Friday, June 26, 2009


There is one thing that cannot be stopped. That unstoppable force is belief. Sometimes people lose faith, and lose hope. Rarely do you hear of someone no longer believing. Belief stands apart because once the state of belief is reached there is only one direction to move, and that direction is forward.

Much of the inspiration for this post comes from a song by Yellowcard, the song is titled ‘believe’. 'Believe' is a tribute to those who went into the twin towers to save the lives of others. When the song is fully understood, it is very powerful. Check out the lyrics at: Check out the song at:

I cannot put into the words the bravery displayed by those individuals who rushed into the twin towers. What does it means to believe in something knowing that it is very likely that you will die in the process? What went through the minds of firemen who rushed into the second tower even after the first tower had collapsed? When people truly believe in something anything is possible. More importantly belief can conquer any fear irregardless of how serious that fear may be. I praise God for the examples we have of people who held to their beliefs regardless of what they faced. One day may we all reach the state of belief.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It always fascinates me how important anticipation can be for us. Since much of life is spent on minute details our anticipation of great events can be critical to our survival. We spend incredible amounts of time at work, doing homework, cleaning, and other basic aspects of life. There are moments when we must push through the minor things in order to create free time for the memorable moments in time. Knowing there is something grander is all part of the journey.

Today I found myself eager for Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen. I decided to venture out with Jenna to the I-Max theater in Ann Arbor. The past few days as I waited for this movie I frequently found myself thinking about it. All I will say is that the movie lived up to its hype. Check it out for yourself, you won’t regret it. (Enjoy it Zack!)

Please realize I am not saying the minor aspects of life are not important. They have their place. Yet the pinnacle of our existence is found in the epic surrounding us. Words can’t explain the importance of the crucial moments in our lives. Defining moments make us who we are. The anticipation leading up to these events makes them all the greater. Never take for granted the moments leading toward something inconceivable. Without the continuous anticipation leading up to them, they may be deemed meaningless.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A calling bigger than yourself

A few days ago, I ran into someone I rarely see anymore. That person is about to start a journey to become a Navy Seal. This is a feat that few men aspire to achieve. In order to accomplish this task Bryan will have to endure physical pain and mental stress that most human beings could never withstand.

I do not believe most of us will or should pursue a career as a navy seal, an army ranger, or a member of delta forces. Yet, I do wonder why many of us are complacent to the point that we fail to live lives that are bigger than ourselves. If you have it within your power to make a difference in this world and you consistently fail to do that, I only can wonder why. I believe the main reason I fail to make a difference is because of my own selfishness or even fears I possess. Despite my excuses, in the end I must make a difference.

I hope and pray that you find it in yourselves to step outside your own world and impact the lives of others. I want to personally thank Joe Palmer for his service as an Army Ranger. His service will not be forgotten. I also pray Bryan Dunn will aspire to be all he can be as he pursues his goal of becoming a Navy Seal. In a discussion with Bryan’s dad a few days ago, I walked away with something special from our conversation. Bryan’s dad told me he encouraged Bryan to spend time each night in his bible as he is away pushing himself to his limits. It is encouraging to see that people all around us see the importance of God as we push ourselves to fulfill callings that are bigger than ourselves.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Everyday it becomes more clear

Life is often a confusing and difficult journey. However, I am confident that if you take the time to step back and observe the world from a proper perspective you can see the miracles all around us. I remember the days of high school so clearly. Life seemed so big; there was so much to be discovered. Now just 9 years after I started began my time in high school I have a completely different perspective. Life is happening all around us. Life is unfolding all around us. With each day that passes more of the story is written.

Thankfully the story is has a writer with a plan. Despite many different opinions, I am 100% confident that God is allowing his story to unfold under his guidance. While people have choice and free will, God still continues to direct the show. Just as the orchestra has a director and musicians, so to is God the director of the world and we the musicians. Think about it, during a concert the musicians can make mistakes and go off rhythm, but if they want to be part of the grand show they need to stay in sync with the director. The director wrote the music and knows how everything should sound. From there he directs the show. Thankfully, God gave us the bible so we to have the notes to follow the show. When we go off the course of how the music is supposed to be it hurts us seriously (on stage it makes us look foolish). If we fix our mistakes and find our way to be in sync with all the other members of the orchestra everything returns to how it should be.

God’s story is unfolding. I can’t express how quickly. The history of the world is unfolding before our very eyes. Shows like LOST and Heroes reinforce this for me. Writers such as C.S. Lewis make God’s story all the more understandable. My aim each day is to remain in sync with the director of my life, the LORD Jesus Christ. Each and every day this is my aim.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I've never done this before

Life on the water is something I am accustomed to. I believe some of the inspiration comes from my grandfather who sailed most of his life. However, most of the time I spent on the water is a result of my father’s passion of taking his sons fishing. Let’s assume my burning desire to be on the water is part of my genetics. Despite the fact I’ve spent over 1000 hours on and around the water, I never got around to driving a boat before. This past weekend changed all of that. Within a few minutes I had learned the essentials of driving a boat. I owe all the thanks to my brother. I now believe I have a good understanding of the critical aspects to running a boat, but I am sure I still have much learning to do.

The knowledge I lacked just a week ago prevented me from exploring the waters of North Lake on my own. From just 10 minutes of learning I am now free to roam the waters as I please. To have this awesome privilege it was as simple a taking a short amount time to learn.

Thanks for sharing this moment with me Jenna.
This experience taught me to have a much better understanding of how being tentative can keep you from incredible opportunities. Obviously we all only have a limited amount of time. Yet when we let our business and current responsibilities get in the way of new opportunity we can often miss out on a chance of a lifetime. Promise me you will never make the saying ‘you can never teach an old dog new tricks’ a reality in your life. Keep learning, keep growing, and keep exploring the world around you. New blessings are under every rock your turn over.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why can't I sing louder?

There is music and then there is great music. If you stopped by my Facebook interests section you would notice that my favorite bands are: 1) The Fray 2) Coldplay & 3) Fall Out Boy. These are the bands I can listen to over and over again. There is something about their music that captivates me. (The Fray: Look After You…You Tube)

Now unfortunately when you are with other people and you are listening to your favorite songs it generally does not work out if you sing at the top of your lungs. When you choose to sing loudly, strange looks or demands to stop are often directed at you. (Obviously this might not apply to people who can sing, but I can not.) So I propose the question why can’t I sing louder?

There is something special that happens when you sing along with the songs you appreciate the most. It gives you an experience that is incomparable to anything else in the world. I believe this is way famous musicians are able to get individuals to pay 50 to 100 dollars for tickets to their concerts. It is their music and the experience of singing their songs that is incredibly desirable to us. For this reason I say thank you to the musicians who give us a reason to sing.

So go ahead, sing out loud! Make a fool of yourself, don’t worry about who is around. Enjoy the music that lights up your world. God gave us ears, a voice, and the ability to create music. Lets all take advantage of that as best as possible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Breaking the Silence...

When you see something inappropriate or see an injustice right before your very eyes, how do you respond? 9 times out of 10 I admit I would probably be silent. The problem with silence is that everything remains the same. Now I believe the world is a good place; however, I think each of you could agree that there are some things that could be changed. The first step in making change is breaking the silence regarding the problems that surround us.

When you make a stand for what is right believe that things will change. I am not saying everything will change immediately, but realize that progress will be made. 1st Corinthians 15:58 explains this concept, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (New Living Translation).” By making a stand for the Lord your choice and your words can move what seems immovable. Silence allows the evil in this world to continue all the more. Hopefully together we can break the silence.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Will you be my friend?

From our earliest years of life we see the importance of friends. I remember the days in elementary school when we would ask others, “Will you be my friend?” Those were the days, when friends came simple.

Even now, as we’ve all grown in age, friends are even more important. It is friends that listen to our triumphs and failures. With these same people with create some of lives best memories. Next to family nothing can compete with friends, not cars, not Iphones, not the stars in the sky, not even a giant house. Friends are one of the few things that are consistent in this world. When girl friends leave, even when tragic divorces happen, friends are still there.

The best definition of a friend is: someone to share life with. I thank all the people who have been kind enough to share their lives with me.

One of my favorite ways to validate the importance of friends is by examining the lives of celebrities. By definition, a celebrity is a “widely-recognized or notable person who commands a high degree of public and media attention.” Most often this status is acquired from hard work in film or sports; sometimes it is also achieve from successful business ventures. Sadly it takes a tremendous amount of work to achieve fame. Often all the work required to reach celebrity status comes sacrificing both friends and family. As a result all the work to reach this status is nothing compared to the value of friends. If my argument didn’t win you over, please check out the lyrics to ‘Lost+’ (a Coldplay & Jay-Z song, You Tube Link), these lyrics tell the story far to well. Take the time to read through them. The life of a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The bottom line is that friends are priceless. All the while friends come at a cost, friends cost time. And regardless of what people tell you, time is the most valuable thing you have. The choice is yours: You can either spend you’re your time wisely, or you can spend it in ways you will regret. I pray you send your time wisely.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Doesn't that look good...

The eyes enjoy nothing more that to stare at something beautiful. Scientifically speaking it is the brain, but simply put our eyes always enjoy a great view.

Recently I had the privilege of traveling to Niagara Falls. I was out near Buffalo for a wedding, so it was no problem to jump up to Niagara to see the falls. There is no better way to say it other than to say, “The falls are breath taking”. It blew my mind away how much water pours over the falls every second. When Jenna and I took the Maid of the Mist down by the falls I felt as if we were in a hurricane. Water and wind rushed all around us as we moved closer to the falls. From my observation the power of the falls fits perfectly in the category of nature’s unmatched powers.

While you spend time on this planet do your best to enjoy and take in all that nature has to offer. God didn’t mess around when he created this planet. Nothing man makes can compete with the true wonders of nature. If you want some good examples of how wonderful nature is, just check out the TV series planet earth. Check it out at this website: Planet Earth. You can rent the series at blockbuster or sometimes catch it on discovery channel reruns. There is also a new movie out in theaters called 'Earth', the movie is a synopsis of the planet earth series. I promise you will enjoy if you are one who appreciates the earth that our great God created!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just for the Fun of it!

Some people call me Grandpa, some people call me a deep thinker, Jenna will even sometimes even call me boring, but for one day I want to break those stereotypes about me. Counter to popular belief, there are times when even I live life just for the fun of it.

Recently at the Bronsink wedding I decided to let loose and hit the dance floor. I didn’t spend hours on the floor, but I spent enough time out there to make a fool of myself. At the time dancing proved to be nothing other than hilarious. When a bunch of guys who rarely dance make it to the dance floor actually step out and dance it is quite the sight. To the good times we had dancing at the Bronsink wedding. To those who failed to get out there, shame on you!

Another exciting opportunity presented itself during our 9 mile bike ride this Saturday. The majority of the ride Jenna and I would ride alongside each other; however, every now and then I would get the itch for speed. Just when we would reach a steady decline on the trail I would accelerate as fast as I could go. These bursts of speed would last around a minute. With each burst there was something about the speed which was thoroughly enjoyable. My best guess is has been a long time since I have been on a bicycle, and an even longer time since I attempted to ride at top speed on a bike.

Both of these experiences where short lived, but each was tremendously enjoyable. In my life I find that the most enjoyable things are here and gone. At times it will be moments that are the most, other times it may be an hour, and I guess if you are truly blessed it may even be a whole day. Regardless of the length of time always be ready for those times in life that are priceless. The MasterCard commercials were the perfect example of the most enjoyable moments. Just remember money will never by true happiness.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Moving past defeat

When a coin is flipped there is always a winner and a loser. The majority of sports competitions end with a winner and a loser. Business’ compete with some business coming out on top (Best Buy), while other business’ do not last (Circuit City).

Each one of us knows that we will face defeat at different times in life. Thankfully there is a saying to address the issue. The saying starts with a question and ends with a statement. It goes like this, “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up!” This saying seems simple but in reality the principle behind it holds tremendous value. When we learn to pick ourselves up from our failures it is critical that we take away two lessons: 1) We walk away with the knowledge of how we failed, and how we can avoid that failure in the future, 2) More importantly we discover what we are made by how we react to the failure. It is our choice if we let the failure haunt us, or we can choose to brush our shoulders off and push forward.

My personal experience playing sports proved to be an experience of learning dealing with failure. Riding the bench and numerous injuries didn’t allow me to find much glory in what I was doing. I often felt as if I was failing, especially during the last 4 years I played sports. In hindsight these struggles allowed me to pick myself up once my time playing sports was finished. It took me about a year after I was done with sports to get my act together, but since then I have been rather diligent in taking care of my physical health. From my failures I discovered that even without sports there are still many enjoyable physical activities you can do. Now as I participate in other activities I am able to thoroughly enjoy them. Even more importantly I still have the desire to push myself to a higher level, this is a lesson I still carry with me from the years in which I did play sports. All in all my experiences with sports proved to be valuable and I have no regrets looking back. I can genuinely say I have learned from my failures.

If you have recently faced a failure of your own or if you have even felt defeated about something for a long time, it is my hope and prayer that you can find the courage to move forward. Even if it has been years since you have really faced up to your defeat I trust you can still press on to bigger and better things. Life is a journey with many hills and valleys. Hopefully with some faith and belief you are able to move from the valleys to climb even bigger hills in the future.

You may be without a job, you may have a broken relationship, you may have an illness, you may be depressed, no matter what the situation, faith and hope can eventually lead you to overcome your defeat.

‘Don’t stop believing’…a great song by Journey. Here is a link to the song: Journey You Tube. It is a strange video of some kid performing a music video to the song.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Life's All about the Story!

There is nothing as powerful as a story. I recently wrote about how small things change history, but really every part of our whole story changes history.

Jenna and I just finished watching Season 5 of LOST. And while out running I explained how I have been incredibly tired in the past few days, she said the same thing. Then she proceeded with an answer that blew my mind. She told me that we both had no energy because we had just finished watching LOST and we now had nothing to be excited about. In a twisted sense she was right. Thankfully I can say I am excited about many others things in life. Nevertheless she got me good with that answer.

My challenge for you is to ask people what their favorite stories are and you will always get an answer. In fact let me know what you favorite story is. Just post a comment to this note. I am interested to hear what your favorite stories are.

So why are stories so powerful? I believe the answer is that stories explain all of life. I cannot get it out of my head how powerful stories are. It is hard to explain how much I enjoy TV shows, movies, and even sports playoffs (there is a story within sports too). As I say that, I question why Facebook and Twitter are so big? The answer, they let us look into the story of other people's lives. I follow Asthon Kutcher on Twitter and that kid cracks me up. For your information it is incredible how much he Twitters. Even more so, it is incredible all the funny thoughts that go through his mind. How about music? Specifically a whole CD, aren't there a slew of CD's that tell a story? Currently my favorite story in the form of a CD is 'The Fray' (Best New CD on the Market!). The CD describes many of life's difficulties in the perfect way. (Kris Rose, can you second that?)

On to the good stuff, my favorite stories of all time:


Where in the world did these writers develop characters like Jack Shepard, John Locke, Benjamin Linus. (As a disclaimer, I will say LOST is an incredibly crazy show that can make you seem as if you are indeed LOST. Of most importance before you judge the show, it is imperative stick with the show to truly enjoy it. Right, Zack Tracy? You taught me that.) It is in the story of LOST that we see people's lives collide and unfold on an island. At times their lives manage to collide even while they are away from the island. It is in this complicated story that we learn of Jack's need to fix things, we learn of Kate's continual choice to run from her past, we learn of Sawyer's desire to get revenge on his parents death (along the way we witness his witty humor), we learn of Locke's faith and his tragic past, we learn of the crazy life Benjamin Linus lived on the island, and most recently we learned of the mysterious character of Jacob. The writer’s ability to weave the storyline of LOST into these characters lives is inconceivable. To all my friends excited for season 6: Zack, Kaitlyn, Adam, Brian, Jon, Jennifer, Kris, Nate, Josh, Jessica, and Jenna, it will be here before we know it!

Movie: The Dark Night

The remarkable story Wayne empire. Bruce Wayne has all this money and power at his disposal. The first movie brings us into the story of the Dark Night. This movie propels us into the story of the Joker and his ability to manipulate people in doing nearly anything he wants. With this ability the Joker seeks to turn Gotham upside down and then right side up again. In fact, you never really know what the Joker is up to. In spite of the Joker’s antics, Bruce Wayne (Batman) is the one individual who stands in his way. The only other man who attempts to do what Batman does is Harvey Dent. Harvey Dent (Two Face) tries his best to bring justice in Gotham city, but in the end the joker gets inside his head. This sends Harvey off into the deep end.

The story reaches a climax with Gotham swinging on the pendulum of evil and good, it is Batman and Joker who square off to fight this battle. The Joker is up to no good as usual, as he places bombs on two boats and gives the passengers of each boat a remote to detonate the bombs on the opposite boat. The situation is an incredible predicament as one boat holds Gotham's worst criminals and the other boat holds Gotham's average citizen. To top everything off, if one of the boats does not choose detonate the bombs on the other boat before the time runs out then both boats are blown into oblivion. To level the fighting ground Batman creates a device that allows him to locate the Joker at any time. The device is phenomenal from my perspective. In nothing other than a miracle Batman finds time stop the Joker and disarm the bomb.

In spite of the heroics of Batman to save the citizens of Gotham, Two Faced Harvey Dent is on a path to get revenge for the death of his loved one. It is in this twisted finale to the movie that Batman takes on the mistakes of Two Face to keep the noble image of Harvey Dent alive. As Batman takes on the mistakes of Harvey Dent he now becomes the one that Gotham is after. Batman is the new evil character despite the fact he is innocent. Batman chose to take the fall for Dent because he knew it was best for the City of Gotham. It is by this fact that we are left waiting for the third Batman. Batman is now on the run…(By the way Batman sits just behind Titanic with $533,184,219 Million Dollars Grossed making it the second highest earning movie of all time. I hope it jumps into first. Thanks to Heath Ledger for his role in the movie. He will be forever missed.)

the Greatest Story of all Time: the Story of Christ

This is a man who has a story. It is a rather simple story that is told in the 4 gospels of the bible. (On a side note: I believe Christ knew the power of a story. While Christ was alive he often chose to teach in the form of a story. I believe, and have been taught that Christ taught in stories or parables because this is the most effective way to teach someone. Christ obviously knew of the ability of stories to teach men since he was, is, and continues to be God in the flesh.) The true story of Christ is simple yet horrifically powerful. It is the story of an innocent man, a carpenter, a teacher of the law, and man who stuck up for all people, and a man that he died a tragic death on the cross. This is the man who was perfect, the only man who was without sin, and we the human race choose to kill him. In spite of man’s choice to kill Christ, the Lord would raise his son Jesus from the dead. From the death and resurrection, we learn that his son Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, he is our advocate in heaven, he is the one we must put our faith in to have ever lasting life. The bible explains that the name of Christ now holds tremendous power. Romans 14:9-12 states, 'For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' " So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.' Simply put, the bible says that one day all men will bow before Christ and give an account for their life.

For many the story of Christ is a story of complexities. But the reality of Christ is that he lived, he died, and now he lives again in heaven. And one day we will all stand before him. It is this story that beckons respect, our fear, and above all it demands our love for Christ because of what he has done for us. (A simple fact about this story it also ranks in one of the highest grossing films of all time. Mel Gibson's ‘Passion of the Christ’ brought in $370,773,867 dollars. Sadly the passion of Christ does not tell the whole story of Jesus, but many of you have an idea what he went through for your sins and mine.)

I leave you with a list of a few more stories. Here is a short list of others story's that captivate my mind: (Starting with a list of my favorite highest grossing movies within the top 100 list) Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lord of the Rings, Transformers, Iron Man, I am Legend, Twilight, Gladiator, (Moving to my other favorite TV shows) Heroes, CSI, Step by Step, Family Matters, (Onto my favorite playoff stories of all time) Mike Jordan's two 3-Peats, St. Louis Rams Super Bowl Champs (XXXIV), Tiger Woods 2008 US Open Championship Win, and finally Orlando Magic taking down the Celtics, and the Cavs in this years playoffs.

It’s all about the story!