Archive for September, 2008


Life’s a beach

September 29, 2008

I absolutely loved this beach trip with the fam to Seaside on Sunday.

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Macy and I attempted to build a castle, but the reality is I really don’t know what I’m

doing and it really hurt my knees to be in that position so it didn’t last long!

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Ava LOVED the water, and walked longer and farther holding our hands than she has in her life.

9-28-08 014 We packed lunches, traveled light, (for us), and had an awesome little one day adventure.

Thank you God for the beauty of Oregon!


summer pics

September 25, 2008

This summer my bro Josh  who is a photographer took some pics of our fam.  It was fun, he is a great guy to work with!

Here are a couple of them. Its weird how fast things change.  I don't have blonde hair and Macy doesn't wear glasses anymore so this already looks outdated! 

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The uncertainly of life

September 23, 2008

Reading Ecclesiastes always trips me out.  It reminds me of my smallness, and it reminds me of the uncertainly of life. 

Ecclesiastes 9:12 Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come:
       As fish are caught in a cruel net,
       or birds are taken in a snare,
       so men are trapped by evil times
       that fall unexpectedly upon them.

As a father verses like this mess with my soul, as I want to provide a layer of safety and protection to my girls, that I know ultimately I can’t give them.  At the end of the day, their life is in God’s hands, not mine. 

God protect my family, certainly on this earth, but protect their eternity, give them what I cannot, Your Spirit, and the surety of heaven. 


Why I love Tyler and Jill

September 18, 2008

Tyler Braun  and Jill Hofer work with me at Sunset.  Hardly a day goes by where I don't truly feel a sense of gratitude and blessing for God to put two such wonderful people around me to serve alongside.  Both of these people have literally changed Sunset, and made it a better place to be.  Both are extremely talented, and both have earned my trust. 

There are many unique things I love about Jill.  She is HILARIOUS, she has a truly wonderful sense of humor.  She is also deep.  Shallow is not a word that would ever be used in the same sentence with Jill.  Her piano playing is truly remarkable, particularly her ability to control the feel of a song by the way she plays.  She has a beautiful voice, and she is an awesome worship leader.  And she is a PHENOMENAL choral conductor.  On top of all that, she is my friend, which is no guarantee in ministry, and I am so thankful for that.

Tyler Braun is a direct answer to my prayers.  It is so rare to find someone as talented and trustworthy and responsible at Tyler's age.  I would describe Tyler as proactive.  He is not lazy, he puts things in motion, on time, consistently, and with a good attitude.  He also has one of those voices where the second he opens his mouth and begins to sing you stop and listen because it just sounds so stinkin good.  And Tyler is SMART.  I believe his intellect combined with his talent and heart are going to greatly further the kingdom of God in some awesome ways.   I believe Tyler could be almost anywhere he wants to be, and the fact that he has chosen Sunset for this season to call home, makes me very very happy!!  


Dear Coldstone

September 14, 2008

I’ve been wanting to write you for a while.  I know with your popularity you probably will not write me back, but I forgive you, and don’t expect it.

From the moment I walk into your store, something happens to me.  The aroma, oh the aroma, of the waffle cones and the fresh ice cream, its intoxicating.  I love your flavors, love your mix ins, love the pictures on the wall.  Even now as I write, I can taste my favorite concoction.  Half coffee ice cream, half cake batter, with added fudge, peanut butter, and oreo.  About half way through I enter a state of nirvana, and am filled with gratitude for something so pleasing to my senses. 

But Coldstone, can I be honest for a moment?  You kill my waist line.  I have gained more weight from your establishment than any other in existence.  And I blame it on you, because one visit, while very enjoyable, only lasts for about a day, and then I want another one just as bad. 

Here’s my idea.  I don’t want to tell you how to do your job so take this for what its worth.  Can you find a way to make the same product taste wise, but healthy?  We put men on the moon decades ago, there’s a brand new ipod, and I get email on my phone, so I’m just kind of thinking that maybe you guys can figure it out.

Until then I have stopped going to your store all together.  I don’t expect you to miss me, but I sure miss you.  Please let me know when you’ve accomplished this noble and worth while goal.




The man in the mirror

September 11, 2008

This is a devotion written for the Sunset Creative Arts ministry this week.


We are probably all past the age of the classic monster nightmares. Not much really scares us in the moment anymore like it did when we were young children. I bet though if today when you were looking in the mirror, and the reflection began to do its own thing, you’d freak out. I know I would probably scream like a school girl.

That never happens though in real life. If we move on one side of the mirror, the reflection does the same thing, every time, without fail.

That analogy lies at the heart of what we are striving to be as a ministry this year at Sunset. If I get up on the platform on Sunday, and sing about God being the most important thing in my life, express my desperation for Him, and that is the only conversation I will have with Him till next Sunday at 9:05 or 11:05 am, it is as unnatural as my reflection doing its own thing in the mirror, and it will freak people out, and drive them away from Christ.

So we choose to be “real”. We are longing for the reality of who we are in Christ, to play out in real time, in real life. I’m not talking about perfection; I’m just talking about being genuine. Whether or not you serve in choir, in media, playing a guitar or wherever, isn’t the goal to experience Christ in life and bring that to your role here, so that you can do it from a heart that lines up with everything we are professing?

We sing lines like “Falling on my knees in worship, giving all I am to seek Your face, Lord all I am is Yours.” Or, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, O what a foretaste of glory divine.”

Oh that lines like that mean something on Tuesday morning and that we are still seeking His face, and reveling in the fact of our assurance as Christ’s creation.

How do we do this? We do it together, we do it humbly, and we do it covered in God’s grace and love. We do it knowing that being real is sometimes scary and vulnerable, but it is also filled with freedom and hope.

There are many practical applications this year we are working on to help reinforce and broadcast this message to our community, that we are choosing to be real. But they have to be built on a foundation of our lives beginning to line up with the truth of who we are as new creations in Christ.

I want to help in my role here in any way possible to see develop more in our ministry this year. And we need to help each other, being honest with one another, and seeking to love and exhort and encourage one another in the faith, in our quest to be real. It’s really the first part of the sentence we started last year, “So they will know Him”, because when we are real, we begin to reflect Christ who lives within us. That’s the man in the mirror we all long to be.

We choose to be real, so they will know Him.


Management team recap Sept 10th

September 10, 2008

management team pic

What is management team?  It is a small group of people that are on Ron’s team to help fulfill the mission and vision of our church.  Some of you will find this stuff boring, others will probably be curious to know what happens in meetings like this. My main goal in posting these weekly meetings is communication. It’s easy to take shots at a “committee” making secret decisions with a secret agenda. It’s much more healthy to open up the dialogue to the people we are serving. That really is the point of this team,  to serve our congregation and our community. I wish we could change the name to Servant Team or something similar! Your feedback and comments are welcome!!

The team includes Ron, myself, Barb Fiel, Mike Matousek, Eric Venable, and Beth Werner.


Working Items (misc stuff not necessarily on the list for today)

We talked about the ramifications of a third service that is beginning the 2nd week in January.  Lot’s to figure out and plan to make this happen.  The challenge is to have it have 0 impact on budget.  Definitely one of those situations where God will have to help us figure some of this out!

We discussed that it may mean doing things totally different to accomplish it, and we may have to think way outside of the box in order to do it, and maintain healthy family/outside  lives for the people involved. 

Denomination update

Things are really moving ahead well in this process.  The church this fall is going to have an opportunity to vote over three Sunday’s before or after the service, as we are attempting to leave our denomination and join the EPC.  (Evangelical Presbyterian Church). This would be a very positive thing for the future of Sunset, and the amount of work that some faithful people have put into this for a long time is beginning to pay off.

Elder Deacon Report

Every ministry right now is in a process of figuring out who is their Elder and Deacons of the ministry.  These are key leadership positions that help promote and support the work at the church.  Some people’s serving “term” is up, and some will continue on in their roles.  There is a whole process I won’t bore you with on how one becomes an elder or a deacon at Sunset.  

Budget Review

We are still working very hard as a church to adjust and be wise stewards of our budget.  We have cut significantly over the last year, and are still trimming back and reallocating.  Mike M. is doing a really great job helping to ensure that Sunset’s spending lines up with our vision,  and honors the generous people that keep this church afloat. 

Annual Report Theme

Talked about needing a theme for the upcoming annual report. Basically there are two views when it comes to an annual meeting at a church.  1.  Just give me the facts.  2.  Please share vision.

Which type are you??


Well that was an overview of our time together today.


unexpected loss

September 7, 2008

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Today I got a call right after church.  My wife’s cousin, Kyle Martin Whipps, (sitting next to me) died yesterday, at the age of 21.  My mind is still reeling at the moment.  We spent the evening with family tonight.  His brother Tom is on the other end of the couch.  Kyle was a believer, and died of an accidental drug overdose.  We believe it was his first time ever to use heroin. 

We will be heading to Sisters on Friday for his funeral.

Please say a prayer for the Whipps and extended family if you read this.

Thank you.


We don’t need you

September 6, 2008

That’s the message a good friend of mine has gotten (or at least perceived) from his church for some time now.  Each time I listen to him speak, hear his heart, I am challenged and heart broken for the plight of the larger churches that deal with this reality. 

Should a church be able to plug every one into a meaningful role, supported and empowered to serve in their gifting?  Is it possible?  And if not, can we empower them to live out their passion and gifting somewhere other than the church? 

The truth is, whether or not a church makes you feel it or not, we are all needed, in the body of Christ.  God really does have roles and plans for us in our homes, in our jobs, and at our schools. 


small victories

September 3, 2008

Because of my knee surgery 9 months ago there have been quite a few things that have been neglected around the house.  As early as 2 months ago I still couldn’t climb a ladder from the pain, but now my knee is to a point where I can maneuver a ladder.  So I finally was able to do my annual trimming of the trees that line most of our yard.  This is how I spent most of my weekend.  I normally dread it, but it was such a feeling of the road to recovery that I actually enjoyed it.  I still can’t run, but I have a goal to do Hood to Coast next year, we’ll see what happens.


That’s my head peeping out at the top.

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