at least i'm not this bad

For those of you who have seen the videos I took of Caleb falling asleep at lunchtime and have thought to yourself "How can a father do that to his wonderful son?"...I give you -


sam is such a dedicated little girl

Catholics christen, Lutherans & Presby's sprinkle, lion cubs get held up by for all to see at Pride Rock, and we weird Christians "dedicate".

I would love to see Rafiki hold up my child for all animal land to bow down to.

For those of you who follow this blog and don't regularly attend a church, let me translate. When parents want to publicly commit to raising their child(ren) in the fear of the Lord, they "dedicate" their kids in front of their church. I've also seen it done in a backyard with friends and family - so it doesn't really matter where it's done as long as it's in front of people you love and have community with. Regardless, that's what we did with our 4 month old Samaria Rae.

Grandparents galore. Free babysitting abounded. And when all was said and done, we had a great weekend with our immediate and church family. Here are some pics of the extravaganza (I've always wanted to use that word in my blog - yeah for me).

Hanging with Aunt Jean ("Tia").

Sam & Tutu.

Caleb loves riding the "choo-choo" at the Salem Library.

Reading with Gama.

"I love Papi Kirschman".

At the dedication, Caleb decided he would steal the show and wander all over the stage. He went over to Laura (worship leader) and sat on her lap, walked up and down the front stairs, and just acted like a Pastor's kid.

My dad was able to end the dedication with prayer for us and Sam.
A very special moment.

This picture was taken with Steve and Trina Fowler. They have become very special people to us and Steve is the pastor of Salem Alliance Church.

Sam just finished debriefing the weekend with Papa.


cookies and love

To celebrate Valentines Day this year, Kara taught Caleb how to make and decorate cookies that they brought to some of the church staff at lunch time.

After Kara showed Caleb the first cookie cut-out, she said, "Ta-Daa". So...after every successive cookie that was cut out, Caleb finished it with his own "Ta-Duh".

Also, our little girl Samaria is rolling from her tummy to her back. These milestones are so fun to watch...it's like watching a flower open...

...and then roll onto it's back.


my little clone

So I finally got my new glasses. I'd been wanting a new pair for awhile.

I'd only been wearing these for about 7 hours when...


what a weekend

This past weekend, our church turned a corner in it's 90 year history. We held our groundbreaking ceremony to start construction on our new building, which has been called "broadway project" for the past few years and will eventually hold a new name. I like the name "What Would Jesus Build".

It was a long weekend. Good thing God gave me a flexible wife who values church ministry, cuz I was AWOL from Wednesday to Sunday afternoon. Rehearsing for three different worship sets made for a confusing, yet challenging experience.

On Saturday morning, we celebrated our past, present, and future. Don Bubna (pastor from 1964-1987), Morris Dirks (1988-2000), Matt Boda (interim 2000-2002), Gary Benedict (president of the C&MA), and Janet Taylor (Mayor of Salem) spoke on chapters of SAC's history and looked ahead to the near future. Kara and I soon realized that we were in the middle of something great...something big...something supernatural. Humbled by God's goodness at bringing us here for this time and season, we looked at each other with a look that said "i can't believe we get to be a part of this."

Some other highlights of the weekend:

The appearance of John Stumbo. Our lead pastor has been sick for a LONG time, and has come back from the brink of death. There were rumors going around that he might show for the groundbreaking ceremony...and he did. He hobbled up to the podium with the help of his wife and his trusty walker. It was the longest standing ovation I've ever heard, and there was not a dry eye in the place.

It was humbling to pray in the "green room" with all of these giants of faith. It was kind of like praying with Moses, Elijah, & Abraham.

Here are some pics of the weekend.


you interrupted my worship song!

This past Sunday morning, my wife and I were lying in our bed, snuggled up under the warm covers, looking forward to a lazy Sunday morning. It was my weekend off from leading worship at church and we had gone to the Saturday night service the previous night. So when the phone rang on my nightstand at 7am, and I saw that it was Greg the Tech Director for the weekend. My first reaction was to hit "ignore" and go back to my warm wonderbedland. But I realized that I probably should answer it. So I did.

"Hi Greg"

"Jeff. I hate to tell you this, but Logan (the worship leader for the weekend) was up all night puking and is here rehearsing with the band right now. He's not quite sure he'll be able to do it this morning. You are plan B".


"I'll call you if we need you for sure"



The dreams of lounging around in my jammies all morning began to disintegrate. Hear me right, I was totally ok with filling in for Logan. But I had to do a quick attitude and expectation adjustment. Not 2 minutes went by...

"Hey Greg"

"Yeah, he's in the bathroom puking. Can you come in?"

"You bet. See you soon."

30 minutes later I was walking into the church. Logan led the first set at the 8am service and then passed the baton to me for the rest of the 2.5 services. While the preacher was teaching the first service, I was in the green room getting briefed on the order of songs, switched out a song, added a new one, explained how we were going to do it, and took a deep breath.

After the sermon was over, the worship band and I took our places on stage and began the song "Mighty to Save". Now, you must know that the people who come to the 8:00 service are not there with the intention to get riled up. They love to worship, but not physically. Not with their bodies. Mostly with their buns seated in the pew.

As we began the first song, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that three ladies in their 30's were walking up to the front of the sanctuary. I assumed they were just going to pray. But as we hit the chorus "Savior...He can move the mountains...My God is mighty to save...He is mighty to save..." we all heard the sound of a hammer pounding a nail into our cross on stage. This cross is there on stage all year long, and the ribbons that are held by nails bear witness to each individual life that has chosen to surrender their lives to King Jesus.

Here we were in the middle of singing a song about the saving power of Jesus, and two ribbons were pounded into the cross. What happened next made my knees weak with worship. The congregation of 700 people erupted with applause and rose to their feet. The voices got louder. The words "...Forever...Author of salvation...He rose and conquered the grave..." took on a whole new meaning.

You don't forget stuff like this. You can't script stuff like this.

Two lives changed by the power of Christ. 700 lives and one worship leader changed by the power of lives changed by Christ.