Christmas came early!!!

Obadiah and Malachi have wanted a puppy for so long! We thought about other pets since mommy and daddy have bad allergies but other pets never worked out. Turtles? Nope. Snakes? Daddy said yes, but mommy said no.
Then we went to a friends house a while back and visited with her Teacup Yorkie. It was so cute and we noticed that we weren't sneezing! We did a little research and found out that this breed is especially good for people who have allergy problems! The boys have had their heart set on a puppy and it broke our heart to hear them tell Santa at the mall that they really wanted a puppy but they knew they could never have one because of mom and dad's allergies so we knew they'd be super surprised when we brought him home!
He's a Yorkshire Terrier and his name is Ezra.

You should have seen the look on their faces! Check out the video below for the exact moment the boys met Ezra.


The Naked Gospel

I've been reading The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley which the Ooze Viral Blogger program sent to me and I've really been enjoying it. The idea behind the Naked Gospel is the truth of the gospel without all the trappings that we've added over the years. The description of the book says it like this: Jesus Plus Nothing. I LOVE THAT. It's an easy read and very thought provoking, and I believe, very honoring to Jesus and his intent for the "good news" of the gospel. It's not a theological handbook or anything like that, but if you are tired of the stuff we've added to following Jesus, or if you feel like maybe you'd like to read a book that reminds you about Grace, and the way that Jesus sees you I highly recommend this book.


Obadiah wrote a song!!!

Well, I've been super busy and I've been neglecting this blog. Life has thrown us a few curve balls and we've been playing catch up for a while. I've got a new job, and I've never been so busy. Time with my family has always been precious to me, and now it is unfortunately all too rare. Today is my day off so I took some time to hang out with the boys, and Obadiah let me know that he wrote a song on the piano. Obadiah and Malachi have been taking piano lessons and he was so excited to show me his creation! I asked him if I could sit in and jam with him and after a few practice sessions we asked Malachi to film our performance so that we could share it with you guys! So, without further ado, I present to you, "Summer Day".


Jesus Manifesto

I'm currently reading Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet, and Frank Viola. I received a pre-release copy from Thomas Nelson publishers and it's a pretty great book. I've read a few books by Frank Viola and I really appreciate his approach to Christian spirituality and his thoughts on the cultural trappings that we bring to the church. I've also read So Beautiful by Len Sweet and really love his writing style and the way he stretches my brain (he's deep). So, ever since I heard about their collaboration on this book I've been looking forward to reading it.

So far, I'm loving this book. It's full of great thoughts about the way we approach our faith and the way we relate to church, spirituality and the person of Jesus Christ. Their focus in this book is to show that we, as believers, need to re-focus on who we are following. Are we following a church? Are we following a Pastor? Are we following tradition? Or, are we following Jesus? Are we living a purpose driven life, or a person driven life?

The basic idea I'm getting from this book is Jesus, plus nothing. That's it. That's all we need. There are a few books out right now that are focusing on this theme, most notably Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley, and this one, Jesus Manifesto by Sweet and Viola. I'm incredibly hopeful that many people will read these books and center their lives around the one who gave us life.


Fred Phelps' son speaks out

Fred Phelps is the leader of the "God Hates Fags" group based out of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. His son, Nate Phelps is speaking out about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father as a young boy and about how he supports a new law going to the Supreme Court that would limit where and when the hate group could picket. Specifically, banning them from picketing the funerals of soldiers.
I've written about these hatemongers before and I hope this law gets passed. Sadly, I'm sure this interview will just throw more fuel on Fred Phelps' fire as I'm sure he'll use this clip as an argument that he's being persecuted. I'm sure he'll quote Matthew 10:35 "For I have come to turn a man against his father." but I wish Fred would read I John 2:9 "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness." and Luke 6:27, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."
There were commands in the Old Testament that Fred, and others like him use to justify their hatred but I wish they could grasp the fact that Jesus came to do away with those commands and give us a new one:

"A new command I give you: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:34-35



BONHOEFFER Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas is really, really great. This is a heavy book. Yes, the subject matter is serious, but I mean this book is heavy, like three pounds. Metaxas is so detailed in his description of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life that's it feels like you are reading every possible bit of information that could be found on him. Metaxas did all the work for us and wrote an amazing biography. This book covers Dietrich's upbringing, family life, spiritual formation, ministry and eventually his involvement in the plot to end Hitler's life and ultimately Bonhoeffer's execution.
Bonhoeffer's insistence that a spiritual life is a life fully lived, in service to God and others, not a life split into sacred and secular divisions seems especially relevant in a culture where we too easily fall into the trap of a lifestyle of consumption and compartmentalization.
I would definitely recommend this book. It was fascinating to read about this theological giant, and about the world he lived in, his thoughts on what it truly meant to be a follower of Jesus, and the struggles he dealt with as he saw the church sit idly by while evil men had their way.

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer


thank you Jesus

It's a tough time, financially. I'm looking for work and things are not going as I planned. Last night at about 11pm I went to turn off the porch light and saw that someone had left a card and 4 Easter eggs just outside the front door. The eggs had chocolate, and the card had $100 and said "love, Jesus".

Thank you Jesus.


Resurrection: Rob Bell from The Work of Rob Bell on Vimeo.

Every glimmer of good, every hint of hope, every impulse that elevates the soul is a sign, a taste, a glimpse of RESURRECTION.

Happy Easter!


A New Kind of Christianity

I’ve read several of Brian McLaren’s books before and I’ve always appreciated his humility, his genuine love for God, his generosity in dealing with people who believe differently and the approachability of his writing style. There have been several times though where I felt he was deconstructing and asking questions and leaving us, the readers, to find the answers. This has made for some great conversations around his books but I’ve also felt like I’d love to know the conclusions that he came to on these same topics.
I had heard that his newest book “A New Kind of Christianity” might be the book where Brian moves from deconstruction to constructing new ways of thinking for a new kind of Christianity so I was thrilled to receive my copy from the publisher and I jumped right in.
The book is based around ten questions whose answers Brian believes will shape the way that Christianity will move forward.
The chapters about the narrative arc of the Bible, and how we should read and interpret were fascinating. Brian talks about how many believers view the Bible as a constitutional document that we go to for “case law” in order to defend our actions, or condemn others, when the Bible is written as a library of poems, histories, parables, and letters.
The chapter about a moving from the view of a violent tribal God to a Christlike God was especially eye opening to me. It sounds like a no brainer but it was really an AHA moment for me when Brian talked about the fact that not only is Jesus like God, but God is like Jesus. Brian says it this way, “The Bible’s highest value is in revealing Jesus, who gives us the highest, deepest, and most mature view of the character of the living God.”
This book covers lots of ground, and not only theology, but practical, down to earth material that helps us visualize what these new ways of thinking mean to the way that we live out our everyday lives.
Overall I found this book to be very respectful and humble. I found Brian’s writing to be motivated out of a deep love for Jesus and the people who are trying their best follow Jesus. I can’t say I agree 100% with everything Brian has written but I really appreciate the way he makes me think long and hard about what I believe and why. This book can be very challenging at times, especially if you come from a church background, but I would encourage you to read it with an open mind, and ideally with a few friends that could read through it with you and discuss your thoughts along the way.


Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday... Is the first day of Lent. The first day of a season of self denial. It’s a day to remind ourselves to take our focus off of self and to refocus on Christ.

It is a day to "Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19)

It is a day to "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).

It is a day to "Repent, and hear the good news" (Mark 1:15).

The ash is made from the palm fronds of the prior year’s celebration on Palm Sunday. The ash is a symbol of ecstatic praise gone cold over the past year.

Palm Sunday represents praise and adoration, Ash Wednesday represents the knowledge that our adoration has turned to dust.

May the ash remind us that our praises turn too quickly to dust, and spur us to refocus our lives on Christ.


The Selfless Gene

I’ve always been intrigued when I listened in on conversations between Christians when they started talking about creation vs. evolution. I’ve heard impassioned and spirited debates from equally intelligent people on both sides of the argument. And they both seem to have some excellent points.

So, I was looking forward to reading Charles Foster’s book The Selfless Gene, living with God and Darwin. I have to say this was a hard book to get through. For one, I am not a highly educated man and much of the scientific talk was really hard for me to digest. I read through several of the chapters 2 or 3 times to make sure I was understanding what Foster was getting at. It was also hard to read because Foster is kind of belittling to young earth creationists and die hard Darwinians alike. His tone was more than a little off-putting. I was hoping for a more neutral perspective.

Having said that there are some very interesting points in this book and it made me think new, exciting, different thoughts.

CLICK HERE if you'd like to check it out yourself


Sex, Lies and Religion by Randy Elrod

I just finished reading Sex, Lies and Religion, Enjoying the Freedom of Unconditional Sexuality and I highly recommend it. I grew up in the whole church scene and sexuality was not something that was discussed openly.

This book is bringing the discussion out of the closet. Elrod proposes that all longings that we experience (including sexual longings) are deep cries from within reaching out towards God. It’s all interconnected. He also talks about the fallacy of separation of body and soul, how we tend to see the nourishment of the soul as sacred and the nourishment of the body as profane.

This book exposes the sexual politics at play in the church today in relation to women in leadership and points out that men and women are both, and equally, created in the image of God.

This book isn’t a sex manual, and it doesn’t get down the nuts and bolts description of the plumbing, but it does talk in depth about the emotional and spiritual component of sexuality that so many of us miss when we focus solely on the physical.

Elrod talks about the bedroom being a place of surrender and mutual respect, and not a place of control or manipulation. He writes, “In a kingdom where grace is the currency, there is no room for a language of control. The wonderful truth is that when we accept and enjoy what is true and beautiful—we are free. Free to give love, not spend lust. Free to share ourselves, not possess others. God is enthusiastically for all that we are as whole beings as we enjoy the freedom and communion of both soul and body.”

This book is challenging without being crass, and open, honest and direct without being lewd.

Sex, Lies and Religion is a breath of fresh air. God never intended for our sexuality to be a dirty little secret.

CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of Sex, Lies and Religion


This should be interesting

Bart Ehrman is the author who wrote the most widely used New Testament introductory text book, and now he writes about why he has stepped away from the faith.
This looks like it's going to be a challenge, but I really love books that challenge me, and make me think long and hard about why I believe what I believe.



...we gathered as a family and sang songs of praise to our Savior. We gathered at Granny's house and sang the songs that she has sung every Sunday since she was a little girl.

"All to Jesus, I surrender..."

"I stand amazed, in the presence, of Jesus the Nazarene..."

"Come thou fount of every blessing..."

"I walk through the garden alone..."

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..."

We sang and we cried. We cried a lot. We hugged and we kissed. We tried to pretend that it was a coincidence that we all showed up at Granny's house at the same time. We tried to pretend that none of us had heard the phrase "they just called hospice." We tried to just enjoy the time we had together. We tried to live in the moment. Fully alive.

Life is a gift. Embrace it. Every moment of it. It's all a gift.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, February 2nd, at 11:30am Melva Donaghy stepped from this life into the next. She will be missed but we have full assurance that she is in a better place and we look forward to that great celestial reunion.



I read through "A million miles in a thousand years" in 2 days. A world record for me. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I'm a huge Donald Miller fan, but this one really blew me away. This book is so inspirational, I feel like I'm ready to take on the world.
This time of year lots of people make resolutions and devote themselves to making themselves better, or making the world better and this is the perfect book to read to give you the motivation to do it.
CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER to get the book.

the Greatest Stories of the Bible

I've been looking through the "NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible" for the past few weeks. It's a compilation of the great stories of the Bible in storybook format. It's got all the great stories you remember from Sunday school in an easy to navigate format.
I kind of dig the storybook feel. In my home we like to read through the stories in the Bible with our boys before they go to bed. Having everything laid out in like that is really nice. However, I think the NKJV version is still a little old school as far as readability. I prefer the Message version for it's every-day English ease of use, but the organization of this version is really great.
It's a toss up, not sure which version to grab at story time...

Hawaiian Music

This weekend on the way to church the boys and I were listening to the radio and the DJ said the word "Ohana". Malachi asked "what does that mean?" Obadiah and I chimed in, "That's the Hawaiian word for family." To which Malachi replied, "Oh, Hawaiian!" Then started immediately singing, "Feliz Navidad!" with the biggest smile on his face! He was so excited that he knew a Hawaiian song!