Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goofing Off!

Last night Cynthia and I went to the grocery store for no good reason. We were a bit bored after one week on vacation so we went to pick up some peanuts and popcorn. I never knew grocery stores sold tennis balls, but this one did, maybe that's 'point-of -purchase' strategy in Florida. Of course we got a movie and looked at all the delicious ice creams and decided to pass (although I think I am hooked on Ben & Jerry's 'Cherry Garcia' frozen yogurt) and just cruised the aisles laughing and joking about everything & everyone we saw. We had so much fun! It was like we were in high school and had nothing to do. She challenges me in so many ways that make me better, but last night was all about the jokes and mindless time spent with my very best friend in the world.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Letter from a friend....

I have been tweeting and directing people to this website for the last week or so. Rob Fuille from Austin, Texas (Fuel) is undergoing a very sensitive and serious treatment for stage iv testicular cancer. Rob is 26. The following letter is from Josh Cameron, a friend of mine from SGC and Rob's brother-in-law.

My friends,

I was hoping you could disseminate some information about Rob to
Southgate. I don't know how you usually do it but most people we speak
to don't quite seem to understand the situation (sorry, it is kinda

Robert was diagnosed with well advanced stage
IV testicular cancer in
February and underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. The treatment was
effective in significantly shrinking his tumors but was ultimately
unsuccessful at curing the disease. The tumors in his liver and lungs
are now growing rapidly again. The aggressiveness of Rob's cancer has
surprised even his physicians in
Austin, TX. The only option now
available is two rounds of high-dose chemotherapy at the world
Indiana University testicular cancer program in Indianapolis.
In order to help Robert survive the aggressive chemo, he will receive
transplants of his own stem cells (harvested last week) after each

Rob is married to my sister Aimee and they have two ridiculously cute
little girls and a boy on the way. The
chemotherapy drugs are very
toxic and Aimee cannot be with Robert at any time while she is
pregnant. She and the girls are in
El Paso, TX with my mom and dad
waiting for her September 7th due date. Robert's second dose of chemo
will probably be about that same time. After their son is born Aimee
will still have to wait a week or two before seeing Rob. She and the
children are planning on moving to Louisville, KY (about 90 min from
Indianapolis) to live with my other sister Sara during Robert's
lengthy recovery. Needless to say, it is very difficult for them to be
apart during the treatment and the birth of their first son.
Fortunately, Robert's brother
Joe will be able to pursue independent
study credits
this semester and can therefore live in Indianapolis
with Rob. Additionally, my "unique" job situation is also allowing
Shauna and/or I to be with him many days each week.

Robert and Joe were with us at church last Sunday when Edgar asked the
congregation to pray about our situation. I think very few people,
including Edgar, were aware that Rob was in the room. That made the
obvious outpouring of support and prayer even more powerful to us.
That experience, and many other examples of care from many of you at
Southgate have been overwhelming to Robert and to Shauna and I. That
you should care so deeply for a man who is connected only peripherally
to our community has been very moving. It is probably the most
beautiful expression of what the brotherhood of Christ can be that I
have ever experienced. Please keep praying for Robert and Aimee and
our families, some of the hardest parts of this struggle lay ahead.

Please keep them all in your prayers.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Holiday Book List

God is Back! By Micklethwaite and Wooldridge
Outliers By Malcolm Gladwell
How the Mighty Fall By Jim Collins
The Blue Parakeet By Scot McKnight
Hopeful Imagination By Walter Brueggemann

She's a beast!

That is a compliment, BTW. My wife, Cynthia is a beast (the good kind)! I realized it today as we were on a bike hike in Florida along the gulf coast west of Panama City Beach. As we rode westward from our house in Carrillon Beach the rains came. It was tempting to turn around, but instead we took a short break under some shelter in a nearby village and waited for the storm to pass. As we started back up the rains came again, but by then we were nicely soaked and kept going....and going. We were on a 'roll'! She insisted we get to Watercolor even when we discovered it was not the place we thought it was. We were going to WATERCOLOR, because that's what we said we were going to do. We finally stopped there for a coffee soaking wet, and about 13 miles from our house.

Still raining and with a long ride ahead, she turned on the jets and really rode hard through mud puddles, wet sand and up hills. She even took a spill trying to avoid a huge water hazard and fell on the street. I felt awful! I had to drag her off the street to keep her from getting hit by a car. She rubbed her bony, bloody elbow jumped on her bike and took off again. She may be the most determined person I know. I am thinking to myself, "How many women would tough this out? How many guys?" Not sure, but my woman does! Twenty-six miles in the rain.... she is a beast! I am impressed by her resolve and tenacity (driven by her character) to fulfill her promises, big or small. She has re-invented herself since she turned 40. She's way more active and healthy than ever before. She continues to generously demonstrate the charity and kindness of Jesus to those she encounters wherever she goes. I am proud I married this woman almost 23 years ago. She's my little 'beast.'

Friday, August 14, 2009

Here come the Irish!

2009 Notre Dame Football Schedule

Sept. 5 NEVADA
Sept. 12 at Michigan
Sept. 26 at Purdue
Oct. 10 Open Date
Oct. 17 USC
Oct. 31 vs. Washington State (@San AntonioTX)
Nov. 7 NAVY
Nov. 14 at Pittsburgh
Nov. 28 at Stanford

Friday, August 7, 2009


I Tweeted this question just today: "What three books have made the most significant impact in your life?" So I expanded my list to my overall Top 20. I could go on but I attempted to be diverse by including books on theology, church, business, leadership and culture. These all impacted me for different reasons and created dialogue in my life and relationships on a host of subjects. I would not call most of these 'classics' but for some unique reason, mattered. Some deepened me spiritually. Some expanded me relationally, culturally and even vocationally. Let me start by saying that without equal the Bible has been the single most consistent & transformative volume in my life. It just keeps giving! So that said, I will begin my list by mentioning one book in the Bible that has captured my attention for years. I have not explained why these books have mattered in order to make this list simply a list. (Don't pay too much attention to the order.)

1. Proverbs. Written mostly by King Solomon is a deep well of wisdom.
2. A Handbook for Followers of Jesus Winkie Pratney
3. The Nature and Character of God Winkie Pratney
4. Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller
5. The Davinci Code Dan Brown
6. Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis
7. Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis
8. What's so Amazing about Grace Phillip Yancey
9. Pour Your Heart into It Howard Schultz
10. Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton
11. Letters from A Skeptic Greg Boyd
12. The Monkey and the Fish Dave Gibbons
13. Leadership and Self Deception Arbinger Institute
14. The Dip Seth Godin
15. The Word That Redescribes the World Walter Brueggemenn
16. Intelligent Church Steve Chalke
17. United by Faith Michael Emerson
18. The Shaping of Things to Come Michael Frost, Alan Hirsch
19. Good News About Injustice Gary Haugen
20. Gang Leader for a Day Sudhir Venkatesh

If you would like to know why any of these books mattered to me, feel free to ask.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


What are your colors? I am a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan. Blue & Gold! I grew up one mile from campus and ate dinner with my family while listening to the Fight Song practiced by the band of Fighting Irish through the screen door. There's nothing like Notre Dame football especially on a cool fall day on the legendary ND campus. Even in tough times and through losing seasons, in recent days, true ND fans hang tough! We're loyal to the Irish in South Bend as we wait for the dynasty to return....Irish Nation.

What are your church colors? That's what we're talking about this month at SGC. There are many churches with unique values, skills and qualities. The Old Testament describes this idea as Tribes. The sons of Jacob became the 12 Tribes of Israel an expression of God's love of creativity and variety. You can listen in here to the messages in this series. We have a unique tribe on the south side of South Bend, Indiana. And so do you. Celebrate your colors and push in with your tribe!