Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ron Vandergriend

I just finished watching Granger's Mid Week service online. My friend Ron Vandergriend who I got to go to India with a couple of times taught - this is a service you don't want to miss.

Acceptance vs. Assimilation - Do people have to enter into our culture and our comfort zone before they can be saved? When another culture comes into our culture it makes us nervous. Christian churches in America get nervous when people who don't know how to "do church" come into their churches.

Viruses are caught, not taught - People don't try to get a virus, it just spreads. "Each one teach one" is not the best way for us to spread the news of Jesus. We need to go viral - spreading the news from person to person, church to church, country to country, and to the ends of the earth.

There is a connection between Faith and Fear - "If you have faith in the one who set the table, you have no reason to fear what goes on the plate." Fear is a barrier to acceptance, a barrier to faith.

Hear what Ron had to say HERE

Friday, March 28, 2008

Security Issues

Introducing the Quantum Sleeper - bullet-proof bedding that actually seals you inside to protect you from the dangers of "Bio-Chemical terrorist attacks," "natural disasters," "kidnappers or stalkers." I think these people have some security issues.

You know that saying your parents tell you about wild animals? "They're more scared of you than you are of them", well in this case I really believe it is true. If I were a burglar who had just broken into a house and I found some people sealed up in a bullet-proof bed, I would be very afraid of them and would run away.

HT: Boing Boing

Something to think about

I read this quote the other day from Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

When I read it, it made me think - think hard - about how I make people feel. Do people feel encouraged when they’ve been around me? Do they feel loved? Valued? Important? Listened to? Or do they feel overlooked and undervalued? Do they feel like they were an interruption to what I actually would have preferred to be doing instead of focusing on them?

I don’t think Jesus ever made someone feel insignificant. He was the master of the interruption opportunity. Think about the woman who touched him while he was on his way to see a dying friend named Lazarus. Jesus took time to talk to her, to cherish her, and to commend her faith. She went away healed, but I think she also felt valued.

HT: dinorizzo

When I read this today it really struck a chord in me - When people are around me do they feel like they matter to God? As a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, it's not just what I say or do, but whether I am a reflection of Jesus, shining His light in the darkness and seeing people the way He does.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Linear vs. Viral Communication

Jesus is Risen! It's the greatest news of all time!
Dad challenged the Easter Weekend crowds at Granger to spread the news - not just with linear communication, but by going viral! What if everyone didn't just tell one person, what if everyone told everyone?

To illustrate the point, the entire crowd played a mass SIMON game to Daft Punks version of "Harder, Better, Faster Stronger" which went viral as soon as the weekend services were complete. Check out the video below.

If you missed the weekend service, watch it HERE

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Blogiversary!

I just realized that today is my 2-year Blogiversary!

When I posted my first post two years ago I had no idea what I would write about. Now, looking back at over 628 posts I am so glad that I started this blogging adventure. Wa-hoo!

To those of you who read regularly - Thank you!
To those of you who link to me - Thank you!
To those of you who leave comments - Thank you!
To those of you who secretly lurk - Thank you!

I love you all.

I love sharing life with you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A wise man once said...

My dad is full of helpful, insightful tips for young people. He posted this list on his blog today and I thought I would share it with you.

"So I'll offer the following for my young friends. These thoughts may help you make good choices today so you are positioned for success tomorrow.

  1. Don't take your clothes off and take your picture. If your clothes are off take a shower.
  2. Don't write an email to your friends with the subject line, "For your eyes only." If you write an email assume it will be seen by everyone everywhere forever.
  3. Someone is taking your picture with their cell phone right now. Sit pretty. Stand up straight. Don't slouch. Head up. Chin down. Smile, you're on candid camera.
  4. If you want to win American Idol don't think flaunting your past as a male stripper will win you points with Simon. In fact, I suggest you avoid stripping altogether.
  5. Someone will surprise you in the future with these words, "Hi. I've heard all about you." Do what's right and you won't have to break into a free sweat while looking around for a quick exit. Your reputation always precedes you. You're under observation.
  6. If you plan to be a state governor avoid affairs, cheating, lying and betrayal. Sexual infidelity doesn't instill confidence.
  7. People are watching you and your friends. Those on surveillance assume you make decisions based on your values. You'll be associated with your associates. Maxwell was correct. "The people around you determine your level of success." They also effect your electability.
  8. It's a small planet. We're not trying to get away from "bad" people. We're trying to bring "up there down here" for all people. People are watching to see if that is what you are doing. Their trust and confidence will be established by what they observe. Live today so you'll have no regrets tomorrow.

If you've messed up, eroding your potential, don't despair. Instead, read Acts 3:19, confess your sins, repent and turn your feet toward Christ. Your next steps will enhance your credibility and increase your potential for consequential living.

Acts 3:19 says, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."

Read the entire post HERE

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let me introduce you to our Small Group!

Last weekend our small group from Ada Bible Church went up to Traverse City for a couple of days. We had such a great time laughing, eating, snowmobiling and getting to know our new friends a little better.
Eric and Amy (our bible study leaders) rented a place up on Long Lake and invited all 10 of us up for the night.

The lake was frozen - and Eric brought his snowmobile out there and showed us his tricks. Here he is riding a wheelie and going reeeeealy fast.

This is my friend Marjorie. She went to Hope too!
The Ladies: Sarah, Me, Marjorie, Kim & AmyThe Fellas: Andy, Ryan, Peter, Matt (and Eric should be in there too...)
Our group is so fun. This shot is very "Olan Mills" don't you think?
More Random Pics:

Guitar Hero Expert.

Meet Conrad, the Guitar Hero Legend of Dallas Baptist University.
...and you thought you were good at Guitar Hero. HA!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pop Goes The Church

My friend Tim Stevens has another book that you should read! His newest release Pop Goes The Church is not just creating buzz - it's helping change the way many churches are leveraging pop culture to engage the people around them.

You can read reviews, get more info and buy the book at

Get your copy TODAY!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Homeless Picture

Ryan calls me on his way home from work and says, "Amber! Guess What I bought from some homeless guys in the park?!?"

Yep, this GIGANTIC picture of some rocks in the ocean is now hanging beautifully in our tiny apartment. They asked him for $5 for it. Ryan gave them $10 and they gave him big hugs.
I love it! I think it looks like Iceland. What do you think Chris? Iceland? Iceland?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cowboy Church

I think this Cowboy Church is a great idea. Niche marketing is not just getting people through the doors of a church (or barn) who otherwise might never want to, it's going out into the world, meeting people where they are comfortable, and being Jesus with skin (or chaps) on.

Check out this article from the Denver Post:

"Cowboys are their own breed, but we're all more or less the same," Lipari said. "We all think our own way is the best way. Cowboy church fits my personality. It's laid back."

The church may be tailored for cowboys, yet ministers of the half dozen cowboy churches in Colorado report that more than half in attendance are city folk who just like cowboy culture or are seeking a return to rural roots.

In Colorado, the largest cowboy churches have a few hundred congregants, among them the Cowboy Church, where Lynette and Darin Gleghorn minister to 300 to 400 people in an indoor horse arena, northwest of Greeley, near Eaton.

"When Jesus was here he went to the seashore, the hillsides, and he met people where they were living and working," Orr says. "Cowboy church does the same thing."

The great insight of modern church marketing is that it is the women who want to go. Men don't," Twitchell said. "Anything that smacks of masculinity, like cowboy church or motorcycle church, has a real advantage."

For example, Pastor Larry Smith's congregation near Pueblo was dwindling when three years ago he renamed it the Wild West Cowboy Church, painted murals of ranch scenes on the walls and organized group horseback rides. Since then, the congregation has more than doubled to over 300, he said.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Paper Cuts

I absolutely LOVE the stories that artist Peter Callesen tells with nothing but glue and a single sheet of paper.

"Traces in the Snow" (above) is my favorite!

Check out more of his work HERE!"I find the A4 sheet of paper interesting to work with, because it probably still is the most common and consumed media and format for carrying information today, and in that sense it is something very loaded. This means that we rarely notice the actual materiality of the A4 paper. By removing all the information and starting from scratch using the blank white 80gsm A4 paper as a base for my creations, I feel that I have found a material which, on one hand, we all are able to relate to, and which on the other hand is non-loaded and neutral and therefore easier to fill with different meanings. The thin white paper also gives the paper sculptures a fragility which underlines the tragic and romantic theme of the works." Peter Callesen

Monday, March 10, 2008


This is Bo and Emma. They are my sister's Valentines Day presents from John and they are unbelievably cute and squirrel-like.

Mom, Dad and Angela came up to Grand Rapids to have dinner with Ryan and I after work tonight. I love being close enough that my family can drive up to spend a couple of hours with us.

Angela's hubby John couldn't come because he is currently with this guy and this guy driving an RV on a 5,000 mile road trip across the country to check out awesome youth ministries. They're calling it "The Bucket List Tour" You can get some up-to-the-minute road trip updates on DC Curry's blog. We miss you John!
Thanks for visiting guys! We love you!

How to Break a Glass With Your Voice

Has anyone else ever wondered how to break a glass with their voice? I bet my sister-in-law Sarah could do it.

Click HERE to find out!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend Reflections

I am having a flashback from when Ryan was in Med School. We don't have any ink left in our print cartridges at we are at the secret library at the hospital so Ryan can get his work done.

We had a good weekend.
  • Our friends Bryan and Michelle came to visit from Chicago.

  • Friday night we had dinner at The Green Well (one of our new favorite places to eat in Grand Rapids). Eating there gives us hope for Michigan's economy. Its a new place that just opened about 6 months ago and it is PACKED every night of the week.

  • The sun was shining on Saturday - which makes everything in life seem better. This winter has been one of the worst I can remember. Im not sure if that is because it actually WAS a more terrible winter than typical, or if its because I tend to block painful things from my memory bank and have forgotten about every other winter of my life.

  • We went out for Sushi with Joel and Faye on Saturday night - and as you know, I would eat sushi every meal of every day if I could.

  • This morning we went to the 9:30 service at church...but when we got there we found out it was actually the 9:15 service - which meant we were late. I hate being late. They've been doing a series called "How We Grow" and going through the verse in 2 Peter that talks about adding to your faith Goodness, Knowledge, Self-Control, Perseverance, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness and Love. Its been a good series. I have been inspired to re-read Richard Foster's "The Celebration of Discipline"

  • After church we had some lunch at our house with Bryan and Michelle before they headed back to Chicago. We miss them. We have a lot of fun together.

  • To top off the greatness of the weekend I took a little nap this afternoon. Awesome.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Scheduled Emergency

When I got home from work last night there was a message on our answering machine. I pressed play and continued walking down the hall to hang up my coat.

"Hi Amber, This is Kathy from Dr. Patel's office. Dr. Patel will be having an emergency next Thursday so we are going to have to reschedule the appointment that you had scheduled..."

...will be having an emergency? Thursday? it still considered an emergency if you know about it a week in advance?

Remind me to plan some emergencies in the future.

Also, remind me that booking a check up at the dermatologist three months in advance will not ensure that you will actually have the appointment.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Flannel-Graph Jesus and Spandex

Yep, that's my dad with a proper flannel-graph! This weekend at Granger the message was titled "Tight Like Spandex" and harkens back to the days of Hair Bands, Leg Warmers, and Rainbow Bright Dolls. They're in the middle of their "I Love the 80's" series and this weekend's service is a MUST WATCH! Check it out HERE or at

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The sun is here again!

Yesterday was the first ray of sunlight we've seen around here for many looooong months. Ryan took full advantage of the situation and went for a run. He had to run through the snow most of the way, but it was sunny people! SUNNY!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Link Love

I follow quite a few blogs...just because they aren't all in my sidebar doesn't mean I'm not reading. I have become a HUGE fan of my Google Reader. It's so awesome. New posts come to me instead of me spending time going out to check for new posts!

So, here's who I read. If you have suggestions on people I should be reading, leave me a comment!

My Family: Mark Beeson, Chris Cox, Sarah Cox

Peeps from Granger: Rob & Michelle, Mark & Kem Meyer, Tim Stevens, DC Curry, Butch Whitmire, Mark Waltz, Lisa DeSelm, Lindsay Wasik, Todd & Jami, Angie Qualey, Ruby Moyer, Katie Holt, Becky Callendar, Kathy Guy, Dan Vukmirovich, Jeff Myers, Kristin Baker, Kyle Sagarsee, Mandy Conforth, Corey Mann, J Aquila, Elizabeth Keim

Friends from Hope: Matt, Jessica, Luke & Lindsey, Noel & Heidi, Jen Wolthuis, Bryan & Michelle, Bill & Elizabeth, Letecia Dykema, Mindy Denning, Tara Foreman, Colleen Stickl, Tim & Brooke Keeler

Other Friends: Heather Hammond, Kris & Joanna, Heather Stevens, Sarah Fisel, Sean & Kelli, Sharon Hughes, Mike, Kate

Ministry/Business Betterness: Judy Gregory, Tim Schraeder, Mark Batterson, Pete Kim, Todd Rhodes, Jenn Collins, Anne Jackson, Carlos Whittaker, Jon Laberdia, Tony Morgan, Neil Greathouse, Scott Ginsberg, Scott Hodge, Seth Godin, Terry Storch, Prodigal Jon,

Photo Guru's: Daley Hake, Dustin Bryson, Blur,

Other good reads: Dwight Schrute, Jessica Hagy, Heather Armstrong, Natalie, Michelle's Mom, Michelle's Sister, Nic & Jen

p.s. I just won the "most links within a single post" contest.

Happy Birthday Papaw! I Love You!