Setting Up Life in Baltimore

fullsizeoutput_c43a-e1483640046214.jpeg

We got into Baltimore on November 27th at 1:50 Pm. I can remember the exact time because we were supposed to me the crew unloading the truck at 2 Pm. It felt good to get into the city a few minutes early. My greatest fear about our move was double parking on the street. I couldn't remember how wide our street was and I didn't know how Baltimore peeps would respond to a big moving truck hogging up the road. Well my anxiety was unfounded. Once I was double parked there was plenty of room for people to drive around the truck.

Five men showed up to help us unload. Two of the five men were chiropractors. One of them brought a chiropractic table with them for post moving adjustments. These guys worked so hard to get the truck unloaded including gently removing my front door so that the couch could make it inside. We were done at 3:00 PM. The catholic church across the street started ringing to mark the time and I felt like it was in celebration of completing one of the biggest things I dreaded.

We spent the next ten days unpacking and setting up the house. Between my wife and I we made at least five trips to the Baltimore IKEA. Melinda was at Target almost everyday. Bit by bit our house started to come together. Some of our early observations of living in a row house were:

  • When the kids are on the third floor and we are on the first floor there is almost a complete separation of sound.
  • Stairs are something that we would have to adjust to.
  • Sliding in your socks on an old wood floor can result in splinters.
  • The kitchen is freezing because it doesn't have any heating vents in it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find an old desk in the far corner of the basement. This was something I had hoped for but had not verbalized. I was envisioning a small dungeon like office and with enough creativity I was able to create such a workspace. There was an old rusty faucet hanging over the back of the desk and a small half wind looking out to the street. During the day I can see the tops of dogs bodies and the bottom half of people walking by the window.

Basement Office
Basement Office

Once we were settled we started to explore the surrounding streets. The temperatures are cold so people are moving with purpose up or down the street. A couple blocks away there is a quaint kosher cafe called Van Gough Cafe. Mindy is the owner and her daughter helps her at the counter. Their bagels are amazing.

Van Gough Cafe
Van Gough Cafe

To our east by a couple of blocks is Patterson Park. This park has historical significance from the Civil War. It was the location of a hospital and camp for the North. Today it has a playground, lake, Ice Staking Rink, Sports fields and paths. The locals have given it mixed reviews. It is a good location for walking your dog or getting some exercise. But it has some legendary stories of crime and villains. I guess you have to pick which theme you want to dwell on as you venture across it.

South of us by a few blocks is the Patapsco River and surrounding harbor. Southwest takes you into Fells Point with its cobblestone streets and endless assortment of bars. And to the Southeast you get into Canton. This is where the local grocery stores and Target are.

We have spent a good deal of time setting the kids up for school. They are going to be homeschooled for the remainder of the year. This means that we have to find activities and classes for them to participate in. Hudson decided to take Karate. Hanalei is enrolled in Gymnastics. And Hayden is a homebody who is content to play Legos and read at home.

In my next post I'll try and give a summary of some of our early church planting plans. We are excited about the next couple of months and look forward to sharing those things with you.

John Turansky’s Discipleship Manual

1422223704_featured.jpeg

On my way into church this morning I got a text letting me know that my Grandpa, John Turansky, passed away. His health had deterietied significantly over the past year. His passing was not unexpected. He was deeply loved by his family and is survived by my amazing Grandma. My Grandpa was the “tip of the spear” in my surrender to Christ. I have often shared how my Grandpa paid me $100 to memeroize 100 Bible verses. It was through that process that my heart opened up to the gospel.

My Grandpa was an intense guy. He had a famous saying “Let’s go, go, go.” He was ready to act and take bold steps. This was evident in the churches he planted and the ministry jobs he took.

He was extremely practicle. He wanted to connect the Christian faith with normal everyday life. That led him to develope his discipleship manual. Last year I found some of the studies from one of his discipleship manuals. I thought I would post it here as a free download. There are thousands of people who have gone through my Grandpa’s discipleship material. Hopefully this will be a blessing to many of you.

John Turansky Discipleship Manual

Prayer Retreat, Bishop California

IMG_3116-e1379783056815.jpg

This past weekend I had the privilege of joining seven men up in the mountains above Bishop, California. We had a great time fishing, shooting guns, and hiking through the mountains. In the evening we talked through ministry and life. It was a great time! During the three days I was on this trip I was meditating upon Matthew 6 where it talks about "take no thought" (Matt 6:25, 27–28, 31, 34). One of the stark contrasts that is given in that passage is that of earthly treasure verses heavenly treasure. Jesus points out how earthly treasure can be stollen, lost, or corrupted. He encourages the disciples to seek treasure in heaven because it is secure there.

There were two amazing scenes that I encountered while I meditated on this theme. The first scenes was the Aspen forest that was just turning yellow because of the dropping temperatures. I probably spent a dozen hours walking through these trees while I fished the stream. It was amazing. The second scene was the abandoned mines from 1930. Here are some of the pictures I captured.

Aspens and Stream

 

Yellow Aspen

Aspendale Valley

Fly Fishing South Lake

These are are the pictures of the mining operation in the same valley. From what I could tell these mines were in full swing during the 1930s.

Aspendale, Mine

Mine Shaft

Old Mine Machine

Mine Built in 1933

Family Camp: Twin Peaks, CA

DSC_0139.jpg

Ah, the smell of mountain air. The birds are chirping and the weather is perfect. We have been at a Family Camp since Monday night. It has been a awesome getaway for our family at the Calvary Chapel Conference Center in Twin Peaks, California. There are about 150 people attending. I would estimate that there are close to 40 family with us. The theme this week has been based on the Tabernacle. I was blessed to teach the main session on Tuesday morning.

One of the biggest blessings has been the children's program that runs all morning and for an hour and a half in the evening. The kids are having a blast. The kids are going through a similar curriculum as the adults.

The Boy's Baptized

On Friday afternoon I had the privilege of baptizing my boys. We have been talking about baptism with them for a while and this was a great opportunity for them to take this step in the midst of the friends. Hayden went first and Hudson decided he wanted to get baptized after he saw his brother do it.

 

Twin Peaks Tree

Vacation

1398163_68090836a.jpg

We are off to San Francisco for a five day vacation. This is a big deal for us. I can't remember the last time we took a vacation where the destination was not to see our extended family. This time we are setting out on our own to see the sights and smell the fresh central California air. All five of us are squeezed into our Ford Fusion for the eight hour drive. On our agenda is to check out Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's campus, see the city and drink some good coffee. If you have any recommended sights please leave a comment below.

The Christian Parenting Handbook

IMG_2760.jpg

Today is a big day for my dad. His latest book is being released through Thomas Nelson. I’ve gotten a chance to look over it and I can’t recommend it high enough.

This is a great tool for new parents and it should be a standard gift at baby showers.

You can also score a tone of free resources if you buy the book this week. Check out the details here.

The Week's Happenings

I’m enjoying my Easter break this week. Here is a snap shot of what is on my radar.

Easter Break from School

  • Writing a research paper on Calvary Chapel’s history for my Church History class. Here are some of my sources.
  • Catching up on homework, speed reading,

#TheBible Series Concluded

New Books

2013 Major League Baseball opens this week and I’m rooting for my home team: the Philadelphia Phillies.

Dad, Can We Get it Please?!?!?!

tumblr_memtpdMqHF1qcr8wd.jpg

If you are a parent, you have heard this a hundred times. You’re walking through the store and your kid sees something that they wish you would buy for them. They make a request, beg, hint, inquire… Whatever you want to call it… The ball is in your court. The source of pain at this point is the potential result that will come from saying no. Will your child have a melt down? Will everyone in the store watch you get into a high stakes barganing match with a 5 year old? It can be costly to say no.

So here’s what I say when my kids ask for something in the store:

“Sure… How much money did you bring?”

This answer has an amazing ability to place the burden back on my kids. And it is actually true. I’m fine with purchasing most of the things they ask for… just not with my own money. They on the other hand have gotten permission from me to buy it, but the fact that they can’t buy it isn’t my fault. It is their fault for not saving their birthday money.

This answer often leads into a conversation about how they could earn some money around the house. Once we start talking about the work they would have to do to earn the money to buy what they have asked for, they reconsider their original request. So far, I’ve had zero public meltdowns when I’ve used this approach.

What has worked well for you in this setting?

The Week in Review

Sunday (September 18th)

Finished our our stay at the Lundblade house and celebrated Gina Adamason’s birthday. Gina is my sister in law and was born again earlier this year. I have the priviledge of baptising her and her husband Todd (my wife’s brother). 

Monday (September 19th)

Worked on Calvary Chapel University’s monthly newsletter and sent it out a 1,000 churches by the end of the day. Here is what we sent out: http://mim.io/626a91

Note: can you find something controversion in the first paragraph? If you can, you will understand my Tuesday. 

Tuesday (September 20th)

Arrived on the CCCM campus at 7:00 AM for my first New Testament Greek class… I’m taking the Greek class from http://ccsom.cccm.com so that I can know New Testament Greek better and so that I can test out of it if it is required for a Masters degree. 

As soon as I got out of the NT Greek class I checked my University email. I had received a question/complaint regarding the newsletter that had gone out the day before. The controversy swirled around the title of the School of Ministry course that is being offered through CCU. I spent a few minutes on the phone responding to the concern and then wrote the following blog post. Is CCU Going Emergent? 

All of that before lunch… And speaking of lunch, I sat at a table with Pastor Chuck Smith and some of the other Orange County Calvary Chapel pastors. For some wonderful reason, Pastor Brian Brodersen invited me to join this group for a short Bible study and meal. 

Wednesday (September 21st)

Started the day with one more hour of NT Greek class. Once I was back in the office I ran errands for the University with Bryan Henderson. 

In the early afternoon I had the priviledge of visiting with Dr. Chapin Marsh from Horizon College. Dr. Marsh is my predacessor. I’m attempting to fill his shoes now at the University. I was encouraged to learn that Horizon College is now a couple of months away from finalizing the accreditation through ABHE. Once this is complete, they will be the first Calvary Chapel college to gain national accreditaiton in the US. 

An hour after Dr. Marsh left I connected with Dan Toro for coffee. Dan and his wife Niki were missionaries in England for the last couple of years. I ran into him at CCCM for the first time and wanted to get to know him better. We had a great hour and a half of fellowship at Portola Coffee Lab. 

From there we headed to church and enjoyed a great series of testimonies and message by Pastor Brian Brodersen. Here is a link to that message. It was entitled “God’s Good Work For Those Who Love Him”.

My Grandparent's Faith

[Deviating slightly from my theme "What my parents did right" to add a post about my Grandparents] Yesterday I shared about my parents faith. Today I want to write briefly about my Grandparents.

My Grandpa was a pastor for more than 50 years. He planted churches in Hawaii, South Carolina, and California. (At least that is what he did after I was born.)

Both of my Grandparents were fully invested in ministry. It is was the core of the conversations I heard. My Grandpa was a man of vision and ideas. He was a strategist wanting to grow his church and reach the lost.

When I was thirteen I took a vacation to stay with my Grandpa and Grandma in Hawaii. Upon arrival my Grandpa made a deal with me. He told my sister and I that he would pay us each $100 if we would memorize 100 verses. We had three weeks to meet the challenge.

Every morning he would sit with me in his garage, helping me right down verses on 3x5 cards. He had an old card table where I would sit for at least an hour each morning reviewing the verses. He pushed me and encouraged me along the way. I was miserable for the first half of the vacation. It was the last thing I wanted to spend my vacation doing.

But after two weeks my heart cracked open and something changed. The words of the verses penetrated my heart and my relationship with God exploded. I journaled about this change. I noted how my heart changed from hating church people to loving the church. It was a night and day experience. I was the first notable work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

I memorized the 100th verse on the way to the airport. My Grandpa wrote me a check and I was $100 richer. I don't know what happened to the money. Maybe I spent it on baseball cards. But the verses stuck with me. Moment by moment the verses haunted my life ....and I loved it. It was the comfort of the scriptures.

This small three week push from my Grandpa lead to a radical change and my launch into ministry.

My Grandma is amazing also. She has faithfully prayed for me since I was born. Knowing that she is praying for me has been a comfort for many years. Who knows what invisible impact my Grandma's prayers have had.

Anyone who knows my Grandma knows how lively and vibrant she is. I don't think she has aged over the last twenty years. She is great cook and was a wonderful host every time our family came to visit.

Most recently my Grandparents supported our family as missionaries as we planted Kauai Bible College. They faithfully supported us over the three and a half years that we were in Kauai.

It has been a wonderful blessing to have the support and encouragement of my Grandparents.

My Parent's Faith

If I could give this post a subtitle it would be called "the lesson that leads to all other lessons". 

The essential value in my life is my personal relationship with God. Everything I do flows out of that relationship. I would describe my relationship with God as vibrant, loving, energizing, fulfilling, satisfying, helpful, instructive, necessary, and free. Most of those qualities have developed over time as I have spent time with God. But where did it all start? And what role did my parents play in handing the baton of faith off to me?

Through a beautiful process I adopted the faith of my parents without feeling obligated, coursed, or pushed. I don’t even associate knowing God with anything my parents asked of me. Instead they provided the environment for my commitment to God's Word and Jesus Christ. 

I can look back to when I was 8 or 9 years old and consider how my parents passed on their faith. There were three distinct things that stand out:

  • They taught me the Bible from an early age 
  • They communicated to me their own experiences of how they walked with God
  • They brought me along with them in their ventures of faith

When I think of my parents passing on their faith I remember three specific occasions.

First, teaching me the Bible from an early age... When I was preschool age my Dad would sit in the bathroom and read me the Bible while I took a bath. Somehow my mind captured these Bible stories and I grasped a basic Bible outline from a very young age.

 The second memory that I have occurred ten years later. It is of my Mom tearing up at the reading of the crucifixion story. It was near Easter time and my Mom was reading through the book of Matthew with us on a daily basis. Her emotion over the pain that Jesus suffered on the cross effected my perspective of the events of the Bible. I saw them as real.

The third memory that I have is of my Dad listening to me talk about the things that God was teaching me while I was in Africa. His only response was to encourage me and show enthusiasm for my spiritual ideas.

Here's how I'm applying this now. 

When parents recognizes the authority and rule of God in the midst of home life and such a reality is communicated on a daily basis there is a foundation established that is wider then the foot prints of the parents. It is the difference between standing on cinder block for a foundation and mountain. When a child looks to a parent who’s highest appeal to authority is rooted in themselves there is a greatness that only last until the child reaches an old enough age to find out that there parents are not perfect. A parent who has no greater authority to appeal to then themselves will have a fading greatness in the eyes of their children. It is a powerful thing to recognize and live according to the reality of God. 

It leads to a sense of purpose. It leads to a sense of proportion. It leads to a sense of fulfillment. It leads to a sense of worth. It leads to a sense of peace. It leads to a sense of conviction.

In fact the thought of God gives perspective on all other thoughts. A home based on the reality of an eternal, all knowing, all powerful God, will establish a child with a foundation that cannot be supplemented by any other foundation.

The Christian faith leads naturally into a set of values. Christianity has its own economy. Jesus referred to it when he spoke of the Kingdom of God. Any functioning kingdom has an established economy that is based off of a value system. It could be naively stated that the United States economy is based on the value of gold. There is value and worth associated with that precious metal. The same is true of God’s spiritual kingdom. Some things are valued highly other things are of little value. God is the greatest value. He is to be esteemed most worthy and considered the highest value. But there is also a high value placed on people. 

A family that is operating according to the value system of heaven will no doubt leave a priceless impression on the children raised in that home.

Ravi Zacharias pointed out recently that home is the place where you are known for who you are and you are accepted. It is a very raw and real environment. The good and the bad are visible in the home.

When a parent sits and reads the Bible with their child they are giving them a priceless possession: the knowledge of God. When they share with their kids about how God is speaking to them they are modeling what it means to have a relationship with God. When a parent brings their child along with them in their ventures of faith, that parent is allowing them to experience God’s work first hand.

New Series - What My Parents Did Right

I have a growing list of what I think my parents did right, and I want to share those things here on my blog. As time goes on and I raise my own kids I'm impressed by a number of specific decisions that my parents made. They made some hard choices and I'm reaping the benefits of those difficult choices to this day. I thought it would be fun to look in depth at a few of these things. Many of you know my Dad writes books about family life and parenting. These are excellent resources that we use with our kids now, but the things I'm going to share are rooted in specific convictions and decisions by my mom or dad. Hopefully they will be blessed as I share these specific things and maybe I can pull in some multi-media as I work my way through the different things I want to focus on.

Working with Edgar and Raji

Well we have now been in Southern California for a week and a half. Let me quickly recap what has happened during that time and give you our plans for the next week. We arrived on a Tuesday night into John Wayne airport in Orange County. As soon as we were on the ground we went to pick up a rental van that Melinda's step mom got for us. We had a bit of an issue renting the van because we did not have a major credit card to use for the rental. I have had this problem before, but somehow I thought I could avoid it because I was not the primary renter. Sue, Melinda's step mom, had to drive 15 minutes to the airport to rescue us. So two hours after landing we were on the road to Sue's house.

We have been so blessed to stay with Sue since we got on the ground. She has an upstairs bedroom that fits our entire family. The boys are sleeping on twin size beds and Hanale has a crib. This is a nice place for our family to use as a home base as we work on setting up our new life in Cali.

The two major objectives in California was to find a three bedroom house to rent for about $2,000. We also needed to find a vehicle that would fit all five of us. We only had the rental van for seven days. This meant that we really needed to work hard on both house and vehicle at the same time.

Finding a Van

Finding a family minivan was a challenge. There are  plenty of vehicles listed every day on craigslist, but only a handful of them fit our budget and would work for us. I test drove a couple of wagon type vehicles; Volvos, Subarus, and a 4Runner. We even raced out to Lake Forrest to check out a SUV that a guy was practically giving away after breaking up with his girlfriend. But in the end we found a Mazda, MPV that a guy named Edger was selling.

Edgar ended up being quite the Mexican salesman. We drove out one night to test drive the vehicle. The following day I had my Southern California mechanic drive out to check it out. Once he gave it an inspection I decided I would buy the car if the Edgar would drop the price from $3,900 to $3,300. This was not a low ball offer by any means. Blue Book was $3,295. So I started the negation process. Edgar told me I was not being fair. I was not being loving to his family. I was not being flexible. I was not reading the right Blue Book. He could get his cousin to make the car more "special" (whatever that means). Finally, when he would not come down lower than $3,500 I told him he could call me if he was desperate. That was the end of the call. I dialed the number for the next potential vehicle and while I was on the phone I got a call from Edgar. What do you know? He must have gotten desperate... He told me it was Christmas and that he was ready to sell the van at $3,300.

Melinda and I hopped in the rental van and we headed off down the freeway. It was poring rain and it took us twice as long to get there than we had planned. But eventually we made it to our meeting place. We paid the money, signed the papers and took our van home. We are very happy with our purchase. It seems like it will work very well for us as we transition into life in California.

Finding a House

We had a couple of house tours set up for the first couple of days. The first house we saw was full of character and had four bedrooms. They were asking $2,275 per month. This was a little higher than we had hoped to pay, but we submitted an application anyway. We continued to look around at other houses but did not see anything we liked as much as the first one. We were hoping that we would get it. About six days later we got the news that the owner of the house had selected another applicant because they were able to make a long term commitment to the house unlike us. This was disappointing, but we move onto the next option.

The next option was less than five minutes from Sue's house. It was an older "gingerbread house" that we were planning on looking at Wednesday afternoon. We met Raji, the property manager, and looked it over. The price was under our budget. It had three rooms, and seemed like it would work for our family. We also found out that Raji was a believer and interested in helping us get into the house. We submitted the application and got the call telling us we were accepted on  Thursday afternoon. So we ten days after landing on the ground we had a van and a house lined up. Praise the Lord

Raptured from Kauai... Born Again in Orange County

That is what it feels like. Everything happened so fast and the feeling of being on the ground in California is incredible. It was a whirlwind of activity. It was a lot of work transferring Kauai Bible College over to Steve Thompson and Chris King. Packing up and cleaning our beautiful home in Kauai was exhausting. But once we were in the air we felt like we were being snatched out of our environment... almost like the rapture.

And now that we are on the ground here in California we feel rejuvenated and excited to see what happens next. We are blessed to have so many preexisting connections in Southern California. We have even made new friends over the last few years through Facebook and Twitter. It is a joy to connect with these people. I guess we did not realize how isolated Kauai was while we lived there.

Now we are surrounded by people. We are really blessed to walk through this new season.

Christmas Parade

Melinda and Hudson are walking in the Kauai Christmas parade tonight. Melinda choreographed a dance for the Homeschool group. This was a first for Melinda and for the homeschoolers.

It has been awesome to see Melinda's love for dance used in such an extensive way. She has had a number of excellent opportunities over the last year and a half. I think we are both wondering if she will be able to do something similar in California.