Archive for February, 2008


Why is this so tough?

February 29, 2008

Last night we had practice for this coming Sunday Mar 2nd.  It was one of those chaotic days where I couldn’t seem to grab a quiet moment the whole day.  I did desperately get in the Word for a few minutes sometime in the afternoon in between meetings.  Practiced started around 7.

By the end of the night, stumbling to my car, I came away feeling as spent as if I had just finished either a marathon or a court trial. Then the thoughts that invade after trying to facilitate something like a rehearsal.  “You’re horrible at that Jay”, “You’re not inspiring anyone”, “You’d be better off working a “normal” job”.  These type of thoughts are pretty commonplace in my role.  I know when they are going to come, and I know how to combat them, not the least of which is a good night’s sleep.  But they are still exhausting, and each time they come I think “Why is this so tough?”  I’m doing what I LOVE, I’m doing what I feel called to do, but sometimes it leaves me so empty and at the end of myself I wonder what I’m doing wrong.  

Then God reminds me of the following.  I am part of something, a community, which testifies the name of Jesus.   His name, and His message, are worth my life, let alone a chaotic rehearsal now and then.  What could be more important than testifying to who Jesus is in my life, and living out my life in light of who He is, and what He has done for me?  And right now, in this season of my life, one of the ways I have the opportunity to proclaim the name of Jesus, is at the church I attend, with the people I attend with.

And so after a good night’s sleep, I look back on what I felt like at around 10pm last night, versus how I “feel” right now.  And I am so thankful for God’s steadiness, and that he is the same God today at 2:20 in the afternoon that He was last night when I was doubting myself to no end.   And He is worthy of my praise, He is worthy of our praise, and I can’t wait to praise Him with everything I’ve got, with my church family, together this Sunday. 


Life impact Aaron Soule

February 23, 2008


At the end of this month Aaron Soule embarks on a new journey in his life.  Aaron has served as our praise band director here at Sunset.  He will now be flying leer jets for a company called Air Net.  He is not sure where he will be based yet,  but he is hoping for the West Coast and hoping to stay involved on some level in the future here at Sunset.

A few thoughts on Aaron.

Aaron is the real deal.  He is one of the finest people I have ever known.  Why?  He cares.  He cares so much and so passionately about people, and this church, and the community, that to know and interact with Aaron is to be hit with that reality each and every time you are around him.   He gave of himself constantly to make this a better place for the people who serve here and for our community. 

There are literally COUNTLESS examples and stories over the last few years of Aaron’s service to individuals and to ministries.  He was constantly behind the scenes lending a hand, lending an ear, lending help. 

Aaron is also an AMAZING drummer.  Between the youth ministry, and in our sanctuary, and other events here, Aaron has to hold some kind of record at Sunset for minutes played.   I have seen him play at times where he was almost too sick to sit up.  I have seen him offer to do all the services on Christmas Eve each year I’ve been here.   He is highly skilled, highly loyal, and highly motivated.

Aaron has taught me personally so so much about ministry, about people, and about relationships.  This is not a cliché when I say, Aaron is irreplaceable.   He is a friend, a ministry partner, an accountability partner, and my brother in Christ.

Aaron is working at Sunset until the end of the month, and then heading to Ohio for 5 weeks of training before he finds out what city he will work out of. 

Please feel free to drop Aaron an email at and let him know how much you appreciate him.


ministry mid life crisis

February 23, 2008

I know I’ve only worked at a church for three years, but I’ve been in ministry in one form or another for more like 15 years, and I’m having one of those times where I’m questioning everything, where my foundation feels rocked. 

I’m reading Gordon MacDonald’s book "Who stole my church?"  And the questions raised inside is precisely what has me on shaky ground in my "career" path at the moment.  Its the same stuff we hear all the time from one source or another.  Relevancy, change in the church or lack thereof etc etc.

Sometimes I feel like I have to hide these type of feelings working at a church.  Like I have to put on the optimistic face in my position. This is not because of the people there.  I love the people I work with and serve with.  No, this is me and my dysfunction.   But the truth is, I consistently have HUGE doubts and fears about church, about Sunset, about our future, about my role there.  I feel guilty even writing that, like somehow I am doing something damaging, but the smarter part of me knows that honesty about these type of issues, even honesty publicly is always the best policy.

So what are my fears?  Good question.  I fear the same things you do.  Are we doing the right things?  Are we making a difference?  Is God pleased with our direction?  Are we comfortable with status quo?  Are people coming to Christ?  Am I where God wants me?  Am I good for this community?  Am I settling for status quo, familiar? 

I’m not writing anything revolutionary here I realize that.  I’m pretty confident that just about anyone involved in church, especially leaders, wrestles with these things all the time.  I guess what is revolutionary for me is for this moment anyway I would rather be more upfront about these huge questions, than what I typically find myself doing, which feels more like political spin and helping maintain the same ole same ole if I may be blunt. 

This may be a blog I don’t post.  Again, because of fear that even a post like this steps too big a toe out of familiar and easy.  And sometimes even though I may have moments sitting comfortable at my home having devotions where suddenly I want to change the world, (but don’t have a clue how) too often after I shut the computer down its back to the "routine" of what I know, and what comes natural, and what is "easy".



Bird flew

February 18, 2008

Today bird number three in less than a month barreled into my living room window at full speed, two feet from my head, scaring me to death and making me really wonder what’s up with the birds in my neighborhood. 

I’m considering putting caution tape in a big x across it so they know its not a through street.

If anyone is looking for a pet wild bird, I may be able to deliver you a slightly bruised, slightly damaged and majorly stunned bird in the near future.


Technically speaking

February 18, 2008


I’m not sure what you do or what you’re good at or passionate about.  I am sure though that there are hundreds of things I don’t know about whatever field you are in.  Doesn’t it floor you when you start to go below the surface in a topic you’re unfamiliar with?   It’s why I’m addicted to The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel.


At Sunset, one of the goals is to work towards being one team and not just a bunch of silo’s that stand close together but are completely self-contained.  This is particularly challenging in a large church with a lot going on.   Being one team is never something that is "done", but rather something continually aimed towards.

Although this a crucial goal church wide, it is also vital that it happens within our ministry as well.  Take the music ministry for example; we have choir, orchestra, One2One, worship teams, and praise bands. In production and tech, we have sound people and graphics people and lighting people and camera people… and I could go on. 

One of the natural divisions in our ministry is the singers/players on the platform and the technical personnel off the platform.  This division is created simply by their different areas of responsibility and by their physical location. There are hundreds of things I don’t know about what it takes to run tech week in and week out at Sunset.   The training, the set up, the tear down, the maintenance, the complexity of our room and building, and the scope of what we do on a technical level with primarily volunteers is staggering.   Being able to work closely with the tech team, I am blown away by their level of skill, dedication, and care for the ministry. 

The beauty of it all is that even though in some ways we live in two different worlds, we really are one team with the same goal, praising God and ministering to our community.   The people on the platform depend on and need the people off the platform, and the people off the platform depend on and need the people on the platform.  Without each other working together for the same goal, we could not function.

I am incredibly grateful for the technical team God has blessed Sunset with and count it a privilege to serve at church where one such as ours exists.   And I hope to see them featured on The Discovery Channel soon! J


My wife outblogs me

February 16, 2008

Allison out blogs me.  She is more consistent, more interesting, and uses great pictures. 

Its not the only thing she does better than me.  She actually does quite a few things better than me, but for now we’ll just stick with blogging.

I don’t know a ton of couples where both spouses blog.  I wonder why that is?  I wonder if blogging is typically a male or a female activity? 

Well, I’m done.  And no pictures.  And this blog isn’t half as interesting as something my wife would post.


crap bouquet

February 8, 2008

Today we went on a big family outing.  Ever since my surgery we really haven’t done anything as a whole family outside of the house.  It was time.

So we went to Walgreens.  That’s right, Walgreens.  I had to get passport photo’s for an upcoming trip to Mexico, so I took the fam and we roamed the isles of the drugstore a mile from my house.

To try and at least do something special for Allison, I found a Starbuck’s gift card in my wallet, and gave it to her so she could get a special drink.  One problem, there was nothing on the card.  She went ahead and bought a drink anyway.

Then when we got home, Macy and I went outside to pick a bouquet as a surprise for Allison.  Since there are no flowers, we picked quite possibly the ugliest combination of twigs, wheat stalks, and shrubbery ever put in a vase.  2808_flowers_004  

What a romantic day for my wife.  I’m just practicing for Valentines day.



February 6, 2008


My house is a house full of questions.  “Daddy, can I have a cookie?”  “Daddy, why do people get married?”   “Daddy, is that fat on your tummy?”  “Daddy, when do we go to heaven?”  Questions, all day, every day.  When you are a child, questions are a part of life.   And then for some reason at some point they stop, or are harder to ask, or make us more uncomfortable to be sure.  We become people who desire to have the answer instead of the question.

How should I be spending my time?  My money?  What does it mean for me to really walk with Jesus?  Is He really pleased with me despite my actions?  What is church all about?  How should I view it?  Why do I still struggle with this or that? What would my wife say if I asked her how I could be a better husband and friend to her?  What would my friends say if I asked them what was the number one trait they see in me? What is behind my emotions?  Am I a good example? Am I a good boss, employee, friend, team member? 

What are the questions rattling around in your head that you are afraid to ask, or are afraid to hear the answers too?  In Matthew 18 Jesus talks about us needing to have faith like a child.   My daughter completely trusts that Jesus is God, and feels comfortable enough in her faith to ask questions out loud as they form in her head.   My challenge for you today is to take one of your hidden questions and actually ask it, out loud, to God or a friend or both today.