Friday, February 28, 2003

Primm, Nevada

There is a little town, if you can call it that, on the Nevada/California stateline called Primm. It is actually just a collection of three Casinos, an outlet mall and a McDonalds. Most of the major decisions for Apex have been made in Primm because that is where we traditionally do our staff and elder retreats every year. I just returned from an overnighter with Greg and Jeremy discussing the current state and the future of Apex. I am excited to see what will come of our discussion.

God bless Primm!

Friday, February 21, 2003

Saga Update

Things seem to be coming along rather well with Saga, our new storytellers association. About ten people have agreed to serve as volunteers within Saga. They are all my close friends and I'm very excited about working with them. My buddy Gregg Stokes (who blogs, but not nearly enough) is helping with some publicity and web development. We have a domain name now ( It's just some very basic information until we can get it designed in the coming weeks.

The first show is set and I'm both nervous and excited about it. I hope we come close to selling out just so it will feel exciting and energetic. It feels very similar to getting ready for a new know that it will be good, but you have no idea how it will look or feel until it actually happens. I've never felt so simultaneously prepared and unprepared for anything as I have for starting Saga.

Things seem to be going better this year with Apex. I'm hearing some cool stories from the house churches and it looks like a Lutheran church in town will be offereing their building to us for our Sunday meeting at a very cheap rate. We still need to process if it is right for us, but it seems as though God may be opening a door with them. Apex hasn't really been close at all to making budget so far this year. It has been a weight of sorts to try to figure out what that means for those of us who are supported financially from the network. If things remain status quo we will need to make some significant staffing adjustments in 9 months or so. I'm not really worried about it. I know that it could turn around overnight, or that it may be God prompting us to change some things. Only time will tell for now. We could use some prayers in that direction.

Thursday, February 20, 2003


My friend Steve has started a church in his house that is getting ready to plant. I'm very excited about what God is doing through him these days. He is a professional artist. Check out his website if you want.

Monday, February 17, 2003

This Weekend

We had a very productive first meeting for people interested in actively helping Saga develop. Lots of very close friends in the room. If felt very exciting.

Also, we have many friends visiting right now. Mike Steel and John White are here from Colorado, Brent and Tari from Montana, Jonathan and Jennifer from Dayton and some friends from my house church who moved to Phoenix were at the Gathering last night. It's all been sort of overwhelming. I wish that I could have spent more time with each of them. (I forgot, my friend Sean is also passing through town with his theater company.) Too many friends, too few hours this week.

I suppose that is a good problem to have.

Friday, February 14, 2003

St. Valentine

I've heard a few different stories about the real man behind the candy hearts and Hallmark here if you are interested to read a short essay about Valentine.

Thursday, February 13, 2003


I just had a positive meeting with Gene Appel from Central Christian Church about supporting the first Saga performances in April. For those of you who don't know Gene took a job to help lead some church in Chicago...Click here if you want.

It has rained all day here in Vegas. We get about three inches per year, so it's a big deal when it rains at all, but today has been abnormally wet. I miss the rain. Today has been nice. I'm going to sleep favorite thing to do when it rains. (Or when its not raining for that matter.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

State and Main

I watched State and Main two nights ago on was really good. It made me realize that William H Macy is groovy and that Philip Seymour Hoffman really is a freakin great actor.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Saga it is. The big announcement.

I have started a new business (a non-profit) with my friend and future housemate Kenny Parker called Saga Storytellers Association. It exists to preserve and advance the art of storytelling. This idea was conceived during my December sabbath as a way to publically (and someday professionally) use the gifts and abilities that God has given me (and my friends). Many of my gifts lie in the areas of creative writing, storytelling, performing and producing events. I also seem to have at least a capable business mind. That is a great, nearly perfect gift mix if you want to start the next Willow Creek! The problem is that God has obviously called me away from doing church with a perfomance/business model...I think that I honestly thought that He would therefore somehow change changing what I was good at or what I like to do. He didn't. This was a deep inner frustration for me leading into my recent time away.

The very simple, yet very new, understanding that emerged was that I can still be a performer and a businessman as well as a simple church planter and leader within Apex. In essense, God showed me that I could do the things that I used to do in "church" outside of "church". The proverbial icing on the cake was the realization that these things can also in a subtle and mysterious way advance the Kingdom. This idea has freed my mind to see that I can or cannot be paid by Apex and still be true to my simple church calling.

Saga is NOT a religious thing. It is a non-profit organization that will influence Noth American culture to develop a lust for storytelling and narrative truth. (I will blog soon about why we as Christians want the culture to make this shift.) The gospel will simply be told along side other stories. Those of us who follow Jesus know that his story has a way of elevating itself above other stories...but that will need to happen as Jesus' story is simply told and left standing.

Our plans for the next 18 months are aggressive and incredibly exciting. Please pray for this business as we trust that God will bless it if it honors him. We see four major areas to develop in Saga over the first few years: 1. Simple Storytelling Events 2. A Theater Company 3. A Film Studio 4. Education about Story and Storytelling

Saga will launch in early April as I present "The Story of Jesus", a 90 minute monologue based on the book of John. Mark your calenders if you care:

April 7, 9, and 11 at the Clark County Theater in Las Vegas

We hope to sell 1,200 tickets for these events to launch this new vision into a reality. We are asking our local church friends (Canyon Ridge, Central, The Crossing and Apex) to help us promote this first event by seeing it at as a good opportunity for their members to invite a seeking friend to an event that is in no way a church service.

We are also planning on filming a few short films this year and preparing for a full-scale original musical in 2004.

So there it is...the whole thing. I am so excited about the new possibilites and a little frightened by it all. I'll need to learn so much about so many things...I would love the comments and advice of my friends...feel free to be a consultant via e-mail if you want. Also, if you have a rich uncle who won't give a dime to a church but would support the arts let me know.


Friday, February 07, 2003

Freakin Cold

I am in Indiana at my in-laws house. We are wrapping up a four day trip to be here for my brother-in-law's ordination. Eli and Aidan saw snow for the first time this morning. Eli said, "Where did the grass go, Daddy?"

I explained that snow is God's punishment on the industrial midwest for years of killing innocent deer and deep-frying healthy vegetables...Looking forward to being home tomorrow.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Blah, blah, blah

I just returned from my first Improv class with Second City. It was very cool. There are 12 people in it, which seems to be a perfect size. I could see myselfing really connecting with many of them.

We are taking a short trip to Indiana this week to see Deb's family. It should be a good thing...cold, but good.

Read Tommy's latest blog if you know him...It made me happy.


Sunday, February 02, 2003

The Hours

I saw The Hours last night with Debbie. It was a great movie...I hated it. It hurt to watch more than any movie I have ever seen. I had dreams about it all night. Every character was me in one way or another. If you struggle with depression you may want to see it, but only if you are ready to face some things. I awoke between dreams last night with a clear and eerie understanding of the things in life that I know are real:

1. Doubt is real. It is a paradox, but doubting everything is the most fundamental and true thing about me.

2. Love is real. One of the few things that I doubt is that I love.

3. Pain is real. I also know for certain that I hurt. (Upon deeper reflection, pain may just be a part of love.)

4. Desire is real. I know that I want...I especially want to love and be loved...and I want to not have so many doubts.

5. Death is real. I will die and so will everyone that I love....the paradox here is that if death is real, so is life...and life, if real, must be lived fearlessly.

Where is God? I wish He were first on the list of things I know for certain, but He is not. He calls me to a faith beyond doubt to trust that He is the one who holds all of Life together. God, I believe. Help my unbelief.