Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Unfortunately True Cartoon

I wish this weren't true, but I fear that it is for many congregations and denominations. Before people are allowed to 'belong' within a community, they are often expect to 'believe' certain things and 'behave' in certain ways. As a pastor in the near future, I will make a concerted effort to change the flow of these three 'B's. I think people should be welcomed in with open arms, regardless of their past. People should be allowed to 'belong' to our community in genuine relationship, and then perhaps (hopefully) this will result in changed 'behavior' and 'beliefs.' But belonging comes first. Always.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Fantastic Week

I generally enjoy life and am rarely disappointed by the happenings of a week, but I must say that the past 7 days have been better than most. This week was one of celebration and of getting to do some things that are really life-giving for me. The week began last Sunday with watching the NFL playoffs (always a joy) and the chance to preach for the first time at our new church in Kent. Over the past few years, preaching has become a true passion and something I always eagerly anticipate. I was blessed to be able to preach once a month at our church in Maple Valley, so I am excited to once again be on the preaching rotation at our new church home.

The week's activities continued on Tuesday with the celebration of Mandy's 30th birthday. Since it was a weeknight, we saved the big extravaganza for the weekend and just the two of us went to a movie to celebrate. We saw the new Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock movie 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,' which was very good. It was nice to have a date-night out to commemorate this special occasion. Mandy's birthday festivities continued on Friday evening when we hosted 10 of our best friends in our little apartment for a night of hanging out, playing games, and eating cake and ice cream. We had a great evening of laughter and fun with a special group of people we have shared life with over the past 4 years. What a blessing!

The other aspect that made for a great week was the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. The Pacific Northwest is never short of outdoor activities, and the mild climate means that many of these hobbies can be done year-round. Last weekend I was snow-shoeing in the Cascades, while this week was spent mountain biking in Seattle and Bellingham. David and I spent Friday afternoon honing our free-riding skills at the Colonnade Bike Park under the interstate near downtown Seattle. And then the next day, David, Tyler, and I rode great, technical singletrack at Galbraith in Bellingham. So fun! I did take a pretty nasty fall on Friday at the Colonnade, however, which served to remind me that I, myself, am coming up on my 30th birthday and might need to be a little more careful in the coming years to avoid any serious injuries.

All in all, a great week. Here's to many more like it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Crazy Snowy Week

The view from our apartment
This has been a crazy week thus far, and the craziness is not quite over. This is all due to the Snowmageddon that has consumed Seattle over the past week. Seattle is an interesting city when it comes to snowy weather because the entire city shuts down. The city is built on hills and, since we do not get winter weather very often, it has no infrastructure for proper and timely snow removal.

So with school and work almost completely shut down for the past few days, Mandy and I have been having a blast being shut into our little apartment. We have been playing lots of games, watching a ton of movies, and eating great meals together. Our lives have slowed down immensely and we've gotten a bit of a winter vacation. I have to work tomorrow for a few hours, but other than that, the city remains in standstill, so I look forward to at least one more day of relaxation. As far as I'm concerned, this snow can just keep on falling.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Reverse Rapture

It's been a little while since I last posted a funny and prophetic cartoon on here, but I couldn't resist this one. Here is a gem from one of the artists I frequently link to, Naked Pastor. I'm sure there is a bit of a message here for us, but, for the most part, this is just hilarious and needed to be shared. Enjoy!

HT:  Naked Pastor

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals for 2012

For most people, the beginning of a new year seems like the perfect time to set some goals for the year to come, and I am no different. This year is sure to bring a multitude of changes in my life, especially in the way of graduating from seminary. After 4 hard years of academic toil, I will finally finish school and officially have my Master of Divinity degree. So to prepare for a year of changes, I am committing to a number of resolutions that I hope will help round me into a more complete and healthy person. Without further ado, here are my goals for 2012 (some are things Mandy and I are going to do together):
  • Read 12 books in addition to my school books (one per month) 
  • Learn Spanish (definitely won't be fluent, but I'd like to speak and understand pretty well)
  • Read through the entire Bible in a year (I'm someone who needs rhythm and regularity, so hopefully following a plan will help me in this effort)
  • Run once per week (I stay active through mountain biking and rock climbing, but neither of these really help me stay in shape--hence, the running)
  • Have people over to our apartment for dinner or fellowship once a week
  • Do a fun activity in Seattle once a month
Hopefully I can stick to most of these goals over the next 366 days (leap year!). What are your goals for the year?