Monday, May 30, 2005


If you, like me, grew up watching star wars and find it rather nostalgic to see the rise in our culture again with the advent of episodes 1-3, and can hardly wait to see them with your kids when they get older.... well then perhaps it's time you and I made our own rendition of these memories. Cuz these two made me laugh for days:




Thursday, May 26, 2005


I really should be able to say that I desire God. But just this week I figured out that it's the other way around. I'm sad to admit that I worship my desires. When what I desire is God, that works out rather conveniently, but when I desire other things, well- not so much. Here's how I discovered this sad fact about myself:

So, when I joined the staff of my new church, I found out that just 2 weeks before I got there the entire staff went away to meet and pray. While meeting and praying on a pier in North San Diego- God told them to fast. He didn't tell them to go fast- like drive quick. He told them to fast- like abstain from eating. So they decided that this year as pastors, they would fast the first Wed. of every month and then 4 times a year we'd have a 2 day fast. So since I'm a pastor, God has by default spoken this prophetic word into my life too. Honestly, this is the first time in my life that I've regularly disciplined myself to fast. It's been a learning experience. In the just over 2 months that I've been here, I have twice fasted for a day and just this week was my first 2 day fast ever in my life. I'm in fasting boot camp.

Anyway what I've discovered is that a one day fast is almost like you got too busy to eat. By the time you get hungry- like really hungry- you can go to sleep and then when you wake up- you eat. No big deal- at least for me. Totally different story when Day 2 hits and you watch your family eat dinner and you don't join in satisfying your hunger for the second time. In those moments you realize- wow, I really want to eat- bad! So you pray and talk to God about desire instead. Or perhaps more accurately- He talks to you. In my case, I talked about how bad I desire food and about how hard it is to ignore the urge to eat. Then God starts talking to me about other urges I get that I don't ignore either. Then before I know it- God is all up in my face and I realize- I'm a spiritual woose- owned by my desires instead of my God. I lack discipline.

I've been reading a book by Bill Hybels called, "who you are when no one's looking." I thought the book would be all about integrity- but it's not. It's about character. He talks about 4 character traits that are endangered species in the character trait world. He says that one of those endangered species is "discipline" which he defines as the ability to "delay gratification." In essence, disciplined people he says are people who learn to say no to immediate impulses for greater returns. They decide not to spend money but save for a better purchase or to give it away to someone in great need. Or they may decide not to eat that desert so they'll be fit and healthy or not to look at porn so they have real relationships with real consequences and blessings instead of a cheap temporary imitation. As I thought of delayed gratification in light of my fasting- I realized I have some work to do.

All of this caused me to go back and re-read a chapter of the famous book Celebration of the Disciplines, by Richard Foster. In his chapter on the discipline of fasting, he says, "More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the thing that controls us." Wow. He hit the nail on the head. He also says that, "In many ways, the stomach is like a spoiled child, and a spoiled child does not need indulgence, but needs discipline." So it is with me spiritually. I need to discipline my desires, not feed the spoiled brat.

Remember the time that Satan tries to tempt Jesus with food after he fasted for 40 days- 20 times longer than my woosie dos dias? Jesus responds to Satan's temptation and quotes a passage from Deuteronomy when God fed the Israelites with Manna from heaven when he says in Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, "“It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”" Wow. I have a long way to go for that to be true of me. Fasting made me realize how far I have to go to want and desire God and obey his voice more than even the simple spoiled child of my stomach. I have several idols I need to melt into an offering for the Lord. That I hope and pray will become my desire- to yearn for the word of God more than any other lust in life. That would be victory. I think I have a lifetime of fasting ahead of me before that happens though. Fast I shall.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Not sure there are too many better one word describers of what I hope God will create through my youth ministry than Legacy. Maybe it's carnal- but part of me is asking God to create a legacy that I'd be proud of. Ultimately I want- a legacy- not for my glory- but for God's. But still, I'd like to play a part... I'd like to say, "See that. See that. Yeah. God used me to see it come to pass." Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." That's the goal right? That we would set an example that would cause others to see God in us, and in turn choose to follow that same God in a way that the process will self repeat. Paul says it again to his disciple in the faith- "Hey Timothy- live the faith and entrust others with faith who will carry the baton and pass it on."- 2TI 2:2 -my summary.

Well, every once in a while I get a glimpse at the Legacy God is leaving through me. Sometimes it's less God and more me and isn't much to be proud of. In those cases, I fall to my knees and pray for God to work anyway. Every once in a while though, the Legacy makes me smile and fall to my knees and thank God for answering the "please God work anyway prayer".

Last night at midnight I got a call from a former student in my youth group- now a young man and a great friend, who called to tell me that he had been recognized by his peers as a spiritual leader and would be taking over the job of chaplain of a fraternity that I had the privilege of helping found at UC Davis. As the founding chaplain of that fraternity, I felt it was my job to give the baton of leadership to the next chaplain as I graduated and to pass the baton to others. That baton was placed in Matt Jurach's hand initially. He carried it and placed it in another guys hand who did the same. That baton has been passed numerous times since then. Well, last night it was given to Max to carry next year. Wow! Who would have thunk that God would use me to start something that eventually would come round full circle to a student in my youth ministry- 12 years later. I was so blessed and so encouraged. Thanks for the call Max. You are the man! If you know him. Click on his name and give him an "atta boy".

2 weeks ago I got a call at 10pm while leaving church on a wed night and it was a former student, now a youth pastor, who answered the phone this way. "Hey Paul- it's your Timothy- I have a question for you." I don't think I could ever receive a nicer compliment. We talked for 45 minutes about a tough youth ministry decision. We prayed. I was blessed.

Several months ago- I got a phone call from a former intern in student ministry who called me and said, "Brian, I wanted you to be the first to know. I got into the Sheriff's academy!" We laughed, we cheered, we cried. He called me before he called his parents. I was honored. I am honored. I can't believe the blessing of long term friendship some days.

I wish I had volumes and not just pages of those stories- But those are the relationships I treasure the most actually. It's the relationships that I maintain over years of ministry with those who have stood the test of time and kept the faith. It's students like Trevor, Buch, Peter, Kyle, Lindsay, Matt, Jared, P Rowe, Rhianna, August, Cassidy, Amanda, Angela, Max, Daryl, Alyssa, Kai-ping, Andrea, ... those are just some of the students who came full circle as I think over the last decade plus. They got involved initially as high school students and have stayed faithful as adults to serve Jesus in a lot of professions. They are carrying the baton and it's a joy to call them friends today- friends who stay in touch and bless one another regularly. I can't imagine the joy it will be to see those friendships 20 years from now. It's a reward I never knew when starting ministry I'd get. Now it's the rocket fuel that keeps me going on dark days. It's those moments that remind me why I do what I do.


Saturday, May 21, 2005


Earlier today my family and I went to the beach for the first time in San Diego. Here's what I learned about family beach trips.

1. SPRAY SUNSCREEN ONLY WORKS WHERE YOU SPRAY IT. Our kids now look like a cross between an leopard and candy cane. This is a big one in my family because if it were up to my wife, when God wrote Leviticus, right after disobeying your parents, another sin due the penalty of death would have been failing to adequately apply sun screen.

2. WHEN THE LIFEGUARD SAYS, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. GIVE THEM YOUR ATTENTION. So I was building a sand castle with my kids and two other kids of a friend of ours- so do the math. Me and 5 boys under the age of 8- who by the way are all asleep in a tent in my backyard. Or at least they are supposed to be asleep. Jake maybe at the neighbors now that I think of it. Anyway- we were building a sand castle, and my youngest son, Jake, well he wandered off and I missed it. Yeah. I'm the idiot Dad. Well, next thing I know I hear the Lifeguard Suburu truck thing say, "your attention please. If anyone is missing a two year old boy named Jake, please come to the Lifeguard truck." Yeah, so my wife went running after we got eye contact and figured out neither of us had a two year old named Jake in our midst. Boy I wished it were my head lights were left on and not my son was in the passenger seat. I could at least live with that. Anyway- when I asked Jake what he did- he said that he went to another Mommy and Daddy and said- "can you help me find my Mommy?". He wasn't even rocked. The life guard asked him how old he was and his name and he said, "I Jake. I two." God is good. Who knew that asking Jake how old he was to tease him every once in a while would ever help him out. I'm still an idiot.

3. SOME PEOPLE TAKE SAND CASTLES TO AN ART FORM. Yeah, the guy next to us built a sand castle using tools designed for carving and cement work. It looked like a master piece. Silly me thought plastic buckets, shovels, and wagons were enough. Next time I'm bringing my Dewalt 18 volt power tools and showin the guy up.

4. GET CLOSE TO THE WATER. NO CLOSER THAN THAT. Yeah, so we arrived early and were the closest one's to the water. Yeah- not so much. Like 3 rows of nomads showed up after us and pitched tents and strollers and coolers and pretty much anything you can imagine between us and the water. Yeah, by noon if you wanted to find us, our base camp was in the middle of a half naked refuge camp. Maybe that's why Jake had the mobile white courtesy PA system help.

yeah.... so that's it. Live and learn. I'm gonna go print this posting and laminate it so I can read it before we take the kids back to the land of sand, water, sun, and mayhem. peace.



I was listening to a tape the other day of a preacher and he was talking about Matthew 18 and how we need to go direct to the source if we have a problem with someone. Then he talked about the problem of "triangulation." I'd never heard it called that but it's when person A has a problem with person C and instead of bringing it to them, they talk to them through mutual friend- person B. Yeah. Well I just had that happen to me. I was person A and the whole B and C thing happened. I always knew I hated that, but today I confirmed it. Yep... I hate it... still do. Do you ever like to hear news about yourself through a friend of a friend. ? Does anyone? Maybe I'm missing something. I don't. Bugs me to death. Not sure why we do it. Sadly, I think I have to say "we" do it. I've done it before. But, I decided a new and a fresh- I'm not going to anymore. I'm abstaining. If I have a concern or beef or angst or conflict at all about a friend, coworker, family member, politician, you name it- I'm going to them direct. I've decided that I no longer want to be in, around, near, or anywhere distantly related to a relational triangle. If I find my self the apex in a couple of friendships, I'm gonna become the bridge or I'm out. I hope I can hold to that and help others too. I think the world would be a lot more Godly place- and certainly the church- if when we had a beef with someone- we had the love and guts to go to them directly with it. It takes both. Guts and love. I decided a new today that I'm gonna do my best to make sure I have love people enough to go to them instead of around them. Lord help me live up to that vow.


Thursday, May 19, 2005


I can't believe I'm admitting this on the web. But I officially have what my track coach in high school called PMS- pre meet syndrome. It's that nasty I feel like I'm gonna puke, can't wait to start, excited, scared, nervous, amped, and freaked out feeling you get everytime you stand around waiting to be called to the starting line before the gun finally goes of and you do what you've trained so hard to do. I have it- because I'm teaching in "big church" on Friday night and then twice on Sunday for the first time here. I've tried to hold it at bay, but like the incoming tide- it's here whether I like it or not. I'm trying to pray and give it all to God. I know that after I teach a few times in this new space, I'll relax and feel comfortable again- it'll feel like I'm home in front of friends. But right now, it just feels like PMS. Ok- that's all. I'm gonna go pray and study and ask God to do whatever I cannot. Which is a lot. Peace.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


So, i went to Target to get some stuff for Bible study and princess Lea walked by. I kid you not, hair in buns on the side of her head. White outfit. Everything. It was 5:30 pm and there were at least 200 people in line outside of the theater half a block away. There's 3 radio stations doing live broadcasts and one tv crew. It's now 9:43pm and I'm at my computer. Tens of thousands of people all over the country evidently are lined up (or now inside on the East Coast) to see the latest transformation of a man going from the force to the dark side with the revenge of the sith. I passed up a ticket tonight to a 12:01am showing in LA because it was either the "wisest thing I've done in a while" or the biggest proof in the world that I'm "old and out of it." But here's the real kicker for me right now. Honestly, I don't really care about Starwars but a bunch of our culture deeply does. Some are even fanatical. I care deeply about Jesus- fanatically- but a bunch of our culture does not. Ironically- they are both in the same line at the theater tonight. I almost was with an entire youth staff from a church of thousands. I have friends that are passionate followers of a different force in the same line as princess Lea look-alikes. But then again, I guess that's true of every line I've ever stood in- one common desire but different destinys. Maybe, just maybe I'll have enough forethought to ask God to use me to bridge the gap and spur on conversations of a different Force. Jesus was a master at transitioning conversation. He asked a woman at the well about water and ended up talking about her soul. He answered questions about rules with conversations about conversion and sacrifice. I wonder how easy it would be for Jesus to turn a conversation in line at Revenge of the Sith to an Eternal One? I wonder how much he wants to do that but his followers will be lured away? I wonder if I would? I wonder if I already have? I pray not.



Why blog? Don't really want to be trendy. Don't want to try to impress people- plus what overflows from me is just that- what overflows. I've been kickin the idea around in my head for about 3 months now. I have interviewed 2 or 3 friends who blog about their experience and process for deciding to begin a blog. The reason I did this was and is for 3 reasons. 1. I have some long term friendships I hope can be maintained by us sharpening one another via what God's sharing with us and we post. 2. I hope it will discipline me to really process my life and thoughts more intentionally. 3. I think it will help me to be a better writer, something I desire to do over the long haul. Aight- there ya have it. Have no idea how often I'll post here. But, the first overflow has now spilled over onto the web.



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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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