Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rockin' Pipe Organ

Today Karen and I took my mother to see an amazing concert on an awesome pipe organ. It is in the Overture Center in Madison and was just phenomenal. I'd say there were 800 or so people who came to hear this concert and the organist was amazing. He played a tribute to Felix Mendelssohn, Bach, Mozart, and Shumann in honor of Mendelssohn's 200th birthday. He called it Felix and friends. I have never seen such incredible foot work and just general knowledge of the instrument. I had a very clear view of his volume control and was amazed at how adept he was. I am excited for the new season of concerts on this organ. There are 4 hymn sings and some other concerts as well.

If you love the sound of real pipe organs...not that blah stuff in 95% of WELS churches...this is something to hear. More than the instrument of course is having an organist who can bring out the sound. It is a shame so many of our churches have 300,000 to 800,000 dollar pipe organs and they are played like there are only 4 flute settings in existence. That is one of my pet peeves. I remember once at my old church thinking how sad it was a congregation of 2300 people has such a lame instrument. Then one of the synod's most talented organists played it and holy crap...The church thundered and moved and there was probably dust flying out of half the pipes from lack of use.

Well anyways..try to make the next concert there in September. Here are some facts on this organ made by Orgelbau Klais Bonn.
  • craftsman construction using old-fashioned methods and handmade elements; wood harvested and cured for years
  • stored in "closet" approximately 18" x 65" and 62-feet high with stairs to reach the instrument
  • organ and enclosure together weigh approximately 350,000 Ibs.
  • organ moves into position on rails at a speed of one foot per minute
  • 40-foot doors open to reveal organ and form side walls of orchestra shell; wood panels drop down to form ceiling
  • separate ventilation system in stage house includes temperature-controlled environment for organ

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



20 years ago today we were married. Back then we had a lot of plans. We spent a good chunk of our time of our 4.5 years of dating contemplating the future. We made so many plans sitting on the shores of the lake or behind Lafollette High School. So many plans…

We planned to get married when I was done with college. We got married before my senior year.

We planned to wait a few years to start having kids. We waited 4 months to get started.

We planned I would teach high school. I ended up in software development.

We planned you would stay home with the kids. You ended up in a career you enjoy and are successful.

We planned to settle down in Wisconsin close to home. We lived in 3 states and 14-16 houses.

We planned to live in a nice house in the suburbs with two nice cars, two kids and a dog. We ended up in the city with 4 old cars, 3 kids and 6 cats.

We planned to have a long life free of trials and tribulations. We ended up having several marital disasters and financial messes that would make a politician blush.

We planned to be skinny all our lives. We are not.

We plan our meals for the week. By Wednesday, they are shot.

I have never been so grateful than for so many “failures.” We got married with nothing and we learned that each other was all we needed. God gave us that beautiful boy without a clue what to do with him. God led me away from teaching and into a career that suits my interests and talents much better. You had some time to stay home with the kids but you also got a chance to develop a successful career. Despite 3 robberies, a leaky roof and a leaky basement we do have a home that we are not a slave to. Look at the adventure our 4 cars with a combined mileage of 700,000 miles give us nearly every week. Our cats each contribute their little piece of life every day. We have 3 great kids, the Marine, the Princess, and…umm..the little philippino kid…(mental note…Ike needs a stereotype) none of whom we could live without. Our marital issues and financial messes have made us stronger, more forgiving, more empathetic, more understanding, and more appreciative of what we do actually have. Umm…There is more of us to love and when our meal planning is shot the upside is that we get to have pizza.

I am thankful to God that he has lead us these last 20 years. There was one plan we made at our wedding. That was to keep Jesus a part of our life to the end. So far that is the only plan that has succeeded. Funny how that works. I think you know that one single plan was the key to the success of our life together despite the “failure” of so many plans. Every bad thing that has occurred has been turned to good. I look forward to another 40 – 50 years of failed plans with you. At least that’s the plan.

Love You With All My Heart


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

St. Marcus in the News

Here is a news story run last night on Fox 6 about the success of St. Marcus. The same story is so true of so many kids there. Here is the link:,0,3959739.story if the embedded video does not work.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back to Blogging

So after a week absence I am back. I spent my bachelor week last week enmeshed in a problem with a project at work. I inherited another guy’s code and it was full of errors. Finally I scrapped a lot of it and rewrote it the right way. I worked like 7:00am – 7:00pm almost every day. Woo hoo party time. Then I was so tired I didn’t feel like doing anything else. I certainly didn’t get K’s office cleaned out and painted…or the garage cleaned or any of that good stuff

The highlight of the week was going to get 4 pizza’s for the week, a box of twinkies, two bags of buffalo wings and a tub of cookie dough. I call them…meals for men. We didn’t even eat all that stuff but it sure seemed like a good idea. One night I didn’t eat dinner and another we went to Applebees. So yeah Ike and I are pretty much dorks.

Ike joined a Mixed Martial Arts/ Muay Tay Kickboxing club. It is an open membership so he can show up for as many sessions as he can handle. It is one of the best if not the best MMA clubs in Milwaukee and highly regarded in the midwest. There are a few UFC fighters from this club. All the skills are good for other sports. I hope he enjoys it. The wrestling coach at Wisco is already recruiting. If Ike does enough juijitsu that coach will be drooling.

We also picked up a new bike so he can get around. Ike picked himself up a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago too. She's a nice girl from St. John's Tosa.

Katie got back from Florida today. She is still a little rambunctious. She is high on Phil. Phil is coming up here for the July 4th weekend with Zach. I'm sure our house will be filled up again with Zach's old crew. yay :-/. It will be nice to have him home though. I'm not sure he has thought about the fact that he only has a couch to sleep on now. The rest of the family won't have seen him for 6-7 months.

Karen had a great week in IA. She did not get tturned into a flaming atheistic liberal in her Critical Thinking class. Rather Iowa sports a rather conservative crowd and she found it quite enjoyable. The professor was excellent. The group bonded very well and went out for some meals together. Sounds like something Karen will want to repeat.

This last weekend we went to a baptism party on Sunday for Karen's cousin's baby. We also went to my cousin and my uncle's 50th and 80th birthday party. Nice to see old faces....wait...faces that we have not seen in awhile.

Hopefully by the end of this week things will be calm and boring as usual.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Reformation Relevance

Today at Victory we had a great service. We have been going through a series called Victory Core Values. The core value we covered today was Reformation Relevance. I just think this sermon hit our mission on the head. If anyone wanted to know what being in a mission to the unchurched is about they should listen to this sermon. If anyone wondered what having a contemporary Lutheran mission means...this covers it. If any Ichabodians or BW officianado's want to actually hear what its about..they should listen.

podcast of sermon on Reformation Relevance

You can hear the other Core Value sermons at the podcast site or Subscribe to the Victory of the Lamb Franklin, Wi podcast in Itunes Subscribe to this podcast with iTunes

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Victory Update

God is blessing our work at Victory these days. The jump in attendance up to around 130 – 135 each week since moving to the theater seems to be the new baseline. Even on Memorial weekend we had over 100. Lots of new faces. That trepidation some of us had in how moving to the theater will change the dynamic of the church has faded away. It is starting to click. For the most part I think we have realized that the service is still the same and the Word is being proclaimed in its truth and purity. The location does not change the law and gospel.

Last Sunday represented the first Sunday without any real technical glitches. We had volume issues which we have fixed with speaker placement and more wattage. We had issues with the new software based mixer and clipping but that is now resolved. We had a few issues providing sound to the video camera and also in transmitting WVIC to the lobby TV. We’ve got those resolved now. We now have the podcasting working well and available in iTunes weekly. Check it out.. It was my goal to have the technical side of things resolved by the end of May and we did.

Next up? I’m working on presenting the sermon video in our own Video player off the website as well as providing a video for iTunes video podcasts. We may have some incremental improvements in our service video’s coming up. There are some opportunities coming up for us to expand our reach and mission with high quality video production. Stay Tuned.

I am looking forward to this summer build up to a grand re-launch event in September. We have the new advertisement replacing the old one which I am very tired of seeing. The 4th of July festivities we are involved in. The Hallepalooza event after that and the Bible Soccer Camp.
I’m excited that we now have a paid part-time Director of Children’s Ministry and Volunteer coordinator. She has put in so much time and work already and now she doesn’t need to work full time AND put in another 35 hours for Victory each week. Her organizing abilities are great. We also have two summer assistants working for us from MLC again.

I think this summer we are going to see even more great things happening. If you are looking for an opportunity to be involved in a church and be part of its ministry…come to Victory.

Zach Update

Katie and Zach on the Beach in front of Zach's Barracks.
Zach has classed up with the second phase of his training. It is a 4 week piece of training. After that he has two more phases. One is 16 weeks and if he does well and gets what he wants there will be an additional section that is 10 weeks long. So either in November or February he will get his Permanent Duty Station. He did get his desired “I” strand training section. There is also an “O” strand. Basically the difference will be that “O” strand folk work “Outside” or at least directly on the planes and helicopters. They diagnose the issues and replace faulty parts and radar equipment. The “I” strand or “Inside” people sit in their little boxes and fix the issues with those
faulty parts. It requires a higher level of technical competence and intricate electronics knowledge. The O strand requires more diagnostic and knowledge of integration etc… different flavors I guess.

Zach loves Pensacola. The base and the weather and being on the ocean. He has it pretty cushy there. Four of his friends from Muskego are heading down as well this week. They actually are flying down within hours of Kt on the same airline but they are on slightly different routes. Kt flies through Atlanta to Pensacola and they are going through Memphis. Kt gets there an hour and a half later. So from Thursday through next Monday Zach will have plenty of company and hyperness with those 4 girls. Kt will be off with Phil so I don’t think she’ll be too involved in their gatherings.