Tuesday, December 16, 2014


"The church isn't a museum for good people.  It's a hospital for the broken." 

I've seen this picture/quote (or one like it) shared a ton on Facebook and Instagram.  Pastors have even quoted it while preaching.  I'm not sure where the quote originated but the usual comments left on the picture are, "Amen!" or "Truth!" or something of that nature.  I understand exactly what this quote is attempting to say and it's a very nice sentiment.  But what if I told you the church is neither of those things?  The church is absolutely not a museum for good people only.  But it is also not a hospital.

First and foremost the church is NOT a building or structure.  When Jesus said to Peter, "Upon this rock (Peter) I will build My church..." He was not referring to a building by any stretch of the imagination.  The church is the body of Christ.  The church is people.  Yet in our American culture, despite us knowing this truth, the way we speak of the church most of the time does not reflect what the church is (us).  Most of the time when speaking about the church people are referring to a building.  Think about it.  How many times have you heard statements like, "It's good to be in the house of the Lord this morning." or "Behave yourselves.  You're in church!" or "I'm not going to church today."  or "The church isn't a museum (building) for good people.  It's a hospital (building) for the broken."

In our vocabulary the church has shifted from the people to the building.  I believe this is absolutely harmful to believers.  First, it makes "church" something you attend instead of the truth, something you are!  It also says to the person, "This building is important." instead of "You are important!"  I realize some will think I'm getting too worked up over a technicality but, am I?  I know of people who attended "church" most of their lives who are JUST NOW understanding the church is them not a place we go on Sundays.  A church building is not the house of the Lord or some special place.  You are the house of the Lord!  You are that special place!  But so many don't feel that for many reasons; one being, in my opinion, the fact that we are always calling a building the church instead of calling the people the church.  I hope you can see what I'm trying to say here.

Like I said of the above quote, it's a nice sentiment.  But it's still not truth.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Nothing Wasted

Nothing Wasted is the name of my bands (Waiting Here) first full length album.  We've been together since 2010 (with a few members coming and going).  I still remember the night myself, Brian (Bass Player), and Dave (Keyboard) got together and officially formed the band.  I wasn't 100% sure what the future held for us three but I was very excited.  This wasn't my first time forming a band but it was the first time I helped form a band centered around my own personal music/songs.  (The first band I ever helped form was a metal band called Miserable State... I only have a few pleasant memories from that time oi).  Another reason I was so excited was Brian, Dave, and I had just got back from a missions trip to New Orleans where we lead worship.  The three of us had never played together until then and things just clicked.  God was over every service we lead so I was excited that our band was going to do the same thing where ever we went to play.

Oh some of the names we came up with were absolutely terrible.  Eventually we settled on Waiting Here.  The suggestion actually came from my wife.  One of my absolute favorite songs is Miracle Maker by Delirious.  The opening lyric to that song is, "I'm waiting here for my life to change..."  No other line of words could fit my life (testimony) better than those.  I was 100% convinced of the name after reading Isaiah 40:31, "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;  They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."
I'll admit that I had some "head-in-the-clouds" moments early on.  I was convinced that we'll record a demo, someone in the music biz will hear it, we'll get a giant record deal and all that will happen in just a few short months.  One of my all time favorite movies is "That Thing You Do" so I totally thought, "Yeah.  Overnight success could really happen."  I laugh now but I really did think that in the beginning.  Eventually reality hit me at our first "real" gig.  We were told that there could be anywhere from 300 to 500 people showing up and we get to headline the whole thing!  We had just recorded our first demo (please tell me no one has that eek!) when we got the call for this gig so we were PUMPED!  "We just got our demo done and are already play a show for 500 people?! YEAH BUDDY!"  I thought...  I remember being frustrated with Dave that he was only able to make 100 demos we could sell (he was up til 4am the day we were leaving making them).  Doesn't he know that now 400 people are going to be mad that they can't get a demo?!  Long story short: absolutely no one came to that show!  The only people that were there had to be there because they were working it in one capacity or another.  This is so funny to me now and I love that it happened the way it happened.    We've had a few members come and go (all drummers... go figure).  We got a little more rock added to our band when my brother Chris started playing electric guitar for us.  It is a true honor to have him as a band-mate.  He was definitely a missing puzzle piece that perfectly fit in to place in our music.    Finally after a few years of gigging, a second demo, and hundreds of slices of pizza (if you're in a band you know what I mean), we met this awesome bro and producer, Mike Ryan.  We learned a TON as we recorded at BigChair studio.  I don't think I've ever grown that much in that short amount of time ever in my life.  The entire Ryan family are amazing people.  It took us longer than we expected but after a little over a year, we had our album finished.  Nothing Wasted.  The name came from Romans 8:28 and the fact that we have songs that are praising our mighty God but also songs that talk of real life struggle.  And in real life when it comes to good things, bad things, and everything in between, none of it is wasted with God.  I will never forget sitting in my office placing the order of our first set of albums.  It was business as usual.  Upload tracks?  Check.  Upload artwork?  Check.  Read terms and agree?  Check.  Reconfirm everything?  Check.  Type in credit card info?  Check.  Place order and ball like a baby?  Check.  You read that right.  The instant I clicked 'Place Order' I was floored with a flood of emotion.  I immediately started crying.  I'm talking ugly face, salty sting-your-eyes tears crying!  I was not expecting to get so emotional over it.  It just all of a sudden clicked in my head: the dream you've been dreaming about since you were a small child, you're living it out right now!    No, our hard work isn't over.  In many ways it's just begun.  But let me tell you, when you are living a dream of yours / working towards making it your complete reality, there is no better feeling.  So let this encourage you to not only dream but work towards that dream!  You can make it happen!  And through all the good things that happen, all the bad things that happen, and everything in between, remember this:  there's nothing wasted with God!  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why? (Is It Really a Dangerous Question?)

There are some things in life that we will never understand.  So it's better to just let things be and not ask the question, "Why?" But is that really always the case?  I completely understand the belief behind this line of thinking and I certainly see why people believe there's harm in asking, "Why did this happen?" (or something along those lines).  Some people would say that this is one of the "most dangerous" questions we can ask, especially as Christians.  That's right; a lot of Christians believe asking "why?" will lead you to a road of doubt in God.  They'll "quote" (see what I did there?) verses like, "We hear only in part and see only in part." or "Gods ways are higher than ours.  That's why this [blank] happened." or "You can't please God without faith.  So don't ask why."  Sure you can find all these thoughts/verses in the bible but is "why?" a question we can't handle?  Is "why?" a question God can't handle?

First of all, God is a "big boy" I think He can handle anything thrown at Him.  Second, I think a lot of us have been looking at this all wrong.  Many times to not ask "why?" means to bottle it up inside and not deal with the issue.  When is that ever healthy in life personally?  When is that ever healthy in a relationship?  When we bottle things up, they tend to eventually explode causing more damage than they should have. 

To the people who vehemently adhere to the life motto of "Never ask God 'Why' because it's not faith.  That's not what a healthy relationship looks like"  I would like to point out the following:

"WHY do You stand afar off, O LORD? WHY do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 10:1
"My God, my God, WHY have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning." Psalm 22:1

"WHY do You hide Your face And forget our affliction and our oppression?" Psalm 44:24 

"O LORD, WHY do You reject my soul? WHY do You hide Your face from me?" Psalm 88:14   In my opinion, I don't think we can always get to the, "I said to the LORD, 'You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.'" (Psalm 16:2) without first allowing ourselves the "why", the grief.  I'm not foolish enough to believe that every single "why" in life will be answered.  Believe me, I have plenty of "why's" about things that just seem so unjust, so terrible.  But I think God can handle them.  And I and my relationship with God will come out on the other side better for not bottling things up.  I hope this helped you even a little bit.  Life is really difficult at times and unanswered questions don't help.  But I believe life WILL get better!  Life WILL get good!  We WILL see it!   

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Confession Time

For those of you who don't like to do the archaic activity called reading, you may click here and watch the video version of Confession Time on my YouTube channel.

And for those of you who insist on doing something that even the Neanderthal was smart enough to avoid, READ ON!

I thought it would be fun to do posts like this from time to time:  Confess a few things about myself that may or may not be embarrassing.  I mean it's supposed to feel good when you get things off your chest right?

Confession #1

Stand in awe of my photoshop skillz
Oh whovians... I must confess and apologize but I do NOT like Dr. Who.  So many people I know hyped this show up and I was so excited when I sat down in front of my TV, waiting patiently for Netflix to load.  And then... I never made it beyond the first two episodes.  I just didn't get why so many people were obsessed with it.  It was so... Boring?  I really, really wanted to like this show but I wasn't going to force myself to enjoy something I didn't find entertaining.  In fairness most whovians later told me that the entire first season is something you have to force yourself to watch but... Yeah that's not going to happen with me.  Again I'm sorry!

Confession #2

I'm sooo boooooootiffuull!
 Now for some... embarrassment.  I saw the Hannah Montana movie in the theater... TWICE.  I know what you're thinking, "Well he has three daughters so that's really not surprising that he 'had' to see it..." and yes it's true my girls did beg me to take them to see the movie.  But the second time I saw it I was... by myself... Yup I was alone.  Oh the looks I got.  I was the only guy in the theater of course.  Just me, a tattooed, pierced, large man, and a bunch of little girls with their moms.  The stares I got were so funny to me.  Why did I go see the Hannah Montana movie a second time?  I don't know... it's not like I've seen every single episode and owned it on DVD and have all the Hannah Montana albums..................................

Confession #3

I'm feeling the love for sure.
This one is a big one.  It goes all the way back to the days of summer-camp.  There was this extremely cute girl there and the moment I saw her I was like this!  The only problem was I could never work up the courage to actually say "Hi" to this girl.  By the end of summer-camp it seemed like everyone had a new boyfriend or girlfriend so I was like, "Well.... I met a girl too."  Yup I totally told people that me and the cute girl of my dreams were now together.  To make it even sadder, I never knew her name so I totally made one up.  I got pretty deep into this lie too.  I would even fake phone calls with her so people would think we were dating.  Oh my goodness, so, so, so sad!  Fast forward to a year later and I'm once again back at summer-camp.  I've had a entire year to work up the courage to talk to this beauty.  I see her from a distance and then make my way to her.  In my mind I'm thinking, "We'll talk and she'll fall in love instantly!"  When I finally got over to her she was talking to a friend.  Let's just say that after I overheard how she was gossiping and judging other people, she came across extremely stuck up and I was no longer interested in her one bit.  So because of this and because I had lied to such an extent, I then created a tragic break up story of how she broke my poor heart!  So...  I'm sorry to any family members that still thought Audry was real!  LOL HA!

So I'm supposed to feel better now, right?  Right?  Hope this gave you a laugh!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


One decade (10 years) ago I was an 18 year kid about to see my life and world change forever.  It was the most beautiful fall day; not too cold and not too warm.  The sun was shining bright and the ground was covered in yellow, orange, and red leaves.  You couldn't of asked for a more perfect day to be wedded on.  I was nervous but completely excited.  Today was the day I marry the most perfect woman. 

I couldn't stop smiling.  By mid-morning my cheeks began to hurt because I was smiling so big, so much.  As I got dressed in the restroom my mind couldn't believe I was actually getting married.  I had never wanted to wait until I was older to get married.  Ever since I was a little kid I had wanted to get married.  I would joke that I wanted to get married as soon as I turned 18.  Who knew that it would come true just a few months after my 18th birthday. 

As the ceremony got underway the nervousness increased.  This is actually happening.  It's no longer a wishful thought.  Soon you will see your bride walk towards you ready to make her vows to you.  This is real.  I hear the music begin.  Here comes my bride.  She's wearing the most beautiful wedding dress.  Que biggest smile ever!  You see, we didn't have any money.  I had only just started my job one week before the wedding.  My wife told me she was just going to wear a nice sundress for our wedding.  So when she came walking down in that gorgeous wedding gown I was shocked and floored. 

We began to exchange our vows and the thoughts of this is actually happening once again came.  As we stood there pledging our love to each other we hear this.  Sweet Home Alabama.  Someones ringtone.  I can't help but laugh.  Some people might be horrified by having their wedding interrupted by an obnoxious ringtone but to this day every time I hear that song I'm taken back to one of the best days of my life.  The moment I hear one of the most recognized guitar intros in all of music I'm flooded with happy memories of that day.

We finish our vows.  You may now kiss your bride.  Here's some advice to all those guys about to get married: don't eat pizza for breakfast on the day of your wedding LOL.  As we kiss that garlicy kiss, it's official.  Daniel and Joy are husband and wife!  Sorry about the pizza hun...

Looking back it's so hard to believe that was 10 years ago.  That was a DECADE ago!!  It doesn't feel like it has been that long at all.  We now have five children.  We're still not rich ;) but we make it work.  We still argue and get annoyed with each other yet still want no one else lying next to us at night.  We aren't marriage experts but have learned more than we could've imagined.  Looking back, I've truly hit the jackpot when it comes to wives.  A wife who is an incredible mother, teacher, and business owner.  A wife who can look past my times of "being a guy" i.e. moron.  A wife who supports my dreams with as much passion as if they were hers.  A wife who is a bigger stargate nerd than I am!  Here's to the next 10 years; the next 20; the next 50.  I love you so much!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Weakness Allowed

Seek.  Search.  Look.  Ask.  Question.  Just don't do any of these things while you're at church.  Unfortunately that's how a lot of Christians view it.  They look down on the people who are still trying to figure things out.  It's as if they expect an imperfect person to suddenly and instantly become perfect the moment they make a decision to follow Jesus Christ.  And if they start showing signs of weakness and/or doubt, ATTACK!  JUDGE!  WRITE IN ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously, "Christians are the only army that kill their wounded..." I hate that quote... and not just because it's one of those silly sermon quotes that will be passed around on twitter under the hashtag #convicting or #truth or #boom (or some other hashtag Christian's seem to overuse).  No, I hate that quote because it seems to be very true.  Christians come across as a people who despise their weak.  Instead of picking up someone who is depressed and doubting, a lot of Christians hop on the gossip wagon.  They start to defame.  They start to slander.  They start to destroy.  And they justify all this by ending said gossip with the statement, "Well, be praying for them now..."  Come on...  You know you're not praying for them.  I know this because in the past I myself have done it.  And unfortunately I've had it done to me far too many times.

It should be safe to ask.  It should be safe to search.  It should be safe to be weak.  It should be but it's not.  At least not in my experience.  Instead of accepting "the one who is weak in faith" (Romans 14:1), too many Christians jump right to 1 Corinthians 5:5 instead of trying 1 Thessalonians 5:14.  We live in a world where we can get nearly everything in an instant and unfortunately many want the same results when dealing with people.  But the reality of this life in regards to following Christ is that almost no one gets "it" overnight.  Until we learn not only patience for the weak but learn also how to meet them where they're at, we'll more than likely continue to see a revolving door of strangers come in and out of the walls of some building dubbed "the church".  They come hurting with questions.  They leave hurting worse with even more questions.  There is hope but people need to wake up.  You have the reputation you have because you've earned it.  So lets try to earn something else...

P.S. If you are going to read this blog you're going to see some things that you may not like including weakness.  If you can't handle that... well there's a back button for a reason.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Nonsense

We're near the end of October and unless you live under a rock you know what that means:  We've all gotten a little fatter due to pumpkin spice EVERYTHING!  Pumpkin spice latte.  Pumpkin spice muffins.  Pumpkins spice apple pie?!  With all the crazy pumpkin spice fan-girls posting daily about their love and lust for all things pumpkin flavored, it's easy to see why so many different companies make a pumpkin spice something.  But some of these items have become a pumpkin spice life-sucking monstrosity that never should have been created let alone sold to consumers.  Here's a small list of the pumpkin spice things I've seen that I think are just..... too much!

Pumpkin Spice Oreo's

Like... really?  Come on Oreo's...  Not you too.  These just don't at all look appetizing.  They look like orange diarrhea in between two cookies.  No thank you!

Pumpkin Spice Gum

Now you want your breath to permanently smell of pumpkins?  Hmmm... I have pumpkin coffee breath from that pumpkin spice latte I had earlier.  I know what will cure it!  More pumpkin flavor!!!!!!

Pumpkin Spice Milk

Do pumpkins and coconuts go together?  Well they do now!  One, an island native.  The other, a native of North America.  Together you can enjoy this forbidding marriage poured over your daily bowl of grapenuts.  Eww.

Pumpkin Spice Salsa

When I first saw this at Aldi, I took a double take.  In what world am I eating a delicious plate of nacho's, slathered in cheese, thinking, "You know what this is missing?  Pumpkins!"  Yeah... no.

Pumpkin Spice Pasta Sauce

Oh my goodness NO!  Never in a million meals would I ever want to try spaghetti and pumpkin sauce.  This sounds like something that Buddy the Elf would make.  Just no.

Pumpkin Spice.... WHAT?!?!??!

Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.  Please be fake.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Life Is Short... So Laugh It Up

In life we can get worked up over a LOT of things.  Someone made decaf coffee at work?!  Those morons!  I missed that green light because of this slow driver in front of me?!  What a jerk!  No chicken nuggets at McDonald's?!!??!??!  Well.....

You get the point.  Some things that happen to us are absolutely infuriating.  But a lot of what upsets us is kind of ridiculous if you think about it (i.e. chicken nugget rampage).  I mean, I've seen friendships END over Facebook updates.  I've seen family turn on family as they war with their vague posts that everyone KNOWS who they're talking about.  All over what?  A disagreement?!  A different opinion?! 

There are a lot of reasons why all this happens but perhaps the two biggest reasons are:

1.  We equate disagreement with hate.  I get this a TON.  People thinking I must "hate/dislike/look down on" them all because I disagree with their viewpoint.  You have to realize that this is an absolutely preposterous way of thinking.  I understand that it can sometimes hurt, even deeply, when someone disagrees with a personal way of life.  But it IS completely possible to LOVE someone with a deep passionate love AND still not agree with every single view they have (even if some of them are extreme).  How many of us have a close friend, sibling, or even a parent that we of course love but also don't agree with some of their views?  We don't just write them off do we?  We don't hate them because they do something we think is wrong or the other way around do we?  So why do we always see differences as bad/terrible/bigotry/hate?  If every color in the universe was purple, it would make for a very uninteresting painting.

2.  We make mountains out of molehills.  These days it seems like we are kings of blowing things out of proportion.  Think about the whole decaf coffee thing...  We are SO quick to get angry at every little thing that goes wrong.  And I mean EVERY.  LITTLE.  THING.  Just think how many Facebook statuses you've "corrected" because that person is COMPLETELY WRONG.  We get so worked up over this stuff that....... (are you ready for this)........  DOES NOT MATTER!  So someone posts a story that's incorrect.  Who cares?  Someone says something you think is wrong.  Who cares?  Someone comments something rude.  Delete the comment because who cares?  (Most of the people who are rude to us online we barely know so... Really... Who cares?). 

I know, I know.  It's easier said than done.  But honestly life is way too short to worry about such silly things and be so serious all the time.  There are some many moments we'll encounter which will require our super intense seriousness...  so why sweat the little things?  How do we accomplish this?  If you were waiting to read some super, stupendously spiritual, mind blowing, life altering wisdom I don't think I have that for you.  I'm still trying to figure this stuff out too.  What I do have is simple but it works (at least for me).

First:  I recommend three little words:  LET IT GO (no I will not be linking some overrated Disney song).  How much stress could we save ourselves from if we just did these three little words?  The answer is a lot.  Why commit hours of your day fighting with that person in your head?  Why comment back and forth?  Why waste such energy on a fight when you could waste energy on this?  Just let it go. 

NOTE: Sometimes letting it go means you have to literally let a person go.  You might be thinking, "But isn't that the opposite of the goal here?  I thought we wanted relationships to continue healthily..."  Our goal is indeed to keep relationships intact BUT sometimes people are committed to being complete and utter joy-suckers.  No matter what you do they TRY and bring you down.  To those people I say unfriend, block, let it go, and move on with your life.  Again, life is short.

Second:  I recommend that you laugh!  Take as many breaks away from the seriousness of the world and laugh it up.  Read something funnyWatch something cute!  Stop and laugh! No, you're not fooling yourself and saying the hard things of life don't exist.  You're just taking a short break from them.  Our house is in desperate need of repair.  It has so many leaks when it rains.  Example: One of these rainy days I was quite ticked off about it leaking once more but my kids wanted to go outside and play in the rain.  So we went outside, ran around in the rain, splashed in puddles, and laughed.  Sometimes you just need to go play in the rain instead of focusing on your leaky roof.

Third:  Do charity.  Yes I mean that.  There is a "high" you get when you're able to help someone in need.  There's really nothing I can think of to compare it to.  It just feels good when someone says to you, "Hey, this thing you're doing means something to me!"  You may not feel like helping anyone but trust me it has a reward.

Remember: Life is too short to be so serious all the time.  So live it and laugh while you're at it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A True Husband

Today I would like to write about husbands.  Husbands... first of all every little girl dreams of their wedding day.  As you slowly make your angelic decent from the heavens down the aisle, you see the man of your dreams with the biggest smile on his face bravely holding back tears of joy.

You know you've made the greatest decision of your life.  You found the perfect man.  You found your soulmate.  You found the ONE. 

You now have a husband!  A husband who gently wakes you up with a soft kiss and a, "Good morning my beautiful bride..."  He's made breakfast because he knows how difficult your day is if you don't start it off properly.  "Don't worry about the mess I made in the kitchen. I'll clean it up before you get home," he assures you.  You can feel the very adoration emanating from his sweet touch.  

You now have a husband!  A husband who skipped his lunchbreak just so he could call you at work and see how your day is going.  It's been an extremely difficult day at work but you don't want your coworkers to hear you complain so you tell him you're fine.  But you have a husband.  A husband who knows his bride.  He's expertly read between the lines of your vague Facebook post and knows what he should do.  He leaves work early so he can get home before you.  When you get home from work he greets you at the door, "You don't need to say a thing," he says as he hands you a glass of wine.  "There's a hot bath waiting for you and I'm making your favorite dinner.  Now go relax!  You deserve this after what you've dealt with today."   With the most tender kiss he sends you to the master bath.  As you slowly slip into the tub that is filled with bubbles and surrounded by your absolute favorite scented candles it hits you: you now have a husband!

Hello?  Are you still there?  It looked like you were daydreaming... Anyway, husbands... First of all every little girl dreams of their wedding day.  As you slowly make your way down the aisle you see the man of your dreams with the biggest smile on his face bravely holding back tears from his splitting headache.  He's a bit hungover you see.  

You know you've made the greatest decision of your life.  Well a big one at least.  You found a man.  You found a mate.  You found the ONE.  Well the first ONE at least.  If he ends up being a jerk you're gone!

You now have a husband!  A husband who wakes you up with a loud fart and a, "Gah!  Do you smell this?!"  He didn't make breakfast.  Doesn't he know how difficult your day is if you don't start it off properly?!  "The kitchen's a mess.  You gonna clean this today?" he asks you.   You can sort of feel adoration emanating from his hand squeezing your left boob.  

You now have a husband!  A husband who skipped his lunchbreak just so he could finish that level on his video game.  It's been an extremely difficult day at work but he hasn't called so you could complain to someone.  Jerk!  You have a husband.  A husband who knows who he should start on his fantasy football team this weekend.  He hit "like" on your vague Facebook post.  He leaves work early so he can get home before you.  When you get home from work he greets you with a firm slap on the butt, "Sup babe," he says as he opens another beer.  "The kitchen is still a mess.  What are you making dinner?  And babe you're kinda funky.  You should probably shower!"   With another hard slap on your butt he sends you to the bathroom.  As you slip into the shower you're surrounded by the absolute worst poop smell.  It smells like something died!  Like how could that smell come out of a living person?!  It's then that it hits you: you now have a husband!