Monday, December 31, 2007

Songs from this past Sunday

Hallelujah, God is Near - Robbie Seay
Everlasting God - Brenton Brown
Better is One Day - Matt Redman
In Christ Alone - Stuart Townsend - arrangement

From the Inside Our - Hillsong United
All We Need - Charlie Hall

This week my buddy Corey taught. He did a great job focusing us on the new possibilities that are present with Jesus being born and a new Kingdom being present. What I loved most was Corey's authenticity and rawness (the rawness may have had something to do with it being the first time he ever taught in this type of setting ; - I hope hope he never loses it)

have a great week.

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Some of you might not see the irony in this, but...

Chris Collinsworth and Gumbel are announcing the Patriots/Giants game. One of the just mentioned that since this was such a big game, Tom Brady brought his video camera to the game.

Pretty funy...


I know it's not funny if you have to explain your own joke - but - For those of you who don't keep up with sports as much as others...

I thought to myself... the last time someone in the Patriots organization had a camera at a football game they got in a lot of trouble...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


So recently I have gotten a few requests for the names of songs we are playing on Sunday mornings in our times of worship. I will attempt to keep this updated on the Monday or Tuesday after if you're interested.

Last week had these songs in our time of worship:

All Because of Jesus - Steve Fee
Famous One - Chris Tomlin
Joy to The World - Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David


Jesus Paid it All - Alex Nifong/Kristian Stanfill
Glorious One - Steve Fee

If you're looking and have trouble tracking any of these down then let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

Peace and Love,


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A good weekend

So most of this isn't world changing but.. it was a great weekend nonetheless.

1) Friday Diana and I went to a surprise Birthday party for one of her co-workers. That was alot of fun meeting some new people that are outside of the "everyday" group of people I see all the time (no offense Jeff ;) - afterwards we went to target and walmart and did some christmas shopping. We also got to buy some gift cards for some people our church is gonna share some love with over Christmas. Pretty sweet!

2) Saturday morning we held our journey group (discipleship group) info session at Visio Dei and had a great turn out. I am excited to see how God uses this to help our church become more like Jesus. I am honored to follow God with this church and the people who make it what it is.

3) We built a shelf/table in our new shed. I cut wood, drilled, hammered, leveled, measured... you know... man stuff (with diana's help ;)

4) We went and saw Beowulf at the IMAX with Brandon and Julie. Always fun watching Beowulf ripping off Grendel's arm.

5) We had an amazing worship gathering Sunday morning. Jeff's message was great and the time of worship seem very connected, exciting, and authentic.

5a) Outside of Easter last year and a time when we showed a video with Bono speaking on the crisis/s in Africa... it was our largest sunday worship gathering as a church since we started a little over a year ago. - If you know me at all then you know I am not a complete "numbers guy" when it comes to measuring ministry effectiveness (infact it bumms me out thinking of ministry in those terms)... but I will say for where we are in our life cycle as a young infant church... this is awesome! There is something captivating about the gospel at it's core and so it should draw people towards itself and it's exciting to feel apart of what God is doing.

6) I got to play football with a bunch of friends Sunday afternoon. The team I was on lost one game and won the second. I did get to play QB for the second game and had many unlce rico moments during my 5 TD no interception performance ;)

7) This week marked the end of the regular season for fantasy football. I play in two leagues and due to some random shift in the planets I won both of my divisions and will move forward to the playoffs.

So as you can see... many exciting times... lots of fun... a great weekend. I hope your was as wonderful.

love and peace,


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Big Surprise... (and a miracle)

*warning - post is a tad bit longer than normal... i do make no apologies as it is rather life changing :)

Well... it's been coming for a while. Some of you may already know about this but if not... I mentioned about a month ago I had some surprises coming over the next few weeks. I, however, have been a bit lazy in the blog world over the last few weeks so alas, here we go.

The Story:
About a month ago my mom sat myself and my brother (Brandon) down and proceeded to tell us a story. She told us with a calm yet nervous tone that when she was 16 she in fact became pregnant and had a baby boy. She then told us that due to family circumstances she was forced to give the baby over for adoption. Due to the times then and family circumstances my mother lived out her pregnancy at a "camp for unwed mothers" and due to this - no one knew other than my mom, her mom and dad (my grandma and grandpa), and my grandma's sister (my great aunt). My own mom's sister didn't even know she was ever pregnate (she was told she was going to stay with her aunt for a while). SO CRAZY RIGHT!!!!

Then she proceeded to tell us that a couple weeks ago she received note in the mail saying "I have wanted to know who my mother was for 36 yrs and I believe I have found you." He had a lot of paper work and stuff to show he was in fact her son (and our brother.) It continued to say that he had no desire to break-up her family or cause trouble to her if this was a bad idea. He did say that if it wouldn't cause any problems then he would love to meet her and any other family he may not know about.

So, she then told us that she had been in communication with him for a couple weeks and in fact met him the day before. She began to smile as she told us a little about him, his wife, and his three beautiful children.

This was (surprise) an emotional moment for my mom, me, and my brother. Brandon and I were both in tears but it wasn't sadness or anger. It was almost a sense of surreal and "wow, we have a brother... what does this mean..." and "now it makes sense why my mom loves us so hard and always has" and "mom seems as though she is free from something that she has carried around for years"

Here is where things get crazy... He (who will now be referred to as Rob - my new, older brother) and his family lives in Apex. They used to live in Cary less than a mile from where my mom and Rick live and where Brandon and I spent our high school and college years calling home.

They also attend Hope Community Church which is the church that my family and I served with for 9 years before we set-out to start Visio Dei in downtown Raleigh. Rob was not going there while I was on staff as they just started going there about 4-5 months ago but it's still crazy.

The story gets even crazier as we have some mutual friends and his adopted family is friends with some of our family... all the while we never knew.

So... I have now met Rob, his wife Kelly, and their 3 beautiful children. He seems to be an awesome guy. I am partial to think this makes him a great guy but i feel as though I can see similarities in him of both myself and Brandon in the way he carries himself and in his appearance. He has Brandon's nose and my hairline and he looks a lot like our grandpa (I really wish he could have met him Papa Gene.)

I would go on to talk more about him but I usually try and keep these posts as short as I can and this one is already relatively long. Long story short... he seems to be driven, hard working, cares about his family, and takes pride in what he does.

Here are some pics from our meeting of their family (which is really our family;):

The entire fam

Momma and her boys (mom, Brandon, me, and Rob)

Rickey and his new grand babies...

Mr. Rob Council (my new, older brother)

Rob playing photo time with his son matthew (Mathew is awesome.. wide open all the time. It's possible he is related to me ;)

Just a picture I took of my mom that night... my mom is pretty

I love this picture. In case you don't know it is my beautiful wife and sister-in-law (Brandon's wife Julie)

So the story is crazy. It honestly feels like we fell into a movie that should be coming out at Christmas time. My mom feels as though she is more free than she has felt in her entire life. I asked her if she thought about this much while we were growing up as a family. She told me "only everyday for 36 years." I am not sure how all this works from here. I am thankful God has allowed me to meet a guy who feels like he belongs in our family. I am thankful my mother can sleep at night knowing her child is alive, safe, and healthy. I am certain there is an element of deep reconciliation and redemption in all of this that I will probably not find words for. Whether or not I can explain it.. I certainly feel it and am thankful i get to experience it.

this is all for now...



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My buddy Chris...

is over in Africa right now. Feel free to follow along on his blog here. Chris is a great friend, pastor, blogger, father, and husband (he is not the last to for me at all - just a good example.)He has been gone since last Thursday and is kinda all over the place while he is over there. Please keep Chris and his family in your prayers and thoughts over the couple weeks. I am thankful for his willingness to be a part of a change that needs to happen in our world.



Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Medium sized miracle

OK - as promised... the next item of big news. In the last 16 days I have now only had 3.5 cups of coffee. If you really want details - its been 2 cups of coffee and 1.5 lattes. I went the first 7 days with none at all and then have enjoyed a few over the last week.

I put a halt on things for a few reasons.

1) I was drinking as much as 3-5 cups a day. I fealt very dehydrated even though I drink a lot of water. Honestly - i felt as though i had very self-discipline in this area at all.

2) I sing a bit and i felt the constant singing while being constantly dehydrated was really taking a toll on my throat and voice (this feels better over the last couple weeks)

3) It just cost money to buy coffee and i was buying it a bit "carelessly"

So - that is the medium sized miracle. I assure yout here is a much larger "miracle" coming later in the week.

Stay tuned


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A small miracle

It's been over a year since my email inbox has been at zero. Well today it has happened. Yes my friends. Down to zero. Neat, clean, organized. The way things should be. I am content and somehow feel a bit cleaner.

Now here is the tricky part... and it may discredit the job of getting some older emails out of my inbox... I did "archive" a good deal of them. So... if you have an unanswered emails to me... please send them again. :)

On a separate update... the 10 yr reunion went great and we had a great time. It was good seeing old friends, smiling faces, and rehashing some fun times. Man - we've got some memories.. wouldn't change them for the world...



ps - i titled this post "A Small Miracle" - There could be a post of a large miracle later in the week. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 26, 2007

10 years...

Tomorrow is my 10 yr. high school reunion. Tonight I will scan in some pics if i can find some of the old high school days. Well, on second thought.. maybe i will not. I embarrass myself enough without doing it purposefully.

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since i have been in high school. I am not sure why but I am a bit nervous of the reunion. I am a fairly socially comfortable person (expect for a slight fear of small rooms with lots of people) but I am just a bit iffy about it. Maybe its that there will prolly be some people that I have some fairly "real" memories with. And even though I haven't spoken with some of them but a few times in the last 5 - 10 years - those real memories were in fact real at some point. My guess is they still are. So yeah.. somehow - some of the people in the room tomorrow night I will have spent a lot of time with laughing, learning, wrestling, playing football, and doin other things I will not mention here - and that happened in a time in our life where we were "becoming ourselves". I dont know... to me that just means alot. Honestly - there are going to be some people in that room that I at one point in my life was very close to - and i just wonder how it will be seeing them after 2,3,5, 10 years after...

Other things run through my head like "was too mean to people?" or "i was so insecure" or "what if someone did some crappy stuff cause I was doing some crappy stuff" - so - yeah... Part of me feels like i need to stand up and say something like... "sorry if I was an *SS H0LE... sorry if me being insecure was a burden on anyone... sorry if me not paying attention in class ticked you off.. and sorry if i was apart of doing something that might have damaged you as a person... I was young, insecure, and was just trying my best to find my way.... thank you... you may now carry on."

I will let you know if I do this... Hopefully I will not.

On the real though... I had a lot of fun in high school. Made some great friends. Had some great teachers. Had some amazing coaches. Had some more fun. Won some great football games and wrestling matches... which led to more fun. So - I am looking forward to the reunion... looking forward to seeing some folks in my life from back then when life was a bit simplier... i just bet it could be a bit odd at some point... maybe my announcement could make things even more so... we shall see...

peace and love,


ps - I think this officially makes me not a kid anymore

Friday, October 12, 2007

Today I am a bike commuter.

I like it so far. It was cold this morning. I wonder if I could pull this off full time. I have a really good cup of coffee right now. it is cool outside. i am going ot the fair tonight with family and friends.

sentences. write them.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Wreck

I have intentionally not posted about the wreck for about a month for a couple reasons.

1) I didn't want it to seem like I was looking for a few charitable "awwwwwws"

2) I didn't want to make very light of the situation b/c it was a bad situation and could have been a lot worse.

Now that some time has passed - here are the details.

Monday night, September 10th I was driving on New Bern Ave. Upon entering the Tarboro Rd intersection I all of a sudden felt like a shotgun went off in my head. Apparently I was creamed by a guy who ran red light while trying to escape from the police. They hit me on the driver side just in front of my door and sent me spinning. They flipped over my car and landed on their side (which is where they were when I got out of my car.)

When I got out of my car their were people with guns already drawn and a lot of screaming. The only problem was these people with guns were in street clothes and there were no police cars or sirens at first. SO - just so you know, if you are plowed by another vehicle and are a bit dizzy and incoherent and people have guns out and are yelling - you are afraid.

I finally noticed one of the guys with a gun had a badge on his belt and I noticed a minivan with a guy in it (which is the vehicle that was following Mr. Bad Guy) - I finally put 2 and 2 together that this was an undercover deal (turns out to be a special undercover squad after a guy wanted for armed robbery.)

I had headaches pretty bad for the first week and was a bit "fuzzy" but now most of that is gone.

My car was deemed totaled and now I am trying to find a new car (new old car most likely) and that is pretty frustrating.

The thoughts that went through my head when it happened were in order:

1) what the heck just happened

2) i think i got hit

3) I hope i live to see Diana again

4) i think that was an air bag

5) when am i going to stop spinning - this is not good

6) i hope there is not a semi-truck coming who can't dodge me

7) whoa - i am ok i think

8) how in the world am i ok - (thank you God)

9) why are people yelling with guns

10) I am a little scared

Here are some pics from where they towed my car:

refer to thought number 4

my front end was bent over about 2 - 3 feet... frame and all

Yes it is leaning over... that front tire isn't really connected to anything

refer to thought number 2

This is the coolest part. We actually found the video footage from the traffic light there at the intersection and saw the whole thing happen. Feel free to check it out. I am a little embarresed of how I handled myself.

On a serious note - It could have been a lot worse. I have probably never felt so protected in my entire life. I am thankful to still be around and enjoying life with all my family and friends.

Peace and love,


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Good Story

We went to Hendersonville this weekend for Amy's wedding (Amy is Diana's sister.) On the way home we were extremely tired from all the festivities of the weekend. I decided to drive because I knew Diana was exhausted.

It wasn't long before she fell asleep.
But then I started to get a bit tired. I thought... man... I wish I could just pull ever. Then Tanner was like... "do you think I can drive?"

I said, "no way man. you're a dog. you're a puppy. You're not even 14 weeks old. you can't drive."

but then i got to thinkin... I am really tired... and German Shepherds are really smart, right... So I asked him, "Are you sure you are feeling up to it?"

He said, "Look at this face... please, please...."

So i said ok.... I gave him a chance and much to my surprise... he did great!

I soon feel asleep for a nice nap. I am not sure how much time passed.

Later however, I was scared to wake up and find that he was not paying to much attention to road in front of him. There was a poodle in the car beside us and he was swerving over to get her attention. Of course I took the wheel immediately.

So then I did what any responsible dog owner would do... I put him back in the back seat for the rest of the way home. He was a bit sad.. but I think he understood.

At least I got a good nap in.

This has been The Adventures of Tanner. For now that is all. See you next time.


i know everyone doesn't get excited about this...


football season officially starts tomorrow night. only one more evening of going to sleep waiting for this great and wonderful occasion. the sounds of pads hitting, the art of 11 people opposing another 11 with strategy upon strategy guiding them... Blessed are the days of the NFL season. truly a gift... ah yes... Thursday evening, come to me quickly...

gonna be hard to work today or tomorrow,


*i was going to apologize for the over dramatization - but it probably wouldn't be sincere ;)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worship and Justice

We, at our church, just entered into a new series in our weekend worship gatherings entitled:

Justice: movement beyond emotion

This week Jeff did an incredible job walking through the scriptures and pointing us towards God's heart for Justice. I believe this is so important because if we don't pay close attention to this (God's heart) then we could end up involving ourselves in things because of guilt, because of emotions, or even because it is a trendy thing to do (not the gospel or what's best for our lives). In the end we are created by God and in His image. If we are truly becoming more like Him then our heart should be aligning with His and these things should end up as our concern.

Jeff's teaching Sunday went to a few other places and you can find the podcast here soon - but his message is not my entire thought right now.

My thought is regarding "worship music" in this setting. Part of my calling to serve Visio Dei is creating an environment for our community to reflect on, celebrate, and worship God while we are together. Within this series I have noticed it is going to be incredibly hard to choose songs that speak to where we are going.

2 reasons:

1) there simply aren't alot of songs that speak to this in the "christian worship" setting. Most songs seem to say - God we love you and/or thank you for what you have done for me. This seems to make the gospel fairly one dimensional. There is not a huge cry to see justice, not a big plea for God's Kingdom to come, or even a "God help us to care about the things you care about". I am not blaming anyone, only making an observation and asking a question... "I wonder what God thinks about that?"

2) It's also difficult cause there are places in the Bible where God seems to say, "enough with your songs... i am tired of your incense... Seek Justice..." almost like... "quit singing and go and do something... i have heard that you love me... has it really changed your life? has it really moved you to move? has it really healed you? Quiet already... do something."

So, yeah... as a "worship leader" - this is gonna be tough. I don't want to lead people into singing songs that God is tired of hearing. I also dont want to sing songs where people can just tell God they love Him for (only) what he has done for them. That doesn't seem to be God's only desire for our life. This is causing me to refocus a bit and really think through what we sing.

As a band/team/musicians we are committing ourselves to writing at least one new song for our church out of each series we enter into this year. I pray these songs would be honoring to God, his church, and put words on our lips that help move our soul.

Sometimes - I wish it were easier... but at the same time I am thankful we are being challenged to moving where God is leading us.

Thanks for listening to (reading) the ramblings...



ps - if anyone is looking for any songs that do move in this direction let me know as I am stumbling on a few.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Home indeed...

So I have been home for a week now. Honestly, I have been trying to ease back into things here so that I would not forget my time away in Africa. I have experienced other places in the world before and come back to the craziness here and the past seems like something that maybe you just dreamed about. I hope this has helped in the "processing side" of the trip overall.

Diana and I did go to the beach Monday and Tuesday for a little catching up time. We took Tanner (our puppy), some pasta and sauce that my dad made, and our bathing suits (we took other things too... those things were just some of the most enjoyable things there.) Great time!

The trip to Africa was incredible... I met some amzing people and saw things I will never forget. I am certain they are many opportunities for us to partner with somethings that are going on over there and I am certain there are somethings we can learn from them as well. I look forward to what the future holds.

For now... it is good to be home.



Home indeed...

So I have been home for a week now. Honestly, I have been trying to ease back into things here so that I would not forget my time away in Africa. I have experienced other places in the world before and come back to the craziness here and the past seems like something that maybe you just dreamed about. I hope this has helped in the "processing side" of the trip overall.

Diana and I did go to the beach Monday and Tuesday for a little catching up time. We took Tanner (our puppy), some pasta and sauce that my dad made, and our bathing suits (we took other things too... those things were just some of the most enjoyable things there.) Great time!

The trip to Africa was incredible... I met some amzing people and saw things I will never forget. I am certain they are many opportunities for us to partner with somethings that are going on over there and I am certain there are somethings we can learn from them as well. I look forward to what the future holds.

For now... it is good to be home.



Saturday, August 11, 2007

All is well...

things have been a whirlwind. we are gonna have to catch up on more updates when we get more time. just wanted to let the friends and fam know all is well.

-J (and Corey)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A little plane...

I only have a few minutes as one of the people who work at this airport let me on the Pilot's Network (it's not that dial-up thing.)

We are about to fly into a "jungle/desert" region in Northern Kenya called Liasamis (sp). We are flying on a small 9 seater plane (via a group called MAF.) We will prolly be there by the time most of you wake up. Would love some prayers for a safe flight and a productive trip. Corey and I just realized neither one of us got a yellow fever shot and they said here that would have been a good idea... whoops.

We are taking medical supplies into this area and meeting up with other people from Joseph's church who left Monday to go there. They have been setting up the clinic and we are bringing in the supplies. A doctor and a nurse are also coming with us as they couldn't come earlier in the week either. Joseph's church supports a missionary who lives there full time so the people there are of course expecting us. I have no idea what to expect.

The trip has been great so far. We are learning a great deal. I believe we have had a bit to offer to the community, church leaders, and children's home here thus far.

ok.. gotta run... thanks for the love, prayers, and support.

I miss my beautiful wife.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

We are in Kenya...

Sorry for the delay on posting. We have not slowed down much since we got here and the only computers I have found with internets are on this strange thing called "dial-up". I am not sure what that means but everything takes alot longer.

Quick run down:
Over the weekend Joseph (our contact here - who is actually a local area Bishop, church, planter, pastor, and founder Africa Hope Center -orphanage here) had set-up leadership training for local area church leaders and pastors. We had the priviledge of leading two of the sessions and it was amazing. It is crazy but really the challenges facing the church right now really seem to be world-wide; "How do we mobilze church communities to serve their communities to bring glory to God?"

Today Corey and I had the honor of leading their worship service here this morning... Incredible! Corey spoke of Gods story and our place in it pointing Gods work in the world... even when things aren't easy. He mentioned later it was his first sermon ever... wow. He did incredible. And worshiping with these people here is nothing less than beautiful... knowing what they have and what God must mean to them... experiencing that was great.

After that we had lunch and went to the orphange. It is nothing short of a miracle what these people are doing here. We speak of true and undefiled religion and today I was surrounded by it. These children are more beautiful than you could imagine and the workers here giving their lives are my new heroes.

Most go now before next pop-up emerges (these internets here are crazy!!!)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I did miss worshipping with my home church this morning. I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Grace, love, hope, and peace to you,

-Jason (and Corey)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Made it to London...

Our flight out of DC was delayed until midnight but we made it to London no prob. We did however loose 2 hours in London so we opted not to try and see anything outside of the airport (we made this decision due to both Corey and my inability to not get lost.) I feel this was a wise decision.

My throat isn't feeling better. I did however find some $6 cough drops because mine are of course in my checked luggage.

Here is a pic from our first stop in London (actually the second - as the first was a quiet gate to take a 2 hour nappy.)

I think I was dancing...

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Diana, I miss you already. Next time you're coming with me.

next stop - Nairobi, Kenya.



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We are in DC...

About to fly to London... my throat is a bit sore. I hope it's just because I talked to Corey aalot on the way up. I believe this is gonna be an amazing trip. Please pray though that I am not getting sick.

Okay... updates when we can.

peace and love,


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A new fence for the front yard...

Thanks to the help of Chris Sexton, Danny K, Ricky Rick, and Jon Halfway I was able to get this sweet fence up before I leave to go to Africa. My wife and Emily Alden also get props for driving to Lowes with a trailer to pick up extra pieces...

I was worried about it looking like "stay away from my stuff" but i think it looks rather pleasant. With Jeff's kids and the new puppy it should prove itself very useful.

The only glitch was when I kinda, ahhmmmm, cut the cable, phone, and Internet line with a chainsaw (while removing a stump out of the line of the fence.) But Jon Gould had one of his employees come over today and hook it back up. Jon Gould has magical powers!!!! I even got the line buried back (if I can only remember next time I am using a chainsaw where I buried it...)

Thanks fellas for the help. Couldn't have done it without you. I finished it up today around 11:15am. No way I could have done it by myself.

Here's some pics of the final project.

view #1
look at that straightness...

from straight on... (yes that is my finger in the top left)

the doggy area...

the view from the front porch...

other direction...

Mr. Gould even assisted my in getting the bannister back up on the porch...

Okay.. that's all for now. It is now time to pack for Africa.



Friday, July 27, 2007

Well the house is pretty much finished being painted... here are some some pics. I am very pleased with how it came out. As they were finishing up the job i was thinking... "I wonder if the people who built this house over 80 years ago would by happy with what we've done to it. Even with as much work as we've done to it we have tried to keep it true to original form... Anyways, just something cool about living in something that has been shared by many a person.

Here is some shots...
Front of house...

Front porch...

Right side of house... (kinda)
Right side of house... up close...

Left side of house
Left side of house from the back...

back of house... straight shot...

Back of house... side view

Hope the Ramseys like it when they get back in town... :)