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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Welcome to California

Welcome to Orange County... I've arrived!! Yay!!

Welcome to Pheonix

Just landed in Pheonix for a short layover on the way to Orange County
today.... Never been here before... Looks nice; wish I had more time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gathering... TOMORROW!!!

I've been looking forward to this for the last 4 or 5 months.

Tomorrow morning at 7:15 am, I jump a jet to California for a couple of days for "The Gathering." It's a little mini-conference at Saddleback. I always love this event because the week is filled with incredible, challenging and inspiring conversations with some old friends. It always fills me up and spawns some new ideas.

I can't wait.

My only regret is that I got almost nothing done today that I needed to get done. So, I'll have to get some done tomorrow and in the midst of some free time as I have it. Thankfully I have Thursday night's small group lesson... everything else can "technically wait" until Friday or Saturday (when I'll be back in town).

So chances are good that tonight that there might be a couple of random posts... but the posts the rest of the week will be from Saddleback and "The Gathering." So, watch for those... plus, I always love the "loot."

Jim

Shuffle Up and Deal

I haven't done a "Shuffle Up and Deal" on here in a while... So, when I pushed "shuffle" and "play" this morning in my iTunes, I thought I would. (If you've never done a "shuffle up and deal," you put your music on shuffle, push play and then list the first 5 songs that pop up without skipping one (because you are embarrassed by the selection.)

Here's what popped up this morning:
  • "Million Voices" by Barlow Girl
  • "Our Time Is Coming" by Brooks & Dunn (nothing like a little country to get the day started)
  • "North and South of the River" by U2
  • "Brighter" by Paul Wright
  • "Butterflies" by Pettidee
There they are... a little Monday morning "Shuffle Up and Deal."

Jim

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Worship Team


A couple of weekend ago, I began working with a former student from Meadville as my weekend worship leader for student ministries. It's been great to reconnect with Justin and he is adding a much needed element to our weekend student worship service.

This weekend was the first weekend that we worked with a band. They did phenomenal. I was worried getting started since the group at this point is made up of a freshmen and a couple of middle school students. But they really did a great job this morning. I'm looking forward to some big things. We've got about 5 or 6 other students who want to be involved but couldn't this weekend for one reason or another. And it will be great to get them involved.

But for now, we had a really great weekend. Good job guys!!!

Jim

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Home???


Today we made an offer on this house in North Aurora. (Sorry Nate... It's not Aurora... but it does have a basement and maybe we can pull of a TV show anyway...) The address is 705 Chesterfield Lane, North Aurora.

The house is going to need some work... But we've got a good contact for that who has already given us some good numbers.

So, we're feeling pretty confident. We are the only offer on the table and basically we're offering what they are asking for.

So, hopefully we'll know something soon!! But his could be home.

Jim

FIREPROOF Trailer

I might have to pop out and try to see this this weekend. This is by the same people who put together "Facing the Giants." It looks like it would be interesting.

Jim

Check it out HERE

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What I'm listening to...

I picked up a couple of brand new albums yesterday... Today, I'm listening to them and enjoying them. Here's what I'm listening to:
It's early yet... but so far I'm really liking what I'm hearing from Nevertheless and Downhere (Downhere was at FVCC in May).

Jim

"before men..."


I thought about THIS verse this morning...
"32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 NIV)"

My heart broke for 3 students this morning as I stood with them outside of Batavia High School (the closest high school to FVCC about 4 miles down the road). It broke not because I was with them, but because of who wasn't with them. This is a high school of about 1600-1700 students and 3 of them gathered for prayer. I watched many... many walk past. Many were asked to join them for prayer, but all rejected the offer. I thought of how incredibly difficult it would be for those three students to see those others throughout the day and feel that rejection.

But at the same time as my heart broke... it was also encouraged. It would have been easy for those three to bag it, say that no one else showed up, go to class and hope that no one noticed. But they didn't. They stayed and prayed. And I know that as they stood there, it wasn't three any more... it was four...

Jim

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TXTing in church...


I saw THIS on TONY STEWARDS' BLOG:

Here's a couple of snipets:
"The spotlight shone on the Rev. Mike Schreiner on Sunday as he preached about who goes to heaven and how earthly relationships will translate in the hereafter. Off to Schreiner's right, the steady glow of dozens of cell phones lit up the section where the teens of Morning Star Church sat listening to the sermon, thumbs furiously working little keyboards. High above the 700-seat sanctuary, Amie Haskins, 27, the director of worship, sat in the church's control booth receiving their text messages on the church's cell phone. She screened out some (most were about whether pets would be in heaven — a point she knew Schreiner would be addressing later in the sermon), and typed others into a computer that was connected to Schreiner's laptop next to him. During Schreiner's 30-minute sermon, Haskins received 35 questions.
Schreiner answered just three of them, but the church's embrace of texting — this was the third week of its experiment — has already improved the dialogue, according to Schreiner, and energized many of Morning Star's younger members. "I love it," said 14-year-old Kailey Elfstrum, who had her text all ready to go even before Schreiner's sermon began. "You get to ask the pastor anything you want while he's talking." Her friend Maddie Howard, also 14, agreed. "You don't want to admit your sins to the rest of the church, but this way you can still ask something important," she said."

Its an interesting way to engage the culture. But as someone who teaches occasionally in adult worship and almost every weekend in student worship, I don't know if I would be agile enough on my feet to adjust my message to address questions.

Currently at FVCC, we do have text message updates for high school students (if you are an FVCC high school student, click HERE) and middle school students (if you are an FVCC middle school student, click HERE), but we don't have any current technology to put this into play. But I would love to see firsthand someone who is doing it.

As technology increases, the church needs to figure out what part of it is good and that we can use and what part isn't useful and should be discarded. But the more time that passes, it seems that texting is something that is useful and is here to stay.

What do you think?

Jim

Sorry... slow on the blogging...

Hey all...

Sorry that the blogging rate has been slower lately. We've had so much going on with school (trying to get reading done), house (trying to get ready to make an offer), church (anything and everything) and getting ready to go to California for 3 days next week.

I have not forgotten. And I hope we can get some of this stuff settled down... or at least settled into a pattern so that I can get into a normal cycle.

Jim

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cubs Clinch NL Central Title


Big Z and the Cubs picked up the NL Central Title for the second straight year!!! First back to back title since... 1908...

Next... the World Series!!!

I wish I could have been there today to sing along with the Wrigley faithful... (from HERE)...
"Baseball season's underway
Well you better get ready for a brand new day. Hey, Chicago, what do you say, The Cubs are gonna win today.

They're singing ... Go, Cubs, go, Go, Cubs, go

Hey, Chicago, what do you say, The Cubs are gonna win today.

Go, Cubs, go, Go, Cubs, go

Hey, Chicago, what do you say, The Cubs are gonna win today.

They got the power, they got the speed, To be the best in the National League
Well this is the year and Cubs are real, So come on down to Wrigley Field

We're singing now ...

Go, Cubs, go, Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today.

Go, Cubs, go, Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today.

Baseball time is here again
You can catch it all on WGN
So stamp you feet and clap your hands
Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans.

You're singing now ...

Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today.

Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today. "


Jim

Microsoft’s ‘I’m a PC’ Ads Created On Macs

Oooppps...

"Metadata found on Microsoft's creative copy used in its 'I'm a PC' ad reveals that the graphics were actually produced using Macs running Adobe Creative Suite 3. After the details were published on the Flickr photo sharing site, Microsoft scrambled to polish off the embarrassing details last night."

Check out the whole story HERE.


Jim

Twilight Zone: To Serve Man

This may be the most unusual video clip that we have ever used at a weekend service... we're using half of this one this weekend as we talk about serving others... but not talking about serving others for dinner.

Jim

Check it out HERE.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Finally got some Sonic!!!



Almost a month after the first Sonic Drive-In to open in the area, Jackie and I finally had some Sonic today!!! (Check out the first attempt HERE.)


Some of you are spoiled... especially living in the South... and having a Sonic on every corner. We, in the Chicagoland area, had none... until mid-August.





After multiple attempts over the last couple of weeks... we finally got in today.

And it was:
G
O
O
D!!!!!

Jackie and I both had "fried ice cream blast" and we shared a "strawberry limeade."

It was truly something to smile about!


Jim

House Hunters... Trip 7... Return of House #8


Way back in August... seems like forever again, we checked out THIS house... House #8. You may remember it because it made both Jackie and I sad because it has some damage... we are/were thinking that maybe the homeowner inflicted it before they were evicted.

Well, last weekend I was thinking our search through and talking with my Uncle Johnny. He encouraged me to reconsider this house. Today, that's pretty much all that Jackie and I did on our walk. We had planned to talk to Sandy (our agent) about it. When we got in the car, she had already lined up a viewing with it today, forgetting that we had already seen it. But that was great... since we wanted to see it again. We pulled in Mark Fields (house builder extraordinaire) to assess some of the needed fixes on it... about $20,000... and to see about their "do-ability."

All the cogs fell into place... we got into the house without mentioning it to our agent... Mark dropped by... and we actually spent about an hour and 15 minutes walking around and looking and talking and dreaming.

Tonight, we're still talking about it. We've run some comparables on the house and for the price... which has come down a couple of times from previously, we may make an offer on this house... we're still thinking... talking... researching... and praying. So, we'll see.

I see a lot of potential. I think that we could give it new life again... but we'll have to see.

Maybe... maybe more on this one to come.



House 27 is a really big house. It is much larger than it seems from the outside. The rooms are big... the master bedroom is huge with a pretty nice master bath. It's got a pool in back... above ground... but enough to get wet in... which is the point, right? But, the basement is a little wet in one corner and it's going to need some paint and carpet. For the price, this one is on the backburner right now... We can only consider one fixer-upper at a time.




All in all, today was a good house hunting trip. Tune in next time to see if we'll make an offer on house number 8 or go back to the drawing board!!

Jim

House Hunters... trip 6... (last week)


First off, my apologies for not getting these pics up quicker. I know that there are some of you out there who are waiting on pins and needles to see if we buy a house and which one.

So, my apologies.
We saw houses on Thursday and then I left for my Grandma's 80th Birthday Party early Friday morning (and my parents don't have Internet). (Check out that trip HERE and HERE.)

The first house that we saw was a revisit on house 17.5 (originally visited HERE during trip 5). We liked this townhouse and wanted to see it again.

Unfortunately we liked it. Unfortunately because it recently went under contract... with someone else. So scratch another one off the list.






House 22 is a pretty big sprawling ranch out in Kaneville. There were a couple of things about this house that we really liked. It had a double sided fireplace in the living room and family room. The kitchen was updated and it sat on a pretty big lot. But both of us were turned off by the master bedroom and master bath. So, while things were looking good... they ended disappointedly. It was a small bedroom and the bathroom was almost an after thought.






House 23 was a pretty big disappointment. The location on this one is great... it's in Sugar Grove... close to the church and the tollway. But it's a little too close... the backyard is almost boardering it. Plus, we were not impressed with the inside.












House 24 is a short-sale property in North Aurora. We kinda liked this property... but it needed some work and the price was just a little too high to allow for the work. It does have a pool though... very cool for youth ministry. It may be one that if it comes around again at a lower price, we may go and have a look again.






House 25 won't seem to load in my blog. But don't worry... it wasn't much to look at. In fact, the only reason that we wanted to see it was because the price was so low (for obvious reasons after begin inside) that my wife thought we could make a 20% down payment and avoid the PMI... but after seeing it, we thought... "Humm... No."






House 26 was a very small house in Geneva. It's got a big basement but was just a little too small for our tastes... plus, only having 1 bathroom would not be cool when we have guests.







Well, there you go... that was trip 5. Sorry again that it took me so long. But the next trip (actually taken today) will bring back a house from before that may become an offer and one new one.

Jim


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

working with Dad














So...
When I went to Ohio, not only did I go and have a birthday party for my grandma...


I also ended up on a little work project with my dad. Here's what we spent our Saturday and Sunday doing. Installing the pipes for an external woodburning stove that will heat my parents' house.


Growing up, we always heated our house with wood. Dad has decided that with the high prices for fuel... especially natural gas... that he is going to return to heating with wood (something that can be gotten fairly easily with a little bit of work... but much less money).

So we spent Saturday and Sunday digging a 6 inch trench with this trencher. The ditch is about 160 feet long and was about 30 inches deep. Then we buried the pipe and covered the ditch back over.

It was fun. It had been a while since I had worked on a project like this with my dad. My dad is so good at doing this sorts of jobs. He's just so smart at figuring stuff like this out and he can do almost anything. I have often said that "there isn't a tool made that doesn't fit my dad's hand" and he proved it again working with this trencher (which he had never done until Saturday night). But it was fun to work on a little project like this.



But there as another aspect of this job that was both enjoyable and tiring. I love what I do with students. I love teaching God's word and encouraging students to incorporate it into their lives. I love hanging out with them... following up with them. I love the creativity of designing something from nothing (like a talk or a game).

But there's just something about a couple of days of hot, hard, stinky work outside when you get completely dirty and sweaty and all you want to do is sit around afterwards. I miss that sometimes working in my office. I don't often go home from a day at the office like that. But it was fun to work that way for a couple of days.

And it was fun to work with my dad.

Jim

trying out a moleskine


So...

I'm trying something new beginning today.

I have heard quite a few guys in my profession raving about Moleskines (and yes, that is spell correctly). Several have even recommended that I try one.

I've resisted... until today.

I decided that I would try one... fill it up from front to back with daily to-do's, phone calls, odds and ends from my day... and when I get done with one, I'll decide if I want to try it again.

It seems to have been fairly successful. I picked it up around noon and by tonight, had already filled up 2 pages.

We'll see what happens. I'm going with the Squared Soft Notebook.

Jim

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm...

...home!

It was a longer than normal trip home. They had 80/94 shut down today so I had to go across country from Indiana into Illinois on SR 24. It was longer... but better than sitting in the parking lot of people waiting.

It's so nice to be home.

Jim

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grandma's 80th Birthday

Celebrated my Grandma's 80th birthday today... If I could live half as
long and half as good...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chick-fil-a...

At 70 mph... Sweet golden goodness!!!

Blogger silence...

My apologies for the blogger silence of late.

I am currently preparing, in the next 10 minutes to depart for Ohio for my surprise Grandmother's 80th Birthday party. Don't worry... the party will be low on surprise... otherwise it might be her last. And I don't think there's any worry about her reading this and being tipped off to the party... she doesn't have a computer and it would likely take me a half an hour to explain a blog to her... much less could she find mine.

But I will be out of town and out of Internet connection for the next couple of days. I'm from a small town where most people would say Inter-what? if you asked them about Internet. But I will be updating my Twitter feed in the upper left hand corner of my blog.

So those of you out there who can't get enough of the happenings in the life of "Jim Clark" will have to get your fix there. (If you want to follow me on Twitter and get the feed direct, click HERE.) See you on Monday.

Jim

Monday, September 08, 2008

Recaps on last night's VMA's... Source4YouthMinistry and CPYU

Let me just say right up front that I didn't watch last night's Video Music Awards.

But my guess is that lots and lots of teenagers... especially middle schoolers, freshmen and sophomores did... as well as many others.

But I did not. I usually try to watch (between trips to the bathroom to throw up from what I'm watching) because I know that it is so closely tied to the student culture. But I just couldn't muster the courage last night.

I did, however, enjoy a couple of article recaps of last night's action. The first, a little more wittier version of last night by Jonathan McKee and David R. Smith (HERE) over at the Source4YouthMinistry. And another by youth expert Walt Mueller (HERE) over at the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding. They were both excellent articles about the highs, lows and happenings of last night's VMAs... and I got to keep my sanity, voice (from yelling at the screen... instead I was yelling for the Bears game) and my dinner.

Check them out. They're good stuff.

Jim

The Monsters are back!!!

Last night was a great game... for the Bears. Last night was a total defensive domination by the Bears on Manning... which was great because the Bears are my fantasy team defense.

I'm going to enjoy rubbing this in to several Colts fans that I know.

If you missed the game, HERE's the final... and HERE's the story... Enjoy Colts fans... :P

Hehe...
Go BEARS!

Jim

Saturday, September 06, 2008

House Hunters... trip 5...


We headed back out on the house hunting trail again this afternoon and actually we had a really good day.

House 17.5 (if you're keeping track... first house today) was a townhouse. I've not been a huge fan of townhomes. They're nice and all (and please don't be offended) but I've lived in an apartment for far too long and most townhomes feel to me like apartments. This was the first one that we were in that we both really liked and felt like a little house instead of an apartment. It's in Geneva and right behind the Commons... but it kinda felt secluded some. It had a great Master Bedroom and an awesome Master Bathroom (maybe one of the best we've seen since we've been looking) and a fireplace. This might be one that we will have to see again.












After the townhome, our agent took up out to see the house next to the house that we made an offer on (HERE, HERE and HERE). Part of our thinking was, "we know approximately what was paid for the house next door... this one is smaller with less upgrades... we know approximately what to offer." It was nice... but really didn't thrill us as much as the other. Any of these three... this one and the next two would be incredible to own... but this one is unfortunately at the bottom of those three. This is house number 18 if you've keeping track.




Next, we went around the corner and checked out a couple of other houses that are in "short sale" in the Blackberry Creek area. This is house #19 for your personal scorecard. Of those houses, this was maybe the best. It's a four bedroom (with a large loft) and a 2.1 bath but it doesn't have a basement. But the large open floor plan would make it pretty nice.










We went down the street to check out this house. It is house #20. It actually was one of the models and so consequently it has a pretty large and open floor plan (the kitchen is HUGE!!! and I mean HUGE!!! You have no idea how HUGE it is). But some of the doors and trim are mismatched (to display different styles). But it's a 4 bedroom, 3.1 bath. It has a basement and is right around the corner from the elementary school.





The final house of the day was house #21... a one story ranch with a full, finished basement. The backyard was nice. The garage was big and there was some good potential in the basement. But the more and more that we look at, the less and less that we really like ranches (again, no offense). But it's got some potential... but certainly not in our top 5 currently.





Overall, it was a good day. The townhouse (#17.5) has some great potential and jumped pretty close to the top of the list. But we've got some thinking and praying to do before we make our next move. But we are scheduled to go out again on Thursday. We'll see where we're at at that point.

Jim


Bible In a Minute

This is pretty cool...


Jim

Check this out HERE.

Headed out to House Hunt...

...this afternoon.

My wife and I are headed out to check out some houses this afternoon. We haven't been out since we made a couple of offers last week and first part of this week. So, we're headed back out. Look here this afternoon for some fresh pics from some new houses.

Maybe we'll find "THE" house this afternoon!!

Jim

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to the Hunt... the House Hunt...

Well...
We've officially heard that our 2nd offer on the house in Elburn is a no-go as well. According to our Realtor, the couple who made the other offer knew that there was another offer on the table and went "over list." How much over, we'll never know... unless we meet them someday.

So we're back to 2nd base. We've got a couple of other places that we'd like to look at... including the house next door (which is not as big... but we now might have ammo to ask for a lower price since we know approximate what this one went for).

But we're back on the hunt. So, watch for some more pictures likely Saturday afternoon. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and blog checks to see what was going on. We appreciate it as we work through this exciting and frustrating process.

Jim

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Had a good day of class...

The first day of class went really well. I'm going to enjoy my class with Dr. Castelein... "Insights into Ministering to Contemporary Minds..." about Modern/Postmodern/Postmodernity... It should be a great deal of fun.

Jim

First day of class

Well...
The first day of class is here. I'm hanging out in the "scroll room" here in Restoration Hall waiting for my 1 pm class. Just had a bit of lunch and getting a little nervous about getting a good seat in class. (Because the key to a good semester is a good seat...)

We'll see what happens.

Oh... and if you're wondering, we've yet to hear anything back on the house yet. But I'll post as soon as I hear... or get out of class...

Jim

Monday, September 01, 2008

Watching my buddy Lyndale... from Hurricane Gustov's... cam!!

Video streaming by Ustream