Feliz Año Nuevo

After such a long hiatus from blogging, one would think that my new goal of blogging 6 times/week is out of reach. One would probably be correct.

None the less, I decided that I would try to begin before the new year arrived. The image above and to the left is of our group's trip to Winter Youth. Details of that will probably be in my first week of posting.

Until then, may God bless you in this new year.


Cannon Beach with the Fam.

A couple of weekends ago, my dad invited us kids and our spouses for a weekend at Cannon Beach. If you’ve never been there, you should go. It is one of the most beautiful places on the Oregon Coast.

Now that we’re all adult children, we have different schedules making us unavailable for the entire weekend, so Ali and I stayed Friday Saturday, Annie came down Saturday and stayed through Monday along with AJ and Matt who cam down Sunday. Whew. Too much information, I know.

Ali, Dad and I enjoyed a round of Square 9, a game my Grandma taught us, reading, and watching movies that night. Saturday was beautiful and sunny—surprising for the beach in November!

Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Square 9

Seagull in Flight by the Needles

Ali & I

Phoon at Haystack Rock

The Boats at Newport - Dan Geist

Driftwood - Dan Geist


Happy Thanksgiving

Ali and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, remembering how God has blessed you.


Guys Night Out

Last Friday through Saturday, Alison and our youth group gals were at the Revolve Tour, a big deal put on by Women of Faith. While the gals enjoyed their time, us men of the youth group hung out for a Guys Night Out. We did it all. About 14 of us ate 7 Pizzas, drank 6 2-litres of soda, crammed 5 bags of chips, played hours of video games, poker, capture the flag in the dark, a special Guys Night Outburst and more!

It left us all exhausted seeing as how most people didn't get to sleep until 5:30 or 6 in the morning, and arose at 9. I haven't stayed up that late since I had a final paper deadline! Whew! I need more sleep!


My first mobile blog

You are reading my first mobile blog via my new phone. Pictured here
are my great friends Jon and Brian. The coffee is fresh and the day is

Aaron out!


Fuel Halloween

Last night our high school group had a Halloween celebration.

As you can tell, I'm wearing a bio-hazard suit. I wore this costume about 6 years ago and remembered it was sitting in the supply closet of the youth room. My explanation for the suit was that I had to wear it after someone else used the bathroom.

We had many good times, but one of the funniest moments was watching 4 of our students attempt to eat a donut on a string while wearing a blindfold! The donut would bob and sway, hitting them in the face with its sticky exterior.

Next, we enjoyed a wonderful game of bobbing for gummy worms in Jell-O. :) Yes, disgusting. Even after all that Jell-O on my face, I took second. Each of us had 10 gummy worms in our bowl. By the time our winner found all ten, I had seven. Oh well, next time.

For those that opted out of the costume experience, we provided newspaper, masking tape and a team of people to dress them up right! Pictured here is the winner of the competition. They gave her spikes to make her into Bowser from the Mario Brothers games.

We ended the night discussing our group's new name: Fuel (That post is to come), and what we are passionate about.


Student Leadership Team

Sunday was a first for Ali and I. We finally had people over for a meal! It was awesome. Yes, we've had people over, but for dessert, hang out time, or other things.

This was the first time that people used our new dining room chairs. They match our table almost exactly and we got them for the price of dog-sitting. That's a great price!

Sunday was fun. We had our High School Student Leadership Team for a meal and meeting. I enjoy having our meetings, but having them in a home is much better. It's great hearing from them their thoughts on the group, how it's relevant (or not) and what is important to them.


Day of the Town - part 2

We finished our day of the town at Bridgetown last night. It was a wonderful evening. You never know what to expect. In fact it was the first time that a homeless person ever gave me money. It was just a penny, but wow, what a neat lady.

Pictured here are Amy & Breann (youth leaders), Brady & Nicole (students) and Alison making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the evening. Along with the sandwiches, we served homemade chicken chowder soup, biscuits, cake and coffee.

I had the job of Disney duty which means sweeping up the trash under the bridge. It is one of my favorite things to do there because you get to walk around and see all that is happening. You also get to stop and have conversations with different people while at the same time letting people know that they are important enough to have a clean living space.

Alison and I along with my brother and two rockers from church helped lead worship for our gathering of cross-denominational servants. It's so cool when people from different backgrounds get together in unity to be the church and not worry about our differences. It made me reminisce of leading worship in Mexico. Both are a beautiful picture of what Jesus prayed for in John 17.


Day of the Town

Ali and I are having a very towny day. She took the day off so we could have some much needed rest together.

After sleeping in, we made our way downtown for our first ever visit to Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Pictured to the right is my 16oz. mocha. The latte art reminded me of this video. Alison enjoyed a plain coffee (very good if you ask me) and I ate what I think is the best croissant I've ever had.

We then made a quick stop at Border's Book Store and drove home the scenic way, up behind the OHSU campus and stopped on the top of the hill for an incredible view of mountains Hood, Adams, St. Helens and Rainier! Astounding!

Our last town stop will be with Bridgetown Ministries under the Burnside Bridge. We're taking our youth group there to serve and love some of Portland's neediest people. It's always an amazing experience...always better than I could hope.


NYWC Day 4.0

Final day. Final thoughts Many more thoughts to come.

Brian and I started the day with the 10 minute walk to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte and a scone, then onto the final seminar session; it was our first together for the weekend. We chose Doug Fields' course on developing a strong volunteer team. He had a lot of good things to say, but one that Brian and I agree with whole-heartedly was that volunteer in youth ministry are never chaperons. They don't just help out the youth leader. They are the ministry. Without them, the ministry would flounder. Students need adults that love for and care about them. God bless them! To see the profiles of our great team, visit our staff page.

Our final session brought Marko (Mark Oestreicher)—president of Youth Specialties—to the stage.

He described the three basic questions of adolescence: Who am I? (Identity) Do I matter/have purpose? (Affinity) Where do I fit? (Autonomy).A person (regardless of being a teenager or not) won't enter true adulthood until they answer these basic questions. For more on that, I recommend reading Hurt by Chap Clark.

Marko then profiled youth ministry from its birth in the 50's to its needed direction today.

Youth Ministry 1.0 began in the 50's and lasted into the mid 60's. It fixated on answering the Who am I question. Culture informed its language and topics. It had a proclamation style, focusing on evangelism. It's "theme passage" would be from Matthew 7 about the wide and narrow gates.

Youth Ministry 2.0 began in the late 60's and continued on until recent years. (Although some would say that the next shift in youth changed long before.) This era fixated on the Do I have purpose question. Culture informed its models & measurements. It focused on discipleship and peer groups. Ministry was program-driven and the "theme passage" could be from Matthew 28 about making disciples.

Youth Ministry 3.0 is the shifting model described next. Marko reminded us that he didn't have a crystal ball, but as the times change, students change, and ministry methods need to change.

Culture fixates now on the Where do I fit question. Culture programs our students now for Community. Marko suggests that Communion and Mission (with the whole church) are good models to use. Instead of being program-driven, be present: Present to God, to the needs of the moment, to each other, and to life in the way of Jesus.

If I can take a quick aside, another speaker talked to us about being present and that having a CEO-like vision isn't as important as you think. He said that people point to Proverbs 29 which speaks about the destruction when people lack vision. But as he pointed out—and I confirmed—the word vision is used in the King James, which was written before our modern day corporate world business mentality. If you check out modern day translations, they use the word Revelation. When the people don't have Revelation...a message from God, they flounder. Therefore, we need to constantly bring the Word of God to His people.

Finally, the "theme verse" for this era could be Acts 2:44-46 and John 17:18, where the church comes together in all unity.

Marko's final thoughts were that the days of one size fits all ministry is gone. What we need to do is contextualize ministry for the students God gave us, do less, be communional—yes, that's a made up word emphasizing community and living out our recognition of what Jesus did—be missional at all times, and be present—live today, in the now.

Was that a lot to digest? Yeah, me too. I'm thankful to work with a great team and that I have many praying for me and the students I serve.


NYWC Day 3.1

I'm just about finished with the book Living With Questions by Dale Fincher, one of the seminar speakers. Between down time and the plane ride, I'm enjoying his philosophy/apologetic written for teens. It's kind of like taking an easy, condensed version of my college philosophy class. I'm still debating whether or not I want to use the book as a basis for a teaching series or a small group material.

That night, Mark Matlock of Planet Wisdom spoke on what the American church can learn from the church worldwide. He made reference to the body of Christ, and that a body needs all its parts to be healthy. Its parts aren't just about gifts, or types of people, but includes all races and nations. So to be healthy, we need to learn from the church as it is in other cultures.

Mark also spoke about how the Acts 15 church addressed the gospel heading into a new culture. From that, he developed a comparison of how our culture tells us to run church verses the way of Kingdom of God.

Defend identityDeny self
Control the processSubmit to God and others
Critique othersServe others
Achieve outcomesTrusts God for outcomes

It's easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things out of our own wisdom and power in the church. Though I want success in my ministry, I don't want to play the numbers game. May we remember that it's His church and not our own.


NYWC Day 3.0

I'm a little late in getting my day 3 wrap up to you. Day 3 was long but good. In fact, I'm sitting at San Diego's airport right now waiting for our delayed 6pm flight back to Portland. 250,000 plus people have been evacuated from their homes because of the wild fires in the area. The hotel we stayed in even offered conventions travels an extra night's stay at a discounted rate. Many major roads are closed because of the fires. In fact, Brian and I visited the mall for lunch and it was practically empty. We'd estimate that around 40% of the stores are closed due to employees needing to be watching out for their homes.

While at the convention, we got news of two churches, one in the San Diego area and one in the Malibu area that burned to the ground. Their youth staffs were at the convention, so we had the chance to pray for them. The only item standing at the Malibu church was their cross. I know that these churches will have a hard time, but a chance to live out the reality that the church is not buildings, but people.

Now to actual day 3 things:

Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission spoke about the world slavery crisis and how our generation is called to wipe it out. 27 million human beings live in slavery, 2 million of those being children that are involved in the sex trade. It was a horrible feeling watching the presentation of how some people are treated. Fortunately, IJM directs an amazing team of courageous lawyers and others people to put together cases against the slave owners and raid properties to free slaves.

He called us who might be on the trip of Christianity but missing the adventure to step up wherever God calls and walk down a path where we will slip if God does not show up! Wow!

Well, that’s enough reading for you right now and my connection is messing up. More later...Out.


NYWC Day 2.1

The long day is over. Bedtime is coming. The day of rest begins soon.

For the record I have to admit that Doug Fields' talk convicted me. You see, he spoke about envy. He spoke about it in terms of ministry envy that we as youth workers might have toward each other. Envy kills. Maybe not literally, but my envy of another can cause me to kill their ministry and success when I talk bad about them, when I set them up to fail, when I only point out our differences and never celebrate their successes.

But I'm convicted because I have envy. The key to cleansing the envy from my heart is to celebrate others' victories and strengths. But I'm not there. I can only admit for now that I have envy.

So my fellow youth worker who's 6-digit raffle ticket held the winning number to my brand new iPod Touch, I am envious.

There, I've admitted it. My celebration for you may come some day.

P.S. Giving 3,000 finger rockets to 3,000 youth workers turns us into a bunch of mid-schoolers...and we all loved it!

NYWC Day 2.0

I'm sure I'll be back on later tonight. I've really enjoyed my re-entrance into the world of blogging.

Frances Chan spoke today. What a beautiful message of whole-heartedly perusing God and Him alone. He made many points, one of which Brain spoke to:

If Jesus had a church in Tigard, ours would be bigger. This would be true because of the radical nature of Jesus' message. Though, maybe not. Maybe his church would be filled with different kinds of people. His message was radical, but most so to those who were religious.

His other thought was about how we approach God's Word. Look at your church, your ministry, your life and walk with God. If you only had the Bible to go on, how would you expect the those things to look? Would they look the same as they do now? Different? Of course we have tradition, history, culture, and others aiding our own walk and styles. I'm not trying to say that these are bad, but Frances' question is penetrating and has implications for all who would call themselves followers of Christ.

Well, off for some perusing and then on to the next session. Out. Aaron


NYWC Day 1.0

After 8 hours of travel, time spent worshiping along side the Crowder Band, listing to the story of Phil Vischer, wandering exhibit halls, previewing the new Nooma with 3000 peers, and sharing two meals with Brian, we're about ready to call it a day.

As Brian and I were leaving the convention center at 10:30pm, I thought to myself, Where could two hungry guys without a rental car get some food to munch on? Just then, a dude with a Papa John's pizza box steps around the corner. :) I asked him if they delivered and he said he wanted to give away the last half of his pizza. Score! Though it was a bit old, it wasn't terrible.

By the way, snacks are welcomed at room 1729. Just leave them at the door if we're not here. :)

There is much more to say, but we only paid for 1 hour of internet. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and all that we'll learn, experience, and be inspired to be. It started off great; the emphasis on God. Good times.


San Diego, Here We Come!

Brian and I head down to San Diego tomorrow for 4 days and 3 nights at the National Youth Workers Convention...and boy are we excited!

We went two years ago and were impacted, refreshed and much more. Our plan is to spend some time blogging so you can see what we're thinking as we go along. Unfortunately, the hotel we're staying at charges $9.95 per day for wireless internet! You've got to be kidding! The Super 8 give free internet. Geesh.

I'm excited about David Crowder leading us in worship for the first day.


Storys of Jan

One of the greatest joys right now is hearing stories and reliving memories of who my mom was and everybody she impacted. She did a lot of that so there are a lot of stories!

Using their respective talents, my Uncles John & Dave put together a website which lets you see pictures of mom (Jan), view her artwork, read others' stories and even contribute your own memory.

If you knew my mom and have a story to share or just want to see what others remember, head on over to

Thank you Uncles,




My Dad spent many hours composing, editing, thinking about and polishing the obituary for my Mom. It is nicely done. He keeps on thinking of more to add! This obituary will go out this week in local papers. Great job Dad in sharing who mom was and what she'd want us to know.

Janice Irene (Darrow) Geist

Born - January 6, 1952, Philadelphia, PA In The Presence of Her Savior – September 29, 2007, Tigard, OR

1 Corinthians 15:10a – “I am what I am by the grace of God.”

Janice (Jan) was truly as her name implies God’s Gracious Gift. Janice Irene Darrow was born on Epiphany in 1952 to parents Bob and Doris Darrow. Her birth date falls on the traditional celebration of the wise men bringing gifts to the infant Jesus. How appropriate for one whose life came to be characterized by bringing gifts of love and service to her Savior.

While still an infant, Jan and the Darrow family moved to the Southern California beach community of Playa del Rey. There, the family added a daughter, Joanne, and a son, David. It was during those early childhood years that Jan made the most important decision of her life. At age four, she put her faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jan herself would have the experience of being able to see her own children make the same decision as young children.

Bob, Jan’s father – an engineer/high tech salesman – moved his growing family to Mountain View in Northern California to take a new position. In Mountain View the youngest member of the Darrow family, John, was born. While in Mountain View, Jan attended elementary school, and the family joined a growing church led by Pastor Ray Stedman at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto. Everywhere the Darrow family went they made lifelong friends in their open and inviting home. Many visited the Darrow home to experience friendship, hospitality, and wise counsel.

Later, Bob’s work took the family to Costa Mesa in Southern California. There, Jan attended Teewinkle Jr. High School and completed two years at Estancia High School. Through the witness and influence of Jan and her family, several of Jan’s friends from that era also came to share her faith.

Once again the family moved, this time, to occupy Bob’s childhood home on the sandy bluffs of Playa del Rey, with its commanding vistas of the Southern California coastline and its beautiful sunsets. Almost daily as the sun dipped in the western sky, Jan’s mom could be heard throughout the house exclaiming “Look at the sunset!” Jan’s love of the beauty of God’s creation was nurtured in a home where it was never allowed to become mundane. Of course, living at the beach also included living with thick, frequent and hair-frizzing fog. During her illness Jan came to describe fog as “God’s favorite weather report.” She learned that it is in the fog of life that we truly learn to trust God to guide us.

The house on the bluff was the center for Good News Clubs, Young Life events, Bible studies, family pranks, water fights, and hospitality that included bringing home college friends after Jan’s graduation from Westchester High School in 1970.

In 1970, on the third day of school at Biola College (now Biola University), Jan met her future husband of 32 years – Dan Geist of Portland, OR. Although they met in September, it wasn’t until May 1971 that they began to date.

Dan soon became one of the many friends who experienced the Darrow family hospitality at their beachside home. As he and Jan grew in their relationship, Dan became a regular in the Darrow home. Phone calls, Jan’s occasional trips to campus (she had taken a year off from attending school), and Dan’s weekend stays with the Darrow family provided the time to grow their relationship. It was on March 4, 1972 that Dan first told Jan “I love you” – a day they would celebrate the rest of Jan’s life. The code, “143” (1 = “I”, 4 = “Love” and 3 = “You”), became their way of signaling by voice or hand sign their love for each other.

Jan returned to school for one more year. Then, on November 28, 1974, she and Dan became engaged, and their marriage followed seven months later on June 28. The newlyweds moved immediately to Portland, OR, where Dan began his teaching career. Prior to fulfilling her lifelong ambition of being a mom, Jan worked at 3M Business Equipment Bureau in Southeast Portland teaching customers how best to communicate visual presentations using overhead projectors. Her personality, artistic creativity, and communication skills allowed her to effectively instruct teachers, secretaries, and CEOs in her classes.

In 1977, Jan and Dan moved to their current home in Tigard, OR, which – through Jan’s designs and the building/remodeling skills learned by Dan and the Geist children – became a comfortable gathering place for the kind of openness and hospitality that Jan had experienced in her childhood. Aaron Daniel came into the family in 1979 followed by Annaliese (Annie) Aimee in 1982 and Andrew John Allen (AJ) in 1985. As a young mom, Jan took time to have fun with, enjoy, and teach her precious charges. She always kept an ear open to wise advice that would nurture her marriage and her children. The family, “Team Geist,” as she would say, was a safe place for the whole family where there was fun and camaraderie without meanness and sarcasm. The growing climate nurtured by Jan and Dan, added to by spiritual truth, other important like-minded adults, and most importantly God’s Grace resulted in three wonderful, meaningfully productive adult children and are joined by Aaron’s delightful wife Alison (Kelley) and Annie’s loving husband Matt Beghtel.

Even as a busy mom Jan made time to give to the life of her church and other believers at Grace Point Community Church (formerly Tigard First Baptist). Caring for newborns, teaching toddlers, working with high school students, leading AWANA clubs, set- painting and costuming for children’s productions, face painting for special children’s events, helping on work crews during church expansion projects, singing on worship teams, leading women’s Bible studies in her home, cooking for youth retreats, and editing the church’s newsletter all captured her energies at some point from the moment she began attending in 1980. Jan’s penchant for always having a camera at her side to record all phases of a project or event led to her being called “The Mamarazzi.” Many people from the church benefited and stayed close after having been touched by Jan.

Where her kids were involved, Jan threw herself into their activities, particularly in their schools. Editing school newsletters, volunteering in classrooms, building and painting sets for high school productions, as well as sewing costumes for the same all left her impression on the lives of the young people in her children’s lives. Her firm, yet winsome ways captured the friendship and respect of her children’s friends as well as that of the many children who experienced childcare in her home.

In the midst of her busy life, there was always an art or craft project being produced by Jan. Most of her work has been sold or given away to grace the homes of others. Hand-painted glass Christmas ornaments, miniature acrylic paintings of wild flowers, water- color landscapes and whimsical flowers, calligraphy, quilts, painted clothing, and photo note cards are just some of her works. (See her paintings online at (Contribute to the showing of her work online at The beauty of God’s creation – so much, always enamored her so that no matter what medium she used to capture that beauty, it was always an expression of thanks and appreciation to Him for His Creation.

Jan discovered cancer in 1998, but hid it and didn’t “turn herself in” until 2000 (read her story in her own words at and ). During the period from 2000 to 2007, Jan’s journey with cancer is a story filled with God’s grace. Yes, there was pain, loss, and regret. But it was also a time of forgiveness, renewed faith, trust, energy, and an avenue for ministry. Jan was often the comforter and encourager to her “chemo buddies.” She would ask, “What flavor of cancer do you have?” and sit back and listen and then share her own fallen story overcome by God’s ability to bring peace, grow faith, and allow a U-turn in her life. She did this with a gracious spirit sprinkled with a heavy dose of humor. During hospital stays her nurses would teasingly fight over who would get to take care of Jan. Even during this period it was not uncommon for her to listen to the needs of others and then pray for those in addition to her own. Her regular prayer was to say “Lord, make me more like you and less like me.” That prayer was ultimately answered when she stepped into the presence of Jesus Christ on Saturday, September 29, 2007. Jan’s father, Bob Darrow, preceded her by just over two years.

Jan’s children and husband all played a vital role in caring for her during the last few months of her life and especially during her hospice care. Jan couldn’t have been prouder of or more thankful for her family. Friends from her childhood in California as well as her vast network of Oregon friends expressed their care for Jan and her Geist and Darrow families during her cancer battle from 2000 to the present.

Surviving Jan on this earth are husband Dan of Tigard, OR; son Aaron and wife Alison of Portland, OR; daughter Annaliese Beghtel and husband Matt of Portland, OR; son Andrew of Tigard, OR; mother Doris Darrow of Sunnyvale, CA; sister Joanne Huddleson of Colorado Springs, CO; brother David Darrow of Carlsbad, CA; and brother John Darrow of Sunnyvale, CA.

We’ll miss you till we see you,

Dan and the kids

In lieu of flowers and other gifts, consider making a donation to the Grace Point Community Church Expansion Fund (, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund (, or Hospice of Washington County (

A memorial will be held: Saturday October 13, 2007 at 10:00 A.M. Tigard Christian Church 13405 S.W. Hall Blvd. Tigard, OR


Well Done

Janice Irene Darrow Geist: January 6th, 1952 - September 29th, 2007.

It's really not easy finding the words to express my thoughts right now. There are so many of them. There are many feelings. At times I think I'm doing alright and then something reminds me of another piece of my mom I won't see again this side of heaven.

It is okay. It is God's perfect timing. It is wonderful to be with family.

I am so excited for mom right now because she is hearing the words of God to her, "Well done my good and faithful servant." She lived life beautifully, placing God's will over hers, the benefit and growth of others over her personal time. There are many ways in which I want to be more like her.

I know I'll have more thoughts to share later. Thanks for listening.


Timely Lyrics

I'm not going to lie. Watching the ending stage of your mom's life is not easy. There are bad times. There are sad times, but there are also times of great joy.

Our Almighty God can work wonderful miracles, but sometimes, the process of life must continue. And don't get me wrong, many miracles—God working through my mom—happen all the time. There is much hope around our house. Hope in things we know are to come. Hope of a new body. Hope of an unending life lived with our Creator.

Though I pray for a quick, miraculous recovery, or a quick and painless end, the process continues slowly.

But if this process didn't take as long as it did, we would have missed out on some wonderful times together as a family. There are a many smiles, knowing sighs, and a joy that we are given this life to experience together.

My friend Justin & Jessica just had a baby yesterday! How incredible! They have walked the long road of waiting for little Brooklyn...and you can see in their faces that she was worth the wait. To see her, just click on Justin's name.

Jack Johnson wrote a song called If I Could. Its theology is not the greatest, but the description of new and an ending life are priceless in times like these.

Thanks for the words Jack.

A brand new baby was born yesterday,
Just in time
Papa cried, baby cried
Said, your tears are like mine
I heard some words
from a friend on the phone,
didn't sound so good
The doctor gave him two weeks to live
I'd give him more if I could

You know that I would now
If only I could
You know that I would now
If only I could

Down the middle drops one more
grain of sand
They say that
new life makes losing life easier to understand
Words are kind
they help ease the mind
I miss my old friend
And though you gotta go
we'll keep a piece of your soul
One goes out
One comes in


Mexico Video

Our Mexico team had a wonderful reunion party last night where we shared a meal, memories, what God is still doing in us and then had the world primer of the full length video.

If you have 17 minutes, check it out. You'll get a good picture of what we did!


Back from Mexico!

Okay, so I never blogged to say that I'd left for Mexico...sorry :)

Ali and I, along with our youth group, spent an amazing 12 days in Mexico with missionaries Tim & Kathy Johnston. We participated in building a house, building a dorm type building for the missionaries, church ministry, a VBS, clothing and food distribution, house visitation and much more!

It was an exciting time in our lives for ministry but to also watch students gain a greater compassion for the poor and understand God's heart for them.

I'll share more soon, but I wanted to let you see the pictures and video. Hope you enjoy!

Check out the pictures here.


My next 10 songs

I have been tagged by Brian to list the next 10 songs that come up on my iPod (or iTunes) on shuffle. Here is what came up:

  • Lonestar – Norah Jones
  • In the bleak midwinter – Justin Ubel
  • Buddy Holly – Weezer
  • Ebay – Weird Al
  • Amsterdam – Coldplay
  • Prepare the way – Charlie Hall
  • Sing for absolution – Muse
  • Broken – Jack Johnson
  • Clarity – John Mayer
  • Kick-off – Relient K
If you're reading...I'm going to tag Justin, Jessica, Dennis, Jon, AJ & Chris.

What came up on your list?

High School Pastor (and some other things as well)

Blogging is great. I love blogging...which is odd for someone who never got above a 'C' in High School English. Maybe I like it because I can write about what I want to write about. (And if I feel like ending a sentence with a preposition, I don't get marked down!)

But sometimes life is just too short for blogging. This past month and change has been a whirlwind for me. From graduating college (yes, the diploma finally came in the mail) to exciting changes in my role at church. But the one thing I haven't blogged about much (if ever) are my parents. The last few weeks have been especially hard as my mom's fight with cancer takes its toll. Though today, you would think that she had the energy of what she had months ago! Praise God! My dad has been a wonderful husband and a great example to me as he's taken much time off of work, even missing Father's day at church to be with his wife.

I guess all that to say, life's been busy...but good.

Now to what the title of my blog suggests:

For the last nine years, I've been serving with the high school group at my church. First as a volunteer, then as an intern and latest as a pastoral assistant to the youth pastor Brian Eberly. After two years of leading the high school group under the guidance and direction of Brian, our church is on the move!

We've been looking for a children's ministry director for a year now and the solution is finally here! Brian will still be the middle school pastor but also shift part of his time to overseeing the entire development of family ministry (birth - 18yrs.). We hired two wonderful women (Keli and Luanne) to direct the younger kids (birth - 5th grade) and I was voted in yesterday as Pastor to High School students.

It is exciting in so many ways.

I believe it was about ten years ago that I first felt the passion and desire to serve in this role. After a few missteps and a lot of guidance and perseverance, that day has arrived. (Although I've been doing what I want to do for years now without the title! :) )

I can't believe that I get to have this role in the church in which I was raised!

I am grateful to Brian for his decision to follow the expanding responsibilities laid in front of him. Had he said no...I'm not sure what my blog would read today. He is a great friend and cares deeply about the students.

In many ways, my job will not change though I will have more responsibility in setting the vision, direction and tone of the ministry and I know that there are many new responsibilities I won't even find out about for a while.

But I am very excited. I work with a great church staff. I serve alongside a great youth staff, and the students I serve are growing and serving in ways I wouldn't have in my own youth.

Want to check out our youth group? Just click here: And if you'd like, feel free to pray for me. I could use it!


Last of the vacation

So its a couple of weeks after the vacation is over, but it has been quite busy, including a bit of a Summer cold. Back to Missoula, during the wedding reception, I walked outside and saw this wonderful sunset. I couldn't believe the lighting!

Here are Ali and I at the wedding. She looked wonderful. :) The reception featured a wonderful dinner and then hours of dancing lasting until midnight.

Finally, after three days in Montana, it was time to head home. Being our second anniversary, we didn't want to spend the day driving eight-and-a-half hours home. So we decided to drive the three hours back to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and spend the night there. It's a small resort town on a beautiful lake just a half-hour outside of Spokane. It was a cloudy day, but we didn't mind. After walking through town and down by the lake, we decided to spend some needed time for rest in the hotel room. They had a CSI and Law & Order marathon on cable, so we enjoyed episodes and naps.

The next day was sunny and beautiful. We ran into Stacey—the bride—and then went on our way back home. Thanks to Alison, I think we've finally cleaned up from our trip and the house is just about back in order.

I am very happy to have been married to Ali for two years, and I know that we've got many more years together. Happy Anniversary hon.

Check out all of our trip pictures here


Big Sky - Day 2, The "M"

Yesterday I hiked the "M." The M is about 670 ft. or half way up Mt. Sentinel, and sits right above the University of Montana. What a nice hike. The trail zig-zags back and forth until you reach the giant concrete "M." From up top, you get to look out at all the beautiful mountains and the valley below.

This photo here was taken from atop the "M." You can see the football team showing off their new members down below as I-90 stretches away in the right.

After spending much of the day on my own hiking, hunting for the local Starbucks and reading, Ali and I went to the rehearsal dinner. After what I thought was a very quick rehearsal—mine seemed long—We headed for a very nice restaurant next to a golf course up on another hill overlooking Missoula. Besides the great views, dinner was amazing; I had the prime rib and Ali had the seared Ahi tuna. Yum! Here we are eating with some bridesmaids and other guests.

Pictured here are DeeDee, Alison, Jill (sister of the bride), Stacey (the bride), and Cameron (not her baby). Ali, DeeDee, Stacey and Cameron were college roommates and great friends.

Ah, Sunset. After the dinner ended, many of us, including both sets of parents, met up at a local pub for more celebration. It was a great day and if you have the chance to see the landscape of Big Sky country, you really must. Well, I've got a couple of hours and then I need to get ready for the wedding myself. I'm off for some more reading.


Big Sky - Day 1

Greetings! I am writing you from my hotel room in Missoula, Montana...Big Sky Country! That picture was just some of what takes up space in the big sky.

After 4 states and about 9 hours, Ali and I arrived in Missoula for a wedding in which she is a bridesmaid. The wedding is on Sunday so we'll be here for a few days. Since our 2 year anniversary is on Monday, we're taking a slower journey home and stopping in Couer d'Alene, Idaho for a night.

So far it has been a great trip. The Colombia Gorge is as always wonderful. Eastern Washington reminded me of driving down I-5 in California—brown empty fields for miles. Idaho and Montana are green and mountainous and I can't wait to get back to the lake at Couer d'Alene. One of the best parts is driving 80 and only going 5 over the limit! :)


The iPod Mystique

I love my iPod. It is a great thing not to have to carry around my CD Library but just a small little device. It helps me block out distractions while I am studying, I can listen to sermons from my favorite preachers (Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Tony Campolo) on the road, and I can even get just the right play list ready for a youth retreat. Yes, the iPod is quite a nifty device.

But my friend Brian and I were talking about the iPod as a prize. You see, I filled out a survey for my school's Student Ministry department and by doing so have the chance to win one of two iPods. I helped lead some music at another youth group's all-nighter where they raffled off an iPod. At the Youth Specialties conference two years ago, every other booth was giving away a free iPod (probably 50 or more total). Thousands of online adds claim that you can win a free iPod.

Brian mused that no other product in history has ever been used to get us to come to events, fill out surveys, click on a link, and give our address and phone number to strangers more than the iPod has. And all of this in just the last few years! Way to go Apple.


It is done

Yes, your eyes did not deceive you. Your RSS reader accurately said that I posted again.

The past few months have been a rough go for my blogging. No, I haven't lost the itch to write. In fact, it's growing. Life has been busy and I spent time doing many other things, some of which I will get to in future posts, some, probably not.

But I write this post now to say that I had a strange experience today—A once-in-a-lifetime experience. I walked off the Multnomah Bible College campus today for the last time as an undergraduate student.

That's right, I took my last final, handed in my mail box key, grabbed my cap and gown and said goodbye. Sadly, my tassel says '07. That is only sad because my high school cap tassel says '97 and I am not a doctor.

Nevertheless, the day has arrived. I will not walk across the floor of a stage to receive my diploma, rather I will walk onto a stage in Salem to help lead worship for hundreds of middle school kids. Now that's exciting!

I'll have more to write later. Really! Thanks to all of those who put time, effort, trust and encouragement into this milestone in my life.


Free tour of the Holy Land

Okay, sorry I haven't posted in a while.

Want to take a tour of the Holy land, or all the places mentioned in the Bible? Want to do it for free? Well, offers a KMZ file for Google Earth that lets you look at all the discernible locations in the Bible. They even have a KMZ file that sorts out the locations by chapter! To download this file, go to and start your free tour.

HT to the Google Earth Blog.


Real Life

I had the great privilage in participating in our group's 30 Hour Famine this past weekend. We spent 30 hours fasting with 45 students to raise money for the poorest of the poor in our world who don't know when their next meal will be.

As part of the weekend, we took the students to the Real. Life. exhibit presented by Medical Teams International (formerly Northwest Medical Teams). MTI responds to disaster areas within 72 hours to provide basic needs and medical attention.Throughout the Real. Life. exhibit, you experience what real life is for much of our world. From man-made disasters, natural disasters, famines, and extreme poverty, pictures drawn by kids and scripture, you get an overwhelming sense of God's heart for those in need. You stand underneath a 25ft. tsunami wall with a sign telling you that in some places the tsunami waves were 75-90ft. tall.

You also walk through a Mexico dump where whole generations live, scavenge for food scraps and plastic or metal to sell. You learn of child abduction in Africa where children are taken and forced to become soldiers. It goes on and on.

While there is much tragedy, the exhibit also presents the hope of what is being done, and what you can do to help. You get a sense of where God is moving, and you want to join in.

As a church, about 150 of us went through the exhibit that day, so on Sunday we had a debrief instead of a message. One of my favorite lines that I learned from a 6th grader is that we won the birth lotto. Did I choose to be born here in such great wealth? No. I sure am glad I was, but to whom much is given, much is required. If you want to hear our debrief and the rest of the service, Right Click here and select 'save as' to hear the mp3.

It's exciting being part of a church and group of students who are seeking out the heart of God, seeing needs asking how can we meet them.

If you live in the Portland area, please go to the exhibit. It's well worth your time.


Stranger Than Fiction and our story

Spoiler warning. Don't read this post if you plan to see Stranger Than Fiction.

Jessica, Justin, Ali and I saw Stranger Than Fiction a couple of weeks back. (Actually now a month ago, but I started this post and got distracted. Yeah, I know, distracted for a couple more weeks? Hey, it's my blog) What a movie. For those who read this blog and are not quite yet out of their parent's homes, please note the PG-13 rating and my unofficial recommendation.

We meet Harold Crick, a employee of the IRS, who goes about living a mundane life, not doing anything out on a limb and not really living as viewed by the writer of the movie. He begins hearing a woman narrate his life exactly as it happens and finds out that his eventual death is around the corner. As Harold begins to "truly live," he seeks out why he hears this voice, and if he is truly going to die soon.

After much work, Harold tracks down the famous author who is a drama novelist, currently working on the script of Harold's story. She has written the end but it has not been typed up yet, meaning that Harold hasn't lived it yet.

While the interaction between the author and the character is quite interesting, Harold struggles with wanting to read his own ending. After a time, Harold decides to read the ending. He returns the story to the author and says that it's a good ending, and that she has to type it up.

Harold faces his heroic ending well. I'll let you watch that part yourself. But the part that kept on shouting to me was that we can—as people who know the Creator—know the ending. Whether it be our end, just a turn in the road, or the end of the whole story itself, we know the one writing the story. And because we can trust the writer, we can trust the future of the story.

So, mind the rating, see the movie, and feel the sense of trust in the writer of our story that Harold has in his. Continue to bring about His story now.


Great animation

I got quite a kick out of this movie entitled Animator vs. Animation - II, animated by Alan Becker.


Here Kitty Kitty

I thought I'd give you a fun photo journey in a typical day of our cat, "Misty."

No, she's not been partying all night long, but the toilet is her new favorite water dish. Yuck!

Misty enjoys watching the squirrels approach the window.

We have a plastic bin on our back deck which holds various BBQ supplies as well as our extra bird seed and peanuts for the birds and squirrels. One day, we noticed that they had chewed a hole through the top!

Here you can see a squirrel diving in the hole, eating seeds with its tail sticking out.

Sometimes when they reemerge, they have a peanut in their cheek. We just can't believe that with their extra winter weight, that they can fit through the small hole!

As much as I enjoy watching the squirrels, our cat freaks out!



What a day! Last week, the weather forecasters spent 3 long days predicting doom & gloom snow storms...and nothing. Last night, they began to say that we may see some snow today. Well, 3 1/2 inches later, I think we saw some snow!

Here are a few shots of the day. After relaxing in the morning, Ali, Annie and I walked about a three-quarter-mile to Starbucks and sat outside while drinking our coffee. It was beautiful. We saw cross-country skiers and even a snowboarder pulled by an ATV, all down Capitol Highway!

Afterward, we walked down to the bottom of 30th and watched various cars get stuck driving up the Highway. I just can't believe the timing of this snow. We took the youth group up yesterday for snowboarding and tubing on Mt. Hood. The roads were great, and the skies were clear. Thank God! You can check out Brian's blog for some pictures.

I'd just like to point out that I love snow!


Happy New Year!

Before I share my final thoughts on Winter Youth, I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope your celebrations were fun. Ali and I had a wonderful night with the Justin & Jessica eating fondue, playing games and watching the ball drop.

I also want to give a shout out to my Beavers who won their bowl game (unlike Dennis' Ducks).

And finally, Here's a link to the pictures of this year's Winter Youth trip. Make sure you visit Brian's blog for his reflections as well.