally starting to understand this.

The people around you that want to lead worship with you are more important than the “quality” of worship itself, and God will not be happy about what you’re doing “for” Him unless you allow everyone with a gift and a passion to present it to him and each other. He’s the one hanging out with the broken-hearted and the oppressed anyway, why push away the “least of these” in giftings?

Yes, he may “show up” and touch the lives of his people, and even us leading worship, but ultimately, he is calling us to a better way. His way. The way where who is saying or playing or praying is far more important to us than how they are saying or playing or praying.

Am I perfect at this? Not even close. Love is unnatural to our sinful pride, and our flesh. I feel like I am losing far more battles than I am winning. But I am winning some now that I never would have entered before. And I will win most of them, if not all, before long. Because I love God. And because He loves me. And He loves people. First. Foremost. And everything else doesn’t even register on his priority list.

Until we get this we will never “be one as He is one.”

Coming to Terms…

Sometimes in life you have goals- especially when you are young- that after a while you start to recognize the danger and risk associated with them.

I’m slowly starting to believe that I will never climb Everest. I feel a bit angry, frustrated, and a tad bit relieved to say it.

I like pushing myself past some limit that other people will say “wow” about. I’ll just be honest. I also think it would be a really cool to do, and that it would be a beautiful view.

But maybe I’m not as immortal as I once believed. I know I have strong angels surrounding me, but I would feel SOOOOO stupid dying climbing a big rock just to answer “yes” to a lie detector test question “Have you ever climbed Mt. Everest?” or amaze my friends.

Anyway, a recent frustration. I’m not 100% convinced I won’t attempt it now, but the percentage points are dropping.

I’m baaaaack!!

Let me tell you what my life is like now. I own a house. With another guy, who is married to a great lady. That makes three of us owning this one house. We started this “community” lifestyle 2 years ago where about 20 of us (now) live downtown Rochester in a neighborhood called “Kutzky Park”. We started it for a variety of reasons, and in the beginning was not in a state anything like it’s present state. But the focus has always been about two things, and two things only: Jesus, and relationships.

We believe that Jesus didn’t die just for our sins, he died for relationships.

We believe that it is not enough to give money to the poor. Charity is good, but as Shane Claiborne said, the problem with Charity is that the poor go away fed, and the rich go away feeling good about themselves, but there is no relationships created between the two.

Right now, I have two homeless people living at my house. It used to be I would say that to try to get people to see how “spiritual” I am. Right now I don’t have the energy left for that shit. I just love these people. I want to store up riches in Heaven, and more than anything, I want to see both of these men where God wants them. One we helped get out from under a bridge, and one was a “couch-surfer” we like so much we have been blessed to have him stay on. There are from two different paths of life and are here for 2 different reasons. But really, it’s only 1 reason. God wants them here, and we are trying to love them. I say “trying” not because it’s hard to love them, but because my own pride, ignorance, and fears keep me from seeing them like Jesus does sometimes.

I can’t tell you the complications in keeping things focused on simple love with 6 grown men living together from such varied backgrounds. But so far, it is good. It is just plain good.

Jesus didn’t have a house, but he had homes everywhere He went.

Whatever happened to “give us this day our daily bread?”

I will die an ordinary radical. Somebody who, thank God and halleluiah, has lived only for the sake of Jesus and community. (The two are not equal, but are absolutely intertwined).

I just got back from a three-week trip to India and Nepal. I can not, and do not want, to live without the simple position of time alone with Jesus ever again. America- there is a spirit over us that causes us to put every possible distraction above time alone with the Lord. We covet these distractions more than the God who loves us so much he gave everything to save us and be in relationship with us. I include myself in “America”. At least, I WAS like that. I pray to God that I am now changed, and that I can live opposed to this powerful torrent of distractions in our culture that wants nothing more than to rip us from the arms of One who loves us more than anything.

I know this blog post is a random mash of feelings and observations, oftentimes unrelated, but I’m too at peace and not willing to make it flow better for you right now, dear reader. Grab from it what is good, and just try to digest what I have to say separately from the rest of the post if necessary. I’m going to ramble.

I have been quiet since I came back. My old, social, talkative self has not resurfaced. I feel oddly out of place with all of my old friends.

I don’t know why.

Was it the kids in the railway station in Jaipur with broken legs that fought with each other? Was it the other homeless kids there that I gave a piece of candy to, only to have them run 10 yards away and have a fistfight break out for the candy with other homeless kids? Was it my fucking lack of ability to do anything more than hold as many of them as I could, and give them love?

How many kids have to die of hunger, disease, and literal “survival of the fittest”- even with kids their own age- before the governments of nations will wake up and HELP?!?!! Have you ever really SEEN survival of the fittest??? I did- right there.

The answer if it was left to governments- it would take an eternity. Because governments are not the answer. We are. Governments change only as a result of people’s expressions and prayers. This is why I will fight. I will fight for that boy at the railway station that I just held onto when the other, older kid went around punching him for no good reason. I will fight any government that says “YOU CAN’T TAKE OUR CHILDREN” when they starve begging for candy and rupees as tourists travel from seeing camels to the Taj Mahal. I WILL FIGHT UNTIL MY DYING BREATH TO BREAK THIS SYSTEM. (And it WILL change!)

Thank God this has been solidified in me!! There are SO MANY people, GOOD people, that want to adopt!! So many more that could be ENCOURAGED to DO SO!!!!!! And I have within me the power to change people’s lives by promoting this- adoption. I pray for the political partners as well as the media partners to change lives!!!

I can change the world. Not because it sounds cool- because of that one kid I held at the railway station. Because of the abuse I saw. And because it is what Jesus has allowed me to do.

One final note- to the governments of the world that charge thousands of dollars to take children off of your streets, all the while abusing them and allowing them to be abused in any way possible- I’m coming for you- with a vengence- and with the power of the Holy Spirit!!!! You WILL change!!!!