Turning 40

Forty years ago today I was born. Two years ago today my son, Benny was born. Yesterday and today.... we partied!

Last night Robin threw for me the best birthday party I have ever had! Seventy five of my closest friends and family joined us at the church for what was supposed to be a surprise party. Ended up not being a surprise, but that's a whole other story. It was great! So much fun and did I ever feel honored. Made turning 40 a whole lot sweeter.

Today, Benny and I celebrated together. So cool to be able to celebrate our birthdays together! I look forward to many years of traditions together! Man, has he changed over these two short years.




Robin shared with me a quote last night to live by.... "You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely." Yes!!

Here's to another 40. I'm ready.... I think.

Winter Youth Reflections

We have returned from another year at Winter Youth. I return very tired and very filled up. Tired because the lack of sleep and lack of nutritious food. Filled up because of what I saw God do in the lives of our students and staff. Filled up because of what God did in my life. It was an incredible four days!

Aaron Geist did a great job blogging while at the event. I encourage you to check out his thoughts.

The theme of the week was the Gospel. At first glance one may think, well what's so revolutionary about that? The Gospel is the good news of Jesus, the message that keeps us out of hell and gets us into heaven, and yet it is so much more. The Gospel is a way of life. It is a life that realizes that we need a Savior because we cannot save ourselves. A life that realizes that we are accepted just the way we are. A life that realizes that we win, because He won. Even as believers we tend to think that we must perform for God in order to receive His acceptance. That kind of living only leads to an overwhelming sense of failure.

As we understand the Gospel we come to understand that we don't engage in all the spiritual disciplines that we do (prayer, Bible reading, fasting, giving, etc.) to gain His acceptance. When we do, we fall into guilt, because we are going to fail. We must understand the why of all those disciplines. We engage them because He first engaged us. We live them out because He lived and died so that we might experience life and life to the full.

Throughout the week painter Scott Erickson was on stage painting as the speakers spoke. What came out of his work as He listened to God and depicted the the central theme of the message was simply amazing.

Thank you for those that prayed for us while we were at Winter Youth. God did tremendous things in each of us and I am confident that we will continue to do so as we continue to seek Him and understand that... He won...we won!

Go here to see all our pics.

Winter Youth

Today our high school ministry heads to Winter Youth Celebration. WYC is a large scale high school conference held at the Red Lion Inn in Portland, December 27-30. I'm excited about this year's theme...The Gospel. We will be taking a look at just what the Gospel is, and what it is not.

Presenters this year are Craig Gross, and Eric Knox. Music by Falling Up, and Something Like Silas, and the emcee is Dave the Horn Guy.

WYC is always a great time with students, great times of worship, and teaching, and just plain fun. I'm sure I will have much to report.

You can read my reflections on last year's WYC experience here.

Power of YouTube

Because Carson Williams did this to his house last year

he got this gig this year.

That is some serious holiday spirit!

What I Am Listening To

It's Christmas time and I love the music! This year my favorite is a disc I got for Christmas last year.... The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Dig That Crazy Christmas. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a little rockabilly!

May you have a blessed Christmas celebration!

Real. Life.

In recent days God has been showing me more and more the need for the church to respond to the needs of the poor. With over 300 references to the poor in Scripture, it is clear that they are close to the heart of God. Today was another step in my journey.

This morning Aaron and I visited the Real.Life. Exhibit at the headquarters of Northwest Medical Teams in Tigard. We spent an hour and a half experiencing their walk-through exhibit. It drew me in even closer to the heart of God. It was much to take in and even more to process.

In the exhibit we stepped into:
•A medical triage clinic at the New Orleans Convention Center after Hurricane Katrina
•A room with a 25-foot tsunami wave
•A Ugandan camp for people displaced by a rebel group that abducts children and forces them into their “army”
•An Albanian refugee camp housing Kosovar refugees who fled from ethnic cleansing
•A Mozambican village where HIV and AIDS has taken too many lives
•A Mexico garbage dump where garbage-pickers live and work
•A Romanian placement center for orphans and abandoned children
•A burn unit in a Moldovan children’s hospital

The purpose for our visit was to preview the exhibit, as we plan to take our students through it during our 30 Hour Famine in February. God had an even bigger purpose...we were changed.

If you are anywhere near the Portland, Oregon area you must experience this exhibit. It was originally a traveling exhibit. Now it is permanently housed at their headquarters. Everyone must see this.

Staff Dinner

Last Friday night was our church staff Christmas dinner. We, along with our spouses, met at The Ram, a beautiful restraunt right on the bank of the Willamette River. Such a good time. I feel so blessed to serve with such a great group of people. We are more than just a staff, we are friends, and good ones at that.

It was a great time of sharing stories of the great things God has done, as well as lots of goofiness, and a laughter, not to mention over eating!


I see a real future for Jack Baur.

Global Rich List

Last month I posted here about how rich we are. Now I know just how much. I am in the Top 0.99% of the richest people in the world! Find our how you rank at the Global Rich List. What an eye opener!

I'm the 59,805,858 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>

The question is, what are we doing with our wealth?

"The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." Proverbs 29:7

HT to Marko

Watch Out Santa

Santa better be careful up there.

I hope not too many kids fly this airline. Could be a bit traumatic.


I love the people of Mexico. I lead a trip to Mexico each summer to build a house and share the love of Jesus with the wonderful people there. I received a letter today from a missionary couple that we have ministered with, in Ensenada Mexico,

One of the paragraphs in their letter really captures my heart for the Christmas season. Here it is...

This year as I have looked around at my surroundings I have noticed that some of the poorest homes have a strand or two of Christmas lights. Something to call attention to the season. It is fun to see their Christmas spirit come alive. There probably will be no Christmas tree in the front window or a warm fire in the fireplace or not even a present to be found but I can guarantee you there will be a tamale or two on every table. There will be joy and family and Jesus in the manger to point them to the most important reason for the Season "Jesus was born in Bethlehem." I love it here just for the simplicity of it all and how gifts and money don't get in the way of the true meaning of Christmas. There is no big build up or no big let down just a special day to be with family and celebrate the Savior.

Our culture of affluence has robbed us of the pure joy of Christmas, and in many ways of the pure joys of life. The people of Mexico don't have all the stuff that we have. The stuff that gets in the way of what is important, that being relationship. We have a lot to learn from them.

May we this Christmas season maintain a proper perspective of that which we celebrate...Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Near Death Experience

So yesterday morning as I was racing around the house to get out the door on time for church, I ran upstairs to say goodbye to Robin and Benny. She had just given him a bath so I went into the bathroom to drain the water from the tub. As I leaned over the tub I instantly heard a KUR-PLUNK! I look down only to notice my new Motorola RAZR sitting at the bottom of the tub completely submerged! In the midst of my racing, I had put my phone in my shirt pocket. Never do that if you are going to be leaning over water!

After listening to the counsel of many, I took it all apart to let it dry over night, praying like crazy the whole time. You see, pretty much my life is on that phone, all my contacts, my calendar, email, and more. Not to mention, it's just a cool phone! Well I am happy to say God had mercy on my dumb soul because as of this morning.... it works!

My hat goes off to Motorola!

Advent Devotional

I have recently discovered Following The Star, an excellent online devotional created by d365.org. Followingthestar.org is a wonderful daily guide to the Advent season.

Go here to experience.

Sunday's Message

In this, the season of advent, we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Over 2000 years ago John the Baptist called on people to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. Today we must also be preparing the way for Jesus. We must be preparing ourselves for Him to have His way in our lives. It is His desire that the world see His glory through us. This will only be accomplished as we allow Him to have full control of our lives.

This message entitled Prepare The Way, is what I shared on Sunday. It is more devotional in nature as it was a communion Sunday. At the end of the message, and before we shared in communion, we spent several minutes in silence listening to God and preparing our hearts for Him. Projected on the screen during this time was 1 Peter 1:13-23. We used it to allow God to guide our time of silence.

The recording of this message ends at the beginning of this time of silence. At it's conclusion spend some time reading the 1 Peter passage and allow God to further speak to you.

To listen to the message click here.
To listen to this message as a Podcast in iTunes click here.

To view the accompanying powerpoint click here.


Some things just leave you scratching your head. Like declaring that a public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story.

Read the story here.

Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos

Back in June I posted here about a good use for Diet Coke and Mentos.

It seems the guys from EepyBird are back at it. This time with 251 bottles of Diet Coke and 1,506 Mentos mints. This giant Coke and Mentos chain reaction is one that has to been seen to believe!

HT: Gman

Jesus Revealed?

Over 2000 years ago Jesus revealed Himself to the world in bodily form. Acts 1:8 tells us He now reveals Himself through His people, the Church.

According to others He has also revealed Himself through images on muffins, burnt toast, rocks, and freeway underpasses. Well I guess He has now chosen to reveal him self through the bones of a dead fish. See the story here. The couple says it has brought them good luck for the last 10 years and now they are selling it on ebay so someone else can have a turn.

The article says, there is a legend that the type of fish the bone came from, a sailcat, was chosen by Jesus to remind people of what he went through. I guess all I can say to that is...... really??