Something New is Coming

Ok, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. In 2011 one of my goals is to write more. I love to write. I love to read. It helps me process. I like to make people laugh and think. I like to hear your feedback. I like to talk about things you like to talk about.

So. This blog will be changing. New layout, new style, more posts, more community. More feedback. I want to be a part of a community of people. You. So, this week, pay close attention. Things are changing.

Change is good. Be ready. See you soon.

andy ::

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You Should Read This Book

Even though I haven’t been super consistent on my posting to this blog, my passion for reading and writing hasn’t really changed. I had the opportunity to get an early read on Mike Foster’s new book Gracenomics and I love it.

Grace as always been a fascinating concept to me. I’ve always prayed this prayer, “God, allow the grace you show to me become a motivating factor in my life to not live the same way I’ve always lived.”

As the co-leader of a movement called People of the Second Chance, Mike’s take on grace is very similar. If we extend grace, not only will it create the potential for change in others, but it will change us. It will drive us to realize the things we are so quickly to point out in others are simply hiding behind a different mask in our own hearts.

When we show grace to others, it allows that same grace to extend to us, driving us to be different, better people than we were before.

People who don’t show grace become angry. Angry people become loners. Loners become bitter. When the subject of grace comes up to a bitter person, they become cynical.

I have a lot of friends who are avid gamers, in almost every game, you get restarts. There are checkpoints, magic potions to give you the tools you need to overcome the most difficult of “boss levels.” Grace is like a checkpoint through life. We take steps, we take hits, we feel hurt, we inflict wounds, we succeed, we fail, but there is always a checkpoint of grace not far away.

Read this book, embrace grace.

Grace is an art, not a science. Run after it, create it, chase it, make it.

For a great start, read Mike Foster’s Gracenomics.

You can buy it here.

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Changing Habits

They say the magic number for changing a habit is 21. 21 times and you can change a bad habit to a good habit… or God forbid, a good habit to a bad one.

You can change your eating habits in 21 days, you can change your sleep habits in 21 days, you can change your exercise habits in 21 days. I’m not convinced that it always takes 21 or that it will automatically stick after 21, but that seems to be the magic number.

Obviously, repetition is the key, you have to do something over and over and over for it to become a habit. Or, if you want to break one, you have to do the OPPOSITE over and over and over again.

But to simply “do something different” isn’t really the point is it?

We don’t eat less tasty foods because we WANT to eat less tasty foods. We tend to put down the Oreos and go for the banana or grab a bottle of water instead of the Pepsi because we want something else.

We want to be thinner, more energetic, or just overall a bit healthier. So the point of a habit being changed isn’t really about doing something different. It’s about being something different. Which means it takes more than just action to make a change.

We have to change the way we think. If you want to be thinner, you don’t just start eating different, you should educate yourself on why your bad habits are in fact, bad habits. Then from their, your mind changes and you start to eat less tasty things because you realize the benefits are much greater than the small sacrifice of flavor (because after all, when you know what you’re eating is going to help you live longer, it eventually starts to taste better automatically).

The Bible puts it this way in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

See, it’s not about what we do, but rather how we think.

I have some bad habits, that can really negatively effect my life – both in the short and long term. But I refuse to allow my bad habits dictate my future. So, won’t you join me in changing your mind about some of these things.

Together, we can change our minds and thus or habits for the benefit of all of those closest to us.

Think about it.

andy ::

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Are there any web addresses available?!

Ok, I need some help.

We are preparing to develop and launch a website for Refuge. Since it is 2010 and everybody and their mother has a website, and some even have websites for their animals as well, it’s hard to get a good web domain name. So, I am going to go ahead and throw a few ideas your way and see what you think.

*Small Disclaimer* The final decision will be left up to me and few others on the Refuge team, but I would LOVE some insight into domain names that are catchy and easy to remember.

So…. here we go. These are the web domains we are currently considering:






If you can think of anything else that jumps out, let us know! Who knows?! You’re web domain idea could be selected… (we’ll give you credit of course!)



andy ::

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“But what about..?.?”

When I was a kid I used to justify everything I did by what others did and said. If I wasn’t allowed to do something, my most used argument to my parents was “…but Adam is allowed to do it, why can’t I!?” (Or whatever name fit best at that time). For some reason I thought that by telling my parents what another 7 year old was allowed to do they would somehow realize their faulty reasoning and miraculously change their mind. Needless to say, they never reacted the way I wanted. They never once said, “Oh, really? I didn’t realize Adam’s parents let him do it, that’s better then, we’re wrong, you and Adam are right, you go right ahead.”

They would instead respond with something along the lines of “Well, you’re not Adam are you?” or “Well, when Adam’s parents are your parents, you can do that, but as long as we’re you’re parents, you can’t.” My mom and dad were and still are smarter than me, obviously.

It’s interesting because we do this as adults too, don’t we? Somebody else gets a big promotion or gets engaged or gets a new car and we start asking ourselves what we’re doing (or not doing) that keeps us from getting all the good stuff everybody else seems to be getting. Maybe I’m the only one who does this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you know what I’m talking about.

It’s funny to think about the things that “grown-ups” get upset over, it’s really the same stuff we used to get upset over when we were kids, except now it’s over “big-kid” stuff: jobs, cars, spouses, houses, etc… Same jealousy, same envy, different topic.

In the book of John in the Bible we see this same exact thing happening, though with higher stakes. In chapter 21, Jesus is asking Peter, “Do you love me?” Remember Peter was the one who denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion. Jesus asked Peter 3 different times “Do you love me?” each time Peter answers in the affirmative. After the third time, Jesus tells Peter:

“I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.

What Jesus was doing here was telling Peter how he was going to die. He was going to be crucified. Can you imagine the emotion that must’ve shot through Peter’s mind?

-You’ve experienced the deepest devastation known to man by watching the one you believed to be the Savior of the world killed right before your very eyes.

-Went through three agonizing days of wondering what happens next, fearful for your life holed up in a one bedroom house with a bunch of other people trying to figure out how to survive is this new violent world.

-Then, Jesus raises from the dead, shows himself to you and calms your fears, forgives you for denying him… what joy!!!

-Only to then be told that you will be killed because you follow him. What!?

After Peter hears this, he turns back to another disciple walking with them, John. He looks at John and asks Jesus, “What about him?” Basically saying, is he going to be killed too?

Peter is doing the same thing we do, “What about such-and-such?” If it happens to me, it should happen to them too right??

Jesus response is profound.

Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.”

Jesus basically said what my parents have said to me and your parents have probably said to you. “Don’t worry about anybody else, worry about yourself and what you’re supposed to do.”

I have a problem with this sometimes. I tend to get caught up in what is happening in other ministries, with other youth pastors, constantly comparing myself to their success or attendance. Which is silly. Because God has called me to something. Something specific. Something profound. Something other people will benefit from, but only if I focus my attention on following Jesus. Following Jesus means looking straight ahead at the direction He is going, following in his footsteps the way I used to follow my dad’s deep footprints in the snow, hopping from one gaping footprint to the next, I didn’t look to the right or left. I looked at where my dad had been and where he was going.

I want to do that with Jesus. Not get distracted by what’s happening on the right or the left, or behind me, but focus all of my attention on what’s right in front me: Jesus. Those big footprints that lead the way.

Where can you do better at this?

andy ::

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This Image Really Bothers Me

I’m a Cavs fan.

I’m a LeBron fan. What he can do on a basketball court is simply breathtaking and amazing.

This image bothers me because of what it represents.

Cavs fans have always been known for their passion and loyalty. Which means when they feel betrayed or let down, they turn that passion into obsession… obviously in an unhealthy way. (If you can remember the beer bottle incident with the Cleveland Browns, you’ll understand what I mean).

Lebron James is a man, with a family, and a desire. A desire to win.

On a smaller scale… a much smaller scale (I’ve never left 30 million on the table and crushed the hopes of an entire city), I undersatnd him. I have made decisions that have let people down. I’ve said no in a way that has hurt people. I’ve said yes in ways that have hurt still other people. It is impossible to please everybody all the time.

I’m glad Lebron didn’t leave for money. It’s almost sickening how much money these guys get paid anyway, but I get it. It’s big business. He left because he wants to win. Can he win in Cleveland? Yes. Just not as quickly as he would like. Fair enough.

Will he win in Miami? Absolutely. If everybody stays healthy, he’ll have a ring within 3 years, easy. And multiple ones after that.

I’m glad he was honest. It was clear leaving Cleveland isn’t easy for him. He knows what he’s doing to the city.

The people who have lived through the fumble, the shot, the drive, Art Modell, now have to deal with “the decision.” It will probably go down as the second biggest let down in Cleveland sports history behind Modell selling the Browns.

But, burning jerseys? I have three worthless Lebron James’ jersey’s in my closet right now. But I’m not going to burn them. I don’t want to see Lebron burn. I’m not interested in seeing him fail. As a matter of fact, I actually hope he wins some championships. I hope he looks back over his career and life with little regret.

I’m 6 months older than he is. I can’t imagine what he went through trying to make this decision. I really do not want him to fail.

I’m sad.

I’ve lost some motivation to put any effort into sports for a while.

I really don’t want to hear anymore analyzing over this whole issue.

I’m “decisioned” out.

But I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad it’s off his chest.

I’m gonna be honest. At some point, I will probably have a Lebron James Heat jersey in my possession. I will still pull for my Cavs over anybody else, but Lebron is an Ohioan.


Thanks for 7 exciting years of great basketball. Good luck in Miami. I hope you’re regret-free and you get what you’ve chased for so long. Remember where you came from, you’ve got a fan in me.


Can we keep the jersey burning to a minimum? It’s a little sad and ridiculous, we’ve got enough stuff to deal with. Let’s not add “crazy fanatics” to the list of reasons people want to stay away from Cleveland.

NBA season 2010-11 will be exciting.

Ok… I’m off to bed now. I believe I’ve finished my rant. For now.

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It’s Risky

I never like talking about things that EVERYBODY is talking about because I feel so cliché, but I can’t not talk about this.

It’s risky, because there are literally millions of people that are digesting what this post covers.

I’m talking about LOST and the, shall we say controversial season finale last night.

*If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t read on until you do. Spoilers may follow*

I have to talk about it, because it’s all over the place and I personally love the show.

I started watching LOST in the second season. I borrowed the season 1 DVD and then caught up by the end of season 2. I’ve been a faithful viewer ever since. The writing, the acting, the story, the mystery, the movie-like suspense in a one hour prime-time drama have always kept me satisfied (which is good since the story itself always left me wanting more).

There are two different takes on last night’s series finale. It’s been building up all season and last night was either going to leave you satisfied and complete or frustrated and confused. I’m in the first group. I’m extremely satisfied. Even inspired. I thought the finale was nothing short of artistic brilliance.

I’m not overly invested in the characters, nor do I carry a high emotional connection to the fictional people we have been watching for the past 6 years, but I do love a good story. I believe we can learn a lot from a good story. I believe we can find ourselves in the midst of a story that moves us. I think LOST delivered that in spades.

At it’s very core, LOST is a show about the battle between good and evil and the power of love to overcome the greatest of obstacles. (Seriously, a married couple overcame being literally decades apart, among other things.) I love the finale because good and evil finally came face to face after a tango, cat-and-mouse game for the past umpteen episodes. There was a moment when you thought good was just going lose and we would have to find a way to pick up the pieces of what was left and find a way to be satisfied.

Life is like that a lot of the times, isn’t it? We want things to work a certain way, then they don’t. We’re let down. Disappointed. Depressed. Hoping we can salvage enough left overs to put together something resembling happiness and satisfaction only to be let down by the result.

LOST painted that picture last night. Except good didn’t lose the ultimate battle. It made sacrifices, it overcome obstacles, but it didn’t lose. Good won. Love won. Community won. Relationships won. They survived.

Another reason I loved the finale last night was for the imagery of the “after life.” There was joy, love, freedom from fear, freedom from regret and freedom from depression. There was community, wholeness, happiness and peace. Broken relationships were forged back together. Love won… again.

Obviously real life is much different than a scripted, controlled, edited prime-time drama and to think otherwise is childish, not to mention dangerous. But it doesn’t change the fact that we can learn something from the story.

There is a battle between good and evil. It takes love to conquer our obstacles. We will make sacrifices and suffer defeat and sadness. But it’s not over. There is hope. We can chase the light. And we are all a part of the story. We’re not just spectators. We have a role to play.

That’s the story of LOST.

That’s the story of our lives.

And dare I say, that’s the story of GOD.

I’m writing this post as a completely satisfied LOST fan. Satisfied with the story, satisfied with the ending. I’m also writing this as an inspired LOST fan. Glad to see a great story come to a great ending with motivation to engage in the lives of others in order to bring light to their lives.

Call me a geek if you like.

You won’t see me arguing. But you will see me chasing the light.

Your thoughts on last night’s finale?

andy ::

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