Monday, February 20, 2006

i need new music

I don't know if anyone is out there, but if you are I need music recommendations. Some of you know me and have some idea of what I like, but I'm willing to try anything. I am in need of newness.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

happy belated birthday to us

Wow, it's been a long week. One week ago tonight we gathered to celebrate the end of year four and the beginning of year five for our community. Jacob's Well is emerging from our toddlerhood and becoming a big kid. It was an incredibly encouraging night as old friends came to celebrate with us and memories and prayers and dreams and visions and hopes were shared. I don't really know what to say except thanks.
to Corey and Mark for the tunes
to B and Lisa and Corey and Melisha and Lance for the prayers
to Josh and Kenda for their thoughts about the days ahead
to Stacy for sharing the picture of houses around the world
to everyone who shared their memories
to the folks who took care of food and drinks and balloons for the night
to Haley for braving the 5 kids upstairs
to everyone who came and took part and enjoyed the night together
to people all over the world who have been and were praying for us
to all of the friends who have been a part of our community from the first days until these
to God for His faithfulness and love and ability to surprise us again and again

Here's to year 5. The ride just gets wilder from here.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

bono at the national prayer breakfast

If you haven't heard or read Bono's comments to those assembled at the prayer breakfast in DC, you can read them here. And if you are a follower of Jesus, you should read them. You don't have to agree with all of it, that's not the point. Just read, and listen to what the Spirit might be saying to the Church and to you about people in need.
One quote
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. “If you remove the yolk from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places”

When we walked through the orphanage in Fenyi, the sense of the presence of Jesus was so clear it almost flattened me. If the Church wants to be where God is, we need to be in these poor, desperate, hard places.
We need to be in rich, desperate, hard places too - just not all of us.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

memories of the well (part 4) aka i'm a moron

I just found this draft that I never posted. Here's the final installment of the memories thread.
Where to even begin thinking about our Sunday night gatherings over the years? It seems like almost every night has something that sticks out as important to the growth and direction of our community. All I can hope for in this space are some highlights. So here goes...
  • Our very first gathering at Old Judge Coffee in OKC - Feb. 10, 2002
  • Our first worship "service" at Moore Golf and Country Club (thanks again Dane) where we borrowed almost everything we used from CHBC. Sound system, tables, chairs, projectors and more were trudged up stairs and set up for that night. Steve T. and his family were invaluable that night.
  • Our first Sunday night @ The Well. Bring-your-own-chair night (because we didn't have any). Amanda and Jamee with the cheap chairs from Target that turned out to be for children.
  • The Sunday night in September of 2002 when we started to gather weekly. Many of the folks who make up our community today were there for the first time that night.
  • Our first birthday when the place was absolutely packed.
  • The Sunday after the Friday night fiasco with the atheists. Confession and searching and connection with a God of grace.
  • One word - legos.
  • Summer picnic gatherings over the years. Especially the one we managed to get Bruce and Kyle and Whitney to join us for.
  • All of the amazing elements that have been a part of "bring-your-own-worship" nights. Winged Migration with Crowder in the background will forever stick out.
  • The night of the labrynth.
  • The night we prayed at Corey and Melisha's for an hour and a half straight.
  • All of the parents and grandparents (and great uncles) who have come to check us out over the years.
  • The night we talked about worship and indviduality when we "freed" everyone to just connect and worship in whatever way seemed right. I will never forget Josh walking out the back door with Dr. Peppers for the guys who were skating in the alley.
  • The first time Corey sang "our" song.
  • Prayers prayed, songs sung, art created, conversations, old and new friends, saying hello and goodbye, blessings offered, moments made that pointed out hearts and lives to the God we dream with.
Our story through these first four years has taken us all over the country and around the world. From OKC / Norman to Pheonix, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Santa Fe, and Houston. From The Well to Moscow, Uganda, China, and who knows where else. It has been our joy to ride with God on this incredible journey and I look to the days ahead confident that He who began this good work will be faithful to complete it.
To the friends who have walked this road with us, thanks.
To the God who makes the road and carries us down it, what can be said?
Thank You.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

memories of the well (part 3)

O the Friday nights. Punk, rock, pop, ska, acoustic, classics, good, bad, ugly, young, old, solo artists, eight member ensembles, no-shows and shows we wish hadn't. Live music at The Well was a lot of things, but it was seldom boring (not never, but seldom). There's no way to list all of the memories, but some highlights . . .
  • The very first show with Matt and Tyler
  • The guy who rolled in stoned out of his mind, nearly took a swing at me, and ended up being escorted away by Norman's finest during the Three Day Sabbatical show.
  • The first Spared show when over 125 people crammed into the place.
  • Bands like Lazurus IV, Remnant, and Trent Malloy that consistently packed the place every time they played.
  • Every fun punk band that came in a played 12 songs in 25 minutes.
  • The night Mindstorm played to Justin and Justin alone.
  • The only show we ever shut down due to content.
  • The show we should have shut down due to content. One of the worst nights of my existence.
  • The night of "Christian" bands when our donation basket was robbed.
So many more, but it's late. For those who were around in those days, add yours in the comments.
I'll wrap up the memories this weekend with thoughts about Sunday nights.


Right now I am. . .
  • A (stumbling) pursuer of Jesus
  • Kenda's husband
  • Caleb's dad
  • Hannah's dad
  • Nathan's dad
  • Rebekah's dad
  • a son
  • a son-in-law
  • a brother (x2)
  • a brother-in-law (x6)
  • an uncle (x8)
  • a part of the Jacob's Well community
  • pastor of the Jacob's Well community
  • administrator and financial secretary of the Jacob's Well community
  • a full-time student at OU
  • owner, designer, accountant, and photographer of J-Web Design Studio
  • working on designs for 3 web sites
  • providing maintenance for 4 current sites
  • pursuing 3 other potential clients
  • writing in the "spare" moments
  • sleeping about 5 hours a night
  • tired
Life is full. Life is good.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Six months ago today we ran through the Beijing airport to catch a flight to Nanchang. We got to our hotel and were told to go up to our rooms and unpack and be back in a conference room by 4:30. Our daughter would be there. For about 10 minutes we flew around our room making sure everything was as perfect as it could be. Then we sat for the next 45 minutes watching time stand still. By 4:30 four sets of expectant parents were drumming their fingers on a conference room table while the hotel staff tried to calm us (unsuccessfully) with green tea. 10 minutes go by. 20.
"A couple of minutes later we heard a cry coming from the lobby one floor down from where we were. My heart jumped up into my throat and then here came four beautiful little girls."
(from Rebekah's blog)
Six months ago. I spent some time tonight going back through our blog of that journey and at times it is hard to believe that is us that I'm writing about. It doesn't seem possible.
I find myself wondering sometimes what (if anything) she remembers about that other life. If Gong SuJian means anything to her anymore. Before she was with us, I couldn't imagine what life would be like with her, now I can't imagine life without her.
Six months ago we held a dream in our arms for the first time. It's still a dream, and a very good one at that.
Happy sixmonthiversary Rebekah. You are loved.

looking around

In the summer of 2001 I was on a mission trip with a group of students in Colorado. We spent one of our evening hiking around a little lake in the mountains. I had a fully blown ACL that was waiting to be repaired forcing wearing a brace from thigh to mid-calf and causing me to be very careful about where I stepped. So careful that about half way through the hike I realized that all I was doing was staring at the ground in front of me, hoping not to make a wrong step. At that moment, it was almost like I heard a voice say, "Look around", and I did. It was beautiful. The trees, the lake, the mountains, the birds, the sky, even the kids running up ahead of me and I had been missing it all. My focus on the path in front of me caused me to miss the "big picture" of why I was there.
I was walking across campus today after class and I noticed that almost everyone walks with their head down, watching the sidewalk in front of them like it might shift or break open and swallow them up. No one looks around. Eye contact is almost impossible. Smiles or nods seem forbidden. It made me think about that day in Colorado and wonder how much life or beauty or opportunity is being missed as we stare only at the path ahead. What's odd is that it felt wierd to hold my head up and look around as I walked. Not odd, sad.
As Johnny Mercer once said (obscure?) - "There's such a lot of world to see". Here's to the seeing of more of it.
Look around.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

memories of the well, part 2

The past four years have been a blur of faces coming in and out of The Well for Open Mics, art events, other live music events, and sometimes just to be there for a while. There is no way I can name all of the friends we've made along the way, but here are some that stick out in my mind.

Pat the tornado guy - our very first "friend".
Rick - Need I say more?
Rebel - ditto
The guy that came in one Sunday night with rebel and paul and snored through the gathering.

Open Mic friends
Bruce and Kyle (or is it Annie?)
Two words - Daddy Love
The comedy stylings of Stan
Shannon and his friend who's name I could never remember (any help?)
John M and the coal mine song
John S
Quentin E and the chai
Taio (sp?)
The Rev. David S

So many, many more. Help me out in the comments.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Ok, let me get this straight...
In response to a cartoon that shows their prophet to be crazy-looking and violent, Muslim protesters act crazy and violent by burning the embassies of the countries who's free speech laws won't allow them to keep the cartoons from running. Link to CNN story.

In other news - the ironic headline of the week goes to the OU Daily.

State lawmakers brainstorm

Yet another drought in the great state of Oklahoma.

Well memories part 2 tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

memories of the well (part 1)

As we run up to our 4th birthday and get ready to end our days at The Well, I have been thinking a lot about the last four years. Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to fire off some memories about our journey so far. If you are a part of our community or have had any connnection with us, please add your stories in the comments sections, I'd love to hear them.
Since we have spent so much time over the years doing renovations, I thought that would be a good place to start. I won't remember everyone who has helped -- that's not really the point, just some of the moments that stick in my mind.
In no particular order, I remember. . .
Getting to know Quentin while priming the back for hours
Thomas painting the floor in the back
The very first workday / cleanup with Steve, Mark, Krystal, Jennifer, Amanda, Rebecca, Mom, and others I'm sure.
Green, blue, yellow, red. Beautiful.
Steve going after the built-in shelves in the back with a sledgehammer. Good stuff.
My brother and I cleaning the back with a pressure washer and watching it peel off the paint and bore holes in the old bricks.
Tearing out the old floor in The Well
My other brother helping me hang sheet rock in the front.
Tearing out the old sheet rock and concrete with Liz late one Tuesday night.
Priming the back with Stephen and Ashley
Late night sheetrocking upstairs with Josh and Jonathan
Painting the hallway floor upstairs with Caleb.
Kent and Mark tearing out plaster in room 3.
Hours and hours with the whole community working upstairs
One word - refrigerator.
Oceans of paint, miles of sheet rock, mountains of texture, hours of life spent together, more stories than I could possibly tell.
Laughter, frustration, sweat, blood, maybe a tear or two, lots of dreams. Good days.


Coming next - the friends we've made along the way.