Monday, December 31, 2007

Best Sports Stories of 2007

1. The Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup!! See my post here.

2. UCLA fires Karl Dorrel - read my request for his ousting on September 15 here.

3. The Angels sign Torii Hunter. We didn't get the big bat yet, but this will help.

4. Joey Chestnut beating Kobayashi in the Hot Dog eating contest. USA! USA! USA!

5. Stanford beating USC. They say this could possibly be the greatest upset of all time because of the implications for USC. I love when USC has implications.

6. The Comeback Season for Brett Favre - I can't help but love the guy, plus he was on my Fantasy Team this year.

7. The Patriots go 16-0. Wow! You love to hate them, but they are pretty amazing.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best TV Shows of 2007 (That I've Seen)

The Best:
1. The Office - This show is smart, funny, and weird. The best part is that it's almost always "funny cause it's true."

2. The Unit - I get made fun of because of how much I like this show. I hate most the parts about the lives of the wives, but the missions they do are the coolest on TV. The missions are better than any 24 episode.

3. The Soup - this show is on "E" on Friday nights and is hilarious. Joel McHale, the host, has the best comedic timing of anyone. The clips of shows from the week are sidesplittingly funny. I also love that they don't redo the takes when he messes up.

4. 30 Rock - the writing and the guest stars are awesome on this show. I love Alec Baldwin in comedic roles. My favorite scene is when you have Alec Baldwin in a tuxedo and someone says, "Why are you so dressed up?" He replies, "It's after 5pm. What am I? A farmer?" Classic.

5. CSI, CSI NY, Law & Order SVU - these are all pretty much the same show to me and I love them all.

6. Scrubs - laugh out loud funny.

The Way Down (disappointments):
1. Man vs. Wild - why does he have to be a faker? Bear Grylls is so much more entertaining than the Survivorman guy.
2. 24 - they need to do something new this year or this show is finished.
3. Lost - I love this show but it has been so long since I have seen it that I don't even remember it. They are going to need a refresher episode.
4. Survivor - will it ever end? We used to love this show but it's just boring now.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Best Experiences of 2007

1. Birth of Elizabeth Noel Wakeling
The birth of our second daughter in June was amazing. She was taking a while to come and then suddenly burst out before the doctor could even bring the stirrups out. She had a mohawk from birth and she is an amazing little girl.

2. 10 Year Anniversary
On July 5, 1997 I married my amazing wife Bea. We stayed at the Grand Wailea in Maui back in March for the celebration of our anniversary because of Experience #1 above.

3. Trip to Kenya
Going to Africa for the first time with high school students from Calvary Church was definitely life-changing. You can read all about it at the Calvary to Kenya blog.

4. Coaching Grace in AYSO Soccer

This was crazy as Ella was born about a week into the season and we only missed one game. It was a good way for Grace to feel loved and receive attention during the newborn phase for Ella. I was a little nervous because I hadn't played soccer since I was 11 and I have never coached soccer. But they were four-year-olds. It was fun, silly, and pretty rewarding. Check some pics at this post here.

5. Watching the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup.

Every round of the playoffs was intense. This was especially fun after hanging out with my family up in Canada this year and trash talking about the Canucks and Ducks. Also, with my buddy Ashdown having to listen to me gloat after his beloved Detroit Yankees lost to the now-mighty Ducks. Hopefully, now that Scott Niedermayer is back we can regain some of the glory from last year.

Honorable Mentions:
Getting a promotion at church.
Living in an apartment for the first time since college.
Looking for a new home.
Dropping out of my PhD program.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Best Movies of 2007 (That I've Seen)

I know that many of these didn't come out in 2007, but that's when I saw them. Hey, I have kids. We don't go to movies often. Of these six films, we saw two in the theater.
The Best:
The Bourne Supremacy - I think Matt Damon is one of my favorite action movie stars. He kicks butt in a cool and somehow believable way. I like that he's not huge and buff like Arnold or Sly and he's not a martial arts expert. He is just well-trained and kicks butt. I loved these books when I read them while traveling Europe so to see them turned into amazing films has been really fun. Also, why do I love Julia Stiles??
Dan in Real Life - This movie surprised me and made me cry. Anything father/daughter seems to get me and this definitely had those scenes. I am just so blown away by the range of Steve Carell. Think about the despair in his character from Little Miss Sunshine, the annoyingly hilarious Michael Scott in The Office, the big star in Evan Almighty, and the pained and awkward widower in Dan in Real Life. He is an actor.
Blood Diamond - this was probably my favorite movie of 2007. Leonardo DiCaprio is SO GOOD! I don't even like him normally. It's truly a story of personal redemption and sacrificial love. Leo is a messianic archetype in the film (not without sin of course) and I love those kind of roles. Great action. Exposes injustice. And I went to Africa last summer and I watched this movie on the plane ride home so that gave it a pretty cool context.

UPDATE: I forgot HOT FUZZ on the Best List. That movie was amazing. See it now.

The Worst:

Facing the Giants - this movie completely frustrated me as a "Christian" film. It's everything that is wrong with "Christian" film-making. Horrible plot-line where everything goes right if they become Christian. No more problems. Cheesy with a capital V for VELVEETA.
Nacho Libre - Here's what I think. Everyone that likes this movie, likes it because they think they are supposed to or will be cool if they like it. This movie was STUPID and BORING!! Jack Black needs to retire and retire now!
Hollywoodland - Oh my gosh, if you haven't seen this movie and are suffering from insomnia, go rent this film. It will put you right to sleep. Boring, contrived, and some of the worst acting ever from good people like Adrian Brody. Is Ben Affleck the worst actor on earth? The answer is a resounding, YES!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best Books of 2007 (That I've Read)

I'm starting a "Best Of" thread of posts because I love that kind of stuff.

Best Books of 2007 (That I've Read)
1. Church Related Category - Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. I love the message of this book of making church more simple. Create one simple statement that says what you are about as a church. Then devote yourselves wholly towards that purpose. Finally, basically ignore everything else or let it be icing on the cake. The cake needs to be simple and the cake is the most important part. I want to be Simple Church in 2008 after reading it in 2007. Other than the Bible this will be the book that drives Calvary Church this year - IMHO.

2. Novel Category - I liked Kite Runner, but A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway began my strange love for this uniquely talented and depressed author. I hated the book when I finished it, but it has left a wonderful aftertaste for the last several months. It is a drunken love story set in WWI where an American soldier meets a British girl in Italy. They fall in love when he is injured and she is the nurse. The dialog is the most interesting I have ever read. Hemingway's style is staccato and witty. They get married, she gets pregnant, they escape to Switzerland, and then they keep drinking too much and taking too much anesthesia and everybody dies except the soldier.

3. Honorable Mentions:
Reveal by Willow Creek.
When Pride Mattered - A biography of Vince Lombardi.

Monday, December 17, 2007


1. I'm getting into the new position at church of Executive Pastor of Ministry. Things are going pretty well. We have formed our Strategic Leadership Team of a group of 9 pastors who will meet weekly to cast vision, create strategy, and delegate tasks to accomplish our general vision of making disciples through Connect, Grow, Reach. I have been meeting with people who I will now be working with and people have been supportive and excited for our future.

2. Ella is doing well with the eating. It's still pretty funny as she doesn't totally understand swallowing food from a spoon. We did bananas today for her first fruit.

3. My dad bought a Lexus SUV. It's a 2005, but he is still a punk.

4. My Fantasy Football team will lose if Chicago can't score one more touchdown in the 4th quarter. It's the semi-finals and I don't want to lose to Pizzuto.
UPDATE: I lost to Pizzuto. Sad.

5. I have some of Bea's Christmas shopping and all of the kids shopping done, but I haven't done anybody else. I need to get on that.

6. We did a bunch of filming on Friday and today for our College Group Christmas Party video. The party's theme is after the tv show, The Office. So the video is called The Student Ministries Office. I am playing myself, but as the Michael character. I think it will be pretty funny. It's frightening, really frightening, how much Michael I have in me.

7. I need a day away for prayer - soon. I'm feeling my tank emptying quicker than usual and really feel the need for connection to God. I love when you are in a new area of challenge that causes you to remember how much you need God.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ella's First "Solid" Food

We fed Ella rice cereal for the first time today. It's pretty hilarious when kids eat with a spoon for the first time. She gags and makes a disgusted face. She is starting to swallow some of it. Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Letter to Darfur

Dear Darfuri Refugee,

I need to tell you about something horrible happening here in the United States. You may not believe it but it is actually true. You see, here in America we have these giant stores that sell things like furniture, clothing, hammers and waffle irons. These stores get very busy during the month of December because lots of people buy presents for their friends and family to celebrate holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah. Over the past few years many of these stores have stopped issuing the usual "Merry Christmas" greeting to shoppers and on their mail order catalogs and instead say, "Happy Holidays". I know, it is hard to imagine, isn't it!?! Here we are trying to live out the true meaning of Christmas by spending lots of money on things people need really bad, and we can't even get a little "Merry Christmas" from the check out girl.

Well, I knew you of all people would be able to relate with our difficult plight, since in your country of Sudan over the past few years over 200,000 of your people have been murdered through acts of genocide and 2.5 million have been forced from their homes like you and now live as refugees. I hope you will forward this email to your people so they will understand the atrocities happening here in the United States and will be encouraged that they are not the only people in the world who are suffering.

Merry Christmas!
Your Concerned American Friend

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Job

Well, it's official. We announced to our Calvary Church staff today that I am moving into a new position. Starting sort of now and officially in January, I am the Executive Pastor of Ministry at Calvary Church. Michael is the Executive Pastor of Administration. If you're not in ministry, it's like Michael is the CFO and I am the COO of the company under the CEO/Senior Pastor.

This is a huge change for me. I will be overseeing the majority of the ministries of Calvary Church including having a level of oversight of the school and preschool. We have something like 150 employees in the church, school, and preschool. So this is a big responsibility. I feel like this is the kind of position that God has created me for. It's going to be a challenge with preaching still in our Elevation service about 15 times per year, giving some direct oversight to Mens Ministry, and overseeing Children's, Students, Young Adults, Outreach, Assimilation, Counseling, Recovery, Small Groups, Adult Ed, Seniors, and some other ministries.

I also can recognize that I am on the younger side for a position like this. But I know that's part of why I am in this position - to bring a fresh and new approach to ministry at Calvary Church. Please pray for me and for a ton of other changes taking place at Calvary.

One of the biggest aspects of this change for me is that I won't be a "Youth Pastor" anymore. My identity (for better or for worse) has been pretty tied into being a youth pastor. It's odd to be on the other side. I think I will be grieving that for a little while.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Church Security

Did you realize that New Life Church heard about the YWAM shootings and beefed up their security? They had an armed security guard on the premises who was the person that shot and killed the gunman who had killed the church-goers. They said they had a plan for this kind of thing.

Right now my prayers are with the families who lost loved ones. But this is such an interesting question - should churches have armed security guards? Maybe just high profile churches? It's also crazy to think that a paid church "employee" shot and killed someone? I know that this security guard saved tons of lives and I'm not saying we shouldn't protect ourselves, but it's just an odd thing to think about - church staff with guns.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!!

Last night we celebrated the fourth night of Hanukkah and Shabbat with some great friends. Some good friends of ours are Jewish and I love sharing the Jewish traditions with them and with our children. It seems to me that most Christians forget that everything we believe about God has been through him working through His chosen people, the Israelites or Hebrews or Jews.

First Marilee lit the candles of Shabbat or Sabbath because it was Friday and shared a prayer and we broke Challah break and passed it around and drank the fruit of the vine. They do an incredible job of bringing Christ into the Jewish traditions and rituals. It's almost hard not to bring Christ into it because it's so obviously pointing straight towards Him.

Then Matt shared the Hanukkah story with all of us, including the 10 kids present. Then they lit the servant candle representing Christ who then lights the other four candles which represents sharing the Light of the World with others. Then we enjoyed some tasty latkes and other great food. We also learned about and played some dreidel games. Hanukkah is a great story of God's faithfulness to His people and to preserving the line of Christ who is the Light of the World. Awesome. I love that myself and my family have friends like this with whom we can celebrate the richness of this tradition.

See Erin's blog for pictures of the kids. She took the pictures in this post.

Friday, December 07, 2007

In a Blog Funk Again

This is another one of those moments in life when there are big things going on that I can't write about on my blog but it's hard to have anything else on my mind. More to come soon.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Tree

We got our tree on Saturday morning and did the whole thing with decorating the house, drinking MarieBelle hot cocoa, and playing with the ornaments. I should post pictures but I'm too lazy right now. I love Christmas. We bought a really cool advent calendar for Grace and we put Bible verses on little pieces of paper in every other day with the toys or pieces of our olive-wood nativity set from Bethlehem. We put the verses in every other day so that we could work on casually memorizing them. The first verse was, "And she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger for there was no room at the inn." Today was the angel speaking to Mary, "For nothing is impossible with God." Grace is into it.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Church Should Be Simple

I have been reading Simple Church lately and it's a good book. We do make church too complicated. We need to simplify what we do and be willing to cut programs to make the ministry we do more effective. Making disciples is the key. How to do it? Get people to connect with God and each other, grow in their faith and knowledge of God, and then reach out to others in your own community and around the world. That's what makes sense to me. I know there's a lot of opinions on this. This seems basic and sort of "duh" in some ways, but it's so easy to make church about programs - more, more, more! Simple Church = effective church. Any thoughts?