Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The guy who said, "don't sweat the small stuff" was wrong. All the big stuff in life is made of small stuff all piled up. It's the small stuff in life that makes something great. It's the little things you do in marriage that make the big difference. It's the little things you do to send a note, to call a friend, to help a neighbor, to ensure a customer is satisfied... it's the little stuff in life that makes the biggest difference. Here's the proof from my viewpoint:

A RESPONSE: Last week a lady said she wanted to serve in High School at Journey because I responded to her e-mail in a timely manner. She had waited for very long periods or never even heard from other places she tried to volunteer at. What she noticed most was a small thing that made a Big impact in her world. Wish I was that "on it" more often. But I often let the small stuff slip.

A CHIP: My computer got stupid slow. I was annoyed and thought I had a bug or something. I let it sit for weeks- making me more and more annoyed- even avoiding opening certain applications that made my computer too slow to stand it. I did all kinds of research and then I ran a self test on the computer and found out that I had a memory problem. I was running on max capacity on a 256k memory chip. I decided to go whole hog and put a 1GB chip in the empty slot. I found out when I put the new memory chip in that the real problem with my computer was it was trying to access memory off a dead 256k chip. The stupid thing is smaller than a stick of gum and it's causing havoc in my world. Now it runs like a Ferrari. It's the small stuff that makes the biggest difference.

A SKILL: I joined a coed indoor soccer team. We lose a lot. Why? Small stuff. Someone doesn't run hard. Someone makes a bad pass. Someone misses a shot cuz they lean back when they shoot. A bunch of small stuff really. Sometimes the someone is me. It just all adds up.

A TOOL: I went to go fix my mustang cuz the brakes are out and I can't stand the stupid price of Diesel for my truck now being well over 3 bucks a gallon. So I go to fix the car and I have the part I need, I have the brake fluid, I have a manual, I have everything I need- except the correct wrench.... It's only like 4" long... but without it... the brake line will likely be useless when I go to put the thing back together. It's a small thing, I had to postpone the project till I had it... cuz it's so small that it just makes a big difference.

A FUSE: It was 101 degrees at church on Sunday. I think it was 105 in youth group during our 10:30 service. The AC blew a fuse. The AC unit is the size of a refrigerator on the roof. It won't work cuz of a fuse the size of a AAA battery. It's the small stuff that makes or breaks it in my life. I often refer to our second service as Purgatory cuz the crowd is tough to teach to. this week I sweat like a pig and purgatory was officially upgraded to hell on earth.

YOGURT: I took TJ to soccer practice last week. Afterward we stopped to eat Yogurt- just he and I on our way home. We talked for 20 minutes and then went back to go to bed. On the grander scale of life, Yogurt after soccer practice is about as small as it gets. Try convincing TJ of that.

A VERSE: Jesus put it like this in Matthew 17- "You didn'’t have enough faith," Jesus told them. "“I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,'’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."

Sweat the small stuff- it's what makes all the difference in the world- at least in my world.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Last weekend, I went to the leadership summit- a conference for leaders in the church and business world broadcasted via satellite from Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois- at our church in San Diego. There were many memorable moments: some that made me laugh, others made me cry, and still others made me think and re-think the way I live life and lead.

As I reflected on what I heard and what I should do about it, I found a teaching by Bill Hybels- the senior pastor at Willow- to be an exclamation point at the end of a sentence God had been repeating to me for a while now. Bill was opening the conference and said that he had been thinking about vision. In specific- he had been asking the question, "What precedes vision?". Like before someone gets a vision to do something world changing, what happened? His conclusion: "Something in the world wrecked them from the inside out." Some statistic, some reality, some truth of the way things are caused an inner switch to be flipped that made them decide, "That's it. This cannot be. I will not sit by any longer and watch from the sidelines" Aids, hunger, teenage apathy, marriage pain.... you name it. Something inside bugs and then someone casts a vision to solve the problem. Andy Stanley, in his book "the next generation leader" defines a good vision as something that addresses what "is" in life contrasted by what "could and should be." Bill was saying that if you want to know your calling in life, then you have to stop running from the thing that wrecks you because it "likely wrecks the heart of God too." It's what could and should be. It's what must be done and cannot be ignored any longer.

For me, the thing that could not be ignored any longer was me. Yes, me. No longer could I look myself in the mirror and continue to accept certain things about my life as normal or as expected. Some things just needed to be told to get in line. Bill Hybels used the example of Popeye. He reminded the audience that in every episode, the hottie of the show, Oliveoil, would end up in dire straits due to the brutality of the villian, "Brutus". Inevitably, Popeye would end up tied up somewhere while Oliveoil's life was in danger and then he'd finally snap. When he did, he'd say, "that's all I can stanz and I can't stanz no more". Then he'd bust open a can of spinach, grow anatomically impossible biceps, and save the day.

Well, I grew up with Popeye and slept with a stuffed version of him complete with plastic pipe and all for the early part of my life. A few months ago my Mom gave him back to me. He's so worn that his clothing is see through in several places and he would fall to shreds in a good toddler tug o war. After the summit, I took him out of the box from under the bed and put him on my desk at work.

He's a daily reminder that there are things that simply cannot stay as they are. There are things that could and should be different. There are things that "I can't stanz no more." While there are plenty of things in the world that I can't stanz... the ones that I needed to address were in the mirror.


 My role as disciple of Jesus and child of God is the most important role I have. I cannot let my spiritual life slide.
 My physical health is a spiritual act of worship and a key source of energy to do His will.
 My role as a father and husband cannot be filled by anyone but me.


 I can't stanz no more going a day without praying with my wife. I can no longer accept that as a pastor, married for 11 years, that I don't pray daily with my wife. That stopped Monday.

 I can't stanz no more that I make time in my day to meet with an office collegue or an accountabilty group once a week but don't have a one on one meeting with each of my children. I will meet with each of them once a week. My McDonalds trips will surely quadruple in the near future but the alternative is quite simply unacceptable. I will no longer let my children not get my individual attention.

 I can't stanz no more that I let my body go from in shape to out of shape like a rollercoaster. I began a non-optional observation of my eating and regular excercise. My body is the temple of the Lord. I need to treat it as such. I began running 30 minutes a day. Why I let my health slide is beyond me. I can't stanz it no more.

 I can't stanz no more that I let the personal disciplines of fasting, solitude, prayer, or reading the word eb and flow in my life like the coming tide. Too much stuff in my life ebs and flows. My basic spiritual disciplines are supposed to be the thing that give me stability in the eb and flow of life, not the subject that ebs and flows. Enough!

I also decided I'm too stupid to do this without breaking it down to ridiculous simplicity. I made 3 lists. One that I check off daily, one that I check off weekly, and one that I check off monthly. They are the non-negotiables of my own life. They are the mandates that "I can't stanz no more" letting slide.

I pray God gives me the strength to do what he's called me to and the ability to avoid abusing his grace with complacency.


Monday, August 08, 2005


An hour from the Mexico border at 2pm yesterday, while headed south from vacation on I-5, Shannon and I ran into a caravan of people proudly going to Mexico on a mission. The classic youth ministry caravan of 8+ passenger vehicles complete with luggage on the roof and painted slogans on the windows announced their journey and clarified who was -and who was not- in their entourage. I passed one SUV with the words, "we're on a mission to Mexico" covering the entire back window. The next said "Honk if you love Jesus." The next said more of missions trips and honking and then I ran into like 3 more cars that all said this, "Honk if you love Methodists".

What in the world is that about? I can accept that for some crazy reason we want to be supported in our causes on the road by honking. Protesters want you to honk. Children passing big rig trucks on the freeway want to be honked at. Marriages are celebrated by honking. Ok... all is well and good if you want to start a honkathon. Maybe it's just me and my upbringing, but the honk if you love Methodists thing bugged the hell out of me. I grew up going to a Methodist church. I then started attending a youth group and eventually attended and did internships at a Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) church. When I went to UC Davis I attended a Baptist church. I took my first job as a pastor in an Evangelical Free Church. I then moved to a church that lacks a denominational affiliation but has Calvary Chapel roots. I have served on the National Network of Youth Ministries Council at local and national levels for years now and have fought members of my own denominational affiliation at times for putting up walls over junk that didn't matter. I have such a huge passion for unity in the body of Christ that anything that seems to separate and divide grinds against my soul.

It's like putting honk if you love blacks or Mexicans or white people on your windows. Like does that mean by not honking that you don't love them? What about the Lutheran? Maybe this rant is stupid and they were a Baptist church showing some love to their Methodist brothers and sisters... but I'm not thinkin. Maybe I'll start making bumper stickers and selling them at christian conferences. Honk if you love ____________ and fill in as many denominations and details as I can. Like:

Honk if you love Southern Baptists in Texas but not in California.
Honk if you love wine with communion.
Honk if you love grape juice with communion.
Honk if you think drums are from hell and should never be in a church.
Honk if you think the earth was made in 6 literal days.
Honk if you are pre-trib. Frown if you are post-trib.
Honk if you loved the old pastor more than the one you're stuck with now.

Somehow... this isn't what Jesus died for... somehow I must be wrong but right now.... I'm just annoyed. How bout this... Honk for loving people unconditionally and declaring war on division among believers who have the same Holy Spirit now indwelled inside. How about Honk for Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Ps... lest I be accused of failing to practice what I preach... I did honk :) - primarily to love those who I'm guessing are Holy Spirit indewelled family members with whom I share a small point of frustration that grace covers for both of us. That is what Jesus died for.


Sunday, August 07, 2005


I did a wedding with a few other pastors this last weekend for two friends- Trevor and Amber. It was tons of fun and reminded me why I love ministry and what I do. I had some great conversations, laughed a lot, and did some running down memory lane. I was reminded of the beauty of new love and the deep respect I have for love that lasts. I was reminded again that I care very little about much that doesn't advance relationships. I was reminded that what I want to be remembered for is not accomplishments, but a relational cup that is overflowing with people who know I care about them, will fight for them, and love them unconditionally. Over the last few days, I enjoyed getting to know new friends and catching up with old ones. Weddings are good times. This one surely was.

But, of all the things I will remember, I think at least one of them will be LSD. A man (I'm guessing in his 60's) who Trevor introduced as a great mentor in his life was called up and asked to pray for them at their reception. In his prayer, he said, "I pray God, that you would give them generous amounts of LSD". I tried not to laugh out loud- wondering if he knew what he just said. He then paused for a good long 3 seconds to let what he prayed soak in (knowing full well what he had said) and then clarified with the phrase, "Love, Support, and Devotion". To be honest, I'm not sure what he said after that, because my mind was off to never never land and down a memory lane of acrostics and play on words from my past.

Here's where my brain went: In high school my cross country coach used to say we're going to do a little LSD today and he called it "Long, Slow, Distance." But, this was the first time I'd heard LSD in a prayer. One time I was in a staff meeting years ago and a woman who was near retirement on our staff and ran the children's program at our church came into the meeting and announced that she had been going through her video library at church and wanted to know if anyone had any use for a bunch of "adult videos". I said I could use them to increase attendance and fell off my chair laughing. I think I was the only one in the staff meeting who thought that was funny. Then, once when I was in college I heard a message on how Jesus was treated by his followers around Easter time and the outline spelled BARF. He was Betrayed, Abandoned, Rejected, and Forgotten. For some stupid reason, I've never forgot that either.

When I finally pulled my brain back into the year 2005, I smiled as this man shared his creative and sincere love for God and this couple though prayer. We then kicked his "LSD" comment around in conversation at the table for a few minutes. My conclusion is this: thanks to Trevor's wedding, I will be surely writing a messages for my high school group titled, "LSD: why we all need copious amounts of it". Here's to a life of Love, Support and Devotion- especially when it comes to marriage.


Thursday, August 04, 2005


I am now an official G2 convert. Dusty and Max will be proud. I used to be faithful to the Uniball Vision, but I have now officially skipped ranks and become a G2 follower. I will continue to use my Uniball Visions till they are dead, but all new funds are now being devoted to what I have found is a higher class of G2. Why you ask? Well here's a few reasons. The retractable pen of the G2 requires no cap to avoid loosing, the ink flows rather nicely, and they dont' explode on airplanes- something too many Uniball Visions have caused great leakage pain in my life. Long live the G2.



Went camping last week in Northern California. My favorite time was riding the ol tandem kayak I recently picked up. Now I can add that to my list of "new things I've done" in my life since I moved to SD. I have taken it surfin' in La Jolla (that's a blast). I've been twice: once with TJ and some friends visiting from out of town and once with my youth group. Last week it went with me to the Eel River. My wife thought I was crazy for takin it and that it would just sit all weekend in the camp ground. But we had tons of fun in it- even Shannon later changed her tune. I took a trip with my brother-in-law, with my wife, with TJ, and with Tyler at separate times on the river. Two trips started at camp and went down river to a dam and two trips started up river and we rafted to camp. I think it totaled like 20 miles. The Eel River is not like white water rafting.... it's more like float and paddle and try and find the deepest way through the rapids so as not to get stuck. (like TJ and I passed up a floating beer party. Yes a floating beer party. Inner tubes tied to a canoe filled with a BBQ, beer, and grub. It was hysterical to see. They stopped like every 50 feet to refill their beer or jump off a rock. Their "destination" was 6 miles down stream. I think they are probably drunk on shore about 3 miles down now) Needless to say, the river doesn't require a lot of skill, so the conversations I had were sweet. The memories are fun too.

All this kayaking made me realize how much I enjoy the outdoors and how much more I enjoy just about everything in life when it's working in Tandem with others. The more life I live the less I want to live life alone. I think God has designed us to live in community with one another and with himself. Sure, I need my "alone times" to fill my cup, but the bulk of my life needs to be lived in and around others or it just seems pointless and tedious to me. I yearn to live my life not doing my own thing, but only the thing God yearns for me to do. How cool would it be to have my epitaph read: Lived life in tandem with God and men.



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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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