Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Time is Here

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

These were our excited faces on our way to pick out our tree.

We found just the right one.

The fresh cut makes the tree live longer.

This is how silly you look when you don't have a big truck for these sorts of things.

It didn't really fit through the door.

This was my view while I failed to hold the tree straight.

Singing to Christmas carols whilst hanging the ornaments.
Oooh. Aaaawww.
I don't remember why I was making this face.
Artistic Eric.

The final touch!


Monday, November 24, 2008

My Jayne


I can't remember really what did it.
What it was that made her say, "Forget what everyone else is doing. I'm following Him."
She didn't care what people thought. She didn't care if that meant she was walking alone.
I wish I knew what made it all click for her.
I wish I would've felt that way when I was in high school.
Maybe then, I could somehow translate it to the high school kids and junior highers
I work with every week.
(Not to say that there aren't those running passionately in 180. There absolutely are.)

I remember when she was going into her freshman year.
She saw and understood so clearly that her purpose for being at that high school
was not just to learn - although I'm pretty sure she's had straight A's all four years -
but it was to be a light in a very dark place.
It was to introduce Jesus to people who are genuinely searching.
Thus, the birth of "Seek".
A place on campus, where people can come and learn who Jesus is.

This past week a new idea was born.
Let's let them ask questions.
Anything they want about Jesus, Christianity, and life.
Then we'll take them to our pastors and leaders and give our peers the answers to their questions.
They had live music, and a table during their lunches where students could ask any question they wanted.
These are the questions that this generation is asking:

  1. General God Questions
    1. How do you KNOW God is real?
    2. How and why is God outside of the time we think of?
    3. Why is God beyond understanding?
    4. Can God make another god?
  1. In the Beginning
    1. How did life begin?
    2. Why were humans created? What is the purpose of life? What is the meaning of life? Why were we made to live this life?
    3. Are there aliens?
    4. Where did evil come from in the beginning? Where did Satan’s pride come from if Heaven is perfect?
    5. How do you believe the flow of time is structured? Is it a predetermined fate or one alterable by the hands of mortal men?
    6. Tell me about the end.
  1. Heaven and Hell
    1. Is there life after death? If there is, how do they know who to put in Heaven or Hell?
    2. How do I know I will truly be SAVED?
    3. Who decides which people get to heaven?
    4. Do people that commit suicide still have a shot at making it to heaven?
    5. Where does Hell exist? If it exists, how was Hell created?
  1. Accuracy of Faith
    1. How do we know what the Bible says is truly God’s word? Why do People say God wrote the Bible, when man did, and don’t give me that s*** answer saying God used them to write it…its hypocrisy. Did Jesus actually write anything?
    2. Why do you discard equally relevant and veritable ancient texts not included in the Bible?
    3. How does one account for extremely similar qualities between the story of Jesus and that of heroes before him (e.g. Dionysus, Mithras)?
  1. Homosexuality
    1. Is homosexuality caused by a chemical imbalance, is it caused by something else, or is it a choice? Why do people love each other?
    2. What is so bad about gay people? Why does the church hate them?
    3. Why do Christians seem to hate gays so much?
    4. Why did God make gay people?
    5. Why do some churches accept homosexuality when the Bible speaks out against it?
    6. What if I like girls even if I know it’s wrong? I want to not but…
  1. Life Application
    1. Why does God give us challenges that we feel we cannot face?
    2. If God really cares about me, then why did he leave me in the dark? I’m closer to death than Him.
    3. How do I know I’m not missing what God’s trying to tell me and what He wants me to do? What do I do about it?
    4. Why will being a servant to God make me truly happy?
  1. Religious Questions
    1. Do you think that other religions are wrong and that they could be condemned for these beliefs?
    2. How do you help your non-Christian friends who are struggling in their faith?
    3. I know I should be having daily devotionals, but I can’t find the motivation. HELP!
    4. What can more people and I do to pronounce our faith and express it in ways that don’t offend other people or religions?
    5. Does everyone have a guardian angel? If so…what do they guard you from?
    6. What is purgatory?
    7. I’m Catholic, but I want to convert. Will I go to hell?
    8. The Ten Commandments say not to kill, but is it okay to kill in war? Or, if that person will kill someone else, is it ok?
  1. Specific Questions
    1. Are things ever going to get better? This has been the worst year of my life and I don’t understand why this is happening?!
    2. Why do people have to ask so many questions? Why aren’t all the answers just there for us?
    3. Why do I NOT have any friends?
    4. Why are people so afraid to ask questions?
    5. Why is Obama president?
    6. What was Jesus’ favorite color?
    7. Can you only see ghosts if you believe in them?
  1. Drugs
    1. What is God’s view on Marijuana and other drugs?
    2. Does Marijuana have harmful effects on the body?
    3. Why did God put weed in this world?
    4. Why is Marajuana illegal?

How amazing!!
High school students want to know.
They're genuinely seeking after truth.

I'm so proud of Jayne.
Proud of her boldness.
Proud of her love for her high school.
Proud of her faith.

If you think about it, would you pray for Jayne and for this whole undertaking.
Pray for wisdom for the pastors and leaders who are going to be answering all of these questions.
Pray that lives would be changed because of it.
And pray, most importantly that eternity would change because of it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our First Anniversary

So let me just start off by saying that this has been one of the
most amazing years.
Jesus is so faithful, always, consistently, unwavering.
He chooses things, lots of different things, in our lives to teach us
and to bring us closer to His heart.
Marriage has been one of those things for me.
I was reflecting on this past year in my journal today,
which happens to be our actual anniversary,
and said this,

"I've learned more, died more, loved more, sought more, questioned more,
and believed more, than ever before."

And it's true.
No two years in Master's Commission could have ever taught me
all that I've learned this year.
I stand amazed at the Lord in His purposes for marriage being just one more way
to know Him, see Him, and learn Him, even more.
What's even more beautiful is that I know the best is yet to come.

Now, on to the Bahamas.
The beautiful, amazing, 90 degree Bahamas!

Our first stop was in Freeport. This day wasn't as sunny as we had hoped.
In fact it even rained a little.
But it was beautiful and very warm, nonetheless.
Eric's hair was super curly!
I was asked if wanted my hair braided more times than I can count.

The next day we stopped in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.
It was sunny, super humid, and super hot.
As soon as we stepped off the boat we were bombarded
with taxi drivers, jewelry makers, hair braiders...everybody wanting to make a buck.
We weeded our way through them all and found a nice outdoor cafe' to read our
Bibles and get our caffeine fix.
It was way too hot for coffee, but hey we're addicts.
After time with Jesus and some walking around
we headed back to the ship and changed into our beach attire!
Again, as soon as we stepped off the boat we were bombarded once again
but this time with scooter venders!
It wouldn't have surprised me if they started punching each other.
Apparently our business was very valuable.
Oh yes, that's right. We rented a scooter.

It was surreal riding around this beautiful island, our destination being
this even more breathtaking beach.
I've never seen water so blue.
Oh and p.s., they drive on the left side of the road.
So scary! But Eric did great.

Here's Eric in the deep blue sea.
I went for a dip as well a few minutes later, and the water was so warm!Yes folks, that's a hammerhead shark!
But don't worry, it was in it's own separate pool.

We headed back to the ship for formal night, and formal dining, with three
yummy courses.

We wandered over to the theater to catch the show.
Here we are waiting for it to start!

Our ship.

The last day of our week was spent in Orlando. We rented a car and
explored the unknown land.
We only got lost a couple of times, but hey, it's all part of the adventure right?

Plus, look what we found because we got lost!
Who knew?
We had such a great time
and can't wait to see all the great things
God's going to do this year!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


So, my mom is pretty much the best mom in the world.
She decided it was time to visit, and flew out for the weekend.
She treated us to an early anniversary dinner at Typhoon!
We drove to Eugene and stopped at Sahalie Falls on the way.
We went to the Saturday Market, and then drove to Hendricks Park
to partake of our hippie lunches.
We had some amazing dessert at The Sweet Life (I highly recommend it!),
and then drove my mom around showing her the city.
Sunday morning, while Eric went duck hunting, the girls went to breakfast.
So much fun!


Sahalie Falls:

Hendricks Park:

There was lots of conversation, lots of good food, and lots of laughter.
It was an amazing weekend. I'm so glad we got to spend some time with mom.
She's the best.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


(Eric) I have to say, I have found the thought of voting for Obama appealing. Something in me that says, “who says we have to vote Republican?” Sure our fathers have told us that since we were young but “because I said so” doesn't hold as much merit as it used to. I want to know, who are these candidates, what are they all about, what do they propose to do in office? And then I can make my own informed decision on who I think is best, right? Right!

So I dig in. I listen to National public radio, I watch the debates, I read the news articles, I listen to what people are saying, and I listen to some more NPR. And somewhere along the line I'm starting to think that maybe I ought to give Democrats a chance. I mean Donald Miller is at the Democratic convention leading them in prayer. Maybe I've just been following the tradition of man in my Republican stance all along.

Obama is talking about how he wants to take what hasn't been working in this county and make it right. He wants to refocus our resources into things like renewable energy instead of spending money on furthering oil drilling. He wants to reshape our tax system for the benefit of the individuals instead of lining congress's pockets. He's got a plan to find and stop terrorist threats in Pakistan.

And I'm thinking, you know what? Maybe our country needs a fresh set of eyes. I think of my work place and how there are many young staff members, whom without, the Church wouldn't be as good of a place as it is. If our influence wasn't made among leadership, services would become stale, and stagnant. A younger generation has ideas, ways to do things differently and isn't boxed in by the “this is the way we've always done it” mentality. So maybe America finds itself stuck in too many systems, policies, and procedures, and needs somebody who's willing to make some change. Right?

But... And there is a but, when I dug a little deeper, and I looked at what kinds of things both candidates stood for. And what kind of change may actually come with voting in Senator Obama, I have to say that besides the sweeping general statements of a better environment, a better economy, better warfare, there are some things that really started to concern me.

One, it's an old one, and one that goes right along with why my parents ever told me to vote Republican in the first place, abortion. I was speaking with a friend recently and they were saying how we need to look a little deeper into the candidates. Like they think that if they give us pro life that we're theirs.

And I was like, YA! We're smarter than that! But wait... isn't that a pretty big issue? The fact that our choice between one candidate to the other could determine the fate of millions of babies. Whether they live or die? I mean say the president does a lousy job in steering our economy and I in turn am living with more financial hardship. Would I trade that so that these babies could live? Yes. Absolutely.

Barrack Obama is said to be the most liberal Senator in office. On this issue, he has voted on multiple measures furthering pro abortion policies. As a president he would only have more influence to make this an easier, more accepted procedure.

It is also said that John McCain is the most outspoken pro life republican in the history of those running for president. And his VP running mate Governor Palin holds the same values. As president he too, would have more influence on how easy or how accepted this procedure is.

Two, Obama would be taking office at a delicate time for our country in the area of military opposition.
We are in a war, and if Obama were to take office right now, I would be concerned that he would make a decision that could set us up for disaster. It could be in cutting military spending, or invading on unwise terms, it could be a number of things. I guess I just feel like ever since 9-11 I've thought that we need somebody who knows how to fight, leading this charge. We've seen that we can't just sit back, chant peace, and hope nothing bad comes our way. There are militants that are taught from a very young age, that America is the enemy. They think that we hoard our wealth, that we're too prideful, that we don't really care about anybody else. Which I know is true to a certain degree, because we are very human and have those tendencies. But it's also not true of a lot of people in this country and is certainly not means for wanting to kill us, but regardless, that is what is happening. And there's things that could be nothing, if everybody remains calm, but we owe China money, there's tension with Russia, and the world knows we're struggling economically. They could see this as a good time to strike.

With this in mind, I have to say, ok forget the wind farms, (although McCain is for those too anyway), the tax breaks, the healthcare plan, the fresh new ideas. This is a life or death situation and if we don't choose wisely it could mean death, in a lot of areas. We can't afford to run with our non conformist desires and be different. We need to vote for somebody that will be a leader in the areas that really need it.

So with all that said, I wanted to tell you I'm voting for John McCain. I'd love to hear your feedback, thoughts, comments, opinions and all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Lindsay Does

Lindsay Parnell.
The Wife.
The Worship Leader.
The Preacher.

Oh yes she can preach.

This past Wednesday I was amazed at how many kids we had show up to the Gathering. The place was PACKED! God knew Lindsay had a message these guys and girls needed to hear, so he called them out. She spoke with passion, she spoke with authority, and the students received. They were cheering, and AMENing, and cheering some more.

I really am proud of my wife, that she is using what God has given her to help others. But mostly I'm happy for those kids. They got to hear wise instruction from a woman who knows. I'm happy that they could learn how to not get caught up in the ways of the world but to live lives of faith. That they could go forward in their walk with God one step ahead of where we were at their age. (Ok so like 20 steps ahead of where I was)

Anyway, it was a great night, one to remember and one to be shared. So for all you who were not there, here's a little peak at what it looked like.

Evan and Katie on worship

Lindsay preaching and having a good time doing it.

Ok so this was accidental but it turned out kind of cool.

Like I said, there were a lot of kids.
That's all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Studio Seven Productions

Studio Seven is finally launching.
This has been a dream in Eric's heart for over two years now.
He teamed up with his good friend JJ, and they made it happen.
Granted this is just the beginning,
the on-ramp to see the fulfillment of His promises.

While I would love to say, Come! And bring all your friends!"
I'm not going to.
This is ministry in an unconventional form.
We want to establish and build relationship
with the film community of Bend,
creating a bridge.
Whether it leads to church, to Jesus, or just to coffee with one of us,
we don't really know.
But then, that's the beauty of this whole thing, isn't it?
Walking in obedience, like Abraham.
All he knew was, "Go to the land that I will show you."
That's what we're doing.
We've got a great team of people who volunteered to get involved
and be a light in whatever way they can,
and we're excited to see what God is going to do.
And as for you, dear faithful reader, you can pray.
Please pray.

Oh, and....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Moment in Time

Do you know those moments?
Moments where everything is absolutely perfect.
So perfect, that it cannot be of this world.
It transcends your here and now, and gives you a taste of what eternity might be like.
This happens a lot when I'm driving in my car.
A song will come on and suddenly my eyes are opened.
All things are working together in that moment to make it beautiful.
I think Jesus is there in that moment.
Sometimes we miss it.
Sometimes we're too busy being busy to recognize it for what it is.
Thankfully, I paused this morning, and I saw it.

October 1st.
Fall feels official now regardless of the 82 degree forecast.
I debated wearing sandals, but thought to myself,
"No. It's fall now no matter what the weather man says."
I put on my scarf and boots and headed to a coffee shop.
The clouds are accumulating overhead threatening rain.
They're empty threats for now, so I chose to sit outside.
The sun is peering through, making the temperature just right.
I plug in my head phones, look up the Bible reading and get started.
The words leap off the page and into my spirit, stirring new faith.
It's exciting to me.
Taking a sip of my coffee, I look up to see the leaves have started to change color.
They won't stay that way long, so I allow myself the few extra seconds to take it all in.
Then it hits.
The music, the weather, the presence of Jesus, the beauty of life in this moment.
I was inspired.
For a moment I saw the bigger picture. I felt Love and not just for me.
I searched for the words to describe how amazed I was
without sounding terribly cliche. None came.
Even now I search for words to describe it for you. There are none.

Our God cared enough to give me a glimpse - even if only for a moment.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Confessions of being saved- by Eric Parnell

So I was talking w/ Nico a bit this morning on facebook and she told of how she will blog as part of her devo's sometimes. That wording this for other people helps to form thoughts for herself. I thought that sounded pretty cool so I wanted to give it a try. So to the tune of Yann Tierson, I write

Confessions of being saved

When I think back about what has made me into who I am, crying comes to mind. I remember times when I would cry out to God and say please, form me. Shape me. Make me into the man that you want me to be. I would ask of him and he would act. Things would happen in my life that would give me the opportunity to become that man of God that I desired to be.

And now that process still continues on. In ways I have become that man that I desired to be, and I am starting to walk in these new shoes. But there is still a fight to continue in this way. I didn't arrive at some peaceful land of tranquility and happy bliss. There is pain that runs deep, perhaps even deeper than it did before because my eyes are opened to so much more meaning behind this life. And now I cry out to him, I have given my life to you, so I know that what is happening is you, so tell me what is it that I must do here? Why is this happening to me?

I am being beat down.

What I've known as “the way it is” I'm finding I may have been wrong about. The way I've always been, is not an excuse or a reason to continue in that behavior. Those thoughts and actions, the things that seem to be built into the support beams of my life, that are so ingrained into my being, are being identified as wrong. And I'm not talking about blatant sin, I'm talking about the inner development. The way I treat people, do I go outside of myself for their benefit or even in that do I have my own interests in mind? How do I think of myself compared to them? My motives, needing to be right, wanting my way, my pride. And they're so a part of who I know myself to be that to part with them leaves me a little bare. A little exposed. And pulling them apart from those support beams of who I am or how I am causes those beams to crumble. A crushing. It's real and I can feel it, a crushing that happens inside. It's very very hard.

And I have to think that this is not just because life is hard. That there is reason. That this being beat down can only be the potter's work. Pressing me firmly until I am soft and mold able. Because if I was to remain hard he couldn't shape me into the figure he purposed me for. And that is where I find relief, and I find strength. That he is responsible for this so there must be an answer, there is a good outcome in mind. That at the end of this hard thing I will be better than I previously was. It brings hope. Knowing that the pain lasts for a while but soon there will be new support beams that are built to last, and they won't have to be torn down again. That I will be stronger tomorrow than I was today.

So while life is continually breaking down, and things are continually dying, there is a seed that is planted in the process. And that seed brings new life, and the new plants do not die. Maybe someday I will be so full of new life, new structure and support, that it will outweigh the dying. That the dying will be here and there, out on the outer branches, but for the main part I will be a solid tree, like a strong cedar. I think it will come, the word of truth tells me it will, and I believe it. I guess that's what faith is. So I determine to keep going, to keep trying, to not give up. I will make it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What Eric does

A few of you have been asking to see some of Eric's work. So here's a couple of recent videos he's done.

He'd love to hear your feedback!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


It only took me four years,
but they're finally here!

My Oregon plates.
(blurred to guard against identity theft or something).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

This past weekend, I turned 22.
I love birthdays. I always have and I believe I always will.
A day where everything is all about me, and I get presents.
What's not to love?

Well this particular birthday was special. I'm not sure why,
perhaps it's because of the insane surprise weekend that Eric
planned for me.

It started Friday the 22nd.
We woke up, packed our bags (I had no clue what I was packing for)
hopped in the car and started driving.

We hit a small speed bump on the way - and by speed bump I mean flat tire.
The Lord was watching out for us though.
There happened to be a Les Schwab just a few minutes away.

We were back on the road in no time.
5 and a half hours later, I guessed where we were going:

Here was my face:
I had never been to Seattle
so Eric took it upon himself to enlighten me.
We drove to our hotel which was just a few minutes away from downtown.
Eric gave me my first present:
Two tickets to see the Gypsy Kings.
I realize most of you have probably never heard of them.
Let's just say my dad wanted his daughters to grow up with some
culture and introduced us to them at a very young age.
We have home videos of us dancing to them while Jayne was still in diapers.

There were for sure camera nazis everywhere so we took these
from our phone.

It was definitely a middle aged dance party + me and Eric but
it was one of the funnest concerts I've ever been to. The next morning we drove to Pike's Place Market.
We had breakfast at an amazing little french restaurant, walked
the waterfront, explored the city, and got a little lost.
Every second was wonderful.
We had a great day of seeing this beautiful city, but Eric had
one more surprise up his sleeve.

Dinner reservations at the Space Needle!

The view.
It was a surreal evening.

The next morning we went to City Church.
If I lived in Seattle, that's the church I would go to.
It was amazing!

Afterward, we found an awesome restaurant called Purple.
It was delicious!

Then, we headed home.
Seriously, this was a birthday I will never forget.
I love you Eric. Thanks for an amazing weekend.
Now, what on earth am I going to do for your birthday?!