Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bays, Beds and Waterfalls

Last week we took a 4 day trip to the Coos Bay area. We drove inland into the woods from the coast some 40 miles to some very remote and VERY gorgeous country. We stayed in a one of a kind house, and just had a GREAT weekend! The house was built by a hippy, artist genius. It has 100 yr old trees in the middle of the house which the spiral stairs wrapped around. The beds all hung from the ceiling (quite fun) and each room had a loft accessible only by climbing a tree :)! Check it out! Here are more pics than you’d ever want to see of some of our fun:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Music Friday

It’s hard to explain what Pearl Jam mean to me. They came around in a time that I needed them. Ten hit the scene and literally blew me away. I was an obsessed fan. Through the years I have not been as in to them as I once was. But this week they released a new album called BACKSPACER. It is INCREDIBLE. It takes me back. From start to finish my soul was bombarded with emotions and taken back to a different time. Several times during it, I even cried. SO, I want to share with everyone today, one of the most moving songs from the album. PLEASE enjoy JUST BREATHE:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Faith Quest

It is a special night. The air is crisp and you can FEEL the life in it. Some strange sort of “electricity” seems to be permeating all things. Smiles abound. Faces look alive. Colors seem brighter. Voices seem clearer. All things just seem VIVACIOUS! It is clear to me that this is not your ordinary evening. This worship service is NOT going to be like many others. There is a presence here, weaving its way between hearts, minds and lives. Tonight is about community. It is a shared experience. It is real. It is truth and it is life. The Holy Spirit is doing something.

We all have experienced such an event. It is usually not at a Sunday church service, for some strange reason. It usually occurs at some larger gathering. It is usually a seminar, a camp or something similar. For me, it is every end of summer at a place called Faith Quest. Within the walls of Camp Yamhill, that is where I always experience God in such a real and profound way every Labor Day weekend.

This gathering is an annual gathering of High School teens from the Pacific Northwest (and Canada and Cali too ). I have the privilege of attending and sometimes helping out every year. It has become very special to me. I get to see friends there that I miss throughout the year. I get to experience the grace of the cross in an exciting and refreshing way. And I always get to make new friends.

I find myself trying to figure out what it is about this event that reaches so deep into the recesses of my soul. I believe God is with me every second of the day. He is there on Sundays and Wednesdays. He is there when I awake and when I go to sleep. I can feel him at other places. Yet, Faith Quest stirs something. What is it? There are many possibilities.

Is it the praise team? No. These guys are AMAZING. I would kill to have them come to my camp. They are extremely talented and creative. And they create an environment where kids can pour their voices out. They are important, but not “it”. Is it the directors who I know and respect so much? No. These 4 men are amazing role models and inspirations. They are fearless. They are bold. They are Godly and because of their prayers and efforts have brought SO many souls to God. Yet, they are not “it”. It is not the excellent speakers, classes or even the setting, though one again, these are all amazing.

And after much reflection and thought, I think I know what it is. It is the freedom I see in the kids! They are what move me. They are what excite me. They are the “it” I was searching for. I am so encouraged with the kids and they way they express themselves and worship at this wonderful place. It is such a joy to see a place where teens in our brotherhood can be real. A place where they can open up and let go. A place where they can worship any way they want and not worry a bit if “someone is watching”. It is a place where the “freedom in Christ” is truly and clearly displayed to me. Watching 400 kids jump and dance in joy is life changing. Watching their hands pierce the dark night sky, raised to God in praise. Watching their faces and their hearts being worn on their sleeves in joyful adoration……THIS is what takes me to that special place. This is my “mountain top experience”.
It is a special and rare place that can bring this out in today’s disconnected youth culture. It is hard to get a kid to worship with all of their being. My teens express themselves there in a way they would never feel comfortable to do back at home. This makes my heart cry, but it also means that much more that there is one place where they feel comfortable and free. MUCH credit should go to the directors and staff for breeding such an environment as this. GOD is lifted. GOD moves here.

I miss it already and cannot wait for next year. The prospect of the place filled with twice as many souls excites me in ways that I cannot express. I have NO CLUE what God will do, but I am confident it will be earth shaking.

Thank you Faith Quest. You shape my soul.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grocery Grace

I recently heard a woman share this story. She was at the grocery store when a stranger approached her. He told her that his wife and daughter had recently been killed in a car accident and he had spent everything he had on the funeral and costs. But he now needed to buy diapers for his grandchild and was asking for help.

Like any decent human, she agreed and told him to go get the diapers he needed and meet her at the counter. As he left, she knew that she would not have the money to buy the luxury items she had in her basket if she helped him, so she quietly discarded them on the counter. She then explains the inner struggle she faced with “how much” to give up and offer him, and then whether or not to ask the man if she could pray for him.

There is a story in Acts where a beggar approached Peter and John and asked fro money too. They told him they had none, but did offer him Jesus instead. And in the name of Jesus, he was healed! How often do we pass by the less fortunate thinking we have nothing to offer? Peter and john had “nothing to offer” either, buy these standards, except for the dignity of recognizing the man as a valuable person and the healing of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t that go a little farther than a few coins?

In the story, as they were leaving, the lady asked the man if she could pray. She knew it would not probably end in such a miracle, but decided it was right to do. So she prayed. No “miracle” happened. No healings. She may never know if that moment changed his life or not. But I am sure at that moment, this man felt a love and grace he needed. God was alive and active fro just a few minutes in his existence.

Let us never not choose to reach out because we are unsure of the outcome. Let us not choose to not do things due to fear of rejection, or looking different. Let us simply choose to act in ways that Jesus would act. Let us simply “walk like Jesus walked”.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Free Music Friday

Coos Bay, OR here we come....... My family and I are going to grab some MUCH needed rest and relaxation. It's Griswald time,,,,,,,,,Pannell style :).. So with that in mind. Please enjoy a guilty pleasure:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


After a BUSY summer and much time away from home, my family and I are leaving early tommorow for a 4 day weekend at the lovely Oregon Coast!!!!
Can't wait. So...I am making my wife a roadtrip cd mix.....here is what I have for her so far:

kick Drum heart- Avett bros
For Nancy- Pete Yorn
If It Kills me- Jason Mraz
Stop and Stare- One Republic
The Fixer- Pearl jam
Tyler- The Toadies
Falling Slowly- Once Soundtrack
Sweetest Thing- U2
Somewhere Only We Know- Keane
Alison- Elvis Costello
Work- Jars of Clay
Like a Friend- Pulp
The Blower's Daughter- Damien Rice
Extra Ordinary- Better Than Ezra
Careful- Guster
Summertime- Fresh Prince
Hella Good- No Doubt
Conventioneers- Barenaked Ladies
Don't Stop Believing- Journey

Any suggestions?????

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Washed by The Water

I have liked needtobreathe for awhile. But their newest CD "The Outsiders" brought my appreciation of their tunes to a new level. This is a recent clip from a concert where they closed with this acoustic and unmic'd seong. Good stuff.....

R.I.P Johnny Castle.......

Though today’s younger generation may have no clue who he is, Patrick Swayze had a big impact on the pop culture for my generation. Yesterday he died after a valiant fight with pancreatic cancer. It makes me sad.

He had several small roles before making his real big break onto the national scene in the epic and classic TV Mini series “North and South”. The young Swayze set many women’s hearts on fire in this role. Shortly after, he really exploded in perhaps his most famous role as “Johnny Castle” in the infamous “Dirty Dancing”. Who from my generation will ever forget “the lift” or “Nobody puts baby in a corner…”??????? Women LOVED him, and he kept this up in Ghost…….but men loved him as well. We were willing to forgive him for Dirty Dancing and Ghost because of things like “Red Dawn”, “The Outsiders” and “Roadhouse”. I mean we men loved Dalton! Remember that throat scene!?!?!?!?!? He even helped make Point Break, a movie full of atrocious acting, a staple for my college years for many a frat house! And for you young hipsters, you DO know who he is….just go watch Donnie Darko again. He even is a fave of my kids, though they don’t know it, as he voiced the character Cash in Fox & the Hound 2.

He had several other really enjoyable films that were less known such as Uncommon Valor (I love this one), Grandview USA, Youngblood (surely you remember the hockey one right???), Next of Kin, and To Wong foo…..”

He was a family man. He was a good actor. He was a big deal for a little while, a long time ago. R.I.P Patrick. We will surely miss you.

Below is one of my personal favorite clips of Mr. Swayze. I love that he was also actually a funny guy and could even poke fun at himself:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hadassah Josette makes her video debut!

Look at how STINKIN' cute she is. Watch them ALL...I command you

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Music Friday

Today is kinda' a significant day in US history, in case you did not know. So this song is for you today, in that mindset. It should speak for itself:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Celebrate Diversity

I am sure you have seen these bumper stickers that say CELEBRATE DIVERSITY....well I just did! Just not quite in the way the makers of teh stickers meant. My Itunes shuffle the last few hours has been incredible and QUITE diverse. Check this out:

Through Smoke- needtobreathe
Get Off- Prince
Tropicalia- Beck
Midnight- Blindside
Two Hands- Jars of Clay
Ashes- Embrace
Beautiful Boy- John lennon
Ice Age- Pete Yorn
Lost- Coldplay
Buttercup- Brad
Wonder Wall- Ryan Adams
This Protector- The White Stripes
I Was Made- Foy Vance
Love is Here- tenth Avenue North
Hot Soft Light- The Hold Steady

The Evil Speech

Now THIS is funny! :)


Hey Jude........

Another day began with another new journey started for one of our kids. Jude went running into 1st grade with excitement, butterflies and an open heart! I could barely watch as he walked away with his Mom. When I asked him what he was most excited about he said: "Learning new things". Oh time, you vile enemy, slow down!!!!!
He is very excited about a new year, new teacher, making new friends and catching up with old ones. We are proud of you and teh sweet, loving boy you are Jude. May 1st grade be a blessing to your life!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Merr Bear Goes to School

Armed with a jacket, Tinkerbell lunchbox, and that smile that could melt polar ice caps, my daughter Merrick started what she calls “big kid preschool” today! For 2 days a week and 4 hours, she can be top dog! She was quite excited, and her usual energy and beauty were ramped up quite a bit in anticipation! When I asked her what she was most excited about she said “making new friends”. She is growing SOOOO fast, that her daddy can barely stand it. She brings unbelievable amounts of joy and laughter to my life. Thank you Merrick for all you are to me! I am proud of you! I hope you LOVE your school!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Power of Offense

It is no secret that I am a big football fan. This year, one of the intriguing stories in the NFL is the emergence of the Chicago Bears as a powerhouse! The bears have a long and storied history. Once, a virtual powerhouse and dynasty, the 1990’s and early 2000’s saw them fall into the leagues cellar!

A few years ago they made it all the way to the Super Bowl, only to lose. They did this ENTIRELY based on defense! They had one of the worst offenses in the league, but their defense was SO good, that as long as the Offense could score just a meager once or twice, the defense could almost undoubtedly keep the other team from scoring more. But, they just couldn’t take it to that next level without some form of offense!

2009 is a new story! Due to a crazy trade (curse you Josh McDamiels!!!!!), they now have one of the top QB’s in the league, and a great 2nd year running back! Now…..you have a team who still keeps everyone else from scoring, but are also capable of putting up big scores themselves! By all accounts so far, they are one of the best team around! It is amazing what can get accomplished with a little bit of an offensive attack!

I think that too often in our own faith, we like to play defense only. In other words, we just sit back on our heels and only REACT to the world when we are forced to. As a result, I wonder if our churches aren’t doing the best they could, just like last year’s Bears!?!?
I do not think that God called us to be inactive in our faith! I do not believe that Christianity is a spectator sport! In fact, I am pretty sure that God wants us on the offensive. He wants us moving positively in the right direction! Just having a good defense is not enough! What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17
What kind of offense will we have? Are we active? Are we out there in our world taking Jesus to them? I challenge each of us to start with our own lives, and ask “What am I doing”? The ball is in your hands! 

Jay Cutler- Chicago Bears QB Pictures, Images and Photos

Music Mix

this morning, my itunes gave me one of the most random shuffles......It was quite pleasant. Check this out:

Kickdrum Heart- Avett Brothers
Shuffle it all- Izzy Straddlin and the JuJu Hounds
Biko- Peter Gabriel
Give It Away- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Thoughts of a Dying Atheist- Muse
Star Witness- Neko Case
The Quiet Wonder- Don Chaffer
Take a Walk- Urge Overkill
Top of the World- Shonen Knife
Oh Josephine- Black Crowes
Look for me Baby- Fiction Family
River of Deciet- Mad Season
Red Eye- Ben Kweller
Inside Job- Pearl Jam
Young Heart- The Bridges