Powering Down For A Few Weeks

According to social media and "platform" experts what I'm about to do in the next two weeks is a very bad idea for growing and developing social influence and significance. That being said I don't really care what social media gurus tell me I should and shouldn't be doing to attract, grow and keep a crowd of readers. If you're tracking with me thus far I am grateful that you read and visit my site. I'm going to give you the freedom of not having to feel like you have to pay attention to anything I write or say for the next two weeks.

I'm going to unplug. Seriously. No Facebook, no blog, no Twitter, no email, no reaching into the vast crevasse that is the Internet over the next two weeks. Why? Two reasons:

  1. I am going to be speaking at a camp for high school students in Northern California next week. I'd ask, beg and plead that you would pray for me as I teach on the nature of God. Pray as well for these students that God would be pleased to reveal himself to them, draw them to himself and grant them repentance, faith and life in Him. Pray that the Holy Spirit is at work to make more disciples of Jesus. If you want to do something fun you can send me a care package.
  2. I am going to give spend some intentional and unhurried time with my wife, kids and friends on vacation for the second week. We need it, they need me, I need them, my soul needs Christ. We're going to play, sing, eat, read, nap, laugh and have a great time together.

So that's where I'll be… in fact let's just make it a straight deal. I'll see you back here and on Facebook and Twitter in August. Thanks for reading and interacting.


Seven Greatest Moments of My Marriage


#7 The First Day. Worship, Vows, Fireworks, Wendy's, Fire Alarm. I'll never forget it.

#6 – The Day I Tossed Out My Back.  This occured early on in year 2 of our married life.  We just hired a new pastor at Santa Rosa Bible Church and I was cleaning out the office space for him.  In an unfortunate twist I ended up doing something funky to my back.  5 hours later I was laying on the floor in our home moaning unable to make it 30 feet to our bedroom and had to have a friend take me to the emergency room.  The day ended (at around 3am) with me drugged up and talking about reindeer on the roof and Steph laughing at me.

#5 – The French-Canadian/Vermonster Nightmare.  This might fall in the "worst moments of our marriage" category, but it's one we've remembered (and now laugh at) occassionally. After saying "good-bye" to my brother and his wife (whom we wouldn't see for another 3 years) we crossed the border from Quebec into Vermont our phone lit up with terrible news back in California.  Furthermore, our flight from Burlington, VT to Washington DC and then home was cancelled and there was a train festival in the State that made sure every hotel in a 300 mile radius was booked. EXCEPT, the nastiest Super-8ish place on the planet.  We didn't even get under the covers and made Allison sleep between us it was so gross.  Not a fun day.

#4 – Seattle Vacation.  Last year Stephanie and I got travel to Seattle for a week so that I could finish my graduate program and we could celebrate six years of marriage.  This was probably the first "vacation" of more than one or two nights for us since our children were born.  We partied, enjoyed the beauty the Puget Sound and Seattle, ate great food, slept in late, and laughed at pronouncing things like "Snoqualamie" and "Sammamish."  My best friend was with me and it was amazing fun.

#3 – Allison's Birth.  I was in class in Vallejo, some 50 miles away from Steph.  She waited until class was over to call me and tell me "it was time."  It wasn't time however and she endured over 36 hours of labor, two trips to the hospital, a failed epidural, a snotty nurse and a few other trials.  All of it was forgotten however when Allison showed up. I fell in love immediately and we both cried for joy.

#2 – Ethan's Birth.  Ethan's birth wasn't a surprise.  Stephanie had to be induced for Ethan to decide to leave the comforts of his womb-home and join us in the real world.  So we went to the hospital, checked-in and waited for about 8 hours until Ethan decided he was ready to meet the family.  Steph's labor was considerably shorter and again we were crying tears of joy when we met our little boy.

#1 – Today.  Today is the best day in our marriage because it is still there.  We are still married and that is not because of our wisdom, cunning or perfection. It's not because we are googly-eyed-in-love with one another (although that does help).  We're still married because of God's grace, and that grace is a gift.  So that makes today the best day in our marriage.  One more day of grace, one more day of love, one more day of friendship.  We've promised to extend that grace, love and friendship until we die.  And by God's grace we will get there.  Which also means that tomorrow will be the be the greatest moment in our marriage as well.

The Writebol's Are Moving


This morning I shared the following with Santa Rosa Bible Church:

Over the last few years God has given me a passion for a couple of things:

  • The advance of the gospel through small community groups.
  • The advance of the gospel through church planting.

As those passions grew we began to pray that God would either connect those two in our lives or remove the passion from us.  When “it just so happened” that a church plant I was familiar with in Wichita, KS made it known that they were looking for a pastor to lead their small groups we felt that God was answering our prayers and directing us to a new season of ministry.  To that end I've stepped down as the Adult Ministries Pastor at Santa Rosa Bible Church and as of April 1st I will begin working at Journey the Way in Wichita, KS to lead their Community Group Ministries with this church plant. 

Our time here at Santa Rosa Bible Church has been fruitful ministry for me and I am grateful to the Lord for allowing me and my family to serve Him by shepherding you.  We have set down deep roots with many of you and are the recipients of much grace in those relationships.  We will be praying for Santa Rosa Bible Church in the months and years ahead that God would continue to give this church a passion for His grace and an effectiveness in the city and the world. 

Please pray for our family as we make a big transition to Kansas as there are many logistics that we are working through.  Additionally please pray for the grace of God to be upon us as we minister in Kansas.  Pray that Christ would be exalted, that the gospel would spread and that we would see much fruitfulness from our ministry in Wichita. 

It's been a great eight years in California at SRBC and we are looking forward to what God has for us ahead with Journey the Way in Wichita.  Please keep us in your prayers and I'll keep you posted on all that is ahead and God is doing.

Top 40 Things About Stephanie



Today is Stephanie's, my wife, birthday.  To honor her and maybe inform you about some things that make her so great I've created a "Top 40" list of awesome things about her.   Here's my list.  I love you Steph! 

Top 40 Things About Steph 40. Stephanie is from #Mizzou 39. Stephanie loves dark chocolate 38. Stephanie loves shopping at antique stores 37. Stephanie likes iced toffee nut lattes at Starbucks 36. Stephanie’s favorite season is Autumn 35. Stephanie doesn’t like wearing glasses, but she’s really hot when she does 34. Stephanie is the Christmas Queen 33. Stephanie allows a Hungarian grandma to give her directions 32. Stephanie thinks David Gray’s White Ladder album is one of the best ever 31. Stephanie orders chips and dip at any restaurant that serves them 30. Stephanie was a cheerleader in high school 29. Stephanie won the award for top Spanish student in high school 28. Stephanie has only lived in two counties her entire life. Callaway and Sonoma 27. Stephanie fought to get her man 26. Stephanie hates camping. Hates! 25. Stephanie cheers for Carl Edwards in Nascar 24. Stephanie has survived many tornadoes. The real kind. 23. Stephanie loves to read to her kids. 22. Stephanie’s favorite side dish is anything involving a potato. 21. Stephanie loves Broadway musicals 20. Stephanie has forgotten more about how to educate children that most people ever learn. 19. Stephanie has been published on the most read Christian blog in the world. 18. Stephanie's spiritual gifts are hospitality and administration. 17. Stephanie would kill for good brie 16. Stephanie’s nose crunches when she smiles. 15. Stephanie’s favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast 14. Stephanie rushed and was accepted in every sorority at her college. She turned them all down. 13. Stephanie’s cookies have won awards. 12. Stephanie can’t have enough shoes 11. Stephanie is wicked-good at the drums in Rock Band 10. Stephanie cried in Toy Story 3 9. Stephanie loves to clap to the songs we sing at church on Sunday mornings 8. Stephanie is a tireless worker and servant 7. Stephanie smiles most when playing with her kids 6. Stephanie loves games, especially Scrabble and Nertz 5. Stephanie’s favorite places are Seattle, Santa Fe and Auxvasse. 4. Stephanie should have her own Food Network Show. 3. Stephanie is an amazing mother to her two children. 2. Stephanie married a nomadic, unemployed, bald, real-life George Costanza.  That’s real love. 1. Stephanie’s love for Jesus dwarfs all her other loves.


A Broken Car Seat and a Gospel Lesson

Stephanie wrote the following on her blog last night.  The event was a vivid demonstration of the gospel to me and brought me to tears as I thought of the grace of God in my life.  Jesus paid it all. 

Last night was quite an adventure - another story all in itself - the short version - Ethan got sick several times, resulting in the car seat needing to be cleaned. I worked on that today and had it sitting there - waiting for all the drying parts to be returned. The car seat has this lovely piece of foam that is the head support. To a little four year old girl, this must have looked like a craft project waiting to happen. More than once I had said, Allison, don't touch the foam. While getting dinner ready I see Allison holding a piece of the foam and hear Jeremy asking her where it came from. Eventually she pointed to the broken foam in the living room. Yes, you guessed it, she decided to disobey and tear the foam so, as she put it, she could "make something." To say I was upset would be quite the understatement. I was not happy at all. Jeremy took her to her room, talked to her and we left her to stay on her bed while we discussed matters in the other room - trying to decide what to say, what the consequences were and cool down - all were needed. We talked about how she could pay for it (she had money from Christmas) but that seemed like something of little impact since she doesn't have a real concept of the amount of money. After a period of time Jeremy said he needed to go back and deal with her - I asked, "What are you going to say?" Jeremy's reply, "I don't know exactly, but talk to her about the gospel and forgiveness." 

When Jeremy came back and shared with me about the conversation, I realized that God used the broken car seat to teach us all a big lesson. Jeremy said that when he was talking to Allie, he told her she would have to pay for the repairs or replacement, no matter how much that was (and we had told her it could be lots of money). She looked up at him, feeling badly and said, "Daddy, I can't pay, I only have $2 from Uncle Adam and $1 from my bank, I don't have enough and I can't pay." Which made her sad. It was at that moment that Jeremy realized that this is EXACTLY what God has done for us - we come to Him completely unable to pay and he says to us, "I will pay."  Seeing Allison's despair Jeremy took her up in his arms, hugged her and cried, "It's okay, I'll pay! I'll pay!"

It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to her about how God did this for us, he paid for our sins which we could never pay for. Jeremy headed to a meeting and Allie brought it up again to me, telling me how special it was that Daddy was going to pay for something that she couldn't but should. When she prayed tonight she thanked God for paying for what we couldn't. 

I am beyond thankful above all that God did pay for what I couldn't! I am thankful for real lessons in life where he clearly reminds us of his love and grace. It may have been seemed like a broken car seat - but really it was a great reminder to all of us how God paid for what we couldn't. Allie knows tonight that her daddy loves her - that he is going to take care of what she can't. I pray that takes hold in her heart and that there comes a point where she sees exactly what God has done for her. So thankful for those moments when we so clearly see God at work - His glory - our good! My heart is smiling.


Six Years of Grace

Stephanie and I were married six years ago today. My wife is one the greatest gifts of grace in my life the Lord has given me. In the last 12 months Stephanie has given birth to a second child, endured me finishing an intensive graduate school degree, worked a full-time job, labored to care for an infant and preschooler, served the church by leading women's ministry, acted as a home nurse during the winter of stomach bugs and was my best friend and encouragement to me day by day.  I'm deeply humbled and graced to have such a wonderful wife.  She truly is my "great thing" and I'm thankful for six wonderful years of marriage.


5 Years Ago Today...

... the woman of my dreams told me that she would be mine until death separated us.  I am glad that she is still with me and has brought so much joy to my life.  Stephanie is a massive measure of God's grace in my life.  I don't deserve her.  I'm not worthy of her.  Yet God saw fit to bless me with a wife that "surpasses them all" (Proverbs 31:29).  I am eagerly awaiting and looking forward to growing in love and grace with my wife in the years ahead.  Happy Anniversary Stephanie.  I love you!