Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not trying to brag

But I have to say that Sophie is the cutest kid I have ever seen. This is us watching the Chargers game. She wanted to cheer...

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Oh yeah! Today was a great day! Church was amazing; we had our half-time event for Renown, the campaign to build our new campus. Pastor Bret preached a great message on such an important topic. The feel at church was amazing. Men's ministry grilled up some bomb grub! Thanks for hooking that up Kalani.
Then to top it all off I got to chill on the couch and watch the game with Sophie. She fell asleep in my arms and the Chargers won (it was too close for me).

Friday, September 26, 2008

One Month Old

Today is Sophie's one month birthday. I am not sure if "one month" counts as a birthday, but we are stoked on it! Today at lunch Charity and I talked about all that we have been through over the last month. We have had many ups and downs. Through all these good and hard times we have learned so much and here are some of those learning's:
1) We have a beautiful baby!
2) We have a church who loves us
3) We love each other first
4) We are both newbies to parenting
5) Charity is more hardcore than I had ever imagined. She gets up all the time and I don't even think she sleeps
6) Sophie finally slept through the night last night
7) I can tell you about the NICU
8) We both know what its like leaving the hospital without your kid
9) We found out, again, how many people love us and support us
10) We both are learning new schedules in life.
We are so blessed to have Sophie and so excited for the little lady of God she will grow into. She is so beautiful, thanks for praying for her

Leaders are Learner

This is a quote that I learned back when I first started school and it didn't really hit me until that last couple years of doing ministry. I mean, lets be honest, how many times have you screwed up and done the same dumb mistake? I know I have. How many times have we all failed to learn from the situation. Lets take the winter camp we have been doing for the last 3 years now in Brian Head, Utah. I have learned so much about booking transportation, training leaders, taking care of meals, organizing the speaker and finding a good place to meet.
Leaders are Learners...
The saying does not work the other way; Learners are not always Leaders. Have you noticed that? As much as I could want to learn does not mean that I will be a leader. I could very well finish my MDIV and not be a leader, but God has created me to be a leader. I constantly remind myself that when I at school that God is using me and training me to be a better leader, to help people understand the word of God, to lead students into a life-long relationship with Him
Just remember that to be an effective leader we must all continue to be humble learners.

The City we live in

Sometimes I forget that I live in Las Vegas. Today reminded me on so many levels how hurting this city is. I went down to the strip to pick up a gift for Charity, something she totally wants! (She doesn't even know she got it yet). I was in a rush. I had to be sneaky and get down there. I was rushing there on the freeway, parked at The Bellagio Casino and walked to Tiffany's CO.
I caught myself rushing to get all this down and while I was purchasing the gift, I felt God just tugging on my heart saying; "Are you too busy to love the people down here?... Are you too busy to reach out to them?"
That broke my heart.
I bought my gift and just made some observations that I need to remember:

1. Las Vegas is huge
I say that because it took me about 3-4 min to walk through the casino. This place is big because people are constantly loosing their money. That means that lives are hurting and people could be messing up their families.

2. People are gambling at 11am
This hurt my heart. People are so desperate for money. I know that some people can handle to play the games a bit, but not me. I see so many people that are hurting. I watched someone, as I stopped for a min, play what looked like $5000 on one hand of craps. That is more money then my family will gross this month. It convicted to see who is reaching out to them... It also made me think about the hope that they are searching for. People are looking for hope in the wrong place.

3. The dress code on the Strip
Or the lack there of. I am constantly shocked to see what people wear here. There is like this unwritten law that when you come to Vegas everything goes, you can be whoever you want to wish or wish you were. It made me sad. I have this theory called "Daddy Issues" and I believe that girls dress for attention because they are compensating for the lack of the love of their father.

All of this is happening in my town and God just convicted me today to be open and ready in every situation. I did not choose to come to Vegas to live, but God brought my family here to do His work. That is what I want to be focused on.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Office

The season premiere of "The Office" is tonight on NBC @ 9pm! We are super excited for it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Is what time I woke up at this morning to go to SYATP (See You At The Pole). It was totally amazing. I went to Coronado High School in Henderson, NV. We had about 70 kids show up, which makes me happy living in Vegas. I hope it went for everyone else.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chargers Finally Won

And I think that we have the reason why...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Video Announcements

Something we have tried to do is just spice up the announcement time by making them a skit, or doing voice overs or just plain having fun! We have a great student who graduated two years ago who just does amazing video ideas. I give him the announcements and he gives me a video Wed before service. I have never been disapointed and have almost peed my pants some of them are so funny. Here is the one from this week:

Fantasy Football

This year I swore to myself that I would not do fantasy football. I had all the thoughts in my mind and all the rebuttals I would use to those who would attempt to sucker me into the horrible game. I thought: "I don't have time, I am having a kid" or "I just cant do it with seminary right now". After all my planning and thinking about how to get out of it, I think the conversation went like this about a month ago:
Jesse: So you ready for the season
Neal: You bet I am
Jesse: The draft is in two weeks
Neal: You ready to get crushed again?

And from there the rest is history. I once again got sucker into fantasy football. So what did I do? I committed to winning and suckered my wife into helping me! We are doing it as a team, that way we can both have bragging rights. We are not competitive one bit...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bath Time

So... bath time. Wow, what can I say. A picture is worth a thousand words!

So obviously Sophie hated the bath, but sure did love chilling on the counter in her soft little towel that makes her look cuter than all get up! She is such an amazing little girl!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lil Bugger

Charity and got this sling to hold Sophie in and it is amazing! It is called a Lil Bugger and all you have to do is put the kid into it, she just chills in there; kinda like a taco and it is amazing! I definately know that my life is changing now that I am stoked on things that hold my kid up. If you are a new parent, know a new parent or need something cool to get someone having a kid this is it! I am so thankful that we got ours! Thank you Mary Beth, we love it.

21 days

Today Sophie is 21 days old. It made me think about some of the crazyness we have been through, but also the blessing that now lives with us (I know that may sound funny). It is weird to think that in 2003 Charity and I met. In 2005 we got married. In 2008 we now have a kid; a beautiful little girl. When I look at Sophie, she is just so amazing. I have told many people that I just don't want to leave the house or do anything because I feel like I am missing something. I do dread the day I hear she took her first steps and I am not there. But I also know that God is working all this out in His timing.
Tonight we went over to our friends the Mansfields and just hung out with them. I have talked about them before, and its nice to just chill with them.
Sophie is doing great. She is eating well and it looks like she is growing! Its just so amazing to me to see how she grows and how she gets bigger and how strong she is and that she has all she needs. Thank you to everyone who continues to pray for us. Please pray for Sophie to desire to nurse. We are still doing like half bottle, half expressed milk and its getting hard on Charity. By the way, Charity is the most amazing mom! She is so patient with Sophie and just there to love on her. I love being married to that girl.
Well its time for the 10:45 feed, so I need to go help out. Please keep praying for us, and if we can pray for you just let us know!

In The Beginning

We are doing a series in our High School Ministry right now called: "In The Beginning" and I am loving this series! I am studying day two and three of creation right now and just in awe of all that God created! I am constantly amazed at how God made everything in order and with a purpose.
God knew to make water before plants so that plants could have water to survive. I found something called:
DAY AGE THEORY – Each “day” was actually an “age” or “long period of time” of about 1 billion years.
This made me kinda laugh, just a little. If each day was not a "day" then plants would have died because they were made on day three and the sun was made on day four. Therefore what would have been there for photosynthesis to happen? Now even deep, is that bee's were not created until day five! That means that all the plants would be no more. If you get the time to study Genesis One and really dig into the scientific information about creation and how it all works, you will love it!
Also we are posting all our message on podcast, through iTunes

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rosie and Sophie

The family is all back home! Today I went to the Rock's house and picked up Rosie. Rosie is our 2 1/2 year old little puppy. Rosie was the baby of the family, but not anymore. We got Rosie from the Rock's as a Christmas present and we love her! Kody Rock is the first kid I met coming out to Vegas. He has been in my small group for 4 years now and this year, his senior year, will be year five. We love this family!
I had to put this picture up with Rosie and Sophie.
Charity and I weren't sure how Rosie would act with Sophie here and she has done great. At first she didn't really acknowledge her, but the first time she cried Rosie turned into Mom #2! Rosie hears Sophie and wants to make sure she is ok. I put Sophie on the couch next to Rosie to just see what would happen and Rosie, gentle as could be, just rested her head on her in such a loving way. I am super thankful for that! I am now truly out numbered in the house!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today Was Amazing

Sunday September 14th 2008 was a great day. I went to church this morning and we did this table to promote student ministries. We brought in some waffle makers and lured people over to check us out in-between services. Marc did a great job at making that happen and nothing would have gotten there if it wasn't for Amy (true story). Service was amazing. Marc and I hosted and welcome was the best I had been apart of in a while (I felt focused today). The announcements were funny, even though I don't remember any good jokes we said.
One of the best parts of the day was at the end of the message my pastor, Bret Johnson, gave people a chance a accept Jesus. We are in week two of our current series titled: "The Borne Identity". I got to pray with some really cool people today and give them Bibles as they start their walk with Christ. We sang a song right after (that I cant remember the name for the life of me) and it made me tear-up. Just the thought about getting the chance to be involved in people's lives is amazing.
Came home to help Charity out and started watching the Chargers game with Sophie. She crashed out and then Charity did too. The Chargers barley lost, I am still mad, and it was a lame loss. The ref made a bad call with like 50 seconds left in the game.
After that Charity's mom left, thanks for the help Cheryl, and it was just the three of us again. Sophie was being fussy so we walked to the Mansfield's house to hang out for a min (they are our neighbors with twins). Their sons were both in NICU so we can relate to each other.
Came home and watched Click with Adam Sandler. I love this movie and the message is portrays. It reminds me what is important in life. With that said it is off to bed so I can wake up in two hours to help feed Sophie.
Thanks for all the prayers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Infant Acid Reflux

That is what Sophie has. After all the hospital stuff, doctor visits, blood draws, IV stuff and everything else that I have seen done to our daughter giving her 0.4 ml of Acid Reflux medicine doesn't seem so bad (we got our NICU bill today and it was $24,000+, thank God for insurance). So that is the diagnosis right now. Thanks for praying for Sophie. I will put up more pics soon. She is so beautiful!
I hope the Chargers game is on TV tomorrow, Sophie said she really wants to see LT kill the Broncos...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Simply Text

So these last couple weeks have been crazy in my life, but I found something cool to help with ministry. Its called "Simply Text". We were using this text message system that was hard to use and pretty pricey, we all know the economy is funny right now (that is my favorite line to hear lately). So we checked out Simply Text and this system is amazing. It is much easier to use then our old platform and a better deal. For the cost of one month is the price I was paying for our HS ministry alone. On this system we have MS, HS and College on a plan that is a better deal. If you are in ministry you gotta check this out and give it a whirl.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sophie is home! (again)

And if feels so right! Charity and I are so excited she is back. We were at the hospital for about a day and a half and it was hard. It was also relieving to get some questions answered that we needed and get things all lined up with Sophie. Being a parent is so much harder than I could have ever imagined. The staff at St. Rose, our hospital, was amazing and so supportive. They have a great group of people running that hospital.
Thank you all for praying for us and just being so supportive. We have both felt so loved on and so ministered to. We are grateful to everyone who has prayed for us, with us and around us. Thank for loving us and being the church!

Hospital Update

Sophie is still in the hospital. We don't think she is dehydrated anymore, she has been peeing a lot! She is still being monitored for her intake and output (yes they really do weigh every dirty diaper). Charity was able to stay there last night and I came home. It was hard to be here again without Sophie and even harder without Charity.
Thank you so much for all your prayers. Please keep praying that the doctors will figure out what is going on so we can take Sophie home, we don't want to rush anything this time. I thought about this verse today that God spoke to me about 2 years ago here:

And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2

We know God has a plan for us during this entire time and that He is really using this experience to shape us into the family He has called us to be. Thank you for praying for us, loving us and encouraging us during this time.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Back at the hospital

Today is a very disappointing day for Charity and I; we had to take Sophie back to the hospital. Please keep us in your prayers. She will be ok, she is just dehydrated and not eating well. The doctors did all the tests and there are no serious infections of anything crazy they can find. It is hard being a new parent and wanting the best for your baby and then finding out that all this is going on. We are both pretty bummed. Please pray for us as we spend a couple more days in the hospital...

Monday, September 08, 2008

13 days old

Today, just about 5 min ago, Sophie was born 13 days ago. The last thirteen days have been crazy for Charity and I. The first week Sophie was in NICU, she has been home for a week now and its been amazing. I never knew: how much she would cry, how much people would bless us, how many people would pray, and how little sleep we could function on (really that is for Charity).
This weekend our friends Carlos and Diyi came over and brought some much needed Starbucks! Thanks a million guys. Sophie loves them (already) and fell asleep on Diyi's lap. It was fun to have them over on Saturday. Jessica ended up leaving on Sunday and that was not so exciting. Jessica has been a huge help to have her with us. She was able to drive Charity around and did some errors for us that just needed to be done. We will miss you Jessica!
On Sunday we had some people come over and pray for Sophie. She has been kinda fussy lately and we're not too sure what is really going on. Please pray for Sophie and us. It is so hard for Charity to be up so much and when your kid is crying and you have no idea what the problem is it can be extremely frustrating.
Thank you so much for praying and we appreciate it if you would keep praying as we are parents now! I have so much respect for parents and all they do.

7 Things I've learned By Being A Dad

Being a dad has been more different than I could ever imagine, but I love it. I thought I would take this chance (with all my wisdom) and just share some things I've learned as a dad over the last two weeks:
1) Baby skin is so soft!
2) My finger is as big as her forearm
3) Both her feet fit in my hand (with extra room)
4) Take a nap when you can, ever if that means the dog falls asleep on you too
5) I never though diaper changing would come so natural
6) Get advice and do what your heart tells you
7) Pray for your kid every chance you get

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sophie is 10 days old!!! (We think)

So today Sophie is 10 days old. I know people told me that it just goes so quick, but I never believed them. Its weird to think she is growing up already. She hasn't really gotten any bigger (she is 7 pounds 3 ounces), but has lost some weight. Our pediatrician told us that a 10% weight loss is normal. This is a pic from last night. Sophie and daddy had some "skin to skin time". She kept looking at me and wanting me to love on her, I will cherish these days.
Pray for her, she has been pretty fussy and gassy. We took her to the doc again today to find out what is going on. They helped her have a bowel movement (sure you wanted to know that) and it has been MUCH better. Thank you for praying for our family. We are learning to live on less sleep than we had before. I will do my best to keep putting pictures up here for all to see.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you all for praying for us and being there for us during this hard and totally not expected time of our lives. God has really taught us so much and shown Himself faithful and trustworthy once again (He always seems to do that). We are so excited to have Sophie home and be spending time with her. I will try to keep updating you all on what is going on in her life, she really is our precious little charger (that is what I call her).
Today Sophie got her first bath (look how beautiful she is!).
It was a day of firsts for her. Her first time she didn't sleep and mommy and daddy had no clue what to do (thankfully she wasn't crying). She really is a true blessing and amazing addition to our lives. Please pray that we will amazing parents to her and that we can show her the love of Jesus on a daily basis. Will you also consider to pray for her daily? We are praying that she will love Jesus at an early age and just be a world changer!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sophie is home!

Praise God!!! Sophie is finally home. Thank you so much for all your prayers! After much prayer and hard work going to the hospital Sophie is finally home. She got her feed tube out last night at 11pm and Charity made the commitment to be at her 2am, and 5am feed times. After the 5 am feed time Charity came home yelling and woke me up (I'm still not sure what she said) but I knew we had to go to the hospital. She told me to hurry and wake-up, that they were going to let Sophie come home.
We got to the hospital around 6am and were packed up ready to go at 7am. It was a for sure God thing. Our nurse worked hard and the doctor knew that Sophie was ready. Our nurse said the coolest thing, something like: "Its great to have parents like you who really care, but its hard to see you go. You make the job rewarding." It was a true blessing to leave with our baby today.
Thank you so much for all your prayers! We feel so blessed right now. Just to make you laugh, Sophie peed on me during her 9am feed time. I felt it soak out the diaper into my pj's. It was gross but so worth it!

Sophie Update #6

Thank you all so much for your prayers, today was a great one! Sophie has been consistently taking her food! Do you notice anything different about this picture (besides my sweet gown I'm wearing)? Sophie got her feed tube out at 11pm tonight. Going to all her feed times is really paying off today. We had the charge nurse say the most encouraging thing I have heard all week: "Well I probably wont be seeing you guys tomorrow night."
We have had some really amazing nurses over the last couple days and Sophie is really on the road to coming home. The Doctors have said that it could be as early as tomorrow, but we are not holding our breath.
Sophie is eating well and really staying on top of her feeding. Also Charity and I are getting to be an example for Jesus there. Our night nurse complimented us many times on working as a team, and doing what we can. She told us that we are the kind of parents she loves to see! Thank you for praying for us.
Our first family picture, yep; that's us! The pictures are somewhat grainy because we don't want to use our flash on Sophie's little eyes.
Its time for bed cause its after midnight, but I just had to share this huge win!
Please pray for:
* Sophie to continue eating
* Sophie to come home soon
* Charity and I to be a light for Jesus
* Charity to get rest
* God to prepare us to be parents at our house
Thanks so much for keeping up on us and loving on us and praying for us! It really means so much.