Jun 30, 2008

what if

What if there was no heaven or hell- would you still be a Christian?


Why not?

Jun 29, 2008


Looks like I'm heading to Boracay with a team of our high school students! We're over there on August 1st-14th to do meet a handful of needs.

When I Google "Boracay" I find all sorts of information on tourism, and a multitude of pictures that look very Hawaii'ish.

It's sad how often poverty and paradise are neighbors.

More info to come :)

Jun 28, 2008

staring contest

Let's see what you've got!!

loving my neighbor

new five dollar bill

Reason #486 why Lindsay should let me buy a motorcycle!!! My motives for wanting one are selfless and purely economical.

She just said "keep dreaming".

summer promo video

we played this a couple Sundays ago as a part of our summer kickoff

can you keep a secret?

You don't have to answer that question, and I'm sorry, but I don't have a secret to share with you. But... I'm not sure what blogs you peruse, most of mine are church workers of some sort. I subscribe to about 30 different blogs, and I've bookmarked a few dozen others that I check from time to time. In my perusing, I've noticed a common trend amongst the Jesus tribe.


I'm sure I'm guilty too, at least on a subconscious level. Maybe the main difference between me and the obvious braggers is that I'm more creative in how I share my awesomeness (sarcasm).

But is anyone ever really impressed by all of this boasting, name dropping, and chest puffing?

I'm going to spend this week chewing on a handful of verses I've found that revolve around this issue, like Matthew 6:3.

I feel bad for not sharing a secret, so... I pluck my eyebrows. If I didn't at least once a week I'd look like this guy.

Jun 27, 2008

week one

We had a great first week in California! We're headed back to the beach in a couple hours- for the third time this week. We took the high school students out for a bonfire on Wednesday night. Just sharing in the sufferings of Christ, ya know~

Jun 24, 2008

my holy name

This is the first week for our freshmen. They were a little nervous on Sunday, which is pretty understandable. It's a scary thing to be a freshman! They're vulnerable little creatures.

On the first day of my senior year in high school a few of my friends and I stood at the entrance of our campus and waited for the freshmen to arrive.

We walked over to them individually and asked if we could help them find where they needed to go. Because that's what nice guys do, right?
Innocent Freshman: "I'm supposed to be in the 'C Building' for math in two minutes!"
Wicked Ryan: "Oh ok, well you just walk down this path right here for about a hundred yards, hook a left, then a right, then another right, and you're there buddy! Hey look for me at lunch, you can sit with us!"
Well that seems pretty helpful doesn't it? Except that we would point them in the exact opposite direction than where they should be going, ha!

I'm trying to redeem myself! I know that there are so many names that our students will learn in the coming months, but only one that can point them towards the best kind of life. Only one that can satisfy them. I think that's why God is so protective of His name... he doesn't want anyone to be misled! To make any other name great, including mine, is to mislead them.

Jun 23, 2008

First Monday

Spent the beginning of the day at Huntington Beach with my team picking out a spot for our summer kickoff bonfire, and then the five of us went different directions and did some solo time. So good.

Last night we put together a Freshman Dessert to welcome the newbies to the high school ministry. We've got awesome freshmen coming our way! My favorite part of the night was watching the way-too-cool-for-this student go from completely indifferent to completely tuned in about 20 minutes later. Love it. I was that kid, so I have a lot of patience.

These first few days have been amazing.

Jun 22, 2008

wanna be cool?

Follow me as I follow Christ. - 1 Cor 11:1

almost settled

A heat wave hit Orange County this week... fantastic timing! I looked like Nixon during the 1960 Presidential debates this morning up on stage. A few days ago someone actually asked "Hey Ryan, are you ok???" as I was carrying boxes into our apartment covered in sweat. It's filthy hot outside...

This morning was Sunday #1 at Calvary for Linds and I, and "Promotion Sunday" for the freshman class. We've got a little party planned for them at 7:00, so I'm taking a break at Panera again. I love the food here, but Paradise Bakery was a cooler environment. They both have free coffee, so I'm able to indulge all day long in my socially acceptable addiction.

The sermon today in "big church" was titled "What Happens When I Die?", and it got me hungry to get back into some teaching. It made me wish that churches were set up in a way that was more of a tag-team teaching approach. Eric was bringing the heat, and I don't mean that I wanted to have him sit down, I just wanted to tap in and share some thoughts! This series looks like a great one.

This week is nuts. We've got the freshman shindig tonight, then tomorrow and Tuesday are full-swing with meetings and first week stuff, there's a bonfire at the beach on Wednesday for the high school kiddos, and then a Bible study on Thursday morning! It'll be a great week to get to know the team and the kids. Speaking of the team, they were awesome this morning. They stepped up big time when about 94 challenges were handed to them at the last minute. I'm really looking forward to working with all of them!!! First up, I think we'll run through Strengths Finders, and then some Made to Stick action after that!

Jun 20, 2008

we have arrived

We're here! We don't have internet access in our apartment yet, so we're hanging at Panera for a few minutes to check our email. Bella is with her new family, loving their humongous back yard and adorable kids. They have a little girl named Ella, which has got to be confusing them nicely...

I probably won't be blogging for a few days, but you can follow the twitter trail if you're cool.

Oops! Panera closed 18 minutes ago... gotta go!

Miss you Arizona.


Jun 16, 2008

the life and times of Lindsay Guard

So here’s what Lindsay’s last couple weeks have looked like. I was along for much of this ride, but she was there for all of it.

She left her job as a nanny two weeks ago, saying goodbye to two little adorable boys she has been watching for something like three years.

She then immediately flew to California and picked out an apartment for us (not one of the ones I had previewed, but a nicer one). All of that while waiting moment-to-moment for her sister to call and say when she was going into labor, with what would be Lindsay’s first nephew or niece (we didn’t know which at the time).

She then flew from California to Ohio and waited a handful of days for her sister to finally give birth. She then fell in love with baby Eli. Like... deep love. Pretty much all of Ohio and West Virginia came to visit the baby boy

Had to say goodbye to baby Eli, and the rest of her family, to come back to Arizona and say goodbye to our friends and family here before we pack up and head to California on Wednesday.

We then came to the realization that our two-year-old dog Bella was not going to be able to come with us to California. We’re still working through this one, but we know for sure that she won't be living with us in three days, no matter where she ends up.

Saying goodbye, then hello, then hello, then goodbye, then goodbye, then goodbye, and then hello… or something like that.

I love my wife… because she is strong. These past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, and she has handled it so well.

"We are gradually becoming the kind of people that we will be forever." - Dallas Willard, "Hearing God"


This is horrible.

We're moving into an apartment with a 35lb weight limit for dogs, and our Bella girl is at least 50. The biggest limit we could find was 50, and she'll be 70 by next year...

We're going to have to give her away... right now the plan is to give her to my brother and his wife. She works with a boxer adoption agency, so the people will have to pass some sort of tests, and be interviewed, and jump through some other hoops to get her. So we'll know that she'll be with people who definitely want her- but that doesn't change the fact that she's our dog. Our hope was that she would land with somebody we know, either here in Arizona or in California, but so far that hasn't worked out.

This is one goodbye that I wasn't expecting...

Anybody want an amazing dog?

Jun 15, 2008

needle and thread

If you asked me to play you one song on my iPod that I hoped you would fall in love with, it would be "Needle and Thread" by Sleeping at Last. I played this game with a friend recently, asking him to pick a song on his iPod for me to listen to and I picked this one for him on mine. He picked some rap song, which made me feel like a nerd for picking this one. But I'd pick this one ten times out of ten...

This song makes my heart burn. Like when the disciples were walking down the road feeling pretty low, and Jesus came right up to them but they were somehow oblivious that it was him. Remember what they said?
32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

This week I was constantly humming and singing this song as I spent some time in the hospital welcoming Eli Stumpf into the world :) It's a perfect song for this little miracle man.

Take a listen to the lyrics of this ridiculously good song.

Jun 13, 2008


I've been in Ohio for the past few days awaiting the arrival of my nephew. He ended his days as a belly fish at 7:01 this morning! Welcome Eli Ryan Stumpf to the world:

He's an adorable little thumbsucker, and quite the beast, weighing in at like 9 1/2 bags of chips! For you vegetarians, that's 9 pounds and 6 ounces.

We're back on a plane this Sunday to head to Arizona for CRAZY WEEK! We leave for California on Wednesday morning :) :( :)

I can't wait to start working so I have something worthgwhile to contribute to the world (and by the world I mean this blog.)

p.s. That picture was taken with my Treo, which I still detest. I would trade Zack Morris straight up any day of the week.

Jun 9, 2008

a living house

This illustration from George McDonald has always been one of my favorites. Its a perfect reminder for me as I wake up every day to some new surprise.

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

Jun 8, 2008

solo time

I love having some solo time, but I miss my wife. She's been traveling for a few days now.

I love being around people, but I also love to be a hermit sometimes.

I love telling stories in a room full of friends, or speaking in front of crowds, but I also love sitting in a crowded room and saying nothing sometimes.

Today I did some reading at Paradise Bakery and sort of got to do both; I was alone, but in a room full of people.

Tonight it's just me and my boxer Bella. I've got some NBA action about to begin, and I got a manly movie from Blockbuster.

And I'm having a hard time enjoying it.

Jun 6, 2008

home sweet home!

Lindsay got the job done today!

She went to California and picked an apartment for us. Floor plans are always boring when they look like the one on the left, but she said this one's pretty cool. We wanted to keep it simple, and we got a better deal on the rent than what is listed on their website.

It is in the city of Tustin, which for you Lost fans out there, is the fictional hometown of John Locke!!!

It looks like we're moving on June 18th... we'll need some help packing on the 17th, so call me up if you're local and might be able to swing by!

Excited :)

Jun 5, 2008

thank you Google

For finding this little ditty starring a handful of my new cohorts at Calvary.


Lindsay flies out to California tonight to do some apartment shopping tomorrow. I'm not going because I've already been out there and seen a handful of ones I liked- she can pick whichever one she wants though.

Tomorrow night she hops on a plane from Orange County to Ohio because her big sister is about to bring a baby girl into the world! I'm guessing its a girl, because the dad is a big manly-man type, and manly men always have little girls. But we really don't know for sure.

When the baby is born I'll hop on a plane and head out there too. But I'm staying here until then to pack up our house, and also to drive up to Prescott for a little family get-together before we move.

We will both, at some point, come back to Arizona, load a Uhaul, and drive to California.

So Lindsay is in Arizona then California then Ohio then Arizona and then California, over a period of about 12 days. I'm not quite as hectic, but it's not pretty!!

Rock stars?

Jun 3, 2008

can you juggle?

This dude can. Get this guy on Letterman (and with some better music).

Jun 2, 2008


I stumbled upon this picture here. I stared at it for a while, and then wrote a couple paragraphs of thoughts that came to mind... and then I deleted them. It just seemed appropriate to keep this one simple.

I'm praying tonight for a friend who has forgotten what the pages of this book were inviting him to.

It's so easy to be distracted.

Merge on the move!

I heard recently that Cornerstone has hired Nathan Maples as the new high school pastor. That news honestly made my day!

I know that some of you guys reading this are Merge students, and I want you to know that I'm giving Nathan a huge thumbs up! He's a great fit for Cornerstone, and I know he's got a huge heart... so welcome him and his family by showing them lots of love!

weekend adventure

Flew out to Santa Ana last Friday for Man Camp. Arrived in Santa Ana via Southwest Airlines, who somehow lost fifty-something bags from my flight, including mine. I was told to come back in a couple hours because the bags were on the next plane to Santa Ana... nope, they put them on a plane to San Jose. Went to Man Camp in pure manly-fashion, with only the clothes on my back. My bag was eventually delivered to the camp, halfway through the weekend...

I forgive you Southwest, but only because you gave me a travel voucher for $100.

The weekend was great! Our speaker was Dr. Barry Corey, the President of Biola University. He had some great things to say. I met about 200 men from the church at the camp, and got to spend some time getting to know the other pastors on the team too. Al in all, it was a fantastic weekend. I wish my wife could have come along, but... she's not a man.

Speaking of my wife- you should ask her if you can come over for dinner some time, because she just learned a recipe for some ridiculously good chicken enchiladas!!!!