Category Archives for "unbelievable"

How Big Is Your God?

“My God is way bigger than me and my meager expectations.”

(My Facebook status 4/2/2012)

Yesterday, I posted on my blog about my upcoming missions trip to Guatemala with the high school youth group from our church.  As part of the post, I asked The Stretched Community to pray about the trip, and I asked for the community to consider supporting the trip financially.  I shared in the post how much money I needed to go on the trip, and I mentioned a STRETCH goal of $5,000 to help with a special project in Guatemala.  Honestly, it felt awkward asking for these things, and I didn’t know what to expect.

My post went live at 5 AM EST.

At 11 AM EST, I received an email from an old college friend indicating that he and his wife wanted to donate the entire amount – the cost of the trip plus $5,000!

That’s right.  In 6 hours, God provided for my “big ask.”

I was floored and flabbergasted.  I honestly didn’t know hot to respond.  This kind of stuff doesn’t happen everyday.

I really believed that $5,000 was a big STRETCH.  When I spoke with our high school youth pastor about the goal, he said okay, but he indicated that he didn’t think that was possible.  When I called him up yesterday afternoon to share the news, I think he nearly fell off his chair (I’m not sure if he was sitting or not).

I think sometimes we short sell God.  Our faith in God is puny.  It’s like saying, “God, give me a glass of water.”  When in reality, God can give us the whole ocean.  It’s like saying, “God, I need a few dollars.”  When in reality, God owns the mint where money is made.  It’s like saying, “God, help the Cubs win the World Series.”  Oh maybe, this doesn’t always work out.  Just kidding – of course.

You get the idea.  I’m discovering that God has way bigger plans and dreams for us than we realize.  We set the bar way too low when it comes to asking God the big questions and when it comes to believing what God can do in our lives.  We need to learn to have great expectations!

Throughout the day, I received other messages of encouragement with indications of additional support.  My shock continued throughout the day.

So where does that leave me?

I’m going back to the drawing board.  I’ll get back to you with more details on how The Stretched Community can join together to do something great in Guatemala.  Stay tuned for more details to follow.

In the meantime, how have you seen God respond to your “big ask” questions?  In what ways do you need to expand your thinking to get in line with a God-sized response?  How big is your God?


My wife did it!  She surprised me for my 40th birthday with a party at our house on Saturday night.  And yes, I was surprised.  She sent out invitations, contacted friends, went food shopping, and coordinated the surprise plan with our neighbors, our family, and other friends.  Nobody dropped a clue.  I showed up at our house Saturday night after a day of making Korv (a Swedish Christmas sausage) expecting to take a shower and head out with Leanne and a couple of friends to celebrate over dinner.  When I walked in the house, I was greeted with a house full of friends.  It was such a wonderful opportunity to touch base with some people who mean a lot to me.

There were many highlights to this evening, but I wanted to share a particular detail with The Stretched Community.  One of our good friends, Amy Sullens, made a cake for the party.  Amy did an incredible job representing me on the cake.  On top of the cake was a running shoe (that looked quite realistic).  The shoe obviously represents my running interest.  The Happy 40 Birthday sign on the front of the cake looked just like a runner’s race bib.  On the left side of the cake was a tent and a campfire which represents my love for camping and a couple of camping traditions that go with me each year.  There were two chickens on the back of the cake.  Yep, I still have a couple of chickens.  And finally, the right side of the cake boasted a laptop computer with Stretched by Jon Stolpe on the screen.  My blog made my cake!

All this, and the cake was delicious!

What four things would go on your cake to represent you?  They can be fun things, or you can choose to go deeper.

(If you’re interested in cakes like this, you should check out the Cake Art by Amy Facebook Page.)

A Quick Marathon Update

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll provide a more detailed update when I get home, but I thought you might enjoy hearing that I did receive the 12 inch fork finisher’s medal for finishing today’s Thanksgiving Marathon! I finished the very hilly trail course in a time of 4 hours 1 minute. I can’t complain.

Hope you’re doing well today. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

(My 1st post from my Blackberry.)



This morning, I was reading Psalm 40, and I was reminded of this song from U2 – one of my all time favorite bands.  The song and Psalm seem to fit in so well with my own life, but also with what is going on as I type this post.  8 of 33 Chilean miners have been rescued so far after being locked in a mine a half mile below the earth’s surface for over two months.  As I watch the CNN report, I cannot help but be inspired by the faces of the miners as they emerge from the depths of the earth.  I also am inspired by the efforts of the rescue team to stay at it for so long to save these miners.

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.

8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips,
as you know, O LORD.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
I do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.

12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

14 May all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.

15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.

16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“The LORD be exalted!”

17 Yet I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.


Mr. Money Bags

What would you do if you found $10,000+ on the side of the road? Tough question. My friend, Tom Nesspor, actually had this happen to him just the other day. Click here to see and read more about his story.

I’m thankful for a friend like Tom.

Until the next post…