Monday Morning Brief – 5.18.09

What I enjoyed this week   1. Nathan started walking!  For a few weeks he’d take a step or two and then realized he could crawl faster.  But yesterday, he started to walk.  He’s so proud of himself too; he smiles and waves as he barrels around the house – it’s great.  2. I enjoyed our seminary retreat once again.  We went to the Harvey Cedars Christian Center at the Jersey shore.  Though we were missing a few friends, I think we all appreciated the speaker, Meredith Wheeler (don’t be fooled by the first name, he’s a guy).  Also enjoyed spending time with our cohort and getting to know people from other ones.  3. Rooming with Jon Frost.  He knows baseball, reads Karl Barth and I drifted off to sleep as this pastor of alternative worship sang all of Crowder’s ballads on A Beautiful Collision.  Woke up to him screaming, “You are my …JOOOOYYYY”.   4. The Yankees winning some close ones. 

Student Ministry Update – 1. Finished up with the Dan Kimball They Like Jesus but not the Church study.  We received really solid feedback.  Next up is our series on love, dating sex, purity, identity, etc. called “Spring Fling”.  2. For years our sr. high girls wanted a retreat weekend. We always said yes but there was always a reason we couldn’t do it … until this weekend.  I say it a lot but probably not enough, I’m truly grateful for our leaders and great female leaders are hard to come by.  I know the “rewards of God” are not distributed in the means of parking spaces and sales at the mall, but may the Lord spoil them just a little along side His constant grace.  3.  There was also a guy’s night in at the home of long time youth leader extraordinaire Eric.  The rumor was that it was pizza, wings, and Christian beer (which since they are under-age, I am really hoping means root beer, otherwise, this post loses its “highlightness”). 

What I’ve Been Watching – 1. LOST Season Finale – Amazing but now it’s over.  So now I feel like I just broken up with.  I guess I’ll be listening to Dashboard Confessional until the new season. 2.  Haven’t yet watched the Office season finale.  I’ll get to it one of these months.  Feel free to spoil it for me (Pam accidentally kills John with a line drive right?), With the exception of a few episodes, this was a dissappointing season. 3. Saw Star Trek over the weekend with seminary friends.  I am not a Trekie so my expectations were pretty normal.  I liked the movie, you should see it.  I see the allure of Star Trek as it relies on science and theories.  I like the idea of the Federation and keeping the peace of the universe. However, it’s always lacked magic for me.  I know that’s a pretty subjective statement but Star Wars has the the Force, this ancient Jedi warrior culture and lovable characters like R2 and Chewey and menacing ones like Darth and Bobafett.  Lucas made many mistakes though.  He cursed us with JarJar, metachlorians, and Hayden Christensen (who is a lesson for all – just because you look cool, doesn’t mean you can act).  While I do like Spock, I always found Kirk to be weird and annoying.  It could be the curse of William Shattner but when I was 5, I liked him in TJ Hooker which was better known for Heather Locklear.  Anyway, I think between Shattner, a story that didn’t connect with me, and no offense, the Trekkies that I did know, umm, well, let’s just say that I thought the “light speed” scenes were cool.

What I am Listening to – Bob Dylan’s Together Through Life. 2. I downloaded Coldplay’s free live album, Left Right Left Right Left but only gave it a listen as we were driving to the shore for the retreat. 3. And pretty much everything Ben Gibbard.  Miguel loves Death Cab and Postal Service so I walked around all weekend singing, “So this is the new year … but I don’t feel any different.”

What’s Going in Seminary – just finished a great class called, “Jesus and His Message” and tomorrow we being a new class called “Organizational Assessment & Change”.

Looking forward to – going to the Yankees game tonight with Tim.  And going to Aruba with my whole family!!

Monday Morning Brief – May 11, 2009

What I Enjoyed This Week – 1. Mother’s Day.  Last year was Susan’s first Mother’s Day and it was an incredible time as Susan and Nathan had just arrived from FL (where Nathan was born).  I was fortunate enough to preach that day, a lot of my family was there and my grandmother was just released from the hospital the day before (Mother’s Day was the only time she met Nathan for she was taken back to the hospital that night and she went home a few weeks from then).  There’s a lot of other significant parts to that day but this year was wonderful too.  Sitting in worship with Nathan on my lap and my 15 week pregnant wife, Susan, next to me listening to our new senior pastor in a church that we love being a part of was a great joy to experience.  2. Elliot James Hiestand was born.  3.  We spent some time with friends we hadn’t seen in a while.  We really miss them.

What Disappointed Me – Though I am a proud Yankee fan, I was disappointed by another MLB superstar testing positive for a banned steroid substance.  Manny Ramirez was one of my least favorite players to begin with.  He was a former Red Sox, I found him to be arrogant, and thought his antics were lame, unprofessional and complete lack of respect to his team (but they deserve that sort of thing up in Boston).  When there was talk that NY was interested in him, I actually changed the name of my fantasy football team to “Say NO to MANNY!!!”.  I believe this action was what led to the Dodgers being the only team dumb enough to offer him contract after contract this off-season.  But as a baseball fan, Manny is good for the game.  Kids love him, they think he’s fun and he’s exciting to watch if you could forget what you knew about him.  Anyway, baseball has been tainted for quite some time now and we have at least 102 names (that number fluctuates every time John Kruk or Peter Gammons reports by the way), that will surely remind us that this was the culture of the game and no one had the courage to stop it years ago.  

What I’m Listening to – new Bob Dylan, the Decemberists, Jars of Clay, all the same podcasts Homebrewed, Relevant, same, same.

What I’m Reading – The Reliability of the Gospel Tradition by Birger Gerhardsson, Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender.  Almost finished with Who Goes There?: A Cultural History of Heaven and Hell by Rebecca Price Janney 

What’s Goin’ on in Student Ministry – All is still well.  Almost fininshed with the Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus but Not the Church study.  This last topic is “Do Christians take the Bible too Literally?”.  We talked about gougging out our eyes (we told our students not to do that), the trees in the field clapping their hands, hell, lake of fire, the worms, bottomless hole and oh yeah, Jesus’ usage of Isa 66. in Mark 9, etc.  2. Was thrilled that our mission dinner/silent auction made about $6700 and our car wash brought in about $700 this weekend.  3. Still love our leaders and our other volunteers.  4.  Girls’ retreat coming up, Guys night out, Senior Sneak …

What I’m Looking Forward to – 1. Our seminary retreat this weekend to Harvey Cedars (Jersey Shore).  2. Our family trip to Aruba! 

What Made Me Laugh –