It’s that time of year to celebrate the holidays.  That is why my posts are favoring videos and pictures these days.  Hopefully you won’t mind one more picture and a look into our home. 

Kristin and I have a running “conversation” about Christmas trees.  I grew up in a family where you get a fun ornament every year so I have quite a collection.  Kristin doesn’t like my ornaments though; she thinks a tree should only have pretty glass ornaments and things that are red and gold.  The problem has been that Kristin didn’t have any ornaments that satisfied her own rules and our tree has been dominated by my all American collection.  All that changed last Christmas knowing we would take possession of our house n the new-year.  I bought her a nice big tree on Craig’s lists and we hit up the clearances last January to get ornaments. 

Now that we are in the house and we have two living spaces for the first time ever, we have two trees.  I was nice and gave my lovely wife the tree on the main floor in her stuck up “sophisticated” decorating style and I get to have my tree in the basement complete with Ninja Turtles, Bart Simpson, and I Love Lucy ornaments.  My wife has yet to put up this tree that she needed, but I put my tree up before thanksgiving, just to bother her.  Here is a pic of my tree and me. I took it far away so critics couldn’t analyze it too much.



As I mentioned in the past I have the privilege of being apart of the blog tour for my friend Kary Oberbrunner  and his new book coming out December 5th;The Fine Line.





For more info on the book check out some early endorsements (more to follow).

If you don’t know much about Kary or The Fine Line, you can check out these videos

Kary’s video Bio

The Fine Line Teaser

The Fine Line Extended Version


I have shared before that I didn’t have cable growing up and still don’t, so I learned to think that shows like the Billboard Awards and the American Music Awards were a big deal because it was the only nights of the year that I could feel like I had MTV.  Now I love those shows because unlike the Grammy’s where you don’t know who will win, because they don’t even consistently pick talent over newbies or vice versa, these awards are just shameless pop culture gatherings for TV ratings.  Ok sometimes I suspect that these awards just go to Dick Clark’s favorites, but I can’t prove it and he has pretty good taste anyway.  So without further delay here are my thoughts from the American Music Awards tonight.

  • I missed the first half hour because I had an indoor soccer game.  Yes I scored a goal, thanks for asking.
  • Jimmy Kimmel is funny.  I would love to emcee a music awards show…oh the jokes.
  • Kanye gave a classic kanye-esque speech.  “They say that things in every industry are supposed to get better with each generation.  Computers get smaller and faster but when someone says they wanna be the next Elvis, they say you are crazy.  Well, I wanna be the next Elvis.”
  • I can’t decide if I care about Leona Lewis.  I hated her first single “Bleeding Love”, but like the follow up. She has a good voice but doesn’t seem to have much “it” factor.  I guess if she keeps buying good songs from other people she will be fine.
  • Miley Cyrus turned 16 today.  She can afford a personal driver so it doesn’t even matter.
  • How can people like Kanye and Brad Paisley just be winning their first AMA’s? Who was winning these things?
  • Just like I have written before…I don’t care about Coldplay.
  • I knew Mariah Carey broke the record for most #1’s, but I didn’t know she had the record for most time spent at #1 too.  She could totally beat Leona Lewis up in a street fight.
  • I should have a fan blow my hair when I am on stage like Mariah.
  • If I have a daughter I want her to be like Alicia Keys without the weird jewelry hanging from her hair to the center of her forehead.
  • Did Rihanna look arrogant to anyone else? I am just a Beyonce fan looking for something wrong with her I guess.
  • The Fray are good. Is that the first time someone has played a Grace College chapel and the AMA’s?
  • Is it a stretch for me to think that Beyonce’s song “Single Ladies” is biblical?  If guys like it they should put a ring on it.
  • The other Pussycat Dolls don’t even pretend to sing.
  • If the Jonas brothers ever get as good as they think they are, they will conquer the Earth.
  • Natasha Bedinfield is cool. Did you know that she has written large amounts of Hillsong albums?
  • Rihanna was ok, but it is weird when someone is milking the 6th single off an album.
  • I didn’t know Sarah McLachlan was stll alive.  Looks like no one else did either. I am sure her record company paid to get her on the show and they still made her sing with Pink.
  • What is up with good-looking girls like Rihanna, Pink, and Megan Fox getting tats like dudes?
  • How come when Chris Brown and Rihanna win awards they avoid each other even though the world knows they are dating and they are sitting next to each other.
  • Artist of the year….Chris Brown!  I want him to continue to get more and more famous since I have met him.  I want him to be a cultural icon. I am just that selfish.
  • I was thinking the Alicia Keys song to end the night on was a flop, but than I see Queen Latifah is rapping again? That makes me think it is 1994 again and all is well.
  • It was only a matter of time because you can’t tell me anyone bought her singing albums(s)…oh wait they ruined it again by bringing out some opera lady I or no one else have ever heard of.
  • Well they are over….and I care too much.  See you next at the Billboard Awards!


I listened to a catalyst podcast the other day with an interview that Ben Arment (who in a separate side conversation is one of the nicest, genuine guys I have met in a long time) did of Steven Furtick. 

In the interview Steven talked about how honor is a lost art these days.  He said that we need to honor people and talked about the culture of honor he wants to see in his church.  A culture where a pastor is honored as a shepherd but at the same time doesn’t live in an ivory tower and returns the honor shown him to those around and under him.

It was a good listen for a guy like me coming up in the game.

I couldn’t help but think of the constant tension of being someone who others want to honor and elevate and yet being humble.  The tension of being someone who is no more spiritual or religious but also wants and needs to be a recognized leader.

This is definitely something I am still trying to work through. I am not crazy about the title pastor before my name.  My name is Mark.

I like to think that relationship, influence and vision can make you recognizable as you lead, but I see both sides.  I wonder if letting others honor you humbly is your way of being humble with honor as you lead?


            Would your community be any different if your church disappeared tomorrow? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever considered it with others at your church? If you church suddenly disappeared could the community even recover? Or would they go on as though nothing at all had changed?

            What is happening at your church that is worth talking about? When people leave your service, are they thinking about the emails they need to send and the football game they want to watch-or are they thinking deeply about their own choices and how they might make a difference in someone’s life this week?

Tim Stevens, (excerpt from his book Pop Goes the Church)


My wife and I are weird (insert your own funny joke here).  We grew up without cable AND we don’t have it now.  People usually think I am kidding when I tell them that or think that our rabbit ears on top of our television are just a joke.

Part of it is being a poor pastor, and part of it is living within our means (this crazy concept I am stuck on) but more than that we don’t want it to own us.  We had free cable in student housing while I was in seminary and all we did was watch TV 5 hours a night.  Before you go thinking I am amish, we have high speed Internet so I still get to watch ESPN highlights and Rob and Big episodes which is enough for me.  I know many friends who pick cable over the internet but I am the opposite.

Yes, there are times when I want to fall asleep on my couch watching Colbert Report and NBA Fast Break, but I have committed not to….for now.

More and More, I have realized that I am operating under an old paradigm where all the good shows are still on “free TV” on the major networks.   That is no longer the case. I think I will only get to watch 5 Buckeyes games in my own house this year.  First it was the NBA and baseball playoffs that migrated to Cable counterparts and now today’s’ announcement that the BCS games including the title game are not on local TV.

I am sensing the day I will cave in.  I don’t’ want to deny my children the joy of all American moments and sports classics. If March Madness gets bought out from CBS, or if The Housewives take their desperate game (PRE-syndication) to TBS it might be the tipping point.

So there you have it my friends, that is the kind of stuff that real men think about at 10pm at night.


I have wanted to do this post for a while. In the course of life when I walk around, meet people, and see pics on facebook, I am constantly thinking “man that person sure looks like _________ (fill in the blank celebrity)!

Some of these look-a-likes have been pointed out before and are not original to me. 

Others are being called out for the first time.  Either way I just cannot hold this post in any longer and want to share it with the world.  I do not mean to offend anyone if I say you remind me a celebrity that you think is ugly, or evil. It might be one thing like your smile or hair or it could be your persona or swagger.  Know that this was done in fun and with a light heart.

I can’t find pictures of ever individual looking exactly like the other to back up my theory, but at some point I have seen pictures of the famous person or the other in person that can support my claims…I did my best!

You might have to zoom your browswer in to see the pic.

Without further delay…




Haven’t blogged much this week and it seems to me the only way to catch up is to have a good old mind dump session.

  • HSM was down last night.  Every year there is that point where the fall momentum falls off and it was last night.  Time to weather the storm.
  • I am supposed to take a spiritual day away once a quarter. I am not always the best at making it happen, but the Monday before thanksgiving it is going down.
  • I am going to spend some time reading the bible, a book yet to be decided, singing some worship, and maybe even trying to write a little worship music too.
  • Our friends Travis and Vanessa are coming to visit tomorrow. 
  • Malachi’s two teeth finally poked through…and he is sleeping better than ever.
  • Getting the chance to lead worship once a month on Sundays…I am excited
  • Is it bad that I like the new Beyonce song “Single Ladies”?
  • The Kary Oberbrunner blog tour is sweeping the country.  Check out his new blog.