Wet Shoes

12 06 2013

That’s how it has felt. You know that feeling when your shoes are wet? You almost can’t make yourself take another step in that squishy mess.

I’ve desperately been wanting to take swift “next steps” in faith and life but have been bogged down by a murky mud.


The day to day, the to-do-list, and the “unexpecteds” have stolen my intentions of writing…sharing my own weekly gaffes, stumbles, falls, and the grace that keeps picking me back up.

Today, however, I met someone who rekindled that “We’re Not Gonna Take It” attitude in me. I know where my priorities lay, and somehow I am convinced that this very blog is honoring them.

God & Family.

I will find time to write to honor them both.

Thanks, Todd, for reminding me to use my time more wisely… and most persistently in the areas I am most passionate. Keep doing what you are doing, man.


Open Heart

31 01 2012

I was recently trying to find a good way to explain the how I feel NOW to how I felt THEN.

I think I have the beginning of a comparison that makes sense.

I look back at the me of yesteryears and I do so without regret.  I laughed as hard as anyone, and am so thankful for the journey that brought me here.  I am humbled to have survived some pretty ridiculous and outrageous moments in my youth, but when I think about how I FELT and how I FEEL, I think its an easy analogy to follow.

Despite my willingness to “open up,” my emotional world was quite callous.  A callus is actually a great analogy for my willingness to be receptive to “feelings.”  I was never hesitant to listen or to talk, or to engage in meaningful relationships, but there was definitely a low ceiling to my abilities to FEEL.

Nowadays I feel quite the opposite.  Its like when you have a paper cut or remove a sliver (or do you call them splinters?), and the slightest breeze becomes recognizable.  Prior to your mini-injury the temperature, or weight of a pencil, coffee, or even shirt sleeve seemed absent, but upon the smallest change, a pin prick of “openness,” you are immediately AWARE (if not frustrated with) of all that is happening in that region of your world.

Since attending Keystone, and more so, since having Harper, I feel like I have traded in my emotional callus for an open wound. Things that were there before I completely missed and now can not help but be affected by.

The analogy works for awareness but casts a negative light on my heightened receptiveness.  I do not mean for that, but it comes with the metaphor.  I am MUCH more comfortable than I was before.  Something about the constant awareness ( and awe) of those things worth celebrating around me makes me feel hyper-alive.

I am constantly saying thank you for the emotions I feel and witness. Happiness, sadness, love,  joy, disappointment, etc. The difference of 10 years has taken a life that was fun (but callous) and made it meaningful (and open).

Random post, I know… but I couldn’t shake the thought of how drastically things have changed since my early days at GVSU to my job at Keystone. Its crazy.


25 01 2012

As always, life keeps pushing forward, seemingly gaining momentum. Even when things seem foggy or unclear, it doesn’t ever feel like its going to slow down.

Even my attempts to intentionally zoom out and gather my thoughts feel rushed.

But, its all good. I am genuinely thrilled to be typing this.

Keystone has been a blessing and 30 has proven to be a hell of a lot more rewarding than 20. Although, 20 was pretty fun. (I can’t deny that)

I am currently awaiting a Charlene Li seminar to start with the Willow Creek Association on “How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead.”

I had a meaningful conversation yesterday with Tom, the director of operations for Keystone Community Church, regarding this very topic.

I find that blogs, facebook, and even twitter are great sources of input for a healthy spiritual life. If purposely shaped, social media can overhaul the way you take information in. Rather than the deadbeat college “friends” you had monopolizing your Facebook timeline, or your TMZ dramedy twitter feed, a week’s work can have inspiration at your finger tips 24/7. Subscriptions to quotes, verses, and stories can have you whistling while you work and feeling renewed.

I am excited to share some of the ways I do it. A simple one to start with is an app for your tablet or smart phone by Zondervan called 1,000 gifts.

Simply download and sign in and watch the ways people celebrate God’s blessings in their lives. A digital feed of all those intentionally recognizing God and saying THANK YOU in their own unique ways is a GREAT way to kill a few minutes when distracted or unmotivated.

Just watch the scroll bar continuously update as people all over the world tell you what gift they are marveling in at that very moment. Its a pretty amazing concept that allows you to share in their happiness and find yours at the same moment. From a story book with their child to a cold PBR, people all over are saying THANK YOU for THIS VERY MOMENT.

Try it out. I will throw a couple other ideas out soon.

For now, go get it, and also start unsubscribing from those annoying facebook posters that are negative or unhealthy. No need to start a war by (GASP) unfriending them, but by all means, UNSUBSCRIBE and clean that feed up. In no time you can defend your facebook time as relevant and even spiritual.

Giving Thanks

1 12 2011


Thanksgiving is behind us and the Christmas Tree is up at the Davis house.


It was great run that started with Thanksgiving Eve Service at Keystone Spaulding.  It was the first time in a really long time that Kym and I just sat next to each other and enjoyed church… Only 1 month in to my new job and I forgot how nice it is to just enjoy a Keystone Service!  Sloan and the Eastside Band was leading worship and I was really impressed with the job they did.  The service was packed full of music, which lately means more work, but I started my Thanksgiving being grateful for the job everyone BUT me did preparing that service. Kudos to them.

Kym and I spent Thursday with Harper and enjoyed at least one half of football before the lions imploded on national television.  Our Thanksgiving meal consisted of taquitos, mini tacos, and a personal tortilla pizza.  It might not sound like an appealing meal, or a celebratory holiday, but I swear that it was perfect to just be home with the family and enjoying the freedom of TIME. We do it so rarely.

Friday and Saturday were a little more traditional.  Friday in Greenville for the O’Connor side, and Saturday in Marysville on the Davis side.  No real noteworthy stories which, I guess, is noteworthy in itself… must have been pretty good if there were no big fights on the Davis side.  I guess the most interesting part of the three day run was walking into the kitchen to say hi to Aunt Val and Grandma Sally in my underwear.

Each year we take the dock out of the river at Pat and Cyndi’s house (on the Flat River) and this year the waders filled up while trying to get under the dock to remove one of the bolts.  Actually, it was pretty nice weather for such an event.

This year neither side went around the table articulating things we are grateful for. I am not sure if we usually do, or if I just always prepare for it just in case.  Regardless, Wednesday Night prompted the thought of being grateful for EVERYthing… EVERY day.  Sure, its a cop out when its your turn to say what you are thankful for, but it is true.  I am so blessed.

I didn’t get to say it with family… but just because it deserves to be said…

I am thankful that God saved me from myself.
I am thankful that Kym continues to love me despite my idiocy.
I am thankful for our beautiful daughter, Harper who lights up my world each time I see her.
I am thankful for Keystone and its staff.  I have the coolest job in the world and am enjoying every day in my new career.
I am thankful for Keystone North and Randy Wassink… a new adventure awaits.
I am thankful for Kym’s and My family. Our Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Niece and Nephew are so amazing.
I am thankful for the best friends I could hope for.
I am thankful for all those people who allow me to serve alongside them who volunteer and work to support Keystone and its ministries.
I am thankful for music.

I can’t wait to start telling part of the “Untold Story” that landed me here.  I think that will be a fun run as Keystone re-visits the Christmas Story you THOUGHT you knew. If you’re into praying, or at all interested in trying it out… Keystone North launches Sunday and we’ll take all the help and encouragement we can get.  I will post a few pics up next week from the launch!




Until the next post… Keep on keepin’ on.

The Doobie Brothers vs. The BeDo Brothers

16 11 2011

This week at Keystone, there was a hilarious video featuring Site Leaders Tom Emigh and Randy Wassink as the BeDo brothers.  The BeDo brothers were featured in a faux “Behind the Music” session that highlighted the group’s attempt to “BE” while exposing their lack of ability to “DO.”  It was a great run and many props to producer Sloan Inns, and actors Randy and Tom.

Obviously, the band name was a play on the “Doobie Brothers.”

One of my favorite songs of all time is Taking it to the Streets, the title track of a Doobie Brothers album from 1976 introducing Michael McDonald as their lead vocalist.  It is such an awesome song (and album) that the record hangs framed in my new office thanks to Bill Weigandt who gifted the frame to me for Christmas of 2006.

Keystone’s video played up a couple of no-talent musicians who were hellbent on “being” and failing to get to the “doing” parts of recording music.  While it got a lot of chuckles, it also hit home with me.  I am all about “being” a good person.  I like to challenge myself to prayerfully recommit myself to “good” things and to prioritize God and family etc etc etc.  But, how am I on the “doing” part of my walk?  As I venture into a new career darker corners of my world are lit up and reveal a lot of cobwebs.  Where am I DOING the things that represent the person I have been so busy convincing myself I had BECOME?

The answers echo across a vacant room of false realities.

Taking it the Streets is such a sweet song, and I listen to it to pick me up, or get me fired it up.  And, I listen to it a LOT! But after the BeDo brothers kicked me in the teeth with their mocking ways, poking fun at my very being (impressed with the double entendre there?), I revisited the Doobie Brothers and my all-time favorite Michael McDonald jam:

You don’t know me but I’m your brother
I was raised here in this living hell
You don’t know my kind in your world
Fairly soon the time will tell
You…telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see

Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets (no more need for runnin’)
Takin’ it to the streets

Take this message to my brother
You will find him…everywhere
Wherever people live together
Tied in poverty’s despair
Are you…telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see

Well, there’s plenty of speculation as to what the Doobie’s were saying here, but I am using it to kick start by transition from “BEING” to”DOING.”  I’m taking His message to my brothers.  I was raised here, and I don’t like what I think I see, but I ain’t blind.  Wherever people live together, everywhere, I will take it to the streets.

Amen, Doobie’s… and buh-bye BeDo’s.

A new chapter…

16 11 2011

Its long overdue, but with good cause.  Since my last post, Kym and I have taken the plunge to take our dedication to God’s mission for His people to the next level.  We’ve taken our “next steps” so to speak.

After a ridiculous amount of apprehension and prayer, Kym and I made the decision for me to accept a position at Keystone Community Church.  I am now a full-time church employee.  Typing the sentence is still somewhat bewildering.  I work at a church.  Crazy.

I used to do everything I could to avoid a church, and now I can’t seem to be there enough.

This opportunity allows for Kym and I to put our relationship with God and each other, along with our adorable little daughter, Harper at the forefront of our lives.  These values are shared by my employer and it feels good to have the support we need to grow in a spiritual way as a family.

As for my job at Keystone, it has its challenges. One of my roles will include the overseeing of facility set-up and tear-down each week for our church services which take place in an elementary school gymnasium.  Other roles include the assembly and overseeing of praise and worship teams/bands, music arrangement, the implementation of custom lighting, custom sound, and custom video for our set-up/tear-down.  I have been allowed to experiment with social media via twitter, blogging, and Facebook for the church.  I have been charged with website updates and investigation as we consider a move to a different web design.  I am hoping to find training in graphic design so that I can create and doctor images for our Keystone services/big ideas/and advertising… this can better support my role as part of the marketing team.  Lastly, I am serving on the Big Idea Team along with the service planning team where the content for Sunday services is fleshed out.  I have enjoyed contributing to the videos, song selections, and additional service content by writing portions of the service for others to deliver and by helping think through the flow of a worship service.

It is a far cry from marching band and 200 kids a day, but the similarities continue to astound me.  Both teaching and working in ministry require a great deal of sacrifice and patience.  A confidence in one’s self is essential to cast a vision and lead in a specific direction.  The juxtaposition required to be bold and courageous while remaining receptive, open, and humble is one that deserves content attention.

I am so fortunate to be writing you as the Programming Director for Keystone North.  Expect more soon.  A lot more.  And very soon.

No Day But Today

18 08 2011

As a band director, summer has ended.  Its over.  Its a double edged sword that I have come to appreciate.  My schedule (which was already full enough to prevent updates) becomes a legitimate SNL skit in some sort of secretary’s nightmare.  But… NFL football is starting.  Evenings fill with rehearsals, sectionals, and half-time shows. But… the seasons are about to change and you can smell it on the breeze.  Weekends fill with competitions and parades. But… hooded sweatshirts become a legitimate clothing option.  Its all give and take.  Eventually Samuel Adams’ seasonal brew, OCTOBERFEST trumps any negative opinion I have for the fall, and I eagerly await the Lions game each week.

The band is doing a show this year featuring music from the Broadway Musical RENT.  We are focused on the positive message of overcoming adversity and sharing joy in this world with one another.  We titled it “No Day But Today.”  Its not necessarily creative, but it sends the right message.  We have it posted on the doors, windows, and room walls.  I’ve worked it into my pep-talks, and we even made shirts with the slogan on them.

Its a nice mantra to walk with.  I’m trying to take the next step with it.  Instead of just saying it, I am trying to live it.  What a challenge!

“Come on, Jim, NO DAY BUT TODAY…”

…yeah, but is today REALLY the day to start running again!?!?


…eh, there IS tomorrow when it comes to cleaning the basement, or hanging the picture frames, or weed wacking my property line, or sending that letter, or writing that check, or reading my bible.

No Day But Today works for me, as long as I really mean tomorrow when I say it out loud.

I am getting better.  Slowly but surely, I am taking the here and now on… saying yes, when I might have previously “gotten back” to someone.

Craig Groeschel made mention of it in his book Confessions of a Pastor when he noted how many Christians need to “pray about it” before answering a challenging request.  Hilarious.  I never went so far as to use prayer as the excuse.  Maybe I am just not smart enough to see how foolproof that plan can be, but I WOULD maybe my way out of ANYTHING (and I have).

“Jim, are you coming to the….”
“Oh, yeah. That’s right! Probably. I’ll have to check, but I think I might.”

That equals MAYBE which equals NO.

“Jim do you think you might post on your blog this week? I am curious what you have been up to.”
“I have a few things I’ve been meaning to type about. Probably. When I get the time.”

Uhhhhh….. that was a maybe, which happens to mean NO.

“Jim, do you…”

“Jim, can you…”

“Jim, will you, could you…”



My shirt should read “No day, but some day soon to come.” Not even “tomorrow” would be fair, because I never do it the next day either.

Kym and I have worked hard lately to step up to the plate and take advantage of TODAY.

“Can we do dinner TOGETHER for once.”

“Can we pause the work at home, and go for a walk with Harper?”

“Can we afford to make some decisions in areas that we feel God is calling us, even if it is not the trendy thing to do? EVEN if it bucks the trend of maybe… later… someday… probably not!?!?!”

Organize church events. Help plan the women’s retreat. House foreign exchange students. Have people over. Visit family.


Starting to live the NO DAY BUT TODAY mantra has led to some fruitful moments, memories, conversations, and feelings.  I’m not ultimately sure if we are on the road, so to speak, but I can feel that we’re heading in the right direction, and I have a pretty good idea of where we’ll land.

I’m pretty excited to return to school where we will be talking about seizing the opportunities we’ve been blessed with each and every day.  It will be a great affirmation of all the things that have been going so well in the Davis house and hopefully in yours too!