New York Pictures

Here's a link to some pictures from New York. As an added bonus, I'm in some of them. JM

Spelling Bee

Man, that Scripps National Spelling Bee is like a dork parade. JM


Google Maps

I just recently started using Google Maps. I've been a fan of mapquest for a long time, and never really felt the need to change. I've been seeing some advantages of Google, but then today I noticed the Street View button, and I was blown away. Evidently they cruised through some major metropolitan areas with a truck tricked out with some cameras. They recorded the images and now you can see street scenes for several locations.
It's really amazing. Here's the demo of it from google's site. JM

Expository Preaching

A friend of mine recently was emailing me about how much he enjoys expository preaching now that he has sat under it for a length of time. I'm not much on it, but I've never really experienced it, unless it was when I was a kid. I think I'm going to try to listen to some podcasts to get a feel for what it might be like. I guess my big motivation for doing this is to see if it is a speaking strategy that I could adapt to my style. I'm extremely narrative and enjoy being topical, but definitely see the frustrations that it brings. JM

Finalizing NY Trip

We're working out the final details of our NY mission trip. We're taking a group of 55 students and adults up to Queens to work with a Messianic Jewish church and a small church plant. I've been in charge of transportation and lodging, which I enjoy because of the organization and logistics involved. The problem that I'm having is that nobody is giving me a firm time on when we need to be anywhere. We are using all mass transit, so we're kind of slaves to the schedules, and I've been asked to make sure it's doable.
But it can be doable at certain times, and not at others. I'm okay with being flexible and having to adapt, I just hope that it doesn't come down to "I thought you said..." kind of stuff.
It should be a good trip. I just wish my wife was going with me. I guess we'll get to hang out more in NY once we move there. JM

Matthew 19:16-22

It seems weird to me that Jesus sometimes made himself so inaccessible. I always try to figure out why he did that with certain people. I think part of the reason he was like that with this rich young man was because that the guy was just looking for something that he could do so that he could check it off of his list. It seems that he wasn't motivated at all by a passion for God. He also calls Jesus teacher, which kind of shows that he thought Jesus was a teacher of God's laws, but probably nothing more. Interesting story. JM


Matthew 19:13-15

Jesus put his hands on some kids and prayed for them. Pretty simple story. My mind wanders two places with this.
1. I would love to see what happened to these kids. What do you think they ended up doing? I wonder if they were all successful. I wonder if they all went into ministry. I wonder if they were all Christians.
2. I wonder if any of them didn't make it. I mean, I ownder if some of them had hard lives filled with frustration and not seeking God's will for their lives. So many times I think I have the program or the ministry that will fix everything and that any student that experiences it will be changed forever and never screw up. I'd like to think that even these kids that Jesus prayed for didn't all turn out perfect. Maybe it's not true, but it helps me to think that way. JM

Yard Restoration

I enjoy doing yard work. When you look at my yard, you wouldn't guess that, though. I haven't wanted to devote the time to it that it required, and we didn't really have the money that it takes to keep your yard nice. We're doing better now financially, so I can spend a little bit each month on maintaining our yard, and it's not as time consuming now that Noah can come out and help me some, plus Ana can walk around a little bit.
The problem now is that our yard is so jacked up that it will take forever for it to start looking nice. Maybe by fall it might start looking respectable, but I doubt even by then. It's kind of fun working with plants and stuff, though. I like the challenge of it. I'm not very good at it, and I know very little about it, but it is definitely enjoyable. I just like anything that gets me outside. JM

Empty Thoughts

I haven't been reading much lately, and I think it's really effecting my thought life. My mind is so much less active when I'm not reading. I try to read about 30 minutes a day. I really think it stimulates my mind, my thoughts, and my dreams. I've been out of the habit of it for about 6 weeks now. I guess I'll start again tonight before I go to bed. JM


Today we did nothing. Well, kind of. We've gone to 8 graduation parties over the course of the last two weekends, and just felt really busy, so today we kind of just chilled. We went to home depot and got some flowers, and Eryn went to the grocery store, but that's really about it. It was nice to be able to just hang out and do nothing. It's the kind of day that helps you enjoy the time you have with your family. JM


We Can't

So for lunch today me and a friend went to Five Guys to get some burgers and fries. My friend orders first and pays. Then I placed my order and paid. After I placed my order my friend tells the cashier that he'd like to change the toppings on his burger. He basically just wanted the other toppings off of it and to put bacon and bbq sauce on it. The immediate response was "We can't". My friend talked to the guy for a minute and got them to add the BBQ, but only after much resistance. Pretty lame.
I was talking to my friend afterwards about it and I commented that it's not even really the cashier's fault. He knows the rules. He knows how the system works. He knows what he's supposed to do, and that's it. Nobody told him that really the goal is to make the customer happy so that they have a good experience. He just knows that once an order is placed, it can't be changed. Imagine how different it would be, though, if management gave them the rules and the system, but then told them that above all else, do what it takes to make the customer happy. If they want to change their order, let them do it. If they don't like what they got, get them something else. Don't go talk to a manager about it, just do it. If you give people a good experience, they'll remember it.
It kind of goes back to what I learned at the Granger communications workshop as far as people will remember 100% of what they feel. The more you can tie emotion into anything, the better people will remember what you've done. JM

Bible Fight

Here's a fun little game to kill some time. You can be a character from the Bible and face off against other Bible characters. It's okay fun, but the music is amazing. I LOVE boys choir stuff. It just seems so spiritual and moving to me. JM

Matthew 19:1-12

So Jesus is saying that divorce for any reason is against the way that God intended it and that divorce for marital unfaithfulness was just put in there by Moses to make life easier. What's crazy is that in verse 10 the disciples say that if that's the only reason that you can legitimately get a divorce, then it is better not to marry. That's really sad.
I can't imagine life without my wife. I know you can't miss what you've never had, but I just think that I would be really lonely and unfulfilled without my wife.
I've always said that if I was ever cheated on, then I would look at the marriage as irreconcilable. I would really have to think about that now, though. Jesus is basically saying that the only reason that's in there was to make our lives easier. Interesting. JM


Most The Movie

This movie looks awesome. Somebody took the modern day parable about the drawbridge operator who sacrifices his son to save the people on the train, and put the idea into a short film. I showed the clip to our senior pastor the other day, and I think he wants to use it, it's just a question of when. It's 31 minutes long, so it would fit in well within our regular service. Plus that reinforces the simple church idea of using special events within your regular programming. JM

Matthew 18:21-35

When you put things in perspective, we should be extremely motivated to forgive people. We don't like to do it, though. We feel just when we don't forgive. We've been so wronged. We like to hold it over them. Man, I bet that makes God mad. I mean, he forgave us of so much, and yet we feel like we can hold little stuff over people's heads. Pretty sad. JM


Band In A Bubble

So MTV is doing this Band In A Bubble thing. Evidently they did it in Australia and Uk as well. But I just saw this bubble thing when we were in NYC two weeks ago. It's kind of a dumb concept, lock a band in a big room for 4 weeks, make them record an album, and webcast the whole thing. I haven't heard a lot of buzz about it yet, so it might be a bust. We'll see. JM

Matthew 18:15-19

I love that God gives us a simple plan for handling conflict and yet everybody seems to ignore it. We complain and whine about the person with whom we're in conflict until we finally reach such a level of frustration that we then go approach the person. By that time we're either so upset and feel that we are so right that the conversation is not handled well by us, or we feel so ready to be over it, that we don't even care if the person gets the point of what we're trying to say. JM



One of the big things we push on students during the crucible is responsibility. We define it as accountability for my actions. One of the things that we go over is the idea that if we disagree with something we are responsible for, the time to debate that is when it is assigned, not whne it is due or when we are in trouble by saying that rules are unfair. It always amazes me how many adults use the excuse that the rules aren't fair when something is due. It's extremely frustrating for me. I always picture the person as a little baby whining about something. Ugggh. JM


New York

My wife and I loved NYC. I'll post later about our trip, but we loved the city so much that we want to move there. The only problem is we can't afford to live in the city. I'm looking for jobs, but I've only found a couple and they are on Long Island. I would love to get connected with a church that is actually in Manhattan and somehow become a teaching pastor with them. There are basically like a handful of churches that are effectively reaching the city, so it's ripe with potential. I think I would fit in well with my style of ministry because I would like to help people discover their spiritual selves. Show them that the reason they appreciate art and music is because at the core of it they are tapping in to creative expression meant to glorify their creator. I'm going to apply to any openings I see, but one of the things I'm going to do is apply to journey church's leadership experience. It's an internship program to work with journey church new york, which is one of the fastest growing churches in the US. The only problem is that you have to raise your support, which for my family would probably be about $80,000 for the year. That's a lot of money, and I doubt there are people that like us that much. I would do anything to get there, though. I loved it. My wife loved it. I would feel like I am on mission for God. I'm going to pray earnestly for this. JM



Man, what an awesome time my wife and I had. We went to New York City, and absolutely loved it. She wants to move there now. I would love to move there, too, but I wonder if she would like it in the middle of winter or in the dead of summer. It's so amazingly connected with mass transit. I love the idea of walking everywhere or taking the train.
Sunday also went well. It was great to see people respond, even though it didn't feel like a normal mother's day message.
I'll post more about our trip and about Sunday tomorrow. JM


New York

My wife and I leave tomorrow for our anniversary trip. We're going to New York for 3 days. We've never left the kids before for longer than just during the day when we're gone just for fun (we went to a conference for 3 days a couple of years ago). We're both really excited. It will be nice to experience NYC with my wife. Neither of us has been before, so I'm sure we'll look like wide-eyed tourists the whole time.
We get back on Saturday night and then the next day I get to preach. I'm really excited about that, too, it's just going to be kind of rushed making sure that I'm ready for it. JM



I'm supposed to preach this coming Sunday, and I'm going on vacation with my wife from Thursday to Saturday, and I'm getting sick. It's just a cold, but I have like a sore throat and some body aches and crap. I'm sure I'll be better by the time we leave, but this takes away from my prep time because I'm so stinking tired. JM


New York City

My wife and I are going to NYC for our anniversary this coming weekend. I'm just amazed at how much it is costing. The hotel is costing us just over $700 for two nights. That is so stinking expensive. All told, this trip will probably cost us close to $1500. We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon for 5 nights and it only cost us $2200. NYC is just an expensive place to visit, I guess. It's going to be awesome. This will be the first time since we've had the kids where we have time away just to enjoy each other and I won't be doing work. I'm excited. JM

Matthew 18:1-6

Humility is so tough. I actually think I'm pretty good at it. Or at least pretty good at making other people think I am. I mean, I'm a really teachable person, but I almost always think that my idea is right and that I can do things better than other people. What I mean to say is that I feel like I can carry out the vision that is in my head better than I can describe it to someone and delegate it to them. JM



I wish I had a good camera. I think it's tough to find good images on the internet that really fit what I need. Right now I'm trying to find stuff for this video I have to make to an Alanis Morissette song - That I Would Be Good. I just spent 90 minutes and think I found 3 images that I can use. And I need like 12. It just takes forever. JM


So I actually ran today. It's been like at least a month since I ran last. I did 3 miles in 28:55. Mile times were 9:49, 9:41, 9:25. I stopped halfway through because Ryan Momberger wanted to talk to me. So after about 10 minutes I started running again. My legs were tight after that, but it didn't mess me up too bad. It just felt good to run again. JM

Matthew 17:22-27

First off, it's so cool that Jesus tells Peter to go fishing, catch a fish, dig into it's mouth, pull out a coin, and use that to pay for the temple tax.
I wonder why Jesus paid. I mean, I wonder why he said that he didn't want to upset the tax collectors. He didn't seem to mind upsetting other people who were following religious rules. I think it's because he didn't see the need to embarrass Peter. Peter had already been put on the spot and told the tax collectors that Jesus would pay the tax. I don't really think it would benefit Jesus to tell Peter that he doesn't pay it and to send Peter back out to say No, he doesn't pay it, so what's it to ya?


Mother's Day Message

This message that I'm working on for Mother's Day is tough. I just feel so constrained. I don't know how to get to an impassioned point when I feel like I have to say that I love mothers and we all should be grateful for them.
I'm kind of just saying screw that and talking about how mother's should be.
I'm also finding lots of asides that don't really fit into my message, but they are funny thoughts, so I'm extremely tempted to share them during my message.
I always picture this invisible door when I speak. Through the door are random tangential stories that come to mind when I'm speaking. I'm always tempted to open the door and share the story, but I know a lot of times it will kill people's focus. I think doing it sometimes keeps things fresh and authentic. Plus it really helps me share what I'm thinking of. It might not always be the best thing, so I really try to limit it, but it's fun to go through that door. JM


Sometimes I think I'm addicted to my computer. I'm not like a geeky tech-head or anything like that, but I really like being able to access information. On Wednesday nights my boss borrows my computer and since he ends his program after I'm gone, I don't get it back until Thursday morning. So Wednesday nights I always think of things that I want to look up and research, or learn about, or satisfy my curiosity, but I am unable to because the magic of the internet does not run into my house without my laptop. I'm okay without it, but I really enjoy having it. JM

Matthew 17:14-20

I love seeing the power of faith demonstrated. It's incredible to me the things that Jesus says that we can accomplish through faith. Moving mountains. I wonder how different my life would be if I really prayed desperately for things and had faith that God would provide? Perhaps that would be a great experiment. JM


Matthew 15:21-28

I love that Jesus really didn't want to go to Jerusalem to suffer. I mean, nobody would, but I love that even Jesus didn't want to. A lot of times we like to paint Jesus as this guy that never thought twice about things and always knew what he was doing. But I think some of the time he worried about how he might respond in certain situations. Jesus struggled with temptation not just in the wilderness before he started his ministry, but everyday of his life.
He was strong enough to overcome temptation. I would have been like whatever, I'm out of here. But Jesus had the strength to stick it out. I think a lot of overcoming temptation is just strength and resolve. JM

My Daughter Has Some Thoughts To Share

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