Thursday, August 01, 2019


A little over a year ago, as I was wrapping up my sabbatical and coming to the decision that it was  time for me to step out of vocational ministry, Mandy and I were having lots of conversation about what was next. This was going to be a big decision, and we wanted to make sure that we had a good place for our family to land for this next season.  We pretty quickly came to the conclusion that Christ City Church was going to be a great fit for us. We knew the leaders and resonated with the vision of the church. At the time we felt like this would be a place for us to rest, but we also wondered how we would contribute once a period of rest was up.

One morning Mandy woke up and asked what I thought about doing Alpha at Christ City. Alpha has been on the periphery of our lives since I was on staff at Hillside Church in Marin County. That church had been doing Alpha for several years at the time we were there, and though we were never a part of it, we saw the impact that it had on the church.

We thought about doing Alpha when we started Neighborhood Church but didn't feel it was the right time. Over the years we would hear about how God was using Alpha in other parts of the world, and we would wonder if it was time. It never seemed to be the case. She and I were both too maxed out to give it the proper attention and leadership it needed.  So now, as we were making the transition out of vocational ministry, we wondered if it could be the time.

We've been at Christ City for eleven months now, and after a great season of rest, we're stepping back into leadership. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach at Christ City. I taught on Rest and Responsibility (you can listen to it here if you'd like). It has been so good to be in a season of rest this last year, but I know that I'm not meant to sit on the sidelines too long. I'm created for responsibility. I still have such a love for the church, and after doing ministry for twenty years, it's not something that I want to completely give up. I'm just happy to be doing it on a smaller and more focused scale.

So I'm happy to share that Alpha at Christ City Church starts on September 8. For the past couple of months we've been recruiting a team, and over the next month we'll be solidifying the many details needed for the launch. I'm excited to be able to focus on one thing, and I'm excited that this is something that Mandy and I will be doing together.

I recognize that I've yet to tell you exactly what Alpha is, but rather than tell you here, I invite you to check out the Alpha page on Christ City's website.

Friday, April 26, 2019

My New Office

In January I came across a couple of posts by Mr. Money Mustache (here and here) about buildings that he had constructed. As I read these articles, I found myself starting to desire to build a home office for myself.

There were a couple of initial reasons. First, now that I am doing real estate full-time and don’t have any plans to stop, I know that I’m going to be working from home for the foreseeable future. This has been working for me for some time, though it gets a bit tricky in the summer when everyone is home. Second, I have a little more time on my hands than in the past, and I thought it would be fun to take on a physical project. I have learned over the years that I am not a “measure twice, cut once” kind of guy. That’s just not in my DNA. So I stick with the things that I’m good at, but at the same time, I have a desire to grow in this area.

After reading quite a bit over a couple of days, I pitched the idea to Mandy. I wasn’t sure what she would say. She loved my two reasons but added a third. Adam is about to be in high school, and he and Micah have always shared a bedroom, and she thought it might be nice for them to have their own rooms. She suggested that I build something for me, and then Adam take the bedroom that is my current office.

And there it was. We were on the same page way quicker than I thought we would be. As I researched, I quickly came to the conclusion that it would not be a wise move for me to try to build something from scratch. Again, the “measure twice, cut once” is really important for that kind of work. So I went to Probuilt of Memphis to look for a shed. I decided that my best bet would be to hire someone to build a 20x12 shed, and then I would finish the interior.

First we had to demo the existing shed. Then we had to make sure water wouldn’t build up under the new shed. We also had to get new fencing since the existing building’s  had served as the fence.

On Monday, March 18 two guys from Probuilt Memphis showed up to build my shed.  The only thing they had built in advance were the roof trusses. By 3:00 on Tuesday the shed was completed. I was blown away at how good these guys were. We had them build a wall to divide the building into two parts. I still needed a place for the mower and other tools, so six of the twenty feet is shed. The ceiling is lower on this part, which allowed for a loft in the office portion for storage. So glad we did that. And they built shelves in the shed portion.

The next day the electrical rough-in took place, and the day after that, we had closed cell spray foam insulation installed.  Then the drywall went up.

On Saturday the entire family painted the exterior. Once the drywall was finished, I painted the interior. Then I laid this vinyl plank flooring from Home Depot, and finally I had a carpenter install the heat and air unit and install the trim and baseboard.

As one who is involved in a lot of construction projects, I'm so pleased with how the project turned out and how quickly it happened. I love my office. Here are a few photos of the finished project.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Books Read - December 2018

Last December I set a goal to read 30 books. I had never set a goal like this before, but I wanted accountability. I ended the year having read 45 books, which I am very pleased with. There were two takeaways from the goal setting. First, it was great motivation to start a new book. Second, and even more important, it was great motivation to finish a book before starting a new book. That's my normal problem. I start a lot of books. The problem is finishing. Setting a goal, and then providing updates on that goal, went a long way in helping me read more and thus better myself.

So here are the five books I read in December...

Long-Distance Real Estate Investing, by David Greene
David Greene is the new co-host of the Bigger Pockets podcast, which is one of my favorite podcasts. I heard him interviewed in a podcast sometime in 2017 and was immediately impressed by his work ethic and organization. I'm not so much a long-distance investor, but I found a lot of gems in this book that help me nonetheless.

Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr
I'll be the first to admit that this one took me awhile to work through. I find that Rohr is one of those right place right time books. It takes me a little while to get truly engaged. But once I do, I find words that cause me to breathe more deeply.

Of Blood and Bone, by Nora Roberts
This is the sequel to Year One. Though not as good as the first, still a page turner.

The Lions of Lucerne, by Brad Thor
This is book 1 of a rather large series by Brad Thor. I really like political thrillers. This one wasn't amazing, but it was good enough that I'll probably read others by him.

West Cork, by Sam Bungey & Jennifer Forde
This was an audible exclusive. It's more like a podcast (think Serial) than a book, but I'm still counting it :)  It's a fascinating true crime story set in southern Ireland.