Thursday, August 31, 2006


I think it's because I work in the church and I would never do in the church what Christian High Schools do, but I'm so sick and tired of hearing about Christian Schools kicking kids out because of stuff they post on their myspace account. Don't get me wrong, I confront students about their lame suggestive pics and gossip comments and all kinds of stuff on myspace. I think much of the stuff posted there- including the sexually suggestive singles ads I have to get past everytime I log on to the stupid thing- is junk.

I have an account for the sole function of being salt and light into my students world there and because so many of them use it. (The "church" is funky about this though- I know of at least one youth pastor who was told that if he did not delete his myspace account the church was going to fire him.) On the flip side, I have even seen some use it as a great outreach tool and met a youth pastor this week who meets his youth group students and their non-christian friends by posting upcoming church events in the announcement's section of his space. I think that is pure genious. Brilliant even!

We even require our leadership kids to tell us if they have one and let them know that we care about that part of their life as much as we do about how they behave in youth group. I get that part. I'd guess I'd even get it if they were removing students from a leadership role at school like saying they can't hold an ASB office while participating in behavior that has strong sexual overtones or whatever.... but they remove them from being able to attend at all. Go get an education somewhere else is the message. Evidently Christians can't teach you Math or physics or about the Bible here because your myspace is sinful. AHHHHHH.

I don't kick kids out for making poor choices. I have trouble thinking Jesus would. What is with the bubble we try to create with a false sense of holiness? I've never heard of a teacher getting fired for over eating to the point of glutton obesity. No student gets expelled for being jealous of others or idolizing their ipod. But I have heard plenty of reports over sexual stuff and all kinds of other "official sins" we care about.

Today I read in this months Christianity Today about two girls who were kicked out for posting "lesbian behavior" in photos and written messages on myspace. Why?

I had a conversation with a former student who is now a teacher at a christian high school in southern california at a wedding rehersal this summer and he told me of students who got kicked out of his school for myspace stuff. He said there's this tension in the Christian school between those who see it as an "outreach to the community" and those who pay good money so that their kids won't be tempted by the pagan world of the public school system. I got up from the table and moved until my food arrived because I was about to throw my beverage in extreme frustration the longer the conversation went on. I actually know a kid from my last youth group who got suspended for 2 days from the local Christian High School for committing 3 "fouls" in one 6 month period of time. Here's the 3 fouls:

1. Arrived 1 minute late to class after lunch.
2. Arrived at school without a belt.
3. Forgot to spit his gum out before entering the classroom.

I'm not joking. I even asked the parent to confirm and she said she actually went in and confirmed it with the administration. It was the rules. 3 strikes is worth a mandatory 2 day suspension.

The article in CT asked a professor of Education at Biola to comment and he said "If the students won't believe or accept that their behavior is inappropriate, 'then the school's hands are tied to say we can't take the role of being redemptive.'" I don't see how kicking kids out of school is redemptive. It seems to me to be the reverse. (By the way, the students parents sued and their lawyer claims they were "mugging for the camera". The whole thing sounds anything but redemptive to me)

Ok.. I have to go now before I break something. I know not all "Christian Schools" are like this. I also have friends who cannot serve in a church because of the junk they see there and feel very called to the Christian School environment instead. Praise God for their calling. I pray they are salt and light there too.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I am SORE. My body is not happy with me.

In the last 10 days, I've started making breakfast and lunches before taking my kids to school this fall, getting up early (and going to bed by 10pm... go figure), running 2 miles a day every morning on the treadmill, re-planted and put down a truck load of rock in 40 feet of my side yard planter bed, built a fence, ran around for 3 hours every Monday and Thursday for soccer practice while my team parents read in a lawn chair (which I think makes my legs more sore in some weird psychological way), and shoveled 2100 lbs of blue rubber bark into my kids play ground area.

Why all the yard work? Cuz we are hosting 2 parties this weekend and I wanted the junk done beforehand... cuz I'm still care how stuff looks. Someday I'll get over that- maybe. One party is for 35ish people for Jakes 4 year old birthday and one is 50ish people from our church staff on labor day.

While running on the treadmill, I've been listening/watching some DVD's. One I heard about in a podcast that was interviewing Louie Giglio. It's called indescribable and it's an amazing talk on how Big God is and how vast the universe is and how small we are. He calls the "Milky Way" galaxy our suburb in the universe and Earth is our "cul-de-sac". It was so good that I'm showing it to our students tonight in a worship night. It really makes ya think.... there's a couple of parts that I think are overstated and leave you feeling like God is a giant and he created micro-organisms on the universe scale and made them in his image and called them humans.... which is weird. Like me making an amoeba my friend, but I think that's just how I felt. The college group here watched it on Sunday night and didn't get that. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be challenged to rethink their idea of science, the universe, and your role in it. It's worth way more than the $12 it costs.

I finished that DVD and started listening to a preaching for life change DVD from Rick Warren that my last senior pastor brought back for me one year after he went and I couldn't go with him (I looked it up on the web... this puppy is expensive. Guess I should have watched it earlier). It took me 4 mornings on the treadmill to get through session 1. It was like 2 1/2 hours long. Wow... that's a lot of talking. Again, some stuff I agree with, some stuff is maybe overstated... It was interesting to hear what he thought was "shallow preaching" and what some studies have shown about content in some famous teachers from Bill Graham to Chuck Swindoll to DL Moody to yatta yatta. But today while I ran he talked about repentance and said that repentance is the goal of Biblical preaching. He said also that repentance is not life change, but thought change. Life change is the result of repentance but the Biblical term "to repent" is about changing the way we think, not doing a 180 in behavior. I'd never heard anyone say that. He then said this is why a couple of places in scripture we see that God repents. Not because he's evil, but because he changed his mind.

SIDE NOTE: I spent some time today checking on the God repented deal and found myself in Jeremiah 26. In verse 3 there's a Hebrew word translated "repent" in the NASB. Then, later on in the same chapter in verse 13, the same word is found again but this time is translated "change his mind"- both times referring to something God would do if those who heeded God's warning through Jeremiah would change. Interesting. Here's what I found in Zondervan's Pictoral Encyclopedia of the Bible (which isn't very pictoral) but under Repentance it said, "It means to turn about, to have a change of mind, to express regret. It is used of both God and man. The verb means the act of turning about; the noun means the result of such action." Well, maybe Rick was right... or maybe he has the same encyclopedia I do :)

Anyway, I guess maybe I should sit down to watch the next DVD and let my body recoup.

Maybe. Maybe I'll just beat my body into submission. Maybe it will fight back though.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Since 2002, every summer in August I've been going to the Leadership Summit from Willow Creek via satellite to some other part of the country. This year was no different. About 2 weeks ago I went with our staff across the parking lot (since we now host this broadcast here) to listen. I've been meaning to post my learnings for a while... but haven't got around to it. Since our staff was asked to share them with one another today, this gave me the avenue to put them into a sentence or two. Here they are next to the communicator who inspired them. If they are in quotes- it's direct from their mouth, if not, it's my summary from listening:

BILL HYBELS: "Lead with a constellation", not over a delegation. (fyi: A constellation is by his definition a group of people who you share power with instead of delegate to. They are people who may even have more power over an area of responsibility than you do)

JAMES MEEKS: Celebrate the "small victories"- they are the best way to keep the vision hot.

ANDY STANLEY: God cannot build a healthy church with unhealthy followers. My primary responsibility is health in me and my family so I have something to contribute to the cause. “Never violate the principles of God to gain the blessings of God.”

PEG NEUHAUSER: "In every conflict I either build, maintain, repair or damage the relationship. There is no neutral ground."

ASHISH NANDA: Never underestimate the power of context and a team to bring about success.

JIM COLLINS: "Great people will do Great things when they do what they love."

BONO: The gospel that changes a heart without moving your hands is not the Gospel. (this was the most powerful interview/music video piece I've ever seen)

PATRICK LENCIONI: Teamwork should come before, not because of a crisis.

WAYNE CORDIERO: A healthy self comes from "knowing what fills my tank and what drains it". So guard the flow. ( Here's some stuff that inspires/drains me)

1. Clean spaces inspire me, a constant mess drains me.
2. Accounting drains me, someone doing the accounting so I don't have to inspires me
3. Healthy eating and exercise fills me up, feeling like a slug drains me
4. Time for me to be me fills me. Always serving everyone without taking time for me drains me.
5. Enough Sleep fills me. Lack of sleep for too long drains me.
6. Clear goals inspire me. Fuzzy goals or lack of vision is a bomb in the bottom of the tub.

There ya have it. If you went, maybe you can bond with them. If you didn't, maybe I just saved you a hundred bucks.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006


So Monday night I had my first coach/parent meeting for both of my teams I'm coaching this year. One for TJ and one for Tyler. Well, we passed around a sign up sheet asking the parents to tell us their name, their son's name, the number of the jersey they took for their kid, and the best ways to contact them. Well, yesterday was my first day in the office without an event planned in the next 2 days, so I took a day to do a ton of paperwork and throw a lot of stuff away- both for work and my home. Anyway- last night, while talking with my lovely bride who is going to be our "team manager" I tried to give her the sign up sheet so she could send an e-mail to our team. But.... you guessed it. I couldn't find it.

I knew where it was last and the only thing I could figure is that it got thrown away inadvertantly. Problem is, I put my trash by the door and our facilities team empties the trash every night. So today I decided that instead of swallowing the "I'm sorry" pill and asking parents to do this all over again at this early stage in our friendship, I'd swallow the "I'm an idiot" pill and went dumpster diviing for it. And... believe it or not, I found it and it really wasn't even covered in coffee or nothing. Yippee.

It was so much fun that next week I'm going back to find some lunch.


Friday, August 11, 2006


Well, long time, no post. Here's why.

4 DAYS CAMPING IN THE REDWOODS WITH OUR EXTENDED FAMILY.... we did some kayaking on the river.

4 DAYS CAMPING IN ON LAKE TRINITY WITH OUR FRIENDS.... lots of kneeboarding, swimming, and bonding.

PERFORMED A WEDDING FOR A FORMER STUDENT... what a joy long term ministry and friendship is.

TJ TURNED 9... and we went to Boomers while still in Nor Cal.

WENT TO WATCH THE PADRES GAME WITH YOUTH GROUP... got super bored so started taking dumb photos while holding the camera myself like a myspace pro.

AND A MISSIONS TRIP TO MEXICO.... 11 students, 4 adults, 4 kids, 3 houses to paint, 1 awning to build, 1 VBS to lead, good times to be had, and plenty of dirt roads to drive.

AND A NEW DOG ZEUS TO ADD TO OUR FAMILY... gotta love craigs list and free stuff.

if you want to see more pics... you can check out the more complete set here of the last 6 weeks of Berry Family craziness.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


My wife and I for the past 2 years or so have sponsored a couple of brothers (George and Divine Mapila) in Zambia, Africa through World Vision where they recieve health care and education and food. Their pictures have been on our fridge. Their lives have been in our family prayers. We've sent some special gifts at holidays and had the boys draw pictures and stuff. But we've never truly met their family.

Anyway... today I got a call from World Vision telling me that Divine got sick and his family took him to the clinic. He was diagnosed with Meningitis and sent to the nearest hospital. I did some research on the web this morning and found that it's a bacterial infection of the spinal and brain cord that eventually infects the blood stream. The infection can kill in hours and some forms have vaccines and some forms do not. I have no idea how often this happens in the world or how many families go to bed wondering if their child might get this bacteria, but today it came to my front door.

So, on May 12, 2006, a little 3 year old boy in a land far from me but near to God died and at this young age- as his name implies- surely went to heaven to dance in new ways. 2 and a half months later a family several thousands of miles away learned of the loss and mourns. I don't have a lot of words left to write. I offer this simple prayer: May the Lord be with and strengthen the Mapila family today and I pray that one day we will embrace. Amen.



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

Blog Archive

  © Blogger template Blogger Theme II by 2008

Back to TOP